In our study of Exodus chapter three, we will look at Moses' 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.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
As we start to examine the call of Moses, we see that he was going about the business of tending the flock instead of seeking a high position. It seems that God has mostly used the common people who were going about their own business to serve His purposes. We also see that he went to the mountain of God which was on the far side of the desert. This is a picture of the fact that the people that God uses usually have to go through some trials and troubles before they are greatly used by Him.
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.
We see in this that God usually has to get our attention before we will believe and trust Him. Moses came face to face with Jesus in a bush that was burning but was not consumed. It is cool to know that God knows exactly what it takes to get the attention of each and every one of us.
So Moses thought, 'I will go over and see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up.' When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, 'Moses! Moses!' And Moses said, 'Here I am.'
Next, we see that God verbally spoke to Moses and, at that point, he had a choice to make. He could have turned around and ran from God but he chose to answer the Lord. The same type of choice happens in each of our lives as God calls us to Himself and we have the option to answer and be saved or to continue to run away.
'Do not come any closer,' God said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.' Then he said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' At this, Moses hid 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) for the purpose of Moses' meeting with God. With that in mind, we should understand that everywhere that we study God's word, pray, sing, dance, etc. in worship is holy ground. There are many even today that think we must go to a specific building to meet with the Lord but He is not interested in the building but in our coming to Him.
The Lord said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey - the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.'
We see that the God of Abraham had seen and heard his children crying and was concerned. Not only was He concerned but He was going to deliver them. Jesus goes on to remind Moses of the promise that God had made to Abram 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.
'And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.' But Moses said to God, 'Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'
Jesus again tells Moses that He has heard the cry of His people but then He goes on to tell Moses that He is going to use him to deliver them. Moses' 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 Moses'?
And God said, 'I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.'
God's answer to Moses' objection is patient and loving as He reminds Moses 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.
Moses said to God, 'Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" Then what shall I tell them?'
Moses' 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 Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I AM has sent me to you."' God also said to Moses, 'Say to the Israelites, "The Lord, the God of your fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob - has sent me to you." This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.'
Once again, God answered Moses' objection and gave him the words that he would need. In the name given (I AM), we are reminded of the fact that God is the foundation of all things as He created everything in the beginning. God told him (and us) to remember that name because it is the basis for everything else. To come to God, we must first acknowledge Him as the eternal Creator because that is the basis for His authority.
'Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, "The Lord, the God of your fathers - The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites - a land flowing with milk and honey."'
The first step for Moses 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.
'The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, "The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God." But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.'
God assures Moses 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. We might also ask why God laid out the whole plan for Moses but many times it seems like He only gives us our next step. The simple answer is that Moses was not going to have the presence of God with him as he dealt with Pharaoh. God only gives us the next step we need to take because He will always be there with us through the Spirit to give us the next step when it is time.
'And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.'
The Hebrews had been slaves for many years but God assured Moses that they would receive the wages for their work.