Moses: An Imperfect Man of God (Week 13, Part 5/7) Exodus 1–6 | Mar 21 – Mar 27 – powered by Happy Scribe
Exodus 4 is where the action really begins in the story of Moses. This mighty Prophet has received his calling from God to free the Israelites, and he starts to gather together the people who will assist him in his quest to free his people. Now, if you’re like me, e when this scene starts in the Scriptures, I always imagine Moses looking like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments, his hair styled perfectly, towering over everyone around him, and dominating the situation with his booming voice. The scriptures, however, present a slightly different picture. Just because Moses was called of God doesn’t mean he was perfect.
And even though he knows what God is asking him to do, the obstacles in his way don’t just immediately vanish. The whole quest to free the Israelites is almost derailed because Moses neglected some of God’s Commandments within his own family. Moses apparently hadn’t taken the time to circumcise his own son and almost lost his prophetic calling because he hadn’t made sure his own family was compliant with the Commandments. Moses wife, Zafara, saves the day but calls Moses a bloody husband because of his neglect. The point of this episode isn’t to make Moses look bad, just to show that now and then prophets are imperfect people who sometimes make mistakes.
The image we all have of a booming voice like Charlton Heston’s coming out of Moses mouth also doesn’t match what the scriptures say. God spoke to Moses long lost brother Aaron and commanded him to act as a spokesman for Moses as he approached Pharaoh. Aaron was also imperfect, but the two brothers acting together made for a more powerful force than either did on their own. Even with a calling from God, all the obstacles to freeing the Israelites didn’t just go away. After Moses and Aaron confronted the Pharaoh, things actually got worse for the Israelites.
The Pharaoh doubted the power of the God of Moses and Aaron and took steps to make the burdens of the Israelites even worse than they already were. Following God’s Commandments rarely makes our life easier right away, and in fact, it can make it harder in the short term. And what are the lessons from this first messy encounter in the struggle between the God of Israel and the rulers of Egypt? First, God has to work through imperfect people rather than seeing our leaders in the Church as perfect people with all the answers we need to see them for what they really are flawed and struggling people who are doing the best they can. Second, no one walks alone.
Moses might be the central figure in the story of the Exodus, but the Lord gathered around him a support group that helped him be successful. This included his brother Aaron, his sister Miriam, his father in law Jethro, and most importantly, his wife Sephora. Even a mighty Prophet like Moses needed a support system. Finally, when we seek to carry out the Lord’s will, there is always opposition other people might not see things the way you do or they might just outright oppose you. Pharaoh didn’t want to lose the Israelite slaves doing the manual labor in his Kingdom and he didn’t yet know fully who he was dealing with.
Dealing with challenges in our lives provides a way for God to show his wonders and demonstrate his power. But sometimes things get worse before they get better. Moses and Aaron may have left that first meeting with Pharaoh feeling like they just made the troubles of the Israelites worse, but they were starting down a road that would eventually lead to their freedom. It isn’t always easy to carry out the callings God gives us. Sometimes our own mistakes.
Our overconfidence or the people who oppose this can make our callings seem impossible. But if we trust in God, surround ourselves with the right people and exercise faith, the Lord can use us as his instruments to bring about wonders in our own lives.