Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Exodus 5-6 - The Life of Moses

Last week we learned that when God calls you, He will equip you and He will be with you through it all.  Moses considered himself unworthy, not an eloquent speaker, he said no one will listen to him, and for God to send someone else.  Do those excuses sound familiar to you?  They sure do to me.  I've used them all at one time or another.  God told Moses He would teach him what to say, He would be with him, and He would sent his brother Aaron to go with Moses and speak for him.  Moses and Aaron obeyed God and followed His instructions.

Exodus 5:1-23 - Moses Meets With Pharaoh

Moses and Aaron had their first meeting with the Pharaoh and said, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.'" - Ex. 5:1.  God's words carry with them His power to effect what they are saying.  The Bible is God's Word and is the highest authority.

Moses wanted the people to go into the desert to worship God.  Why in the desert?  Probably because since the Egyptians worship various animals, the Israelites didn't want to sacrifice their animals in front of the them.  This request was reasonable, because it showed respect to the Egyptians by going out into the desert.  And if the Egyptians saw these sacrifices, they might kill the Israelites.  Also the Israelites didn't want to offend them by throwing these sacrifices in their face.

This meeting with the Pharaoh was a disaster!  He didn't want to let them go.  He didn't know God.  He was full of himself and thought of himself as a god.  Instead of letting them go, the Pharaoh worked them even harder and even refused to supply them with the straw used to make the bricks.  They had to gather their own straw and still meet their quotas.  Of course they couldn't do it and the Israelite foremen were beaten. 

The slave drivers were Egyptians, but the foremen were Israelites.  The foremen had some belief.  They saw the signs and even worshiped God, but they went to Pharaoh and complained about the harsh treatment.  They lost focus and turned to Pharaoh instead of prayer to God.  Pharaoh didn't listen.  This showed courage on their part.  Pharaoh could have beat them, killed them, and done the same to the slaves. 

When have you turned to others in your circumstances instead of to God?

The foreman then went back to Moses and Aaron and blamed them for it all.  Moses and Aaron lost their credibility and were rejected by the people.  Again Moses questioned his qualifications.  Moses cried out to God, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people?  Is this why you sent me?  Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all." - Ex. 5:22-23.

Moses was disappointed and doubted God or maybe himself that he wasn't doing his job right.  Maybe he felt guilty that he was making things worse.  He probably was embarrassed and humiliated, even fearful.

When has your obedience to God seemed to make things worse?
What did you do about it?
What situation will you allow God to transform your disappointment?
Principle:  Following God's call often results in difficult circumstances, requiring reliance on Him.

Exodus 6:1-27 - Moses Meets With God

Moses cried out to God.  He brought his real feelings to God.  There is power whenever we come to God.  Prayers not only is to ask God for things, but it also includes thanksgiving, and worship.  God never told Moses it would be easy.

God reassured Moses by saying "I am the Lord" and repeated this 4 times.  This showed that God is not nameless, that He desires to be known, that Pharaoh is not God, and that God would eventually free them.  He reminded Moses of the Covenant made with Abraham.

God used "I will" 7 times.  "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians,  I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.  Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.  I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord'". - Ex. 6:6-8.

Now Moses was ready to get back to work.  God told Moses to repeat this message to the people, which he did.  They did not listen.  They were discouraged.  Their spirit was broken, because of they were beaten down by their hard labor.  It's hard to keep the faith when your body is hurting.  You can't see the end in sight.  We don't always know the outcome of a situation.  We just have to trust that God will make all things right.

Crying out to God leads us to his presence, His perspective, and His peace.
Discouragement comes when we focus on our circumstances instead of God.

When have you been discouraged and what did you learn from it?

Just because Pharaoh would not let the people go doesn't mean he would not eventually let them go.  God would see to it.  "Because of my mighty hand he will let them go." - Ex. 6:1.  We will see in the next chapters how God's plan for the Egyptians would eventually free His people.

What do we learn about God in these chapters?  We learn that He is a promise keeper and a protector.  His is patient, compassionate, and sovereign.  His plan may not be obvious, but He does have one.  It may be hard until His plan comes to completion.
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