The Making of a Mighty Man
Exodus 3 & 4:1-5, 29-31
What ingredients did God stir into the life of Moses to make him the mighty man he became? And will this recipe work in our lives as well?
It started out as a very normal day. Like most of the days in his 40 years in the backside of the desert, it was likely uneventful and with no real expectations of much happening. The sun rose, the sheep grazed, the tumbleweeds rolled. But it is an extraordinary day, and this harsh barren landscape as it turns out is about to become a divine location on the face of the map.
Moses is about to have a confrontation with God Almighty. Before this day is over God is going to reveal to Moses His plan and purpose for his life, and it’s a grand plan and an awesome purpose. Any ordinary day becomes extra ordinary when God steps on the scene. Any ordinary person can become extraordinary when the Lord Jehovah is in the picture. And any ordinary church can become extraordinary when God becomes its most prominent member!
1. The Divine Appointment
v. 2 The Miracle of the burning bush is a picture of 3 things:
• The Nation of Israel—the Jewish people are going to go thru some fiery trials. They will pass thru the furnace of affliction many times yet future to this incident, but they will not be consumed and will escape unscathed.
Pharaoh tried and failed, so did Nebuchadnezzar and Hitler and Saddam, and now others are threatening, but the burning bush will not ever be consumed! God put a blessing on any who are good to Israel and a curse on those who treat them badly. This curse knows no boundaries, whether Iran to the East, Egypt to the south, Lebanon to the north, or Jimmy Carter down in Georgia!
• God Himself—It reveals the power and the glory and the holiness of Almighty God. Deut. 33:16 says that God Himself dwelt in this bush. Exodus 3:2 says ‘the angel of the Lord’, I believe this refers to a Christophany: an OT appearance of Jesus.
The fire is a picture of the purity and purifying nature of God. Heb. 12:29 says “our God is a consuming fire.” Jesus’ eyes in Revelation were like a flame of fire! Yes, He’s a God of love who doesn’t want to send anyone to hell fire, but He’s a Holy God Who cannot allow sin into heaven, and He’s so holy that any sin from His creation must be judged! With the passion of fire He loves sinners, and with the same passion He hates sin!
• Moses himself—He was a humble shepherd, but with God’s help He’s about to be set ablaze...on fire for God...never to be quenched! V. 6 says Moses bowed before God. V. 5 points out that he took off his shoes...an act of humility. That’s a guy God can use! The same thing happened to Isaiah, when he got a look at Who God truly is he realized in humility how small and weak he was, and how much he needed God.
There was no real greatness in Moses. But when the common is touched by the Divine, then the common becomes uncommon. God is most pleased to use average, ordinary people. You don’t have to be the smartest or the most talented...those qualities often serve to prevent one from looking to God. He gets much more glory when a new believer or an average Joe believes and allows Him to fill them and use them than when I take my seminary degrees and talents and experience and put them on display!
Now hear this: If you pledge to live a dedicated Christian life, to be faithful, to become a disciple of Jesus, to read your Bible and pray and forsake sin—there will be a lot of ordinary days...but there will also be numerous times when the bush will burn with fire! And it’s a great feeling.
In v. 4 Moses said, ‘here am I’. He’s not the only one who said that. Isaiah did too...but he said, ‘here am I Lord, send me’...Moses said, ‘here am I...who, me?’ ‘Can’t you send someone else?’ He took his shoes off, a sign of respect. If I come to your house I want you to know that it’s because I respect you that I will leave mine on! But Moses was standing on holy ground...and so are we right now. The Bible says that where 2 or more are gathered together in His Name, He’s there in the midst!
The Divine Appointment...
2. The Divine Announcement
v. 6 Jesus used this very statement in the NT to prove the resurrection. In Mt. 22:32, thousands of years after the burning bush these patriarchs are still alive, and God is the God not of the dead, but of the living!
v. 7 Check out these verbs: I have seen, heard, known...
v. 8 ‘I am come down to deliver them’. What condescension! When I couldn’t go to Him, He came to me! What a beautiful OT picture of the gospel this is.
Moses was glad to hear that God had not forgotten His people, and was coming down to deliver them. But he wasn’t as thrilled when he heard that God wanted to offer him the job of being the leader of that pack! And there’s many like that in the church today...they are glad for all that God is doing in the church, as long as they don’t have to do the work. They are glad for all that was accomplished on the work day yesterday, but were they a part of it? They are glad to see all our young couples we have, but would rather not take care of their kids. They love the Wed. Nite meal, but wouldn’t want to have a part in preparing it or even cleaning up afterward. They tell others about all the souls we see saved, but they haven’t had a part in it. They are proud of our great missions program, or our new sign we are getting, but they aren’t a contributor to such items. They want very much to be able to hire another full time staff member, but think surely if it’s meant to be it will happen without their tithe.
Moses wanted the job done, but didn’t want to do the job.
3. The Divine Assignment
The rest of chapters 3 & 4 is full of Moses’ excuses for why he isn’t the right man for the job.
• I have no ability.
• I have no message.
• I have no authority.
• I have no eloquence.
• I have no inclination! I don’t want to do this.
God answered every excuse. And there’s also a NT answer to each.
“I have no ability”—v. 11
v. 12 “I will be with thee.” Maybe you are being called by God to do something big, and you are saying, Who Am I to do such a thing? God says, I’ll be with thee!
Where God guides, He provides; where He directs, He protects; where He sends, He extends!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
God will never ask you to do something you cannot do w/ His help! God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called who hear and answer His voice!
“I have no message”—v. 13
v. 14 “I AM” your message! “I AM” is the most potent name of God there is. The eternally existent one, past, present, and future. God says, anything good you want to qualify it with by tacking onto the end, “I AM!”
Jesus is the great I AM. He said, before Abraham was, I AM...and they took up stones to stone Him. To those still in the dark Jesus says, I am the light. To those still hungering for something they don’t have Jesus says, I am the bread of life. To those in need of guidance Jesus says I am the way.
Back in our text God tells Moses, by the way, once you say I AM hath sent me, tell them that the I AM says, Let my people go!
“I have no authority”—4:1
v. 2 God is saying this to us today. God uses whatever is available. The best ability is availability!
Ill.—One day a little boy had nothing but a little sling in his hand, but God used him to slay a giant! Another little boy much later had just a sack lunch, but God super sized it, for He specializes in multiplying what little we have for His honor and glory! Just put what little you have in your hand into God’s hands and watch what HE can do with it!
v. 3-4 This is where I would have started offering my excuses!
[more miracles: leprous hand, water into blood]
The point is, God just wants Moses to keep his heart right, focused on Him, walking in His power. And that’s exactly what we need to do at our church, and God will bless and deliver multitudes if we’ll just keep our hearts right, focused on Him, and keep walking in His power...there’s no limit to what can be accomplished if God gets the glory!
What is the NT answer to this ‘no authority’ excuse?
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“I have no eloquence”—4:10
Did he stutter? Was he not a people person? I doubt it, because Acts 7 says he was mighty in word and deed. I think it was just an excuse.
v. 11 I made your mouth and I can fill it when the time comes!
“I have no inclination”—4:13
He’s saying, please, send someone else!
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This means that if you are willing to do what you are called to do, God will then put the desire in your heart to do it. So don’t say, I’ll do it if I want to. Just do it, and you’ll want to!
God gave Moses the help of Aaron his brother to do the talking, and he did so for a while, but long about chapter 8 Moses starts talking and he never shuts up for the rest of the story!
4:29-31 He had a simple rod in his hand, but it became the rod of God. When extended, the 10 mighty plagues fell on Egypt, and the Red Sea parted! Just lay what you have before God...no excuses, and you’ll see what God can do! Little is much when God is in it.