Throughout the rest of the book of Genesis, we see God speaking directly to his people. He speaks to Noah about the building of the ark before the flood. God tells Abraham to go to the land of Canaan and of his promise to have a son who will bring about the nation of Israel. God speaks to Jacob in Bethel promising to bring him back to Canaan after fleeing in fear from his brother Esau. From whom he supplanted the blessings of his father, Isaac.
But in the book of Exodus, God chooses to speak to one man, Moses. Moses is in the wilderness hiding from Pharaoh after he killed an Egyptian who was persecuting one of the Jews. The Jews were now being persecuted by Pharaoh after living in the land of Goshen for 430 years.
Moses is tending the sheep of his father-in-law, Median, when he turns aside to see a burning bush. “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Ex. 3:1-10 Moses ask the question about who he should say sent him to the people of Israel. God replies in verse 14 and 15,
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
This is a critical turning point on how God deals with his people. From this point forward God wants to speak to his people through Moses. But Moses gets into an argument with God about not being able to speak properly, “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him,” Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. “ Exodus 4:10-16.
Aaron enters the picture and God tells Moses that his brother will be his spokesman to the people. God tells Moses that he will teach him what to say and Moses in turn would put those words in Aaron’s mouth. Let’s see how it all turns out. God instructs Moses to take his brother, Aaron and go before Pharaoh and to say, “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: “And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.”
Ex. 4:23. Then verses 28-31, “And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
Here we see God speaking to Moses who speaks to Aaron who then speaks to the people and all the people believed God. Lesson learned? “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “ Rom. 10:17 God is teaching us here that when his words are spoken the way they were intended that it produces faith in his people.
Now it’s time for Moses and Aaron to go before Pharaoh and tell him, “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: “And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn” God now wants Aaron to speak words that pronounce judgment to the wicked. Aaron opens his mouth and says, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.” Ex. 5:1-3. What do we have here?; The first edition of the NIV bible. Houston we have a problem. Aaron spoke words that were different from the words he received from Moses.
God is teaching us that a sinful man cannot be trusted to always tell the people his words the way they were spoken to him. Again we see in Exodus 6:29-30, “And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee. And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me? “God wants to use Moses to speak to Pharaoh. But this time Moses tells God, “I am of uncircumcised lips”. Moses is telling God that his lips were not fit to be used because they were corrupt. When Isaiah saw the Lord after the death of Hezekiah he said, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”. Isa 6:5. In these two phrases Moses and Isaiah are saying that their lips are filled with iniquity and corruption and are not fit to be used by God. These two phrases are crucial to the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Bible. They were played out when Aaron failed to give Pharaoh God’s words as they were spoken to him by Moses.
The Lord then tells Moses, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.” Ex. 7:2 Aaron is commissioned by God to be the prophet to Moses, God is commanding Aaron to speak the truth to the word’s given to him by Moses who received them from God. But how can Aaron speak the truth to God’s words when he can’t get it right? We shall soon see.
God did destroy the land of Egypt with plagues. And he did kill the firstborn of the Egyptians on the night of the Passover when the death angel did not see the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorposts of their houses. But wait a minute, Aaron never told Pharaoh that God would kill their firstborn if he did not let his people go. He told Pharaoh to let the people go in order to have a feast. It doesn’t matter because the Bible says,” That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Heb. 6:18. God did what he said he was going to do because it is impossible for him to lie.
Aaron doesn’t always speak the words given to him by Moses from God. Moses says that he is a man of uncircumcised lips. God is using this situation to make his case for the verbal inspiration of his words.
The Israelites are now in the wilderness near Mt. Sinai after crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. In Exodus 19 God tells Moses to gather the people near the bottom of the mountain in order for them to hear his voice when he speaks to Moses.” And the LORD said unto Moses,” Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.” Exodus 19:9
God calls Moses to the top of the mountain to speak to him. And the Israelites listen to God at the bottom of mountain while he is speaking to Moses. During the time God is speaking to Moses something happened. “And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.” The verbal inspiration of the word of God just took place. And now all of God’s words are in writing. From now on every time Moses and Aaron spoke to the Israelites they had to read them from a written copy of God’s spoken words.
Now it’s time to determine who was speaking when Moses was writing all the words of the “voice of the Lord thy God.” “ For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” II Peter 1:21. It was the Holy Spirit speaking to Moses as he wrote all the words of God. But there is an interesting twist in this verse. Notice that it says, “ holy men of God spake”. It does not say that holy men of God spoke and wrote. Moses did all of the writing while the Holy Spirit did all of the speaking of God’s words.
God never called Moses a prophet. Aaron was the first prophet. What is Moses doing if he is only writing what he heard? He is doing the work of a scribe. Scribes in the Old Testament were part of the group of Levites, charged with keeping and maintaining copies of the law. They also were teachers and interpreters of the law.They were used to transmit copies of God’s word to the generations that came after them.
Ezra the priest was the most famous of the scribes. “This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses.” Ezra 7:6. Zadok the scribe is mentioned in Nehemiah 13:13, “And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe,” Jeremiah mentions Baruch the scribe who wrote God’s words by the mouth of Jeremiah. (See Jer. Chapter 36) Then we have Tertius who wrote the book of Romans by the mouth of the apostle Paul in Romans 16:22.
When the wise men came from the east seeking the new born Christ child they went to the palace of King Herod. Look what happens in Matt. 2:4-5, “And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet.”
Now let’s read Jeremiah 36:1-8 to see how God implements this plan to give his words to his people. “And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD’S house.” God tells Jeremiah to take a roll of a book and write down all the words that he speaks to him. Baruch writes on the scroll of the book all of the words of the Lord that are spoken to him by the mouth of Jeremiah. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is speaking through Jeremiah the words recorded by Baruch the scribe.
After Baruch the scribe is finished writing all the words of the Lord given to him by the mouth of Jeremiah, he reads in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house. (vs. 8). He then reads God’s words to Gemariah, the son of Shaphan the scribe. (vs. 10). Baruch goes to the king’s palace and other locations to read the words of God in chapter 36. And in chapter 36:17-18, “And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Notice what Baruch said, “He pronounced all these words unto me, then I wrote them down in the book.” This is the exact illustration of II Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “ And illustrates II Tim 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”