December 3

Questions with Strange Answers #12

Exodus 3:18 “Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’”

Exodus 4:1-5 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Moses’ insecurity and how God changed Him has been an inspiration to millions. Moses was stubborn, resistant, fearful, and full of challenging questions—just like the rest of us.

When told he had to go and speak with Pharaoh, Moses was promised that his nation would listen to him, and that the Lord would do wondrous things against Egypt and for them (3:20-21). But He was looking for more assurance. Did he want an exact scenario laid out for him, with all the details? Was he looking for something—anything—that would give him greater emotional confidence? Was he pressing God for a particular demonstration of power before things got started, a sort of “down payment” of what might come later? We don’t know.

We do know God’s answer, though. The Lord responded first with a question, an unusual response to a concern. In no need of information, the Lord asked Moses what was in his hand, thereby calling attention to it. Once getting Moses’ answer, the Lord told him to cast it on the ground. It became a serpent, scaring Moses (and perhaps many around him).

Then the Lord told him to do something he likely didn’t want to do, with Moses probably making the natural assumption that it was a dangerous thing to try. But he obeyed (!), and the snake became a rod again.

Though the Lord never expressed it directly, He gave Moses two answers. One was directional—Obey Me and don’t be concerned about anything else. If you obey Me, anything is possible, and coming to me for direction is always the answer to questions that begin with “What about…” or “Suppose that…?”.

The second was that God Himself was concerned with making His identity known, to the extent that He was going to make sure that more people than Moses knew who was behind him and supplying the miracle power and the plan. The bottom line for Moses: I will provide everything needed, and I will make sure people will get the message they need to get.

Prayer: Lord, help me to pay more attention to what You’ve already spoken to me. I confess that I often quickly forget and go right to my fears. Help me to remember that when You’re behind something, all I need to do is listen and obey.

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