Exodus Chapter 4

Exodus Chapter 4

Read Exodus Chapter 4. After your have read the Chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.

Exodus 4: 1- 9

“As God appeared to Moses through the burning bush to declare the secret of salvation through divine incarnation, the virgin birth, and the Passion, Moses had to be given the ability to perform certain miracles that carry a shadow of that secret, namely, salvation through the divine incarnation, and the cross. God granted him three miracles to perform before his people, not just to reveal a supernatural power, but also to proclaim the exalted work of God toward man.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty.

MOSES’ ROD FORESHADOWED THE INCARNATION - He cast down his rod, and it became a serpent which devoured the serpents of Egypt. This signified that the Word should become flesh to destroy the poison of the dread serpent by the forgiveness and pardon of sins. For the rod stands for the Word that is true, royal, filled with power and glorious in ruling. As the rod became a serpent, so he who was the Son of God begotten of the Father became the Son of man born of a woman. Like the serpent, he was lifted up on the cross, poured his healing medicine on the wounds of humanity. Wherefore the Lord himself says, ―As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” - AMBROSE

CHRIST’S GLORY AND FLESH - "Again, another sign which Moses gave points to our Lord Jesus Christ. He put his hand into his bosom and drew it out again, and his hand had become as snow. A second time he put it in and drew it out, and it was again like the appearance of human flesh. This signified first the original glory of the Godhead of the Lord Jesus and then the assumption of our flesh, in which truth all nations and peoples must believe. So he put in his hand, for Christ is the right hand of God; and whosoever does not believe in his Godhead and incarnation is punished as a sinner; like that king who, while not believing open and plain signs, yet afterwards, when punished, prayed that he might find mercy.” - AMBROSE 

Exodus 4:10 - 17

“When did Moses realize that he is slow of speech and slow of tongue? When he was in the palace, a son to the princess daughter of Pharaoh, learning all the wisdom of the Egyptians he felt capable of talking. But now, being in the presence of the Lord Himself, he felt slow of speech, and slow of tongue! And as said by the scholar Origen: [As he was in Egypt, Moses has been in the eyes of the Egyptians, of incomparable eloquence. Yet when he listened to God’s voice and commandments, he felt himself mute when he started to understand the true Word who was from the beginning with God (John 1: 1). ...Standing before God, Moses felt meek within himself, so he excused himself from ministry, only to become more worthy before God to fill his mouth to minister.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty. 

“It is good for you to act like Moses, when God calls you for ministry (Ex. 4: 10; and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1: 6), but up to a certain extent, then to hasten to Him, as did Aaron (Ex. 4: 27), and Isaiah (Isaiah 1: 6). Yet we should do both things with a spirit of submission: do the first with a feeling of our need to strength, and the second because of the ability of Him who called us. - GREGORY OF NYSSA

GOD CAN GIVE US THE COURAGE TO SPEAK - Just as in Exodus God speaks to Moses, when he delays and fears to go to the people, saying, ―Who gave a mouth to man and who made the dumb and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? Did not I the Lord God? Go now, and I shall open your mouth, and I will teach you what you shall speak. It is not difficult for God to open the mouth of a man devoted to him and to inspire constancy and confidence in speaking in one who confesses him, who in the book of Numbers made even a female ass speak against Balaam the prophet. Therefore let no one consider in persecutions what danger the devil brings, but rather let him bear in mind what assistance God affords. Let not the disturbances of men weaken the mind, but let divine protection strengthen the faith, since each one according to the Lord‘s promises and the merits of his faith receives so much of God‘s help as he thinks he receives, and since there is nothing which the Almighty cannot grant, except if the frail faith of the recipient be deficient.” - CYPRIAN

“Despite all God’s confirmations to Moses, that He will work in him, and His promise to give him success, Moses again said: “Oh my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else you may send. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Ex. 4: 13) Moses lost his sole role in doing that mission and was offered someone to share it with him. Indeed, fellowship in ministry is beautiful and rejoicing, as when the disciples of the Lord were sent two by two. However, what happened with Moses was the result of his weakness, and his insistence on escaping responsibility. Anyhow, God turned that weakness into something good, as Aaron became a helper to Moses, and a symbol of a guardian angel. He became a priest, to intercede on behalf of the people, and a helper to Moses in his ministry. ...Aaron also refers to the priestly work of worship. His clinging to Moses symbolizes the bind between the commandment and worship, to work in God’s Spirit for the salvation of the world. Thus, preaching is based on the declaration of the commandment or the divine word, in the Spirit of pious worship.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty

Exodus 4:18-31

“And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” - ‭Exodus‬ ‭4:21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Does God harden the heart? It is obvious in the Holy Book (Ex. 8: 32) that Pharaoh is hardening his heart by his own free will. By that we know that God, for His justice, lets Pharaoh execute his free will, which is the hardness of heart, and does not stop him, so as to be glorified in him. And according to the words of the apostle, “God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts... and gave them over to a debased mind” (Romans 1: 24; 28).”- Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty 

PHARAOH’S WICKEDNESS AND PRIDE HARDENED HIS HEART - "Now let no one along with pagans or Manichaeans dare to censure or blame the justice of God. It is to be believed as most certain that not the violence of God but his own repeated wickedness and indomitable pride in opposition to God‘s commands caused Pharaoh to become hardened. What does that mean which God said, ―I will make him obstinate, except that when my grace is withdrawn from him his own iniquity will harden him? In order that this may be known more clearly, we propose to your charity a comparison with visible things. As often as water is contracted by excessive cold, if the heat of the sun comes upon it, it becomes melted; when the same sun departs the water again becomes hard. Similarly the charity of many men freezes because of the excessive coldness of their sins, and they become as hard as ice; however, when the warmth of divine mercy comes upon them again, they are melted.” - CAESARIUS OF ARLES

THE BEAUTY OF CALLING ISRAEL GOD’S FIRSTBORN SON - "And is there anything more profound to say of Israel, not of nature but of grace, of whom it was written, ―Israel is my firstborn son, when Israel was in dispersion? You yourself will also understand that these are the scattered children of God for whom Jesus was to die in order to gather them together into one.” - ORIGEN 

JUSTIFICATION AND THE SEAL OF BAPTISM: And this was made manifest by the message of an angel in the case of Moses‘ son, for when he was carried by his mother, being yet uncircumcised, it was required, by manifest present peril, that he should be circumcised. And when this was done, the danger of death was removed. As therefore in Abraham the justification of faith came first and circumcision was added afterwards as the seal of faith, so in Cornelius the spiritual sanctification came first in the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the sacrament of regeneration was added afterward in the laver of baptism.” - AUGUSTINE

Commencement of work: Moses encountered with Aaron, namely the divine commandment with the pious priestly worship, and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel, who submitted to the work and words of God. The people then “bowed their heads and worshipped” (Ex. 4: 27). This is a living portrait of the submission of all the energies of the soul and flesh to the work of God, through worship and receiving the word of God. We are indeed in need of working in our heart - the holy vine of the Lord, through the word of God, and with a spirit of worship, so as to have the whole heart sanctified in submission for the Lord.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty

Heavenly Father, how abundant and awesome are the graces you bestow upon your servants! I thank You for choosing me as You chose Moses to work with You and to bring Your Word to the world. Humbly, I say with Moses, that I am not eloquent and that I require You, O Lord, to supply the words, and the strength to carry out Your mission. I thank You Father, for You always remind me that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. May my weakness always be before my eyes, so that I may experience your abundant strength always. AMEN