In Exodus 3:9-10 the Lord God called Moses unto Himself that He might send Moses to serve as the deliverer of His people Israel from their affliction and oppression under the hand of the Egyptians. Therein the Lord God declared unto Moses, “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” In Exodus 3:11 we find Moses’ response to the Lord God’s call – “ And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Herein Moses expressed his humility, and even his hopelessness, concerning his own ability to fulfill the Lord’s call.
The Hopelessness of Moses
Forty years earlier Moses had understood the purpose of the Lord God to deliver His people Israel by Moses’ hand. In Acts 7:23-25 Stephen gave the report, “And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: for he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” Yet at that time Moses attempted to fulfill the call and work of the Lord in self-dependence through his own ability. Thus Moses’ first attempt as the deliverer of Israel failed miserably in its very inception, and Moses was required to flee for his very life into the land of Midian. For the next forty years, Moses had served as a shepherd for his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.
Through all of this, Moses had indeed learned the spiritually necessary characteristic of humility. He had learned that self-dependence is the pathway to failure. He had learned to lean no longer upon his own understanding and his own ability. Thus in Exodus 3:11, with such a humble view of himself, Moses responded to the Lord God’s call, saying, “Who am I?” Yea, Moses responded, saying, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses had learned that he possessed no sufficiency in himself and that he could accomplish nothing of the Lord’s work through his own ability. Indeed, Moses had moved from self-dependence to utter hopelessness in himself. Even so, we ourselves also need to come unto the understanding that apart from abiding in our Lord, we can do nothing of His work successfully. (See John 15:4-5)
The Hopefulness in the Lord
Yet in his hopelessness within himself, Moses had become bound in hopelessness altogether. Although it is spiritually necessary that we come to hopelessness in ourselves, it is spiritually destructive if we come to hopelessness altogether. Indeed, we must come to understand that we have no spiritual sufficiency “of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves” in our Lord’s work. (2 Corinthians 3:5) Yet we must also come to understand that “our sufficiency is of God.” Yea, we must also come to understand that we “can do all things through Christ,” as He enables us, empowers us, and equips us for His work through His Spirit. (Philippians 4:13) Indeed, it was spiritually necessary for Moses to learn hopelessness in himself. Yet then it was spiritually necessary for him to learn hopefulness in the Lord. Thus in Exodus 3:12 the Lord God responded unto Moses’ hopelessness in himself, saying, “And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”
Moses was right in asking his first question – “Who am I, that I might accomplish the Lord God’s call and work.” Furthermore, Moses had come to the Biblically correct answer to that question – “In myself I am nothing, and I can accomplish nothing.” Yet then Moses needed to move forward unto the next question – “Who is God, that he can accomplish His call and work through me?” Yea, then Moses needed to come unto the Biblical answer to that question – “He is the Almighty One, who can accomplish great and mighty thing out of nothing.” Even so, to Moses’ question, “Who am I, that I should go,” the Lord God gave answer, “Certainly, I will be with thee.” Certainly, when the Lord our God is certainly with us as our sufficiency, then His work will certainly be accomplished for the glory of His name. No, we are not to lean upon our understanding or ability at all. Rather, we are to trust in the Lord our God with all of our heart and to acknowledge him in all of our ways. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Then we will find that He will be with us to direct all of our paths.
Indeed, unto Moses the Lord God gave His token of assurance that the Lord Himself had sent him and that the Lord Himself would enable him – “And this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” On that very mountain, Mount Horeb (which is also Mount Sinai), after Moses had successfully brought forth the Lord’s people Israel in deliverance out of their bondage in Egypt, he and the people would travel successfully unto that mountain to worship and serve the Lord there. Yea, this token of assurance was the word of the Lord God’s promise on the matter. The Lord God promised to be with Moses in order to enable him, and the Lord God promised to give Moses good success in accomplishing His work. This is the ground for all hopefulness, not in ourselves and in our own ability, but in the Lord our God and in the word of His promise.
Posted in Meditations in Exodus, Self Dependence, Biblical Humility, Trust in God, Spiritual Enablement