Moses had quite a lengthy conversation with God that day at the burning bush. He had lots of questions for God, but then he also began to question God. And there is a big difference. But first, my favorite part!
“Then Moses said to God, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’.’ And God, furthermore, said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons 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 this is My memorial-name to all generations.'” ~ Exodus 3:13-15
I love this. I AM. Period. I am the One Who is. God exists, has always existed. He just is. That is His name, and the meaning of His name. YHWH. The LORD. I AM. God’s character, His very nature, is defined in His name. I AM.
God told Moses exactly what to do, exactly where to go, exactly who to see, and exactly what to say. But here Moses starts worrying about the “what ifs”.
“Then Moses answered and said, ‘What if they will not believe me, or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you’.'” ~ Exodus 4:1
So God made Moses’ staff into a snake, which Moses fled from, instructed Moses to pick it up by its tail, and it became a staff again. Then God made Moses’ hand leprous and then clean again. Finally, He told Moses that He would also turn water from the Nile River into blood. God gave him three signs to show the others that he truly had seen and spoken with the LORD. But Moses still questioned.
“Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'” ~ Exodus 4:10
God had a good answer for this as well. “And the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.'” ~ Exodus 4:11-12
Wow. God set him straight, yet also encouraged Moses that He would be with him and give him the words to say. Unfortunately, Moses did not stop.
“But he said, ‘Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever Thou wilt.'” ~ Exodus 4:13
“Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses, and He said, ‘Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently.'” ~ Exodus 4:14a
Because Moses kept questioning God’s calling on his life, not only did God become angry with him, but his brother Aaron was given the opportunity, and blessing, of serving God in this area. Moses robbed himself of the full blessing of serving God with his whole life, including his mouth!
How often do we question God? It is okay to make sure He has truly called us to do something, but once God makes things clear to us, we had better not keep pushing it.
Moses was still used by God, and he did obey. Later in Exodus, he actually got to see a glimpse of God’s glory, another one of my favorites! But what consequences did Moses pay for questioning God? Are we willing to trust God when He calls us?