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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Month

November 2021

Exodus 6:9: Defeated

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

Someone was telling me about another person they had conversed with. They made the observation about that individual, that they just seemed ‘defeated’.

We saw yesterday that the preacher must speak God’s Word whether or not it is received.

But the preacher needs to understand that members of the congregation may be carrying things which make it hard for them to accept and respond to the message – even though the living word  offers them freedom. Maybe they feel they’ve heard it all before. Or they think it might work for others, but it doesn’t work for them. They are ground down by life, and so is their expectation.

You may know the saying attributed to Socrates (the philosopher, not the footballer!):

‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’

The preacher needs to remember that the people in the pews are not machines or automata. They have their struggles. Many of them have dragged their weary, discouraged, fearful, hurting, maybe even doubtful, selves into church. But they are there all the same. Some are unwell, perhaps in pain. There are the sick in mind as well as body. Socrates was right, they all have some kind of struggle. Or if they are not going through one currently, they have been through one (or several) in the past, or they’re going to go through one (or more) in the future. Life can be hard.

We all bring our weather-beaten souls into the sanctuary. (Let the congregation ever remember that this also applies to their leaders. They are not machines either! Pray for them).

Notice that the people’s lack of response did not alter God’s plan to set them free (10,11). Again, we marvel at, and are grateful for the grace and mercy of God.

‘…they were too discouraged and disillusioned to believe. Often we deprive ourselves of God’s comfort and encouragement by turning away from Him rather than listening to His word.

On the other hand, people who are terribly crushed down have great difficulty with believing, hoping, persevering; this was certainly true for the Israelites. So God didn’t wait for them to believe his words; instead, He began to act on their behalf. He knew their weakness and their suffering. And in mercy He came to their rescue.

God sometimes waits until we reach the end of our strength, and then He acts; that way we will know it was God who delivered us, and not we ourselves. “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” ‘ Tom Hale: ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, pp. 216, 217.

Exodus 6:6-8: ‘Give them what you’ve got.’

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”

A young preacher asked an older, more seasoned preacher, ‘What should I speak about?’ The older man’s reply: ‘About God, and about 20 minutes!!’

Well, not everyone would agree with his thoughts about duration (and it does, in fact, take under a minute to read verses 6-8). But Moses certainly spoke about God.

More importantly, he spoke from God.

God was speaking through him.

At the end of our first term in Bible College, I was sent to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, for two weeks of ministry experience. I went with a good friend and fellow-student, Billy Williamson, a Scots lad from Greenock. We were warmly welcomed into the church, and into the home of the ‘Elim’ pastor and his wife: Dennis and Ronaldine Phillips. Dennis passed on this piece of counsel about preaching, and I’ve never forgotten it: ‘Just give them what you’ve got.’ He was saying, ‘Don’t worry if it’s short; don’t get hung-up about the length. Just receive from the Lord, and then deliver it. Give them what you’ve got.’

Such as I have give I unto you!

Well, Moses had a word from the Lord.

But note that although the preacher needs to give what he or she has got, the congregation aren’t guaranteed to receive it: to believe and obey it. They won’t necessarily like it. As we will see tomorrow, this ‘church’ didn’t enjoy Moses’ sermon. No-one was likely to listen again online. They pushed the dinner plate full of good food away.

But here’s the important thing: Moses spoke what God gave him to say. He was faithful; and I suppose we could say the talk ‘went viral’, because it has been heard by innumerable people through the centuries, and we are still listening, and benefitting today.

Whether people believe His Word or not, God is powerful and God is able.

PRAYER: Lord, we pray for all who are called to preach your Word. May they hear from you, and loyally and courageously pass on whatever you give to them

Exodus 6:2-5: Spiritual memory

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

Spiritual memory is important for our perseverance in the faith. We remember (deliberately call to mind) what God has said and done in the past.

This applies to our own experience. Whenever I look over an old journal, for example, I am often surprised, and encouraged, to see some of the things I have recorded.

It also applies to the experiences of fellow-Christians. Church history and Christian biography can provide fuel to feed the flames of our faith. We are energised by the stories of other churches and believers.

But most of all it applies to Scripture, where we have the inspired record of God’s words and deeds.

Verses 2-5 are in many ways an appeal to memory. See here:

  • Who God is (2,3; see also 6 & 8): Note the inference that this is a new day. The Patriarchs knew the Name “Yahweh” (“the Lord”), but they did not know Yahweh in their personal experience – not  in the way Moses and the Israelites were going to know Him. They didn’t understand the full implications of His Name. Warren Wiersbe makes the point that this is ‘the special name of God that links Him with Israel and His covenants, and it is so sacred to Jews even today that they will not speak it when they read the Scriptures in the synagogue. Instead, they substitute “Adonai” (Master) or simply say “the Name.” ‘ (Old Testament Commentary, p.154)
  • What God has done (4): and there is within this, surely, a nod to what he is going to do;
  • What God does (5): He hears the earnest cries of His people. When He says, “I have remembered my covenant” it does not mean He had suffered a temporary memory lapse. Rather it is a way of conveying that He had been waiting for the right time to act. That time was now. Faith in God includes trust in His timing.

PRAYER: Lord please help me to remember what you have done for me, what you have done for others, and, most of all, the things you have done and recorded in your Word.

Exodus 5:22-6:1: ‘Show your power, O Lord our God…”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” (6:1)

‘God’s chosen servants must expect opposition and misunderstanding, because that’s part of what it means to be a leader; and leaders must know how to get alone with God, pour out their hearts, and seek His strength and wisdom. Spiritual leaders must be bold before people but broken before God (see Jer 1) and must claim God’s promises and do His will even when everything seems to be against them.’ Warren W. Wiersbe.

As we saw last time, and as Wiersbe so rightly points out, it was a good and right thing that Moses should pray. Someone said what a person is on their knees before God, that they are and nothing more. However Moses seemed to have missed, or misunderstood, or forgotten (or not accepted) something the Lord had clearly foretold about Pharaoh’s resistance.

But when God replied to Moses, He did not castigate him for his frail fallibility. He is so gracious and merciful, and if He were not, what hope would there be for any of us? He just said, in effect, ‘It’s time!’ ‘It’s my time to act, and I’m going to show my power and deal with this situation.’ (The reference to God’s “mighty hand” is about His power). God, by His power, can deal with our enemies; God, by His power, can change the worst of situations.

Spurgeon said: ‘The holiest of Christians, and those who understand best the gospel of Christ, find in themselves a constant inclination to look to the power of the creature, instead of looking to the power of God and the power of God alone.’

So we may want to pray today:

“Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past.” (Psalm 68:28: ‘New Living Translation’).

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