Exodus 4

Hesitation, Doubt, And Signs

God has come down to set his people free, and he has chosen Moses as his representative, but Moses is not convinced and looks for excuses. Moses feared that the people might not believe him despite the sign God had already given him (Exodus 3:12). God supplied Moses with three signs to prove Moses authority. God commanded Moses to throw down his staff and when he did it became a serpent. Moses responded predictably and ran from the serpent. God told Moses to stop and catch it by the tail. Moses obeys this illogical request and when he does the serpent became a staff again to show the people that God had appeared and commissioned Moses to this task. Next, God told Moses to place his hand in his cloak and when he drew out his hand it was white with leprosy, but when he put it back inside his cloak, it was restored. God told Moses to move from the first to the second if they did not believe him. Finally, he told Moses that if they would not believe those signs, he was to take water from the Nile and pour it onto the ground where it would become blood on the dry ground. 

Please Send Someone Else

Moses is reluctant and questions God's decision citing his own lack of ability. Evidently, Moses struggled with speaking and it is not addressed specifically. Perhaps it was a speech impediment or maybe Moses lacked confidence in his ability to still speak Egyptian with any fluency. The Lord asks a series of rhetorical questions about his roles as creator and then tells Moses that he will enable him to speak on God's behalf. Moses protests and asks the Lord to send someone else which kindles the anger of God. God is merciful and directs him to Aaron, the Levite who spoke well. The Lord tells Moses that he is coming toward Moses and that he would be glad to see him. Moses would speak to Aaron, and he would be the spokesperson, but Moses would lead, and his staff would be the symbol of his authority. 

Go In Peace

Moses goes to his father-in-law and announces his intention to return to Egypt. Jethro offers no objection and sends him in peace. The Lord comforts Moses with the knowledge that all the men who sought his life were dead. Moses packs up and leaves with his family and his staff in hand. Moses would perform the signs in front of Israel and Pharaoh. However, God would harden the heart of Pharaoh, and he would resist Moses. God calls Israel his firstborn son and reveals that Pharaoh's refusal would ultimately lead to the death of his own firstborn son. The story gives a strange and unexpected turn of events. The Lord meets Moses with the intention of killing him. This is odd because he has called Moses to lead his people and given him signs along the way. It seems that the Lord had an issue with Moses over circumcision which was the covenant sign of his people. Moses' wife Zipporah acts quickly and circumcises their son. It seems that Moses' firstborn may have been in danger because of a lack of obedience. 


Meanwhile, the Lord sent Aaron into the wilderness to meet Moses. There is a warm greeting and Moses tells his brother all the words of the Lord. Moses also explains the signs that God had given to demonstrate his authority. They arrive in Egypt and gather the elders. Aaron spoke to them and told them everything the Lord had said. Moses performed the signs, and the people believed. The news that the Lord had visited his people and had seen their affliction caused the people to bow in worship.

Things To Consider:

  • Do you express your doubts to the Lord?
  • Why is God's role as the creator so important?
  • What is the purpose of signs?
  • How do we see Moses' faith through the signs?
  • Why do we sometimes focus on our limitations?
  • How does God confirm his word through others?
  • Why is obedience necessary?
  • Why does God call Israel his child?
  • How do you think it made Moses and Aaron feel when the people believed?
  • Why is worship the response to God's visitation?