Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exodus 4:14-17 A Shepherd and His Sheep

"Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said,
'What about your brother, Aaron the Levite?
I know he can speak well.
He is already on his way to meet you,
and his heart will be glad when he sees you.
You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth;
I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
He will speak to the people for you,
and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it.' "

Exodus 4:14-17 (NIV)

The LORD was angry at Moses, with good reason.  After all, God had appeared to Moses at the burning bush.  He had assured Moses that He was God and had the power to deal with any situation which might arise.  He also promised to help Moses speak and to teach him exactly what to say when he went back to Egypt to speak with the elders of Israel and the Pharaoh.  Yet Moses was still reluctant to take on the mission which God had assigned to him.

Next, God offers to let Moses' brother Aaron assist him.  God would speak to Moses, Moses would tell Aaron and Aaron would convey the message to the people.  God would help both of them speak and would teach them what to do.

Apparently this was enough to reassure Moses.  After forty years, he would see his brother Aaron again.  Moses began to make plans to go back to Egypt.
                             _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What would his wife Zipporah say about this new direction for their lives?  Would she believe that God had spoken to him?  The couple also had two sons by now, and they would journey with them back to Egypt.  He wondered about what kind of reception they would find there.  Would his family be safe?

Moses looked at the staff in his hand.  Such an ordinary tool until today.  Yet now God had instructed Moses to be sure to bring it with him so that he could perform miraculous signs in front of the elders of Israel and the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Moses signaled to his sheep and began the journey back toward his father-in-law's camp.  He wondered -- What would Jethro have to say about him taking Jethro's daughter and grandchildren away with him?

Moses called out to a few straggling sheep.  He guided and prodded them until they had rejoined the rest of the flock.  Why did some of those sheep always seem to resist his leading?  Then Moses felt his face flush with embarrassment.  The sheep weren't the only ones who had been resisting their shepherd.

Moses picked up a good-sized lamb which had been uncertainly wandering near the edge of the flock.  "Come on," he whispered, "Don't delay any longer.  What are you waiting for?  It is time for us to be on our way."

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