In our study of Exodus chapter three, we will look at Moshe's hesitation to answer the call of God upon his life. We will look at his reaction and apply it to our lives as Christians in the world today.
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Now Moshe was tending the sheep of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midyan. Leading the flock to the far side of the desert, he came to the mountain of God, to Horev.
As we start to examine the call of Moshe, we see that he was going about the business of tending the flock instead of seeking a high position. We see that is father-in-law has a different name here than in he did in the previous chapter but it is the same person. We also see that he went to the mountain of God which was on the far side of the desert and the name Horev means "very dry" or destruction.
The angel of ADONAI appeared to him in a fire blazing from the middle of a bush. He looked and saw that although the bush was flaming with fire, yet the bush was not being burned up.
In Hebrew, malach Hashem means "angel of the Lord" and, when it appears in the Torah, its purpose is deliverance or salvation. The angel appeared in a fire and, in the Torah, fire is usually seen as judgement. We see that, even though the bush was on fire, it was not consumed and this is picturing overcoming the judgement of God and that got Moshe's attention.
Moshe said, "I'm going to go over and see this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn't being burned up." When ADONAI saw that he had gone over to see, God called to him from the middle of the bush, "Moshe! Moshe!" He answered, "Here I am."
Although we see that Moshe is speaking to himself here, in Hebrew, what he says is like a question or like he is asking permission to do so. It appears that he is asking for God's permission to investigate this burning bush. In doing this, we see that Moshe is looking for revelation from God as he recognizes that this is not of the natural. When Moshe responded to the supernatural sight and turned towards it, then God spoke to him. When God spoke to Moshe, we see that his reaction was the same as that of Avraham and he said "Here I am" and that is a term of availability meaning he was read to listen and to act upon what he heard.
He said, "Don't come any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father," he continued, "the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov." Moshe covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
We are introduced to the principle of "holy ground" and so we must define it. As we see here, there was nothing special about the dirt itself but it was set aside (holy) by God for the purpose of Moshe's meeting with God. We see that Moshe was told to take off his shoes and that is a sign of respect. We see that God identified himself and when then Moshe covered his face as he recognized that God was holy and he was not worthy to look upon God because of his sin.
ADONAI said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that country to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi.
We see that the God of Avraham was aware and concerned about what was being done to His people. Not only was He concerned but He was going to deliver them. God goes on to remind Moshe of the promise that He had made to Avram to give him the land of Canaan who were cursed to be their slaves (see Genesis 9). Since we are children of God through Jesus Christ, we can be sure that He hears and cares about our cries just as He did the Hebrews. We can also know that He has destined us to be the masters at the proper time. This proper time is commonly called the Millennial Reign and we see it described in Revelation 20.
Yes, the cry of the people of Isra'el has come to me, and I have seen how terribly the Egyptians oppress them. Therefore, now, come; and I will send you to Pharaoh; so that you can lead my people, the descendants of Isra'el, out of Egypt." Moshe said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Isra'el out of Egypt?"
God again tells Moshe that He has heard the cry of His people but then He goes on to tell Moshe that He is going to use him to deliver them. Moshe's reaction is like everyone else who comes to realize that God is going to use them for something big. If we do not have that reaction, then, we do not understand what God is going to do. It should be both an honor and also humbling to know that God has chosen us to be a part of His plans. That goes for all of us today who are in Christ! He has called each and every one of us to deliver His people from the bondage of sin and death. When you realized that, was your reaction the same as Moshe's?
He replied, "I will surely be with you. Your sign that I have sent you will be that when you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."
God's answer to Moshe's objection is patient and loving as He reminds Moshe that He will be with them. God also gives him encouragement as He says that they will make it and will come to that mountain to worship God. We, who are in Christ, have the same assurance that He is with us and whatever He gives us to do will be successful.
Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?"
Moshe's next objection is simply that he might not have all of the answers. The same objection is used by many believers in giving a reason for not sharing their faith.
God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh has sent me to you.'" God said further to Moshe, "Say this to the people of Isra'el: 'Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has sent me to you.'This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.
Although God's answer here to the question of His name is usually translated as "I AM", that is not what the Hebrew actually says. God literally said "I will be who I will be" and that speaks of the future. That is significant in that, it shows us that, if we want to have a walk that is pleasing to God, we must be future minded and to be future-minded is to be kingdom-minded. When the people asked, Moshe was to tell them that "I will be" sent him and God's name is "YHWH".
Go, gather the leaders of Isra'el together, and say to them, 'ADONAI, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov, has appeared to me and said, "I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is being done to you in Egypt; and I have said that I will lead you up out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi, to a land flowing with milk and honey."'
The first step for Moshe was to speak to the leaders of the Israelites. He was to reassure them that God was watching over them and to tell them of His promise for them.
They will heed what you say. Then you will come, you and the leaders of Isra'el, before the king of Egypt; and you will tell him, 'ADONAI, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now, please, let us go three days' journey into the desert; so that we can sacrifice to ADONAI our God.' I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go.
God assures Moshe that the elders will be on board and then goes on to give His complete plan for the deliverance of Israel. We might ask ourselves why God would have them tell Pharaoh that they were to go out on a three-day journey. The simple fact is that God was testing Pharaoh's heart even though He knew the outcome.
Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won't go empty-handed. Rather, all the women will ask their neighbors and house guests for silver and gold jewelry and clothing, with which you will dress your own sons and daughters. In this way you will plunder the Egyptians."
The Hebrews had been slaves for many years but God assured Moshe that they would receive the wages for their work. This also shows us that with redemption comes a transfer of assets and it brings to mind the words of Jesus as He said that the meek shall inherit the earth.