Summary: A sermon directing us to follow the call of God.
Answering God’s Call
The Story of Moses
The story of Moses begins, really where the story of Joseph leaves off.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, brought his entire family – Dad, 11 brothers and all of their wives and kids, 70+ people in all – to Egypt to escape a terrible famine in Canaan. A funny thing happened – they settled in Egypt and made their homes there.
Exodus 1:6-7 No Joseph and all his borthers and all that generation died, 7but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.
They became more than a family. They turned into their own people group. There is approximately 300 years between the death of Joseph and the escape from Egypt. In that intervening time their numbers grew from 70 total to 600,000 men plus women and children!
Egyptian rulers came on the scene who knew nothing about Joseph and the good things he had brought to the nation. All they saw was a ready made labor force, so they enslaved them.
Exodus 1:11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.
The Egyptians grew afraid of the Israelites to the point that in Exodus 1:22 Pharaoh declares, “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile (the river), but let every girl live.”
Into that backdrop comes a baby boy named Moses. Most of you know the story:
Born into a family descended from Joseph’s brother Levi
Mother hid him for 3 months
She put him in a basket in the river
He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter
Raised in palace, cared for by his mother
Moses grew up very aware of his heritage. He may have been raised as a Prince of Egypt, but he knew injustice against his people when he saw it. As a young man he killed an Egyptian who was brutalizing another Hebrew.
Justified or not, word got out and this lapse in judgment put Moses in hot water with Pharaoh. When a king is out to get you, it’s time to leave the kingdom, so Moses ran until he found himself in a place called Midian, located in part of what is now Western Saudi Arabia.
Moses would go on to spend 40 years there – fully 1/3 of his life – as a shepherd for his father-in-law. It was at the end of this period of time that he received the call that would change his life.
During the interview that would follow his words, “Here I am,” Moses would display reverence, fear and curiousity. But when all was said and done, the most important quality he would demonstrate would be obedience.
Like Moses, there’s no doubt that when we hear the call of God, we’ll experience a whole range of emotions. But the measure of encounter is bound up in our willingness to respond in obedience to that call.
When God Calls We Must…
Go Where God Sends Us Exodus 3:7-12
Over the years we’ve been in ministry some very gracious people have said things to us like, “We sure hope you’re with us a long time.” Those kinds of things are said out of love and consideration for relationships that have developed during the life of a ministry.
Truth be told, my wife and I have always committed ourselves to going where God tells us. What that means in practice is that God told us to come to Rock Falls in 2004 and we will stay here until God tells us to go somewhere else. Not a moment sooner and not a moment longer. That’s how it has to be.
As soon as Moses responded to God with the words, “Here I am,” he heard, “OK then, I’m sending you to Pharaoh in Egypt.” That probably seemed an extremely unlikely turn of events. Would God really send him back to the scene of the most disastrous event of his life?
What many of us who follow God’s call will find is that, over time, we’ll find ourselves going in many directions we do not expect. My dad is working with Royal Rangers back home. Teenage kid David fought giant Goliath. Zacchaeus the business man gives money back to disgruntled customers.
However, unless we’re willing to be obedient and follow those unlikely directions from above, we’ll never find the true peace in life we crave, the place of God’s true blessing.
When God calls, we must go where He sends us.
Say What God Tells Us Exodus 3:13-15
Unless you’re a natural born politician, one of your first questions will upon sensing a call of God upon your life will probably be, “But God, what do I say?” When people question your decision-making or your faith, how are you supposed to respond in a manner that doesn’t make you feel or look foolish?