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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter THREE



Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire
EXODUS 3 – by Sonny Islas, for the Facebook video, go here

INTRODUCTION:
I would like to begin by sharing two brief thoughts: 

1. Regarding the great wildfires in California (and the West Coast in general)  - On Sunday, I said that “I don’t doubt that God’s hand is in the record-breaking wildfires in California.” The reason why I said this was because as you, the Church in California is being harassed – gathering to worship the LORD in a church house is banned. And one of the first things that came to mind was how God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let His people go” and “sacrifice/worship in the wilderness.” 

Pharaoh refuses (like Governor Gavin Newsom) and God sends judgment. In my humble opinion, a similar scenario is most likely happening in California. I believe that Old Testament scenarios serve as examples for us today in regard to how God deals with people and situations like these. 

I can’t say for sure that California’s wildfires are God’s judgment, but it sure does looks like it. Either way, let’s be praying for our fellow Americans in California – for their safety but even more for true repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, I’m sure that God is pleased with most churches being closed in California due to false doctrine etc. But there are many good fellowships that should be open in order to freely worship God together in person (HEB 10:25).
2. Regarding the name of Moses – Moses means: “Drawn out of the water.” This name was given to Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter because she drew him out of the Nile River (out of water).
The thing that crossed my mind this morning and that I find interesting is that it pleased the LORD for Moses to be named by Pharaoh’s daughter and not his Father (primarily) and mother which was not common at all. I’m sure that Moses was named by his parents and if I had to make a sensible guess, they probably named him Yaphet means handsome because HEBREWS 11:23 says that they “saw that he was handsome.” And most Jewish people are named according to their looks (i.e. Esau), the place or a certain situation. But again, this is just reasonable speculation.

Either way, Pharaoh’s daughter’s choice of name is better fitting seeing that God through the hand of the princess drew Moses out of the Nile River (out of the water) and God through the hand of Moses drew Israel out of the Red Sea (out of the water). Moses’ name is a reminder of God’s rescuing power! He draws us out of the flood waters of this world and brings us close to Himself!

EXODUS 3:1
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb
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“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro” 
Moses’ life was split into the three parts of 40 years. 40 years in Egypt as a prince. 40 years as a shepherd in Midian, working for his father-in-law. And his last 40 years were spent leading Israel in the wilderness.

Here we can see that Moses was a true spiritual leader in the making and he did not even know it. And here is how I come to this conclusion. Being a shepherd is a tough job (a selfless job really – and a Christ type of job). Tending sheep is a labor of love. It’s messy, it takes lots of patience, it’s dangerous, it’s exhausting, it’s stinky; it can be lonely: no one to talk to, no one to impress, no one to admire his hard work and heroic acts of fighting off wolves. This shepherd of sheep will soon become a shepherd of souls.

Moses had lots of time to regret his immaturity and sin as a prince in Egypt. He had lots of time to regret trying to save Israel singlehandedly when he murdered an Egyptian officer/taskmaster. He had lots of quiet time to really take inventory of his life. He went from possibly becoming the next Pharaoh of Egypt to becoming a fugitive and an unknown shepherd.

He was becoming the perfect candidate for the job. Becoming humble by being stripped of all of his young-hearted Egyptian pride and then tending sheep was preparing him for something only a selfless man can do – lead God’s people. It took 40 years for God to take Egypt out of Moses and to prepare a truly humble loving leader. This is why I said on Sunday that it takes a long time for God to truly make a godly man or woman of God. Christlike humility takes a long time to produce – like fine wine.

“The Mountain of God”
This mountain was known by two names: Horeb and Sinai. It was the “Mountain of God” mainly because here is where God revealed Himself to Moses then later revealed Himself to Israel where He gave them the 10 Commandments, the ceremonial laws, the duties of the Levites and the blueprint for the Tabernacle. All mountains belong to God but it was this mountain that used for His own glory.

EXODUS 3:2-4
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I
.

“The Angel of the LORD”
This Angel is no ordinary angel. Angel, here means messenger - literally translated: “The Messenger of the LORD.” This is not a created angel, He’s the main mouthpiece of Yahweh the Father – The Word of God. This is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ (aka a Christophany).
He’s called an Angel here, but He speaks as God – this is Jehovah Jesus. This is Jesus that Moses unwittingly meets. This will make more sense in a minute.

“The bush was burning with fire, BUT the bush was not consumed.”

This was an undeniable, supernatural work of God – and Moses knew it. Interestingly enough, HEBREWS 12:29 says that “our God is a consuming fire,” yet here the bush is not being consumed. What does this mean? This is a picture of grace in the sense that God will dwell with Israel as a Pillar of fire in the wilderness and yet He will not consume them. 
It also points to us the Church in that God lives in us and yet we are not consumed! Oh what great grace! It also points to the Tabernacle and the Holy of Holies.

We also see here that when God gets our attention, He gives us a task to do just like He does here with Moses. Moses will be sent to rescue Israel from Egypt and we are sent to rescue souls from Satan. We are saved to work for God and worship God.

EXODUS 3:5
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground
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“Don’t draw near, take your sandals off, the place is holy ground”
To take one’s shoes off in the presence of greatness was a respectful Middle Eastern custom. It’s much like our Western culture where hats off in buildings, especially the courthouse and the church house.

But this is even much deeper than that. The ground was holy because God was very present. God is Omnipresent (present everywhere at all times – there isn’t a square inch in which He is not present – God is Spirit) but at times He makes His presence known and felt in one place more than others – this is one of those places. Again, this was also so that Moses better understands what will soon take place on mount Sinai and the Tabernacle and the Holy of holies (the most holy place) where God will manifest Himself in a Pillar of fire and the shekinah glory cloud.

This is also pointing to how we should never come before the LORD with a flippant attitude but with joy and the utmost reverence – unlike many modern pop-churches where “spiritual leaders” never seem to grow up, turning every Sunday worship service into a show of some kind – where every service feels more like a youth night and not holy grounds. And that, just as Moses put off his sandals, we are to put off sin in our lives
EPHESIANS 4:22-24 says,
Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
EXODUS 3:6-9
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them
.

“I have surely seen the oppression of My people…”
God says, “I see, I hear, and I know (care)” which is very encouraging for us today. We have a God who is not blind, deaf nor heartless when it comes to our difficult situations. He truly sees, hears, and cares about us. The Apostle Peter tells us to "cast all our cares upon Jesus for He cares for us" – 1 PETER 5:7.

“...to bring them up from that land” to draw them out...

God describes the land and His plan to Moses. God calls the land “good, large and a land flowing with milk and honey.” 

This shows us that God desires good for Israel and us today (Because Jesus said in JOHN 14, “I go and prepare a place for you”). Plus God is always a trillion miles ahead of us and yet He is with us every step of the way!

EXODUS 3:10
10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt
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“Come now therefore and I will send you”

We see here that God doesn’t raise up leaders for the leaders sake necessarily, but for the sake of His people.
God here is making Moses the official leader and deliverer of Israel – the Ambassador of Yahweh God to the Pharaoh.

I wonder if Moses thought, “Wait a minute, You just now said that YOU were coming down to deliver Your people! – not me! You’ve got the wrong guy!”

EXODUS 3:11-13
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and rescue Israel
.

Moses finally saw Himself as an unworthy nobody – he was now ready to be used greatly! Because again, He didn’t think this way about Himself this 40 years ago. He wanted to begin to rescue Israel singlehandedly – and he flopped 40 years ago.
In 2 CORINTHIANS 2:16b Paul says, Who is sufficient for these things?
God's response was both humbling and encouraging “I will certainly be with you.” In other words, it doesn't matter who you are, Moses; what matters is who I AM!

“You shall serve God on this mountain.” God doesn’t just rescue us from the slavery of sin, He rescues us for joyful worship!!!

EXODUS 3:14-15
14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations
.

“I AM who I AM” “say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent you”

I AM” refers to God being indescribable, unique, ‘other-than’, self-existent, self-sufficient, Eternal, unparalleled. unchangeable (immutable)! Another way to put this is found in HEBREWS 13:8 which says, 
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

By the way, Jesus told the Pharisees that He is the I AM in JOHN 8:58 
Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM

Again, Moses is talking to Jesus! The I AM. In the New Testament Jesus says, I AM - the Bread of Life, The Door, The Vine, The Alpha and Omega, The Resurrection and the Life, The Way, The Truth and The Life, The Good Shepherd, and The Light of the World! 

 The “I AM who I AM” is everything we’ll ever need!

EXODUS 3:16-22
16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.
19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty. 22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians
.

“And I will give this people favor (grace) . . . you shall not go empty [handed]”

The LORD understood the hardship that the Israelites endured, so he softened the hearts of their enemies and moved them to give generously to God’s people for a joyful exodus. The children will not leave Egypt looking like slaves but rather looking like little princes and princesses – because they are on their way to meet their true KING!

The irony is that the LORD provided goods (gold and silver) but some of these goods were eventually used to make an idol. A golden calf to worship. This is a picture of how at times the LORD blesses His people with good things, and we turn around and use it for evil instead of good. We turn the gifts of God into Idols.

Eventually they gave in abundance for the building of the Tabernacle and all the necessary items for worship in EXODUS 36.

This too happens in a Christians life where they may have used some of the good things for evil but then have a change of heart and begin to joyfully give to the work of God.

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