But Moses protested again, "Look, they won't believe me! They won't do what I tell them. They'll just say, 'The LORD never appeared to you.'"
Then the LORD asked him, "What do you have there in your hand?" "A shepherd's staff," Moses replied.
"Throw it down on the ground," the LORD told him. So Moses threw it down, and it became a snake! Moses was terrified, so he turned and ran away.
Then the LORD told him, "Take hold of its tail." So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it became a shepherd's staff again.
"Perform this sign, and they will believe you," the LORD told him. "Then they will realize that the LORD, the God of their ancestors -- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob -- really has appeared to you."
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Put your hand inside your robe." Moses did so, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with leprosy. a7
"Now put your hand back into your robe again," the LORD said. Moses did, and when he took it out this time, it was as healthy as the rest of his body.
"If they do not believe the first miraculous sign, they will believe the second," the LORD said.
"And if they do not believe you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, it will turn into blood."
But Moses pleaded with the LORD, "O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me. I'm clumsy with words."
"Who makes mouths?" the LORD asked him. "Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say."
But Moses again pleaded, "Lord, please! Send someone else."
Then the LORD became angry with Moses. "All right," he said. "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? He is a good speaker. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. And when he sees you, he will be very glad.
You will talk to him, giving him the words to say. I will help both of you to speak clearly, and I will tell you what to do.
Aaron will be your spokesman to the people, and you will be as God to him, telling him what to say.
And be sure to take your shepherd's staff along so you can perform the miraculous signs I have shown you."
Then Moses went back home and talked it over with Jethro, his father-in-law. "With your permission," Moses said, "I would like to go back to Egypt to visit my family. I don't even know whether they are still alive." "Go with my blessing," Jethro replied.
Before Moses left Midian, the LORD said to him, "Do not be afraid to return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead."
So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.
Then the LORD reminded him, "When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will make him stubborn so he will not let the people go.
Then you will tell him, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son.
I commanded you to let him go, so he could worship me. But since you have refused, be warned! I will kill your firstborn son!'"
On the journey, when Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the LORD confronted Moses b and was about to kill him.
But Zipporah, his wife, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She threw the foreskin at Moses' feet and said, "What a blood-smeared bridegroom you are to me!"
(When she called Moses a "blood-smeared bridegroom," she was referring to the circumcision.) After that, the LORD left him alone.
Now the LORD had said to Aaron, "Go out into the wilderness to meet Moses." So Aaron traveled to the mountain of God, where he found Moses and greeted him warmly.
Moses then told Aaron everything the LORD had commanded them to do and say. And he told him about the miraculous signs they were to perform.
So Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called the leaders of Israel to a meeting.
Aaron told them everything the LORD had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched.
The leaders were soon convinced that the LORD had sent Moses and Aaron. And when they realized that the LORD had seen their misery and was deeply concerned for them, they all bowed their heads and worshiped.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)