Moses Part 1 – God’s plan.

You might be wondering who you are and why you were born, everyone wants to know the meaning of life. You should read Psalms 139 particularly vs 16 “Your eyes saw my substance, before I was born. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.” This means that God planned your life before you were born and wrote each day in His book; He does have a plan for you but sometimes it takes a while for us to catch on. It may surprise you to learn that even Moses took 80 years to find out his purpose for being here on this earth. So if you have taken a while you are in good company. If you want to know Gods plan for you read this message from Moses – God’s plan.

Background.

We have heard the dramatic history of Joseph coming down to Egypt (1893BC), sold as a slave, accused of things he did not do, left to rot in prison yet because God was with him he rose to second in charge of all Egypt. His dreams came true when his family came down to him in Egypt to buy grain during the famine. All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (Joseph was in Egypt already). Eventually Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation (1800BC). But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. (Read Exodus Ch. 1 for the text)

This caused a problem with the new pharaoh who did not know Joseph so they were made slaves; builders it seems (14) “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick”… I can relate to that; all my life I have built things and even with modern technology it is hard labour, I can’t imagine what it was like for the children of Israel but their lives were made bitter with hard bondage. The more the Egyptians did to them the more they grew; to stop the growth Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every Hebrew son who is born you shall cast into the river (Amuntotep 1 in 1520BC), and every daughter you shall save alive.” This terrible order he gave at the time of the birth of Moses who would be the saviour of the people if only he could survive the Pharaoh’s evil plot.

hebrew salves
The history of the bible is reliable as this Egyptian frieze shows.

Moses the prophet.

I can only think of one other time when such an order was given, it was at the birth of Jesus the Savior of all people (Matt 2:16-18). So in this way Moses is a prophet pointing our attention to Jesus who would save all peoples from the bondage of sin. We shall see as we go through the history of Moses how Moses spoke with God face to face (Ex 33:11, John 1:18, Ezekiel 20:35) like Jesus did with His Father; how Moses instituted the Passover feast which Jesus translated into the communion feast we have today (Part 4); how Moses led the people through the wilderness of sin to the promised land of Canaan as Jesus leads us now through the wilderness of this world to the promised land which is not of this world. Yes the story of Moses is much more than a story; it is a sign post to Jesus and we shall be viewing it that way. So if you are lost or confused follow the sigh post of Moses.

Lost and Confused Signpost
Moses is a sign post to Jesus

The Story.

Moses was born into the family of Levi 350 years after Jacob and his sons came down to Egypt and a lot had changed in that time. There were no longer seventy of them there were millions but they were no longer free men. The Egyptians built themselves great cities upon Israelite blood and sweat. The bitter taste of hard labour was still in their mouth as they offered evening prayers each day.

Through the blood the sweat and the tears The Lord God almighty heard their prayers and sent Moses to them to be the one to lead them out of bondage into the Promised Land. Given the circumstances and the evil orders to throw all the newborn males into the Nile River there was little chance of Moses surviving it seemed?

Moses and the Christ Child.

Moses mother Jochebed had not given up hope however; she must have known there was something special about Moses, like Mary did when she bore the Christ Child (Luke 1:39-55), and like Mary she did something about it. When she finally saw him she knew she was right, he was special for we are told she saw he was “a beautiful child” (Ex 2:2) and this drove Jochebed to hide him for three months to work out how to save him. I reckon the story of Noah and the ark would have been told to children in those days and as the comforting words came once more an idea flashed like a neon sign; Moses would have his own ark of bulrushes to save him from the Nile rivers flood. The spot where Moses was floated in his ark was close to where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe each day. Miriam his sister waited a little distance away to see what would become of the beautiful child. God’s plan was coming together as Pharaohs daughter opened up the ark she found floating in the bulrushes. When the beautiful child looked up at her, her heart melted but she knew she must save him from her father. God’s plans leave nothing out and this is no exception, from her hiding place Miriam called out shall I go call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women? On the starter’s command GO she raced straight to her mother and brought her down to the river. Without negotiation Pharaohs daughter gave Jocebed back her own child and offered her wages to raise him for her. How wonderful are Gods plans, He leaves out no details and against all odds the beautiful child was saved.

Moses
Pharaoh’s Daughter finds the beautiful child Moses floating in an ark of bulrushes.

The Story.

It was Pharaoh’s daughter that named him Moses because she drew him out of the water. The child grew and his mother returned him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. He was unaffected by the hardship of his countrymen; he would have learned the ways of the pharaohs during the 40yrs he spent there as grandson of Pharaoh himself. Until one day Moses went out to visit his brethren to see for himself the burdens that they had loaded upon them. He couldn’t stand it to see the guard beating on the helpless slave so when he thought no one was looking he killed the Egyptian overlord and hid him in the sand.

Moses’ Plans change.

The next day he went out again and found two Hebrews fighting each other this time but when he tried to separate them he was shocked to hear the reply; will you kill us like you killed the Egyptian? Who made you Prince and Judge over us? This was Moses’ wakeup call and the words went around and around in his head as he fled the country to Midian for fear of Pharaoh. Who did make me prince and judge over my people? It may have taken Moses another 40 years to find out the answer to that question for sure. His miraculous life so far indicated to him that there was something special about him but what was it? And now that he had stuffed up everything by killing the Egyptian, what help could he be to the children of Israel? God had a plan and as Moses had to wait for that plan to be revealed.

God has a plan for you.

You know sometimes we wait a long time before we find out what God has planned for us; be sure, God does have a plan for each one even you. The choice is ours if we recognize and follow God’s plan or not when it is revealed. Same with Moses, he used to be in a position to help in Egypt he could very well have become Pharaoh one day but he made a mistake, in his enthusiasm to help his people. So he fled to Midian in exile, met a shepherd girl, got married had a son named him Gershom (meaning exiled) and kept his father-in law’s flocks. Yes the mighty Moses was a lowly shepherd for 40 yrs. after that. Forty years it took for God to reveal His plan to Moses, forty years it took for Moses to learn how to be a good shepherd, how to be humble. Would Moses recognize the call when it came? At 80 yrs old he would hardly be thinking of change but his reason for living was only just beginning. Let us see what happened to Moses after 40 years in the wilderness.

Mt Horeb
Mt Horeb in the back of the desert – The Mountain of God.

The answer to Moses question; who made me prince and judge over my people?

Now Moses led the flock of Jethro to the back of the desert and came to Mt. Horeb, The Mountain of God, imagine what it would have been like, the back of the desert. Moses would have been rough and tough to live like this, perhaps clothed in camel skin, sleeping under a tent of badger skins from badgers he caught in the rocky cliffs. Moving from place to place to find pasture each day this was the humble shepherd Moses. He had been led all the way from the palace of Pharaoh to the back of the desert. What did God have in mind? The mountain of God loomed large before Moses drawing him from far away; it was as if God was calling him to turn aside and find out the answer to the question he had been asked all those years ago by his countrymen in Egypt; who made you judge and prince over us? God’s plan would be revealed if Moses would only turn aside for long enough to listen. As if to get his attention the angel of the Lord appeared before him in a way Moses could not ignore. There in the back of the desert at the mountain of God he appeared. After 40 years had passed and Moses had almost given up hope, The Angel of the Lord got Moses’ attention, appearing to him in a flame of fire from a burning bush. When Moses saw that the bush was not consumed by the fire he turned aside long enough to see this great sight why the bush did not burn.

sandals off
As Moses approached the burning bush The Lord said take your sandals off for the ground on which you stand is holy ground.

What has God got to do to get your attention?

You know in life sometimes God has to go to great lengths to get our attention, sometimes we wait 40 years like Moses to find out why we are here; some go to the back of the desert of life before they find the mountain of God. When Jesus was lifted up from the earth on a cross, He went to extraordinary lengths to get your attention. So if you are like Moses fleeing all the way to the back of the desert to avoid Jesus’ gaze, ignoring the truth of His existence let me read this psalm to you; 139:7-8 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” God is everywhere, you cannot hide from God and He has a plan for you as he did for Moses; will you wait 40 years to find out what God’s plan for you is or will you seek God today, while He may be found and call upon Him now, while He is near? You might think that God is “nowhere” but if you turn aside you will find that God is “now here”.

Take time to turn aside and seek God.

Think about it, the burning bush was Moses opportunity to turn aside and look; your opportunity is there today but are you willing to turn aside like Moses and see this great sight?

Ex 3:4 “So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Moreover He said, “I am the God of your 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.”

If you turn aside to seek God he will see you are interested and call you by name just as He called Moses; turn aside and seek God, in the quietness of the back of the desert of your mind; you will hear Him call your name if you take time to listen. A still small voice above all the noise and bright lights of this world; there in a cave at the mountain of God in the back of the desert of your mind God waits to reveal His plan for you, all you have to do is answer Him “Here I am.”

How long will you wait?

There from the heart of the flames in the burning bush, God for the first time revealed Himself to the barefoot, humble, 80 year old shepherd. He was as tough as nails, would have killed lions and other predators with his bare hands to protect his sheep but this day he humbled himself before the God of his father; the God of Abraham; the God of Isaac; and the God of Jacob. And the fearless Moses “hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God”. Moses was finally ready to fulfill the plan that God had for him from the beginning when he was saved by water in his little ark of bulrushes when he was only 3 months old. Forty years of luxury and forty years of sleeping rough Moses had experienced up until now and still he hadn’t begun the task for which he was born. Only now was he ready to listen, now at eighty years old he took the time to turn aside and look; how long will you wait before you take the time to turn aside and look for God? He has a plan for you he has written it in His book; don’t you want to know what it is? (Psa 139:16)

Moses Doubts.

As Moses stands there barefoot with his face hidden from the flames of the bush listening as the God of his fathers revealed Himself and his plan for Moses, doubts appear in his mind. The weight of so many years wasted wandering in the desert; the blood guilt of what could have been if only he hadn’t killed that Egyptian 40 years ago; the regret of all the blood, sweat and tears his people had to go through because of him since that day; all this suddenly weighed heavily on Moses as he listened to God’s plan and he began to doubt.

God sees, hears, knows, delivers and lifts us up.

God said, (7-10) “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, … 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

God always sees our trouble; hears our cries and He always knows our sorrows and when we cry to Him in our distress he hears us; He sees the oppression if His people; and He has come down in the person of Jesus Christ to deliver us out of the hand of the oppressor; to lift us up and bring us to a better place. God’s plan revealed that He wanted to send Moses to Pharaoh to bring Gods people out of bondage.

This is a pattern with God.

God never does for us what we can do for ourselves, He could of zapped Pharaoh and saved the people Himself but he didn’t. Why because He wanted to teach us this lesson; when we see a great need, know that need in our mind should be fulfilled and even feel the need ourselves with tears of oppression and cry out to God for help and He hears us; then He may well ask us to fulfill the need to deliver the people out of the hand of the oppressor. So do not doubt when He calls you to do something great for Him, do not worry for Jesus came down to help us and He promised to be with us until the end of the age. (Matt 28:19)

Who am I?

As this sunk in for Moses that God was going to use Him to deliver the people he began to doubt. Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” “Who am I”, he said in doubt, as he hid his face from the burning fire of God. God’s answer was just as clear in vs 12, “I will certainly be with you.”

In other words it doesn’t matter who you are if God is with you. If the God who burns like a fire but does not consume is in you no man can stand against you. Like the burning bush that was not consumed by the fire of God so to the man of God who has the fire of the Holy Spirit within knows the answer to the question, “Who am I?”; he can do anything or be anyone God wants him to do or be. “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jer 23:29 “Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth a fire, And this people wood, And it shall devour them. Jer 5:14

Fire of God.

Are you being devoured by the fire of the word of God today as you read this post; does it burn your conscience like a hot iron; remember God’s word is a fire in the mouth and a hammer in the hand of a man who God is with even today. The fire of God doesn’t consume the person who has the Holy Spirit living within; it only consumes those who do not believe, so maybe you need to consider asking Him into your heart before you get burned.

What of Moses? Well Moses was sent out to smash with the hammer and devour with the fire of God’s word. To smash the evil grip of Pharaoh over the people of God; that was God’s plan for the eighty year old Moses, for the Moses who was saved by water at his birth, lived 40yrs of luxury only to suffer 40 years of hardship, the Moses who now understood what he was here for. His doubts nearly overtook him but God reassured him that he didn’t have to worry because God himself would be with him and bring them all out of Egypt back to this same mountain to worship Him there where it all began (12).

God’s Name.

Suddenly realising that he didn’t even know God’s Name he asked God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

Moses is told the Name of God; I AM has sent me. That was the answer to the question asked by the Hebrew salves 40 years ago, “Who made you prince and Judge over us?” Moses could now say, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the great I AM has sent me to you, to free you from the oppression of sin.

Three signs.

Still full of self doubt, Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” God gave him three signs to perform as proof of his identity; if he cast his rod on the ground it would become a snake. Snakes were worshiped in Egypt and pharaoh’s head gear was like a cobra’s head, this was a good sign; he also could put his hand into his chest and when he pulled it out again it would be leprous as snow; this indicated that the people of God were leprous with the sin of Egypt and needed to be cleansed. Finally he could pour water from the river onto dry land and it would turn to blood, indicating that God would avenge the blood of the innocent children who were thrown into the river.

Excuses excuses.

Still unconvinced, Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Basically Moses is now making excuses why he cannot go back to Egypt and do what God had planned for him even before he was born. God sees through his excuses and says something interesting that can apply to us today as well. “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

If God is calling you don’t make excuses, take the time to turn aside now and look at the great sight of the plan God has for you. Jesus said, He who seeks shall find, so if you turn aside and look for God he will be found by you, if you seek Him with all your heart. Moses waited eighty years to turn aside and look for God, how long will you wait to turn aside a look for Him? Moses was saved by water when he was born again into the new family of Pharaohs daughter. Like Moses, we are saved by water at our baptism, when we are born again into God’s family. It is then we receive the indwelling of the fire of the Holy Spirit; a fire that burns bright but does not consume us. A cleansing fire that burns up all that is not needed in our lives and a hammer that builds up all things new. God is reaching out to you today; the words that I speak are a fire that consumes the wood of those who do not know Him.

As Moses went all the way to the back of the desert before he found the mountain of God so to you might be in the back of the desert in your life. I encourage you there at the foot of the mountain of God to turn aside and look at what Jesus has done for you. He went to extraordinary lengths to get your attention; He left His Father’s home above and came to visit His people but they didn’t recognize Him when He came. Even though he did nothing to offend anyone He was crucified on a cruel cross for the sins of mankind.

He said if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto Me; Jesus is our burning bush so turn aside and look at Him today; He has gone to extraordinary lengths to get your attention today. Believe in His power to save you, repent of your sin, get your life in order and He will forgive. Confess with your mouth that you believe Jesus came in the flesh then wash away your sin in the waters of baptism so the fire of the Holy Spirit can come into your heart. Remember The Holy Spirit cannot live in an unholy heart so be saved by water like Moses and be born again and He will make all things new; give you a fresh start, a clean slate. Then go on in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit a fire that does not consume you but brings light through you, to all the dark corners of this world.

If that sounds good to you and if you hear God’s call today do not delay, no excuses like Moses but turn aside and look at Jesus and ask Him into your heart. God has a great plan for you wouldn’t you like to know what it is, He is waiting for you to start living life to your full potential, will you come to Him today.

Amen

burning bush
When you see the sun burning remember this message from Moses
Jesus is your burning bush.