(Photo by Jiawei Chen on Unsplash)
When Moses saw the bush on fire but not burning up, he was curious and went to see what it was all about. What he found was God. What transpired from there is often the way I respond when I hear God speaking. Maybe you can relate as well.
God told Moses to take off his shoes for the ground he was standing on was holy ground. When Moses heard God speak, he hid his face because he was afraid to look at Him. None of us have probably seen God in a burning bush, but think of a time when you heard his voice and what He said made you realize you were in the presence of a holy God. Just today I was saying to myself, "Lynn, you are resistant." And I heard, "Yes you are, but I am not giving up on you. I love you way too much!"
Moses too was resistant. He didn't think he was worthy to do the thing God was telling him to do. He didn't believe the people would listen to him. He thought they would say, "The Lord didn't appear to you." God answered each of Moses' objections.
When Moses protested, "Who am I to go before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead Your people out of slavery?" God said, "I will be with you." In God's eyes, unworthiness isn't even an issue if God is with you.
When Moses asked, "What will I tell them Your name is?" God told him, "I AM who I AM. Tell them I AM has sent you...and tell them The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent you." God is self-sufficient, self-existent, all-encompassing, and without limitations. He is not dependent on anything or anyone for His existence. He told Moses that the elders would believe his message; that they would listen.
God proceeded to give Moses details about how it would go down. Moses would ask Pharaoh to let the people go on a three-day journey to sacrifice to their God and Pharaoh would refuse. God would compel Pharaoh through signs and wonders. And when they left Egypt, they would depart with gold and silver and fine clothing from the Egyptians who would give it to them freely.
It's easy to think that if God gave you such a detailed message, you would happily obey. Moses had no trouble believing it was God who was speaking; he just didn't like the assignment. He didn't want to do it.
He tries again to get out of it. "What if they don't listen to me? What if they say, 'The LORD never appeared to you'?" Patiently, God responds by performing two miracles for Moses and speaking of a third He would execute if the Israelites still didn't believe after the first two. By now, Moses had a clear picture of what he needed to do, and he went home and started packing. Not really!
Moses was desperate. "O Lord, I'm not very good at speaking. I have never been." Undaunted, God replied, "Moses, do you remember who I am? Who gives someone the ability to speak or not? Who makes a person deaf or mute? Who gives one their sight or makes them blind? Is it not I? Now go. I will help you speak and teach you what to say."
Moses realizes he has run out of excuses. But he still didn't want to do what God was telling him to do. "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." he pleaded. This time God was angry. But He wasn't giving up on Moses. He said, "What about your brother, Aaron? He speaks well. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth. You will stand in the place of God for him and tell him what to say. And by the way, take your staff with you and perform the miraculous signs I have shown you."
Finally, Moses is ready to obey. He never again asks God to send someone else. It's not long before Moses is the one speaking to Pharaoh. What changed? Well, we don't know for sure, but possibly the more time Moses spent in the presence of God, and the more he saw things happening just as God had predicted, the easier it became to trust God. And the experience of being there, telling Aaron what to say, may have given him a confidence that he could do it himself. After all, Aaron was saying what Moses told him to say.
I wish I could just learn from Moses' mistakes, but I'm finding that we sometimes have to make the mistakes ourselves in order to learn from them. God doesn't expect perfection, but He does expect obedience. And when we are resistant, He will not give up on us. He loves us way too much!
Peace Be Still by Lauren Daegle