Last week our focus was on Jacob and the faithfulness God showed by keeping his promises, even while wrestling with Jacob. He also gave Jacob a new name, Israel – one who struggles with God.
This week we will talk about Moses, a complex character just like Jacob. Moses had been hiding out for about 40 years as a shepherd because he had committed murder back in Egypt. Now, at roughly the age of 80, Moses saw a burning bush and God called him to lead the nation of Israel out of slavery (Acts 7:23,30). There are several points to ponder in this great text, but I want to focus on just one area: Moses didn’t want to do it!
At least 5 times in Exodus 3 & 4 Moses comes up with excuses for why he cannot do the job. “Who am I…what shall I tell them…what if they don’t believe…I have never been eloquent…” And the final excuse makes it abundantly clear what Moses wants:
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”Exodus 4:13 NIV
To state that Moses was a reluctant participant in the work of God through the Exodus is an understatement. He did not want to go! The text tells us that Moses made God angry through his excuses and hesitation, but once again notice the faithfulness of God through this statement:
“I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.”Exodus 4:15 NIV
Even though Moses was not the most eager participant, God promised that he will “teach” Moses and Aaron what to do. God wasn’t going to just toss them to the wolves, he would be with them and would teach them.
Life is often difficult. And if we’re honest, God has called the church to do things that most of us don’t want to do. We would prefer being called to sit in the pews instead of obeying the command to make disciples (Mt. 28:19) Most of us can think of a hundred reasons why we aren’t qualified to do what God has called the church to do, but we forget that God is also a teacher at heart.
There’s an old saying that I love:
God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.
That’s the story of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses…and it’s our story too. We don’t have to rely on our own abilities if we are obeying the work God has called us to. He will prepare the way, he will take care of all the variables, and he will teach us as we go (Lk. 12:12, Jn. 14:26, 1 Jn. 2:27)
(Sermon text for 9/29: Exodus 1:8-14; 3:1-15; Mark 12:26-27)