Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Sign?

I don't know about you, but I often wonder why God gives clear signs in some instances and not in others. I know ultimately why He gives signs, but sometimes I want one just to remind me that He is with me and leading me. My desire for it is often out of a lack of faith. It's not that He hasn't given me enough to know that He is with me and leading me, but just that I want to feel the firm fatherly grasp of His hand around my shoulder as He shows me the way. I love this story in Exodus 4 because it reveals some of God's heart about showing us signs.
Then Moses 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.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” The Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute 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.” But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” 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. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.” Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; and Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped.
I find it sobering that God's anger burned against Moses when he complained about not being able to speak well. I'm not one that likes to think about "what if" scenarios too often, but I do wonder if the Lord would have graciously provided Aaron as his spokesman even if Moses hadn't complained about not being able to speak well. Regardless, we know that God made it clear to Moses that He is more than able to fix any kind of problem that he might have in the area of being able to communicate. God will never fail us when we are speaking His truth to others. Paul asked that people pray that God would give him boldness to preach the gospel. If Paul, the man that was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, etc. asked that God would give Him boldness, I need it so much more! I don't know even the slightest bit about boldness. The extent of my boldness is fear of rejection.

Something that really stood out to me about this passage is that God gave these signs to Moses to perform before the people on His behalf for two main reasons: so that they would believe and so that they would worship. There are many areas in which God has given me clear direction and a "sign" of some sort and looking back on each of those times, God used it to cause me to believe Him and worship Him. When Christ chose not to perform signs for the pharisees, he basically told them that He had already given them the prophets and if they didn't believe them, they wouldn't believe Him. To perform a sign for them would be against His character of doing it for the purpose of belief and worship. May God give us the grace to believe Him more fully and bow low in humility before Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

1 comment:

Buttercup said...

We are a people looking for proof - just like the Jews in Jesus' time. It does, like you said, show a lack of faith; and I hadn't really thought of that before.

Oh that I would be able to TRUST God enough to not seek signs!!!