Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Exodus 3:7-4:18

TAKE TIME TO REFLECT:

The life of Moses teaches us several lessons about leadership. In the next several posts, I invite you to reflect on a few such lessons. 

God calls Moses to lead in Exodus 3:7-10. Moses, however, is resistant to respond. Five times, Moses essentially says, "But God." He is coming up with excuses not to heed Yahweh's call to return to Egypt as the deliverer of the Hebrew nation (3:11, 3:13, 4:1, 4:10, 4:13). 

Moses is reluctant to lead because Moses is afraid. 

On one level, Moses fears his past. He had fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. There was a significant failure in his younger years. What if people remembered or learned about what he had done?

More notably, Moses knew the magnitude of the task. Having been raised as a Prince of Egypt, he recognized the power of Pharaoh. He had tried to make a difference as a young man. To return as an older man to face the mightiest force in the world with just a staff in his hand and Yahweh's name on his lips was freaky scary. 

Still, the first way that Moses models biblical leadership is that he faced his fears to lead. Moses would ultimately return to the land of Egypt to deliver his people from a physical bondage (4:18). 

Christ Jesus embodies this principle of leadership. No, Jesus did not have any past failures that would have concerned Him. Jesus, after all, never sinned (cf. 1 Peter 2:22-24). But He did face a freaky scary task. 

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the Father would take away the cup of suffering that awaited Him. He sweat drops of blood knowing the magnitude of the cross. Christ faced death, the grave, and Satan and his minions, but He uttered: "Not My will, but Yours (Father), be done" (Luke 22:41-44). 

Christ in His full humanity faced His fears to lead. Jesus traversed the hill of Calvary to deliver His people from a spiritual bondage. 

The lesson to learn is never to let fear defeat you: 
1. Do not let your past failures cripple you (we, like Moses, all have significant failings). 
2. Do not let a difficult calling deter you (we, like Moses, may sometimes seek to recoil from a freaky scary task). 

Remember that when God is calling you to something, He will give you the strength to accomplish it. Indeed, if God is for us, who or what - be it a Pharaoh or the devil himself - can stand against us! (cf. Romans 8:31-39)


TAKE TIME TO RESPOND:

What fears do you need to overcome in order to take a step of obedience to lead in some way for Christ and His Church:

_____________________________________________________.


TAKE TIME TO REVIEW:

from Best Devotional Commentary - "All the way through chapters three and four the Lord has done far more talking than Moses, which suggests the genuineness of Moses' negative feelings about himself - he was very far from 'protesting too much'! The simple statements of inadequacy (3:11), inability (3:13), ineffectiveness (4:1), incompetence (4:10) and grudging submission (4:13) were enough. To Moses they were self-evident, even axiomatic, but in each case the Lord gave a lengthy and detailed reply" (Motyer).

from Best Academic Commentary - "God's reply (v. 12) contains two key elements: a promise of help and guidance ('I will be with you') and a fulfillment sign. For God to 'be with' someone means that He provides that person direct, special help and guidance that, in turn, can cause people to recognize that person's worth and/or authority in given situations. A fulfillment sign is a confirmation that a prophet or leader has completed a key part of a task assigned him by God. The fulfillment sign for Moses' call was a successful exodus followed by arrival at Mount Sinai and worship there by all the people ('you will worship' is plural). This is significant because it is not merely measurable by the movement of the people from one place to another but also by their movement from one faith to another. They would get to Sinai, but more importantly they would get to saving belief in the only true and living God. Fulfillment signs require faith since they promise proof to follow after an interval of time rather than immediately; in doing so they encourage faith. This one is no exception. It would be fulfilled three months after the start of the exodus (Ex. 19:1) but would continue to provide its retrospective reassurance for forty more years" (Stuart).

from Best Preaching/Teaching Commentary - "So Moses went back to Egypt. After all his questions and objections, after all his doubts and hesitations, and even after his outright refusal to go, the prophet answered God's call. His self-imposed exile was over" (Ryken).
     The commentator is also correct to point out: "But for all the similarities between these two men, there are some crucial ways that Jesus is not like Moses. One of the most obvious is that He was ready and willing to do God's will. He said to His Father, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God' (Hebrews 10:7). True, Jesus agonized over the pains of the cross, but He did not refuse to endure them. He said to His Father, 'Your will be done' (Matthew 26:42). And then He went out and freely offered His life for our salvation. He did not say, 'Send someone else,' for He knew that there was no one else! He and He alone could make perfect atonement for our sins" (Ryken).

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