The God That Will . . .
“When I was a boy growing up outside of New York City, I was an avid fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In fact, I have not yet quite forgiven them for moving west. The archenemy in my childhood was the New York Yankees. I had seen them only on television and heard them only on the radio until I was invited by my father to skip school and to go to the World Series game between the Yankees and the Dodgers. I'll tell you, it was one of the great thrills of my childhood. I remember sitting there, smelling the hot dogs and hearing the cheers of the crowd and the feel of it all. I knew those Dodgers were going to shellac those Yankees once and for all. Unfortunately the Dodgers never got on base, so my thrill was shattered. I tucked it away somewhere in my unconscious until, as an adult, I was in a conversation with one of these fellows who was a walking sports almanac. I mentioned to him when I went to my first major league game. I said, ‘It was such a disappointment. I was a Dodger fan and the Dodgers never got on base.’
He said, ‘You were there? You were at the game when Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in all of World Series history?’
I said, ‘Yeah, but, uh, we lost.’ I was so caught up in my team's defeat that I missed out on the fact that I was a witness to a far greater page of history.”
Source: Leith Anderson, "Unlistened-to Lessons of Life," Preaching Today, Tape 48.
I have been more aware recently of God’s still small voice
He has spoken to me through His Word on several occasions in the past several months
He has also spoken to me in my spirit, prompting me to do certain things
While He has certainly done the same thing in years past, I am finding a strong desire to be obedient immediately to His voice
Through His prompting and my immediate obedience, I have been growing in my knowledge of God and who He is and what He wants me to do for His glory
Being obedient to His still small voice means that I have to rearrange my schedule and priorities to line up with His
I have experienced His promises coming true in my life as a result
Filling in for my pastor
After I told my pastor in Southern California that God was calling me to be a pastor, he encouraged me to start leading a small group Bible study, which I did
One of the other things he asked to do was fill in for him at Calvary Chapel Bible College
I was nervous, because I was using his notes to teach
During one of the classes I read an illustration that was a personal one for him, but did not apply to me
After reading it I stumbled around to try to fix my faux pas
The students and I just laughed, I apologized, and we moved on
How many of us have heard God’s still small voice prompting us?
Have we been obedient to that prompting?
Have we experienced His promises coming true in our lives and, through that, grown in our knowledge of Him?
Moses was hurt and discouraged by the treatment he received from the Israelite foremen. He turned to the Lord with questions and was encouraged that the Lord was going to make Himself known to them by what He was going to do for them. He was going to fulfill His covenant promise! The Lord gave Moses a message for the Israelites that they were not able to receive, because their focus was on what Pharaoh was doing to them, instead of what God was going to do for them. Moses fell into the same mindset when the Lord told him to go back to Pharaoh. God’s fulfillment of His promises to the Israelites would help them know who He was. The same is true for us. When God fulfills His promises to us, we can know Him more. What the author wants us to understand is that . . .
BIG IDEA – We can know God through His promises.
GOD (Exodus 5:22-6:12)
Problem (vv. 5:22-23)
Moses returned to the Lord
When the Israelite foremen accused Moses and Aaron and called down judgment on them, Moses did not retaliate
He returned to the Lord and shared his questions
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we return to Him with our questions.
God knew what He was doing with Pharaoh and the Israelites, because He is all-knowing, eternal, holy, righteous, and sovereign
God knows what He is doing with our political leaders, bosses, supervisors, parents, anyone who is in a position of authority over us
God knows what He is doing with us, too
Too often, we want to question those in authority over us and take out our frustration on them, especially when they accuse or reprimand us
Yet, God is able to do far above what we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
What questions do you have for the Lord today?
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Take my questions to the Lord instead of retaliating against an accuser.
God is pleased when we come to Him with our questions and concerns
“It is okay to cry out with questions. Even Jesus, while on the cross, cried out, ‘Why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matt 27:46). These questions are not sinful. They just need to be humble, honest, and faithful. Ask God your questions! But do not ask sinfully or rebelliously. And remember, God does not have to answer our questions (He never answered all of Job’s!), but He does hear our questions.” [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus In Exodus, 39]
That is what Moses did – he took his questions to the Lord when he was accused
Questions for God
Moses questioned God on three levels [Merida, 39]
Why have you brought trouble on Your people?
Ever since Moses spoke to Pharaoh in the Lord’s name, Pharaoh had brought trouble on the Israelites
Moses just did not understand what God was doing – he could not see the big picture
Moses obviously thought this exodus/rescue was going to be quick and easy
As believers, we have to learn that, “God’s timing only sometimes coincides with our expectations, and his idea of the hardships we need to go through only sometimes coincides with our idea of how much we can take.” [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 169]
Did You send me to bring trouble on the Israelites?
I thought You sent me to rescue the Israelites?
What am I not understanding about my purpose, Lord?
Are You going to rescue Your people, Lord?
It does not look that way right now
How many of us have questioned God’s goodness, purpose, and actions in our lives?
Those of us in leadership positions have probably questioned the Lord on these three levels at some time in our lives, because we have experienced opposition by those we lead
“God’s chosen servants must expect opposition and misunderstanding, because that’s part of what it means to be a leader; and leaders must know how to get alone with God, pour out their hearts, and seek His strength and wisdom. Spiritual leaders must be bold before people but broken before God (see Jer. 1) and must claim God’s promises and do His will even when everything seems to be against them.” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 187]
I want to encourage everyone to be praying for Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, because he is already experiencing opposition because of his Judeo-Christian beliefs (pray that he will be bold before people but broken before God and that he will do God’s will even when everything and everyone seems to be against him)
As we move into our second point, notice that God does not answer Moses’ question of “Why?”
What does the Lord do?
He reminds Moses that He is all-powerful
He reminds Moses that He is in control and His plan will not be thwarted
“Many believers believe in God’s sovereignty theologically, but practically they are emotional train wrecks! They have not worked this truth down deep into their hearts.” [Merida, 40]
Promise (vv. 6:1-8)
Power (v. 1)
The Lord reassures Moses that He is going to act, He will rescue His people with His mighty hand
Pharaoh will not only let the Israelites go, he will drive them out of Egypt
Exodus 3:20, 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.
Exodus 12:31, 33, 39, During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.” . . . The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” . . . With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
God’s mighty hand would be evident through the ten plagues that Egypt was about to experience
PRINCIPLE #2 – God will accomplish His plan through His mighty hand.
We can trust in God’s mighty hand to accomplish His plan in our lives, too
As we return to the Lord and ask Him our questions about what is currently going on in our lives, He will remind us that He is in control, He is all-mighty, He is sovereign, and so much more
In what area of your life do you need to trust God’s mighty hand to accomplish His plan?
Is it finances, relationships, employment, schooling, housing, health, retirement, spiritual, etc.
Take a moment to identify that area
Let the Lord know that you are trusting Him to accomplish His plan with His mighty hand
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Trust God’s mighty hand to accomplish His plan concerning ____________.
Moses and the Israelites were going to know God through His promise to rescue them
We can know God through His promises.
The Lord assured Moses that His power is coming – He will keep His promise to rescue the Israelites
The Lord had not forgotten about his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the past
Past (vv. 2-5)
God had appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El-Shaddai (God Almighty)
What did God mean when He said that had not made Himself know to the patriarchs by the name YHWH?
He is certainly referred to in Genesis as YHWH when we read about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Some scholars believe that the second half of verse 3 has a short statement followed by a question, “My name is YWHW. Did I not make myself known to them?” [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 125]
Most scholars believe that God was going to make Himself known to Moses in a way that He had not with the patriarchs
“The issue is not knowledge of the name per se, but how God most fully makes himself known as Yahweh. . . . This knowledge turns on the events of the exodus . . . Abraham did not know him as he would be known in the exodus.” [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 101-02]
God would be known on a deeper and fuller level than He had previously been known as He fulfills His promises to the Israelites
We can know God through His promises.
The amazing thing is that we have more of God’s Words and promises, than Moses and the Israelites had
We have an incredible opportunity to fully know what has been revealed about God through the fulfillment of His promise to send His Son, Jesus
But the complete knowledge of God is still beyond our grasp, but one day we will know Him completely as we are fully known
1 Corinthians 13:12, Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
While the patriarchs were familiar with His name, YWHW, they did not know the Lord like Moses and the Israelites would
Covenant with the patriarchs
God reminded Moses of the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
God promised to give them the land of Canaan where they lived as aliens
Genesis 15:18-21, On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Genesis 17:7-8, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
Heard and remembered
God was aware of the Israelites discouragement and cruel bondage – He had heard their groaning
He remembered His covenant and was ready to act
PRINCIPLE #3 – God hears our cries and is ready to act!
Psalm 35:17, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
Isaiah 65:24, Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
1 Peter 3:12, For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Hold on to that truth today
God had assured Moses of His power and His past covenant with the patriarchs, but now He shared His plan for the present situation
Present (vv. 6-8)
What is the therefore, there for?
Because God is all-powerful and He always keeps His promises, this is what Moses was to tell the Israelites
Seven “I will” statements that can be categorized three ways
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians
I will free (deliver/rescue) you from being slaves to them
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment
The Hebrew word for redeem means “to buy back what was originally one’s own.” [Hamilton, 103]
In Exodus 4:22, the Lord referred to Israel as His firstborn son
This is a family affair and God is restoring the family unit
This “is a metaphor of power in action (3:20).” [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 126]
God’s power in action would be done with righteous indignation
Mighty acts of judgment
This is probably a forewarning of the plagues that are about to be released on Egypt
God will use these mighty acts of judgment to correct the cruel bondage the Israelites had experienced [Mackay, 126]
These mighty acts would force Pharaoh’s hand – he would release the Israelites and urge them to leave
The Israelites would no longer be slaves in Egypt, but be rescued and redeemed
I will take you as my own people
The literal translation reads, “I will take you to me/myself [lî] as a people.” [Hamilton, 103]
God desired to be in relationship with the Israelites
I will be your God
Their liberation was not only from an oppressive regime, but so they could have an ongoing self-dedication to God [Mackay, 126]
They would have to leave behind any idols they had accumulated in Egypt or any feelings of Pharaoh worship
“Before God desires to bring Israel to Canaan, he desires to bring Israel to himself. As Janzen (1997: 54-55) correctly says, ‘God’s aim and desire are not simply to bring us into the land but to bring us into intimate relation with God.’ Fellowship and intimacy trump relocation.” [Hamilton, 103]
I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to your forefathers
The uplifted hand represented an oath
Think about taking an oath in our culture today
In a court of law we raise our right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
The President of the United States on inauguration day places their hand on a Bible and raises their right hand while swearing an oath to our country
God had sworn an oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
I will give it to you as a possession
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were only aliens living in Canaan
These Israelites would own the land in Canaan
The Israelites liberation, adoption, and acquisition would happen, because it was the Lord who was doing it
Moses probably left his time with the Lord feeling encouraged, renewed, refreshed, and ready to take on the world
Pressure (v. 9)
Moses’ emotions were probably on a roller coaster
He was down after talking with the Israelite foremen
He was up after spending time with the Lord
He was down after talking with the Israelites
How many of us can relate to that? (depending on who we are talking to our emotions can be all over the place)
The Israelites were not in a mental state to be able to hear the awesome, encouraging news from the Lord – rescue was on the way
They were experiencing anguish and oppression-induced exhaustion
“Faith is often diminished by hardship because emotions play a powerful part in most human thinking, and thinking can become increasingly pessimistic when any sort of pain continues unabated.” [Stuart, 173]
How many of us understand those feelings?
PRINCIPLE #4 – When we are hurting and discouraged it is hard to listen to the Lord.
Certainly at first we may be strong and resilient when hardship comes our way, but the longer we experience pain and suffering the harder it is to maintain hope
When we feel like the Lord is not answering our prayers or bringing the healing and help we want, it can be easy to stop praying, reading the Bible, and/or going to church
Because we cannot see the big picture, we begin to give up and give in
“John Newton said that the way the Christian might endure trials is by considering the doctrine of glorification, which includes inheritance. Newton said the Christian should not complain, murmur, or despair in light of all that is coming. He said we should imagine a man who inherited a really large estate, worth millions, and he had to go to New York City to get it. As he journeyed there, his carriage broke down, leaving him to walk the last one mile. Can you imagine that man saying, ‘My carriage is broken, my carriage is broken,’ kicking and complaining in disgust when he has only a mile to go to receive a million? Christian, we only have a few miles to go! (Piper, “Children, Heirs, and Fellow Sufferers”). Rest in God’s promises and faithfulness!” [Merida, 45]
“They were so broken that they would not listen to the promise of freedom.” [Ryken cited by Merida, 45]
Are you so broken that you cannot listen to the promise of freedom?
Do you need to focus on the doctrine of glorification while you are experiencing pain and suffering?
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Listen to the Lord even though I am experiencing the pain and suffering of ___________.
PRINCIPLE #5 – We can anticipate opposition when we are carrying out God’s work.
As leaders and ambassadors for Christ, this is a common reality
How often do we experience opposition when we try to share the hope of eternity with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers
I want to encourage you today to keep up the good fight – don’t give up!
1 Timothy 6:12, Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
While Moses is feeling the pressure from the Israelites, the Lord asked him to go back to Pharaoh
Protest (vv. 10-12)
The Lord instructs Moses to go tell Pharaoh to the Israelites go out of the country
Moses protests, because if the Israelites would not listen to him, and they were his own people, why would Pharaoh
Moses returns to his familiar excuse of having faltering lips
Perhaps a better translation of the Hebrew word for “faltering” is “uncircumcised”
“Moses was not saying that he had a speech impediment (“faltering lips”); he was rather saying (disingenuously) that he was ‘not ready for public speaking,’ using the metaphorical language of circumcision.” [Stuart, 174]
This may be a reference back to the narrative when Zipporah circumcised their son in order to protect Moses
God could not use Moses to accomplish His plan of rescue and fulfillment of His covenant, if Moses was not following the covenant command
Perhaps Moses thought if he used the language of circumcision, pertaining to his lips, that God would release him from this mission
But, God knew better – Moses was His man!
This will be evident through the genealogy that we will look at next week in Exodus 6:13-27
Are you ready to take your questions to the Lord instead of retaliating against your accuser?
What do you need to trust God’s mighty hand to accomplish in your life?
Do you need to listen to the Lord even though you are experiencing the pain and suffering?
We need to take our questions to the Lord.
We need to trust God’s mighty hand to accomplish His plan for our church.
We need to listen to the Lord even though we are experiencing pain and suffering.
“Stuart Briscoe preached his first sermon at age 17. He didn’t know much about the topic assigned him by an elder. But he researched the church of Ephesus until he had a pile of notes and three points, as seemed proper for a sermon. Then he stood before the Brethren in a British Gospel Hall and preached.
And preached. And preached. He kept going until he used up more than his allotted time just to reach the end of the first point and still kept going, until finally he looked up from his notes and made a confession.
‘I’m terribly sorry,’ he said. ‘I don’t know how to stop.’ Briscoe recalled in his memoir that a man from the back shouted out, ‘Just shut up and sit down.’ That might have been the end of his preaching career. But he was invited to preach again the next week. And he continued preaching for seven more decades.
In the process Briscoe became a better preacher, discovered he had a gift, and was encouraged to develop it. He ultimately preached in more than 100 countries around the world and to a growing and multiplying church in America.
When Briscoe died on August 3, 2022, at the age of 91, he was known as a great preacher who spoke with clarity, loved the people he preached to, and had a deep trust in the work of the Holy Spirit.
He once wrote,
My primary concern in preaching is to glorify God through his Son. I’ve worked hard to preach effectively. But I’ve also learned to trust as well. Farmers plow their lands, plant their seed, and then go home to bed, awaiting God’s germinating laws to work. Surgeons only cut; God heals. I must give my full energy to doing my part in the pulpit, but the ultimate success of my preaching rests in God.
Source: Daniel Sillman, "Died: Stuart Briscoe, Renowned British Preacher and Wisconsin Pastor," Christianity Today (8-8-22).