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Summary: God uses the shepherd’s staff here for a very simple reason. Moses was holding one in his hand. He says to Moses what’s that in your hand? What do you have that God can use?

“Turning Points”

Exodus 4:1-17

I will start with a question this morning…..why is that we think that when it comes to things that God wants us to do in the church for Him that we are suddenly full of excuses…excuses that would never work somewhere else. People quit church…they quit working for the Lord for some of the craziest reasons….for reasons that would never fly anywhere else.

Let’s say you went to a football game and everything didn’t go exactly as you planned…would you use that as an excuse NOT to ever go to another one?

• For instance…maybe you went to a game and you sat by some people who just weren’t very friendly. Would you go to another game?

• What if the seats weren’t comfortable? Would you go back?

• What if they asked for money when you arrived at the game/gate?

• What if the band played some songs at half time you had never heard before?

• What if the following week the coach didn’t write you a thank you note for being there? The coach never called me or came to see me.

• What if the referee did something you didn’t agree with?

• What if the game went a little too long , even into overtime…would you stop going?

Many of us use these excuses at one time or another, fully aware they would never fly anywhere else. You’re asked to teach a class… here come the excuses. You’re asked to help with childcare on Sunday morning. More excuses. Someone has a need and you’re asked to go and see them. I’m too busy. Get somebody else. If we go back to chapter 3 we see God asking Moses to do a very specific job. Moses (1) knew it was God telling him to do it (2) he understood what the job was but still the excuses continued to flow. “Lord I don’t speak well…Lord what if people won’t listen to me?

Now I’m guessing God wasn’t surprised---in fact in 66 books of the Bible you will never find a time where the Bible says that God was surprised. But the scripture does tell us that “God searches the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” The Bible also says that “God searches our hearts and examines our minds—for this purpose—to reward us.” God is constantly searching for men and women who will give their whole heart to Him. But here’s the problem. And it’s been around for thousands of years. We still have a problem with wanting to walk by sight rather than by faith. We say Lord I know you said this but have you thought about this? We ask question after question until we talk ourselves completely out of doing what God has asked us to do. We’re a lot like the little boy whose mother asked him, why do you always answer a question with a question? He said, do I do that? When it comes to spiritual matters we all make mistakes. At least 3 of them.

(1) We run before we are sent. When Moses was younger that’s exactly what he did. God hadn’t sent him yet but he ran on ahead. Sometimes we just can’t wait for God to set thing up. We get impatient so we take action. We run ahead before we’re supposed to.

(2) We retreat after we have failed. If you run before you’re sent you will fail. You’ll fall into a ditch. And when that happens, a lot of us decide that it’s time to just go and hide. Because we’re insecure. We can’t stand the thought of failure. Listen whoever said that we have to succeed at everything we do? That kind of standard is set up by men not God.

(3) We resist when we are called. If you are going to have a heart that beats like HIS then you must practice obedience. Obedience is submission to authority and throughout scripture God demands it. You see, whether you realize it or not, God has the amazing ability to see right through us---He knows your every thought. He knows your heart. Perhaps you remember the story in the gospels when Jesus was teaching and some men came and brought a man who was paralyzed on a mat --- they tried to get the man through the crowd that was listening to Jesus but they couldn’t so they took him to the roof and lowered him down from the top. Because of their faith, Jesus healed the man and forgave his sins.

The Pharisees didn’t like it…Jesus looked at them and the Bible says Jesus knew what they were thinking. He asked them why are you thinking these things in your heart? He sees right though us. We can’t hide from God. He knows our every thought even before we express it. He saw straight into Moses’ heart that day and He knew that Moses had doubts. Do you? Do you doubt your gifts; doubt your ability; maybe you even doubt God? Well if you do, guess what? God already knows. I mean you can tell the church your faith is solid, you have no doubts, but God sees right through it. We just need to be honest because we’re not fooling anyone. So His response to Moses and His response to you and me is this… Let me show you to how to do this. God doesn’t want us to have to figure this out on our own. So He gives Moses 3 signs. Let’s look.

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