SOUL-SEARCHING QUESTIONS FOR PLEASING GOD WELL – PART 3B
Greetings, friends. We are concluding the series: Soul-Searching Questions for Pleasing God Well. We are coming to the conclusion of it today, with this message. Last time, we were dealing with the question that God asked Moses, in Exodus 4. But, to get the context, I am going to read from Exodus 3, from verse 7. God has met Moses by the burning bush at Mount Horeb,
7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows [or pain]. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
You think that Moses would be glad to receive that message joyfully?
1Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”
You see, this is the language of man: suppose! Suppose! Suppositions – because our knowledge is so limited.
2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A rod.”
Father, we’ve come again, to reason with You, in Your Word. The entrance of Your Word gives light; therefore, we ask that You give us light in our inner man today; give us understanding also…in Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Last time, we saw that there are two things that happened in this encounter that God had with Moses. We said that Moses had to deal with God first, on behalf of Israel. And then secondly, he dealt with Israel on behalf of God. Anybody who would serve God – that’s the order: you have to deal with God first. God reveals Himself to the individual first; and then you would deal with the people God sent you to, on behalf of God. We saw how Moses dealt with God on behalf of Israel.
And today, we want to see how he dealt with Israel on behalf of God. Moses dealing with God on behalf of Israel means that God had to reveal who He was to him. First of all, God got his attention; then God revealed His character and His power to Moses. Moses now has been sent to the children of Israel as we saw in chapter 3:10:
10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses is now going to deal with Israel on behalf of God. Moses, here, had a serious sense of inadequacy which he expressed by way of excuses. Forty years earlier, Moses felt adequate enough – felt that he was ready to deliver Israel. In that incident, we read in Exodus 2 from 11 to 14, where Moses saw an Israelite who was being molested by an Egyptian taskmaster. Moses killed him – the Egyptian, and buried him in the sand. And then of course the next day, he saw that same person that was being molested now at loggerheads with a fellow Israelite. And he wanted to make peace. The other fellow said, “Ah! Are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian the other day?” Moses then knew that the secret was already known. He ran away. And he was exiled for forty years. In fact, in Acts of the Apostles, chapter 7, from verse 22, Stephen recalls this incident. And I want to read that section, because there is a point I want to draw from there.
In Acts 7:22-23
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.
Neither was Moses ready. He was ahead of God by forty years. And when we run ahead of God, we may get into trouble. Moses got into trouble, and was exiled for forty years. Forty years later now, God was ready to send him to deliver the people: the people of Israel. Moses now is feeling inadequate. But he ran before God sent him. Now he could not even stand let alone running. Because of this awkward situation God identified a secondary instrument by asking Moses: “What is that in your hand?” Exodus 4:2. And that was the rod of Moses. The rod in Moses’ hand: his shepherd’s rod, became a secondary instrument of God which at the time appeared irrelevant in the context – since Moses was having a hard time with God. He’s having a hard time believing the Word of God. God decided then to help his faith and the faith of his fellow Israelites, with that which was in the hands of Moses. That was what God indicated in Exodus chapter 4 verse 5. He said, “That they may believe”. He performed those miracles with the rod so that they would believe. From the time God asked Moses the soul-searching questions, his shepherd’s rod took on a new and different function. It ceased to be the rod of Moses; it became the rod of God. You find that in Exodus 4:20, where it says,
20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
The rod of Moses is no longer the rod of Moses. It is now the rod of God. And we know that it was with this rod that Moses performed all those powerful miracles in Egypt. It was with this rod that he also performed some miracles in the wilderness, especially giving thirsty Israel water to drink. We also know that it was this rod that put Moses into trouble when he misused it.
Very quickly: Lessons from this experience of dealing with Israel on behalf of God.
- In serving God, it is possible that He may like to start with what you have in your possession. In serving God, God may like to start with what you have in your possession. Recall the miracle that God performed for the widow of one of the sons of the prophets – the late sons of the prophets, in 2 Kings 4. The miracle was preceded by questions similar to the questions God asked Moses. The prophet Elisha asked the woman: the widow – “What do you have in your house?” to which she answered, “Your maid servant has nothing in the house, but a jar of oil.” 2 Kings 4:2. From this jar of oil that was nothing, the widow was able to pay off her creditor, and had enough to live on with her family. Friend, what do you have in your hand?
- What you have in your hand is never too small for God to work with. Don’t forget that He made the universe ex nihilo, that is, out of nothing. The song writer was right when he said that, “Little becomes much when we place it in the Master’s hands”. A little boy placed his lunch in the hands of Jesus Christ, and that little boy’s lunch Jesus used to feed more than 12,000 people. You’d say, but the scripture says 5000. Yes: more than 5 – more than 12. This is conservative figure, because 5000 men, excluding women and children. And of course Jews had large families; and then of course, women, at the time of Jesus, and even today, are more sensitive to the things of the Spirit than men. There must have been more women than men. So, the conservative estimate – 12000; and Jesus used the lunch of a boy he placed in his hands. In fact, Andrews, Simon Peter’s brother, when he was reporting to the Lord that there was a boy who had a meal they could use, he said but what are they amongst so many? What are they amongst so many? What you have in your hand is never too small for God to work with.
- What you have in your hand will remain small, and in fact, may varnish from your hand, except you allow the Lord to possess it. The rod of Moses turned into a rod of miracle only when it became the rod of God. Martin Luther, the German, once said, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I had placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
Friend, did you listen to that? Did you hear me? “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all,” Martin Luther said, “But whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess.” Those who commit minimally to God He uses minimally. Those who commit maximally to God He uses maximally. You’d say, but where did you find that? 2 Corinthians 9:6 puts it this way, He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
What do you have, friend, in the hand of your heart? What do you have in the hand of your intellect? What do you have in the hand of your finances? What do you have in the hand of your energies? Turn them over to God and see what He would do: He would glorify Himself – He would glorify His Name – and He would bless you and those for whom Jesus died. He would bless you and those He would send you to. Amen!
Father, we thank You for bringing us to the end of this series. How I pray now for my friends – how I pray Lord that You would touch their hearts, to surrender their lives to you, and that which You have given them, for no one ever out-gives You, so that You would bless them and bless them abundantly. Thank You, in Jesus Name. Amen!