Meditating on the Will of God: 23: God who uses us
Ex 3:10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
In the seventh study in this series we considered the verses at the beginning of Romans 12 that speak of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. We considered ‘service’ and the ‘hard man’ mentality. What we perhaps take for granted is that God loves to share with us, not only just good things, but also in His plans and purposes as He works to bring blessing to the world. The apostle Paul said, “For we are God’s fellow workers,” (1 Cor 3:9) meaning they worked as apostles in harmony with the Lord.
Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working,” (John 5:17) and then went on to add, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (v.19) It is the picture of Father and Son working in harmony together, in the same way as back in Creation: “I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep ….. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” (Prov 8:27,30,31)
The truth is, of course, that God could intervene and bring about whatever He wants without the help from anyone else, but the record of the Bible is that He delights in taking human beings and working with them to bring about His purposes. Nowhere, perhaps, is this more true that in the case of Moses.
When Moses was apprehended by the burning bush that was not burning up, he heard this voice speaking to him and we find, “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.” (Ex 3:7,8). How wonderful! God has come down to deliver His people Israel from their slavery! Hallelujah! He continues, “And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.” (v.9) Their anguish in slavery has moved Him to move on their behalf. How wonderful! Hallelujah! Isn’t He wonderful!
But then the axe falls: “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (v.10) Notice the ‘so’. Because of all this, I am now sending you Moses. And so starts a question and answer session where this man, whose self-esteem fell out the bottom through forty years of looking after sheep in the desert, wriggles and wriggles and tries to get out of it. At the end of the conversation we find, “Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses.” (Ex 4:13, 14)
What is the Lord getting angry about. Moses is a nobody; forty years in the wilderness have proved that. He’s an old man, he’s now eighty. He’s blown it in life and threw away great possibilities back in Egypt when he was forty. He’s got absolutely nothing going for him. But hold on, if you read back through the conversation you will see that the Lord answered every one of his queries: “I will be with you.” (3:12). “Say to the Israelites, `The LORD, the God of your fathers–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.” (3:15). “I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” (3:20) Then he performed two miracles. “Then the LORD said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.” (4:8,9). Then, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (4:12) And still Moses balks at the task. In one sense that is sensible because it seems a humanly impossible task, but the Lord doesn’t call us to be sensible, He calls us to act in faith, responding to what He says – and hasn’t He said a lot here!
The Lord’s anger, I suggest, burned against the presence of sin that still pulls at this man and tries to demean him and make him think less of himself than he is. At the very least, he is a man in the hands of God and God can do all these things, even if Moses can’t. And there is the crux of the matter: will we believe that God can do these things? Moses role is really limited to speaking words, the rest is down to God. And there it is today, the same thing is true. We get called to speak words and then God will do what we cannot do. These are some of the dynamics of Him working out His will, His plans and purposes for the earth.
The end of the Moses story was the Lord giving Aaron, Moses’ brother, to him to partner him (Ex 4:14-17). This reminds us that we are part only of a body (1 Cor 12:27) and we are not alone – but we DO have a part to play. Let’s enter into it with joy.