Still, Moses couldn’t see his little old self being used in this way. Listen to Moses as he continued working his issues out with God. In Exodus 4:1 he said, “They won’t believe me or even listen to my voice. So, what do I do when they don’t believe me?”
God graciously gave him two signs to perform. First, God told Moses to throw down his shepherd’s rod. Exodus 4:3 says, “…So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.” A snake was not a new sight for Moses, but this one must have been large and aggressive because Moses ran.
Moses was also running from God’s call out of fear. Going back to the place where he failed was as scary as grabbing a serpent. Everything in him wanted to run. But God said Exodus 4:3, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail…” He was going to have to run at it his fear with both hands. So, timid Moses started for the snake. When he got ahold of the tail it turned stiff as a stick and became a useful instrument in his hand.
Here’s an important point. The thing we fear most can become a useful instrument if we will run after it and grab hold. Don’t take a finger and poke at it, or shut your eyes and hope it goes away. Run at it and grab with both hands. The greatest fears in life are most often areas of incredible opportunity.
I met a talented mom serving at church the other Sunday. She works at a family friendly comedy club doing improv, much like the TV show Who’s Line Is It Anyway. I asked her, “How do you do that? How did you learn to get on a stage in front of crowds and improv?” She said, “I tell people you have to take a step of faith. Once you step out into the unknown everything else falls in place.”
Next, God told Moses to put his hand in his cloak. When he pulled it out it was white with leprosy, the kiss of death in the ancient world. At God’s command he put his hand back inside, and when he removed it his hand was restored. This was a picture of what God would do for Israel and Moses. In their season of death, God was about to do a work of resurrection. For every hopeless situation God has the answer. In the dead ends of life, he is our new beginning.
I’m thinking by now, I would have signed up. Still Moses was hesitant. So, he gives voice to another fear. Oh the kindness, patience, compassion, and love of God. Here it is in Exodus 4:10, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” The Hebrew word used here for “slow” is kabad and it means “heavy.” Moses had a “Jaba the Hut” tongue.