Do you have a big decision to make and you want God to show you which is the right one? Are you looking for affirmation from God that what you’re doing is best? Is God telling you to do something but you want confirmation from him that he is really telling you to do it? Are you frustrated because God isn’t answering your prayers for wisdom in choosing what to do in a particular situation? These are just some of the ways that we seek a sign from God in order that we can trust him. Yet with Moses, God’s sign wouldn’t come until after Moses had obeyed him.
Moses was just a simple shepherd tending his father-in-law’s flock when God broke into his life and told him that he was going to bring the Israelites out of Egypt from under Pharaoh’s hand. Exodus 3 records that conversation between God and Moses, and in verse 10 God tells Moses that he is being sent to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses’ response in verse 11 reveals his doubt in God’s instructions. He clearly felt that he was inadequate, and probably feared what would happen to him since he had fled Egypt years earlier for murdering an Egyptian. Basically, Moses was looking for some sort of confirmation that God was really telling him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites away from Pharaoh.
It is often this same doubt or fear that leads us to look for a sign from God. We want something that we can point to as affirmation that God was the one leading us. Or we want an excuse not to obey, because “surely whatever sign we’re looking for can’t possibly happen”. Regardless the motivation behind our seeking a sign, we are effectively telling God that we won’t trust him unless he submits to our terms for following him. And while God may give us the sign that we seek, patiently dealing with us in much the same way that he did with Gideon, that is not the way that he dealt with Moses. And I would submit that it isn’t the way that he typically deals with us.
In Exodus 3:12 God responds to Moses’ doubt with “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” This is significant because the sign God is giving Moses to confirm that he is the one God has chosen, is that he will lead the Israelites to worship God in that very location. In other words, before Moses will receive the sign that God was telling him to lead the Israelites, he would have to obey God’s command and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. This would require faith and trust in God on the part of Moses, especially since it would not be an easy, peaceful task for him.
God promised Moses that he would be with Moses and would use Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And the sign that it was God telling him to lead the Israelites would be the fulfillment of that promise. Is there some area in your life that you are looking for a sign from God in order to proceed? What promises has God given in the Bible about that decision? How is God asking you to trust him in that situation? Guess what? The sign that God is giving you most likely is that he will fulfill his promises when you trust him and obey him. This is the faith that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and Galatians 2:20. And this is how we submit to Jesus each and every day.