Your name is Moses, and you have been given a task by the Lord to do something monumental – something never having been accomplished before and not ever again will it be accomplished. Yet, as you look at yourself you feel that you are entirely inadequate for the task. You offer reasons to be excused from this task, but the Lord hears none of those reasons as being justifiable to relieve you of the responsibility given you. In a sense, you acquiesce. You do so because the Lord is the Lord and when he speaks, though there may be some doubt about self or the ability to tend to the event, the Lord is still the Lord. You then descend from the mountain.
You and your older brother go to Egypt. You are fortunate to get an audience before the Pharaoh. You and Aaron go in and declare the Lord’s will (Exodus 5:2), but the king of Egypt looks at you as if you are morons (using today’s expression). The king asks, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?” He no more gets the question out than he declares that he does not know (recognize) the Lord and he will not let Israel go, embarrassing both of you.
Sometime after this visit with the king you learn of the heavier burden placed on the people the Lord asked you to lead out of Egypt. They have been burdened with more work that is almost beyond measure in the intensity of despair that it brings; this concerns you greatly. Now, the people have to wander through Egypt and find what was previously provided. The load being so great, a number of the leaders go to the king to present their case to Pharaoh about the unreasonable burden they have been placed under. On this occasion, you stay behind (presumably) and wait for the return of those who went in to meet with the king. However, once again, Pharaoh looks upon all and dismisses the legitimacy of any complaints. In fact, he ridicules you and the Lord you desire to serve (Exodus 5:17). Then the Scripture says,
They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; and they said to them, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:20-21, ESV).
Your name is Moses. Up to this point, it might have been all that you could do to take in hand the “Lord’s rod” and go to Pharaoh, and now you hear this! You are doing the Lord’s work and they place the blame on you and your brother for simply doing what the Lord said was to be done. This is not something that simply rolls off the backs of either one of you; it strikes you so hard that it rattles you. You wonder to yourself, “How in the world will the Lord get us out of this?” you ask. This is not a question that is easily or lightly asked, but it is a question that is asked when it feels like the world is caving in!
Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23, ESV).
This reminds one of the time when Peter was asked by the Lord about whether he and the others might turn away after many found his words troublesome, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68). This answer of Peter to the Lord is Moses’ answer in a dreadful circumstance, though Moses may not have been too sure of himself at this point. Moses does not reply as Peter did; his reply was more along the lines of “Why have you not done what you said you would?” Moses only understood in part the Lord’s answer. In fact, Moses’ question was answered by the Lord in the very next verse of the next chapter (Exodus 6:1).
Try to imagine you are Moses and this monumental task is placed before you. How would you fare? Moses did not believe in himself to be able to accomplish what the Lord desired, but the Lord taught Moses that it was not in him that led, but in him who called Moses to the task. Even when we believe not in our ability to do the Lord’s will, when the Lord chooses to use man, in that man the Lord believes. The Lord knows that whatever it is that needs to be done, it can and will be done. The Lord also understands, very well, that there is nothing in any of us to accomplish the divine will. Whatever we have, it is not adequate to the task. When the Lord Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done” he taught us a very important lesson.
When the Lord chooses to use man as a servant, what man can overcome? Not only will man be made adequate to the situation, but he will be quite successful – all because it was the Lord’s doing and not man’s. Jesus spoke to his disciples encouraging words when he said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, ESV). A moment’s reflection allows us to recognize that when the Lord’s will is done, the Lord’s chosen servant will get it done. Not because of the ability of the chosen one, but because of the One who chose. (This article was submitted and accepted by David Pharr, editor of Carolina Messenger.)