The Capable Co-Worker
Father, I praise You that, in Christ, You accept me as I am but do not leave me that way.
Read EXODUS 6:28—7:13
28 Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”
30 But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
6 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Aaron’s Staff Becomes a Snake
8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either one of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Eccl. 4:9,10).
I love the way Paul speaks of his relationship with Titus, his “partner and fellow worker,” his “true son in our common faith” whose coming brings God’s comfort and whose absence prevented Paul from being able to preach in Troas, even though “the Lord had opened a door” for him (2 Cor. 8:23; 7:6; 2:12,13; Titus 1:4). Paul would have understood Moses’ need for a fellow worker to support him in his apparently impossible task. Sometimes our assumption that everything we are called to do must be done entirely without human support may actually prevent the job from being done.
Of course we, like Moses, need to recognize that what counts is who God is and, of course, that God can follow through his purposes without our help, let alone the help of a back-up supporter. Still, it is good to know that God not only chooses to use his human followers but knows us and goes along with our weaknesses. It is interesting that it is taken for granted here that, although the final responsibility remains with Moses, Aaron’s role is also key. Aaron is presented, by God, as an essential member of the team.
Knowing in advance that the next stage of negotiations will also fail, Moses and Aaron must have feared that this time there would be even more disastrous consequences. However, these two men (and we are deliberately reminded in verse 7 that they were old men) went ahead with the petitioning anyway. A trust in God’s word and his ability to fulfill the entirety of his promises is clearly beginning to develop. The negotiations did fail, “just as the Lord had said” (13), but thankfully there were apparently no further consequences for the Israelites. But the consequences for Egypt were about to appear!
Whom has God given to you to be an “Aaron” or “Titus” to support you? To whom have you been privileged to be an “Aaron” or “Moses”?
Heavenly Father, I thank You for those You have brought alongside of me. They have been a source of encouragement and strength as I have sought to serve You.