January 29, 2017

The Grace of the Potter: The Process

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Photo cred: https://fromthemarginsofmybible.wordpress.com/
Moses has been commissioned by God to go before Pharaoh and tell him to let the Hebrew children go.
Moses responds with fear and insecurity and makes excuse after excuse  to prove why he is not the man for the job.

Obviously God knows otherwise and still sends Moses on his way, providing him Aaron as his leaning post.
Like a father teaching his son to ride a bike, however, God works with Moses, because he knows, more than Moses does, what Moses is able to do.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. - Exodus 4:21
 27 And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 So Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. 

Moses receives his instruction from the Lord and at the same time the Lord is speaking to Aaron to meet his brother. God made good on providing Aaron's support to Moses. Moses confidence in the Lord must have increased as he sees him stay true to His word.

In chapter 5 verse 1, Moses does not have to go before Pharaoh alone. Aaron is by his side as the Lord promised.
Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”
 now in response to this Pharaoh increases the hardship of the Hebrews and the people despise Aaron and Moses.  Then in Chapter 6. we again see the Lord tell Moses to go before Pharaoh.
28 And it came to pass, on the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I am the Lord. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.”30 But Moses said before the Lord, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?”- 
Moses is quickly back to his excuse-making ways. Still God for some reason, ( in chapter 7 verse 1) indulges in his whining.
So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.

So Moses And Aaron go before Pharaoh. perform a sign, and Pharaoh does not budge. The Lord tells Moses that in the morning, Moses will meet Pharaoh by the bank of the river and perform a miracle.  this is the first plague. He says in verse 15
you shall stand by the river’s bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand. 16 And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness”; 

God clearly tells Moses that Moses will do it. so it is noteworthy to see  in verse 19:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.’” 20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
OK so the Lord tells Moses he will do it, and then instructs him to "say to Aaron". God is having Moses be the face, but Aaron is the mouth.

At the carrying out of the second plague, in chapter 8, a similar scenario is played out:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. 
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’” So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
Moses is still needing Aaron's support. God is allowing  Moses to use Aaron as a crutch, if only to fulfill God's own will. His will is perfect and will be executed.

Again, to carry out the third plague, God tells Moses to say to Aaron...

 So the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice on man and beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
 Three plagues in, and Moses still needs Aaron to speak for him because he himself is plagued- and that by fear.

Yet things take a small turn in carrying out the fourth plague:
20 And the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
God commands Moses to follow specific instructions.  "...stand before pharaoh...then say to him..." Notice, this time,  God does not say- "say to Aaron". God throws Moses a curve ball and tests him. Moses has of course, been before Pharaoh numerous times by this point. Is Moses still intimidated?
 Moses follows God's instruction, and this time,  he does it without whining an excuse of why he just can't. God sees that Moses is learning to trust, not himself, but solely in the power of Jehovah.

to be continued...

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