Exodus 4-7

Title: Resistance Training

Intro

So far:

  • God’s people are slaves in Egypt
  • God rescues baby Moses, who spends 40 years in the palace
  • Moses kills a man and flees to the desert for 40 more years
  • Yahweh calls Moses to go back to rescue the Israelites
  • Moses says Yes…

Exodus 4

24 On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night,

Yahweh confronted him and was about to kill him.

25 But Moses’ wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son.

She touched his feet with the foreskin and said, “Now you are a bridegroom of blood to me.”

26 (When she said “a bridegroom of blood,” she was referring to the circumcision.)

After that, Yahweh left him alone.

 

My best guess:

  • Moses knew Gershom should have been circumcised, but he didn’t do it
  • Now Moses’ life is in danger
  • Zipporah circumcises Gershom and God removes the judgment
  • Total commitment (cf. Josh 5:2ff)

 

27 Now Yahweh had said to Aaron, “Go out into the wilderness to meet Moses.”

So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and he embraced him.

28 Moses then told Aaron everything Yahweh had commanded him to say.

And he told him about the miraculous signs Yahweh had commanded him to perform.

29 Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together.

30 Aaron told them everything Yahweh had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched.

31 Then the people of Israel believed.

When they heard that Yahweh was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

 

Exodus 5

1 After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh.

 

What Moses was supposed to say

  • 3:18 –Tell him, ‘Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to Yahweh, our God.’

 

1b They told him, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says:

Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.”

 

2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is Yahweh? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go?

I don’t know Yahweh, and I will not let Israel go.”

3 But Aaron and Moses persisted. “The God of the Hebrews has met with us,” they declared.

“So let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to Yahweh our God.

If we don’t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.”

 

This has some relevance for us today too. God has spoken through his word and has asked his followers to be his spokespersons.

Q: Why might someone change or add to the message God has given them to speak?

 

4 Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work!

5 Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”

6 That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen:

7 “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves!

8 But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota.

They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’

9 Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!”

10 So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people:

“This is what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you.

11 Go and get it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many bricks as before!”

12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in search of stubble to use as straw.

13 Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard.

“Meet your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with straw!” they demanded.

14 Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they had put in charge of the work crews.

“Why haven’t you met your quotas either yesterday or today?” they demanded.

15 So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him.

“Please don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged.

16 “We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’

We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”

17 But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy!

That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to Yahweh.’

18 Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.”

20 As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them.

21 The foremen said to them, “May Yahweh judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials.

You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!”

 

Before they were all belief and worship

They never assumed that following God might make their lives harder

So, the leader must be wrong

 

Ajith Fernando quote:

  • After detailing all of the persecution and natural disasters they have faced in Sri Lanka over 25 years, he says that the greatest pain in his life has still been relationships:

It is the pain that comes from being committed to people. And Christians will face that wherever they live. [The Call To Joy & Pain
(Crossway, 2007), p. 113]

Q: What do you think are some examples of the kind of pain that might come from being committed to people?

[Also Fernando: “Of course, this meditation would be incomplete if I did not say that the joy of the Lord that is greater than the pain is what gives us the strength to bear the pain.”]

Lessons here:

  • If you are faithful to God, sometimes people won’t like you
    • Will you serve God faithfully?
    • Even when you see your own failings? (personal sharing – being put into a leadership situation and feeling like I’m messing it up)
  • How leadable are you?
    • Q: What are some ways we can be more leadable?
    • Q: What would be a good way to disagree with those who are in leadership over us?

 

22 Then Moses went back to Yahweh and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me?

23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people.

And you have done nothing to rescue them!”

 

God has actually done quite a lot to rescue his people

  • “Like my plan I launched long ago…
  • “Like protecting and growing my people…
  • “Like preparing a rescuer…
    • Q: What are some ways that the first 80 years of Moses’s life might have prepared him to do the job that God had in mind for him?
      • Negotiate with Pharaoh
      • Win the people’s trust
      • Lead a nation
      • Write everything down
      • Navigate the Sinai
      • Trust God

Exodus 6

1 Then Yahweh told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh.

When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”

2 And God said to Moses,

I am Yahweh.

3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—

but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.

 

Now you’ll see why they call me “Yahweh”

 

4 And I reaffirmed my covenant with them.

Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.

5 You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians.

And I am well aware of my covenant with them.

6 Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am Yahweh.

I will free you from your oppression

and I will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt.

I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.

I will claim you as my own people,

and I will be your God.

Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.

I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I will give it to you as your very own possession.

I am Yahweh!’”

 

Yahweh: I will save you (v. 6) because you are mine (v. 7) and I have a good land to give you (v. 8). Because I’m Yahweh, and I keep my promises and I take care of my kids.

  • I am the God who is there
  • Who has always been there
  • I’m able to do anything I want
  • And I will always be there

 

Walter Henrichsen points out that every problem we have is related to our view of God:

If you have a big God, you have small problems. If you have a small God, you have big problems. It is as simple as that. [Walter Henrichsen, Disciples are Made—Not Born, 41]

Q: What’s your reaction to that statement?

 

Note: It’s cool to see the comfort of God that Moses got here, equal to the pressure on Him

9 So Moses told the people of Israel what Yahweh had said,

but they refused to listen anymore.

They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

10 Then Yahweh said to Moses,

11 “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.”

12 “But Yahweh!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen?

I’m such a clumsy speaker!

Moses’s early experiences only seemed to confirm his objections and his sense of inadequacy

When things get hard, how will you respond?

13 But Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.

Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Exodus 7

1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this…

2 Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country…

7 Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh…

10 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as Yahweh had commanded them

Conclusions

Why did God drag it out like this? Why did Moses write it all down for us? Apparently they both thought this waiting period was important.

When you say “Yes” to God’s call, life may get even harder

  • Taking flack from others
  • Seeing your own shortcomings and haunted by old insecurities
  • Agonizingly slow progress

But in the long run it’s so much better

  • God’s special preparation for this task
  • God’s extraordinary comfort
  • God’s power working through Him
  • He got to lead the captives to freedom!

 

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