Lenten Discipline Week 6: Please send someone else

Hi Friends and Readers!

Welcome to Week 6 of our shared Lenten Discipline, to meditate, reflect, and pray on one of the Old Testament Wednesday Bible texts. I will share a text, a brief reflection, discussion questions, and prayer. I invite you to use this brief study with family, friends, or even on your own.

This practice is my attempt to grow spiritually during this Lenten season, rather than giving up something. My hope is that it will draw me closer to God and bring me the clarity of purpose I need in this busy season. Thank you for joining me!

ICYMI, here's Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2, and Week 1

Lent Week 6

The Old Testament Text: Exodus 4:1-18

Ex. 4:1   Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’”  2 The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”  3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it.  4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand—  5 “so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” 

Ex. 4:6   Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.  7 Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body—  8 “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign.  9 If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” 

Ex. 4:10   But Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?  12 Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”  13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.”  14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad.  15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.  16 He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him.  17 Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.” 

Ex. 4:18   Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 

Reflection: Oh, God, you have a wonderful sense of humor. I am writing this blog from Minneapolis on April 10, as snow falls heavily outside. We are awaiting our second-year-in-a-row Snowmaggedon, which is happening to hit in the last week of Lent, the week before Holy Week, a week before my book endorsements are due. I began this week thinking, a bit sheepishly, that I'd like to just fast-forward through the whole thing. It has been a season of planting in our lives, of home improvement and hard work and raising two rambunctious boys. As I watch the snow fall outside, I can't help but think O my Lord, please send someone else ..."

We are all sent, each day, whether to caregiving or teaching or engineering or working or cleaning or driving or serving or learning or retiring or volunteering or writing or litigating or designing or drawing or wherever you go and whatever you do in your world. 

Sometimes the task ahead is daunting, filled with unexpected curves and no guarantees. I think I just described parenting - or marriage! But I just described my life, too. And even when you feel filled with the Holy Spirit, that you are doing exactly what God has desired you to do -- sometimes you still buckle under the fatigue or despair of uncertainty. 

My alarm goes off, or maybe my 3-year-old comes in and rubs my face ... morning comes early, especially when you lay awake from 3 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., wondering and worrying. 

"Mom, what's for breakfast?" "Mom, I need help!" "Your bill is due."

O my Lord, please send someone else ...

Still, we persevere. Sometimes blindly or hesitantly. Sometimes alone.

This is where we miss the message of today, our final Lenten Discipline before Holy Week next week. Because God's message, even in the face of our own doubt and uncertainty, is mercy, comfort and assistance. God responds to Moses in this book of Exodus first with a display of God's miraculous power, right in front of Moses' eyes. Sometimes I miss the everyday displays of God's miraculous power in my life, though the other day when I picked up Josh from preschool, we paused and stared at a glorious rainbow.

Sometimes our miracles are not a staff into a snake but instead a simple kindness from a stranger; an unexpected conversation. My mom calls them "God winks," and she delights in recounting them.

Still, even after the miracles, Moses is hesitant. Perhaps he is confident in God but not in himself. He's honest with God about his uncertainties, his perceived shortcomings. That's hard to do, isn't it?

Nonetheless, God does not mock or shame Moses' honest disclosure. Instead, God responds. Moses is unconfident in his speaking ability, and so God sends him a friend - his brother, Aaron, a gifted speaker. See, I believe God's help to us is not only through the supernatural, not only through conversation and prayer, but also through one another. When we admit our needs and fears to God, God often gifts us with a friend, if only we look beyond our fear to the person standing next to us.

Ben on our December trip to Northern Minnesota
A reminder ... snow CAN be beautiful ...


1. Are you surprised that God is so patient and responsive to Moses' worries?

2. Why would God choose Moses if Moses was so unconfident and afraid?

3. What does God's choice of Moses say about who God is and who God chooses?

4. Verse 14 says God was angry, and yet he still chose to supply Moses with a helper. What does this suggest about God's anger?

5. What do you think Moses was thinking as he set off on his mission?


O Lord through these 40 days, I want to hear your voice. I want to feel the presence of Your Spirit, even when I'm tired, I doubt myself, and I want you to send someone else in my place. Help me to be confident, to see your miracles, and to look for friends you place in my midst. In Jesus' name, AMEN


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