Everyone knows the story of how Moses was sent by God to set the Israelites free from the Egyptians; How he confronted Pharaoh and was used by God to bring about the ten plagues and how he eventually lead God’s people through the Red Sea and towards freedom from the their captivity.
We also know that Moses didn’t want to go. He had fled from Egypt and settled in Midian, married, had a son and was living the quiet life of a shepherd.
Some time ago I heard a sermon about Moses’ journey from the burning bush to the Exodus. Rather than focussing on the extraordinary miracle of the plagues, it looked instead at how God did a work in Moses to build him up from someone who was scared of his own shadow to a fearless man of God.
In Exodus, when God called him, he responded with ‘send someone else’, and came up with a list of reasons why it was a bad idea. Not surprisingly God didn’t let him get away with it.
Ex 4: 10-13 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.”
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? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
At the start God allowed Aaron to take the lead in confronting Pharaoh, but over the course of time, this was replaced by Moses being God’s mouth-piece as we can see from these scriptures.
Ex 7:19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt
Ex 8:5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”
Ex 8:16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”
Ex 8:20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
Ex 9: 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”
Ex 9: 8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh.
Ex 9:13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me,
Ex 10:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them
Ex 10:21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”
Finally – when Moses proclaimed the last plague – the death of the first-born, we can see that his attitude had changed completely.
Exodus 11: 4-8 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die … There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt … But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’… All your officials will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
Was this really the same fearful man who had run and hidden in the land of Midian for forty years and had begged God not to send him? Moses needed to go through God’s training process so that he would be the man who became the great leader of his people that everyone knows.
When God takes us through seemingly impossible things, He is training us. This involves slowly exposing us to more and more difficult things to strengthen us bit by bit. Don’t run from this process, he’s preparing us for something much greater than we can imagine and He knows what He’s doing.
Let God remove your training wheels.