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Devotion for February 09, 2008


Two Old Testament stories paint a picture to help us understand the authority God gave Moses and how He meant for him to use it. The story of Joseph in Genesis and the story of Mordecai in Esther have parallel conclusions: both rise to power and receive the king’s signet ring, giving them power to act in the king’s name (cf. Gen. 41:42; cf. Esther 8:2).

These stories can help us understand how it is that God worked through Moses throughout his life. The authority through Moses’ acts is very much like the authority given to Joseph and Mordecai. Moses understood how vital it was that he act in the name of the King. Gone were the renegade impulses of Exodus 2. This newly commissioned Moses was very careful to do and to speak exactly what God commanded.

Each time Moses went before the Pharaoh, he acted as God’s ambassador. Here in chapter 8, he warned Pharaoh about the impending plague of frogs. Moses didn’t improvise or speak extemporaneously, but he faithfully recounted what God had told him to say. 

That’s what we would expect of faithful servants: they should obey just what God has asked of them. What takes us by surprise is verse 13: “And the Lord did what Moses asked.” Another translation says it even more forcefully: “The Lord did according to the word of Moses” (NASB).

Leaders must revere God’s Word, but does God revere the word of His servants? This isn’t the only example in the book of Exodus where God listens to the word of Moses. Of course, we wouldn’t argue that God is obliged to obey anyone, He can do as He pleases, but clearly God had made Moses more than a puppet leader. He had given Moses marching orders, yes, but not apart from the context of a relationship where love and respect are reciprocated.

Apply the Word

Moses said to Pharaoh that he would pray for God to stay the plague, “that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God” (v. 10). God was unique from other gods because He was a God who hears and answers prayer, a God who genuinely cares for His people. In both the Old and the New Testaments, this dimension of God’s character emerges in God’s willingness to dwell among His people (cf. Ex. 40:34–38; John 1:14).

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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