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Anytime one man presumes to tell another that which he must do, it is likely that he will be asked, “Who sent you to me? By what authority do you speak? Who gave you the right to tell me what I must do?” Such a response is as reasonable as it is likely. When the Lord Jesus sent Moses to deliver Israel out of Egypt, Moses anticipated that the children of Israel would ask him by what authority he came to them. Though God sent him to Pharaoh (Exodus 3:10), and he was to command Pharaoh to let Israel go in the name of the Lord, he was not concerned about Pharaoh’s response. But he was concerned about how to speak to the children of Israel. How could he assure them that God would, indeed, deliver them? By what authority could he speak, that they might believe his message and trust God to save them? That is the question he raised in Exodus 3:13, and the question God answered in verses 14-15.
Many see something evil and unbelieving in this question, and reproach Moses for asking it; but the Lord to whom he spoke did not reprove him or, in any way, indicate disapproval. Knowing his own insufficiency for the work to which the Lord God had sent him, Moses said, “Who am I? I can’t do that” (Exodus 3: 10). And the Lord said, “I am not sending you to do it. The work is mine. You are merely the instrument through which I have chosen to do the work.”
Remember the mission upon which Moses was about to embark. Any man sent upon such a mission must (if he is wise) be personally assured that he goes in the name of God. The Lord promised, “I will be with thee,” but he would have no visible God or representation of God to accompany him. In so far as others could tell, Moses would go to the enslaved Israelites and to Pharaoh alone, yet claiming to be a divinely sent deliverer. He was to tell them that the God of their fathers had promised to set them free. But the people to whom he was sent had, for the most part, embraced the idolatries of the Egyptians.
Moses knew that they would want to know, “Who is this God you speak of? What is his name? What is he like?” In those days and in that land, as in all the nations of the Gentiles, there were many gods, each having a name that indicated the particular power ascribed to him. So Moses asked the Lord God to tell him his name. Add to that the fact that Moses, no doubt, remembered what happened forty years earlier when he had come to deliver Israel in his own name. — “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” (Acts 7:27, 35).
So it is with God’s servants today, and in every age. We are sent to proclaim redemption and grace in the name of our God to a people who have never known him. With Paul, every faithful gospel preacher cries from his inmost soul, “Who is sufficient for these things?” And by the Spirit of God, he is made to know that our sufficiency is not of ourselves, “but our sufficiency is of God, Who also hath made us able ministers of the new covenant” (2 Corinthians 2:16; 3:4-5; 5:17-21). — Let none go forth in the service of our Savior until he has, like Moses, gone to the Throne of Grace (Ezekiel 2:1-2, 6-7).