Read Exodus 4:10-31
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”
Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”
19 Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”
24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it.
Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.
29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
They believe – at last.
“Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched.”
Oh ya, Moses does miracles now.
Last time they saw him he was a cowardly murderer, running away. Now he’s their hero.
I wonder if he’s nervous as he throws the staff down, wondering whether God will come through. I would be. He doesn’t know how to make a stick turn into a snake. All he can do is throw it down. If God doesn’t act, it will look as though Moses, well, dropped his stick.
Not powerful, just clumsy.
God has arranged things so Moses will always need Him.
And obey Him. This strange episode with the angel and Zipporah is confusing but it makes one thing very clear: God still demands obedience to the covenant of circumcision.
By the time Moses stands in front of the Israelites, he has experienced God in ways both powerful and scary; personal and tender. He’s ready to be God’s representative.
The Israelites, meanwhile, beaten and worn down by the Egyptians, are more than ready to hear from God and what does He say? I’ve come to rescue you and lead you into your own fertile and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey (3:8).
How sweet! Not only will God free them, but He’ll give them their own land, a land oozing with good things. It sounds like Paradise, like the Garden of Eden – like the life of their dreams.
Sound familiar? It’s the same thing He did with Abraham, offering him the life of his dreams; and to Joseph God gave literal dreams and then – after a long while – the life of his dreams. Moses too, finally standing among his own people, accepted by them and able to help them – this is his dream.
The Author of the Story knows our deepest yearnings because He put them there. He created us for a purpose and that purpose is what we long for. Even when it gets corrupted, when our God-given dream gets twisted, still at its core is the original – good – desire.
Somewhere in the heart of everyone is a breathless ache that waits to hear the invitation now given to the despairing Israelites: Come home to me. I’ve made a place all ready for you and you’re going to love it. I’ve filled it to bursting with good things for you to enjoy.
Come, let’s dance.