(Summary of the sermon:25 Oct 2015)
God’s Promises To Moses
I, ME, MYSELF
Once all toddlers got together and framed the Toddlers’ Property Law. It was meant to govern all their properties – Barbie dolls, toy cars, comic books etc. The Law read as:-
- If I like it, it is mine.
- If it is in my hand, it is mine.
- If I can take it from you, it is mine.
- If I had it just a little while ago, it is mine.
- If it is mine, it must never appear to be yours.
- If I am building something, all the pieces are mine.
- If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
- If I saw it first, it is mine.
- If you put something down, it automatically becomes mine.
- If it is broken then it is yours.
I bet you smiled while reading that! But you see, it is not just our children, but we adults also who operate on the same principle.
My job, my church, my life – I, ME, MYSELF. That’s the motto we often live by.
Today, let us look at the life of one of our Biblical heroes who exhibited the ‘I, Me, Myself’ syndrome. Moses’ life was one that had umpteen turning points. Saved from death as a little baby, raised in the palace as a prince, killing an Egyptian while trying to play hero to an ungrateful Hebrew, fleeing from Egypt and hiding in the desert as a fugitive. He probably felt that he had had enough of excitement to last a lifetime. So when God called him for a greater purpose in Exodus 3, Moses politely refused.
Thank you, but, no thank you, God. I can’t do it.
In all likelihood he was taken aback. Even though a fugitive, he had made a comfortable life for himself in the desert of Midian for the past 40 years. Returning to Egypt was definitely not on his ‘Top 10 things to do before I die’!
You see, God springs a surprise on us when we least expect it. He shakes up our happy little comfort zones and calmly states, ‘I have great plans for you’. And then like He did for Moses, God leaves with us three promises to walk out boldly.
And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
When God sends us, He will sustain us.
Notice the number of times it says, ‘I’. God was telling Moses that He would be Israel’s liberator and not Moses. We see that pattern displayed throughout Exodus. For e.g, When the Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, God sent plagues. One of the plagues was the one that we read in Exodus 9:6 which says, ‘So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died’. It’s one thing to send a plague and another thing to say that only one group of people will be affected. But it was a clear revelation of God’s promise to go with and sustain Moses. Many years later, Nehemiah affirms this in Nehemiah 9:21 where he says, ‘Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell’. When God brought Israel out of Egypt he also sustained them. When God calls us to do something we can be absolutely certain that he will sustain us for His call.
Inglis Pedrosky was a great Polish pianist. He would often travel from town to town playing the piano. One day a young boy who had just started taking piano classes heard that Mr. Pedrosky would be playing at his village. So he persuaded his mother to take him to the venue. On reaching the place, the boy skipped ahead. The mother assumed that he must have gone to sit with his friends. Soon the stage lights came on. To the mother’s great horror, she saw her son sitting on the stage admiring the piano and starting to play the nursery rhyme, ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’. At that moment Mr. Pedrosky walked up to the boy. He whispered in the boy’s ears to keep playing. Then he leaned forward to simultaneously play a complicated scale. Together, the two of them produced one of the beautiful harmonies the world has ever heard. As we read Exodus, we hear Moses playing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ as God hovers over him and together they perform one of the greatest miracles the world has ever seen.
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
When God enlists us He will empower us.
Moses employed many excuses to wriggle out of his calling. His lack of eloquence was one of those. But that was not entirely true. He had the best education in his youth. Yet he says, ‘I am nobody’. But God said, ‘Look, you have tried things your own way. Now do things my way’. He goes on to ask Moses to fling his staff on the ground. The staff turns into a snake. Then God instructs Moses to pick it up and it turned back into a staff. That ordinary staff became a symbol of God’s great power. It was instrumental for every great miracle that Moses did – turning the water of Nile into blood, parting the Red Sea and even turning bitter water sweet. Look at the seemingly common thing that God has given in our lives – that thing which we have overlooked all these years and not given a second thought or glance – let’s dedicate it to God. He can take it and empower it.
But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.
When God assigns us, He will amaze us.
Moses might never have dreamt of what his life would look like when he obeyed God’s call. But the testimony of his life recorded by God in His Word portrays an amazing picture. As we obey God’s assignment for us we will be surprised by what He can do for us.
Let me tell you the story of a girl whose life became amazing when she obeyed God’s assignment for her life.
Joni Ericson Tada was a young and healthy girl. At the age of 17, she dived into a swimming pool with shallow water. Sadly, that dive left her paralyzed neck down. She went through much medical treatment. One day her sister visited her. She took one look at Joni’s ravaged face and threw up. That was the extent of her injuries. One night, Joni begged her sister to give her some poison to die. Her poor sister wept helplessly! But Joni prayed, ‘Lord if I cannot die, let me live for your glory’. That was a turning point in her life. She went into therapy, learned to paint and to type with a stick in her mouth. Today, she has a ministry among disabled people, paints like a professional, has written about 40 books and is a world-renowned speaker. In her testimony she says, I met Jesus in my wheel chair. I’d rather be in this wheelchair knowing Him than on my feet without Him’. That was her assignment. She dedicated her life to it and God used her for His glory.
Let me conclude with one final story. A young girl and her mother would often go to a shop. The shopkeeper struck a friendship with the little girl. He always offered her a chocolate. One day when they went to the shop, the shopkeeper extended the whole jar of chocolates to her and said, ‘Little one, take as many as you want’. But the girl stepped back and hid behind her mother. Finally the shopkeeper took out a few and dropped them in their shopping cart as a gift for the girl. On their way home, the mother asked her daughter, ‘Why didn’t you take the chocolates? You could have taken as many as you wanted’. The little girl replied with a twinkle in her eyes, ‘If I had taken, I would have gotten only two or three chocolates. But because his hands are much bigger, when he took the chocolates out, I got so many more!’
God’s hand is so much bigger than ours. Let’s allow Him to send, enlist and assign us. Then we will be sustained, empowered and amazed by His greatness!
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