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Mat 15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

Aug 22, 2006                    Is God Calling You?               Kathleen Maples

This morning, I want to consider this man Moses for a moment. He was born in a time of great tribulation and distress. The Pharaoh had decreed all baby boys be thrown in the Nile but his parents hid him, until they couldn't any longer, and then his mother fashioned a basket and placed him in it and put him in the Nile. God saw Moses ended up with the daughter of the man who decreed his death-the Princess of Egypt. His education was the best to be had on earth at the time. He was reared in a pagan and idolatrous society. I believe his mother and father prayed for him, and I believe God kept his heart from being infected with the idolatry all around him. When he was 40 years old, he had a compassion and desire to help his own people, who were enslaved. He tried in his own self to deliver them, ended up killing an Egyptian, getting marked for death by the Pharaoh, and surely considered a traitor, and had to flee the land with the scorn of his own people ringing in his ears. He went from power, prestige, and luxury to a life of wandering and keeping sheep in the wilderness, in the desert of Midian. The very name "Midian" means strife. During this time, things got worse for God's people. They were dwelling in a land of plenty, but were made to serve in hard bondage. They began to cry out to God. I've often wondered about this. Israel dwelled in Egypt for well over 400 years. If things were easy, if they were successful, I don't think they'd have cried out to God. They'd never have wanted to leave this worldly society they lived in. But because of their suffering and affliction, they cried out to God. And merciful God that He is, He heard....and answered...

These people had flourished in this land, and I believe their hearts, unlike Moses' heart, were heavily influenced by the idolatry of the land. God turned the hearts of the Egyptians against them, (Psa 105:25) because He wanted to bring them out. I believe there are those who really want Jesus, and not this world. But I also wonder if God is one more time, turning the hearts of men away from His people, to sift out the mixed multitude, to see who will remain faithful, because He is getting ready to bring us out of this world, home to be with Him.

Psa 105:24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

Psa 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilely with his servants.

Jesus warned us not to be surprised if the world hated us because it hated Him. (Joh 15:18) So don't be so shocked or offended when people don't like you because you are a Christian. If God doesn't allow the devil to turn up the heat on us, how many of us would want to go home? Is there a cry in your heart for Him, to be with Him, and leave this place behind, and all it represents? Can you look around and see the destruction in people's lives because of sin, feel the hostility simmering in the air towards Christ and His people, and His Gospel? Is there a desire in you to leave here and be with Him? If not, you won't be looking for Him when He returns-and the Scripture warns us to be watching and waiting, to be ready. (Luk 21:36) We won't really be watching unless we are longing for His appearing. And that will only come out of a heart that truly loves Him.

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

If the world is comfortable in your presence, then you need more of Christ in you because you can't belong to Christ and be friendly with the world-accepting of its ways and pleasures. (1 Joh 2:15) There is a vast difference between someone who goes to church or names the name of Christ and a born again by the Spirit of God child of the Most High. Those who are truly born again, the world will not like. The difference is as clear as darkness and light.

Psa 105:24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

Psa 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilely with his servants.

I believe He will one more time increase his people greatly, and make us stronger than our enemies, if we just seek Him, seek his strength, his presence, eat the Bread of Life, and commune with Hi, and follow Him. The Lord had a better plan for His people, a better place. He called them out, and brought them out. They could not have delivered themselves from Egypt. They could not just get up and leave. They were heavily oppressed by this time. Then Moses has an encounter with God. It changes his life forever. God says take off your shoes, you're on holy ground. He speaks out of the midst of a burning bush. God commissions Moses to go back to the place where he'd failed. To go back to the people who scorned him. (Exo_2:13-14) You tried it your way, now let's do it My way, Moses. Moses does not feel up to the task. ( I can surely relate to that, can't you?) He was reluctant at first to cooperate with God after forty years in the wilderness, which had stripped him of his confidence, and any pride or presumption. Remember, he'd gone from being a prince of Egypt, to a pauper in the desert, keeping sheep-which was considered one of the lowliest jobs. "Who am I that I should go do this?" Moses asked. As I read these Scriptures, it occurred to me that when God commissions us to do something, and He has a work for all of us to do, He does not depend on our skill or strength-it's not even a consideration in the eyes of the Lord. Remember, by now, Moses was 80 years old. God reassures Moses He would be with him. But Moses is not convinced and starts questioning, thinking ahead, "well, God, what am I going to say when they asked me who sent me?" God said "I AM THAT I AM". (Exo_3:14) Wow. Think about that for a minute. Whatever you need God, can say "I AM". No matter what your problem, if it is pressures on your job, lack of a job, marriage problems, financial problems, family problems, health problems, GOD can say I AM The Solution. I AM all that is needed. God lays out His plan to deliver the people-and He makes it clear to Moses- "I will send you to the people, tell them I have visited them and seen what is being done to them, and I am going to bring them out of their affliction." He even goes so far as to tell Moses the Pharaoh won't let the people go, but I am going to give the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and I am going to stretch out my hand against the Egyptians, and smite Egypt, and do great wonders, and when you go out you will not go out EMPTY." (Exo_3:16-22) He didn't say any would be left behind, either.

Exo 4:1
And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

Moses could have thought "I can't believe what I'm will the people believe it?" When God starts dealing with you about something He wants you to do-it will be something you can't do without Him. It will be something you can't in your own self do. A carnal mind will start thinking negative because it always looks to self for resources and there are none there for walking with God. I couldn't believe how painfully hard that lesson can be to learn, aside from the grace of God! God was sending Moses out and Moses reacted with fear and insecurity, and expressed those fears to God. But this is about to get even more interesting....

Exo 4:2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

Exo 4:3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

Remember what Jesus said about serpents? One might think Moses was getting a crash course here in facing a fear of snakes? Or perhaps he was getting a crash course in spiritual authority.

Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

God knew Moses would face fierce opposition on the course He set this man on. I believe God was showing Moses he did not have to fear. God was revealing in very quick succession here a beautiful plan.

Exo 4:4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

Look Moses, the snake cannot hurt you, I have given you power to overcome it. It will flee from you. Your enemy may look frightening. But when you walk with God in His perfect will, and are led by Him, in your submission to God, a natural result of that submission to Divine Authority is to receive delegated authority over your enemies-in this case, the powers of darkness. A serpent represents the dark one, that old adversary, the devil and his unclean spirits.

Exo 4:6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

God gives Moses signs that will follow him. The first one frightens Moses. The second one horrifies him. Ever wonder why He said put your hand in your bosom..where the heart is? Think about what leprosy is. In the Bible, it represents sin. I can't find a place in Scripture where anyone righteous before God was struck with leprosy unless they turned from God or blatantly sinned. Miriam was struck with leprosy for defying Moses and murmuring against him. (Num_12:1-2) Elisha's servant, Gehazi, because of greed and covetous and deceit was stricken with the leprosy Naaman was healed of. 2Ki_5:27 King Uzziah got out of order and tried to do the job of the priest, in burning incense and when they warned him he was in error, which he knew, he got angry and defiant, and God caused leprosy to arise on his forehead (2Ch_26:19) God told Moses to put your hand in your bosom-and he pulled it out and it was leprous. What did Jeremiah say about the condition of man's heart?

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Joh 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,

Joh 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Only God looks on the heart and knows what is in there.

Exo 4:7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

God told Isaiah to tell the people who had forsaken Him and backslidden, to come, return, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. God showed Moses his power to cleanse and set right again. God was sending this man to lead out an idolatrous people from their bondage and captors. God was showing Moses I can cleanse them. I can cleanse the heart.

Exo 4:9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

Do you see it? I'm sending you out, Moses, giving you authority over your enemies, including sin, and the water turning to blood-to me, that points to our Beloved Lord on the cross..the blood.... Three signs: the serpent (tempter or adversary), leprosy (sin) and blood (redemption and forgiveness). I had never seen this before-in all the times I have studied these Scriptures. I tell you, of a truth, the more time you spend in God's Word with a hungry heart, the sweeter it gets, the richer it gets.

Moses is still fearful. God is so loving and patient with us, and our pathetic fears. I don't mean that to sound harsh, but if we had any idea how strong and powerful God is, and we really believed in His love for us, how could we be afraid in any situation? Consider in Isa_37:36 , God sent only one angel to deal with Israel's enemies and he killed 185,000 people, in one night. He slaughtered a whole army of soldiers all in one night. Just one angel. And didn't the Lord say the angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that fear Him, and delivereth them? (Psa_34:7)

God was trying to show Moses He had a plan. He laid it out for Moses. He knew before He sent Moses what was needed, what would happen and He made sure He told Moses step by step what would take place. He even warned Moses of the consequences. He told Moses ahead of time, no surprises here, I'm sending you, but I'm going to harden Pharaoh's heart and he won't listen. Moses saw the signs. He saw a display of the power of God. So what does Moses say? "Lord, I'm not eloquent, I am slow of speech, I can't talk good." Can you relate? Perhaps Moses was intimidated by the prospect of what God was calling him to do. I would be, wouldn't you? To go back to place he fled from in defeat, with the people's sarcastic scorn ringing in his ears? No wonder he felt they wouldn't believe him. But God shot down his excuses and told him, I made your mouth, I'll be with your mouth, I'll teach you what to say!

Exo 4:13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

Now that sounds to me like he said, Lord, send whomever you will send (while thinking, anyone but me?) I compared this verse to several other translations and they all pretty well expressed the same idea "Sounds good, Lord, send whomever you will, just as long as it's not me." I know I paraphrased that, but that is what I believe Moses was actually saying here. One thing I think the desert did for Moses was strip him bare of the confidence and arrogance and presumption he learned in the courts of Egypt. The first time he tried in his own flesh to deliver the people, he failed miserably. He killed a man, and had to flee. It wasn't God's time then. But when God was ready, he went to Moses, Moses didn't have to come to God. The Lord doesn't need our help to do anything, He desires to grace us with the privilege to be a part of what He's doing, and requires only our cooperation, submission, trust, and refusal to take credit for what HE does. We just need to be willing to serve Him, (however he chooses) and be prepared for service. Paul said "We have this Treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency might be of God and not of us." (2Co_4:7)

Now, things get even more interesting, and remember, Moses has just been commissioned, received a Divine visitation and is sent out. No sooner than he gets started, and the Scripture says this:

Exo 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

I've read this for years and never understood this. I think back though, and remember how as an old man, Abraham and Ishmael were both circumcised, and that had to hurt. It humbled and weakened them. Remember it was a sign of the covenant God made with him? So, this tells me that although Moses might have been circumcised, his son wasn't. It doesn't say if Moses was or not. But circumcision, I have realized is a humbling, painful process of cutting off excess flesh in a sensitive place. When God tells us to do something and has a work for us to do, we must understand it is HE who will do the work in and through us. We cannot depend on our own strength, wits or flesh to do anything...we can use the resources God graces us with, but we must remember it is GOD in us doing the works.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

I have found this verse catching my attention a lot here lately. Even the Son of God explained to the people it was God in Him doing the works. Surely we must need Divine help to surrender so fully to His plan. It's not naturally in us to be so meek, I don't think. But God is able to subdue all things to Himself (Phi_3:21) We just need to offer it to him, in sincerity, and let go of it ourselves and trust Him to show us how to do just that.

If we sense a call of God on our lives, we just need to seek Him and pray and be still before Him, and ask Him to settle us down, so we can wait and hear from Him. Trust Him to do the work in us. Through us. Don't be dismayed because He will not call us to do what He will not be the power in us to accomplish.

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

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