“But what if they don’t believe me?” Have you asked it? Have you sat on the edge of uncertainty, fingers tightly knit, thumbs pressed hard against forehead and thought, “They’ll think I’m crazy.”
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 4:1-9
Key Verse: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)
If I tell the truth. If I lay it down, raw and real. Straight. No matter how absurd it might sound. How unrealistic. How much against the grain it rubs; rigid and rough on open wounds
It’s where Moses was. Hard pressed against a story he wasn’t sure they’d believe. “You mean to tell us after all these years God showed up to you, in a bush, out there, and talked about us? Sure, Moses, sure.”
A valid concern considering Moses had no eye witness and God had been silent for how many years now? But on the other hand, God had already assured, “They will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us” (Ex. 3:18).
According to God, not only would the Israelite’s believe Moses, but the elders would go with him! Taking Moses’ story on as their very own. (Note the word “us.”) Come on Moses get it together!
Yet I can’t point even one finger at the guy, because in all honesty, I’m just like him telling the LORD I can’t do it. I can’t tell those people about Jesus. What if they don’t believe me? What if they ask me to prove his existence? His love? His rescue? After everything they’ve been through. Everything they’ve lost.
Yet God has already assured me, and you, “Go…I am with you always” (Matt. 28:19-20). “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together” (Jn. 4:35-36).
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (Jn. 12:32). People from every color and background. “I’ll drag them” (Jn. 6:44), Jesus said, “you just tell them.”
But I don’t. Rubbing shoulders with the lost, I say nothing. Though God’s given us a sign. The tomb, empty. The stone, rolled aside. The angel, waiting to proclaim the good news that Christ has risen! That it happened just as he’d promised. Just as he’d poured into the disciples. Conquering death himself, that it might not reign in me or you or our kids or neighbors.
And you know, he gave Moses a sign too. Three of them actually. Declaring his sovereignty with each one. First up, was Moses’ staff. A tool for walking and herding. “Throw it on the ground” (v. 2), God said. So Moses did, and immediately it became a serpent.
He fled. I would have too. But God instructed him to pick it back up by the tail. “Are you crazy? You don’t pick snakes up by the tail!” That’s what I would have said. But Moses under the instruction of He who made all creatures great and small, reached out and taking tail in hand felt the scaly skin of the snake return to the familiar feel of his staff.
Then the LORD told Moses to put his hand inside his cloak. And when he pulled it out it was leprous. Saturated with an incurable skin disease. A disease highly feared because it meant complete isolation. If Moses was frightened by the snake I can only imagine the quickening of heart he experienced when he saw his hand.
But then God instructed, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So Moses did and his hand was restored. (Shew. You can breathe now Moses.)
Two miraculous signs clearly demonstrating the power of God. The first over creatures or Satan for that matter. (I don’t think it was any accident God turned the staff into a serpent.) The second over man. He would and could do whatever he wanted to man. Turning Pharaoh’s heart any direction He deemed necessary.
So the third sign demonstrated God’s power over the still missing category – nature. “If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground” (v. 9).
The Nile was life for the Egyptians. So to see it turn to blood, meant death. Perhaps then, there’s a deeper meaning here. One reminiscent of the gospel. If you don’t believe the first sign, demonstrating God’s authority over Satan, His supremacy, His ultimate rule. Then you won’t get to experience the second. A cleansing.
Leprous with sin our only hope is the purifying work of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Leaving you with only one option, the third sign, death. Eternal and permanent separation from God.
It was the raw and open truth – the LORD is God, and there is no other – handed to Israel (and the Egyptians) in three specific signs. His power made evident, all Moses needed to do was go and God would do the rest.
Sound familiar? I think we know the command well. “Go and make disciples…” Tell them of “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction” (Rom. 3:22). “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:7).
You see Moses isn’t the only one sanctioned with an amazing message, assured of God’s presence, and told to go! But have we gone? In the strength of the Spirit have we told the world, enslaved to sin, it’s in Christ they can have freedom? (Gal. 5:1)
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). The only sign we need we’ve already been given – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The good news. The gospel. The power of God.
So hand in hand, in His presence, with His promise, by His power, what do you say, should we get moving?
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is the gospel a message you readily proclaim or mostly keep quiet? Is it the power of God or a story you’ve grown all too familiar with?
How has the gospel changed your life? Why do you think we hesitate to share our story with others?