exodus: 3:11-4:17

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

But Moses said to the Lord, “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.”Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus recounts the saving acts of God, narrates how the Passover came to be, and shows us the giving of God’s law. It portrays Moses, the first of many prophets, and Aaron, the first high priest. Exodus is especially important to Christians because Jesus fulfilled its great themes: He became the Passover lamb and He sealed the new covenant with His blood. Exodus helps us understand the central message of the New Testament. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Intelligence? Height? Better Hair? Our text today shows us how God can use weak, imperfect vessels by His power, for His glory, and for the good of others. Moses is an example of what Paul spoke of in Ephesians 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 4:7

In chapters 3 and 4, Moses is visited by God as He spoke through a burning bush that wasn’t consumed. God revealed Himself and His plan. His plan was Moses being sent (Exodus 3:10). God is a sending God. Throughout the Bible God sends people on different assignments covering a variety of issues. God is still a sending God - He has sent you into your family, neighborhood, workplace, school, and practically everywhere you frequent. There are a number of holy missional efforts that He may send you for - but you are to be a blessing. Do you have a holy ambition? Is God sending you to do something that is beyond yourself? 

Let’s examine the calling and commissioning of Israel’s mediator-leader - an imperfect man.  Moses makes five excuses for not obeying God’s mission. This section of scripture is deeply encouraging. We learn that God is enough. Moses was insufficient but God is self-sufficient. Here are Moses’ excuses: 

Lack Of Credentials 

Moses’ first argument was about himself - “Who am I?”. He is implying that he does not have the ability to perform such a task. Although he used to be a prince, he has been in the wilderness for the last 40 years being a shepherd. He was in no state to go to the most powerful person in the world and tell him to let his slaves go. Moses lacked ability and reputation. 

God responded by saying, “I will be with you”. Throughout the Bible, God’s leaders have needed this reassurance - including Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). God never seems to call the most qualified into kingdom service - but He always qualifies those that He calls. 

Lack Of Content 

Moses’ next big question was, “What shall I say? What shall I say when they ask me your name?” God revealed His name - Yahweh which is rendered “I AM” in English. One of the components of this mysterious name is that it is related to God simply being - a central existence that has no beginning and causes everything else to be. He is God. “Tell them I AM sent you”. God is saying that He is absolutely central (Romans 11:36). 

Is He central in your life? Is He central in your marriage? In your home? In your vocation? God is saying that He is self-existent. 

“(God) needs no one, but when faith is present he works through anyone”.   A.W. Tozer

Moses is simply to declare what God has said - and God assures that people will respond. Today some act as though Christianity will collapse. No, God has a people. Some will respond. In our daily lives, we are to tell people who God is and what he has said. We should freely talk about what God has done in the past, what He is doing today, and what He will do in the future. 

We learn that God is enough.

Lack Of Confidence 

Even though God told Him that the elders of Israel would believe him, Moses said, “but they will not believe me or listen to my voice”. Moses was struggling with confidence. His responsibility was to trust God and deliver the message. God responded by giving Moses three signs of His power. 

Moses’ staff would be something that God would use. It wasn’t a scepter to rule like a dictator, but it was a sheep stick that showed He was to lead like a shepherd that sacrifices for his people. The staff would be a sign that God was with Moses. As Christ followers, our sign that He is with us is the empty tomb (Matthew 12:39-40). Our God is not dead; He is alive!

Lack Of Communication Skills 

Moses gives an excuse that he possesses an inability to speak well. We do not know if his problem was psychological, educational, vocal, language, or an exaggerated humility problem. Whatever the case, it is clear that Moses did not think of himself as the best of orators. Moses would have to learn that he would go in weakness and have to depend on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). 

God reminded Moses that He had created Moses’ mouth and formed him for a purpose. God promised to help Moses speak and would teach him. We should seek to glorify God with our abilities as well as our inabilities. We must take our eyes off our failures and weaknesses and get a vision of God!  

Lack Of Commitment 

Moses was out of excuses. Every one of his questions had been answered in stunning ways. Moses said, “please send someone else”. 

God responded with anger - but was also gracious. He gave Moses some help by sending Aaron as a spokesperson and encourager. Moses eventually did the vast majority of the speaking. 

Do you know this great God? He calls you to save you and rescue you. He also calls you to be an active servant in His kingdom. He calls you to be the salt of the earth and light in the darkness. He calls you in order to send you out as an ambassador of King Jesus. 

We Are Sent - God Is Enough!


This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.


This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

An Examined Life

As we continue to reflect on the sermon, allow these questions to guide your discussion with others concerning the conviction points and what you sensed God’s Spirit was doing in you through the preached Word. Jot notes to help you remember.

What was God doing in you through the message on Sunday?

Describe how you’ve grown in your understanding of the Gospel (good news of Jesus)?

How are you going to respond to God’s Word in your life?