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Exodus 4:13-17 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Exodus 4:13
  • Exodus 4:14
  • Exodus 4:15
  • Exodus 4:16
  • Exodus 4:17

Moses’ fifth objection can be summarized by the phrase “Find someone else.” Even after the LORD’s promise of His abiding presence with him as he does what He has told him to do, Moses rejects him. The LORD got angry at Moses, but even so, He graciously provided even more support in the form of Aaron his brother.

At this point, Moses had run out of arguments as to why he is unqualified to the task the LORD wanted him to do. So he simply pleaded with Him, saying Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will. The word “Lord” here means “master” and is not a translation of “Yahweh.” Moses was still refusing to do what the LORD commanded him to do. This is the reason that the anger of the Lord burned against Moses.

Yet, even in the midst of His anger, the LORD exhibited grace toward Moses. He focused Moses’ attention on another solution – Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? The reason this was a solution is that he spoke fluently. And not only that, he was available and behold, he is coming out to meet you. Note the omniscience of God here. Instead of being angry, he will be glad in his heart. The text does not say why Aaron will be glad to see Moses. It could be that Aaron will be happy to see that Moses is alive and doing well after not seeing him for many years.

That the LORD knew this speaks once again of His omniscience and His omnipotence as seen in His ability to make things happen in time, space, and history.

The LORD instructed Moses to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. In other words, whatever the LORD wanted Moses to speak, he was to pass it on to Aaron. Once again, the LORD emphatically stated that He will be with your mouth and his mouth, extending His presence to Aaron’s mouth as well. He also promised to teach you what you are to do. In other words, the LORD was not demanding Moses obey without telling him what he was to say and do.

The LORD finished this response by describing the roles that Moses and Aaron needed to fulfill in order to deliver Israel. He told Moses that Aaron shall speak for you to the people. Concerning the relationship between Moses and Aaron, the LORD said that he will be as a mouth for you. This means that instead of being the LORD’s spokesman (which was the LORD’s original plan), he was to be an intermediary between the LORD and Aaron. In other words, Moses was demoted. Instead of God being with Moses’ mouth, Aaron will be Moses’s mouth.

The other part of Moses’ and Aaron’s relationship was that Moses will be as God to him. That is, Moses would speak God’s word to Aaron instead of God speaking directly to Aaron. This implemented His plan of Moses being the intermediary between the LORD and Aaron.

Moses’ task was different. You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs. In other words, Aaron will speak, and Moses will confirm his words with miraculous signs to confirm that what the LORD speaks through Aaron is truly from Him. What God was to Moses, Moses was to Aaron.

In this passage, Moses questioned God concerning His choice of him to lead Israel. He also decided to turn down the job of deliverer. What Moses was doing was denying that God is omniscient and omnipotent. Instead of relying on the LORD to strengthen him in his weakness, Moses decided to believe that his inadequacies were stronger than the LORD’s ability to overcome them. Moses should have acknowledged his weaknesses and at the same time believed that the LORD’s strength could overcome such weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7). However, in the end Moses obeys. It is all the more amazing to consider what an incredible leader Moses will become given his initial reluctance. God can take just a seed of faith and do great things.

This passage also demonstrates that it is never too late to begin anew. Moses is near the end of a normal person’s life, apparently without much vision for doing anything other than being a shepherd. God has other plans, and a wobbly, initial step of faith is sufficient to begin an incredible faith journey.

Biblical Text:

13 But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”




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