This is the third message from Moses a character in the bible who many years ago was born for a special task to set God’s people free from their bondage in Egypt. The Egyptians worshiped the snake and the headdress of Pharaoh was modeled on the head of a cobra as seen in these Photos. We shall see that God uses this to upset Pharaoh in the face of in the fight for the freedom of Gods people. Today we shall see a kind of weigh in before the fight like boxers have where the two contenders get up close and personal. The book of Exodus is our text and today we will be speaking from chapter 5:22 to 6:9&7: 1-13. Read that now.
Revision: Who was Moses and why was he sent?
In message 1&2 we saw Moses had a special birth. At a time when Pharaoh had ordered that all newborn male children be thrown into the river Nile, the beautiful child Moses was floated in a little ark of bulrushes and found by Pharaoh’s own daughter who named him Moses and brought him up as her own son. After 40 years Moses came out from the palace and visited his people who slaved, building mighty cities of Egypt. He was so overwhelmed by their plight that he killed one of the Egyptian taskmasters who was beating on one of his countrymen. This meant he had to flee from Pharaoh but not before the prophetic words were spoken, “Who made you Lord over us?” Who indeed had saved Moses at birth and given him privileges and position the others did not have? Who indeed was the God of his fathers? And who indeed was Moses himself? Not knowing the answers to any of these questions, Moses fled to the land of Midian where he tended sheep for forty years. It was forty years before Moses met the God of his fathers at the burning bush in the back of the desert at the mountain of God in Midian. It was forty years before Moses found out the reason he was put here on this earth. It was forty years of training how to look after the flock; skills which he needed to tend the flock of God. Forty years in the desert of life waiting to find the answer to his prophetic question “Who made me Lord over the Children of Israel?”
Know God by name and by nature.
Who is God is the question we all must ask; do I know Him and why did He put me here? Well Moses asked all those questions too. Finally after forty years of pleasure in the palace and forty years of hardship in the desert Moses was ready to meet the God of his fathers. We saw how he met God for the first time at the burning bush; I AM who I AM, was the name God revealed to Moses from the flames; I AM who I AM who I AM who I AM, like a circle it is a timeless name with no beginning and no end because He is the beginning and the end. Having met God and knowing him by name only we saw Moses set off on his quest to rescue the slaves in Egypt. But he was unprepared for his second meeting with the great I AM. He needed to know God by name and by nature; he needed to know God personally before he could do anything for God. When the angel of God rose up against Moses on the way to Egypt, he found out that God was a God who keeps his promises and He expects all of us to keep our end of the bargain too. Moses needed to circumcise his own son according to the covenant God made with Abraham many years before. It was not good enough for Moses to go off on his quest without knowing God personally. It is the same for us we must make our relationship with God personal; it is not enough to say that we love Jesus we need to keep His commandments as he said. (Jn 15:14) Through faith, repentance, confession and baptism (all commands of Jesus), we make our relationship with God personal; until we reach that point we don’t really know Jesus, we know Him by name only not by nature; not personally. Some of you here today will know Him well, others just by name; if there is a doubter in the room we ask you not to leave until you listen to his story, hear the message that we bring so that you can decide for yourself just who Jesus is.
The third dark Message from Moses.
Our story begins in: Ex 5: Moses asks Why?
22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
It’s OK to ask why.
After the disaster with the bricks and the straw, in desperation Moses returns to God and wants to know Why…“Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? When he had opposition, he returned to The Lord I AM. This is a good lesson for us to learn from Moses. When we are properly prepared to serve the Lord and an opportunity comes up to do so; when we agree with others to take advantage of the opportunity and do something for God. Then if we meet opposition like Moses did, don’t give up but return to God The Lord the great I AM in prayer. It’s OK to ask why as Moses did; the problems were great and it was easy to focus on the problems and lose sight of God in a situation like that.
God’s answer to Moses.
6 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
Focus on God not on your problems.
2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. 4 I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.
God’s message to Moses: Focus on ME.
We saw that Pharaoh had thrown the first punch in the Israelite fight for freedom (withholding the straw in part 2); it was a body blow and yes the people were reeling under that blow of heavy bondage but God was fighting for them through Moses and he needed to stay focused on God who sent him, not on the problems. So God reminds him just who it was who sent him to set the people free; in His answer to Moses God says I AM the Lord no less than five times (2,3,6,7&8). I AM the Lord He said five times to focus Moses attention on Him. Then he said, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. So God was revealing Himself as something new to Moses not just “God almighty” but “God The Lord” who has authority; the King of Kings and the Lord of all, even Pharaoh. He reminds Moses of His nature that He remembers His covenant with the fathers and He is a God who keeps His promises. So having sorted Moses out he turns to the people who face such hard burdens under Pharaoh who had thrown the first punch in the fight for freedom; let us see the message God had for them.
God’s message to the People: You shall know Me.
6 Therefore say to the children of Israel:
I am the Lord; I will bring you out; I will rescue you; I will redeem you; I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.
Then you shall know (Me) that I am the Lord your God.
The people needed to know God personally like Moses found out but they weren’t ready to listen because of the heavy burden of the brick and the straw upon them. So God reveals to them what they are not ready to hear, in order that when He does do what He says He will then they shall remember and get to know Him personally. Like the people, you may not be ready to accept the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ today because of the heavy burden of sin you are carrying but when God lifts the burden off your shoulders (when you not only hear the word but heed it, when you are ready to obey it) then I can assure you that you shall know the great I AM, the Lord Jesus personally.
The result of Pharaoh first punch.
Still reeling from the body blow Pharaoh had delivered in hard labour the people were not ready to listen they heard but did not heed the message from Moses. But that did not stop God He had a few punches to throw Himself so, He spoke to Moses, (6) saying, 11 “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land.”
12 And Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, “The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me?”
13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Even though the children of Israel did not heed the Lord’s command nor did Pharaoh this is God saying I AM going to save you even if you don’t want to be saved and Pharaoh will suffer if He will not let you go. Like the children of Israel who did not want to be saved sometimes we can be the same; everything’s going OK we are happy serving sin; well God’s message for you is that He loves you more than that and you shall be saved even if you don’t want to. You shall know Him one day be sure of that. Read on if you want to find out more.
Against the odds Moses takes the fight to Pharaoh at the weigh in of the fight for freedom.
Moses and Aaron at 80 and 83 years old front up to the mighty Pharaoh and deliver God’s message, up close and personal, in the fight for the freedom of God’s people; it took a lot of faith in God to do that but they did it just as the Lord commanded them, so they did. It was going to be a kind of tag team fight with Moses telling Aaron what God wanted him to tell Pharaoh.
Even though their own people did not heed them and even though they knew Pharaoh would not heed them they did what God wanted them to do anyway. Sometimes in this world it is hard to do what God wants us to do; it is not the popular choice to follow Jesus but if we have faith like Moses and Aaron and we are prepared, then we shall know the power of God in our lives. Pharaoh was about to find out just how powerful the great I AM the Lord really is as the fight for freedom begins. He was about to feel the strength of God’s mighty arm coming down from a great height upon him and upon his land. God knew all along that Pharaoh would not heed Moses and Aaron and that is just what He wanted. The more Pharaoh hardened his heart the more opportunity God had to show His power.
God wanted the Egyptians and the Children of Israel to know I AM the Lord personally up front, from personal experience, without doubt. He still wants us to know Him like that today.
The fight for freedom was just beginning; it was going to be a ten round fight to the finish with the ten plagues sent to judge the Egyptians. There had been a punch thrown by Pharaoh unfairly before the match but now here at the weigh in the two opponents sized one another up. Ex 7:8-13
8 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 9 “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
Moses wins the face off at the weigh in in the fight for freedom.
Moses staff may have looked something like a shepherds crook I suppose. This photo shows a snake staff that may have been like the Egyptian staves, we see these in the bush all the time quite common. Even though Pharaohs magicians could do tricks something like Aaron’s miracle of turning his rod into a serpent the face off at the weigh in was won hands down by Moses when Aarons snake ate up all the other snakes. Amazing, the gods they held so dear were eaten up by Moses God, what a statement by God. I AM the Lord of Pharaoh he was saying and Pharaoh didn’t like it.
The weigh in was over, each contender returned to his home to prepare for their next encounter which they knew was going to be a big one. The pressure was mounting on Pharaoh to let God’s people go but he hardened his heart which gives God the opportunity to stretch out His mighty hand against them again; for the burden of the straw and the brick and all the evil they had done to His people over the last 430 years; even retribution for all the male children drowned in the Nile River by Pharaoh’s command. God had seen and remembered all the evil which the Egyptians had done and now judgement day had come. Pharaoh was going to wish he didn’t do all that, as we shall see in the fourth exciting episode of the message from Moses next time I speak to you.
What have we learned?
What can we take away with us today from this message from Moses? I think the fact that God wanted the people to know Him personally even though they did not heed Moses because of their heavy burden.
God’s message to the People was: You shall know Me.6 Therefore say to the children of Israel:
I am the Lord;I will bring you out; I will rescue you; I will redeem you; I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.
Then you shall know (Me) that I am the Lord your God.
While the people were still under the burden of slavery and had rejected God; they did not heed what God had told them because of their heavy burden; God still wanted them to know Him so He prepared Moses to save them. This reminds me of what God did in Jesus; while we were still sinners God wanted us to know Him personally. That’s why He sent his son to save us and while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God still wants you to know Him personally and He says through me today: I am the Lord; I will bring you out; I will rescue you; I will redeem you; I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.
Then you shall know (Me) that I am the Lord your God.
What will you say at the face off with God?
If you would like to get to know the Lord Jesus personally today the opportunity is there for everyone; He wants you to know Him personally and He wants to be your friend. Jesus is a mirror image of His Father who no man has ever seen face to face; 1Cor 13:12 says, now we see Him through a mirror dimly but one day we shall see Him clearly, face to face. What will you do when you come face to face with your maker if you do not know Him personally? If you know Him by name only He may want to know why you didn’t take the opportunity offered to you today to meet Him. What will you say at the weigh in on the last day, when you face off with The great I AM? What excuses will be acceptable to the one who looks into your heart and knows your thoughts before you think them; the one who planned all your days before you were born. Don’t you think you should get to know Him personally while you have the chance? What does it say in Rom 10:8 “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”; Jesus is so close you can taste Him all you have to do is turn around in repentance and you will come face to face with Him today. Again in Acts 17:27 we are advised to seek the Lord, in the hope that we might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. Reach out to Jesus for He is reaching out to you.
The Children of Israel were under a heavy burden from Pharaoh therefore they did not heed the words of Moses but God still wanted them to know Him personally. You may be under the heavy burden of sin and are not ready to heed what you hear today. If this is so God still wants you to know Him personally; He calls to you today, I AM the Lord I will bring you out from under that burden of sin; I will rescue you; I will redeem your soul from the evil one; I will take you as my person; I will be your God and you shall know me that I AM the Lord YOUR God. I encourage you to take steps to make The Lord I AM your God today, do something; I promise you that if you take one step towards God He will take two steps towards you. God is closer than you think. Amen.