Exodus 4:5 – if this passage of Scripture was a “Friends” TV show episode, I think it would be titled, “The One Where God Throws Moses a Bone.”
Cause here in Exodus 4 we still see Moses asking God the “what if” questions. Even after God has Dura Flamed a Talking Bush, even after God has answered his questions, and now in this passage, even after God does some high level hocus pocus with reptiles and walking sticks.
God has spoken from the bush and told Moses:
1. What to do(“Gather up the leaders of Israel,”)
2. How He will do it (“I’ll do some crazy things and Pharaoh will say ‘take off.’”)
3. How to get it started. (“You can use my name as your calling card…Tell them I AM WHO I AM.”)
4. How it will end. (“And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
(I must admit, I did not know that the word “plunder” was in the Bible. I thought it was primarily reserved for pirates.)
But even with all of this Moses is (still) looking for excuses. And saying “I’m not sure they’re gonna buy this…what if they do not believe me or listen to me?”
Did you get that part “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?”
It’s not Moses saying “yeah, all due respect their Burning Bush, but frankly this whole thing is freaking me out a bit and I am not sure that I am into all this ‘change the world’ stuff. Thanks for burning for me anyway. You might need to find another former murderer turned shepherd for this task.”
Instead Moses waffles a bit and says, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?”
As in, “I am pretty sure this is wacked out and I don’t think I want to go too far down this road.”
To which God clears his throat (my interpretation) and is like, “alrighty then…I have tried the logical approach and the methodical approach and you did not get either one. So I am going to have to go back to tangible examples. What’s in your hand?”
To which I would suppose “Uhm, God bush…it’s my staff. Duh.”
God must really be holding his temper on this one.
“Ok then…throw it on the ground.”
Moses shrugs and tosses the staff to the ground.
We all have seen the Ten Commandments and know where this is headed.
Slither, slither, slither.
“Go ahead,” says God. “Pick it up.”
But (for the first time without fussing at a command of God) Moses reaches down and picks up the snake, which zaps back into a stick.
And here is where God throws Moses a bone.
“This,” said the Lord, “is so they may believe that the LORD, - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob - has appeared to you.”
See…God told Moses that He was doing these things so that “they” would believe.
But who had to believe first?
God threw Moses a bone.
He took the excuse of “they” that Moses used and turned it into a “wink wink nudge nudge” moment. “I know this is hard, and I know that it is especially hard to tell a burning bush that you are not ready to change the world, so I am going to help you out every way I can. And I am giving you something tangible and real that you can use to tell the world about Me.”
And that is how God threw Moses a bone.