Exodus 4

1. Moses now offers another reason (excuse) to the Lord as to why he should not be the one to stand before the king of Egypt, and that reason is the people of Israel will not believe him to be the Lord’s messenger. In order to help the people accept Moses, Moses’ staff was turned into a snake when he tossed it on the ground. More than that, however, the Lord gave Moses two more signs to demonstrate that he was the Lord’s messenger for a total of three (4:6-9). The third sign, it might be said, was actually the first sign to the Pharaoh; perhaps if the first two sign did not convince some of the Israelites, then the first sign to the Pharaoh would convince the remaining Israelites.

2. The fourth (and final) objection the Lord received from Moses was that Moses was not a man of eloquence, something required when standing in a royal court. However, the Lord rejected and this and, as the text says, “…so the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses…” (4:14). Exactly what manifested from the Lord to (against) Moses is unstated; it has been suggested that Moses was not allowed to receive the honor the Lord was prepared to give him, but that Aaron would now be included (cf. Judges 4:8-9). Others have suggested that it was the loss of the priesthood. Whatever was the case, Moses was in a precarious situation, but even in this state the Lord’s mercy had shown forth brightly. The Lord gave Moses, for this task, his brother Aaron. Not only would Aaron be the better speaker before the king, but Moses would have his brother along, no doubt strengthening for the occasion.

3. Having been given leave by Jethro, Moses heads toward Egypt taking the “rod of God” in his hand” (4:20). “The shepherd’s staff had become God’s staff, a symbol of authority and the means by which Moses would perform signs throughout the rest of his ministry” (Roper, p. 74). The Lord told Moses and Moses was to tell the king that the ultimate outcome of his (the king’s) refusal would be the death of his firstborn son – assuming Moses told the king this at an early meeting (some doubt that he did). This is a monumental remark to the king of Egypt! The king would, no doubt, take this as a threat to his throne. That is exactly how the Lord meant it.

4. A strange event occurred with Moses and Zipporah; the Jews regard this as Moses’ “sin of omission” with respect to circumcision. Brother Coffman writes, “We agree with Dummelow that the whole design of this remarkable episode was “to show the importance of circumcision as the sign of the covenant between God and his people, and the sin and danger of neglecting it” (http://www.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=004).

5. Application: Moses had a shepherd’s staff and that staff became the “rod of God.” Does it really matter what it is that we have that some person might think to be insignificant? The Lord used Moses’ simple staff to serve him in a most important endeavor. The Lord can use each of us also; it may be that we think we can offer nothing to the Lord’s service, but if we offer our heart to Him, whatever others (including self) might think to be insignificant, the Lord can use it. If that is so, then does it really matter what others might think about what we have?