Summary: In the first sermon, we discovered God had a plan. This week we look at what happens when God calls us. Explores not only God calling Moses, but also God calling others in Scripture. And we discover that when God calls, God delivers. God will be with us.
Last week we explored the story of the birth of Moses and how God was present in every single step of his rescue, even if God’s name was ever mentioned. God had a plan.
Today we will explore the calling of God into that plan. Just as Moses and every other person called by God was surprised, we are surprised when we hear God whisper our name. And yet we hear again and again, that when God calls us, God doesn’t send us alone, God is with us.
Today’s passage is the beginning of a long conversation with God. It begins with God getting the attention of Moses, continues with the call of Moses, and finally ends with Moses protesting four times of his inability to be the one called. Let’s take a closer look at these interactions, and listen for God’s call to us.
Moses sees the burning bush, is called over, and told God has a plan. It isn’t quite that easy, since Moses has a few questions of his own before he says yes.
First Moses begins with the question: 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” I love the way that Moses asks this question, because it is the question I find all of us ask when we are called by God to a specific act or challenge. Who are we to do the will of God in this instance?
Other prophets felt the same.
Isaiah as he stood before God trembled, (Isaiah 6:5) 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Jeremiah’s response (Jeremiah 1:6) was classic: “Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”
Of course, who can forget the call of Gideon, who was beating out the wheat in a wine press, hiding from the Midianites. Remember Gideon? One of the heroes of faith? (Judges 6:14-16) How did he respond? “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.’ He responded, ‘But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’”
We all think of the disciples following Jesus unquestioningly, but we seldom remember the response of Simon Peter according to Luke. After the massive catch of fish, and before Jesus calls him, we find Peter also, feeling unworthy (Luke 5:8). His exact words were: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
Of course, we can’t forget Mary, confronted by an angel, who immediately wondered how a woman as innocent as she could be a mother.
Are you beginning to hear a theme here? No one feels worthy. They don't feel worthy, we don't feel worthy.
So, how does God answer? He doesn’t tell him Moses is worthy, he tells him, it is OK, because he will be with him. Hear verse 12. “12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
He did not tell Isaiah he was worthy, he placed a coal on his lips and told him he was forgiven.
He did not tell Jeremiah he wasn’t young, he told him he had been with him since before he was born.
He did not tell Gideon he was strong enough, instead he taught him to lean only on God, even reducing the forces he brought with him until they were strong enough that God alone could be the one who saved them.
He did not tell Peter that he was not sinful, he simply called him to follow anyway. HE would make Peter a fisher of men.
Gabriel’s assurance to Mary was not to worry, that God would take care of the details.
God called these people in spite of what they felt made them unworthy! Because God's strength is made perfect in our weakness.
In each and every case, the prophet, the person God called was called in spite of their unworthiness and in spite of their lack of ability, and in spite of their age (hey Moses was 80 years old!), and in spite of their sinfulness, and in spite of their innocence.
Last week we closed with these words: God has a plan. Remember?
God has a plan for each of us, and when God calls, God will see that plan to the end.