This morning, we continue on our journey.
700 years before Nebuchadnezzar’s blazing furnace and 1,400 years before the birth of the church at Pentecost, another miraculous fire was burning. God called out from within a bush that was on fire, but never burned up to a man named Moses.
And also again, God was concerned for His people. They were being harshly oppressed and He heard their cries of suffering. They were still in between the place where God told Abram to “go” and the land that was promised to him and his descendants. They were stuck in Egypt; physically between the place of promise and the place of the fulfillment of that promise. And, yes, it can be a discouraging and miserable place to be.
God remembered His promise and said to Moses:
So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
With all of Moses’ concerns and questions, God’s consistent response was the assurance that He would be with Moses. Moses felt unqualified and insignificant for the calling that God had placed on him.
Last week, the disciples were confused and questioned Jesus and His response was simply, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I AM! I AM WHO I AM!
Later in Moses’ life, he was again growing frustrated and overwhelmed with the journey that he was on and the calling of God on his life. Like Thomas last week, Moses just wanted to know the right things to do;. He just wanted to know God’s ways so that he could make right life decisions. Moses said:
13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Again, God’s response again was simply that He would be with Moses. God’s Presence is enough. Jesus is enough. The infilling of the Holy Spirit is enough.
Life is less about making all of the right decisions and more about getting to really know God and how to live in cooperation with Him. Jesus taught:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Life is less about doing all the right things and more about truly knowing Jesus!
Whatever we may be going through and wherever we are at on our journey, God’s consistent assurance for us and reminder to us is that He is with us and for us.
Moses’ role was just to walk in cooperation with God and to trust Him. First, Moses was to go to the elders of Israel, then he was to go to the Pharoah and request that he let the Israelites go on a 3 day journey into the wilderness to worship the Lord. It sounds like a simple request, but God said:
19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
There is always a whole lot of ‘go’ing involved in the Kingdom of God! When we go with God, we may go through adversity and challenges and hardships, but we will always get through them and receive a tremendous blessing on the other side of them!
Though Pharaoh may have had a hardened heart toward God’s people, the Egyptian people favored them. When the hardships were over, God’s people walked out of Egypt toward His promised land with the wealth of Egypt in hand. They received a plunder without fighting a war. The plunder was freely handed to them!
Even after God told Moses all of this:
1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has appeared to you.”
6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous – it had become as white as snow.
7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
We don’t have to be rich or surrounded by hundreds of friends or be very influential or be anything at all when it comes to making a difference in this world for Jesus. There will always be reasons to say, “No!” to God. There will always be excuses. There will always be legitimate reasons to not comply.
However, there is nothing too hard for our God! God is everything that we need to make a huge difference in the lives of those around us for Him. Moses had a speech problem and a hand and a staff. These were more than enough for God to use to work miracles to convince Moses, and others, that the Lord was with Him and moving and speaking through Him.
What did Moses need to do? Go! What did Moses do instead? Excuse himself away…
Long story short, we know that Moses did go, but that his brother Aaron came along to speak like a prophet for Moses.
Yes, God was mad about it, but God was patient and didn’t give up on Moses and the plans and purposes and future that He had planned. God was compassionate and merciful toward Moses and the journey to maturity that he was on. Moses had a rough past and though He was a Hebrew, and Israelite, he was raised as an Egyptian. As a result, he didn’t know God that well. However, God was going to ensure that they got to know each other.
God is patient and compassionate and merciful toward us as well. So long as He gives us our next breath, He has not given up on His plans and purposes for our lives. There is hope and we have a glory-filled future ahead of us! All that we have to do is to get to know God and cooperate with Him.
God chose Moses and called him out of the darkness and oppression of Egypt and purposed Moses to lead the rest of His people out as well. Right here, right now, today:
1 Peter 2:9-10
…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Like Noah, like Abram, like Moses, like Joshua, like Elijah, like Elisha, like Isaiah, like Jeremiah, like Paul, like Peter, and like countless others, you are being called to GO! We’re all being called on a journey with God. We have been purposed to get to know God better; the foremost priority. Then, we bring others into an encounter with Him so that they catch that same hunger and desire to know and to cooperate with Him.
This is most commonly referred to as the Great Commission:
18 Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Some are sent out as missionaries to particular places in the world and to particular people groups to live with them, build relationships with them, and to bring them into an encounter with God. However, we all were born for such a time as this. None of us are here accidentally. God knew what He was doing and He has a plan for our lives.
We all have degrees of influence in the lives of others with that same purpose. I believe that often, we don’t even realize the work that God is doing in the lives of others through us. It’s kind of like the “It’s a Wonderful Life” concept. We’re making a more significant impact than we realize!
All of us are being sent by God to GO! and to make disciples. In other words, while we’re on our own journey, we are to invite others to join us as we follow Jesus. We go with the promise that Jesus is with us and for us through it all to the very end of the age.
The Great I Am is all that we need.
The Great I Am is the way along our journey.
The Great I Am is with us and for us!
The Great I Am wants to speak to us and through us.
The Great I Am wants to move in our lives and through our lives.
The Great I Am does not know the concept of impossible!
The Great I Am can handle any obstacle or challenge in our way!
There is no power in Hell or any who can stand against the power and the Presence of The Great I Am!