Read - Exodus 4:1-5
Message - Alan Burke
Right now I have a hankering for a battered sausage supper dosed in curry sauce from the Arcade Chippy in Antrim. I’d hop in the car and go and get one since I haven’t left the house yet this week, except for the fact that I’d likely be pulled over and although ‘a hankering’ seems like a reasonable excuse for me, I’m not quite sure it would cut it with the police. We have all made excuses, maybe not about why we travel 34 miles to the Arcade Chippy but things like, “I forgot my homework”, “It’s just not the right time”, “they had the advantage that I didn’t”, “I’m just to busy”, “I can’t I’m washing my hair tonight”. Giving an excuse to avoid doing something that we don’t really want to do.
As excuses go Moses isn’t doing very well, he’s now on excuse number four to get out of going to Egypt. It seems that Moses is an unwilling recruit to say the least. Even though he had been given assurances and that elders would listen to what he had to say (3:18), he now says to God…
“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (4:1)
From a human perspective, it is easy to see why Moses asked such a question, its not like he was a trusted upright member of the community. Moses in a sense is trying to get himself out of his task. He had heard but he hadn’t listened, he had failed to trust the word of God even though the word of God is the truth of salvation, it alone has the power to save.
God graciously responds to the unwilling recruit and gives him three signs that he can use that will give him the credentials that he needs. These signs would act like references for a job application, like the police offices warrant card, for they prove what he says is the truth of God. Even though God’s word was enough though Moses didn’t quite believe it, God graciously gives Moses the assurance that he needs. God could have cause the earth to shatter, the sun to stand still any number of wonders he could have preformed yet to remove any doubt from the mind of Moses he uses the ordinary and does the extraordinary.
First he is told to throw his staff on the ground (3). The same staff that would have helped him on the long journeys, that would have aided him in his work, protected himself and his sheep, he had likely carried with him and used every day without a second though, as it is thrown on the ground becomes a snake. So frightened was Moses that he ran, yet the Lord God told Moses to take the serpent by the tale.
What do we learn from this?
We learn of God’s dominion over creation for his purposes. Our view of God is so often limited, often we place on God the bounds of our own created experience, we have made God in our image but God is not created in our image we are instead created in his. That means our own limitations are not God’s, the laws of nature are not chains which the divine legislator has laid upon himself, instead they are threads which he holds in his hand and which he shortens or lengthens at will, he has power over all.
And he is at work, we have talked about providence recently how God’ s works of providence are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31). Here by how he used the ordinary to do the extraordinary he displayed that to Moses clearly in how he has dominion over creation for his purposes.
Q 83 Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. (Ezek. 8:6,13,15, 1 John 5:16, Ps. 78:17,32,56)