The God That Will . . .

(Exodus 5:22-6:12)



“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.





  • ME

    • Knowing God

        • 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


  • WE

    • Knowing God

        • 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.


Let’s pray


  • 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]

            • His goodness

              • 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]

            • His purpose

              • 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?

            • His actions

              • 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)

          • YHWH

            • 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)

          • Therefore

            • 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

            • Liberation

              • 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

                • Redeem

                  • 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

                • Outstretched arm

                  • 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

            • Adoption

              • I will take you as my own people

                • The literal translation reads, “I will take you to me/myself [] 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]

            • Acquisition

              • 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


  • YOU

    • 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

    • 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).





Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

In the story of the Cross and the Switchblade, a small-town minister, David Wilkerson, is called to help inner-city kids everyone else believed were beyond hope. In 1958, seven New York City teenagers, members of a gang called the Dragons, were on trial charged with murder. After hearing a clear call from the Holy Spirit telling him to go and help the boys, Wilkerson arrived at the courthouse in New York City. His plan was to ask the judge for permission to share God’s love with them. The judge refused his request and Wilkerson was removed from the courtroom. It became a huge media circus, and he left New York City in total failure.

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s story, The Hobbit, there is a chapter called Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire which describes how Bilbo Baggins and his friends escaped from extreme peril, only to find themselves in an even worse predicament. The adventurers had been traveling through the tunnels under the Misty Mountains when they were beset by goblins. After a brief and bloody battle, they escaped by the narrowest of margins. But even after Bilbo and his friends got out of the mountain, they were not out of danger, for as they hurried through the forest on foot, they were tracked and surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves. Although Bilbo and his companions managed to scramble up some trees, they were trapped. Soon the goblins tramped out of their mountain stronghold to take advantage of the predicament. They stacked combustible materials at the foot of each tree, and soon there was a ring of fire all around the dwarves. The flames began to lick at their feet, smoke was in Bilbo’s eyes, he could feel the heat of the flames. So it was that Bilbo and his friends escaped from one mortal danger only to find themselves in even more desperate straits.

These two illustrations describe our scripture this morning. Moses had been called by God to go to Pharaoh to tell him to let His people go. He must have been feeling like it was a done deal. And the Israelites were probably feeling euphoric, believing that they were on the verge of being rescued from slavery. But things aren’t going to go quite as planned. In fact, Moses’ first appearance before Pharoah will be a total failure. And seemingly because of Moses’ interaction with Pharoah, the Israelites’ situation will go from bad to worse as they will find themselves in even more dire and desperate straits. Moses and the Israelites are bound to be discouraged by what will happen. God had promised Moses his presence and he had promised the Israelite people that he would bring them out of slavery in Egypt. But like David Wilkerson, things did not go as planned for Moses and like Bilbo Baggins and his companions, things for the Israelites went from the frying pan into the fire. Discouragement can take over our lives and cause us to forget what God had made plain us through his Word and the Holy Spirit. We must be on guard because Satan will try to discourage us to make us forget and not believe in God’s presence and promises. That brings us to our big idea this morning that “We can be encouraged by God’s presence with us and his promises to us.”

Before we begin our study of our scripture this morning, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, give us the power of your Holy Spirit this morning for discernment of your Word. Open our hearts and minds to it, convict us of our sin through it, teach us what you want us to know from it. Give us divine appointments this week to share it with those who need to hear it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This morning we will be studying Exodus 5:1-21. The first point is “Confront” seen in verses 1-5. Follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says, “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’” Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

The first word we see is “afterward.” After what? This is referring back to Exodus 4:29-31 which says, “Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.” Moses and Aaron must have been on cloud nine. They had received the full support of the elders which is what Moses was so concerned about at the burning bush. Things could not have started off any better than this. Now it was time to ride that wave of confidence, confront Pharaoh, and rescue the Israelites from slavery.

“This is what the Lord says” signifies that Moses and Aaron are the Lord’s messengers. We can notice a few things here. First, we are told that Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh not Moses and the elders. Jewish tradition states that the elders lost their nerve on the way and backed out or maybe it was just assumed that they did go. Second, Moses and Aaron don’t repeat word-for-word what God told Moses to say to Pharaoh. Exodus 3:18 in the NASB says, “say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’” Moses does not ask Pharaoh’s permission but demands he let God’s people go. “Let my people go” asserts that the people of Israel belong to the LORD, not Pharaoh, and they should be free to serve and worship Him. The message was direct and authoritative, almost arrogant probably because of the awesome response Moses had received from the elders and the people. Delivering this message would have taken faith and courage on Moses’ and Aaron’s part because it was not meant to pacify Pharaoh but to test him. The reason Moses gives to let the people go is so they can hold a festival or feast to the LORD in the wilderness. This was also not in God’s original words to Moses. But what Moses and Aaron communicated here was actually not too far off of what the Israelites would have done. Later on, God will establish festivals/feasts with his people, and many will involve sacrifices.

Pharoah responds with “Who is the LORD that I should obey him?” questioning God’s authority over the Israelites. The NASB says, “Why should I obey his voice?” This reminds me of what Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Pharaoh was not one of God’s sheep. “I do not know the LORD and will not let Israel go” proved he was hostile not only towards God’s people but towards the one true God as well. We should not be surprised at this since, in Egyptian culture, Pharaoh was considered a god. In his mind, he was the final authority. Why should he listen to an inferior god? Pharaoh’s reply was scornful, prideful, arrogant, defiant, disrespectful and sarcastic. It revealed the attitude of his heart. Alexander says, “By stating twice that he has no knowledge of YHWH or the LORD, Pharaoh highlights the motif of knowing YHWH.

“Knowing the LORD” is not a matter of having information about him, but about being in a right relationship with him, recognizing his authority and acting in accordance with his requirements. Some questions for us this morning are “Do we know the LORD or do we only know the world?” “Do we recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd or just the voice of the world?” “Are we in a right relationship with God or not?” If you know the Lord and are following him with all your heart, mind and soul this morning, that’s awesome. But if you are not, the great thing is that you can know the LORD today. Romans 6:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The first thing you need to do to know the LORD is admit that we are a sinner. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The second thing you need to do to know the LORD is believe in Jesus and what he came to earth to do. And Romans 10:9 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.” The third thing you need to do is confess Jesus as Lord. That brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card which is to “start ‘knowing the LORD’ by admitting I am a sinner, believing in Jesus as my Savior and confessing him as the LORD of my life.”

Moses and Aaron respond and this time it is almost word-for-word what God said in Genesis 3:18. Moses and Aaron don’t back down but now clarify their initial demand. They clarify that Yahweh is "the God of the Hebrews” which was a term that Pharaoh would understand and accept. They clarify that they are asking for a “three days’ journey” which was a reasonable demand. And they clarify that this journey is designed as a time to offer sacrifices to their LORD. Ryken says, “God began by giving his rival a simple opportunity to submit to his divine authority. Was Pharaoh willing to let Israel serve God for even three days or not?” Pharaoh would have no excuse for refusing this request and hardening his heart. They also add one caveat at the end that was not recorded in scripture. They wanted to clarify that they are trying to avoid having the LORD kill them off through plague or a sword.

There are a couple of ways that we can take this statement. Israel had been in Egypt for centuries and had lost contact with the God of their fathers. They were confessedly guilty and needed to be reconciled to the LORD. The only way for them to be atoned was through the shedding of blood, hence the sacrifices to the LORD in the wilderness. MacKay says, “Both plague and sword represent sudden death such as a judgment from offended deities.” Moses may also be appealing to Pharaoh’s greedy economic side. If Israel were killed, then Pharaoh would lose his free slave labor force. It could have also been a prophetic veiled threat. The irony is that the LORD will kill with plagues, not the Israelites but the Egyptians. God had told Moses that his “mighty hand” would strike the Egyptians with wonders and then he would let the Israelites go. This could have been a warning to Pharaoh of what was coming if he didn’t let God’s people go. Pharaoh needed to understand that it was Almighty God who was commanding them to let his people go to sacrifice and worship him and the LORD was not to be taken lightly.

Pharaoh responds by accusing Moses and Aaron of taking the people away from their work and he orders the people to get back to work. This may mean that the elders were actually there with Moses and Aaron, which is why he accuses them of stopping the people from working. It could also in addition mean, that once Moses and Aaron told the people that God was going to rescue them, they stopped working believing that the Lord’s rescue was imminent. We see Pharaoh’s disdain for the Hebrew people as he calls them “people of the land” meaning uneducated, common people or peasants. He knew what Moses and Aaron were proposing would be a major upheaval and was already causing problems. The Pharaoh of Exodus chapter one was worried about the Israelite’s population growth, this Pharaoh sees it as a benefit because it means more slaves to do his work. We can see Pharaoh hardening his heart right in front of us.

Scholars are somewhat split on this exchange between Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh. Most agree that they went into Pharaoh’s court highly confident of the outcome, maybe too confident and a little cocky. Some say that they went off script instead of retelling Pharaoh exactly what God said the first time. But others say that this would have been the negotiation technique of the day. But this is not the point of the narrative. The point of the narrative is “whom will the Israelites serve, Pharaoh or the LORD? The Hebrew word for “serve” and “worship” are the same. The struggle here was not between Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh but between God and Pharaoh. Ross says, “The purpose of the Exodus was to bring the Israelites from an oppressive, deadly servitude to Pharaoh into a freeing, life-giving servitude to God. Life is not a question of serving or not serving. It is a question of whom we will serve. Joshua 24:15 says, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We all have to decide whom will we serve and worship. Will we serve and worship the LORD or the world and its gods? It is an important decision for each one of us. That brings us to the second next step this morning which is to “commit to serving and worshiping only the LORD for the rest of my life.”

We aren’t told what Moses and Aaron were feeling after their audience with Pharaoh, but we can surmise that they were discouraged by Pharaoh’s rejection. Moses and Aaron had been called by the LORD to be his messengers and Pharaoh had pretty much thrown them out on their ear, dismissed and disgraced. They probably felt a lot like David Wilkerson when the judge had him removed from the courtroom. Moses and Aaron just needed to remember a couple of things. One, God said he would be with Moses. Exodus 3:12 says, “And he (meaning God) said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.” Two, God had promised to bring his people out of slavery. Exodus 3:17 says, “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.’” Three, God was sovereign and omniscient. He knew what was going to happen. Exodus 3:19-20 says, “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.” Moses and Aaron were probably discouraged by Pharaoh’s response, but they didn’t despair. They had God’s presence with them, his promises to them and they knew his sovereign plan, and they could be encouraged by that no matter what Pharaoh said or did. (BIG IDEA)

Once, Moses and Aaron had confronted Pharaoh with God’s message and he had rejected it, Pharoah makes a command decision which would move the Israelites’ predicament from the frying-pan into the fire. Our second point this morning is “Command” seen in verses 6-14. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

Pharaoh didn’t waste any time after his audience with Moses and Aaron. On that same day he commanded the slave drivers and the foremen over the Israelites to no longer give the people straw to make the bricks but to keep the daily quota the same. They would have to gather the straw themselves, which would require more time to make the bricks, making it impossible to meet the daily quotas. “On the same day” made it clear that the increased workload was Moses and Aaron’s fault. Ross says, “Pharoah had to break his opponents’ will in two ways: One, by making the oppression worse, and, two, by undermining Moses’s leadership.” It seems that the straw needed to make the bricks had previously been supplied for the Israelites, probably by some other slave populace, making brick production more efficient. This command shows how spiteful Pharaoh was toward the Israelites. He didn’t care about efficiency, only humiliating the people because they wanted to worship their LORD. We also see what Pharaoh really felt about the Israelites. He has already called them “peasants” and now he calls them “lazy.” In Pharaoh's mind they didn’t want to work which is why they were crying out to go and sacrifice to their God. His command was meant to make the work harder on the Israelites causing them to be too tired to care about worshiping and too tired to pay attention to Moses’ and Aaron’s lies. What lies? The lie that they would be allowed to leave Egypt to worship their LORD. The lie that their LORD was going to rescue them. This was a cruel and unusual punishment of the Israelites.

Interestingly, it would have been normal in that time for Pharaoh to allow the foreign slaves opportunities to worship their gods. They would have allowed them to go off to do this so as not to offend the religious sensibilities of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian people would have been put off by certain animal sacrifices that the Israelites would have performed. But we see that Pharaoh was in no way going to let Moses take the people to do what would have been considered normal. He didn’t hear the LORD’s voice and his heart was not inclined toward God, becoming more hardened by the minute. Pharaoh’s commands followed the chain of command from himself to the Egyptian slave drivers to the Israelite foreman to the Israelite slaves. ​​ Just like Moses and Aaron in verse one said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says”, the slave drivers and the foremen said, “This is what Pharaoh says.” This was another example of the conflict being between God and Pharaoh. Ryken says, “Pharaoh put himself in the place of God and explicitly attempts to usurp God’s rightful place. The Hebrew word for “foreman” literally means “to write.” The Egyptians kept meticulous records of everything including their building projects. The Israelite foreman would have been men who could write and keep the people producing the daily quota of bricks.

Because of the command from Pharaoh, the Israelites scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather “stubble” to make the bricks. The people had to “scatter” to find their own straw which kept them from encouraging each other and getting their hopes up to go on a three-day journey to worship the LORD. By making them work harder and keeping them apart Pharaoh thought he could make them forget about their God and wanting to worship him. Most commentators note that this was not the season for straw, so the people had to gather the “stubble.” It would not have been the best stuff to make bricks with. There must have been good straw in storehouses that would be used in the off season, but this good straw would not be made available for their use. The stubble would have made bricks of inferior quality compared to the previous ones, but Pharaoh doesn’t seem to care. This is another sign that Pharaoh was just oppressing the people on his cruel whims and because he could. As a labor policy, this was completely irrational showing his hard heart. The Israelites were not meeting their daily quota, so the slave drivers pressed them to complete their work quotas like they had before. This led the slave drivers questioning the foremen about the shortfall and “beating” them for good measure. For the Israelites and especially the foremen, their life, their work, their enslavement had gone from bad to worse, from the frying pan into the fire.

Again, we aren’t told what the Israelite slaves and foremen were feeling after having to work twice as hard to make their daily quotas and then being beaten for not making it. But we can surmise that they were pretty discouraged. God had sent Moses and Aaron to them to let them know that the LORD had seen their oppression and was going to bring them out of slavery. And all they had gotten from it was exhaustion, working harder and harder day after day and being beaten. They were probably feeling like Pharaoh had gotten the last laugh. They probably felt a lot like Bilbo Baggins and his friends who had escaped from one mortal danger only to find themselves in even more desperate straits. In their discouragement they needed to remember a couple of things. One, that the LORD had seen them and was concerned for them. Two, that the LORD had promised to rescue them. Even though the Israelites were discouraged by Pharaoh’s barbaric response to Moses and Aaron’s request, they could still be encouraged. It had only been a short time since they had bowed down and worshiped the LORD. Now they needed to remember and be encouraged that God’s presence was with them, he had made promises to them, and his sovereign plan would be victorious no matter what Pharaoh did to them. (BIG IDEA)

After the people were not being able to meet the daily quota of bricks and slave drivers had beaten the foremen, we notice how the foremen reacted. Our third point this morning in “Complaint” found in verses 15-21. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.” Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.” The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

The foremen, after being beaten because the Israelites failed to make their daily quotas, complained and it is important to notice who they complained to. First, they took their complaint to Pharoah. The foreman seemed to have enjoyed a somewhat amiable and privileged relationship with Pharoah that they could just go and plead their case with him. But they must have been naïve to think that the slave drivers had given these commands on their own authority, and they blame Pharaoh and his people for the Israelites not making the quotas. Also, notice that they call themselves Pharaoh’s “servants” or “slaves” three different times showing how much power Pharaoh had over them. The real problem here is that instead of turning to the LORD, who they were just bowing down to and worshiping, they turn to Pharaoh. This reminds us of one of the major themes of this passage: Who were the Israelites going to serve, God or Pharaoh? They must have had a rude awakening as Pharaoh accused them twice of being lazy emphasizing that their laziness was due to their desire to sacrifice and worship the LORD. He was arguing that they didn’t necessarily want to worship; they just didn’t want to work. He was mocking and belittling the worship of their LORD as laziness. He was demoralizing them, and they were literally being beaten down. He ordered them to get back to work and reiterated that they would not be given any straw and must still produce their full quota of bricks. Pharaoh continued his ingenious plan to turn the people against Moses and Aaron. They were the ones who went to Pharaoh asking him to let the people go and make sacrifices to the LORD. They were the reason Pharaoh was being so harsh towards them. After bringing their complaint to Pharaoh and being ceremoniously rejected they realized they were in trouble because the beatings would continue. Talk about being discouraged as they realized things had gone from bad to worse, from the frying-pan into the fire, especially for them.

Second, we see that the foremen take their complaint to Moses and Aaron. Our scripture says that when the foreman left Pharaoh, they find Moses and Aaron waiting for them. The Hebrew is better translated that the foremen were “waiting” for Moses and Aaron meaning that they went “looking for a fight.” We see the heart of the foremen here. They attack Moses and Aaron, blaming them for their trouble. They also curse them calling down God’s judgment on them. They were hard-hearted believing that Moses was the reason for their oppression instead of believing that he was God’s instrument to end their oppression. Stuart says, “It is noteworthy that the foremen did not state that they had lost faith in Yahweh. They apparently thought that Moses and Aaron could not have properly represented the case or handled it well and thus had disobeyed Yahweh.” Pharaoh’s strategy to break the Israelites will and to drive a wedge between Moses and his people was working like a charm. The foremen were discouraged and had allowed bitterness to grow in their hearts. It caused them to sin against Moses and Aaron by lashing out and cursing them. Discouragement is a human emotion. It is not a sin to be discouraged but it can cause us to sin as it did to the foremen. It’s important for us today that we don’t allow discouragement to set in and cause us to sin. Discouragement can us to doubt God. It can cause us to doubt God’s people. It can even cause us to lash out at others and curse them. The foremen had been kicked out of Pharoah’s presence just as David Wilkerson had been kicked out of the courtroom and things had gone from the frying-pan into the fire for them just as it had for Bilbo Baggins and his friends. Discouragement caused them to forget God’s presence and his promises instead of being encouraged by them. (BIG IDEA).

The devil once had a yard sale. He put out all of his tools with a price sticker on each one. There were a lot of them, including hatred, envy, jealousy, doubt, lying, pride, and lust. Apart from the rest of the tools was an old, harmless-looking tool with a high price. One of the devil’s customers asked about this high-priced tool. The devil said, “Why, that’s discouragement.” The customer asked, “Why do you have such a high price on it?” The devil responded, “That’s one of my most useful tools. When other tools won’t work, I can pry open and get into a person’s heart with discouragement. Once I get inside, I can do whatever I want. It’s easy to get into a person’s heart with this tool because few people know it belongs to me.” It’s said that the devil’s price on discouragement is so high that he’s never been able to sell it. As a result, he continues to use it. And he often uses it with his oldest tool: “Did God really say that?” “Are you sure he’s called to do that?” “Wow, you sure have made a mess of things, haven’t you?”

Charles Spurgeon talking about the life of Moses concludes with these words: O servants of God, be calm and confident. Go on preaching the gospel. Go on teaching in the Sunday-school. Go on giving away the tracts. Go on with steady perseverance. Be ye sure of this, ye shall not labor in vain or spend your strength for nought. Do you still stutter? Are you still slow of speech? Nevertheless, go on. Have you been rebuked and rebuffed? Have you had little else than defeat? This is the way of success.… Toil on and believe on. Be steadfast in your confidence, for with a high hand and an outstretched arm the Lord will fetch out his own elect, and he will fetch some of them out by you. Only trust in the Lord and hold on the even tenor of your way.

There are going to be times where we don’t understand why things aren’t working out the way they should. We’ve been called by God to do his work in this world but we may be thrown out on our ear or our lives may feel like we are going from the frying-pan into the fire but don’t be discouraged and don’t despair. Don’t let discouragement cause you to sin against God or others. God timing and plans for our lives and this world are perfect. He promises to always be with us and to never forsake us and we know that his promises are true. That brings us to our last next step which is to be encouraged by God’s presence with me and his promises made to me when discouragement comes my way.

As the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offerings and the praise team comes to lead us in a final song, let’s pray: God, we thank you for Word. It is true and powerful. Let it transform us to know you better each day. Help us to commit to serving and worshiping you only. And when discouragement come our way, encourage us with your presence and promises so we don’t sin against you or others. In Jesus’ name Amen.




Choose Obedience?

(Exodus 4:18-31)



“When Anne Graham Lotz and her husband, Denny, attend football games at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, thousands of people cram in the parking lots, and she can't see where she's going. However, her husband, a head taller at 6'7", can look over the crowd, so he takes her hand and leads them to their seats.


‘The way I get from the car to my seat is just by holding his hand and following him closely through the crowd,’ Lotz says.


She follows the same procedure with the Lord. ‘I just try to faithfully follow the Lord step by step and day by day,’ she says. ‘Ten years from now, I just want to look back and know that to the best of my ability I have been obedient to God's call on my life.’”


Source: Randy Bishop, "Just Give Me Jesus," Christian Reader (September/October 2000), p.25.





  • ME

    • Injured as a child

        • Department store

          • I don’t remember how old I was, but I was a child at the time

          • My Mom was shopping in some department store and I was busy being a boy

          • I don’t really remember how it happened, but I’m sure I was not being careful

          • Long story, short, I fell on one of the glass edges of an endcap and it broke, cutting my rear-end pretty badly

          • I probably wasn’t obeying my Mom when it happened

        • Church

          • When I was probably a little bit older, my brother and I were running in the fellowship hall at church and sliding on the tile floor

          • I slid into one of the old wooden chairs and hit my forehead on a nail that was sticking out

          • I got several stitches as a result

          • My parents had already told my brother and me, countless times, not to run in the church

    • There were consequences for my disobedience

    • I have also experienced the blessings of obedience


  • WE

    • How about us?

        • Have there been times when we have suffered the consequences of disobedience?

        • What blessings have we enjoyed because we have been obedient?


Moses’ excuses were done. ​​ He left the mountain of God and returned to Midian. ​​ He was going to have to obey the Lord, so God’s plan could be accomplished. ​​ His wife, brother, the Israelites, and Pharaoh were also going to have to choose to either obey or disobey the Lord. ​​ There would be consequences for not obeying and blessings for obeying. ​​ All of the individuals we will learn about today learned that . . .


BIG IDEA – Obedience to God is essential.


Let’s pray


We are going to see throughout this section of verses that there was obedience in five ways – to a custom, a command, a covenant, a call, and a commitment


  • GOD (Exodus 4:18-31)

    • Custom (v. 18)

        • Moses’ went back to Midian

          • This ends the burning bush narrative in the region of Horeb (Mt. Sinai)

          • Jethro was still living in Midian, so Moses took the flock and headed east again

        • Moses’ request

          • He asked his father-in-law for permission to return to Egypt to see if any of his people (the Israelites) were still alive

            • We are not told if Moses shared his divine encounter with his father-in-law

            • Moses was 80 years old at this point, but he still sought permission to leave

              • Jethro had given him employment as a shepherd for 40 years

              • Jethro had given his daughter, Zipporah, to him as a wife

            • Moses was obedient to the custom of the day and sought permission to return to his people

            • Jacob and Laban

              • Things were different with Jacob and his father-in-law Laban

                • Laban had given Jacob a job as a shepherd

                • Laban had given his daughters, Leah and Rachel, to Jacob as his wives

              • If you remember from Genesis 31, Jacob gathered up his wives, children, flocks, and herds and left Laban’s service while Laban was far away shearing his sheep

              • When Laban found out, he pursued Jacob and confronted him

              • Genesis 31:26-28, Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? ​​ You’ve deceived me, and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. ​​ Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? ​​ Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps? ​​ You didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-by. ​​ You have done a foolish thing.”

          • We see that things were different with how Moses handled his departure

        • Jethro’s blessing

          • Jethro tells Moses to go and wishes him well

          • “Jethro in fact uses an eastern idiom, ‘Go with peace’ (shalom).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 98]

        • Moses was obedient to God and the custom of his day by seeking permission from his father-in-law to leave Midian and return to Egypt

        • Obedience to God is essential.

    • Command (vv. 19-23)

        • The Lord’s command

          • After Jethro gave Moses his blessing, he began making preparations to return to Egypt

          • While he was preparing to leave, the Lord spoke to him again in Midian

            • The Lord reassured him that it was safe to return to Egypt, because all the men who wanted to kill him were dead

            • The men that the Lord was talking about were probably the Pharaoh that was in power when Moses killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12) and perhaps any of his relatives who had the legal right to pursue justice

          • After being reassured by the Lord, Moses obeyed

        • Moses’ obedience

          • Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and began his journey back to Egypt

            • We learned in Exodus 2:22 that Moses and his wife had a son, named Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’)

            • Now we learn that he had at least one more son, because of the use of the plural “sons”

            • This second son’s birth is not mentioned, but his name is given in Exodus 18:4 – Eliezer (el-ee-eh’-zer) which means, “God is help”

          • Moses also took the staff of God in his hand

          • Moses no longer had any objections or excuses, he just obeyed

          • Obedience to God is essential.

          • The Lord not only reassured Moses that it was safe to return to Egypt, but He also gave him further instructions when he arrived

        • The Lord’s instructions

          • God’s instructions

            • I have given you power to perform some wonders

              • The three that are mentioned earlier in chapter 4 are the staff into a snake, a leprous hand, and water into blood

              • The Lord had given Moses power to do those three to prove to the Israelites that God had appeared to him and sent him to deliver them

            • Make sure to perform them before Pharaoh

              • Now we see that Moses is perform those wonders in front of Pharaoh also

              • We know that Pharaoh sees two of the three – the staff turn into a snake and back into a staff and water turned to blood

              • It is not mentioned that Moses uses the leprous hand wonder with Pharaoh

              • Pharaoh experiences even more wonders than just the two mentioned, as we will see in chapters 7-11 in Exodus (the ten plagues)

            • These wonders would not phase Pharaoh, because of God’s sovereign hand at work

          • God’s sovereignty

            • The Lord tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not let the Israelites go

              • We have to understand what the Lord is saying here

              • God is aware of how Pharaoh is going to react to being told to release the Israelites – it will not be favorable [Mackay, 99]

              • “Whereas the English concept of a ‘hard heart’ implies a lack of compassion, a ‘strengthened heart’ in Hebr. conveys a sense of determination or resolve (McAffee 2010: 333-337). ​​ In this context the concept of being ‘hard-hearted’ does not mean cruel, but rather indicates an unwillingness to change one’s will, which may be interpreted either positively as being determined/resolute or negatively as being obstinate/stubborn.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 105]

            • Attributes of God

              • God is omniscient (all-knowing)

              • God is eternal (knows the beginning from the end)

              • God is sovereign (he rules rightly in our lives)

              • God is omnipotent (all-powerful) – “For now, just notice that God, in hardening Pharaoh’s heart, is able to fully showcase His power over the enemies of His people.” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 31]

              • We can rejoice in the fact that God’s attributes have never changed – He is still all-knowing, eternal, sovereign, and all-powerful

            • Since God is all of those things and much more, He is able to forewarn Moses about what was going to happen to Pharaoh and the Egyptians

          • God’s forewarning through Moses

            • When Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, Moses was to share this message from the Lord

              • Israel is my firstborn son

                • The status of firstborn son in the ancient world was very important

                  • They were specially favored

                  • They received a double portion of their father’s inheritance

                  • They were also responsible to lead the family when the father died

                  • They “served” their father until they were given leadership of the family

                • “Israel is not simply one nation among others; rather, Israel is God’s firstborn son. ​​ Israel has a privileged status among the nations.” ​​ [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 132]

                  • This privileged status has not changed for Israel

                  • They are still God’s chosen people, even today

                  • Anti Semitism, in our culture, makes no sense apart from the fact that Israel still holds this privileged status with the Lord

                  • Satan is still trying to hurt and eliminate the Jews, because they are God’s chosen people

                  • Radical Islam’s push to kill all Jews and Christians is motivated by a desire to usher in the coming of their messiah

                  • Hatred for God and an unwillingness to submit to His authority has not changed from generation to generation

                  • Every one of us knows that God exists and requires obedience to His commands and submission to His plan for salvation through His Son Jesus Christ

                  • Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

                  • No group or country will be able to eliminate the Jews and Jerusalem, because they are God’s firstborn son with a privileged status

                  • Zechariah 12:2-3, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. ​​ Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. ​​ On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. ​​ All who try to move it will injure themselves.”

                  • The tribes of Israel are featured in the end times with 12,000 Israelites from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, equaling 144,000 Christ followers (Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-5)

                  • Rest assured that what is happening in Israel right now will not thwart God’s plan and purposes – we can trust Him and not be anxious or afraid!

                • The Lord wanted the Israelites to be released so they could worship Him

                  • The NIV translates the Hebrew word ʿābad (aw-bad’/aw-vad’) as “worship” while most other modern translations have it as “serve”

                  • “The Israelites had been serving Pharaoh; now God told Pharaoh that the Israelites were going to serve him. ​​ Their liberation came not in being freed from having to work but in being freed from working for the wrong master.” [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 146]

                  • I want to caution us today about the modern liberation theology that is being taught, because they are teaching that the Bible needs to be read from the perspective of the oppressed

                  • I would counter that idea by saying that we need to read the Bible from the perspective of Jesus, because He is the central theme of the entire Bible

                  • The Bible outlines God’s redemption plan from Genesis to Revelation – it is the Gospel, the Good News!

                  • We are certainly commanded in the Old and New Testaments to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan

                  • But we have to understand that liberating certain groups is not just for liberations sake

                  • The book of Exodus outlines God’s plan to rescue the Israelites from slavery, so they can serve Him

                  • The Gospel frees us from slavery to sin, so we can serve the Lord as our Master and Savior

                • There would be consequences for not obeying the Lord

              • I will kill your firstborn son

                • The Lord allowed Moses to see the end game

                • The killing of every firstborn son in Egypt would be the tenth and final plague

                • This plague is the one that broke through Pharaoh’s hard heart

            • God used Moses to forewarn Pharaoh and the Egyptians about the consequences of not obeying Him

          • Obedience to God is essential.

        • Moses was obedient to the Lord’s command to go and then to share His message with Pharaoh

    • Covenant (vv. 24-26)

        • In a short number of verses Moses went from the mountain of God to Midian and now to a lodging place on the way back to Egypt

          • We are not told where this lodging place was, but we can assume that it was somewhere between Midian and the mountain of God

          • In verse 27 we see that Aaron met Moses at the mountain of God

        • Consequence of disobedience

          • Most translations do not use Moses’ name in verses 24 & 25

            • In the NIV they put Moses’ name in brackets with a footnote

            • Most translations use the pronoun “him”

            • In the Hebrew, the pronoun is not separate, but combined with the verb

            • This has created all kinds of ambiguity about who is being referenced here

              • Some scholars believe that Moses is in danger of being killed

              • Other scholars believe that Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’), Moses’ firstborn son is the one who would be killed

              • Figuring out which person is in danger is not the central concern of these three verses

              • We know that because of disobedience to the circumcision command, someone is in danger of losing their life

            • Zipporah recognized what was happening and took action

          • Zipporah circumcised her son

            • It was probably Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’) her firstborn

              • Zipporah would have been familiar with the circumcision rite, especially as the daughter of a Midianite priest

              • “Many people groups in the ancient world practiced circumcision, including, the Midianites; it was hardly unknown outside of Israelite circles.” ​​ [Stuart, 153]

            • Why did Zipporah perform the circumcision and not Moses?

              • There is a lot of ambiguity about this

              • Most of the answers surrounding this question are mere speculation or educated guesses

              • If Moses was the one who was going to be killed, perhaps the Lord inflicted him with some illness or seizure that made it nearly impossible for him to perform the rite

              • We simply do not know from this text

            • Touching of the feet with the foreskin

              • Feet

                • “‘Feet’ is one of several Hebrew euphemisms for ‘genitals’ (cf. Isa 6:2; 7:20; Ezek 16:25; Deut 28:57; others include ‘hand,’ ‘knee,’ ‘stones [see comments on 1:16’]).” ​​ [Stuart, 154]

                • So, it is more likely that Zipporah touched or threw the foreskin at Moses’ genitals, which would make sense when talking about the rite of circumcision

              • Once again most translations use the pronoun “him” instead of Moses’ name

                • I believe it was probably Moses’ who got touched by the foreskin, because it was his responsibility as the spiritual leader of the household to make sure it was done

                • It would not make sense to touch the genitals with the foreskin of the person who just had it removed and you certainly wouldn’t throw the foreskin at them

              • Zipporah’s statement

                • Her statement about someone being a bridegroom of blood to her, leads me to believe that she is talking about Moses, her husband

                • It would not make sense to call her son a bridegroom to her

            • Because of Zipporah’s actions, God relented

          • God let him [Moses] alone

        • Application

          • Obedience to God is essential.

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – “God often relents if people repent.” [Stuart, 156]

            • We see that God did not kill either Moses or his son, but let them alone

              • Zipporah’s quick action appeased God’s wrath

              • Read Genesis 17:10-14

              • “. . . Moses . . . had been guilty of a capital crime, which God could not pass over in the case of one whom He had chosen to be His messenger, to establish His covenant with Israel.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 298-99]

              • “At stake that night was Moses’ fitness to be the Lord’s representative.” ​​ [Mackay, 101]

            • We see throughout Scripture God’s grace and mercy in relenting when His people repent

            • The same is true for us

              • There are always consequences for our decisions

                • When we choose to do certain things, there can be physical consequences for that decision (drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, etc.)

                • Speeding or driving recklessly could result in an accident that injures, disables, or kills you or someone else

              • Disobeying God’s commands, statutes, and instructions in His Word can result in His discipline of us as His children

                • Do you feel like the Lord is disciplining you?

                • Is there any unconfessed sin in your life, whether known, unknown, intentional, or unintentional?

                • Is there an habitual sin that you are struggling with

                • The Holy Spirit that lives within each follower of Jesus Christ convicts us of sin

                • John 16:7-8, But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. ​​ Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. ​​ When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

                • “This is why disobedience is such a serious matter: it is acting as if we had no need of God, his grace and his pledges. ​​ In other words, it is nothing short of a sort of enacted atheism.” ​​ [Motyer, The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Exodus, 81]

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my sin to the Lord and turn from it, so He will relent from disciplining me.

            • We are God’s ambassadors, so we need to make sure we are fit to be His messenger to the world

        • Zipporah’s obedience to God’s covenant was essential to saving her husband or son’s life

        • Obedience to God’s covenant is essential for us also

        • As we have seen, Moses and Zipporah were obedient to the Lord and Aaron would be also

        • NOTE – “Since from this point on in the narrative neither Zipporah nor Moses’ sons are mentioned until their reuniting in 18:2-6, it is likely that they did not travel further than this camping place (mālōn, v. 24) and, after Gershom had healed, returned to Midian.” ​​ [Stuart, 155]

    • Call (vv. 27-28)

        • Aaron received a call from the Lord to leave Egypt and go into the desert to meet Moses

          • We are not told if the Lord gave Aaron any specific directions or just the general direction – the desert

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God directs our steps.

              • However the Lord did it, He directed Aaron’s steps so he could be reunited with his brother, Moses

              • The Lord does the same thing for us – He directs our steps when he calls us to do something

              • He will not call us and then leave us wondering where we are supposed to go

              • What has God called you to do?

              • How is He directing your steps right now?

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be obedient to God’s calling and follow Him as He directs my steps.

        • Reunited

          • We know that Aaron found Moses at the mountain of God

          • Moses knew from his time at the burning bush that Aaron was already on his way to meet him

        • Moses shared everything with Aaron

          • He told him everything the Lord had said

          • He also told him about the miraculous signs the Lord had commanded him to perform

        • Moses had moved from a lodging place on the way to the mountain of God to meet Aaron and together they returned to Egypt

    • Commitment (vv. 29-31)

        • Moses and Aaron are back in Egypt at this point

        • Meeting with the elders

          • Moses and Aaron obediently gather all the elders of the Israelites together, so they can encourage them with the Lord’s message

          • Obedience to God is essential.

          • Aaron’s role as Moses’ mouthpiece has begun

          • It appears as though Aaron’s call from the Lord also included the ability to perform the miraculous signs that Moses had practiced at the mountain of God

          • The message from the Lord and the miraculous signs convinced the Israelite leaders – they believed!

            • This is exactly what the Lord told Moses in Exodus 3:18

            • His word had come true

            • The Lord was aware of everything that was happening to them and He was responding to their cries for help

            • Conversion evidenced through worship

              • The Israelites are excited that the Lord is concerned about them

              • “Verse 31 describes the Israelites’ conversion to faith in Yahweh, evidenced by the posture of bowing before God (not Moses) as the people’s sign that they believed in and accepted the demands of his words and promises for them.” ​​ [Stuart, 158]

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Our proper response to God’s concern for us is worship.

            • Have you experienced God’s concern for you?

            • Has He responded to your cries for help?

            • Have you taken time to worship Him?

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Bow down and worship the Lord for answering my prayers and coming to my rescue.


  • YOU

    • Are you ready to confess your sin to the Lord and turn from it, so He will relent from disciplining you?

    • Are you ready to be obedient to God’s calling and follow Him as He directs your steps?

    • Are you ready to bow down and worship the Lord for answering your prayers and coming to your rescue?

  • WE

    • We need to confess our sins to the Lord and turn from them, so He will relent from disciplining us.

    • We need to be obedient to God’s calling and follow Him as He directs our steps.

    • We need to bow down and worship the Lord for answering our prayers and coming to our rescue.



Obedience Is The Very Best Way

Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe,
Doing exactly what the Lord commands
Doing it happily.
Action is the key … do it immediately,
The joy you will receive!
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe.
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe.






Where Is Your Focus?

(Exodus 4:10-17)



“Many years ago in the city of Minneapolis at Bethlehem Baptist Church they needed a Sunday school teacher for the junior boys. This class wasn't bad, just energetic. No teacher had been able to control them. Ewald Chaldberg, a Swedish masseur, was asked to teach, and he took the junior boys class.


Ewald still had his Swedish accent. Buzzing all over the church was the word, ‘He'll never make it. Three weeks, and that will be the end.’ But somehow Ewald Chaldberg believed God when he took the class, and he stayed with it through the years. He kept teaching boys.


Some years ago I was asked to come to that church and share in a service. It was the tenth anniversary of the death of Ewald Chaldberg. How do you like that--a layman in the church, and they're celebrating the tenth anniversary of his death!


During the service, they recounted that at least forty men were in Christian service someplace in the world because Ewald Chaldberg taught boys, loved them, and watched over them as they grew. Ewald Chaldberg had faith to believe that God could overcome his human limitations.


On the morning of that anniversary celebration, twenty-seven lay persons stood up to say, ‘We're going to be like Ewald Chaldberg in a small way.’ The obscure immigrant with a Swedish accent found significance because he trusted the Lord who said, ‘My idea is bigger than your idea.’”


Source: Gordon Johnson, "Finding Significance in Obscurity," Preaching Today, Tape No. 82.





  • ME

    • Calling into pastoral ministry

        • Most of you know my calling story, into pastoral ministry

        • God answered me, as I cried out to Him, one morning on my way to work in Southern California

        • He said He already told me what He wanted me to do

        • I knew it was serving Him as a pastor

        • I had one major fear that I expressed to Him – what will I preach about every Sunday

          • God used a book written by Chuck Smith to calm that fear

          • Chuck Smith shared that he began preaching verse-by-verse through books of the Bible

          • I knew that I could that, which I have done for almost 15 years

        • I also knew the stress involved in pastoring, since I grew up in a pastor’s home

        • God met all of my excuses with His comfort, compassion, love, patience, and guidance

        • I wanted to focus on my inadequacies, but God wanted me to focus on His unlimited power


  • WE

    • How many of us have given God excuse after excuse when He has called us to do something?

    • How many of us have focused on our inadequacies instead of God’s unlimited power?


Moses used so many excuses with God. ​​ First, he told God that he was nobody and the Israelites would not listen to him, but God said He would be with Moses and that the elders of Israel would listen to him. ​​ When Moses still struggled with whether or not the Israelites would believe him or listen to him, God gave him three miraculous signs he could use to prove that God had sent him and was with him. ​​ As we will see today, Moses expressed one more excuse, before he finally came clean with God. ​​ Moses was focused on his incompetence instead of God and His power. ​​ Moses needed to understand that God’s omnipotence mattered more than his incompetence. ​​ We need to learn the same thing, that . . .


BIG IDEA – God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence. ​​ [Motyer]

Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 4:10-17)

    • Excuse [noun] (vv. 10-12)

        • The Lord had just given Moses the power to do three miraculous signs, two of which he already experienced (staff into snake and back to staff; diseased hand to restored hand), but Moses had one more excuse

          • He had never been eloquent, but was slow of speech and tongue

            • What exactly did Moses struggle with?

              • Was it a speech impediment or defect?

                • Even if this was the case, we see throughout the rest of Exodus and Deuteronomy that Moses does a pretty good job of speaking in public

                • He does not always use Aaron as his mouthpiece

                • God was powerful enough to enable Moses to speak clearly

              • Was it a concern over not using Egyptian for 40 years?

                • I consider this hypothesis to be pretty weak

                • It seems like some scholar was reaching at this point

              • Was it “exaggerated humility”?

                • This has some merit

                • “. . . in the style of ancient Near Eastern ‘exaggerated humility,’ often employed in situations where one is appealing for help or mercy from someone else or showing one’s mannerly self-deprecation at being given a great assignment.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 133-34]

                • Stuart outlines multiple Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testaments where this style is used

                • The only concern with “exaggerated humility” is that Moses would not have needed a helper to speak

              • Was it a difficulty with formulating words under pressure?

                • This also some merit, especially since the Lord provides Aaron as a helper for Moses

                • “Moses was afraid that in the intense negotiations that would undoubtedly take place with Pharaoh he would not be quick or persuasive enough to present the case adequately before Pharaoh.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 93]

                • How many of us would agree that we do not feel adequate to formulate words or ideas under pressure?

                • I find that I usually hold my tongue and not speak when I am under pressure – I need time to think and formulate a proper response – when I don’t do that, I usually say the wrong thing

            • Moses recognized that he had never been this way in the past and it had not changed since the Lord had spoken to him

            • “Moses meant to say, ‘I neither possess the gift of speech by nature, nor have I received it since Thou has spoken to me.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 293]

          • God was not caught off guard by Moses confession

            • He already knew that Moses had never been eloquent and that he was slow of speech and tongue

              • That did not matter to God

              • He knew Moses’ character

              • God was able to use Moses in spite of his weakness and fear

              • God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence.

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can use our weaknesses for His glory.

              • It is probably safe to say that most of us struggle with fear about sharing the Gospel with our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers

                • We may say, like Moses, that we have never been eloquent and are slow of speech and tongue

                • We may fear being asked a question that we do not have the answer to

                • We are concerned that we may not share the Gospel well enough or clearly enough

                • “God doesn’t call the equipped, son. ​​ God equips the called. ​​ And you have been called” ​​ [Rick Yancey, The Fifth Wave]

                • Biblical support

                  • Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5

                  • Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

                  • Matthew 10:19-20, But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. ​​ At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be your speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

                  • 1 Corinthians 3:6-9, What, after all, is Apollos? ​​ And what is Paul? ​​ Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. ​​ I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. ​​ So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. ​​ The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. ​​ For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

                • God can use our fear of sharing the Gospel for His glory

                  • He wants us to rely on the Holy Spirit to strengthen us through our shaky voice and scattered thoughts

                  • God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence.

                  • His desire is that we share what we know

                  • If we do not have the answer to a question, we can simply say, “I don’t know, but I will get you the answer.”

                  • That leaves the door open for another conversation about the things of God

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to use me for His glory, in spite of my fear and weakness.

              • “One of the great evangelists of all time and founder of the YMCA, D.L. Moody was very impacting but not very polished. ​​ A woman came to him after one service and said, ‘Mr. Moody, I noticed in your message that you made eighteen grammatical mistakes.’ ​​ ‘Ma’am,’ Moody replied, ‘I’m using all the grammar I got for the Lord. ​​ What are you doing with yours?’” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis—Job, 242]

          • God understood Moses’ concern, but did not let him off the hook

          • “In response God uses a series of rhetorical questions to underscore that his power extends to the realm of human speech.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 97]

        • God’s response

          • Creator

            • The Lord asked Moses three questions that He did not expect him to answer

            • The Lord answered His own questions with another question – Is it not I, the Lord?

            • The Lord helped Moses understand that He, as Creator, had the power to help Moses speak clearly and the power to teach Moses what to say

            • God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is Creator!

              • As Creator, He is all-powerful

              • There is nothing impossible for Him

              • Whether it is a speech impediment or an inability to think quickly under pressure, God has the power to help

              • “The God who made us is able to use the gifts and abilities He’s given us to accomplish the tasks He assigns to us.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 184]

            • The Lord was going to be Moses’ helper and teacher

          • Helper and teacher

            • Command

              • The Lord told Moses, Now go!

              • The Lord was ready for His freedom plan to get started

              • “Stop making excuses, Moses, and get going”

            • Promises

              • I will help you speak

                • The Hebrew literally reads, “I will be with your mouth”

                • God did this not only with Moses, but also with Aaron, as we will see in verse 15

              • I will teach you what to say

              • Spurgeon often worked 18 hours a day. Famous explorer and missionary David Livingstone once asked him, ‘How do you manage to do two men's work in a single day?’ Spurgeon replied, ‘You have forgotten that there are two of us.’”

                Source: "Charles Haddon Spurgeon," Christian History, no. 29.


              • God did not give Moses this huge job to do and then send him on his way alone—He helped him and taught him

              • God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence.

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God helps us and teaches us.

              • When God asks us to do something for Him, He will not leave us alone

              • He will help us and teach us, too

              • What is the Lord asking you to do that you feel inadequate or unprepared to do?

              • Do you believe He will help you to have the strength and courage to speak and He will teach you what to say?

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to help me have the strength and courage to speak to __________ (name) about ____________ and trust Him to teach me what to say.

            • God will help you and teach you

        • The Lord addressed all of Moses’ fears and excuses, so Moses finally confessed his true feelings

    • Excuse [verb] (vv. 13-17)

        • Moses’ confession (v. 13)

          • Lord

            • Moses does not address God as Jehovah [Lord] (the existing One; the proper name of the one true God)

            • Instead he uses Adonai [Lord] (lord, master, sovereign)

          • Moses did not want to do what God was calling him to do

            • He said it in the most neutral and non-offensive way as possible

            • “‘Send by the hand of whomever you will send’ (but not me, understood).” ​​ [Mackay, 95]

            • “Every one of his questions had been answered in stunning ways. ​​ Now he basically said, ‘Here I am, send someone else.’” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 31]

            • Isaiah the prophet, when called, said, here I am, send me (Isaiah 6:8)

          • How many of us have told the Lord the same thing that Moses did – “Here I am, send someone else”?

            • When He has asked us to share the Gospel with our neighbor

            • When He has asked us to serve at the local food pantry

            • When He has asked us to teach Sunday school or children’s church

            • When He has asked us to give sacrificially

            • When He has asked us to go on the mission field

            • When He has asked us to serve Him in pastoral ministry

            • When He has asked us to serve Him in a volunteer capacity at church or with another ministry

          • I’m sure the Lord was or is angry with us when we tell Him “No”

          • That was how He responded to Moses

        • The Lord’s response (vv. 14-17)

          • The Lord’s anger burned against Moses (v. 14a)

            • It took the Lord a long time to get angry with Moses

              • He answered all of Moses questions to this point

              • “When Moses presented reasoned arguments against what he was required to do, God gave reasoned responses. ​​ Now that he is simply being insubordinate to the one he recognizes as ‘Lord’ the conversation is broken off. ​​ There must be no more attempts to get round what he has been told to do.” ​​ [Mackay, 95]

              • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is slow to anger.

                • Biblically support

                  • Exodus 34:6-7a, And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

                  • Psalm 86:15, But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

                  • Joel 2:13, Rend your heart and not your garments. ​​ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

                  • Jonah expressed the same character of God as Joel did when he prayed to the Lord. ​​ He told the Lord that he knew this would happen (Jonah 4:2)

                • Application

                  • Aren’t you glad that God is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness?

                  • I know I am, especially since I told Him “No” about pastoral ministry for 13 years

                  • He was so gracious, compassionate, loving, and faithful to me during those years

                  • He provided for my financial support every year with the two faith-based ministry that I served in

                  • He brought individuals into His family through salvation as I served Him in children’s ministry

                  • How have you experienced the fact that God is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness?

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank the Lord for being gracious, compassionate, loving, faithful, and slow to anger when I have said “No” to _____________.

              • I am grateful that the Lord does not give up on us

            • “The Lord is angry with Moses, but He doesn’t give up on Moses. ​​ He simply expands His call to include Aaron as Moses’ mouthpiece.” ​​ [Courson, 242]

          • The Lord gave Moses a helper (vv. 14b-16)

            • God’s suggestion

              • What about your brother, Aaron the Levite

                • Why did the author include “the Levite” after Aaron’s name

                • Moses was obviously a Levite too, because they had the same parents

                • Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of Aaron’s role as priest

              • He can speak well

                • Even though the Lord had promised to be with Moses’ mouth and teach him what to say, Moses still felt inadequate

                • What Moses lacked, Aaron had in abundance, but that would eventually get him into trouble with the golden calf situation in Exodus 32 [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 76]

                • Moses and Aaron would be an incredible team together

                • Aaron would need Moses strong spiritual guidance from the Lord

              • The Lord shared some insider information with Moses about his brother

            • God’s foreknowledge

              • As I mentioned earlier, God was not caught off guard by Moses confession about not being eloquent

              • He was also not caught off guard by Moses refusal

                • God’s plan to rescue His people would not be thwarted by Moses perceived inadequacies and refusal

                • He had already prompted Aaron to leave Egypt and begin making his way to Midian to find Moses

                • This was God’s providence at work

              • God laid out His plan concerning how this cospeaker arrangement would work

            • God’s plan

              • Order of speaking

                • God was going to speak to Moses

                • Moses was going to speak to Aaron

                • Aaron would speak to the people (and Pharaoh)

                • “Thus God was the revealer; Moses, the prophet; and Aaron, the public repeater, an arrangement not unlike that in the modern church involving God, the Scriptures as the location of his word, and the preacher as the public repeater.” ​​ [Stuart, 138]

              • Divine message

                • God would help both Moses and Aaron to speak

                • God would teach them both what to do

                • The messages that Moses received were spoken to Aaron, who would share them with the people

                • God was the originator of the messages and not Moses or Aaron

              • How does this apply to us?

            • Application

              • God will not give up on us, either

              • PRINCIPLE #5 – God will provide everything we need to do what He calls us to do.

                • “. . . the Lord’s forethought anticipates our needs.” ​​ [Motyer, The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Exodus, 72]

                • He knows all about the excuses we will give Him

                • He knows that we will ask to be excused from the task

                • He will provide individuals that will walk alongside us as we do what He has called us to do

                • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to provide _____________________ (resource/individual/etc.), so I can do what He is calling me to do.

              • God will not give up on you even when you refuse to do what He is calling you to do

              • He will provide all that you need, so you can be obedient to His calling

              • God’s omnipotence matters more than our incompetence.

              • “The will of God will never lead you where the power of God can’t enable you, so walk by faith in His promises.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 184]

            • God reminds Moses about his staff

          • Don’t forget the staff in your hand (v. 17)

            • The Lord reminds Moses to take the staff in his hand

            • God was going to use it to perform miraculous signs


  • YOU

    • Trust God to use you for His glory, in spite of your fears and weaknesses.

    • Ask the Lord to help you have the strength and courage to speak to someone about a certain situation, and trust Him to teach you what to say.

    • Thank the Lord for being gracious, compassionate, loving, faithful, and slow to anger when you have said “No” to His calling.

    • Ask the Lord to provide resources, individuals, or something else, so you can to do what He is calling you to do.


  • WE

    • We need to trust God to use us for His glory, in spite of our fears and weaknesses.

    • We need to ask the Lord to help us have the strength and courage to speak for Him, and trust Him to teach us what to say.

    • We can thank the Lord for being gracious, compassionate, loving, faithful, and slow to anger with us.

    • We can ask the Lord to provide resources and individuals to help us do what He is calling us to do.



“Many years ago I was walking in Newport Beach, a beach in Southern California, with two friends. Two of us were on staff together at a church, and one was an elder at the same church. We walked past a bar where a fight had been going on inside. The fight had spilled out into the street, just like in an old western. Several guys were beating up on another guy, and he was bleeding from the forehead. We knew we had to do something, so we went over to break up the fight. … I don't think we were very intimidating. [All we did was walk over and say,] ‘Hey, you guys, cut that out!’ It didn't do much good.


Then all of a sudden they looked at us with fear in their eyes. The guys who had been beating up on the one guy stopped and started to slink away. I didn't know why until we turned and looked behind us. Out of the bar had come the biggest man I think I've ever seen. He was something like six feet, seven inches, maybe 300 pounds, maybe 2 percent body fat. Just huge. We called him ‘Bubba’ (not to his face, but afterwards, when we talked about him).


Bubba didn't say a word. He just stood there and flexed. You could tell he was hoping they would try and have a go at him. All of a sudden my attitude was transformed, and I said to those guys, ‘You better not let us catch you coming around here again!’ I was a different person because I had great, big Bubba. I was ready to confront with resolve and firmness. I was released from anxiety and fear. I was filled with boldness and confidence. I was ready to help somebody that needed helping. I was ready to serve where serving was required. Why? Because I had a great, big Bubba. I was convinced that I was not alone. I was safe.


If I were convinced that Bubba were with me 24 hours a day, I would have a fundamentally different approach to my life. If I knew Bubba was behind me all day long, you wouldn't want to mess with me. But he's not. I can't count on Bubba.


Again and again, the writers of Scripture pose this question for us: How big is your God? Again and again we are reminded that One who is greater than Bubba has come, and you don't have to wonder whether or not he'll show up. He's always there. You don't have to be afraid. You don't have to live your life in hiding. You have a great, big God, and he's called you to do something, so get on with it!”


Source: John Ortberg, in the sermon Big God/Little God,






What’s In Your Hand?

(Exodus 4:1-9)



In 2000 Capital One started the marketing slogan, “What’s in your wallet?” ​​ It was used as a way to say, if you had a Capital One credit card in your wallet, you had buying power. ​​ The sky was the limit. ​​ You could purchase anything you wanted. ​​ Nothing was out of reach


Long before Capital One asked this question in their advertising campaign, the Lord asked a similar question of Moses. ​​ He wanted to know what was in his hand. ​​ God was going to use it to show His power.



  • ME

    • What’s in my wallet?

        • I had a Capital One card for work when we lived in California

        • While it was a company card, the credit limit was based on my personal credit score

        • The benefit for me was that the ministry allowed me to keep the miles earned on that card for my own personal use

        • I racked up a lot of miles, because they used my card for overseas and domestic airfare, plus other purchases

        • After leaving that position, I opened a personal Capital One credit card and transferred all of the miles to that new card

        • Judy and I eventually used those airfare miles for ourselves

    • What’s in my hand?

        • There are many things in my hand that God’s power can use for His glory

        • He has given me the ability to play guitar and sing

        • He has given me basic knowledge about vehicles to do certain maintenance and repair work

        • He has given me knowledge about computers, the internet, and other electronics

        • He has given me a love of learning, reading, and research, especially with His Word

        • He has given me the ability to speak publicly and preach His Word

        • The list could go on-and-on of how God has put various things in my hand to use for His glory


  • WE

    • How about us?

    • What abilities and gifts has God given us that He can use for His glory?


The Lord had promised to go to Egypt with Moses and had given him His name – I AM! ​​ He explained that the elders of Israel would listen to him and go with him to talk to the king of Egypt. ​​ Moses was still hesitant after receiving all of these promises and assurances. ​​ In order to ease Moses’ mind, the Lord gave him three miraculous signs he could use to convince the Israelites that God had sent him to deliver them. ​​ Moses had to be obedient and return to Egypt. ​​ He was going to find out that . . .


BIG IDEA – Obedience releases God’s power to transform, restore, and conquer.


The same is true for us also. ​​ When we obey what God is asking us to do, He will prepare and provide resources for the task. ​​ Our obedience releases His power.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 4:1-9)

    • Power to transform (vv. 1-5)

        • Doubt

          • As we learned in chapter 3, Moses saw a burning bush that was not being consumed

            • The Lord spoke to him from the burning bush

            • He realized that he was in the presence of the God of his forefathers

            • He was standing on holy ground

            • The Lord told him what name to use with the Israelites when he returned to Egypt – I Am!

            • He reassured Moses that the elders of Israel would listen to him

            • All of this just was not enough for Moses

            • “He does not share or embrace God’s optimism.” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 70]

          • Belief

            • ​​ “Moses was not doubting God’s promise, but he certainly was afraid the Israelites would doubt it.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 129]

            • Perhaps Moses was still plagued by the Israelites rejection of his authority over 40 years ago

            • Were the Israelites going to accept his authority as God’s chosen deliverer – that was Moses’ concern

            • Would the Israelites believe that the Lord had appeared to him?

          • Application

            • How often do we doubt that others will believe God has spoken or appeared to us?

            • We know what God has called us to do, but we are fearful that others will doubt that calling on our lives

            • So, we file a formal protest with God instead of being obedient by faith

            • We forget that God is sovereign, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever present with us

            • I’m grateful that God is patient with us and listens to our concerns

          • God did not negate Moses concerns, but rather gave him some tools to boost his confidence

        • Ordinary

          • God asked Moses what was in his hand

          • He replied, “A staff”

            • As a shepherd, Moses main tool was his staff

            • It was an ordinary stick – a piece of wood

            • “‘What’s in your hand?’ God asked Moses. ​​ ‘A shepherd’s rod,’ Moses answered. ​​ ‘That’s what I’ll use,’ said God.

              ‘What’s in your hand, Paul?’ ​​ ‘A pen. ​​ I’m a scholar.’ ​​ ‘I’ll use that,’ said God. ​​ ‘You will write a great portion of My Word.’

              ‘What’s that in your hand, Peter?’ ​​ ‘A net. ​​ I’m a fisherman.’ ​​ ‘I’ll use that,’ said God. ​​ ‘You will be a fisher of men and haul people into the kingdom.’”
              ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis—Job, 241]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – “God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary.” ​​ [Enns, 109]

              • Take a moment to think about something you use every day for your work (computer, hammer, basketball, apple, forklift, teacher’s manual, etc.)

              • What is it made of?

              • Have you ever thought that God could use it to do something extraordinary for His glory?

              • “God gave you gifts when you were born simply waiting to be activated when you were born again.” ​​ [Courson, 241]

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Offer my ordinary tool to God, so He can do something extraordinary with it.

          • The reason the Lord asked Moses what was in his hand was because he was going to use it to do something extraordinary

        • Extraordinary

          • Moses’ obedience

            • The Lord told Moses to throw his staff on the ground and he obeyed

            • Obedience releases God’s power to TRANSFORM, restore, and conquer.

            • After Moses threw his staff on the ground, God transformed it into a snake

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God has the power to transform anything!

              • Do you believe that?

              • I have seen God use seemingly ordinary items and circumstances to transform people’s lives

              • I know that some of us are struggling to believe that God can transform anything or anyone, because we have been praying a long time for a family member or friend to be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ

              • We may still be waiting for the transformation to take place

              • Hold on to the truth that God is all-powerful and can transform anything or anyone

              • Continue to obediently cry out to Him for your family member or friend

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s all-powerful ability to transform anything or anyone.

            • When Moses’ staff turned into a snake, he reacted like most of us would

          • Moses’ reaction

            • Moses’ reaction, to this transformation, was to run!

            • I don’t normally run away from a snake, but I definitely make sure there is a safe distance between us

            • I am not knowledgeable enough to determine quickly if it is venomous or not (unless I hear a rattle, then I know!)

            • I know that some of us here today react to snakes in the same way Moses did – you run!

            • Some of us will not even agree that the best kind of snake is a dead snake

            • In their mind, the best kind of snake is a nonexistent snake

          • Facing fear

            • Moses obviously ran when his staff turned into a snake, because he was afraid

            • Now the Lord is asking him to not only get close to the snake, but to pick it up by the tail

              • Most snake handlers do not pick a snake up by the tail, because the head is free to strike

              • They will use a snake hook to trap the head, so they can pick it up behind the head (controlling the head protects them from being bitten)

            • We are not told how long it took Moses to obey the Lord, but we know that he did

            • When he took hold of the snake it turned back into a staff

              • “‘Snake’ is the same word as was used of the serpent in Genesis 3, and this suggests that the sign also indicated divine control over evil in general.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 90]

              • The Pharaoh’s headdress had a cobra on it, which represented his authority

              • The fact that God had the power to transform a staff into a snake and back into a staff showed His authority over the Egyptian gods and Pharaoh

              • God is ultimately in control of everything

            • Obedience releases God’s power to TRANSFORM, restore, and conquer.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God has the power to transform anything!

          • Explaining the sign

            • The Lord told Moses that this sign (transforming a staff) was so the Israelites would believe that the Lord had appeared to him

            • The author identifies who the Lord is by adding that it was the God of their fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob

            • He would not be confused with any of the gods of Egypt

        • The Lord immediately provides a second sign as a backup to the first one

    • Power to restore (vv. 6-8)

        • Diseased hand

          • The Lord directed Moses to put his hand inside his cloak

            • It would have been the folds in his cloak above his waist

            • Perhaps he rested his hand there often

            • It was a place where he could conceal his hand from view

          • Moses obeyed and when he removed his hand it was leprous, like snow

            • The Hebrew word used for leprosy was also used for various skin diseases

            • The descriptive words “like snow” are not part of the symptoms of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) today. ​​ Some of the symptoms of Hansen’s disease are: []

              • Discolored patches of skin, usually flat, that may be numb and look faded (lighter than the skin around)

              • Growths (nodules) on the skin

              • Thick, stiff or dry skin

              • Painless ulcers on the soles of feet

              • Painless swelling or lumps on the face or earlobes

              • Loss of eyebrows or eyelashes

            • It was definitely some kind of skin disease that caused the skin to have a flaky white appearance

          • The Lord did not leave Moses’ hand in a state of disease

        • Restored hand

          • The Lord directed Moses to put his hand back into his cloak

          • Moses obeyed and when he removed his hand it was restored

            • Obedience releases God’s power to transform, RESTORE, and conquer.

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God has the power to restore.

              • God has authority over disease and sickness

                • We can cry out to Him when we are experiencing disease and sickness

                • Jesus healed many people while on earth

                • God healed many people through the Apostles

                • God continues to heal today

                • He is sovereign, so He knows what is best for us

                • Paul’s thorn in the flesh may have been some kind of disease or illness and God told him that His grace was sufficient for him, for His power is made perfect in weakness (1 Cor. 12:9)

              • God also has the power to restore relationships

                • Maybe you are currently experiencing a broken relationship with a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor

                • You may feel like the relationship cannot be restored

                • I want to encourage you to cry out to the Lord for the relationship – start praying for the other person and watch what the Lord will do (don’t pray selfish prayers, but rather prayers of blessing over the other person)

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Cry out to God to restore ___________ (health/relationship/etc.).

            • Moses experienced the restoration power of God

          • He would be able to use this second sign if the Israelites did not believe the first sign

        • Reason for the second sign

          • The Lord explained to Moses that if the Israelites did not believe him or pay attention to the first sign they may believe the second

          • “In the present context these signs are intended to point to Moses’ divine commission, enabling the Israelites to believe that YHWH has sent Moses to them.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 97]

          • We know that the Israelites did believe Moses after the signs were performed (Read Genesis 4:29-31)

        • The Lord had one final sign if needed

    • Power to conquer (v. 9)

        • The Lord told Moses that if the Israelites did not believe the first two signs or listen to him, he was to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground

        • God would transform the water into blood on the ground

        • “Turning water into blood symbolizes God’s power over the elements, similar to the burning bush. ​​ It also symbolizes the power of Israel’s God over the power of the Egyptian gods and the Egyptian nation, whose life force was the Nile.” ​​ [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 110]

        • PRINCIPLE #4 – God has the power to conquer.

          • This principle is a precursor to God’s power to conquer the nation of Egypt and set His people free from slavery

          • The ten plagues will overwhelmingly prove to Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt that the God of the Israelites was all-powerful and in control of everything

          • Obedience releases God’s power to transform, restore, and CONQUER.

          • The same is true for us

            • When we are obedient to God and His Word, His power is released and He can conquer whatever has us enslaved

            • What are you enslaved to today?

              • Alcohol or drugs

              • Pornography

              • Video games

              • A desire to be loved and not alone

              • Debt

              • Pride and selfishness

              • Gossip

              • A dead end job

              • A desire to have stuff

              • You fill in the blank with what has you enslaved

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be obedient to God and His Word, so He can release His power to conquer ______________ in my life.

          • Do you want to be set free today?

        • There are a couple of principles that encompass the entire passage we learned about today

    • Application

        • PRINCIPLE #5 – God will provide supernaturally what we lack naturally. [Martin, 20]

        • PRINCIPLE #6 – “God prepares and provides resources for the tasks to which He calls us.” ​​ [Martin, 22]

          • Aren’t you glad that God will not ask us to do anything without providing supernatural ability and resources to do it

          • These two principles should give us confidence and courage to share with others in our neighborhood, at work, and at home

          • Dr. Tony Wood, Pastor of Mission Bible Church, said, “We gather to worship and go out to witness.”


  • YOU

    • What ordinary tool are you ready to offer to God, so He can do something extraordinary with it?

    • Who or what do you need to trust God to transform with His all-powerful ability?

    • What do you need God to restore?

    • Are you ready to be obedient to God and His Word, so He can release His power to conquer whatever is enslaving you?


  • WE

    • What tools do we have as a body of believers that God can use to do the extraordinary?

    • Who or what do we need to trust God to transform?

    • What do we need God to restore in our congregation?

    • Are we ready to be obedient to God and His Word, so He can release His power to conquer whatever is enslaving us?



“In a recent issue of Christianity Today (January 2013), a Muslim man describes his commitment to follow Isa al Masih, Jesus the Messiah. Surprisingly, a rather ‘ordinary’ miracle caused this man to open his heart to Jesus. Here's how he described the miracle:


One night the only food my wife and I had was a small portion of macaroni. My wife prepared it very nicely. Then one of her friends knocked on the door. I told myself, The macaroni is not sufficient for even the two of us, so how will it be enough for three of us? But because we have no other custom, we opened the door, and she came in to eat with us.


While we were eating, the macaroni started to multiply; it became full in the bowl. I suspected that something was wrong with my eyes, so I started rubbing them. I thought maybe my wife hid some macaroni under the small table, so I checked, but there was nothing. My wife and I looked at each other, but because the guest was there, we said nothing.


Afterward I lay down on the bed, and as I slept, Isa came to me and asked me, ‘Do you know who multiplied the macaroni?’ I said, ‘I don't know.’ He said, ‘I am Isa al Masih [Jesus, the Messiah]. If you follow me, not only the macaroni but your life will be multiplied.’”


Source: Gene Daniels, "Worshipping Jesus in the Mosque," Christianity Today (January-February 2013).





There is no outline or audio for our Rally Day with Mark Cable, since his music is copyrighted.

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.