One day, after Moses has grown up, he’s out and notices an Egyptian beating an Israelite slave. Moses kills the Egyptian and runs away from Egypt out of fear that he’ll be in trouble. Out in the desert, he meets a family in Midian. The father of the family is Reuel/Jethro and one of the daughters is Zipporah. Moses ends up marrying Zipporah, and he seems like everything has just worked out on his own. He’s a shepherd and does the day to day shepherd thing. But then, one day, he sees something out in the desert that seems a bit strange: a burning bush. An Angel of God appears to him in this bush. God called to him in the bush. He tells Moses to take off his sandals because he’s on holy ground. God tells Moses that he’s seen the trouble the Israelites are in and he’s going to help. He’s going to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. This is also called “The Promised Land.” But Moses responds by questioning if he’s the one (3:11). God promises that He will go with Moses (3:12). Moses questions again thinking that the Israelites won’t believe him. God promises that they will. God gives him some special signs to show that He’s met with God (4:3). Now, this part is actually just funny. Moses throws the staff down onto the ground, and it turns into a snake. Moses runs from it. He also gave him the signs of 1) giving his hand leprosy and 2) turning water into blood. Moses rejects God’s idea a third time by saying that he’s not good at speaking (4:10). God promises that he will give Moses words to say. Moses asks if someone else can do it (4:13). By this time, God is a little frustrated. But God still provided another way. He said that Moses’ brother, Aaron, could help. Moses eventually returned to Egypt and begins making preparations to go see Pharaoh. He explains the situation to the leaders of the Israelites. They agree that God is with Moses, and they worship him together.
There are a couple of lessons that stuck out to me in preparing this message. First, as a person grown up in Pharaoh’s palace, he takes responsibility for things in the kingdom. That’s why he felt it was his responsibility to help the Israelite who was being beaten. Did he do the exact right thing? I don’t think it was right to kill a person. However, I think the heart behind it was that Moses felt concern. We can’t just look at things that are wrong in this world and then turn away. That’s why homelessness must be eradicated (so we do action for Jesus). That’s why we need to help prostitutes and drug addicts and all of these people in the world who have all of these problems. It’s our responsibility. This is a kingdom attitude that it would do well for all of us to adopt. The closer you get to God’s heart, the more things that are broken in this world are your responsibility. They are ultimately things that God wants to change. He said on Earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). He’s put you here to be a part of that. The important thing to rememberer is that if we try to do it on our own power or with our own thoughts, we end up hurting the situation, or even killing people. Second, Moses didn’t think he was equipped for what God had called him to. Remember all those excuses he made? What if the people don’t listen? I’m not good at talking. Blah, blah, blah. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! Take a step of faith and see how God continues to move. Maybe, you don’t feel equipped to change the business that you’re a part of. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re good enough to meet with your friends and share God with them. The truth is that God will, what he wants you to do, is something that you can only do with His help. And if you are attempting something that you can do by yourself, then your dream is too small. We’re talking about God using this shepherd to set an entire nation free. Trust that God will find a way for it to happen. Fear is what holds us back from the destiny that God has called us to. Fear is making God small and your problem big. Faith says “God is bigger than my problem. I can see that God is going to do something here.” I wonder if Moses had listened to God instead of making excuses if Moses would have done the whole thing, without needing Aaron’s help. It’s something to consider. What if instead of fear, we stepped out in faith into the big difficult situations that are in front of us. Last, God puts you in the context of a community that can and wants to help. Moses had his immediate and extended family, including Jethro (who we will probably see more of later), Zipporah, Miriam (to come) and Aaron. Don’t ignore the team of people that God has put around you. You don’t need to do this by yourself. Ask for help!
I also love how these things ring true of Jesus as well. Moses was led by the Spirt (Numbers 11:25). Moses did all of his work because he had the Spirit. The Bible explains this about Jesus, too. He is God, of course. But Jesus was also a man. In fact, the Bible says that He set aside all of His godly power so that he could show us how to live as us (Philippians 2:5). Jesus did everything He did (all the miracles, all the prophecies, all the blessing, all the teaching) as a man. The Bible says that He was filled with the Spirit. That’s God’s desire for each of us. Not a life where we just try to make it from week to week. Not just a fun time on Sunday night and then a crappy rest of the week. I’m talking about power and love from God. I’m talking about being filled with His presence EVERY DAY. In Acts, the Spirit was poured out (Acts 2:17), which means the Spirit rests on all of us, if we’re willing!
However, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the whole burning bush scene. I love the fact that Moses just steps to the side to see what crazy thing is happening. Right now, I want all of you to think to this week. What is something crazy that happened. What is something out of the ordinary. I really believe God is speaking to us in many ways. He uses His word. He uses prayer. He uses family and friends. He uses the church community. He also uses circumstances and things around you. Listen up! God’s speaking to you. Maybe he’s calling you to transition into something crazy and new, something you never thought you could do.