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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

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blogstephen216

Pastor of The King's Church Boston Spa.

Exodus 3:20-22: God’s surprising provision

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favourably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbour and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

As we saw yesterday, God sent Moses back to Egypt with a message, and a clear picture of key events to unfold on the pathway to full release. But we didn’t look at this final part of the message. These two verses remind me of the dictum: ‘God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.’ The God who sent ravens with food for Elijah, and who fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes, regularly surprises us with His provision – not only what He gives, but also how He gets it to us

We read Exodus 3 knowing all this did happen. But when Moses heard these words everything lay ahead of him. He was still in the desert. It must have seemed remarkable. But it did come to pass because God’s Word is true and none of His good promises will ever fall to the ground

Exodus 3:16-20: The end from the beginning

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

The God whose name is ‘I AM’ – the eternal God – knows the end from the beginning. He who knows all things can, if He so chooses, reveal something of the future to any one of His people at any time. Here, he gave Moses reassurance about the ultimate success of his mission. Although Pharaoh would be resistant, he would not be successful. In the short-term, Moses would find a ready hearing among “the elders of Israel”, and he was not going to be alone. He and the elders were going to stand before Pharaoh together.

There are many parallels between Israel’s experience of salvation and ours. It is surely true to our experience that God has brought us “up out of” our “misery” into “a land flowing” with blessing.

One further thought: I wonder if the believers at prayer had this passage in the back of their minds, when they said in Acts 4:20:  “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

When God’s people speak His Word, and God stretches out His mighty Hand remarkable events take place.

PRAYER: Lord, as we endeavour to speak your Word, we look for your power, that your Kingdom will come and your purposes unfold upon the earth.

Exodus 3:15: The God of personal relationship

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the 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,

    the name you shall call me

    from generation to generation.

‘The Lord answered all of Moses’ objections and gave one assurance after another to encourage him. Moses said, “I am not!” And God replied, “I AM!” Faith lays hold of what God is and obeys what God says. Faith sees the opportunities while unbelief sees the obstacles. Are you arguing with God about something He wants you to do?’ Warren W.Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.50.

God is not only the eternal God, and the self-existent One. He is also the faithful God Who keeps His covenant. He kept all His promises to the patriarchs, and His people in Moses’ day were also going to find Him to be utterly reliable – as will we.

But He is also the God of personal relationship. He knows us – knows us by name. Furthermore, this relationship cannot be severed by death:

‘Had we been called upon to demonstrate life beyond death from the Old Testament, we should hardly have turned to this chapter. But our Lord read the profound significance of these august words, Matthew 22:31,32. Evidently the patriarchs must have been all living when God spoke, or he would never have declared himself as being still their God. Had they ceased to exist he must have said, not I am, but I was the God of the fathers.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’p.38.

Thought: ‘The church is the only society on earth that doesn’t lose a single member by death. They just transfer to another branch.’

Exodus 3:13,14: God is enough

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

This most revered name of God contains wonder and mystery. It speaks of His eternal nature, but it also contains impenetrable depths, beyond anyone’s ability to explain. One thing it does tell the Israelites, though (and ourselves, by extension) is that God is enough. He is always more than enough. The pre-existent eternal One is all-sufficient. He is ‘a living and constant presence.’ Tom Hale: ‘Applied OT Commentary, p.212

‘What Moses asked was, “What does Your name mean? What kind of a God are you?” God explained that the name Jehovah is a dynamic name, based on the Hebrew verb “to be” or “to become.” He is the self-existent One who always was, always is, and always will be, the faithful and dependable God who calls Himself “I AM.” Centuries later, Jesus would take the name “I AM” and complete it: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), “I am the light of the world” (8:12), “I am the true vine” (15:1), and so on.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘OT Commentary,’ pp.150, 151.

Further thoughts from Exodus 3…

Before we move further on in the chapter, I want to highlight a couple of thoughts triggered by reading around it. Both were sparked by Tom Hale’s Applied Commentary:

  1. We are sometimes intrigued, and disturbed even, by the terrain we have to travel in life. God takes us to places we didn’t expect and (maybe?) we’d rather not be. Having been raised as a prince in the palace, Moses spent forty years in the obscurity of the desert. But during that time he got to know it ‘like the back of his hand’ – all preparation for leading the people of Israel through it in later days. It may not have looked like the education he received in Egypt, but it was in many ways a more valuable form of instruction. The Lord knows what He is doing!
  2. If we will say, “Here I am” to God, and truly mean it, He will take us on an adventure.

Are you ready for an adventure with God?

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.

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