03.5 Moses 3, Day 5

If you are relying on God, leave your baggage at home

One of our questions was how Moses prepared for the trip back to Egypt.  On the surface, this looks like a very simple question.  But, it actually is much deeper.  At first blush we think, Moses packed up and left.  But that isn’t the case.

First, let’s compare to Moses and Jacob and their return from running away from home in fear of their lives.  Jacob was away from home for 20 years and he returns with wives and children and donkeys and servants and flocks and gifts.  Moses is gone for 40 years and returns with a donkey, a wife, 2 sons and a stick.

But their purpose in returning was very different.  Jacob was returning to make a home.  Moses was returning to lead the people out.  Moses didn’t pack up.  He just left.  He took himself and his family and submitted to God and put his future in God’s hands.

But as important as what Moses didn’t take, let’s look at what he did drag along on the trip.  Moses had a burning bush moment.  He was called by God, by name, and given a specific commandment, “Go.”  He went, but he brought along un-repented and un-corrected sin.  Moses knew the commandment that all male son’s of Abraham were to be circumcised as a covenant to God.  Moses’ sons were clearly sons of Abraham, both their father and mother descended from Abraham.  Evidently one of Moses’ sons had been circumcised, so ignorance or lack of ability could not be argued either.  Simply, Moses had decided not to give one of his sons to God.  He had held him away from God, not giving God what was His.

Some commentators will lay the blame on Moses’ wife.  And the fact of the matter is that there is simply not enough information in these verses to draw firm conclusions.  But I don’t think this was Zipporah’s issue.  It doesn’t same God set out to kill Zipporah.  God’s anger was at Moses.

Moses received a calling and gave all the outward signs that he was putting his full faith and obedience in God, but he wasn’t.  He was still carrying with him this un-corrected sin, this act of rebellion against God.

Zipporah, Moses’ wife, saw what was happening and took the initiative to remove the uninvited guest on the journey, this un-corrected sin.  She took the physical embodiment of this rebellion and placed it under Moses’ heel.  Through the blood of her son she renewed her marriage vow to Moses and saved him from God’s wrath.

If you are a christian you have been called.  When God invited you to accept Jesus in your heart, you, too, had a burning bush moment, an encounter with God.  If you have accepted that gift and you accept to walk with God and trust in Him and obey Him then you, too, need to dump the baggage of un-repented and un-corrected sin.  God does not expect us to be perfect (yet), but he does expect us to cut ties with our old ways.

What do you need to remove from your journey with God? Sinful pictures, inappropriate media, connections with sinful friends, bad language?  What do you need to throw out, erase, crush, or burn?  What are you dragging along that should have been left behind?

If you don’t know what those things might be, then ask someone who loves you.  The baggage that we carry and try to hide is normally very evident to those who love us and love God.  Will it be pleasant or easy?  Maybe not.  But if you continue to walk with God there will be a time that God demands it go or you go.  God is not in the business of caring for your un-repented and un-corrected sin.  He is in the business of caring for you.

And when you do let it go, look at what happens.  We find the amazing answer in 3 words in Exodus 4:31.  Moses and Aaron told and showed all that they were commanded to do to the elders of Israel.  Moses and Aaron obeyed God by showing these things to the elders, “AND THEY BELIEVED.”  Don’t miss that.  When do you think the last time was that the elders of Israel believed?  “They bowed down and worshiped God.”  These are men who may not have fully believed their entire lives.  Moses was 80.  When he was born they were already in horrible bondage.  But in one day, in one conveyance of the word of God and the hope it brings, “they believed.”

 

My Answers:

8.
Sought approval of Jethro.  Took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey took the staff of God in his hand and started back to Egypt

9.
‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

10.
a.
Failed to circumcise his son

b.
Zipporah, his wife

c.
What un-corrected sin do I still carry even after all these years of being called to follow Christ?

11.
He was obedient and brave.  This was a man who was a slave and left Egypt to meet with Moses.  Slaves don’t just up and leave.

12.
Moses told Aaron EVERYTHING.  They together brought the elders together and told them EVERYTHING the Lord had said and performed the signs. “AND THEY BELIEVED”

 

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03.4 Moses 3, Day 4

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear

Insecurity, Inadequacy and Fear are three of the top 10 barriers that those of us called to serve the Lord allow to stand in the way of serving Him fully and whole heartedly.  Some will read the verses in our study today and see an impertinent or obstinate Moses.  But I think this is far deeper and more meaningful.

When we stand in the presence of God we will speak the truth.  Scripture tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I think what we see is Moses revealing his heart and soul layer by layer in the presence of a loving and patient God.  Yesterday we discussed the first 2 barriers.  I don’t know who I am and I don’t know who you are, God.  God addressed those.  Now we move deeper past the surface.

1. I am insecure.  What if they don’t believe me?  What if I lay myself out in front of them and they reject me?  God answers this by making Moses more secure and teaching him about God’s plan.  God shows him how to perform miraculous signs.  He doesn’t just tell him these signs, He allows Moses to practice the signs and to experience there impact first hand.  He teaches Moses what he is to do and enlightens him that they may not believe the first sign or the second sign and they may not listen to Moses, but they will believe the third.

2. I am inadequate.  I am not eloquent.  I am slow of speech.  What if I don’t have the words to convince them?  What if I don’t know what to say or how to say it?  God patiently reminds him not of Moses power but of Gods.  Who made it so men can speak?  This is not a barrier, because it is not a barrier to God.  God tells him again, “now, go” and reminds him that God will not only help him speak but actually teach him the very words to say.

3. I am afraid.  No one likes to admit we are afraid, but we all experience fear and it can paralyze us.  I believe Moses’ final request, that God send someone else, is an expression of his fear.  And how does God address this?  In two ways.  First, if you are going to have fear in your life, let it be a reasonable fear of the Lord.  God’s anger burned against Moses.  The shift from petty fears to righteous fear that Moses must have experienced at that moment must have been palpable.  But God did not use fear to be the motivation for Moses to obey.  This is very important.  God revealed Moses’ fear for what it was in comparison to the fear of God, but He didn’t leave Moses with something to move away from, He gave Moses something to look forward to.  The conversation between God and Moses reveals that Moses and Aaron knew each other as brothers.  Moses knew that Aaron could speak well.  Moses had been away for 40 years, away from home and family, and God overcomes his fear with a promise of hope and love and reuniting.  He tells Moses that Aaron is already on his way to meet him.  (Don’t miss that.  God didn’t yield to Moses’ fear, he had sent Aaron on his way before this conversation happened.)

God helps and is patient of us in exactly the same way.  He overcomes our feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.  He overcomes our fear with hope and love and reuniting.  He has given us the promise of a promised land that makes the land of Canaan look like a wasteland.  He has given us a promise of his presence that makes the pillar of fire look like a flashlight with weak batteries.

Like Moses, He has given us a sign and a promise: when our mission here on earth is done we shall return to a holy place to worship Him.

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
1. What if they don’t believe me or listen to me?
2. Pardon, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue.
3. Pardon, Please send someone else

b.
v2-9 foresight into miraculous signs
v11-12. who gave human beings their mouths?… Now, go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say
14-17. The Lord’s anger burned against Moses – gave him helper, Aaron

c.
I don’t know what to say.  I don’t want to offend.  I’m not the right person.  I’m too sinful to be believed.  I’m not holy enough.  God has been patient with me, taught me, and has taken up residence in my heart.

03.3 Moses 3, Day 3

Who am I? Who are you?

Moses first 2 objections speak volumes to where he was at this stage of his life.  He is about 80 years old.  He has lived 2 very different lives, in Egypt and in Midian.  He has been adopted into a new family twice.  But, truly he has no idea who he is and he also doesn’t know God.

But neither of those matter for God to call Moses to this assignment to go and bring out.  Even though Moses doesn’t know who Moses is, God does.  God knows not only the man he is today, but the prophet he will become.  God knows his strengths and weaknesses and that none of those matter.  We particularly see this in the way God answers Moses’ first question about himself.  He answers it by not answering it.  Who Moses is makes absolutely no difference.  It is irrelevant.  All that matters is that God is with him.

God knows that over time Moses will grow to rely on God’s strength which has no weakness.  And even though Moses does not yet know God, God knows that he will.  As Moses stands and teaches others about God and tells them the word of God and as he walks with God every day, that knowledge will come.

The name that God gives Moses in this introduction is deep and profound.  Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh in Hebrew.  Translators struggle to write this in English.  English is a language with 3 primary tenses, past, present and future.  Everything we say and write falls into one of those tenses.  I did.  I am doing.  I will do.  But Hebrew isn’t constrained by the same tenses.  In Hebrew the 2 primary tenses are perfect and imperfect.  Basically these translate into finished or completed and in progress or ongoing.  I use the analogy of the book is open and the story continues or it is closed and the story is ended to explain imperfect and perfect.  This statement, this name of God, is in the imperfect.  In this case it simultaneously says I was, I am, I will be, I have been and I continue to be.  In other words, God, in this name, introduces himself as I have existed, I do exist and I will exist all at the same time.

Isn’t this what all people who first are introduced to God question and want answered?  Is God real?  Does God really exist?  We inherently recognize that most of the gods people spend their times worshiping by their actions and hearts are not real, they don’t exist.  But when we encounter God, we recognize something is different.

God answers this question by Moses with simple but profound clarity – I exist, I am real.

 

Additional Note:

In Hebrew the names of God do not contain vowels, e.g., YHWH.  So this name of God is Ehyeh, or HYH, which is also pronounced Hi-Yah.  It made me chuckle to think of what a major Hiyah kick Moses received on this day in this encounter with God!

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
1. Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?
2. Suppose I go to the Israelites and… they ask me, “what is his name?”  Then what shall I thell them?

b.
v12. I will be with you, this will be a sign – return and worship God on this mountain
v. 14-22 I am who I am, I am has sent me to you, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob sent me, then assemble the elders and lay out the entire plan

c.
The second is powerful because it demonstrate God’s omniscience, but the more encouraging to me is the fact that God is with me and that the best and greatest sign is that through any mission or trial I will return to a place to worship Him.

6.
a.
One in Hebrew the other in Greek.  One is voice of God in spirit in a burning bush saying Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, the other is Jesus saying of himself, ego eimi.  Both translate into the same name of God: I Am.

b.
Jesus is and always has been God.  John 1:3 – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

03.2 Moses 3, Day 2

Holy Ground

The angel of the Lord, God, appears to Moses in a fire in a bush on Mount Horeb.  Those are the facts.  But there is so much more in this short passage.

1. Moses approached the burning bush as an item of curiosity.  It was not the expected.  The bush burned but was not consumed.  God creates He doesn’t consume.  But rather than see the divine spirit of God in the bush, Moses wanted to simply quench his own curiosity.  Moses said to himself, “I will go over and see this strange sight.”  But God is not just an item of curiosity or an oddity.  He is God.  He is living and holy.  He told Moses to stop and not come any closer.  The bush was a manifestation of God, but the object of attention was not the manifestation, it was God.  How often do people today have curiosity for and desire to have the trappings of church, the fellowship, the support, the songs and joy… just without God?

2. God appears to Moses at a time that he is alone and calls him by name.  “Moses, Moses”.  When God calls us it is a personal connection.  It may be when we are alone or it may be when we are in a large group, but regardless of how many other sheep are present, God calls us by name to convey the personal invitation that he has for us.

3. God instructed Moses to take off his shoes because this is holy ground.  First, what made it holy?  God was present in this place.  Any place that God is present is a holy place and one to be approached with reverence and care and respect.  Is God in your heart?  If so do you treat it as a holy place?  Is God in your relationship with your spouse and your children?  Is God in your house?  Is God in your life?  If so, do you see these as special, holy, set apart?  Second.  Why take off his shoes?  Some will say it was a proper sign of respect.  The sandals of a shepherd would have been dirty, dusty and he would have stepped in any matter of unpleasant things.  I buy this, except, they were sandals.  It is hard to argue his feet were any cleaner.  I think it goes back to the relationship God wants to have with us.  God wants to connect with us.  God wants us to be family with Him and to live in His home.  Yes, it is a sign of respect, but I think it is also a “kick your shoes off this is where you belong” message as well.

4. Since the fall of man, our first response to standing in the presence of God has been the same: we hide.  When we see God, we also know that He sees us and we have utmost clarity of our sin.  In the light of God’s perfection, we see our own imperfection and recognize what should happen to us.  We are simultaneously awed by His beauty and disgusted by our sin.  We rightly fall to our knees and we are afraid.

5. As Moses hid, God lays out his plan.  Moses is nothing more than a bit player in this production.  Moses is an extra on the set.  God has seen, God has heard, God is concerned, God has come down, God will rescue them, God will bring them up out of that land, God will take them to a land of milk and honey, God has been reached by the cry of Israel, God has seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing, God is sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring God’s people out of Egypt.    But barefoot, hiding Moses is hearing God, but he is seeing only Moses.  The one thing God has called Moses to do is “go”.  Moses knows how to go.  Moses even knows the way out of Egypt.  He took that journey 40 years before.

Our objective is to know and serve God.  That means looking deeper than the surface to really see the attributes of God present in the story.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
1. to get his attention 2. to show that God does not consume 3. to provide a visible presence for Moses to show that God was with him

b.
The presence of God

c.
This was holy ground.  Anywhere God is present becomes a holy place.  God’s heart was for a personal and deep relationship with Moses, a “kick your shoes off, you are home” relationship

d.
The preincarnate Jesus Christ

4.
a.
Moses, I have heard, seen and felt concern for my chosen people in Egypt and I am going to free them; Now, go and bring them out.

b.
Hears, sees and feel concerned.  God saves and provides more than we even desire