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The Preparation and Calling of Moses

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The Preparation and Calling of Moses

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The Preparation and Calling of Moses

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Moses would only become the person God could use to deliver His holy nation after additional training. The great man of words and action needed meekness, humility, and patience. He would learn these traits through 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian.

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Preparation, Calling, and Choosing of Moses

Exodus 2:11-12 -- Acts 7:22-24 At this point Moses was part of the court of the Pharaoh. He was son of the Pharaoh's daughter with access to all the finer things of Egypt including a good education. He would have been a man with sophisticated tastes and sensibilities. In his early 40's he would have been at the peak of his career. A career that involves words and deeds.

This first portion of his long life was a time of preparation for the role God had in store for him. In some ways similar to Paul. Both were highly educated men who understood the nature of the false teachings and philosophies all around God's people. Both also had skill with the written which God would use to good effect. 

Education and knowledge can be effective weapons for fighting spiritual battles, for providing guidance, direction, and leadership among God's people. It is good to know and understand the enemy you fight.  God can use your education… however, education and knowledge can also be a trap... a source of pride… knowledge must be tempered with humility. 

Moses knew he was a Hebrew, and for whatever reason... at age 40+ Moses went out to see “his people”. He did not like what he saw... they were down-trodden and oppressed.

Exodus 2:13-15a Moses responds with anger and violence Acts 7:24-29 Moses saw this anger and violence as the path to deliverance.

Hebrews 11:24 Moses rejection of Egypt probably did not happen all at once. The phrase refused to be called the son of the Pharaoh's daughter implies a more formal renunciation of his status perhaps even including formal protests against the injustice.

The rash outburst of violence was probably not the beginning of Moses protest against the treatment of Israel... it was more likely that his indignation, disgust, and anger built up within him until he lashed out in murder.

It was an act of passion... but also premeditated... remember he looked around to see if there would be anyone watching. So there was an element of premeditation to it as well.

Moses Presumption

Moses  assumed his people would unify around him… this act of revolution and violence was the path to deliverance… He took the law into his own hands... he broke God's command against murder. For a just cause you might say…  But, we will never create justice through unjust means.

Moses also assumed he could lead Israel to brotherhood as well as freedom. Noble sentiments but misdirected and unappreciated… the quarreling men of Israel ask "who made you leader"? However, God could, and would, work with and through Moses to build His holy nation and accomplish things Moses never dreamed of.

Moses would only become the person God could use to deliver His holy nation after additional training. The great man of words and action needed meekness, humility, and patience. He would learn these traits through 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian.

This episode makes me think of Martin Luther King Jr. Who is revered no just for what he accomplished but how he accomplished it. The movement he lead did not resort to violence. IN fact when someone wanted to be a part of what King was doing they had to take a training course in how to react non-violently… because responding in anger, violence and revenge is how the flesh and blood mind thinks. It takes effort to think and respond otherwise…. Moses too needed some training.

Moses Flees to Midian

Exodus 2:15b-22 Moses seems to have an instinct for brave intervention on behalf of the weak being pushed around by the strong... its probably one of the things God liked about Moses.

Moses settles in for the long haul and marries  Zipporah... but, He would not allow himself to feel at home there... naming his son "stranger/foreigner" to remind him of his sorrow in exile. His marriage is not a love story like Rachael or Rebecca... the marriage had tensions [which we see in chapter 4].

Exodus 2:23-25 had God forgotten them and only now remembered? No, it means that now it was time to move the promise of the covenant forward Genesis 15:13.

Dabbling with Egyptian idolatry had played a part in Israel’s enslavement… Why had God allowed it to happen? [big question]

The years in Egypt accomplished some logistical needs for creating a nation out of the family of Abrahan:  1) the apartheid system of Egypt kept them from simply blending in to the greater population of Egypt. Which would have also happened if they had stayed in Canaan. 2) in Egypt they grew in numbers to the size of a nation. 3) their redemption from bondage as an entire nation would demonstrate the power of God in establishing this holy nation.

Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-4 Moses does not appear to be searching for God... God graciously seeks out Moses.

The word "angel" is malek which simply means "messenger, or representative of"... malek does not have to be a cherubim or seraphim… but it can be. The best explanation is that the word/ logos ... who was God and who was with God is in the bush as a representative of the God family. This same word/logos comes again as Jesus to represent the God family for human beings... John 12:44-45.

It is interesting that God chose not to reveal himself in human form as He had with Abraham, or Jacob. Perhaps this is to counteract the Egyptian way of thinking of God in terms of form or appearance. This precaution will later form be encoded as the 2nd commandment. Man is the true likeness of God… but God wants to be know by His character and his deeds... not His appearance.

God had been watching Moses and loved him. Saying a person name twice -- "Moses, Moses" is a semitic form of endearment, for example; "Samuel, Samuel", "Saul, Saul".  

But, Moses might not have felt very loved by God... exiled from his people, no homeland, all his impressive education reduced to herding smelly sheep and goats. How is that love?

Hebrews 12:5-8 God's type of love provides discipline, training, correction. In this way God’s love provides purpose. All the trials, troubles and sorrows of Moses life would take on purpose and meaning when applied to important task God would give Him. This is how you should regard the ups and downs of life. Faith does not make us immune to life’s trials, rather it give us meaning and purpose where formerly there may not have been any.

Take Off Your Shoes

Exodus 3:5-6 God's demand that Moses take off his shoes is the first indication of the overarching theme of Exodus; 1) how can sinful human beings come into the presence of the most holy… YHWH 2) how YHWH can come into the presence of humanity. Answer: keep clean, show respect, maintain a healthy fear of becoming too familiar.

Moses shoes would have been covered with dirt, dust, and goat droppings. The lesson here is: 1) we must not bring our unrighteous passions, and selfish desires into God's presence 2) we must show humility. Application: The most obvious application of this is how we come before God in prayer, but also how we come before Him in holy convocation each Sabbath.

Moses could not bring his desire for revolution, violence, and revenge into the process of God’s deliverance.

The Land

Exodus 3:7-10 by default, Egypt had become their land... earthly, sensual, difficult... but in the unfolding of the covenant God would give them a new land.

The land would be a gift that no one could take away from them... unless the gave it up themselves. It was to be a permanent inheritance and there would be lots of regulations about land and property rights in the laws and statutes they would receive later. The land was an old covenant type of the new covenant inheritance... eternal life... a gift from your Creator which no one can take away... unless you give it up yourself.

How Can I Be God's Representative?

Exodus 3:11-12 Moses had lost his presumption and self confidence... in God's eyes, NOW he was ready. Moses could be trusted to act in such a way that none would doubt deliverance came from God not the power, strength, or eloquence of a man.

God also gave Moses a concrete goal which…  when it came to pass at Mt. Sinai… Moses would understand that God's power had brought them there. Moses would be able to reflect on this fulfillment in later year. He would find strength and assurance through the difficult 40 years wilderness years ahead. Application: remembering what God has done for you in the past can give you strength for trials in the present.

What Shall We Call You

Exodus 3:13-15 Moses asks a sensible question considering the polytheistic environment of the time... "which god are you"? God's answer is two-fold 1) I am the self existent one, I am life itself 2) I am the God of history and prophecy [ of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. Why do I say Yahweh? YHWH=eternal

Exodus 3:16-22 YHWH now gives a brief overview of how the exodus will transpire, including a dramatic demonstration of power over Egyptian false gods

Moses Hesitates

The bible does not idealize its heroes, we see them in their sin and weakness... Moses too.

Exodus 4:1-9 Moses is more worried about how his own people will react to him than the Egyptians. Like us, the heroes and messengers of God are often most concerned about how they will be viewed by their own people rather than the enemy.

In times of adversity we are strengthened by knowing we are not alone... that we have friends family and comrades who support or will benefit from our efforts. A soldier may have less resiliance to face his enemy if the people he fights to protect are against him.

Application: every one of us must take their own stand... no one can carry you into the kingdom of God. But God has given you one another to encourage and strengthen one another. That a benefit built into gathering on the Sabbath. Don't neglect it... don't forget it.

To get the people to rally behind Moses God provides three miraculous signs:

  1. The Staff - the rod of the shepherd will overpower the sceptre of the Pharaoh. The power of God demonstrated through the use of weak agents to confound the mighty
  2. The Leprous Hand - He carries with him the power of life and death
  3. River of Blood - God will avenge the murders of their children

Why Me?

Exodus 4:10-17 the inclusion of Aaron would provide moral support but at a price. Moses bloodline would not receive the priesthood. Aaron was also not the tenacious leader Moses was... think for example of Aaron's passive weakness in the golden calf incident. The best speaker is not necessarily the best leader.

Earlier we read that Moses was a man mighty in words and deeds… had he lost his self confidence after 40 years of slogging it out as a shepherd in the wilderness? ... Was he self absorbed/self pitying remembering how he had been rejected as deliverer 40 years earlier? Was he taking humility too far?

Reluctance in taking up a task or position offered by God... it is not good. We should be more fearful of not assuming important roles within the Church when they are offered rather than a display of false humility. The truly meek and humble will do what God wants. With confidence in God not them self.

Each and every one of us has been asked by God to do something challenging... some in the future, some here and now… [showing hospitality, offering financial support, giving mercy, laboring in prayer prayer, encouraging those in trials, providing teaching, helping administer the various tasks that go into pulling off a holy convocation each week]. This is the Church… you… me… him… her.

Early in his career Moses put himself forward as deliverer based on His own skills and personal charisma... that was a failure. Later, after he had learned humility, meekness, and patience God gave him the role. At that point in his career Moses knew he didn't have everything it would take to make deliverance happen.

But God said "I will be with you"... don't hold back... He says the same to you and me today.