Exodus 4

Objections and Disqualifications Overcome
Exodus 4

Lack of Power: Three Signs Given (4:1-9)

Three Signs. Correlate to man’s three enemies, the Devil, the flesh, and the World.

  1. The rod turned to serpent: the Devil is the power behind those authorities that oppose God and His people. We must learn that we are under Satan’s power, before we can experience God’s deliverance.
  2. The hand in the bosom turned to leprosy: the flesh is rotten to the core, in each one of us. We must realize this in order to have deliverance from it.
  3. The water turned to blood: the world is fed by moral death. We must realize this too, in order to avoid its temptations.

The first two were for the people to believe. The third was judgment.

And Moses answered and said, But behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah has not appeared to thee. 2 And Jehovah said to him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A staff. v.2 The rod could be a symbol of Moses’ occupation. Sometimes God will ask us to lay something down in service to Him. He may restore it to us, He may never give it back, or he may give it back to us in a different form – but the test is… will we lay it down? It was what was in his hand. The Lord can use whatever we have, no matter how small, for His people’s deliverance; e.g. the five loaves and two fishes.
3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And Jehovah said to Moses, Stretch out thy hand and take it by the tail — and he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand — 5 that they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. v.5 Why was he to grasp it by the tail? It is the safer end? Moses was afraid, and the Lord graciously asked him to take the tail. Also, the prophet that speakers lies is the tail. Moses fear is justified. When we see the true power behind this world and the bondage of men, it will make us afraid.

 And Jehovah said moreover to him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom, and took it out, and behold, his hand was leprous, as snow. 7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again, and took it out of his bosom, and behold, it was turned again as his flesh. vv.6-7 We must see that man is sinful within, no matter what his outward appearance.
 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the other sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also those two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land; and the water that thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. vv.8-9 The Nile speaks of the pleasure system of this world. Gods power shows that it is really moral death. Blood apart from the body speaks of death. It is interesting that when the first plague unfolded, not just some water from the river, but the entire river as well as the pools of Egypt were turned to blood! The entire system is corrupt. In Revelation 8:11 a star called Wormwood falls on the waters in the Roman earth, and it results in widespread moral death. The people of this world are increasingly tapped into the entertainment system, and it will be used by Satan (ultimately allowed by God) to wreak havoc in people’s minds and consciences. We should be aware of this, and avoid the waters of this world. It was the command of Pharaoh to drag the Hebrew boys to the river; that is his goal! But as believers we have a far higher source of refreshment, and it brings life and health to the soul!

Lack of Ability: Moses’ Failure and the Selection of Aaron (4:10-19)

10 And Moses said to Jehovah, Ah Lord! I am not eloquent, neither heretofore nor since thou hast spoken to thy servant, for I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue. 11 And Jehovah said to him, Who gave man a mouth? or who maketh dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? have not I, Jehovah? 12 And now go, and I will be with thy mouth, and will teach thee what thou shalt say. vv.10-12 God can use the vessel regardless of its weakness. Moses had low thoughts of himself, but it would have been better to have no thoughts. Paul’s speech was contemptible to the eloquent Corinthians. Compare Acts 4:13. The Lord is able to meet the need, all His power as Creator is at His disposal. He gives the words and the hearing ear. His power is made perfect in weakness.
13 And he said, Ah Lord! send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 Then the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also behold, he goeth out to meet thee; and when he seeth thee he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall speak for thee unto the people; and it shall come to pass that he shall be to thee for a mouth, and thou shalt be to him for God. 17 And thou shalt take this staff in thy hand, with which thou shalt do the signs. vv.13-17 It is a flat out refusal in v.13, and the Lord was angry. It would be a loss for Moses later (see also Num. 11; Judges 4:8-9). God would be with Aaron’s mouth as well as Moses, but the revelation would still be through Moses. The is one Mediator in type. It would always be “the word of the Lord came unto Moses, saying…”. V.16 isn’t deifying Moses. Aaron would get no special revelation. When we do have Aaron acting independent of Moses we have trouble; the golden calf. It wasn’t good for Moses and it wasn’t good for Aaron. Years later Moses would take the garments off of Aaron, and he died before the Lord.

Three Sons: (1) God’s, (2) Pharaoh’s, and (3) Moses’ Son (4:18-26)

18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, that I may see whether they are yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. v.18 Moses gets leave of his father-in-law. The Lord opens the door.

 And Jehovah said to Moses in Midian, Go, return to Egypt; for all the men are dead who sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them riding upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
vv.19-20 Moses graciously assured of his safety. C.p. Joseph and Mary in Egypt. The Lord opens another door.

 And Jehovah said to Moses, When thou goest to return to Egypt, see that thou do all the wonders before Pharaoh that I have put in thy hand. And I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say to Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah: Israel is my son, my firstborn. 23 And I say to thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me. And if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.
vv.21-23 The Lord hardening Pharaohs heart was not fulfilled until chapter 9. Up to that time, Pharaohs heart was stubborn of his own accord. After he does that repeatedly the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and seals him in that condition of things. Israel was Jehovah’s son by national adoption (Rom. 9:4). It would be Pharaohs son for Jehovah’s.
24 And it came to pass on the way, in the inn, that Jehovah came upon him, and sought to slay him. 25 Then Zipporah took a stone and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, A bloody husband indeed art thou to me! 26 And he let him go. Then she said, A bloody husband — because of the circumcision. vv.24-26 The Lord sought to kill Moses because he was the responsible head of his household, and he had failed to circumcise his son. Zipporah (a little bird) accepted Moses when he was an outcast. She is a type of the bride of Christ as His companion in the wilderness, and was a failure in many respects. Asenath is a type of the bride as His companion in exaltation. We must have the sentence of death in ourselves. We cannot speak of death unless we have practiced our own death with Christ. We do not know which son this was. It could the firstborn Gershom, because it is “son” (singular). However, Gershom may already have been circumcised, making this the second son Eleazar, not named yet. She views him as “her son”, and was repulsed from the idea of circumcising him. The delay would only make it more painful. Zipporah doesn’t appear until after the Exodus, when she rejoins Moses (Ex. 18). Perhaps is was after this event that Moses sent her back to her father.1

Moses Received by the Elders of the People (4:27-31)

27 And Jehovah said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah who had sent him, and all the signs that he had commanded him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered all the elders of the children of Israel; 30 and Aaron spoke all the words that Jehovah had spoken to Moses, and did the signs before the eyes of the people. 31 And the people believed. And when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. 
  1. The man who will speak, on God’s behalf, of death and judgment, life and salvation, must, ere he does so, enter into the practical power of these things in his own soul. Thus it was with Moses. This passage lets us into a deep secret, in the personal and domestic history of Moses. It is very evident that Zipporah’s heart had, up to this point, shrunk from the application of the knife to that around which the affections of nature were entwined. She had avoided that mark which had to be set in the flesh of every member of the Israel of God. She was not aware that her relationship with Moses was one involving death to nature. She recoiled from the cross. This was natural. But Moses had yielded to her in the matter; and this explains to us the mysterious scene “in the inn.” If Zipporah refuses to circumcise her son, Jehovah will lay His hand upon her husband; and if Moses spares the feelings of his wife, Jehovah will “seek to kill him.” The sentence of death must be written on nature; and if we seek to avoid it in one way, we shall have to encounter it in another. – Macintosh, Charles H.
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