Give Me Five

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God is pleased when we pay attention to His call.

Exodus(26) (Part of the Rescued(25) series)
by Stuart Johns(230) on September 17, 2023 (Sunday Morning(314))

God's Plan(20), Salvation(79), Suffering(3), Trust(24)

Rescued

Give Me Five

(Exodus 3:1-10)

 

INTRODUCTION

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.

 

BODY

  • 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.

 

CONCLUSION

“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].

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