Calling Card

On the 2002 album, “Woven and Spun”, Nichole Nordeman sings a song where she is grasping for things to call God. She is trying to see God as everything she needed Him to be throughout her life and everything that she needed him to be in her present and her future. In the song, as a young girl, she called God “Elbow Healer” and “Superhero.” As she got older, she called him, “Heartache Healer” and “Secret Keeper.” After she was married and had kids, she called him, “Shepherd”, “Savior” and “Pasture-Maker.” As she thinks about her life as an older woman getting up in years, she calls God, “Creator”, “Maker”, “Life Sustainer”, “Comforter”, “Healer”, “my Redeemer”, “Lord and King”, and the “Beginning and the End.” Some other names of God that might be familiar to us are El Shaddai which means “God Almighty” and Immanuel which means “God with us.” And some other names that we’ve seen in our study of Genesis are El Elyon which means “God most High” and El Roi which means “the God who sees.”

Throughout my life, there have been a few names of God that have meant a lot to me such as Shepherd, Creator, Savior, Healer, Provider and Abba which means “father.” When you think about the names of God that have meant a lot to you throughout your lives, what names come to mind? Go ahead and shout them out. As Nichole Nordeman is calling on God using these various names, God spoke to her and said that the “I AM” was all she needed. She realized that there is only one name that meets her every need – “I AM” and it encompassed all the other names for God. “I AM” is God’s calling card to us, so to speak, when we are in need. This morning, we continue the narrative of Moses and his encounter with God. Last week, we saw that God arrested Moses on the mountain of Horeb from within the burning bush. He told Moses that he was the God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He told Moses that he had seen the oppression and heard the cries of his people in Egypt, and he had come down to rescue them and lead them to a spacious land, flowing with milk and honey. He then tells Moses that he is the one he is sending to bring his people out of Egypt.

What we are going to see this morning is Moses’ reaction to God sending him to bring his people out of slavery. Moses is going to pose two questions to God and God is going to give him his calling card that will not only give him the confidence and power that he needs to fulfill his calling but to also convince the Israelites of who has sent Moses to rescue them. This calling card will be a witness to the people that Moses has had a personal interaction with the God of their fathers and that God has the power to do what he says he will do. It will not be Moses who will rescue the Israelites because he is inadequate and weak, it will be God because he is the great “I AM”, the almighty, all-knowing and all-seeing God who will rescue his people from slavery in Egypt and lead them into the Promised Land. I like this quote from Jon Bloom: “God does not need you to be strong. He wants to be your strength.” God did not need Moses to be strong. God wanted to be his strength. That brings us to the big idea this morning which is “In our weakness God is strong.”

Let’s pray: Lord God, pour out your Holy Spirit on us this morning. Open our hearts and minds to your Word. Let it be a lamp for our feet and a light on our paths as we live our daily lives on this earth. May it feed us, heal and cleanse us from sin and give us the strength to overcome the tests and trials and difficult circumstances in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This morning we continue our study in Exodus chapter three looking at verses 11-22. The first point is called the Credentials of Moses found in verses 11-12. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 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 has just told Moses that he is sending him to Pharaoh, so he can bring his people out of Egypt. The first word we see in our scripture is the word, “but.” If your parents told you to clean your room or your boss told you they needed this or that by the end of the day and your response started with the word “but,” what would that signify? It would signify reluctance on your part probably followed by an objection. “But I cleaned my room last week” or “but I am too busy to do that.” Moses responds to this call from God to rescue his people with reluctance and a series of objections. This morning we are going to talk about two of those objections. The first is “but, Who am I?” Some commentators say that this was humility on Moses’ part because he didn’t think he had the credentials to go to Pharaoh and bring God’s people out of Egypt. Others believe it was simply a lack of self-confidence or unwillingness to obey. No matter which is true, Moses felt he was inadequate to do the job that God was calling him to do. “But” I am just a shepherd. “But” I had to run away from Egypt. “But” I am the wrong person for the job. “But” they won’t believe me. “But” I am not capable. Have you ever been reluctant to do something that the Bible commands us as Christians to do? One area I think about is evangelism. Have you ever used the excuse “I can’t do that” or “I’ll let someone who has that gift do that” or “What if they make fun of me” or “I’m not the person for the job.” So did Moses.

God’s answer to Moses’ question of “Who am I?” was it didn’t matter who Moses was or if he was capable or not of doing the job. Notice that God didn’t deny that Moses was inadequate for the job. What mattered was that God had called him and would equip him with what he needed to get the job done. God did not need Moses to be strong. God would be his strength. (BIG IDEA). In the NASB it says that God would “assuredly” be with him. God promised his presence would be with him as he went to his people and to Pharaoh. “I am with you” is found throughout the Bible as the way God encouraged his people as he called them to his work in the world. We see this with Jacob in Genesis 31:3, with Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:23 at his commissioning, with Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:8 and Jesus with his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 when he gave the Great Commission. He promises his presence to us as well.

God then gave Moses a sign that he was the one sending him to bring his people out of Egypt and would confirm his divine calling. The sign would be that Moses, when he had brought the people out of Egypt, would worship God on this same mountain. There are some curious things about this sign: One, it was a sign that wouldn’t be fulfilled for quite a while and, two, it was meant to build up Moses’ faith. Moses was going to have to exercise faith in God that he was going to be with him and give him the power to do what he was calling him to do. When the people would arrive on this mountain to worship God then Moses and the people of Israel would truly know that it was God who had called him and that his presence and power had been with him as he had promised. Three, this mountain was not in a direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land. Since this mountain was out of the way, it would make God’s promise more miraculous when he led them back to it. Moses and the people would have to exercise their faith to believe in God’s sign and when they arrived back at this mountain, their faith would be strengthened. This exercising and strengthening of their faith in God would help them as they later traveled in the wilderness.

In 2 Corinthians 5:7, God’s people are called to live by faith and not by sight. Where in your life do you need to exercise faith this morning? If you will exercise faith in God, as he fulfills his promises in your life, your faith will also be strengthened. That brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card which is to Exercise faith in the Lord as I wait on him to fulfill his promises in my life. By coming to the mountain and worshiping God, it would signify that the Israelites were no longer under the Pharoah’s control. They would now be under the care of the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He would be their covenant God and their deliverer and worship would become a major part of their future as God’s chosen people. Delivering his people out of slavery in Egypt was the beginning of bringing them into a living, personal relationship with himself.

Moses didn’t have the credentials to carry out this calling from God, but God did, which brings us to our second point this morning which is the Credentials of God found in verses 13-15. This is what God’s Word says, “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?” 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 you shall call me from generation to generation.

Here we see the second objection from Moses. The first objection was, but “Who am I?” The second is essentially, but “Who are you?” Moses was concerned that when he went to the Israelites and said that God appeared to him, they would want to know who this God is that sent him. What is his name? This was actually a pretty good question on Moses’ part for a couple of reasons: One, the Israelites had been living in Egypt for a long time with their plethora of gods. Second, they had not had a new revelation from the God of their fathers in a long time. Joseph, Jacob and his other sons had been dead for generations by this time. It is possible that many Israelites had forgotten the God of their fathers and had started to worship the gods that influenced the culture around them. Third, in the ancient world, the names of gods were important. They provided information about the nature, reputation or character of the god they worshiped. To be able to truly worship and pray to the gods, you needed to call on his name and to do that you needed to know his name. Since there had been generations of divine silence the people would naturally wonder exactly who is this God that Moses says sent him? ​​ 

God graciously responds to Moses’ question giving him his calling card, which would be a witness to Moses’ personal interaction with him. God says four very important things in this section. First, he is speaking specifically to Moses when he said, “I AM WHO I AM” which could also be translated “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” or “I WILL BE GOD.” What did God mean by this? It spoke to his character and reputation. He was saying that he is the self-existent creator and sustainer, the unchanging and eternal One. He is the sovereign Lord and without equal. He is the active, personal presence and covenant God of their fathers. Williams notes, “Contextually, the name “I AM WHO I AM” may well be taken as ‘I will be to you as I was to them.’ This would encourage Moses that God would be with him and for him just as he had been with and for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Second, he told Moses to tell the Israelites that “I AM” has sent him to them. “I AM WHAT I AM” told Moses about his character and reputation, “I AM” was his name which spoke to what he was going to do now and in the future. “I AM” has been translated “Yahweh”, which was the name of God that was known to their Israelite ancestors. Enns says, “This name would verify to Moses and the people that the God of their fathers is now going to rescue them as he promised long ago.” Third, he told Moses to also tell the Israelites that ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—has sent me to you.’ The LORD was the equivalent of Yahweh and “I AM” which connected the God who was sending Moses to free his people from slavery as the same God of their forefathers. By using this name God was calling the Israelites back to the faith of their fathers.

“I AM” was going to be for the Israelite people whatever they needed or lacked. This reminds us of the Nicole Nordeman song from the opening. She had all these names for God throughout her life but the only one she truly needed was “I AM.” When we need a deliverer, “I AM” is all we need. When we need grace, mercy and forgiveness, “I AM” is all we need. When we need guidance, “I AM” is all we need. When we are worried about what is happening in the world, “I AM” is all we need. When we are weak, “I AM” is strong. (BIG IDEA). What do you need God to be for you, today? You can call on the “Great I AM” for whatever you need. That brings us to the second next step on the back of your communication card which is “Call on the “Great I Am” to __________________. How would you finish that sentence this morning? What do you need “I AM” to be or to do for you today?

Fourth, God told Moses that this name, LORD, was to be his name forever, and was the name that the Israelites were to call him from generation to generation. The covenant God, the LORD, Yahweh, I AM was the name they were to call God for eternity. Later, Jesus would identify himself as one and the same as God by calling himself “I AM” which clearly identified him as the God of the burning bush. In John 8:28, it says, “Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am [He], and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” And in John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” And in John 8:24, Jesus says, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am [He], you will die in your sins.” Jesus Christ is God. He is the God who saves, and if you do not believe in him today, you have no hope of salvation. A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus and God are one and the same, the “Great I AM.” Jesus wants us to put his faith in him, going where he sends us, trusting in his promise of everlasting presence and believing that he is the God who saves. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” If you have never put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then the third next step is for you and today will be the day of your salvation. My next step is to “declare Jesus is Lord, believe that God raised him from the dead and accept his free gift of salvation.” If you take that next step, please mark your communication card so we can be in touch with you to talk with you about that decision.

So far, the questions and answers had been from Moses for Moses. Now that God had given Moses his “calling card” to prove that he had been sent by him, he gave him the content he was to relay to the Israelite people. Which brings us to our third point this morning which is Content found in verses 16-22. This is what God’s Word says, “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 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 wilderness 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. “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.”

Moses was to go the elders of Israel and talk with them first. Why? The elders were the older men of the Israelite community who through age and experience were looked up to. The word originally meant “bearded ones” and were leaders in the community, promoting the standards of right living and arbitrating disputes. Also, it would have been impossible for all the Israelites to gather around and hear what Moses had to say. So, God commanded Moses to go before the elders and be the divine spokesman of what God wanted his people to know. The elders would then disseminate that to all the people. Referring to God as the LORD, the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, meant that the message to follow came from the covenant God who had committed himself to and made promises to their forefathers. Moses was to tell them that God had been watching over them and had seen their oppression. Stuart says, “God had noticed, seen . . . paid attention to . . . his people and was not merely aware but was going to do something about it.” It would not happen by human means but through God’s power. “Watched over” is the same verb as “come to your aid” in Genesis 50:24 where Joseph told his brothers that “God will surely come to your aid.” God had always cared for his people and had always been aware of what was happening to them. He was now going to keep the promise he made to their fathers that he would bring them out of their misery in Egypt and into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.

Next, we see the all-knowing omniscience of God. He gives encouragement to Moses by telling him that the elders will listen to him, and that he is to take them along with him to confront Pharaoh. God also gave Moses the words to say to Pharaoh. He was to tell Pharaoh that the LORD, the God of the Hebrews met with them. We can notice a couple things here. One, they are to refer to the LORD as the God of the Hebrews because Pharaoh would not have known or cared about their fathers – but he would understand that they were talking about their God. Second, they told Pharaoh that the LORD “met with them.” “Met with us” would indicate that this request was a divine obligation. They were to request that Pharaoh allow them to take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD their God. Now we know that what God had in mind was not just a three-day journey but a full-blown, permanent leaving of Egypt. Was Moses trying to deceive Pharaoh? No, this was actually the way that bargaining took place in the Near East at that time. Stuart says, “Those in the Near East preferred to use suggestive, gentle, restrained, and limited ways of making requests as opposed to simply coming right out and asking for what they wanted.” This made me think of a few things we say today that don’t really say what we mean. Like “Would you please hand me the remote?” is actually a way of saying, “I’m going to control what we watch, if you don’t mind.” Or, “Dad, can I have the keys to the car?” usually means, “Dad, may I use the car for the next several hours, with no one else being able to use it?” Or, “Have you got a second?” is not literal at all but really is a way of saying, “I’d like to take an indefinite amount of your time,” and “He’ll be with you in a moment” is not literally true but can mean “Keep waiting; he’ll be free whenever he’s free.” Pharaoh knew and understood full well what Moses and the elders were asking. But what was more important was the purpose for their leaving. They wanted to go to offer sacrifices to their God in order to worship him. In Egyptian culture Pharaoh was considered “god” therefore this would have been a blasphemous request on the part of the Israelites. Pharaoh could have allowed them to worship in Egypt but letting them leave Egypt to worship would have challenged Pharoah’s claims to be god and ultimately who had control over the people of Israel.

God displayed his sovereignty by knowing the future and the future going exactly according to his plan. God knew that Pharaoh would not want to lose the slave labor force of the Israelites much less give in to their request for the freedom to worship their God. He knew that Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave Egypt unless a “mighty hand” compelled him. The “mighty hand” refers to God and what he will do to bring his people out of slavery. Pharaoh was known as “one who destroys his enemies with his strong arm” so this deliberately pitted Yahweh against Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s arm would be no match for God’s mighty hand as God would show his superiority over Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.

God goes on to tell Moses how he will compel Pharoah to let his people go. He will “stretch” out his hand and “strike” the Egyptians with “wonders” that he will perform among them. The word “strike” means “to beat” and is translated “destroy” in describing the impact of the flood in Genesis 8:21. God would strike the Egyptians with “wonders” which would be extraordinary acts done by God’s supernatural power. We know these as the ten plagues. After these “wonders” Pharoah will let God’s people go. In fact the Hebrew phrase “let them go” means that Pharoah will “expel” them from Egypt. He will kick the Israelites out because of the “wonders” God’s mighty hand will do. God will make the Egyptians “favorably disposed” toward the Israelites and they would not leave Egypt empty-handed. Just as God would compel Pharaoh to let his people go, he would also compel the Egyptian people to give their valuables to them on the way out the door. This would fulfill the promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:14 that his people would come out of captivity “with great possessions.” God goes on to explain how this would be done which would show God’s power. “Favorably disposed” means that it would be in the Egyptian women’s best interest to give their valuables to the Israelite women. Remember the “angel of the Lord” would pass over killing all the firstborn sons. The women would be willing to give anything they could to get them to leave.

The Israelite women were to “ask” the Egyptian women living in Goshen and the Egyptian women they worked for as domestic servants for silver, gold and clothing. The verb for “ask” actually means “to demand.” Most commentators say this was the equivalent of asking for wages they should have received for the slave labor they were forced to do. The gold and silver would be used in and for the tabernacle in the wilderness. The clothing was not ordinary clothing but valuable ones that were to be put on their sons and daughters. God knew that their generation would grow up in the wilderness, so this was to prepare them for the future. This is the first mention of the second generation of wilderness Israelites in the narrative. The emphasis is on women for two reasons. One, the Israelite women would have had direct contact with the Egyptian women in contrast to the Israelite men who would not have had contact with the Egyptian men because they were doing the slave labor. Two, the power of God would be displayed in it was women who plundered the Egyptians. The word plundered conveyed “conflict” and “war.” Imagine the stigma of the mighty warriors of Egypt being plundered and conquered by women. This would be a complete and decisive triumph of Israel over Egypt in the most peaceful way imaginable. All orchestrated and led by the “Great I AM.”

A house servant had two large pots. One hung on each end of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. The other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. For two years the servant delivered each day only one-and-a-half pots full of water to his master's house. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable over accomplishing only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the servant one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "What are you ashamed of?" asked the bearer. "For these past two years I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you don't get full value from your work." The servant said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." As they went up the hill, the cracked pot noticed the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path. When they reached the house, the servant said to the pot, "Did you notice the flowers grew only on your side of the path, not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table." Each one of us has flaws and I would add weaknesses. But if we allow it, the Lord will use our flaws and our weaknesses to grace his Father's table. God doesn’t need us to be perfect, only obedient to what he is calling us to do. So like Moses, let us embrace our flaws and weaknesses, acknowledging that in our weakness he is strong and become obedient to what he is calling each one of us to do. That brings us to our last next step, which is to Acknowledge that I am weak, but God is strong and be obedient to what God is calling me to do.

As the ushers prepare to collect the offering and comm. Cards and as the praises team comes to lead us in a final song, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we know that in our weakness you are strong. Give us your power to be able to exercise our faith as we wait on your promises. Give us your strength to call on you, the “Great I AM” in our time of need. Fill us daily with your Holy Spirit, so we can be obedient to what your are calling us to do in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen. ​​ 



Give Me Five

(Exodus 3:1-10)



Judy uses the phrase “Give Me Five” when she needs to get the attention of her students. ​​ Each student is supposed to raise their hand, focus by not talking or working, and signal others.


There are multiple examples of this in use to help students listen and pay attention to what is about to be said. ​​ On the screen, you will see an example of the five things each student is supposed to do while raising their hand. ​​ [show graphic]

  • Eyes are watching.

  • Ears are listening.

  • Mouth is closed.

  • Body is upright.

  • Hands are still.



  • ME

    • Attention getter

        • My fifth grade teacher was a man, which I really enjoyed

        • One of the ways he would get the attention of a student that wasn’t paying attention was to smack his yard stick on their desk

        • One day I was writing at my desk to complete an assignment when he smacked the yard stick on my desk and scared me to death

        • I was confused, because I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing

        • Fortunately, he was not trying to get my attention

        • He was trying to get the attention of the student sitting behind me

        • Whether he intended to get my attention or not, he had it from that point on


  • WE

    • What are some ways our parents tried to get our attention?

    • What are some ways our teachers have tried to get our attention?

    • Maybe as parents, we have used certain things to get our children’s attention.


Moses had been shepherding his father-in-laws flock for 40 years. ​​ God had been training and preparing him to accomplish His plan even though Moses was not aware it. ​​ God used something that went against the laws of nature to get Moses’ attention. ​​ He had something very important to tell him and needed His full attention. ​​ When Moses saw this supernatural event, he stopped what he was doing and went to see what was going on. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 3:1-10)

    • Called (vv. 1-6)

        • Daily routine (v. 1)

          • Moses was doing his daily routine with his father-in-law, Jethro’s, flock

            • Moses had been doing this for 40 years as Stephen tells us in Acts 7:30, “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

            • This was just going to be another ordinary day for Moses, or at least that’s perhaps what he thought

            • “It’s significant that God calls people who are busy: ​​ Gideon was threshing grain (Jud. 6), Samuel was serving in the tabernacle (1 Sam. 3), David was caring for sheep (17:20), Elisha was plowing (1 Kings 19:19-21), four of the apostles were managing their fishing business (Mark 1:16-20), and Matthew was collecting taxes (Matt. 9:9).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 183]

            • God calls us when we are busy doing all kinds of jobs from farming, to serving in ministry, to shepherding, to fishing, and collecting taxes, to so much more – God calls all kinds of people to serve Him

          • We are not told why Moses led the flock to the far side of the desert

            • Perhaps he was looking for more pasturelands to feed the flock

            • Maybe he needed a change of scenery after 40 years

            • I believe it was the Spirit of God prompting him to go, because the time had come for God to rescue His people

            • Moses traveled all the way to Horeb (kho-rabe’/hore-rave’), the mountain of God [show map]

              • Horeb means “desert”

              • The place where Moses took the flock can also be translated as the back side of the desert or the west side of the wilderness

              • When Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, he brought them to this same place, but it was referred to as Mt. Sinai at that point – Horeb may be the mountain range or region and Mt. Sinai may be a specific peak in that range or region

              • Referring to it as the mountain of God is the author’s way of remembering what happened there with the burning bush and the Ten Commandments – it had not yet been established as such

          • Now that God had Moses right where He wanted him, He needed to get his attention

        • Attention arrested (vv. 2-3)

          • The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire from within a bush

            • Moses had seen fire before and he had probably used this kind of bush to start a fire while he was tending the flock

            • The only difference is that when he used this kind of bush to build a fire, the bush was consumed completely and turned to ash

            • Moses saw that this bush was not turning to ash, but remained a complete bush – that was something new he had never seen before

            • Something supernatural was taking place with this burning bush

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is in control of His creation.

                • God was the One who was temporarily suspending the fire’s natural property to burn wood [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 97]

                • As we will see, God was in control of His creation during the plagues in Egypt and the parting of the waters at the Red Sea

                • Nothing is impossible for God, because He is all-powerful

                • He is in control of His creation, even today

                • Take time today to worship God for being in control of His creation

              • God made sure that the bush was not burning up

            • Moses needed to have a closer look at this amazing phenomenon

          • Moses decided to go over and see this strange sight, which is exactly what God needed him to do

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God will arrest our attention when He wants to speak to us.

              • God showed up in unexpected ways in the lives of several people in the Bible

                • He showed up for Moses in a burning bush

                • He wrestled with Jacob by the Jabbok River (Gen. 32:22-32)

                • He appeared to Ezekiel in a vision by the Kebar River (Ezek. 1:1)

                • He sent His angels to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem

                • He arrested Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus with a bright light (Acts 9)

              • “[God] often uses various sorts of circumstances, to begin to bring someone closer to himself.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 110]

                • God may use a lay off at work to get our attention

                • God may use an illness to slow us down, so we will listen to His voice

                • God may use visions and dreams to speak to us

                • God may simply speak so clearly to our spirit that it seems like we have heard an audible voice

                • God may speak through family and friends, confirming His plan and purpose for our lives

                • God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible

                • God is so creative and in control of His creation that He may use some supernatural phenomenon to get our attention

              • Has the Lord been trying to get your attention?

                • What is He asking you to do?

                • Have you been obedient to His calling?

                • God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking me to do.

            • What is God doing to get your attention?

          • As Moses started moving towards the burning bush, God spoke to him

        • God’s call (vv. 4-6a)

          • God called to Moses from the burning bush

            • He used Moses’ name twice

            • “In ancient Semitic culture, addressing someone by saying his or her name twice was a way of expressing endearment, that is, affection and friendship. ​​ Thus Moses would have understood immediately that he was being addressed by someone who loved him and was concerned about him.” ​​ [Stuart, 113-14]

            • God used this same pattern throughout the Old and New Testaments

              • Abraham (Gen. 22:11)

              • Jacob (Gen. 46:2)

              • Samuel (1 Sam. 3:10)

              • Martha (Luke 10:41)

              • Simon (Luke 22:31)

              • Saul (Acts 9:4)

            • Moses responded with “Here I am”

              • He knew that someone who loved him had addressed him

              • He was ready to listen to what this person had to say

              • Are you ready to listen to what God has to say to you?

              • Will you respond the same way as Moses, when God uses your name twice? – “Here I am”

          • God gave Moses two commands

            • “Do not come any closer”

              • Moses had to stop approaching the burning bush

              • However close he was, was all the closer he was going to get

            • “Take off your sandals”

              • “In the ANE the removal of footwear was a sign of respect, signifying an attitude of humility.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 84]

              • Joshua was commanded to do the same thing in Joshua 5:15

              • But in both of these instances, it was more than just respect and humility

            • Reason for the two commands

              • God explains that the reason Moses has to stop approaching and take off his sandals is that the ground around the bush is holy ground

              • It was sacred ground, because of the presence of God

              • “. . . if God can transform unholy ground into holy ground by the glow of his presence, might he not also be able to transform an unholy life? ​​ What God can do with the ʾădāmâ (ad-aw-maw’), might he not also do with the ʾădām? (aw-dam’)” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 49]

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is able to transform an unholy life.

                • The normal, ordinary ground on Mt. Horeb (kho-rabe’/hore-rave’) was transformed into holy, sacred ground by God’s presence

                • God can do the same thing with normal, ordinary human beings, when we allow Him to come into our lives

                • His presence in us transforms us

                • Gospel

                  • Every human being is unholy from birth (Rom. 3:10-12, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”)

                  • God had an incredible “love plan” before He even created the world or sent Jesus from heaven to earth (Rom. 5:8)

                  • This plan was foretold hundreds of years before He sent Jesus to fulfill it (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

                  • God has already placed His Word in our mouths and hearts and when we accept it, we will be saved (Rom. 10:8-10, But what does it say? ​​ “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: ​​ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

                • God does not require you to “clean your life up” before you invite Him in

                  • It is His presence in you that transforms you

                  • His Holy Spirit living in you changes your attitudes and desires

                  • Evidence of a transformed life is a life that is “cleaned up” and pursuing the things of God instead of the things of this world

                • Today is the day of salvation

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Invite God into my life, so He can transform it.

              • God transformed the ground around the bush into holy, sacred ground

            • Moses obeyed the Lord’s commands by stopping and removing his sandals

            • God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.

          • The voice from the burning bush identified itself

            • The person who had commanded Moses to stop and take off his sandals was the true and living God, the God of his ancestors

            • He was not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also Amram’s God

          • Moses understood who God was, which is why he reacted the way he did

        • Moses’ reaction (v. 6b)

          • Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God

          • “Confronted by this burning display of God’s holiness, he is profoundly aware of his own sinfulness and insufficiency (Isa. 6:1-5; Rev. 1:17).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 73]

          • Read Isaiah 6:1-5

          • Revelation 1:17, When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. ​​ Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. ​​ I am the First and the Last.”

        • God got Moses attention and told him who He was, now it was time to explain why He needed Moses’ attention

    • Concerned (vv. 7-10)

        • Seen and heard (v. 7)

          • God tells Moses that He saw the misery of His people in Egypt

          • He also heard them crying out because of their slave drivers

          • God is concerned about His people’s suffering

            • Our faith is challenged just like Moses “to trust that God has always and continues to be concerned about their suffering since in the present fallen world, God allows suffering.” ​​ [Stuart, 116]

            • It is not that He was not concerned up to this point

            • As we talked about last week, it was now God’s timing to act

            • Read Genesis 15:13-16 – the Amorites sin must have finally reached its full measure after 400 years

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is concerned about His people’s suffering.

              • God is concerned about your suffering

                • Whether it involves relationships, employment, health, finances, or spiritual matters, God is concerned

                • He has seen what you are going through and has heard your cries for help

                • He has not forgotten about you or neglected you

              • Truths from God’s Word

                • 2 Peter 3:8-9, But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: ​​ With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ​​ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (salvation for a loved one)

                • Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ​​ “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (not understanding God’s answer to my prayers; He is sovereign and in control of everything)

                • 1 John 5:14-15, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: ​​ that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. ​​ And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. (God answers our prayers with Yes, No, or Wait)

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust that God is concerned about my suffering and will come to my aid.

          • God saw, heard, and was concerned about the Israelites suffering and He came down from heaven to rescue them

        • Come (v. 8)

          • Rescue from Egypt

            • God had come down from heaven to rescue the Israelites

            • He was in the flames of the fire within the bush

            • He was not far away and distant from them

            • They were no longer going to suffer at the hands of the Egyptians

            • We know that God is with us too through His Spirit

              • John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. ​​ And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. ​​ The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. ​​ But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

              • Ephesian 1:13-14, And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. ​​ Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

              • Romans 8:9-11, You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. ​​ And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. ​​ But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. ​​ And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

            • God was going to bring them up to a good and spacious land

          • Return to Canaan

            • We know that the good and spacious land was referring to Canaan

            • It is described here as flowing with milk and honey

              • This reference was letting Moses know that the land was plentiful

              • There would be plenty of grasslands for their flocks and plenty of fruit and produce (grapes, dates, figs, and carob fruit)

              • “Since explicit references to honey produced by bees are rare in the OT (e.g. Judg. 14:8-9 and possibly 1 Sam. 14:26-27), the Hebr. Word dĕbāš (deb-ash’/de-vash’), often translated ‘honey’ in this context, is more likely to refer to the ‘sweet syrup produced from grapes, date, figs, and fruit of the carob tree, called dibs in [Arabic]’ (Olivier 1996:916; cf. Sarna 1991: 13-14; Larsson 199: 273, n. 7).” ​​ [Alexander, 86]

            • God forewarned Moses that the Promised Land was already inhabited

          • Residence of Canaan

            • God mentioned six nations that called Canaan home

              • Canaanites (coastal plain in the Valley of Jezreel)

              • Hittites (probably immigrants from Asia Minor)

              • Amorites (in the hill country east of the Jordan)

              • Perizzites (perhaps peasantry in central Palestine)

              • Hivites (in the north in Shechem and Gibeon)

              • Jebusites (people of Jerusalem)

            • “By mentioning the six (or seven) Canaanite-Amorite groups, God both clarified for Moses exactly which territories he planned to give his people and proleptically identified the future enemies in the war of conquest fought by Joshua.” ​​ [Stuart, 117-18]

          • God mentions again that He is aware of what is going on

        • Heard and seen (v. 9)

          • In verse 7 the order was that God saw the misery of His people and heard their cries

          • Now in verse 9 it is in the reverse order—God heard their cries and He saw the way the Egyptians were oppressing them

        • Go (v. 10)

          • God reveals His plan to Moses

          • He is sending Moses to Pharaoh as His advocate and deliverer

          • Moses will lead the Israelites out of Egypt

        • Application

          • God deliverance was a long time coming, 400 plus years

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – “God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials.” [Hamilton]

            • I’m sure that the Israelites felt that God’s silence meant He had denied their cries for help

              • That was not the case

              • There were circumstances at play that the Israelites were not aware of

              • God was waiting for the sin of Amorites to reach its full measure

              • God’s delay had nothing to do with the suffering of the Israelites

            • Perhaps you’re feeling the same way as the Israelites did

              • Don’t be discouraged or frustrated by God’s delay

              • He hasn’t forgotten about you and your suffering

              • There may be some circumstance at play that you are not aware of

              • The delay may have nothing to do with you and your suffering

              • God has seen your suffering and heard your cries for help and will come to you and rescue you

              • Wait patiently for His timing


  • YOU

    • Do you need to be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking you to do?

    • Are you ready to invite God into your life, so He can transform it?

    • Can you trust that God is concerned about your suffering and will come to your aid?


  • WE

    • We need to be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking us to do.

    • We can trust that God is concerned about our suffering and will come to our aid.



“Before going into the ministry, I taught junior high school science for ten years. ​​ I thoroughly enjoyed those years, but I remember vividly a restlessness developing in my heart over the final two years. ​​ I began offering Bible studies for the students who were interested during the lunch hours. ​​ God confirmed in my spirit that there would soon be a transition in my life. ​​ Then came what I would consider to be my “burning bush” encounter.


Driving home, I had to pass the Forest Home Mortuary and Cemetery every day just off the Interstate 10 freeway in southern California. ​​ This day, however, was going to be a little different. ​​ I found myself taking the off ramp toward the cemetery, just wanting a little solitude before I went home. ​​ At the end of the main drive, I came directly in front of a massive mosaic of the Lord’s Supper. ​​ I climbed out of my car, walked to one of the wire chairs in front of the biblical portrait, and began to pray. ​​ It was at this moment God said to me about as clearly as anyone will ever hear the voice of God speaking in the depths of their soul, ‘It’s time! ​​ I want you to leave teaching and preach my word.’ ​​ With tears on my face, I received the call of God into the ministry, a call that I have at times doubted and struggled with, but nonetheless a call to serve him.”


[Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 17].




Deliverer in Training

(Exodus 2:11-25)



“Japanese Marathon Runner Shizo Kanakuri competed in the domestic qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Kanakuri set a marathon world record and was selected as one of the only two athletes that Japan could afford to send to the event that year.


However, Kanakuri shockingly disappeared during the 1912 Olympic marathon race. He had had a rough 18-day-long trip to Stockholm, first by ship and then by train all through the Trans-Siberian Railway, and needed five days to recover for the race. Kanakuri, weakened by the long journey from Japan, lost consciousness midway through the race, and was cared for by a local family. Being embarrassed from his ‘failure’, he returned to Japan without notifying race officials.


Swedish authorities considered him missing for 50 years before discovering that he was living in Japan. In 1967, he was offered the opportunity to complete his run. He accepted and completed the marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, remarking, ‘It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.’”


Possible Preaching Angle:


The Bible is full of stories of people who quit, but later, with God’s help, finished the race. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before God renewed his call. Peter denied Christ, went back to fishing, but Jesus restored him. The list continues with John Mark, Sampson, and many others who eventually finished the race.


Source: “Shizo Kanakuri,” Wikipedia (Accessed 6/19/21).





  • ME

    • Combating injustice

        • As a high school student in PA, I worked with Special Olympics one summer and really enjoyed it

        • When I was in college, one of the three jobs I had my senior year was working at the check-in desk in the gym

          • Every week, there was a group of individuals that came in the evening to use the college gym facilities

          • They all had down syndrome, but I really enjoyed developing relationships with them and I would protect them at all costs

        • God has given me a compassion and love for individuals with special needs and for those who are dealing with injustice

        • I can get pretty defensive and bold when faced with injustice towards those who are weak and vulnerable – I get really upset!


  • WE

    • Is there an injustice you are especially passionate about?


Time flew for Moses from being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter to being a 40-year-old man. ​​ In the Bible, it happened between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11. ​​ We are not told about his adolescent and young adult years. ​​ He goes from being perhaps a ten-year-old to a forty-year-old like that (snap fingers). ​​ Moses never forgot where he came from. ​​ God gave him a compassionate heart for the Hebrews, his people. ​​ His first attempts at delivering the Hebrews seemed to fail. ​​ His focus needed to be adjusted, so that eventually he would be able to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. ​​ It was going to take some time. ​​ Moses’ was well intentioned, because he wanted to combat injustice. ​​ But he needed some God training in a rural setting before he would be ready. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – God calls us to combat injustice.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 2:11-25)

    • Rescue (vv. 11-15)

        • Time lapse

          • As I mentioned just a moment ago, there was about a thirty year jump in time from Moses’ adoption to adulthood

            • We see it between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11

            • Stephen gives us Moses’ age, at this point, when he speaks before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7

            • “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.” (Acts 7:23)

          • Moses identified with the Hebrews even though he had been raised and educated in the Egyptian king’s household

            • Acts 7:22, Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

              • Moses had to weed through the superstitious wisdom he had been taught growing up to discern what was good and what was not

              • He was taught some things that would be universal in nature and would actually benefit him was he led the Israelites (law, administration, military) [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 55]

              • I believe that his parents did an incredible job of teaching Moses about the true and living God and about his heritage

              • Moses and his parents were living out what Solomon would later put to words, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6)

              • The writer of Hebrews says it this way

            • Hebrews 11:24-26, By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. ​​ He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. ​​ He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

            • The fact that the writer of Exodus mentions “his own people” twice in verse 11 shows that Moses had not forgotten his upbringing and who he really was

          • We don’t know what motivated Moses to go out to where his own people were to watch them do their work

            • I believe it was the Spirit of God prompting him

            • How many of us have experienced the same thing?

            • We just know we are supposed to do a certain thing or contact a certain person

            • There is an awareness, an urgency to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is asking us to do

            • We may not always obey the prompting even though we should

            • It is always a blessing to see how God uses those promptings for His glory and our encouragement

          • As he watched his people labor under the difficult working environment he noticed something that stirred him up

        • Attempts at rescue

          • Egyptian vs. Hebrew

            • Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew

              • It is very likely that the Egyptian was one of the slave masters

              • Moses recognized the injustice that was taking place, and took measures into his own hands

              • Notice that Moses did not look up for God’s help and guidance, but rather he looked this way and that

              • “Moses made a mistake that I often make. ​​ That is, he ministered according to need rather than according to obedience. ​​ What’s the Lord telling you to do? ​​ It’s not a matter of looking this way and that way. ​​ It’s a matter of looking up. ​​ On any given day, in any given situation, it’s a matter of saying, ‘Lord what would You have me do?’” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis-Job, 231]

            • Moses killed the Egyptian slave master and hid his body in the sand

              • The same Hebrew word is used for both “beating” (what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew) and “killed/struck down” (what Moses did to the Egyptian)

              • “In one sense Moses mirrors what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew: he strikes. ​​ Yet the outcome of Moses’ action is different, for v. 11 does not indicate that the Egyptian struck dead the Hebrew slave. ​​ Moses, however, kills.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, 2, Exodus, 67]

            • Moses knew what he was about to do was wrong, which is why he looked around to make sure no one was watching and then hid the body after the fact

            • Application

              • Scripture does not record Moses’ actions as a model for us to follow when we see injustice – murder is wrong (including premeditated murder)

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can redeem and use us despite our failures.

                • The failure of Moses did not disqualify him from being used by God to accomplish His plan and purpose

                  • It can be assumed that Moses repented of his sins of murder, anger, and hatred, because God still called him to deliver His people while he was in the desert through the burning bush

                  • God transformed Moses during the 40 years he was in the desert of Midian watching sheep

                • God can redeem and use you despite your failures

                  • I think it’s safe to say that none of us has committed murder

                  • But, I would guess that everyone of us has dealt with anger and hatred

                  • We each have weaknesses that Satan exploits

                  • 1 John 4:4, You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

                  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ​​ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ​​ That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. ​​ For when I am weak, then I am strong.

                  • When we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

                  • We are never too far gone or have done too many bad things that God will not forgive us when we repent and turn to Him

                  • When we do that, He will redeem us and use us for His glory

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins, so God can use me for His glory!

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

                • Moses saw what was happening to a fellow Hebrew and he knew it was wrong

                  • He didn’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to step up

                  • He was moved by compassion and love for the one who was being mistreated

                  • He recognized oppression and injustice and got involved

                • As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to recognize when something is wrong and get involved

                  • When we see someone at school being singled out and ridiculed we need to go get an adult

                  • When we see a fellow employee being mistreated by another employee we need to step up and address the issue

                  • When we see injustice and oppression in our community we need to get involved with ways to address and end the injustice and oppression

                  • God’s Word is clear throughout the Old and New Testaments that we are to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan

                  • God may be calling some of us to volunteer for organizations that address abortion, child trafficking, sex trafficking, orphans, poor, widows, abuse of Constitutional rights and religious freedoms

                  • God may be calling some of us to start organizations that address injustice

                  • All of us need to look up for God’s guidance and wisdom to know what He is calling us to do

“John Mark Hicks's son Joshua was born with Sanfilippo Syndrome A, a genetic disorder that causes slow mental and physical degeneration. In his book, Yet Will I Trust Him, Hicks tells the following story about his son's experience on a school bus:


From the first day Joshua saw a school bus, he wanted to ride one. He wanted to be like his older sister. She rode the bus, and so would he! Whenever a bus came into view, he would shout, ‘I wanna ride!’ Finally, his day came. Every morning I would take him out to wait for the bus at a place near my office. When he saw it coming, he would jump and scream for joy ….


But one day, for some reason, he did not want to get on. I took him by the hand and gently led him up the steps of the bus, and he got on. But he was whining, hesitant, and reluctant. I thought perhaps he was just having a bad day, but as the bus drove away I learned why he was hesitant, and I heard words that tore my heart. It was as if a knife had been stuck into my gut and twisted.


His schoolmates were ridiculing him. The older children were calling him names. They ridiculed his need for diapers and mocked his use of them the previous day. As the bus drove off, I could hear the mockery, and I could see my son stumble down the aisle as he looked for a seat.


Anger grew inside me. All morning I wanted to take some of those older kids aside and heap some abuse of my own on them. Let them see how it feels! Let them know what it's like to be hurt, ridiculed, and mocked. Maybe I should talk to the bus driver, or to the school principal, to the teachers, or to the parents! My helplessness increased my frustration.


Finally, I took my anger and hurt to God. I went to my office and poured my heart before him. I held nothing back. I complained bitterly, and then I complained some more. … Why was my son born with this condition? Why are others permitted to inflict pain upon the innocent? Why hadn't God answered our prayers for a healthy son? Why couldn't Joshua ever fulfill the dreams we had for him and honor the name which we gave him as a leader among God's people? Why hadn't the sovereign God of the universe blessed him with health?


[In the midst of my complaint], it was as if God had said to me, ‘I understand—they treated my Son that way, too.’ In that moment God provided a comfort that I cannot yet explain but one that I still experience in my heart.


Now, only now, do I have some sense of the pain that a father has when his son is ridiculed. Only now can I begin to appreciate the pain of my heavenly Father as he watched his Son be ridiculed.”


Source: John Mark Hicks, Yet Will I Trust Him (College Press Publishing Company, 1999), pp. 183-184.


                  • Notice what this father did, he went to the Lord in prayer, but that wasn’t his first desire

                  • His first desire was to heap some abuse on the older kids

                  • Dealing with oppression and injustice takes discernment that can only come from the Lord

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord how He wants me to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

            • Moses witnessed another act of injustice the next day

            • How would he handle it this time?

          • Hebrew vs. Hebrew

            • The injustice he witnessed the next day was between two Hebrew men

            • They were fighting about something

              • It was a physical altercation, not just with words

              • Moses stepped in, determined who was at fault and then asked him why he was hitting his fellow Hebrew

              • The Hebrew word for “hitting” is the same word used in verse 11 for “beating” and in verse 12 for “killed”

              • Moses was concerned about justice

              • God calls us to combat injustice.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

            • The guilty man’s response is significant

              • First, he questioned Moses authority

                • The man wanted to know who made Moses ruler and judge over them

                • Moses desire was to help his own people, but they did not see it that way

                • Acts 7:25-27, Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. ​​ The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. ​​ He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ ​​ But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?’

                • Moses’ leadership was already in jeopardy, seemingly before it ever started

              • Second, he confronted Moses about his method of dealing with injustice

                • The man wanted to know if Moses was going to deal with him in the same way he had dealt with the Egyptian slave master – kill him!

                • “From Moses’ point of view, he had tried to act in secret to help one of his people, and he thought he had succeeded. ​​ Now that in the process of his further intervention to try to help another of his people he had learned that his deed of the day before was known, the whole course he had set himself on was suddenly leading in the wrong direction.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 97]

              • Secret revealed

                • What Moses thought he had done in secret was not a secret anymore

                • Potentially the only person who knew that he had killed the Egyptian was the Hebrew slave that was being beaten

                • He must had shared what happened with those who had seen him being beaten

          • “His [Moses] initial attempts at being a deliverer, worked out in his own strength and by his own wisdom, had failed.” ​​ [Mackay, 59]

        • Consequences of his failure

          • Fear

          • Separation

            • When Pharaoh heard what he had done, he tried to kill Moses

            • Moses left Egypt and fled to Midian [show map]

            • Hebrews 11:27a, By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.

            • In Midian, he sat down by a well

          • Midian

            • The Midianites were descended from Abraham through his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:2, 4)

            • They lived in the central and northern parts of the Sinai Peninsula, but also on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf (Rea Sea) [Stuart, 98; Keil & Delitzsch, 280]

        • God needed Moses to get out of Egypt before He used him to get Israel out of Egypt [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition; Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 15]

        • Moses was going to find refuge in Midian

    • Refuge (vv. 16-22)

        • Confronting injustice again

          • While Moses was sitting by the well he watched seven women (all daughters of a Midianite priest) come, draw water, and fill the troughs to water their flock

          • There were some other shepherds (presumably men) who came and drove the seven women and their flock away

          • Moses could not sit idly by and watch even strangers be mistreated and abused, so he got up, confronted the other shepherds, probably chased them away or told them to wait their turn, and then watered the women’s flock for them

            • God calls us to combat injustice.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

          • Notice what is missing when Moses came to the women’s rescue

            • There is nothing recorded about any beating, hitting, or killing of those who were mistreating the women

            • Perhaps Moses had learned his lesson in Egypt about how to correctly handle confronting injustice

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God uses our past experiences to prepare us for His future purposes.

              • How many of us can look back over our lives and see growth in how we deal with certain situations?

              • When we were younger, we may have been impulsive and brash in how we dealt with other drivers, fellow students, certain colleagues, neighbors, family, and friends

              • As we have grown and matured, we deal with those same individuals and circumstances with more grace, compassion, love, and patience

              • We can use our failures and successes to teach others what to do and not do in confronting injustice, oppression, and abuse

          • Moses handled the shepherds in a much better way than he did the Egyptian slave master and the seven women noticed

        • Early return

          • The mistreatment by the other shepherds must have been going on for some time, because the girl’s father asked why they had returned so early on that day

            • Another name is finally revealed in Exodus

            • The father’s name is Reuel (reh-oo-ale’), which means “friend of God”

            • He will be referred to as Jethro (yith-ro’) in Exodus 3:1, 8:12, 27, which can mean “excellence” (it may have been a title as opposed to his actual name)

          • They explained to their father that an Egyptian rescued them from the shepherds and then watered the flock

            • They did not have to wait in line like every other day

            • They identified Moses as an Egyptian, probably because of what he was wearing, his hairstyle, and perhaps his accent

            • He wanted to know where this Egyptian was and then told his daughters to go and invite him to a meal

          • Moses stayed with them

            • My guess is that Moses explained his situation to Reuel and his daughters during the meal

            • They offered to have him stay with them

            • Eventually, Reuel gave his daughter, Zipporah (tsip-po-raw’, meaning “bird”), to Moses in marriage

            • We are not told how much time passed between the beginning of verse 21 and the end of verse 21

            • We do know, from Stephen’s speech, that Moses was in Midian for 40 years

            • Acts 7:30, “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”

          • Moses family began

            • We are not given any time stamps to help us know how long Moses and Zipporah were married before they had their son

            • We know that eventually they have another son, Eliezer

            • Moses named his son, Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’), which means “foreigner”

            • Moses gave him this name, because he had become an alien in a foreign land

        • Verses 23-25 are really transition verses that prepare us for the remainder of the book

    • Remember (vv. 23-25)

        • Death of the king of Egypt

          • It is obviously near the end of the forty year period that Moses was in Midian that the king died

          • This was the same king that wanted to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian guard

        • Cry for help

          • It is not stated directly, but indirectly we know that the new king continued the oppression and slavery of the Hebrews

          • The Israelites groaned and cried out for help, and God heard

          • He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

            • God remembering His covenant did not mean that He had forgotten

            • God is never early or late, but always right on time

            • The Israelites had been in captivity for 430 years

            • “The average Israelite likely knew at least something about the Abrahamic covenant, and it may be useful for the modern reader to realize that the term zākar (zaw-kar’/zaw-hair’), ‘remember,’ is idiomatic for covenant application rather than recollection. … In other words, to say ‘God remembered his covenant’ is to say ‘God decided to honor the terms of his covenant at this time.’” ​​ [Stuart, 103]

          • God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God hears, sees, and is concerned about His people.

            • Just like God heard, saw, and was concerned about the Israelites in their slavery and oppression, He hears, sees, and is concerned about you in your oppression, abuse, and mistreatment

            • Turn to Him today and know that at just the right time He will act to redeem and rescue you

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about me and will rescue me at just the right time.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to repent of your sins, so God can use you for His glory!

    • Do you need to ask the Lord how He wants you to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated?

    • Do you need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about you and will rescue you at just the right time.


  • WE

    • What sins do we need to repent of, so God can use us for His glory

    • How does God want us to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated

    • We need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about us and will rescue us at just the right time



“This is a story of 30-year-old friends who had a reunion and were discussing where they should go for dinner. Somebody suggested that they meet at the Glowing Embers Restaurant because the waiters and waitresses there are young and beautiful. They all agreed. Fifteen years later, at 45 years of age, they met and discussed again where they should have dinner. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because the food and wine selection there are very good. They all agreed. Another 15 years later at 60 years of age, they once again discussed where to meet. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because you can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free. They all agreed.


Another fifteen years later, at the age of 75, the group discussed again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because the restaurant is physically accessible and they even have an elevator. They all agreed. Finally, 15 years later at the age of 90, the same group of friends discussed one more time where they should meet for dinner. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because they had never been there before. And they all agreed.


Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Old Age—Obviously in a gently humorous way this story highlights the reality of growing older. (2) Spiritual Forgetfulness or Unfaithfulness—This story also illustrates our tendency to forget the bedrock truths of our spiritual lives. (3) God's Covenant of Love for Us—The Lord does not forget us; he remembers to bless and redeem us (see Gen. 8:1).


Source: P. J. Alindogan, "Communicate and Relate," The Potter's Jar blog, (3-25-12).






The Paper-thin Plan

(Exodus 2:1-10)



“An Oklahoma man went to extreme measures to impress his wife in 2004. Trent Spencer, a 27-year-old high school teacher, paid two teenagers $100 each to break into his house and tie up his wife. After she was bound with duct tape, Spencer raced in and ‘fought off’ the ‘intruders.’ He even pre-cut a board so it would break when he hit one of them with it.


The police were called and began an investigation. The plan might have worked—except that one of the teenagers blabbed to his parents. Surprisingly, when the police found out, they didn't arrest Spencer. Instead, they slapped him with the bill for the investigation.


Source: (Vol. 20, No. 17).





  • ME

    • Paper-thin plan

        • While in high school, some of us from work decided to decorate a friend’s house with toilet paper

        • The neighbor dog starting barking through the screen door, which drew the attention of the neighbor who started hollering at us

        • We all ran down the street and left


  • WE

    • Paper-thin plans

        • How many of us have gone ahead with plans that we didn’t really have great confidence in – we knew they were paper-thin

        • We just hoped that everything would work out fine


We learned last week that Pharaoh had ordered all of the Egyptians to be watching the Israelites to see when they had children. ​​ If the baby was a boy, they were to throw it into the Nile River. ​​ If it was a girl that could let the baby live. ​​ This was Pharaoh’s desperate attempt to thwart God’s plan of explosive population growth for the Israelites. ​​ We are not told how many Israelite families tried various ways to save their baby boys, but we will see one family’s plan, today, that involved papyrus (also used as paper in the Ancient Near East). ​​ Even though God is not mentioned in this narrative, we know He was working out His perfect will for His people. ​​ He did it in an amazing way! ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 2:1-10)

    • Riding the River (vv. 1-4)

        • Nameless parents

          • This is a continuation of the narrative from chapter 1

            • Pharaoh’s population control order was still in effect

            • Every Egyptian was to spy on the Israelites to see whether their new born babies were boys or girls

            • If they were boys, they were to be taken to the Nile River and thrown in

            • If they were girls, they were allowed to live

            • In the middle of this horrible order we find a young couple with a dilemma

          • Amram (am-rawm’) and Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red)

            • A man married a woman

            • While the man and woman are not named here, we know their names from later in Exodus

              • Exodus 6:20, Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. ​​ Amram lived 137 years.

              • Both Amram and Jochebed descended from Levi’s line

              • In Exodus 6:20 we learned that Amram married his aunt, his father Kohath’s sister

              • This kind of marriage was not a problem at this point, but would later be prohibited

          • Their heritage

            • They were both from the line of Levi

            • The reason for specifying his parents heritage instead of their names emphasized that they were both Israelites/Hebrews

            • Being from the tribe of Levi would be significant as Moses’ role was eventually revealed as the religious and spiritual leader of the Israelites

            • The tribe of Levi would be the tribe that served the Lord as priests and most of the court judges (Deut. 21:5)

          • After getting married the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son

        • Birth of Moses

          • The way it is written here, it sounds like this son was their first born child

          • But we know they had a daughter (Miriam) and another son (Aaron) before this son (Moses)

        • Obeying the letter of the law

          • Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) saw that her baby boy was a fine, good, and beautiful child

            • I can’t think of any parent who would look at their child and say they were poor, bad, and ugly

            • Most parents are partial to their children and think they are smarter, better, more talented, and more attractive than anyone else’s children

            • I think God has placed that partiality in the heart and mind of every parent – we love our children!

            • For Moses parents, I think it was more than that

            • In Hebrews 11:23 we read these words, By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

              • The NLT says he was an unusual child

              • Most other translations have it as beautiful, comely, fair, goodly, or proper

              • Perhaps God had put something in their hearts that let them know their baby boy was destined for something great

              • It had to be something more than just his looks

              • Notice that they hid him by faith

                • “Moses’ parents trusted God to protect their son’s life. ​​ They were not merely proud parents; they were believers who had faith that God would care for him.” [NIV Application Bible, footnote for Hebrews 11:23, 2237]

                • As parents or grandparents, have you trusted God to protect and take care of your children and/or grandchildren

                • This is not always easy, especially as they grow up and start making their own choices and decisions

                • Some of us understand and know the heartache of having a wayward child and/or grandchild

                • We have to constantly pray for and entrust our children and/or grandchildren to God’s care and protection

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

                • This includes parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc.

                • God has important work for each of us to do

                • It may not be leading an entire nation out of slavery, like He called Moses to do

                • But, we all have gifts and abilities that God wants to use for His glory and to build His kingdom

                • God’s protection on us is so His plan and will can be accomplished through us

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to protect and care for _____________.

            • Because Moses’ parents recognized that God had a special plan for His life, they hid him for three months

              • This probably was not too difficult to do with a toddler (Aaron) in the house

              • Aaron would have been three years old when Moses was born, so any crying and such would probably not have raised any suspicions

              • I’m sure all Israelite couples, during this time, were cautious about revealing a pregnancy to neighbors

              • If they did, I’m sure their Egyptian neighbors were watching to see when the baby was born and whether it was a boy or a girl

            • After three months, Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red), realized that she would not be able to hide him much longer, so she devised a plan

          • Paper-thin plan

            • I call it a paper-thin plan, because the reed-like plant she used had many uses in the Ancient Near East, but mainly for paper to write on

              • “Papyrus was a reed that grew abundantly on the banks of the Nile. ​​ Its inner pith was split and pasted together to provide a surface for writing, but the Egyptians used it for many other purposes as well: ​​ shoes, baskets, containers of various sorts and boats (Isa. 18:2).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 50]

              • “It had a triangular stalk about the thickness of a finger, which grew to the height of ten feet; and from this the lighter Nile boats were made, while the peeling of the plant was used for sails, mattresses, mats, sandals, and other articles, but chiefly for the preparation of paper.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 277]

            • She took a papyrus basket and covered it with tar and pitch to make it watertight

              • The Hebrew word used for basket is tēḇâ (tay-baw’/tay-vaw’)

              • The Hebrew word literally means “ark”

              • The only other place in the Bible where we find this Hebrew word, other than in Exodus 2:5, is in the flood narrative found in Genesis 6-9 where Noah builds an ark

              • That ark protected Noah and his family, so they could save humanity by repopulating the earth

              • This tiny ark was going to protect Moses, who would save and deliver God’s people from slavery

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

            • When the “ark” was finished, she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile, which would have kept it from floating away

            • “Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) obeyed the letter of the law when she put Moses in the waters of the Nile, but certainly she was defying Pharaoh’s order in the way she did it. ​​ She was trusting the providence of God and God didn’t fail her.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 181]

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s providence is mysterious and amazing.

              • God’s providence is His guidance and care for us

              • I don’t know about you, but sometimes God’s guidance and care for me is mysterious

                • There have been times in my life when I knew the direction God was leading, but I did not understand His leading – it was mysterious and confusing to me

                • Eventually I understood his guidance and care for me and realized how amazing it was

              • Have you experienced the mysterious and amazing providence of God in your life?

                • Did you find it mysterious and confusing at times?

                • Were you amazed after you obeyed His guidance?

                • Remember that God will not fail you

                • You can trust in God’s providence in your life even if you don’t understand

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s mysterious and amazing providence in my life.

            • That is what Jochebed did when she placed her son in the basket and put him in the Nile – she didn’t know what God would do, but she trusted Him nonetheless

          • God was going to use Moses sister to work out His perfect will in an amazing way

          • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

        • Sister spy

          • We know from later in Exodus that Moses’ sister’s name was Miriam

          • We are not told if her parents instructed her to watch from a distance or not

          • She was probably young enough that she did not have work to do around the house with her mother or in the brick yard and farm fields for the Egyptians

          • She was a another key woman in God’s perfect plan

        • As she is watching over her baby brother in the “ark” a group of women came to the river

    • Rescued by Royalty (vv. 5-10)

        • Ark encounter (not the one in Kentucky)

          • Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to take a bath

            • We are not given her name, probably for the same reason the parent’s names are not given in verse 1and the sister’s name is not given in verse 4 – the focus needs to be on the child who will deliver the Israelites from slavery

            • Her bath may have been for hygiene purposes or religious ritual purposes, but probably both

            • Her attendants were walking along the river bank to ensure her privacy – they would alert her to any intruders

          • Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket nestled among the reeds

            • She was able to see it, because of being in the water which gave her the perfect angle

            • Her attendants probably did not see it, because of the reeds growing up along the bank

            • So, she sent her slave girl (personal assistant) to get it

          • Pharaoh’s daughter’s attitude

            • After opening the basket she saw and heard the baby crying

            • Her maternal instincts override every other emotion

              • She felt sorry for him

              • Most English translations say that she had “pity” or “compassion” for him

              • “One could translate ‘she took pity on him,’ but I prefer ‘had compassion.’ ​​ One difference between ‘pity’ and ‘compassion’ is that pity means ‘to feel for,’ while compassion means ‘to feel with.’ ​​ In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the priest and the Levite have pity, but no compassion. ​​ They feel sorry for the victim, but it stops there. ​​ Not so with the Samaritan. ​​ And not so with this princess. ​​ She does not simply feel a brief tinge of sorrow, and then get on with her bathing.” [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 21]

              • She did not feel the same way towards the Hebrews as her father did

              • Her attitude should have been callous disregard for human life, but it was compassion instead

              • While she was probably not a follower of the true and living God, He in His providence, sovereignty, and will filled her heart with compassion for this crying baby boy

            • Even after identifying him as a Hebrew baby, she does not just chuck him in the river

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

          • As the princess is holding the baby, his sister springs into action

        • Aid offered

          • She offers to go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse him

          • The princess agrees to this plan and tells the girl to go, so the girl goes and gets her mother

            • “The turning point of the story is contained in a one-word command, that of the princess: “Go!” ​​ With that decision of the king’s daughter Moses’ protection was assured.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 92]

            • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

          • When Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) returned with her daughter, the princess instructed her to take the baby and nurse him for her and she would pay her

            • What an amazing turn of events

            • This mother who had trusted in God’s providence was rewarded in two ways

              • She would be able to raise her son without fear of him being killed by the Egyptian authorities

              • She would be paid by the princess to nurse and raise her own child

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is our provider!

              • Jochebed knew that God had provided for her

                • He had provided life and safety for her son

                • He had provided income for her family

              • God provides for us too when we trust in His providence (guidance and care for us)

                • He will provide guidance for our future (school, job, children, finances, housing, retirement, etc.)

                • He will provide care for us in our weakness (healing in our sickness, strength for surgeries and procedures, comfort in our loss, etc.)

                • Even though His guidance and care may be mysterious, we can trust that it will be amazing in the end

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank God for providing ________________ for me.

            • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

          • She obeyed the princess’s instructions

        • Adoption completed

          • “When the child grew older” or “and the child grew”

            • We are not told how long Jochebed had with her son

            • Stuart says that, during this time, children were nursed for 3-4 years before they were weaned [Stuart, 93]

            • Mackay mentions that the training for a young Egyptian prince may have started around nine to ten years old [Mackay, 54]

            • We don’t know the exact age when the official adoption took place, but Moses was older than an infant

            • When the time came, Jochebed took her son to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son

          • Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses

            • We know from the Scriptures that she named him Moses, because she had drawn him out of the water

            • Moses sounds like the Hebrew for “draw out”

            • The naming of Moses shows that the princess is officially claiming him as her own

            • “What a perfect name, given the fact that God would use Moses to draw His people out of Egypt!” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 13]

        • Moses and Jesus, deliverers have come

          • Moses and Jesus’ have some similarities in their lives

            • They both survived the desperate attempt of evil rulers (Pharaoh & Herod) to eliminate Hebrew boys

            • They both were sovereignly chosen by God to save His people

              • Moses saved God’s people from Egyptian slavery

              • Jesus saved God’s people from sin

          • Gospel

            • We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23; 6:23a)

            • We are all loved by God (Rom. 5:8)

            • We are all able to be forgiven (Rom. 6:23b; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)

            • We can all become a part of God’s family (John 1:12-13)

            • Back of the Communication Card, Send Me Info About: ​​ Becoming a follower of Jesus


  • YOU

    • Who do you need to trust God to protect and care for today?

    • Do you need to trust in God’s mysterious and amazing providence in your life?

    • What has God provided for you that you need to thank Him for today?


  • WE

    • Who do we need to trust God to protect and cared for today?

    • What/Who do we need to trust God’s mysterious and amazing guidance and care for?

    • What provision do we need to thank God for?



“Sandra McCracken writes in CT magazine:


A few years ago, I sat on the front porch of an old farmhouse in Vermont … with two friends. Above us, at the corner of the house, hung a hummingbird feeder. Tiny winged visitors stopped by intermittently to eavesdrop while sipping nectar from the glass globe.


Hummingbird wings move at about 50 beats per second. But when they (hover), hummingbirds can appear completely motionless. A miracle of fitness and form, God made these creatures to be a delicate display of paradox: They are still and active at the same time.


These birds are a moving metaphor for the kind of trust that God outlines in Isaiah 30:15: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence’ (CSB). When I think of God’s grace at play in my own life, my most successful moments happen when I hold steady at the center. Confidence is not found in productivity, but in quietness of heart.


Our plans are not like his plans. As the hummingbird moves, his wings are invisible to us. So too the work of God is often hard to see in the moment, but nevertheless something remarkable is happening. This is what the Lord says: ‘Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?’ (Isa. 43:19).”


Source: Sandra McCracken, “When God’s Hand Is Invisible,” CT Magazine (April, 2021), p. 24.





Thriving Through Affliction

(Exodus 1:1-22)



“Have you ever wondered why British sailors are called ‘limeys’? ​​ Well, hundreds of years ago, modern medicine was still in its infancy. ​​ Sailors would drop like flies from scurvy on long sea voyages. ​​ But British sailors accidentally discovered a truth that was to impact the health and lives of thousands. ​​ They found that the dreaded scurvy could be stopped with the addition of limes to the sailors’ diet. ​​ This fruit, unknown to them, contained vitamin C. ​​ Who would have thought that the difference between life and death could be a humble lime! ​​ So, because British sailors sucked on limes, they became known as ‘limeys.’


Life is delicately balanced. ​​ It can be negatively affected, and even ended, by the smallest deficiency or addition. ​​ Add an extra carbon molecule to oxygen, and you get carbon dioxide, which can be fatal if too much is inhaled. ​​ This substance, much like vitamin C, is unseen, yet potent.


What is true in the physical realm has similar parallels in the spiritual realm. ​​ You are about to make a journey that will demonstrate the fine balance of deliverance, direction, and dedication. ​​ The Book of Exodus paints three pictures for the careful student. ​​ First is the picture of God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage. ​​ The second picture will be a beautiful portrayal of God’s faithful guidance of these same people through the wilderness to the promised land. ​​ The third painting will show us the glory of God as the Israelites trusted his leading and dedicated a dwelling place for his holy habitation.”


[Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 9]



  • ME

    • Potassium and Magnesium

        • I take a pill that has medicine for my blood pressure combined with a water pill

        • When my doctor increased the dosage of the water pill, I started having muscle pain in my hips and knees that eventually settled in my shoulders

        • After struggling with muscle pain in my neck and shoulders for months, I mentioned something to my chiropractor about my blood pressure medication

        • He recommended taking potassium and magnesium supplements

        • I started taking both and the constant muscle pain in my neck and shoulders has stopped

        • I continued to do everything I had done in the past, but I had to do it a little differently because of the pain in my shoulders

    • Change in my schedule

        • For many years I would work almost 7 days a week, because I wanted to make sure everything was just right for Sunday morning

        • Several years ago, I made a small change to my weekly schedule that transformed by work week

        • Now I am able to take Saturdays off and be with Judy

        • That little change made a huge difference in our lives


  • WE

    • A small change

        • Many of us probably have a story about how a small change made all the difference in our lives

        • Perhaps it was something in our diet or something in our spiritual walk

        • That little change transformed our physical or spiritual health


God allowed the Israelites to thrive in Egypt, which created some angst with the new king. ​​ As a result, the new king tried three ways to stunt the growth of the Israelites. ​​ He was frustrated because all three plans appeared to fail. ​​ The king’s plan was in direct opposition to God’s plan. ​​ Through this narrative today, we will learn that . . .


BIG IDEA – We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 1:1-22)

    • Overview

        • Meaning of Exodus

          • “Going out”

          • “Departure”

        • Author is Moses

        • Structure

          • Scholars have divided the entire book either into to two or three main parts

          • The two-part structure has Israel in Egypt and Israel in Sinai

          • The three-part structure is varied, but I prefer Wiersbe’s breakdown

            • “God delivered them from bondage (1-18), but freedom should lead to obedience (19-24), and obedience results in worship to the glory of God (25-40).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 179]

            • His three main points are:

              • Redemption: The Lord delivers His people (1-18)

              • Covenant: The Lord claims His people (19-24)

              • Worship: The Lord dwells with His people (25-40)

        • Theme

          • “God sets us free that we might serve Him.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 179]

          • Exodus 6:6-8 summarizes the entire book of Exodus

          • “Exodus may thus be divided into two main broad topics: (1) deliverance of a group of people from submission to their oppressors to submission to God and (2) the constitution of that group as a people of God. ​​ Put another way, Exodus is about rescue from human bondage and rescue from sin’s bondage.” ​​ [Douglas K. Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 20]

          • I have chosen “Rescued” as the theme for the entire book of Exodus

        • Now that we have some of the background covered, let’s dive in to the text for today

    • Abundance (vv. 1-7)

        • Continuation of Genesis

          • First word of Exodus in Hebrew

            • It is not reflected in the NIV, but the first word in the Hebrew is actually “and”

            • Many of the modern translations translate it as “now”

            • Most scholars agree that the first word connects Exodus to Genesis

            • In fact, Exodus could be considered the second chapter in the book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament)

            • It is not to be considered a stand-alone book

            • As we will see, having the foundation of Genesis behind us will benefit us in the study of Exodus

              • Exodus does not answer the question of why Jacob is referred to as Israel

              • It does not answer the question of how the Israelites got to Egypt initially

              • It does not answer the question of why Joseph was already in Egypt

              • There are probably many other questions that we have that Exodus will not answer, but fortunately we already know the answers to those questions because we just finished studying the book of Genesis

              • If you don’t know the answers to the questions, you can read Genesis and/or listen to the messages from Genesis on our website

            • There is another element that connects Genesis and Exodus, found in this first verse

          • Connection to Genesis

            • If we compare the first half of verse 1 in Exodus to Genesis 46:8 we find that the first 13 words are identical if we omit the parenthesis in Genesis 46:8

            • The first five verses in Exodus go back in time just a little bit to tell us who migrated with Jacob to Egypt

            • Then beginning in verse 6 it jumps ahead of where Genesis left off

          • There is an order to the names listed

        • Order of names

          • Leah’s sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun)

          • Rachel’s son (Benjamin)

          • Rachel’s handmaiden’s (Bilhah) sons (Dan, Naphtali)

          • Leah’s handmaiden’s (Zilpah) sons (Gad, Asher)

          • Rachel’s first son, Joseph, is listed separately because he was already in Egypt

          • We are reminded again that 70 descendants went to Egypt with Jacob (Genesis 46:26-27)

        • Fulfillment of God’s command

          • All of Jacob’s sons that were part of the generation that migrated to Egypt had died

          • God blessed the Israelites with many descendants

            • This blessing was evidence of God’s presence with the Israelites, even though He had been silent for many years

              • Are you grateful for God’s presence in your life?

              • Are you thankful for His blessings in your life?

              • When was the last time you expressed your gratitude and thanksgiving to Him? ​​ (you can do that right now)

            • “The Hebrew of Exodus 1:7 is even more explicit than the NIV: ‘The Israelites became fruitful and swarmed, they increased in number and became exceedingly strong’,” ​​ [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 41]

              • The word “swarmed” brings to mind insects, which perhaps helps us visualize the explosive population growth of the Israelites

              • “More than normal conceived. ​​ Fewer than normal miscarried. ​​ More than normal survived to adulthood.” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 5]

              • That was God’s blessing on the Israelites

            • God’s blessing was a fulfillment of His command to humanity to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:7) and His promise to the patriarchs of many descendants (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:5; 17:2, 6; 22:17)

          • The Israelites were making good use of the northern Delta region (Goshen) – they were filling it up

        • Blessing and curse

          • Have you ever felt like something in your life is a blessing and a curse?

          • I’ve felt that way about how young I look

            • It is a blessing to not look as old as I am

            • It has also caused me some problems, because some people don’t think I know as much as I do or have not experienced as much as I have – they marginalize my wisdom and abilities

        • The Israelites came to realize that God’s blessing of population growth was a blessing to them, but would bring about affliction also

    • Affliction (vv. 8-22)

        • New king (vv. 8-10)

          • Who was this new king and how did he not know about Joseph?

            • His name is not given, but some believe it could have been Ahmose I

            • It may not be that the king did not know about Joseph, but he did not want to acknowledge the incredible benefits that he had provided for the Egyptians in the past

            • This would have been a common practice when there was a change of dynasty

            • The new king wanted to establish his own processes and procedures and did not want to be bound by the previous dynasty’s promises and practices

          • Motivated by fear (garner support)

            • The king used fear tactics to convince his people to go along with his plans

            • He was creating an “us-them” mentality in his own people, so they would rally around his idea and join him in opposing the Israelites [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 44]

            • “To portray his own people as somehow a minority, potentially dominated by the outsider majority, was a clever way to engender popular support for his plan. ​​ All oppressive regimes use the threat of some great danger, real or imagined, to justify violations of human rights . . . If a regime wishes to be given freedom to oppress a given group within a nation, it defines that group as an undermining force, a real danger, and potentially the agent of overthrow of the established order.” ​​ [Stuart, 64]

              • Don’t be naïve to the fact that this is what is currently happening in our political landscape today

              • As Christians, we have to be aware that we are being included in a group defined as an undermining force, a real danger, and potentially the agents of overthrow of the established order – a threat to democracy

              • We have to stand up and defend the Constitution of the United States and not allow our rights to be taken away

          • After establishing that the Israelites were a threat, the new king implemented his first plan

        • Forced labor (vv. 11-14)

          • The Israelites were forced in to slave labor for the Egyptians

            • They made the bricks and mortar used to build two store cities (Pithom and Rameses)

              • Pithom (pee-thome’/peh-thome’) and Rameses (rah-mes-ace’/rah-may-sace’) were probably in the northern Delta region, close to where they lived in Goshen

              • Show map

              • These would have been strategic store cities that probably housed grain for that region, but also military supplies and personnel, since the Egyptians were fearful of an attack from the Asiatic nations to the northeast

            • They also had them working the fields, which could have been with animals, and probably grain

            • The idea behind working them ruthlessly was probably two-fold

              • Those who were weak would die

              • Those who were strong would be too tired or too far away from their wives to procreate

            • Foretold

              • What began with the new king should not have come as a surprise to the Israelites

              • Genesis 15:13-14, Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. ​​ But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

              • “Knowing that the oppression was as much part of God’s plan as their own growth in numbers had been should have given them strength to wait for the divine resolution of their destiny.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 35]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – “Suffering is a necessary part of God’s plan.” ​​ (Martin, 12)

              • The Israelites could trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering

              • We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.

              • Maybe this is how you are feeling right now, “Have you lived life long enough to feel a little like the story of a cowboy on the western frontier who came across an Indian lying flat with his ear to the ground? ​​ The Indian looked up at the cowboy sitting on his horse and said, ‘Wagon; four horses; two passengers; woman wearing calico gown; heavy man driving; thirty minutes away.’ ​​ The cowboy’s jaw dropped as he said, ‘That is so amazing! ​​ You can tell all of that just by putting your ear to the ground?’ ​​ ‘No,’ the Indian replied, ‘they ran over me half an hour ago!’” ​​ [Martin, 12-13]

              • What has you feeling like you have been run over?

                • Is it people in your life who have deliberately run over you (friend, spouse, coworker, employee, etc.)

                • Is it circumstances that have let you feeling flat (broken health, bills stacking up, unexpected expenses, increasing debt, etc.)

                • “Know this, whatever place of bondage you are in right now, God knows. ​​ And whatever place of suffering you feel trapped within, God cares. ​​ And when you labor to remain faithful to God’s leading and remain patient through the adversity, God will do something about it.” ​​ [Martin, 13]

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Remember that God knows and cares about the bondage and suffering I am currently experiencing, so I can trust Him by faith to bring me through it.

            • The Israelites had to trust God by faith as they experienced oppression at the hands of the Egyptians

            • They watched Him do the miraculous through the hard and ruthless work

          • The king’s plan did not work

            • The harder they worked the Israelites and the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread

            • I can only imagine what the new king thought after years of oppressing the Israelites – “How is it that these slaves are not decreasing in number, but increasing instead?”

            • The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites, which caused them to work them even harder

            • They made the Israelites lives bitter by using them ruthlessly

          • The king had to regroup and look for another way to decrease the population of the Israelites

        • Infanticide (vv. 15-22)

          • Secretly (vv. 15-21)

            • Request

              • The king called in the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah

                • Shiphrah (shif-raw’) means “fair, brightness, beauty”

                • Puah (poo-aw’) means “splendid”

              • He asked them to kill the Hebrew boys right after they were born, but to let the Hebrew girls live

                • The king knew that killing the baby boys would eventually reduce the fighting force of the Israelites

                • The girls could be absorbed into Egyptian culture through marriage

                • The hope was that if the midwives killed the boys before they made a noise (cried) that it would be considered a stillbirth allowing his plan to remain a secret

              • He was banking on the fact that most people viewed the king (Pharaoh) as a god and would therefore not defy his request/command

            • Refusal (civil disobedience)

              • The midwives feared God, who was higher and more powerful than the king

                • They stood up for what was right according to God’s law instead of the king’s command

                • Their civil disobedience was prompted by their fear of God more than a humanitarian concern for the Hebrew boys [Alexander, 56]

                • Scripture is clear that, as Christians, we are to obey those in authority over us, whether they are Christians or not (Matt. 20:21-25; Rom. 13; 1 Pet. 2:11)

                • Scripture also teaches that our obedience must not violate our conscience or the laws of God

                  • Romans 13:5, Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

                  • Acts 5:27-29, Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ​​ “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. ​​ “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” ​​ Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”

              • These two midwives risked their lives to be faithful to God, instead of the king – they probably knew that the consequences of disobeying the king could mean death

              • Perhaps it didn’t take too long for the king to realize that his command was being ignored, so he called the two women in again

            • Reprimand

              • He wanted to know why they let the Hebrew boys live?

              • The midwives defense was that the Hebrew women were more vigorous that the Egyptian women and gave birth before the midwives arrived

                • “The final part of the verse, ‘they . . . give birth before the midwives arrive,’ could thus be perfectly true, perhaps in part because of a purposely slow arrival of the midwives as part of a quiet, widespread plot among Israelites to fool the Egyptians.” [Stuart, 81-82]

                • The king must have accepted their defense, because he does not punish them

              • The command from the king must have been hard for the midwives to deal with, but they trusted God to accomplish His plan even through that hardship and suffering.

              • Their faithfulness to God was rewarded

            • Reward

              • The Israelites were rewarded with even more descendants

              • God was kind to the midwives and gave them families of their own

                • It is probable that midwives in the Ancient Near East were women who were unable to have children of their own – they were barren

                • The demands of a midwife to be available at a moment’s notice, day or night, would not have been something a mother with children of her own could do

                • The midwives were now part of the increase of the Israelite community

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – “God demands faithfulness of those who want His blessing.” (Martin, 12).

                • We have to be faithful to God and His commands given to us through His Word, the Bible

                • Fear keeps many of us Christians from actively addressing sin in our culture

                  • We are afraid to stand up for unborn children

                  • We shy away from confronting false teaching in the Church

                  • We would never think of participating in civil disobedience for fear of being “canceled

                  • We don’t speak up when prayer and the Bible are removed from our educational institutions and government facilities

                  • The “See You At The Pole” events are scarcely attended by our children, probably because parents are not encouraging them to participate

                  • The examples could go on and on

                • We fear man instead of God!

                  • When Jesus was preparing his disciples for persecution, he told them, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. ​​ Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

                  • Luke 9:23-26, Then he said the them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ​​ For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. ​​ What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? ​​ If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

                • It’s time for us to stand up as Christians and be faithful to God instead of fretting over the things He may ask us to sacrifice

                • What blessings have we missed because we have not been faithful to the Lord and His Word?

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Stop fretting over the things God has asked me to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him.

                • We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.

              • The midwives were faithful to the Lord and were blessed with children of their own

            • Out of desperation, the king made his secret plan public

          • Openly (v. 22)

            • He ordered all of the Egyptian people to take every Hebrew boy born and throw them in the Nile

            • He also ordered that every Hebrew girl be allowed to live

            • “If this policy had been kept up for any length of time, it is impossible to explain the number of Israelite males at the Exodus. ​​ It may only have been sporadically enforced, and that in limited areas of the land.” ​​ [Mackay, 46]

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God’s plan cannot be thwarted!

            • We know that God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), sovereign, and eternal, so no matter what plan the king tried to dream up, God knew about it and had the power and right to override it, because He had a long-term plan that needed to be accomplished

            • His long-term plan was to have the Israelites return to the land of Canaan, so that in the future His Son, Jesus, could be born in Bethlehem, live in Nazareth, teach people about Him in the region of Galilee, and then give His life on the cross for the sin of all humanity

            • An Egyptian king was not going to thwart His plan

            • God’s plan for your life cannot be thwarted

            • God’s plan for our church cannot be thwarted

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s perfect plan for me and/or the church.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to remember that God knows and cares about the bondage and suffering you are currently experiencing, so you can trust Him by faith to bring you through it?

    • Is it time to stop fretting over the things God has asked you to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him?

    • Do you need to trust in God’s perfect plan for you?


  • WE

    • We need to remember that God knows and cares about the suffering we are currently experiencing as a church, so we can trust Him by faith to bring us through it.

    • We do not need to fret over the things God is asking us to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him.

    • We can trust in God’s perfect plan for us.



“In the fall of 1943 German soldiers began rounding up Jews in Italy and deporting them by the thousands to concentration camps. Simultaneously a mysterious and deadly disease called “Syndrome K” swept through the city of Rome causing dozens of patients to be admitted to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. The details of the disease are sketchy, but the symptoms include persistent coughing, paralysis, and death. The disease was said to be highly contagious.

But “Syndrome K” was different. There was no mention of it in medical textbooks, and outside of the hospital staff, nobody had heard of it before. It sounded similar to tuberculosis, a terribly frightening disease at that time. When the German soldiers went to raid the hospital, the doctors explained the disease to the soldiers and what lay behind the closed doors. None of them dared to go in. And that’s how at least a hundred Jews who were taking refuge at the hospital escaped death. “Syndrome K” was a made-up disease.


The disease was created by Giovanni Borromeo, the hospital’s head physician, to save Jews and anti-fascists who sought refuge there. Borromeo began providing Jews a safe haven in the hospital from 1938, the year Italy introduced antisemitic laws. In October 1943, the Nazis raided a Jewish ghetto in Rome. Many Jews fled to Fatebenefratelli, where Borromeo admitted them as “patients.” The refugees were diagnosed with a new fatal disease—“Syndrome K”—in order to identify them from the actual patients.


When the Nazis came to visit, patients were instructed to cough a lot whenever soldiers passed by their door. The ruse worked. “The Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits,” said Dr. Vittorio Sacerdoti during an interview with BBC in 2004, sixty years after the event.


How many lives “Syndrome K” actually saved is hard to tell, but accounts vary from two dozen to over a hundred. After the war, Borromeo was honored by the Italian government by awarding the Order of Merit and the Silver Medal of Valor. He died in 1961 at his own hospital. He was posthumously recognized as a “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Israeli government.


Possible Preaching Angles: Lying; Protection; Racism; Rescue – In the tradition of Rahab (Josh. 2:1-24) and the Egyptian midwives (Exodus 1:10-22) lives were protected from an attempt to murder God’s people. Concealing the truth by telling a lie to protect innocent lives appears to be accepted by God during persecution and extreme situations.


Source: Kaushik, “Syndrome K: The Fake Disease That Saved Lives,” Amusing Planet (3-20-19).