Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The record of God’s calling of Moses is the most complete record of such a calling to be found in the Bible. In this message we shall consider how Aaron (4:10-16) and Zipporah (4:24-26) are related to God’s calling of Moses. Without the portion concerning Aaron and Zipporah, God’s calling of Moses would not be complete. The record of the calling of Moses is found not only in Exodus 3, but also in Exodus 4. Hence, if we would understand the calling of Moses in full, we need to consider even the small portions of chapter four as part of this calling.
Exodus 4:14 says that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.” Even after the signs in chapter four, Moses was still reluctant to go along with the Lord. It seems to me that Moses should have said, “Lord, since You have called me and have given me these signs, I take Your word.” Nevertheless, Moses still told the Lord to send someone else. At this point the Lord became angry with him. When I was young, I could see the reason for the Lord’s anger on the one hand. But, on the other hand, I thought that the Lord was too great and that this situation was too small for His anger to be kindled against Moses.
I believe that deep in His heart the Lord wanted Aaron to be a match for Moses. When the Lord Jesus sent out His disciples, He sent them out two by two (Luke 10:1), that is, in the principle of two as a testimony. To be alone is to be individualistic, but to be sent forth with another is to be sent according to the principle of the Body. Thus, to have Aaron as a match for Moses was according to the divine principle.
Although this was according to God’s principle, God did not simply tell Moses that he needed Aaron to match him. But if we read this portion carefully, we shall see that this was already in God’s heart. The whole of verse 14 says, “And 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.” The Lord was hoping that Moses would realize his need for someone to match him. Although the Lord was ready to do this, He did not point this out to Moses until he himself became conscious of his need. The Lord is very wise. He may be willing to do a certain thing for us, but He often will not do anything until we realize our need. This principle has an application among us in the church life. Although you may realize that I need a certain thing, it is better for you not to tell me. Instead, you should wait until I realize my need.
If we are clear about what was in the Lord’s heart, we can understand why the Lord’s anger was kindled against Moses. Apparently this anger was unpleasant; actually it was sweet. Only those who are superficial will say that the Lord’s anger here was unkind. Those who have depth with the Lord will realize that it was pleasant. The anger here indicates a sweet, intimate, human fellowship. Some may wonder how it is possible for the Lord to have human fellowship. This was possible because the Lord appeared to Moses as the Angel of Jehovah, who was a type of Christ. Because Christ is God incarnated to be a man, He is mysterious. For this reason, it is rather difficult to understand the appearing of the Angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament. In Exodus 4 the Lord talked to Moses as if He were a man speaking to another man. According to the record, the conversation was more like that between friends than like that between the almighty God and a human being.
This intimacy between the Lord and Moses can be compared to the intimacy between a man and his wife. Sometimes a man is angry with his wife, but his expression of anger is sweet and pleasant. It is not the kind of anger that he would ever show toward anyone else; for it is an anger that expresses a sweet, intimate feeling. This is very similar to the feeling between the Lord and Moses here. The anger of the Lord toward Moses in this chapter is much different from His wrath toward Sodom. The anger in this instance is a pleasant anger between two intimate parties. After the Lord spoke to Moses in verses 11 and 12, Moses replied, “O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” (v. 13). Moses’ word was not a harsh rejection of the Lord. On the contrary, it was an intimate expression of his personal feeling. Nevertheless, Moses’ response caused the Lord to be angry with him. His reaction forced the Lord, in His pleasant anger toward Moses, to open His heart regarding Aaron as Moses’ match.
In keeping with the divine principle, the Lord would not allow His servant to be individualistic. Moses needed Aaron. Hence, Aaron’s presence was not accidental. God had prepared him as a match for Moses.
This principle of matching applies today. If you have been called by the Lord, you need to realize your need for someone to match you. We have pointed out that the Lord Jesus sent out His disciples two by two. When the Apostle Paul came out to serve the Lord, he did not behave individualistically. He always had others to match him. This is proved by the opening verse of 1 Corinthians: “Paul, a called apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother.” When Paul wrote this Epistle, neither Timothy nor Barnabas was present. Therefore, Paul took Sosthenes as a match; he took a brother whose name we hardly know in order to keep the principle.
To act individualistically in the Lord’s service is not according to the divine principle. Today, in the New Testament economy, to be individualistic is to violate the principle of the Body. We should not behave individualistically; rather, we should move and act according to the principle of corporateness, always having at least one other member to match us. The more members we have to match us, the better it is. The Body cannot be represented by individuals. According to the divine principle, the proper representation of the Body is always by those members who are matched with others.
To be matched, however, is difficult. In the case of Moses and Aaron, the younger brother was the leader, and the elder was the follower. To be matched with anyone is difficult, to be matched to a brother in the flesh is more difficult, and to be matched in such a way that the younger is the leading one is most difficult. My younger brother was a dear brother in the Lord; he loved the Lord very much. When we were in mainland China, we were in the same local church. But I learned from experience that it was difficult to have him match me. Because Aaron was Moses’ elder brother in the flesh, it was very difficult for Moses to be matched with him. This might be one reason the Lord did not tell Moses that Aaron was to be his match until Moses had fully expressed himself to the Lord regarding his inability to answer His call. This gave the Lord the ground to tell Moses that Aaron would be his spokesman. The Lord had prepared Aaron for Moses, and, no matter how difficult it was, Moses had no choice except to take him as his match.
In Numbers 12 there is recorded an incident involving Aaron and Miriam which shows how difficult it was for Moses to be matched by Aaron. Verse 1 of this chapter says, “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.” This indicates how difficult it was for Miriam and Aaron, both of whom were older than Moses, to take Moses as the leader. His mistake in marrying the Ethiopian woman gave Miriam and Aaron the opportunity to speak against him. Their speaking here was not accidental; rather, it was an expression of what was already within them. How hard it was for Moses to take the lead over his sister and brother! The Lord certainly arranged a difficult situation for him.
In principle, it is the same with us today. The Lord will often arrange a difficult match for us. But such a match is actually a great help. Without it, we would have no restriction, no protection, and no safeguard. Most of the time Aaron and Miriam were submissive to Moses. But at least some of the time they were not submissive. This lack of submission on their part was a protection to Moses; it kept him from becoming proud. Numbers 12:3 says that “Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Miriam and Aaron helped Moses to become so humble. Nevertheless, no matter how much of a help Miriam and Aaron were to Moses, God did not tolerate their speaking against him.
The arrangements God makes in matching us with others sometimes are beyond our understanding. Do not think that a match will always be pleasant. Most of the time it may be enjoyable, but at least part of the time it will be unpleasant. But this unpleasantness is our protection.
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