Exodus 4 Commentary
Humanly speaking there wasn’t anyone more qualified for the job than Moses. He had demonstrated enough passion for his nation by killing an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite. If only we can channel this zeal appropriately, one would think! But that Moses is different from this Moses. Only God knows what has happened.
He tries every excuse possible to run away from the assignment. The LORD would have none of it. The LORD responds to his inner, albeit hidden qualities. The LORD is unmoved by logic motivated by fear and ignorance of the El-Shaddai God that was now speaking to him.
The LORD shows Moses step-by-step procedure and ready go-to options in case of option failure. The example of a staff turning into a serpent is strange to our ears but it left an everlasting impression on Moses. Pharaohs displayed their power by symbolically crowing their headwear with a serpent. We now understand this symbol as one motivated by the serpent himself in the Garden of Eden. The LORD is telling Moses that the LORD turns anything into a Pharaoh and a Pharaoh into anything. I made Pharaoh and I will make him nothing – something you can hold in your hand yourself. This will be possible because I’m here – the El-Shaddai God, GOD ALMIGHTY.
The debate is becoming more interesting. Moses remains unconvinced, not unconvinced by the LORD’S ability but now by his own ability. In essence, Moses tells the LORD that he is not a tool good enough for the job. And he has evidence on the table. He is not an eloquent speaker – a necessary negotiating tool.
The LORD responds by essentially telling Moses that this inability can be fixed. Eloquence without data is nothing but that too the LORD will fix. Now Moses must respond.
Unable to manufacture any more excuses Moses simply declines the job offer and suggests that someone else takes it. The LORD is angry. I think we understand why. The LORD of the universe doesn’t need tuition on recruitment. Is Moses suggesting that the LORD reads ‘Manager Recruitment – Seven Steps’? How dare, Moses?
Moses is the right man for the job. FULL STOP. No more arguments. So the LORD proceeds to recruit an assistant for Moses. So the Levite Aaron comes into the picture.
Now the LORD describes Aaron as Moses’ brother, the Levite. Now the term Levite draws us to another important point we have overlooked in the opening pages of Exodus. The last time the LORD spoke to Israel was about 400 years ago and the last person was Joseph. So now the LORD is talking to Levi. So Levi enters into the picture and has a slice of the blessing, projecting the SEED from the other side of the same coin.
So we have Joseph projecting fruitfulness and increase. Judah is projecting dominion and leadership as represented by the scepter. Now Levi is projecting an all-important link between man and the LORD. Working as a priest Levi would define how Israel would relate with her God. This function prefigures the cross and the work of the Christ (SEED) as the only way to Jacob’s God. Leviticus is a fitting sequel to Exodus!
So armed with an able (also enabled) assistant, Moses takes off to Egypt. The LORD takes care of Moses’ fears by assuring him that the men that wanted to kill him are dead. This is a softer part of the LORD! It just melts your heart!
The chapter closes with Moses’ first day at the office. His assistant, Aaron is busy with the first task.
Note: see how bad things are for Israel. Even Moses himself has forgotten an important contractual condition in the Abrahamic contract. He has not circumcised his children.
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