God’s Covenant with Moses
By Paul George
Moses was pasturing the flock of his father-in-law Jethro in the south west part of the Sinai Peninsula on the west side of Horeb, another name for Mt Sinai, when the Lord spoke to him from a burning bush. Here is good news for all the children of God in troubled times. The Lord told Moses He has seen the affliction of His people who are in Egypt and heard their cries because of the taskmasters and has come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:7-8).
What is amazing is the Lord is not going to send a company of angels to defeat the army of Egypt and free the sons of Israel from slavery and oppression in Egypt. Instead, He is going to Moses who fled Egypt because Pharaoh was seeking to kill him because he had killed an Egyptian who was beating one of the sons of Israel; as a result Moses spends nearly forty years of his life pasturing a flock that is not his. Moses will wander in the wilderness with his father-in-law’s flock until the Pharaoh who was seeking to kill him is replaced by a Pharaoh who does not know Moses and his past.
Moses’ response to the Lord telling him, He is sending Moses is one that seems to imply the Lord does not know what He is doing. Moses asks the Lord, one of those why me questions, when he asks the Lord “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”
Put yourself in Moses’ position. When the Lord calls us to labor in His harvest field our life style changes, old friends and even at times relatives abandon us. When we respond to the call we enter into situations we have never encountered; we enter a hostile territory. Like Moses we have questions (Exodus 3:13), and you will notice the Lord did not rebuke Moses for asking questions. In fact, the Lord answered his questions. The Lord’s answers to Moses’ questions went beyond what Moses asked (Exodus 3: 15).
With every call from the Lord there is a command. The first command is go to the elders of Israel and tell them what you have seen and heard (Exodus 3:16). When the Lord sends us to labor in His harvest field it is important people know where our call to be the Lord’s representative originates. Our call does not originate in our family heritage, in a denomination or educational institution; it originates in the throne room of our heavenly Father. The credentials given by man are written in ink, the credentials given by the Lord are written in blood. They are written in the blood He shed on Calvary.
The second command is the command that Moses and the elders go before the king of Egypt and deliver the message that has been given to them (Exodus 3:18). Note what the Lord told Moses, before he goes before the king of Egypt with the elders of Israel. The Lord told Moses the king will not give the sons of Israel permission to go three days into the wilderness and offer a sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There is some thing that can be over looked in the Lord telling Moses in advance the king will not give his permission for the sons of Israel to go into the wilderness to offer a sacrifice to Yahweh. The purpose of the advance notice is to prepare Moses for what he is going to encounter in the future, not only from the enemy but from the sons of Israel. Jesus did the same thing when He told the disciples what they will encounter when they continue the mission He began. The Lord will always prepare His people for what awaits them in the future.
Here is the covenant that the Lord made with Moses in the wilderness when the Lord spoke to him from a burning bush. The Lord told Moses, “Certainly I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). God promised Moses He will be with him when he goes into Egypt and goes before Pharaoh; He will be with Moses when he leads them out of Egypt; He will be with Moses when he brings the people to the border of the Promised Land; He will be with Moses when the people revolt against him; He will be with Moses during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness; He will be with him when the people were camped on the plains of Moab; He will be with him when he views the land promised to the sons of Israel and he will not be permitted to enter the land because of a disobedient act; He will be with him when the journey is over and he receives the reward of a good and faithful servant.
Note the covenant also contains an assurance clause, Moses will know that it is the Lord that has sent him to bring the sons of Israel out of captivity and not merely the fulfillment of a desire to see the yoke of Egypt removed from the neck of his people when he brings the sons of Israel and he comes to the mountain where the Lord spoke to him from a burning bush.
The second part of the covenant contains the promise the Lord will stretch out His hand and strike Egypt with all His miracles He will do in the midst of Egypt; after that the king will let the sons of Israel, in fact the king will have his army escort the sons of Israel out of Egypt and the sons of Israel will find favor in the eyes of Egyptians; they will leave the land of Egypt with articles of silver, gold, and clothing. The Lord told Moses the sons of Israel will plunder the Egyptians (Exodus 3:20-22).
With this calling of Moses the Lord is putting into motion the promise He will bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt after He has judged the nation.
Although Moses has all this information what the Lord will do and the covenant of the Lord as an assurance the Lord will bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt, Moses asks another question, What if they will not believe me or listen to me (Exodus 4:1).
Moses is guilty of some thing we all have been guilty of and that is hearing and letting what we hear come in one ear and go out the other.
What did the Lord tell Moses, in verse eighteen of chapter three? The Lord said they will heed to what you say. Who will heed to what Moses will say; the elders of the sons of Israel? A dumb question, but some times we need to ask a dumb question to get an intelligent answer. We have been taught that God knows every thing and is never caught unaware when we do some thing. There is also the matter of preparing the way for the coming of Moses to Egypt; the Lord has been dealing with the hearts of the elders through their longing to be delivered from the oppressing of the Egyptians.
Moses wanted some thing he thought would be influential evidence the Lord has sent him. When we ask for influential evidence, instead of trusting the Word of the Lord, He may give us what we ask for and this is what He is going to do with Moses.
The Lord gives Moses three signs that will prove to Moses that the elders of the sons of Israel will believe him (read Exodus chapter four verses 2 through nine).
These three signs were all the evidence Moses needed to verify the elders of the sons of Israel will believe him, but he takes his objection one more step; a lack of eloquence in speech. Here is the third part of the covenant the Lord made with Moses; He said He will be Moses’ mouth and teach him what to say. This was not a legitimate excuse for not going into the court of Pharaoh and speaking to Pharaoh. If there was any one among the sons of Israel that was capable of speaking to Pharaoh is was Moses. Moses not only could speak the Egyptian language fluently; he was trained in court processors. If Moses had not fled Egypt he would have been the next Pharaoh of Egypt.
When Moses told the Lord to send the message by whom-ever You will, and this is what the Lord is trying to get across to Moses, he is the messenger the Lord has chosen, the Lord became angry with Moses and asked Moses a question like the ones Moses has been asking the Lord. The Lord asked Moses if his brother Aaron was a Levite. The Lord knew Aaron was a Levite and he was coming to meet Moses. How did the Lord know this? Simple He has been dealing with Aaron and Aaron wasn’t questioning and objecting he was obeying.
Here is the fourth part of the covenant. The Lord told Moses, he is to reveal to Aaron what the Lord has spoken to Moses, and the Lord told Moses, “I will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do” (Exodus 4:15). What is the Lord telling Moses; He will speak to the elders and to Pharaoh through Aaron and Moses?
It is difficult to understand why Moses was resisting the call to go to Egypt. When the Lord called Moses and told him to go to Egypt He was invading Moses’ comfort zone and this did not set well with Moses; it doesn’t set well with us.
Note the Lord’s final command to Moses when He spoke to Moses from the burning bush; “take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs”
Before the Lord leads the sons of Israel out of Egypt, He has one more promise to fulfill, the judgment of Egypt.
Retired pastor,Church of the Nazarene
Author of web site Exploring God’s Word
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