Exodus 3 Continued
Well, Moses turned aside for the burning bush and met the great I AM WHO I AM. He was worried what he would say when the people would ask who sent him. We found out that God answered Moses, giving him His Name so that there would be a relationship, but when Moses met with the people, they never asked that question. We know that God knew that they wouldn’t ask, but He still went out of His way to make sure Moses had what he needed to carry out God’s mission. What I love is that we see the I AM mentioned at other times: by Jesus; and even with the Angel of the Lord that visited Samson’s mother to inform her of her pregnancy. What a great God, I AM, we serve.
Don’t you sometimes wish that you could see a burning bush? Sometimes God gives us tangible things, but I remember once asking Pastor Don why some people seem to have such dramatic things happen after their salvations and God was so seemingly silent in my life. He pointed out that faith grows stronger when we listen for that still small voice, that signs and wonders do not always make for great faith. Sometimes people depend on the signs and wonders, and then when the signs and wonders cease their faith suffers. I have to tell you, God does speak if you listen. Today was an example in point. I was having a bit of difficulty with my middle son, and driving to pick him up after school I was praying, talking to God about the situation, crying, and then giving him over to God. I then rebuked satan, when the Holy Spirit showed me that the difficulty was probably due to the fact that I had taught Friday’s Bible study, and satan wanted to make sure that I was distracted and not effective. So I told satan that My God was bigger than him, and that satan’s place was under my feet. I then praised God. When I got to the school I asked God to make sure I could smile and not sound choked up because of the tears I had been crying. He did that, and when my son got in the car, he apologized for being a jerk (I had said nothing but Hi, how was your day?) and he has been sweet all night. I think that for us, so often we need to look for those God moments, not the dramatic burning bush kinds, but the ones that happen all the time that go unnoticed. I have to tell you, I spent the evening thanking God. I think that sometimes we pray and forget to thank.
Anyway we stopped at Exodus 3:15.
Exodus 3:16 God tells Moses, “Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, “The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, ‘I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey'”
Here we finally get the full name – The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. God has been building up this name over the time He spent with the Patriarchs. Each time God reveals Himself we get a tiny bit more of a picture of Him. I have to be honest, I know that what little we know of Him is a smattering of His greatness. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when we finally meet face to face. Before I got saved, I used to think Heaven would be boring – not so. There will be so much to learn and see. This passage used to bother me a bit because God saw what was happening to the Israelites, and because of my past I used to think, if God is seeing what is going on, why doesn’t he DO SOMETHING. What I did not realize is that I was seeing things from my own little perspective, and not seeing the whole picture of what God sees. Sometimes the things that seem so wrong, turn out so wonderful in the end. In one of the future chapters of the Bible, God points out that he left some of the enemies of Israel in place to tend the land and keep the wild animals out. When the Israelites moved in, the land was ready for them. God had preserved the people from famine, he kept them safe from enemies when they were a small tribe of about 70. In Egypt, although conditions were difficult when they were made slaves, the armies of the Egyptians kept the tribe from being wiped out, and kept them safe to grow into large numbers. Now all the conditions necessary for God’s next step are in place, and the Israelites soon will begin the trek to the Promised Land. How often we think we know what is in our best interests, we tell God what to do, how to do it, when to do it. And thank God, He often does not listen to our pleas and accommodate us, for He truly does know far more than we do, and has a perfect sense of timing.
Exodus 3:18 Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, “The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us and now, please, let us go three days journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
Soon we are going to hear Moses tell God that he is not a public speaker, and Moses will beg for Aaron to help him – Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Moses had just stepped out on his own in faith. I bet, when he needed to speak for God, God would have taken care of his stuttering. Here God is telling Moses, Moses they WILL LISTEN TO YOU. And God tells Him what to say. I find it interesting that it is three days journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to God. I can only think of Jesus and three days in the tomb, Jesus the perfect sacrifice.
When I first met Pastor Don, I had finished reading the Bible once, and was beginning again. One of our first discussions had to do with the fact that I thought God had hardened my heart like He had hardened Pharaoh’s heart. I also thought it was rather heartless of God to do such a thing to Pharaoh, the all-powerful God making it impossible for Pharaoh to have a softened heart. Pastor Don pointed out that God does not force obedience on anyone, including Pharaoh, and the first few times that Pharaoh’s hardened heart is mentioned – Pharaoh is the one doing the hardening. After a time, God honors Pharaoh’s desire to have a hard heart, and in the end gives him his wish. I have to tell you, I am so grateful that God held out on me until I could come to Him for salvation. I know that there is a time in each and every person’s life where God will give them the desires of their heart, and if that desire is to walk away from God and serve satan, so be it. I just hope that people find Jesus before they make that one last decision that is so eternal life-threatening. God does know what Pharaoh is going to do because He knows the end from the beginning, but God still gave Pharaoh free will. Oh the discussions we could have about predestination and free will. Problem is we see all these things with our three dimensional mind, and God is so far above and removed from that three dimensional limitation.
Exodus 3:19-20 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.
God is telling Moses the agenda. We will see that each of the plagues that God sends to Egypt attack the “sovereignty” of one of Egypt’s gods. And also, if you have studied Revelation, you will see similarities in the plagues, for many of them will be repeated. Remember that Egypt is also a symbol of the flesh.
We saw with Joseph, how God prospered Potiphar and Egypt for Joseph’s sake. Now the Israelites have been serving Egypt as slaves, not being paid for their work. God will make sure the Israelites have back-pay and then some. Israel will not leave empty handed. Verse 21-22 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.
See, God has the whole thing planned out. The Egyptians prospered under the Israelites so that they can provide the Israelites with what they need.
I am going to stop here, but I have to tell you that Moses’ reaction in Chapter 4 probably mirrors our reactions when God tells us something to do that seems beyond our ability. I love the fact that Moses talks his concerns over with God, and God takes the time to answer Him. I sometimes wonder if we dicker too much with God if He will then go somewhere else to get the task done. But I am praying for more obedience and trust in my life, so that God uses me to His utmost for His glory.
Hoping you have an incredible day!
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