The longer I live as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the more I enjoy praying for other people. The main reason I enjoy it is that I see God answering my prayers. God answers the prayers of his people. Pray for someone to come to Jesus, and often it happens. Pray for someone to grow spiritually, and often he or she will begin spending more time in prayer, in Bible study, or in church. Pray for someone to recover from physical or emotional difficulty, and it often happens. The reason is that God enjoys answering the prayers of his people. In the passage for this morning, God’s people have been praying for 400 years. They had been serving as slaves to the people of Egypt, and they were asking God to deliver them. Now God is responding to their request, and is sending them a deliverer. Last Sunday Abram was an example of missions in going forth to become a great nation. Today Moses is an example of mission in going forth to deliver God’s people. In both cases, these men are being called by God to “go.” As they went forth on mission, God used them in a powerful way. In regard to Moses, there are three things in this passage about his going forth on mission.
First of all, God called Moses to go because God saw a need. Verses 7-9 say,
Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” When God calls someone on a mission, there is a need He intends to meet. Moses wasn’t the one to meet the need, he was just the instrument. The work here was God’s work. There are four key phrases God uses in these verses.
I have seen the affliction of my people…
I have heard their cry…
I know their sufferings….
I have come to deliver…
God is on the move through Moses to meet a need. Just as he was on the move though his servant, so he is on the move through you his servant now. The need God saw wasn’t in the desert where Moses was tending sheep. The need was somewhere else where Moses would need to go. As it was then, so it is now. The need may be across the street, or the need may be around the world, but the place God is moving is beyond you. The call upon the church is to meet him there. One of the most distracting, misleading statements that has ever been made is, “Well missions begins at home.” Missions does not begin at home because missions isn’t at home. Missions is beyond the four walls of the church. Missions is in the neighborhood, missions is in the city, its in the state, the nation and the world. Missions involves going. John Piper has said,
“Go, send or disobey.” Those options are the only three available for the church. God called Moses to go because God saw a need.
Then, God called Moses to go because he made a choice. Verses 10-11 say, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” There was a need to meet, and Moses was the person God chose to meet the need. It’s important to understand that God has this way of choosing people for tasks that from a human perspective, are poor choices for doing them. Moses doesn’t think he is qualified for the task. That’s the same response many people give today when God calls them to go. “Well, I’m not qualified.” One preacher said, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” There were certain reasons though, that Moses probably felt disqualified him for serving God. First of all, he is 80 years old. When God first called Abram to go, Abram was 75. God hasn’t gotten the memo that older people aren’t supposed to be doing significant work for him. At 80 years old, its likely he had some arthritis that troubled him. He probably awakened many mornings and didn’t feel that well. At 80 he was settled in a nice, comfortable routine of tending sheep in the desert. Despite his age however, God called him into action. Despite your age, God may be calling you into action as well. You may say you don’t have the physical ability that you did 40 years ago. You’d be correct. God’s concern however, is not your ability but your availability. The second reason that Moses may have seemed a poor choice is that he had been wounded emotionally. He had an extremely painful past in Egypt that scarred him deeply. He had been raised as a prince of Egypt, but after learning that he was a Hebrew, he murdered an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating another Hebrew. At age 40 he fled from Egypt. His experience there wasn’t a good one. For God to call him to go back just doesn’t seem to make sense from a human point of view. God however, often does things differently. He did then differently then, and he does them differently now. Why would God call you to be involved in a backpack ministry? Why would God call you to be more involved with the Nitro Mission team? Why would God call you to share your faith with people beyond your church? Why would God call you to get involved with international outreach? You’re wounded emotionally, something has hurt you and it seems you can’t recover, so why you? Listen to 1 Corinthians 1:27-29,
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” By using Moses with all his wounds from the past, and by using you today, God brings greater glory to himself. The third reason Moses would seem to be a poor choice is that he’s fearful. He argues with the God who is calling him to go. He’s fearful of failing at the taskmaster. God impresses upon him time and time again that He is the one doing the work, not Moses. Moses, I will be with you. Just as God was with Moses, so he will be with you to whatever work God has called you. In his infinite wisdom, God has chosen you to participate in the work he is doing. Someone may respond, “Well pastor, God hasn’t called me to do anything.” Everyone is called to work for God. Ephesians 2:10 says,
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Then God called Moses to go because God had a plan. Verse 12 says, “He said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’” God’s plan was that others would worship him and serve him. That plan includes a promise of God’s presence, and a sign of when the plan would be achieved. God would guide them all the way, and he would take care of them throughout their journey. As they moved forward in obedience to God’s plan, he would provide. God’s plan is for you to participate in bringing others to serve him. As you do so, he will be with you and provide for you.
This morning, God sees the need all around you. He has chosen you for a particular task. He has a plan for you to follow It’s His plan, His ministry. The decision for you is whether or not you’ll join him. The choice is yours.