A talking bush is a pretty big clue that God has a special assignment for you, especially when that shrub is on fire but not burning up. Suddenly, the ground on which Moses stood was holy. The Lord has a way about that, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. After all, He took dust and formed a human. Who can begin to imagine what He can do with a person?
This baby-in-a-basket was all grown up. He had bounced around from the royal household to murderer to fugitive to shepherd, and now vegetation was telling him that he would be the great liberator of his people. Life’s experiences had prepared him for this moment, but he didn’t think so. His was more of a “Who me?” response. He felt woefully inadequate for such a task. So, God’s chosen deliverer lacked confidence; not exactly what we look for in a hero.
He resisted as he pulled out every excuse in the book. “What do I tell them when they ask who sent me?” “What if they don’t believe me?” “I’m the wrong man. I am not a very good speaker.” The Lord met every objection and pushed him out with Aaron, a more polished spokesman. Next stop: Pharoah. Surely, a mission from God’s own lips will meet with immediate success.
Well, not exactly. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Conditions for the slaves grew worse. The work was made even more difficult. Here is a hesitant, insecure freedom fighter and his sidekick confronting the power structure at God’s direction, and they instantly failed miserably. That was not exactly a confidence booster nor a situation that would build support among the people.
The slaves quickly turned on the liberators. The burdens became heavier, and everybody grew grumpier. Pharoah called the Israelites lazy as they looked at Moses and Aaron as the cause of their headaches. All-in-all, this has the appearance of a horrible failure of a mission. An unwilling leader and suspicious followers. These are God’s people and this is His plan? Seems doubtful.
Moses wondered, “Why?” His assignment had turned out all wrong. Why had the Lord hurt these people? Why was he sent? Nothing made sense. He offered words of reassurance but their discouragement and cruel bondage deafened their ears. That was about as low as it could get. Four centuries of slavery. A hard-hearted pharaoh. A beat-down people. And an old man who didn’t want to be there to begin with who had no support among the slaves. This is what God intended?
The rest of the story is even more amazing. The Lord stepped in with a dazzling demonstration of His power. He showed with increasing ferocity that He would free His people. It looked impossible, and it was…without divine intervention. It always is. Salvation demands a heavenly solution which only He can provide. For the Israelite slaves. For us, too.