A first draft ahead of preaching on April 26th... Comment very welcome.
"Man claims to have seen God" - how do you respond? Our responses lie somewhere on the spectrum between cynicism to gullibility. What are we supposed to do? If we just accept such claims then we validate much lunacy. If we dismiss such claims we might miss an encounter with our maker.
1. See Christ.
In Exodus 4v1, Moses is the man who has seen God. His question is is about whether people will believe him. Why should they listen to his claim to have seen the LORD? Perhaps, because Moses is a Levite (like his brother Aaron, v11). That's the tribe who get to see God. If anyone would see God it might be a Levite.
But, most people who claim to have seen God are crazy people, right? If Moses is going to be a great leader for his people then surely he should plead the Blair argument and say "We don't do God." and get on with leading a revolution.
Moses is offered Two or Three Signs (4v2-8) to give credible testimony he has seen the LORD. Two or three witnesses is always the Biblical standard for a testimony in the courts, in church discipline, in Paul writing to Corinth. Evidence to authenticate his claim of a divine encounter. Signs, and words. The LORD will speak through him, through his brother Aaron (4v9-17). The words of Aaron will be the words of Moses which are the very words of God. Words on the same order of magnitude as those which created the universe.
What's the result of this? Exodus 4v31. Contrary to Moses expectation the people believe and worship. Belief in whom? Worship of whom? The God of Genesis (4v5) - of their fathers, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The LORD Christ by whom the Father + the Spirit are made known… Christ the creator, Christ the Amen of every promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… The signs and the words of God provide all the evidence needed to know the LORD. And we could stop there and be very happy to see that there are reasons to believe in God. But, there is vastly more going on in Exodus 4.
2. See Christ win!
This is a declaration of a cosmic war concerning (4v22) Israel, God’s firstborn son. The ultimate fight that has raged since Genesis 3: The Seed of Eve (Israel) vs. The Seed of the Serpent (Pharaoh). A cosmic battle between two ancient foes founded in the aftermath of the fall. The LORD promised that the seed of Eve would crush the head of the seed of the serpent, though the serpent seed would strike the heel of the seed of the woman. This battle has raged, Cain vs. Abel... serpent seed like Lamech of Cain, Nimrod... the Pharaoh of Abraham's day, all of them trying to strike the people of God. It’s a battle for the eternal destiny of the God’s world. Who will rule the world? This is no perpetual dualistic battle between equals. Who wins isn’t the question – The LORD wins! – The question here is: will the Tyrant let the Firstborn of the LORD go freely or die trying to hold him down. Ozymandias might look powerful but he's history, the only question is how he falls.
This firstborn isn’t ultimately the nation of Israel – it’s The Christ – so see his victory. As the firstborn he is the head of a new humanity who images the LORD to his world (Colossians 1:15). This new humanity will rule the earth under one head, Christ, multiplying and increasing throughout every people group. See the Christ! Look to his triumph in the coming chapters and look to his triumph on a Roman cross. Get on the side of the Christ who wins or know him standing against you. Believe and worship Him and leave slavery behind to embrace the freedom of life in Christ with his people, the church. Life in view of his victory over all the powers and authorities of evil, whom he publicly humiliated and exposed. See Christ, see his victory.