In our Sunday School classes at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are beginning a new quarter this weekend. I am excited because we are diving into the book of Exodus, learning about the great calling that God has. I have heard some people teach that “God has a plan for your life“. That sounds good but I do not see it in the Bible. I see God having a plan and inviting us to be a part of His plan instead of having an individual plan for each life. Each person does have a role to play in God’s overall plan but, it’s all about Him and not about us. I know the difference sounds subtle but, when the implications are carried out, it is huge.
This week, we are going to take a look at Moses, how he answers God’s calling and becomes a vital part of God’s plan to rescue the children of Israel. This is all God’s plan. Moses was not thinking about rescuing the Israelites and then asking God to bless his endeavor. There are four things that we need to consider if we are going to be a part of accomplishing God’s great plan. First of all, you must have a personal relationship with God. Then, you must know what God’s plan is. Next, you must overcome your fears. Finally, you need to be part of a team. Our passage of study for this lesson is Exodus 3-4.
I. Personal relationship with God
God is the Self-Existing One. He has life within Himself and He is not dependent upon anything to exist. God is relational. He was, is, and will be relational for all eternity. God does not need mane for a relationship. God was not lonely before He created mankind. He existed in perfect relationship with Himself, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The sole benefactor of God’s relationship to mankind is mankind, not God. Mankind does not meet some deep need within God. Instead, God meets a deep need within man. How do we know all of this? It is revealed in the Name that God uses to reveal Himself to Moses. Take a moment to read Exodus 3:1-15.
6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” 13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM “; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘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, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.
God reveals Himself to Moses as Jehovah. God initiates the relationship with Moses. Out of that relationship, Moses is given a glimpse of God’s plan and invited to join. Moses wants to know what he is to say to the children of Israel. God answers with a Name that reveals His character. God says “hava, the Self-existing One” is sending you. This is My name (Jehovah) forever, from generation to generation. In essence God accomplished two purposes here; 1) He reveals Himself to Moses, giving Moses confidence 2) He sets up the nation of Israel to recognize the Messiah when He comes and claims/demonstrates that He is Jehovah (the I am, or hava). This is a very big deal because up until this point, God had not revealed Himself to the forefathers as Jehovah. They learn a new insight about God and are better prepared to recognize the Messiah when He appears upon the scene of human history. God has a plan today, and, when you enter a personal relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ, He invites you to join His plan and play a vital role. How does God revealing Himself as “Jehovah” in Exodus point to the identity of the Messiah? If you look closely at Exodus 3:15, Jehovah is God’s name forever, a reminder to all generations of His character. What does Jesus say about Himself when calling people to a personal relationship with God in the New Testament?
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He also declared and demonstrated that He was/is Jehovah. The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus in this way;
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13)
That should ring a bell from Exodus 3. God is the same Jehovah forever, from generation to generation and so is Jesus Christ. The Hebrews should have recognized Him for who He was but they did not.
Here is what Jesus says about Himself, in His own Words;
24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins ; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 25 So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning ? 26 “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true ; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8)
Jesus tells His hearers that “He is” or “I am” which is the same name that God used to describe Himself to Moses. In essence, Jesus said that you must believe that He is “hava” or Jehovah, the Self-existing One. If they believe that He is God, then they will not die in their sins. If they believe, they will become His disciples and they will know the Truth from the Word of God and the Truth will set them free from their slavery to sin. On the other hand, if they do not believe that Jesus is God, then they are still slaves to sin and they will die in their sins. What about you, do you believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the Great I am, God Himself? Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have you been set free from your slavery to sin? Do you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Have you joined God’s great plan? Are you living out your vital role every moment of every day?
Did you notice what the calling was that God gave to Moses? Did you see what God wanted to do and that He was inviting Moses to be a part of? It is God’s plan for the ages.
7 The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. 8 “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, . . . 9 “Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” 12 And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” (Exodus 3)
There it is in black and white. God wants to deliver people from their slavery. He wants to bring them into a personal relationship with Him. This relationship breaks the oppression in their lives. They are now free to worship God.
This is similar to what Jesus told us in the Gospels.
30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine ; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8)
Jesus brings faith to people who are slaves to their sin. When they hear the message of the Gospel, that they can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, they are delivered from their slavery to sin, a slavery that has oppressed them all of their lives. They become disciples of Jesus Christ and are able to worship the living God. Do you realize that this is the same calling that God gives to everyone of the followers of Jesus Christ? In what we call the “Great Commission” Jesus sends His followers out with the message of the Gospel.
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
Those who already have a relationship with God, those who already worship God are sent out to people who do not yet have a relationship with or worship God. They are to take the message of the Gospel, a message that brings freedom to those who enter into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. They now learn to worship God and are trained to go out and repeat the process. Have you answered the call to take the message of freedom to the people around you? When contemplating answering the call, keep in mind that because of your sin nature, fear will be a major problem that you will have to overcome. How do I know this? Check out what happened with Moses when he received the calling.
III. Overcoming your fear
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, we all have a hard time answering the call of joining in our God’s plan for the ages because of our sin nature which leaves us prone to fear. Moses had to deal with fear. Moses had to overcome his fear. I have to overcome my fear and you have to overcome your fear.
1 Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ ” 10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent , neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4)
What is the source of Moses’ fear? The reason is that Moses is focused on himself instead of focusing on God. When God calls me to do something, I have the same response that Moses had. The “what if’s” start going through my mind. Then, the “I have never’s” also start going through my mind. God’s answer to Moses is the same answer that He always gives to me.
11 The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” (Exodus 4)
Look at Me. I am with you. I have called you to do this but I am going to be with you. The last part of Matthew 28:20 goes through my mind:
. . . I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Are you learning what to say? Are you spending time in God’s Word so that He can teach you? When fear rears its ugly head in the form of “what if” and “I have never” do you look to the Lord to help overcome your fear? One final thing that helps us overcome our fear is that we need to . . .
IV. Be part of a team
God’s calling is to be carried out by individuals who are part of a body, the body of Christ. The local church is the body of Christ. Moses learned this truth from the Lord. Moses was afraid that he was going to have to do all of this by himself. God had a different plan.
14 . . .”Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 “You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. 16 “Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. (Exodus 4)
God wanted Moses and Aaron to work together as a team to take the message of deliverance, freedom, and a personal relationship with God to the children of Israel. As far as the “Great Commission” goes today, we are to make disciples as a team. Jesus built a team. Peter was part of a team. The apostle Paul worked as part of a team in all of his ministry endeavors. Are you part of a team? Do you see yourself as a lone ranger when it comes to ministry? Are you working to build a team? Are you being a good team member? The more people that you challenge to answer God’s Great Calling the more potential team members you will have. May the Lord help us answer the call and send out that call to the lost and dying world around us so that we can see new team members join and the process repeat all the days of our lives!!!