This passage has been called the greatest interview ever until Lois Lane got Superman. Moses the murderer interviews God who intervenes, calls and equips.
Having experienced this burning bush the dialogue between Moses and God is fascinating for us to eavesdrop upon. We like all the details sorted, so we can trust in our human power. God's plan is rather harder for us; he says 'Take this step and trust me.'
Moses asks five great questions in Exodus 3&4. They highlight human worries about calling and equipping, and God's response. Let's look at them and God's five great answers.
Who am I (3:11)?
Before we can go to anyone and do anything we need our own identity sorted. Who am I?
Not a great answer really. You ask God who you are and you get the answer 'I will be with you.' But, in other words, God says to Moses that their identities are bound up together. We are the people who God is with.
If you want to get your identity right begin by plugging into the source of the power and let self fade.
Who are you (3:13)?
Rather rude? Or an indication that Moses still hasn't quite grasped who it is he is talking to. Prophets, priests and kings throughout the Bible found meeting with God a face-in-the-dirt moment. Moses seems to lack that humility.
God's answer? I am who I have always been and will continue to be. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
And with this the title of of God, YAHWEH, the Lord, is fixed; the title which caused Jesus to be nearly stoned for blasphemy when stating, '...before Abraham was, I am' (John 8:58).
What if they don't listen?
The eternal question of the church leader and an easy answer. We read on. If they won't listen, you turn your stick into a snake. That'll shake 'em up.
To put this to contemporary terms; your words don't stand alone. They stand in the context of signs, wonders, miracles and the eternal acts of God (4:2-9). Those who work in God's power are doing the work of the church; the place where God is at work. If you are listening to God, and hearing him clearly, and people are not listening to you, then they are not listening to God. This is a high calling.
What if I can't think of the words (4:10)?
It's all well and good feeling you speak in the Lord's power until it comes to the moment to actually trust him. Ask young men what they fear most in life. The results are very interesting. Not war, famine, plague or death. But after a very obvious first answer - those who were fathers feared anything happening to their children, the second answer is often 'public speaking.'
God says, 'I will help you speak (4:11,12). I invented words and can put them in your mouth.
Why not send someone else (4:13)? Here am I, send them.
Then the Lord got a bit cross (quote v14).
Those who God calls he equips (4:14-17). If you have been called to a job you remain called until such time as he uncalls you.
The human Moses took the law into his own hands. The human Moses couldn't cope with God's demands. But the judgement of history on Moses, throughout the new testament, is that he was a great leader and man of God. From such an inauspicious start flowed mighty works.
We will now be quiet (after a brief discussion) until 1.00 p.m. Next post then.