This talk was my first ever preach on a Sunday morning (28/6/15). Here is a link to me actually preaching what you’re about to read:
Good morning everyone (My goodness there are a lot of you!). Well a few weeks ago I did a preach at the Training Labourers bible study. A week after I did the preach Jenny asked me if I wanted to talk about it, I got excited and said “yes” but an hour or so after I agreed to it I had the horrible conclusion of “Aw now I have to do it!”.
So today I am going to redo my talk from the study so if you were there when I did it for the first time, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely, do not apologise.
Before I start I just want to just say very simply, God loves you. He loves you so much. And later on I’m going to prove why he does.
So if can I ask you all to turn in your Bibles to Exodus Chapter 3, and whilst you do that I’m going to give you all a little back story.
Now a few hundred years before the very scripture we’re about to read, Joseph (technicolour dream coat Joseph) saved the nation of Egypt preserving food for a great famine. And as Egypt was secure with the famine, Joseph’s family came to Egypt asking for assistance and they stayed in Egypt. Many years later as the descendants of Joseph’s family increased, to the point where there were more Israelites than Egyptians, and the Egyptians decided to put the Israelites into slavery for at least 400 years out of fear in case they wanted to kill all the Egyptians.
During the years of slavery, a baby was born. This was Moses. He was born in a Jewish family, sent by basket down the river Nile because of orders by Pharaoh to kill all male babies. He was sent down the river to then be raised as royalty under Pharaoh. Then at 40 years old he kills an Egyptian and runs away from home and becomes a shepherd in Midian. During the next 40 years in Midian, Moses becomes a husband and a father and has had experience leading flocks. Now we’re going to read, from Exodus 3, verses 1 to 10:
‘Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” ‘– Exodus 3:1-10
Now Moses questions God and even asks if someone else could do it, but God tells him over and over again. “I’m sending you Moses! Whether you like it or not! You can bring your mate Aaron with you, but I am sending you!”
After their little conversation, Moses returns to Egypt and frees the whole nation of Israel and gives them the Ten Commandments, which is what most of our laws is based on today.
So up to this point in Moses’ life, what can we learn from it? If you read from Exodus chapter 1 – 20, what have you learned? Well I’m going to give you three moral lessons from Moses’ life up to this point.
God Can Call Us Anywhere
If you’re writing this down, can you just underline or highlight ‘Anywhere’ please, thank you. The reason why I ask this is because God can truly can. God can call us from any walk of life. God called Moses out, in the middle of a desert, from a burning bush! Honestly, if someone came in here and said “God spoke to me from a hedge that was on fire!” we would all give that person the weirdest look like “Of course you have mate!” But in this case, God called Moses from the bush and Moses went and followed what God wanted him to do. And all that started from Moses simply saying “Here I am.”
God can call us anywhere, just a few 1000 years after this event, God comes down in human form and has the name of Jesus, he is travelling with his disciples and one night Jesus walks on the water and the disciples are on a boat in the middle of a lake. One of the disciples Peter says “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water.” and Jesus simply responds with “Come.” And Peter followed.
So really what I’m saying is this, God can call us from anywhere he wants, we can be walking in a street and God might call you to talk to someone about him, he could call you to go walk with (on a lake) or he could call you for something greater than what you could ever dream of and all you have to say is “Here I am” and do as God asks of us.
God Has Perfect Timing
It says in the book of Isaiah,
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
So when we need something from God, there is a real good chance that we’re going to get it, but we’re going to have to wait. There are many people that have to wait in the Bible. Abraham had to wait for a legitimate son, David had to wait to be King, and the whole nation of Israel had to wait to be free from exile. Even Jesus himself from the age of 12, impressing the religious teachers in the temple with what he had to say, had to wait at least 18 years to start a 3 year ministry!
Moses himself had to wait all of his life to be called by God, 80 years to meet God and to be called into his ministry and this is the main parts of what we hear, the second chapter is about 80 years of Moses’ life. There are four books about his ministry and that was another 40 years! And I’m going to be honest, history is written by the people that made a change, and freeing an entire nation out of slavery is kind of ground breaking if you ask me.
So if the Israelites wanted to be free from slavery, sorry but you’re going to have to wait. But this is the thing about waiting, we become more prepared when we are called to go and do it.
So when we’re in a sticky situation and we need God’s divine intervention, then we might have to wait for it. If that’s you this morning, be persistent in your praying. Keep banging on God’s door, he will open the door.
Now to the final lesson we can learn from Moses’ life.
God Can Free Us from Our Own Slavery
You might be thinking right now “Curtis, we’re not slaves to anyone!” On the contrary! We are slaves indeed, and believe me that is not good.
A few years ago I was on this weekend away with my fellow youth and one of the people who were doing talks was Mark Ritchie, and during his talk he used the analogy of everyone’s favourite cat and mouse team, Tom & Jerry. In one of their shorts, the dog Spike gets tied to the dog house and he really wants to get Tom but he can’t reach him. Then Tom starts beating him up with a bat, and all sorts of cartoon violence ensues. It is honestly hilarious. But what I’m trying to convey through this analogy, is that we try and go and live our life but there something holding us back. There’s a chain grappling us to the ground, we can’t physically go anywhere.
That is us to sin.
It says in John’s gospel that “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” and it says in Romans that everyone has sinned “We all fall short of God’s glorious standard”.
And there was freedom for the Israelites, they left Egypt and witnessed the greatness of God’s power. Parting a sea right down the middle! Thousands of years later there was another form of freedom, which was a lot more personal not just for Israel, not just for the Jews but for the whole human race. By God, coming down as a man, losing his best friends, getting whipped, being crowned with a crown of thorns, getting nailed on a cross and being left to die on his own. By doing that, Jesus has the power to rip your chains clean off of you. You just need to let him, by letting Jesus be the leading man of your life.
The same way Moses lead the Israelites through the Red Sea, Jesus will lead us throughout our lives and I’m not here to say it’s the easiest decision you can ever make. It’s hard, I know. Most of us in the room know it’s hard. To quote one of my favourite authors C.S. Lewis he said this about Jesus, he says that he:
“Isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
And as I come into land I just want to say this.
I opened this message by saying God loves you, and by coming to Earth and dying on the cross was his special way of showing it. And he didn’t do it for the human race as a whole, he did for each and every one of us individually. If you were the only person on planet Earth, God would’ve done the exact same thing.
So what can I tell you to do?
First of all, God can call us anywhere at any time; we need to be ready to say “Here I am”. And honestly, don’t be prepared to be a Billy Graham or C.S. Lewis, if it was a part of his plan, he could call you to work in McDonald’s for the rest of your life, doesn’t sound that appeasing but in the right circumstances you could do amazing things for God, just because your serving big macs doesn’t make it more important than leading a televised crusade.
Secondly, God has perfect timing, so be patient with God. Because God is good (all the time), and all the time (God is good).
Thirdly and lastly, even if you’ve been a Christian for as long as I’ve been alive, if you’re in your own form of slavery. Whether it be an addiction or you’re having an issue at home or at work or something I don’t know what happens behind closed doors. But God knows and he can free you from that, you just need to let him.
I can’t promise it’ll be as epic as the exodus. But it’ll be just as life changing.