Thursday, September 24, 2015

Exodus: A Great Salvation -- The Call of the Weak

For the past few weeks, I have been blogging a series of sermons and devotionals on the first twelve chapters of the book of Exodus that I preached and wrote over the summer. These chapters contain the actual story of the exodus, which is a great salvation that points us to God’s ultimate salvation that Jesus accomplished. We’ve seen God setting up that salvation in ch. 1 and the first part of ch. 2, and then we’ve also seen God preparing His savior and the people through suffering from the second half of ch. 2. In today's post, we’re going to see God’s official call of Moses.

The text for this sermon is a selected reading from Ex. 3-4, which recounts to us God's call of Moses and Moses' response. Moses' response is, shall we say, less than flattering for him, and if you know the story, you know what I am talking about. But, let's not be quick to judge Moses. Put yourself in Moses’ position here. He’s about 80 years old at this time. He has settled into the life of a shepherd and has been roaming the wilderness with his sheep for about 40 years. At this point, Egypt is probably a fading memory and any hope he had of being the one who delivers the Hebrew people has probably faded even more. Then, one day, which probably started out like a normal day, he brings his sheep to the base of a mountain. While there, he sees a burning bush, and probably does not think much of it at first, but then, after some amount of time, he notices that it’s burning but not actually burning up, so he goes to check it out. And, then, all of a sudden, the bush starts talking to him, and the bush knows his name. Then, immediately the bush introduces itself as God Himself and calls Moses to go back to Egypt and deliver the Hebrews from Pharaoh. Now, how do you think that would have hit you, if you had been Moses? Perhaps you fancied yourself a deliverer when you were young and well-to-do, but after 40 years of sheep herding, you’ve probably mellowed and maybe even given up on the idea of being a deliverer. Even when you tried to be a deliverer, you weren’t, shall we say, in your prime, and with each passing year in the wilderness, that dream fades, tracking somewhat with the deterioration of your body. So, you’ve become “set in your ways” and are content to live out your life as a shepherd. But, then, seemingly “out of the blue,” God calls to you from a burning bush and says, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” How do you think you’d feel? Probably not really up for it, I would think.

Well, I wonder if stuff like this does happen to us at times in our lives. Perhaps it’s not quite so dramatic, for to be sure we no longer hear God’s voice out of a burning bush, but maybe at some point we had grand ideas about what we can do for God whether it’s in our own personal holiness or in the world around us, until the circumstances of God’s providence blindsided us and we kind of settled down. Yet, then, somewhere in that more settled life, an opportunity comes before us: maybe God brings to mind a particular sin with which we’ve gotten comfortable and we can no longer ignore it, or maybe someone in the church asks us to do something that we’ve never really considered or been trained to do, or maybe a situation at work challenges us to stick out more as a Christian, or something else, and we’re worried that it might be God subtly saying, “Come, I have this for you…” because, like Moses, we’re not really up for it. Well, I think this passage can help because here we see God’s call of the weak, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we should probably be thinking, “Uh… yeah… that’s me.”

If you want to hear more, you can listen to the sermon here or read the transcript here. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use it to magnify Christ in your heart and mind to the glory of God.

By His Grace,

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