Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When God gives us a task or a responsibility, He also gives us the ability and strength necessary to do that task.

Doing The Work

Exodus 3:1-4:13

by S. M. Henriques

There are few things as frustrating and discouraging as being given a job to do, and not knowing how to do it. The more active you are as a person, and as a Christian, the more demands there will be made on your energies, your time and your abilities. Certain things may be expected of us by certain people. Church, family, work, state and country all have their expectations and demands of us.

God expects certain things of us, as well. Have you ever noticed that every time something is done, that somebody did it? Whether that task be relatively simple or extremely difficult, someone did it! It has been said that there are three kinds of people. First, there are those who make things happen. Then there are those who merely watch things happen. And then there are those who don’t know anything is happening. The Christian who makes things happen is the Christian who has discovered that not only does God expect certain things of his followers, but that God also enables us to do what He expects us to do. When God gives us a task or a responsibility, He also gives us the ability and strength necessary to do that task.

Moses couldn’t understand how a sheepherder could be qualified for the job God was giving to him. So he made excuses! They sound almost identical to the excuses we give today! But God answered every excuse Moses had. From the experience Moses had there at the burning bush, we can see four ways God strengthens us so we might obey him.

I. One way God enables us is by giving us His presence, 3:11-12

When Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, there on Mount Horeb, he saw a bush which burned and yet was not consumed by the fire. That’s a strange sight anywhere you might see it! So Moses stopped. When he did, the Lord God called his name from the bush, "Moses! Moses! Do not come near. Take your shoes off, for you are standing on holy ground. You’re in the presence of the Most High God!" Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Then God said to Moses, "I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings. I have come down to deliver them, and Moses, I am going to use you to do it. I want you, Moses, to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go."

But Moses immediately had an objection: "Who am I that I should do this?" You know, most of our objections and excuses to God arise because we are so busy looking at ourselves that we cannot see God! Moses looked at himself, and his own life and said, "God, I’m just a nobody. I’m just an eighty-year-old sheepherder who’s been out of touch with the world for 40 years! Who am I that I should do something like this?"

Look at the very first thing God said in response. God looked at himself and said, "It’s not who you are that counts, Moses! It’s who I am that matters! And I will be with you." God enables us to do His work by giving us His presence, but so many times we are so busy with our own lives that we are not aware of God’s presence. Moses soon became aware that through this burning bush God was saying something to him. Other people would look and say, "Wow, look, a bush is burning." Moses looked and saw God.

What makes the difference? Does this not say that you and I need to develop a "Christian sixth sense" of the awareness of God? Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, "Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries." Are you merely plucking blackberries in the presence of God because you don’t recognize that He’s there?

The English poet William Blake stood looking at a sunrise with a London merchant. The poet asked the shopkeeper, "What do you see?" The merchant replied, ’"I see a yellow disk which looks to me like a golden coin. What do you see?" The poet replied, "I see a host of angels, and they are crying, ’Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty, heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Glory be to Thee, O God, Most High."

Jane Fader has very reverently said, "I believe holy ground is any place where we stand and become aware of the presence of God in our lives." The presence of God in your life will make a difference--a big difference. For one thing, God’s presence in your life will give you rest: "My Presence will go with you," the Lord said to Moses several years later, "and I will give you rest." (Ex. 33:14) And Jesus said, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Mt. 18:20) And God spoke through Isaiah centuries before that, saying, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2)

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