Dave Burnette's Commentary

Exodus Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Deliverance of Israel (c 1-40)
Theme: Israel in Egypt (c 1-12)
Message: Moses Asks for Help (v 1-31)

Exodus 4 Commentary

(4:1) Moses is Worried - Moses' reluctance and fear were caused by over anticipation. He was worried about how the people might respond to him. We often build up events in our minds and then become anxious over what might go wrong. God does not ask us to go where he has not provided the means to help. Go where he leads, trusting him to supply courage, confidence, and resources at the right moment.

(4:2-4) Moses' Staff -  A shepherd's staff was commonly a three- to six-foot wooden rod with a curved hook at the top. The shepherd used it for walking, guiding the sheep, killing snakes, and many other tasks. Still, it was just a stick. But God used the simple shepherd's rod Moses carried as a sign to teach him an important lesson. God sometimes takes joy in using ordinary things for extraordinary purposes. What are the ordinary things in your life--your voice, a pen, a hammer, a broom, a musical instrument? While it is easy to assume God can use only special skills, you must not hinder his use of the everyday contributions you can make. Little did Moses imagine the power his simple staff would wield when it became the rod of God.

(4:6-7) Moses Trust God - Leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of this time. No cure was available, and a great deal of suffering preceded eventual death. Through this experience, Moses learned that God could cause or cure any kind of problem. He saw that God indeed had all power and was commissioning him to exercise that power to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.

(4:10-13) Moses Feels Inadequate -  Moses pleaded with God to let him out of his mission. After all, he was not a good speaker and would probably embarrass himself and God. But God looked at Moses' problem quite differently. All Moses needed was some help, and who better than God to help him say and do the right things? God had made his mouth and would give him the words to say. It is easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but if God asks us to do something, then he will help us get the job done. If the job involves some of our weak areas, then we can trust that he will provide words, strength, courage, and ability where needed.

(4:14) God Lets Aaron Speak -  God finally agreed to let Aaron speak for Moses. Moses feelings of inadequacy were so strong that he could not trust even God's ability to help him. Moses had to deal with his deep sense of inadequacy many times. When we face difficult or frightening situations, we must be willing to let God help us.

(4:16) Moses Gives Aaron the Words of God - The phrase "thou shalt be to him instead of God" means that Moses would tell Aaron what to say as God was telling him.

(4:17-20) Moses Finds Comfort in His Staff -  Moses clung tightly to the shepherd's rod as he left for Egypt to face the greatest challenge of his life. The rod was his assurance of God's presence and power. When feeling uncertain, some people need something to stabilize and reassure them. To assure us when we are facing great trials, God has given promises from his Word and examples from great heroes of faith. Any Christian may cling tightly to these. As we grow in faith, we will outgrow our need for physical or temporary assurances and be able to trust God's Word alone.

(4:24-26) Moses Faces God's Judgement -  God was about to kill Moses because Moses had not circumcised his son. Why hadn't Moses done this? Remember that Moses had spent half his life in Pharaoh's palace and half his life in the Midianite wilderness. He might not have been too familiar with God's laws, especially since all the requirements of God's covenant with Israel (Genesis 17) had not been actively carried out for over 400 years. But Moses could not effectively serve as deliverer of God's people until he had fulfilled the conditions of God's covenant, and one of those conditions was circumcision. Before they could go any farther, Moses and his family had to follow God's commands completely. Under Old Testament law, failing to circumcise your son was to remove yourself and your family from God's blessings. Moses learned that disobeying God was even more dangerous than tangling with an Egyptian pharaoh.

(4:25-26) Moses too Ill to Help His Son - Why did Zipporah perform the circumcision? Perhaps Moses had become ill as a result of his disobedience in not circumcising his son, so Zipporah had to perform the circumcision herself to save her husband and her son. This would not have made her happy--hence her unflattering comment to Moses.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Debating with God

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Exodus with Chapter 4 and in today's text we see Our story of Moses continues as God continues to give to instruction to Moses but in verses 1-10 Moses gives God excuses of how he cant do what God is telling him even though God is showing him miracles with the rod and with his hand. Moses continues to make excuses which leads to verse 14 where God gets angry with Moses. In making application it reminds me of times when God tells me to do something and I complain and tell God, "I can't". It is at this time that God reminds me of the miracles He has done in my life but I still tend to make excuses just as Moses did in our text today. I am sure the Lord gets angry at me too for my lack of faith and unbelief. In our text, Moses stopped debating with God when he sees God's anger and we too should stop debating with God at these times and simply do what He says. How about you? Do you debate with God? If we debate do we see that it makes God angry for our lack of faith? Let us learn from today's text and the example of Moses to stop debating with God and simply do what He tells us to do through His Word.  


Exodus 4

Exodus 4

 1And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

 2And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

 3And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

 4And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

 5That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

 6And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

 7And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

 8And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

 9And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

 10And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

 11And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

 12Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

 13And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

 14And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

 15And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

 16And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

 17And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

 18And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

 19And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

 20And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

 21And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

 22And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

 23And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

 24And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

 25Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

 26So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

 27And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.

 28And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

 29And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

 30And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

 31And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.