God’s frightening call
I am inclined to consider Moses a great prophet of God.
However, he was haunted by pervasive anxiety.
This is most evident in the account of God’s call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
God had seen the affliction of his people and heard their cry.
He had a plan for their rescue.
God said to Moses, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
1. Moses was haunted by guilt
Moses said to God:
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
The life of Moses was spared as an infant. Even though he grew up in a lavish Egyptian palace, he couldn’t escape the bond to his own people, the Hebrews.
One day he saw an Egyptian beating on one of his fellow people. Thinking no one saw him he took matters into his own hands and killed the Egyptian.
He had hoped that the people of Israel would see him as a deliverer.
But it backfired.
Later Moses saw two Egyptians fighting and asked why one hit the other. The Hebrew said “Who made you a prince and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” When Moses realized his actions were known, he fled for his life to Midian.
No wonder he was hesitant about God’s calling to now face the leaders of the Hebrew people back in Egypt, let alone Pharaoh.
The guilt of his past haunted him. God assured Moses of His presence and power.
2. Moses was haunted by hardened hearts
Moses pressed his case again:
“But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.'”
God told Moses to go before the elders of Israel. Perhaps this caused Moses more anxiety than facing Pharaoh. That is why he brings it up to the Lord here.
He may have recalled the very words of the Hebrew brother he confronted back in Egypt. “Who made you a prince and judge over us?
Moses was an outsider.
He didn’t share in their trials of slavery.
What entitlement did he have to lead the people?
Perhaps Moses was right, but God did not consider it a deal breaker. God assured Moses that they would listen to him by displaying miraculous signs: his staff turning into a snake and his hand turning leprous after putting it inside his cloak.
3. Moses was haunted by inadequacy
“Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
“Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Moses expressed his inadequacy of speech. He thought this deficiency excused him from doing the work God was calling him to.
Although the multiple excuses of Moses tested God’s patience, God’s response was to give him Aaron as his spokesman.
Moses was not going to be excused from this call.
No match for the strong arm of God
Moses would have preferred someone else lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. God was not about to change his mind but affirmed Moses as his chosen leader. Moses finally complied.
The subsequent history of God’s miraculous works through Moses are proof that God didn’t disqualify Moses from leadership, even if Moses felt that way.
The Hebrew leaders listened to Moses.
Moses requested that Pharaoh let God’s people go.
When Pharaoh hardened his heart, God brought the devastating plagues on Egypt.
God accomplished the release of his people despite all the haunts of Moses.
Recall the power of God at work through Moses: the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire and cloud to lead them.
The leadership of Moses was blessed by God’s power and displayed in astonishing ways. Perhaps I could say that no other prophet was used of God in such massive scale miracles and deliverance.
The three haunts of Moses: the guilt, the fear of hardened hearts, the inadequacy.
None of these made Moses exempt nor disqualified.
God met the anxieties of Moses with his power and presence. He continued to affirm Moses during all the days of his leadership, including 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The haunts of Moses were no match for the strong arm of God Almighty.
If God could work despite the haunts of Moses, you and I can trust that God will work despite our similar haunts.
They are no excuse from His call to evangelism, discipleship, leadership or missions.