Bible Readings for February 21st
We should not judge Moses too harshly for his fear of confronting Pharaoh to declare God’s word. Moses makes up a variety of excuses in Exodus 4:10 about being less than eloquent and slow of speech, but even when Yahweh reminds Moses that he himself is the one who created the mouth in the first place, Moses finally pleads simply, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else” (Ex. 4:13).
Yahweh refuses Moses’s request, but we should recognize from this story that the fear of inadequacy is a real experience for those called to serve the living God. What, then, can we learn about our fear from Exodus 4?
First, we should recognize there are good reasons for us to be frightened when God calls us to follow him. In this story, Moses is called to do nothing less than to rebuke the most powerful king on the planet by demanding that he free thousands of his enslaved workforce. What person wouldn’t be afraid of undertaking a mission like that?
Second, we should also keep in mind that, while the world may threaten us to some degree, we face the greatest danger by disobeying God, not by defying the world. In this passage, God holds Moses to a higher standard because of Moses’s call to be the leader of God’s people.
So, even after Moses begins to obey and starts his journey toward Egypt, we read that Yahweh meets “him” to put “him” to death (Ex. 4:24). The language is ambiguous, so that the “him” being put to death could refer to either Moses or a son whom Moses had not circumcised. God had commanded that every male in Israel be circumcised, and when God’s leader failed to circumcise his son, God actually comes to put him (Moses or Moses’s son) to death, and he does not relent until Moses’s wife, Zipporah, circumcises the child (Ex. 4:25–26).
Shouldn’t the people of God be terrified, then, when God calls us to serve him? Yes and no. On the one hand, it is a serious and weighty thing to serve the living God, and we should not take such a calling lightly.
But on the other hand, we should notice in this story the way that God graciously provides a helper and a companion to Moses in Aaron. God is compassionate toward us to meet us where we are even when we struggle to believe that we can do what he asks of us.
More than that, God promises to walk with us every step of the way, providing for us everything needed for what he requires us to do—even when he sends us straight into danger and persecution. Meditate on the words of Jesus: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me….And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18, 20).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.