Against All Odds

One of the primary themes of Exodus is God’s Deliverance; But in addition to God’s Deliverance, another important message contained in the Book of Exodus is God’s desire for His people to know him as The Great I AM, calling them to a covenantal relationship with Him. God would have delivered his children from Egyptian bondage by performing a single miracle, (because God is all-powerful). However, God, through Moses, brought 10 plagues to Egypt, communicating His Supremacy above all.

The book opens with the rise of a king to whom Joseph meant nothing.

This king gives an order that the Hebrew newborn boys be killed (thrown into the river).

It is under these circumstances that Moses is born in Chapter 2.

His mother decides to hide him in a papyrus basket, among the reeds along the bank of River Nile. Moses is picked up by Pharaoh’s daughter; Moses’ sister, who had been watching from a distance, suggested that she was able to source a nurse of the Hebrew women to nurse the child. That is how Moses was united with his mother again. God was at work in all these happenings.

Now in verse 11 of chapter 2,

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

It is during this time that Moses meets the family of Jethro and marries Zipporah, Jethro’s daughter. 

Chapter 3:1-14

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,[a] 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. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Moses’ encounter with God continues to Chapter 4.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

God challenged Moses’s doubts…  Moses’ rod turns to a snake, his hand gets scales and is restored to normalcy…

And in about verse 10, Moses expresses another inadequacy,

Exodus 4:10 – 17

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

In Hebrews 11:24-29

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

It is evident that Moses faced enormous challenges right from his birth.

I am going to approach this by looking into 3 challenges that Moses faced and the solutions that God provided to address Moses’ challenges. When looking at them, we will draw crucial lessons and answers to life’s questions that you and I are facing in today’s world.

  1. His lowly origin and the adversarial regime
  2. His personality and his initial failure
  3. His call and expression of inadequacy
  1. His lowly origin and the adversarial regime

This future deliverer of Israel is born at a time when his people are under an oppressive regime. There is a king’s decree to kill all boys born to the Hebrews. He was equal to dead at birth!

Well, not from God’s perspective – God was seeing the deliverer of Israel in Moses. God instituted a miraculous preservation of Moses. Pharaoh ended up bringing up the person who would ultimately destroy his kingdom and deliver Israel.

God would later commission Moses to lead the Exodus.

Some of us may have battled challenges related to where we were born; the struggles of background related limitations…

Realizing that Moses was preserved at a time when he was supposed to die, we can find an assurance that God’s incomparable power will empower us to overcome our backgrounds, and do exploits for God’s glory.

God has sustained you and me for a reason, a divine appointment, salvation.

You may have gone through bad times in your childhood, and may have wondered why those bad days did not swallow you; you are still here today… I would like to inform you that there is a reason! God is not done with you yet, God is still writing your story!

  • Personality and initial failure

The first thing that we are told about Moses, after his upbringing, is that he killed an Egyptian.

It is after this that Moses leaves Egypt. And the NT writer in Hebrews tells us that.

Hebrews 11:24

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

I do not know what your past failure has been,

But there comes a time when departure becomes necessary,

Where you become of age…

When you must begin a new chapter…

…A new chapter of surrendering to the liberating Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We need to come to this place where,

Realizing that we have become of age, we release everything that may have taken the place of God’s agenda…

  • Call and inadequacy

Moses focused on his shortcomings… He asked the following questions:

  • Who am I to go to Pharaoh? 3:11-12
  • What if they ask what your name is?3:13-22
  • What if they will not believe me? 4:1-9
  • What about my slow tongue? I am a stammerer , I am not eloquent… 4:10-12
  • Why can’t you send someone else? 4:13-17

Notice how God responds to Moses’ inadequacies: By referring to His (God’s) own character, His incomparable power, His dependable name.

He is the one that created Moses’ mouth,

Is he not the one who had earlier saved Moses’ life from Pharaoh?

God assures Moses of His faithfulness.

“I will be with you!” 3:12

God gives Moses a sign, that…“When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this Mountain.” 3:12

Profound! God declares the end from the beginning!

“I will be with you and teach you what you shall say!”

Just like Moses, we tend to focus on our inadequacies, projecting a low self-esteem,

“Who am I?”

But isn’t it amazing how throughout the Bible, God has used the most challenged persons to work out his purposes?

When Moses lists his inadequacies, God responds by revealing himself to him. God refers to His (God’s) Power.

We realize that the victory was not going to be through Moses’ qualifications. Moses was going to accomplish the assignment only through God’s enabling power! So, he needed to quit looking at his credentials.  Moses needed to entirely depend on God!

And indeed Moses had the ultimate victory; he led the children of Israel out of Egypt!

We realize that God does not regard human qualifications,

There are no unlikely candidates for being used by God, or for salvation,

God delights in using the most unusual!

I pray that you and I will come to the place of fully expressing our dependence on the opulent power of God’s great abundance!

Everything that God has called us to do is going to be possible, not because we are adequate, not because we are qualified, But through His Power!

It is possible with God!

Have you despaired of ever attaining victory? What enemy are you facing? What bad habit are you fighting to defeat? What have you given up on?

Your victory is still possible through God’s power! Christ has the ability to lift us out of every low place we are in right now!

Let us take hold of the victory in Christ!

Amen

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