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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


September 2021

Exodus 3:7-12: God’s all-sufficiency

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

As I read through verses 7-10 again this morning, I was struck by the abrupt change from the repeated “I” in verses 7-9 (and also the reference to “me’ in verse 9), where God is speaking about Himself and His work, to the “you” in verse 10. It is so stark it seems to slap you across the face.

Earlier, Moses had been full of self- confidence. He could do this thing, and he was going to. But it didn’t work out (Acts 7:25).

Here he is, years later, with his self-sufficiency broken. Notice God does not answer Moses ‘question directly (11). He doesn’t say, ‘Well now Moses, you have benefitted from an outstanding education. You have a great wealth of experience to draw upon. You are gifted and talented.’ He just says, “I will be with you.” (12). That is always enough for anyone. Our sufficiency is of God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

‘In Egypt, forty years before, Moses had acted like the impetuous horse and rushed ahead of God, but now he is acting like the stubborn mule and resisting God (Ps.32:9).’ Warren W. Wiersbe: OT Commentary, p.150.

‘Formerly Moses thought himself able to deliver Israel, and set himself to the work too hastily. Now, when the fittest person on earth for it, he knows his own weakness. This was the effect of more knowledge of God and of himself. Formerly, self-confidence mingled with strong faith and great zeal, now sinful distrust of God crept in under the garb of humility; so defective are the strongest graces and the best duties of the most eminent saints. But all objections are answered in, Certainly I will be with thee. That is enough.’ Matthew Henry.

The “sign” is also fascinating. It would only come in the future (12). It is often as we look back on our lives that we see for sure that the steps of faith we took were the right ones, and God did confirm His call. ‘We are reluctant to step out in faith without some clear sign from God. And yet God may give us a sign only after we have stepped out; the sign will let us know that what we have set out to do is indeed of God and that He is with us. But in the beginning God may only say to us: “Trust me; trust that what I am sending you to do will be accomplished.” ‘ Tom Hale” ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.211.

“We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor.5:7).

Exodus 3:10: ‘God’s methods are men.’

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.

As we have read through verses 7-9 it has felt a little like, ‘First the good news.’ God is going to come down and rescue His people from Egypt. That sounds great. ‘But now for the…well, not bad, but sobering news…Actually, you are going to do it Moses! God is going to do it; but Moses also will have to do it

E.M.Bounds said, ‘God’s methods are men.’ God uses people to achieve His purposes – both sexes.

It is a paradox of the Christian life that God does it, and we do it.

That glove is moving, reaching out, picking up an object. But is it really the glove moving? Well yes it is. But there is a deeper truth: there is a hand moving inside the glove, and the glove only moves because of that hand.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12,13). God gives us the ‘want to’ and the ‘can do’; the desire and the power.

I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to not fear any task you call me to, knowing you are at work in me.

Exodus 3:7-9: The overture

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

‘Moses spent forty years serving as a shepherd in Midian (Acts 7:23; Ex.7:7), and during those many days and nights in the field, he no doubt meditated on the things of God and prayed for his people who were suffering in Egypt.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘OT Commentary’, p.150.

As we have seen previously, we have to read these verse in conjunction with 2:23-25. There are four clear things God says here:

  1. “I have seen” (7,9; also 2:23,24). Actually, one can’t help but be struck by the word “indeed”: “I have indeed seen…” (7). It may have looked to some as though He didn’t; but God saw everything. No detail of His people’s suffering escaped His attention and interest;
  2. “I have heard” (7). See also v.9: “And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me…”;
  3. “I am concerned” (7, see 2:25);
  4. “…I have come down…” (8). In these words we hear a distant echo of the greatest rescue mission ever. It was to be achieved many centuries later when ‘He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.’ The Exodus, mighty deliverance that it was, was but a foretaste of what was to come. It was the ‘overture’ preceding the ‘opera.’

For today, may we be encouraged that this God is still God. He never changes. So He still sees, still hears prayer, still is concerned about what He sees, and still intervenes in response to the cries of His church.

Exodus 3:4-6: ‘Here am I, send someone else!’

Exodus 3:4-6: ‘Here am I, send someone else!’

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Sometimes we may say certain things to God and not know what we are saying. Not fully. We unintentionally promise more than we can deliver. When Moses said, “Here I am” he was certainly there geographically. But as we read through the rest of chapter 3, and on into chapter 4, we can see that he wasn’t really ‘here’ spiritually. He had  lots of reasons (excuses?) why God should send someone else. (I remember a book entitled, ‘Here am I Lord, send Aaron’!) However the reality of God’s presence, fully recognised, is more than enough to blast away our fears and sense of inadequacy. His ‘I Am” is the solution to everything I am not.

‘God is faithful. He called Abraham, cared for Isaac, guided and protected Jacob, and He would be with Moses. He is the God of the individual as well as the nation, and He does not change from generation to generation.’ Warren Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.49.

Exodus 3:4: A responsive heart

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” Psalm 34:15.

God looks with love upon His own, and he is looking for our response to His overtures. Where are you aware of God calling to you at the moment and what is your response? I wonder, what would have happened if Moses had walked on by? If he had not changed direction and gone over to take a look? What might he (indeed what might the world) have missed if he had not gone across?

I think it was Dallas Willard who counselled a pastor, ‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.’ I often think about his wise words, while being acutely aware that it’s a hard thing to do. But I wonder how much I miss by being hurried and distracted? How about you?

Someone said God moves at walking pace!

PRAYER: Lord, help me to walk through life at your pace. May I not fail to see what you are doing or heed what you are saying because I am too much in a hurry.

Exodus 3:1-3: An ordinary day

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

This story unfolds in a ‘backwater’ if ever there was one. To Moses, it must have felt like a place of obscurity and anonymity after the hustle and bustle of Egypt, and the power, the prestige, the colour of life in the palace. But God knew where he was and how to make contact with him. He was working out a great purpose in that barren, remote place. Who could have imagined?

It was another routine working day for Moses I assume. He was faithfully and diligently doing his job. But as he went about his business on this particular day he had a surprise encounter with the Lord. This may happen to any one of us, whether we are working inside the home or without. It may not necessarily be a spectacular meeting. Probably, more often than not, it won’t be. But we can regularly find God in small, ordinary things, if we have the eyes to see and hearts to respond.

There was no doubt nothing unusual about seeing a bush on fire in the desert. But what was extraordinary was the fact that it burned but did not burn up. That made it a ‘wonder.’ Even so, Moses had to respond, and he clearly did (3).

God has His own ways and means of getting our attention.

‘You never know what a day may bring, so keep your eyes and ears open to the leading of the Lord. Childlike curiosity completely changed Moses’ life.’ Warren W, Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.49

Exodus 2:23: God’s care

“So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” (See also 3:7)

The longer people suffer while they (and we) pray for relief, the more it may appear that God is indifferent. ‘Doesn’t He care?’ Well, the Bible describes life as it is, and what this passage assures us is that God is concerned, even when it may appear that He isn’t. But He moves according to His own time-table and not ours.

As we conclude chapter 2, I think you will find this a helpful quote from Tom Hale:

‘God hadn’t forgotten His promise – as we humans often do. When God “remembers,” it means He has decided that it is time to act (Genesis 8:1).
As God looked down on the Israelites and was concerned about them (verse 25), He was responding (as Moses had done) to people in distress. But He was also responding to His own word, His own promises. He had told Abraham that after his descendants had suffered (in Egypt) for four hundred years, He would punish the nation they serve as slaves, and that afterward they would come out with great possessions (Genesis 15:13-14). Now the time had come for the deliverance of the descendants of Abraham.’ ‘The Applied OT Commentary,’ p.209.

PRAYER: Lord please give me the faith that trusts your Word, and the patient that trusts your timing.

Exodus 2:23-25: Prayer over the long haul

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

First of all, we are again reminded that Moses’ exile (and leadership training) lasted a “long” time (23). Someone observed about God: ‘He is not slow; He is not in a hurry; He is always on time.’

But we can also sense that Israel’s praying for deliverance was not a one-off thing, but it was protracted praying that went the distance. Some prayers are answered quickly, while others (and it may be some of our most gut-wrenching ones) take time. Praying people need to remember the big picture and be able to take the long view. But where our prayers and God’s promises are in unison, something is going to happen, even though the answer may be a long time coming (3:7).

PRAYER: Lord God, as I pray please grant me steadfast faith in your Word, and unfailing patience that stays the course.

Exodus 2:15-22: The Badlands

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”
19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20 “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”

Eugene Peterson wrote about travelling through ‘the Badlands’ each summer, when he and his wife and children returned from Maryland to stay at their family home in Montana. The description refers to a barren region of Dakota. But he also used this term for a period he went through early on in his ministry. He was about three years into the founding of a church, and found himself running out of steam. It was a difficult time, but he and his wife eventually came through it, and they learned some lessons and established certain patterns that would help to sustain them over a long ministry in the suburbs of Baltimore.

God does some of His finest work in deserts. Read your Bible! Many a leader has spent time in ‘the university of the wilderness.’ Also, note that God is not in a hurry in preparing His leaders. Ask Moses. Whenever we have to spend time in the ‘desert’, we will no doubt find, as he did, that God has gone before us and made abundant provision.

In his ‘Badlands’ Moses found:

• Refreshing: there was ‘a well’ (15). He had a supply of water and food (20);
• A place of hospitality (20). What it must have meant to him to be the stranger invited in;
• A sphere of service (17-19). (It’s interesting how the leader in Moses keeps coming out. Leaders can’t help themselves. They have to do something about intolerable situations. Although Moses got things badly wrong when he killed the Egyptian, I see the leader in him in that story;
• A home (21);
• A marriage, and a baby.

The wilderness was a place of ‘divine appointment’ for Moses, and an arena of long, patient training.

Writing of his own experience, Eugene Peterson said:

“But without those years in the badlands, I would never have become a pastor, at least not the pastor I’d earlier had a vision of being, a John of Patmos pastor, the pastor I had hoped I might be. Looking back now, I see myself in those prebadlands years as a Labrador puppy, full-grown but uncoordinated, romping and playful but not yet “under authority,” oblivious to its master’s command: “Sit.” The only verbal signal that the puppy was capable of responding to was “Fetch,” which sent him galloping across a field, catching a Frisbee in full flight, and returning it with wagging tail, ready for more. In the badlands I learned to sit.”

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