The Call of Moses: Exo 4:13-17

Exo 4:13 – “O Lord, please send someone else to do it”.
How easy to say “No” and forego all hassles of mission! Moses recognized very well that the call of God involved a huge responsibility. Nobody likes to choose the complicated and risky road. Most Christians harbor a particular sense of happiness that it is not they who are out there in the difficult fields of missions. They are satisfied that they give some money or send some goods to help the missionaries out there. It always looks alright as long as it is not they but “someone else” out there. There are some who don’t even give a dime to missions. They lack both vision and passion.

It seems that Moses too was very disconnected from the concern and passion of God’s heart. He doesn’t seem to feel the same way that God feels for them. But, God knows that this is the man who one day would intercede and cry out to God for the Israelites saying, “Blot me out, but spare them!” God knows whom He has chosen though His chosen vessel is still very unwilling when He calls. So, when Moses prays to God to send someone else, God doesn’t grant his request. How many times have you been grateful that God hadn’t granted your foolish prayers? 

Everyone has a call in his/her life. It may not be to Africa, Asia, or South America, but it is a call nevertheless, whether it be to serve, to lead, to give, or to do anything Christ’s work calls for. Sometimes, what He asks us for may look too difficult and unwanted a task. But, we must be thankful that He chose us for it, among all, and we must say “Yes” to the Lord. Remember that it is He who first said “Yes” for us; He didn’t say, “Send someone else”, but He said, “Here I am, I come to do Your will!” (Heb.10:9)

Exo 4:14 – “Aaron…” Moses felt that he was all alone in this deliverance mission. He must have felt alone, with regard to this, since the time he had been rejected by his people some 40 years ago. At that time, his rejection meant also rejection by Egypt. He tried to save a Hebrew by killing an Egyptian, and when the Hebrews rejected him, he realized he belonged to no one there. But, God reminds him that he has a brother, Aaron. Some think that his name means mountain-like strength; others think it means illuminator. I think in a way he was both, despite his imperfections. And Moses needed him. Moses might have felt rejected by some; but to be rejected and to feel rejected are two different things; the former may be an incident, the latter, a choice. And, then rejection is never universal. One always has someone that will be happy to see him/her. Moses had Aaron his brother.

It is interesting that, as a principle, Jesus never encouraged mission to be a lonely task. Of course, there are times of being alone, but that doesn’t mean God wants us to be alone in the work. Therefore, He brings together a team. He had His twelve and He sent His disciples two by two. Paul always preferred a team. Moses was not aware, but God had already chosen Aaron to be on his way to meet Moses before He began speaking to Moses. When God calls a man, He does it because it is time and He has already arranged all things for this moment.

Exo 4:15 –  “you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth.” Moses had to speak anyway, and God knew that his confidence to speak would not fail before Aaron; he only had a problem with the others. But, in time that would also change and Moses would boldly speak. In process of time, this self-judgment of Moses, that he could not speak, would be overcome. But, aren’t we grateful that God didn’t wait for Moses to become homiletically proficient before He called him? How often we judge a preacher by his rhetoric abilities and are blind to the call of God over his life? Nevertheless, here, though Aaron was the one who could speak well, Moses was chosen to put the words in his mouth.

“And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.” God spells it out clearly that Moses is the leader. Yet, he is not a leader in his own capacity; he must only do what God will teach him to do. Of course, Moses could not do anything now unless he heard from God. But, sadly, towards the end of his journey Moses failed to meticulously obey and demonstrate his reliance on God at the waters of Meribah. God told him to speak to the rock and he struck it shouting “Should WE bring you out water from the rock?” He had by then somehow forgotten that it was not they but Christ that was to be glorified. So, God rebuked him. But, at the burning bush now, it was different. (Note: this burning bush would become a mountain enveloping fire in Exodus 19). God promises to teach Moses what he had to do.

But, at the same time, God would also be with the mouth of Aaron. Aaron was not a secondary team member. God had a purpose for him as well, an individual call. He was to become the high priest. But, he was also called to be submissive to Moses. Yet, he had a distinct call that he could not fulfill on his own. Every member in the mission team is individually a partner of God in the work; the cloven tongues of fire divide equally and sit on the head of each disciple. Even the deacons in Acts 6 had to be Spirit-filled. They were not exempted from the Spirit. Christ is the Head of all ultimately. We are members of His body (1Cor.12). Aaron needed God to be with his mouth in order to be a spokesman for Moses.

Also Aaron could not speak unless Moses had put the words in his mouth; similarly, not everyone is an apostle or teacher in the body. The mission team is not a disordered body where everyone is an eye or ear. They have different roles and places, and each is called to walk in accordance to his calling. Paul dealt with this issue several times, where people began considering themselves spiritually independent of all authority. It led to disorder and hindered growth. Peter called the separators who despised authority as carnal slaves of flesh. They were not spiritual. The missionary cannot partner with carnal people, even if these be rich or influential. He must be spiritual and ready to see divine connections, people that God brings into his life, even if these people are poor and weak by human standards. Like Samuel learned it, we must learn not to judge by human appearance but by the anointing of God over lives. Many times it is the smart, rich, and strong, that we have great hopes for, that fail and hurt. But, many a leader has to regret for despising God’s truly chosen vessels. I think even Paul didn’t make a wise decision when he separated from Barnabas over Mark, because Mark had left them half-way earlier. But, Barnabas was not willing to let go off Mark. Aren’t we grateful for that? God had chosen Mark to write the Gospel according to Mark, an amazing Gospel of Action.

It is sinful to monopolize ministry as if God has chosen only one guy who sits on the top. God had chosen Aaron as well as Moses. However, Aaron had to know and abide in his calling even as Moses had to abide in his own, as far as authority and leadership was concerned.

Exo. 4:16 – “you shall be to him as God.” Moses is not God but to rebel against Moses would mean to rebel against God. This, God did affirm many times during the journey of Israel. When Korah and his defection rebelled, God struck them. Even in the NT, when Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter, it was a lie not against men but against God, because when it came to the matter of authority, God’s order of authority is never compromised.

Exo 4:17 – “rod” The rod was a shepherd’s rod. It would remind Moses of many things, including this burning bush experience. It would also remind him that Moses was still a shepherd, but now shepherd of God’s flock. However, this was not a magic rod. The rod had no power of its own, apart from the commandment of God. Yet, Moses could say, “This was all I had with me when God called me to His great work.” For, it is not by funds or by diplomacy, but only by the Spirit of God that one can be a witness of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. To lead Israel out of Egypt into Canaan was no small task. Modern missiologists might calculate it as a multi-billion project. But, God tells Moses to just take his rod. What is my rod?

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