September 10, 2017

The Exodus Narrative: Hope and Victory – Part One

I Don't Think I Can Do It - Emmanuel Naweji

Imagine being in front of such a great opportunity you've always wanted to have in life.

But, deep in you, you wonder: "I don't think I can do it."

I have been in situations like that many times, by the way.

Today, we're looking at someone who was also in a similar situation. This man's name is Moses.

We'll learn three things from him, which will help you say more often "I think I can do it" even when the task or the next step in life seems impossible for you.  

Who was Moses and what made him an authority in the Bible?

You'll find more about Moses' birth in the book of Exodus, with focus on chapters one and two. Born as a Hebrew, a daughter of Pharaoh (Egyptian kind) would adopt him.

Moses, even though raised as an Egyptian, finds out that he is a Hebrew. Then, he decides to protect his people from the Egyptian oppression.

As a result, he would kill an Egyptian. Pharaoh hears about it, and Moses flees from Egypt to save his life.

He lives now in Midian where he takes care of his father-in-law's flock.

What makes Moses a significant person is that the authorship of the first five books of the Old Testament is traditionally given to him.

Jesus also quoted Moses in many instances, which we read about in the four gospels: Matthew, Marc, Luke and John. 

Now, what are the three things we can learn from Moses to help change how we respond to what happens to us? 

1. You find the answer to your questions when you choose to walk into the impossible

We find the answer to our questions when we choose to walk into what seems impossible to us! 

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Begin by reading these verses: 

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. Exodus 3: 1-5. ESV.

The way we discover more about ourselves is when we choose to face what seems impossible for us.

Moses did it, and we see it in the story above.

There are three things that Moses did according to the story, which can help us today.

First, he looked. Second, he turned aside to see. Third, he tried to understand what was going on with this bush.

He even called what seemed so unreal "a great sight."

Turning aside to see could mean, for you and I, taking an appropriate position that will allow you to see better!

And, trying to understand could mean to inquire of what you see. Moses turned this burning bush into a "great sight."

The meaning of every single event that happens to you depends on how you want it be. 

Be the one to give meaning to everything that happens to you!

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You get some good out of what happens to you when you refer to it as a great vision or sight.

Consider what you go through as something you want to learn more about and have a closer look at it.

Doing so requires you to shift your perception of life.

2. All that needs done is a part of the bigger plan


Your perception of life implies looking at yourself as a part of the bigger plan. 

All that needs done is a part of the bigger plan.

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That's exactly what God is trying to tell Moses. Take a look at the following verses: 

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And 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 at God.. Exodus 3: 4-6. ESV.

Here are things that happen now.
  • God calls Moses by his name. 
  • God calling Moses by his name is in response to what we've described above.
It results from doing the following:
  • Look and do not ignore what you see (or what happens to you);
  • Position yourself to see better;
  • Engage your body, mind, soul, and spirit to understand what you've seen.

It's all about God

Based on the text in Exodus 3, God introduces Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to Moses.

In other words, not only God wanted Moses to know it was the God of his ancestors.

But, God stresses that it's all about God.

EXODUS is God's plan for humankind, just as it was for Israel.

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Read verses 7 through 9,

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.. Exodus 3: 7-9. ESV.

3. You are a part of God's bigger Picture: EXODUS

Moses is at the right place and in the right position. God introduces to him the bigger picture, which consisted on setting the people of Israel free from the Egyptians.

God is about to do something according to what He had promised Abraham,

Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. Genesis 15: 13-14. ESV. 

But, God needs Moses to be a part of God's bigger picture. 

Here is Moses' response to God: 

Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? Exodus 3: 11. ESV.

Just as God called Moses to be a part of God's plan, God is also calling you this day.

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Moses thought becoming a part of God's plan was like mission impossible. 

Remember that Moses is living in a different land because he fled from Egypt to save his life. And, now God is asking him to go back to a country where they want his life.

That's like a suicide mission. Don't you think? 

Here's the reason why Moses was no longer living in Egypt. It was because he had killed an Egyptian in defending an Israelite. As a result, he had to flee and would find refuge in Midian. 

Moses tried to resolve something on his own. 

Then, he did not have any experience with the burnish bush. He was not thus aware of his potential and spiritual gifting.

To realize God's plan in our lives, we need God to illumine our minds and open our eyes.

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Moses might have heard from God about God's name, God's bigger plan, and personal calling. 

Now, that he has had an encounter with God at the burning bush, he is still unsure whether the people of Israel will listen to him or not.

That's your situation too. Isn't it?

How do I fit into God's bigger plan: EXODUS?

Every human is here on earth for some reason. Finding about that is how you learn where you fit in God's bigger plan. 

It is the kind of clarity Moses gets as he encounters God at the burning bush.

Remember that his attempts to help a couple of Hebrews was unsuccessful. As a result, he had to flee from Egypt to save his life.

To find out more about how you fit into God's bigger plan requires the following three things. 

It starts with a personal encounter with God. 


In the case of Moses, it happened at the burning bush. 

For you, it may happen anywhere. Actually, the place does not matter.

Throughout the Bible (the New Testament), we read about other people who have had the same experience. And, each one is different from the other. 

Joshua, for instance, will take over Moses' leadership to lead the Israelites into the promised land. God would later call other people to be a part of God's bigger plan. Here are some of them: Deborah, Jael, Samuel, king David, and more. 

Some were called to judge over the people of Israel. Others were kings. And, others were to serve as priests, and the list goes on.  

What I'm saying here is that it all starts with a personal encounter with God.

What you need you already have it.

A person encounter with God brings about awareness of what you have. 

This awareness comes out of God illumining your mind (heart) and opening your eyes to see as you should.

God did with Moses. As Moses is uncertain that Pharaoh or the Israelites will listen to him, God asks him: "What is that in your hand?"

Moses responds: "a staff."

The staff Moses had was a shepherd's tool. Shepherds used a staff for three primary reasons: 

  • It served as support for walking.
  • It also served as a weapon. 
  • It was also used as an instrument of punishment.

There are other meanings that the word "staff" can have today. For example, it can also be a sign of authority and leadership.

  • Having a staff means that you are in a position of power and have a leadership role.
  • As Christians, we have power and authority through Jesus Christ. We overcome forces of evil and darkness in the name of Jesus.
  • We are also called to be spiritual leaders in our families, in school, at work, in the Church and community.

Whatever you have with you is an instrument God aims at using for His glory.

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Whatever you're holding is an instrument God aims at using for His glory.

"Staff" can also mean that you belong to a team in an organization.

In our case, we belong to the Church.We are members of God's plan for redemption that started with Jesus Christ on the cross.

This plan continues today through you and me.Because of what you have, you are a member of God's team to help people get out of Egypt.

What you notice in the story is that Moses was not aware of the potential he had.That's the reason why Moses had to flee from Egypt.

A staff represents all what you've got. In our cases, it may be anything you're holding. It may be a skill you have, a spiritual gift, a relationship, and the list goes on.

God uses what's already available with you. It's about the regular stuff, which God uses to do extraordinary things through you.

Now, go out to serve God and the People

Moses did not stay at the burning bush his entire life. He was there only once and then had left to go out to serve God and the people. 

God gives Moses a sign that the Israelites will come and worship God. Read Exodus 3: 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.” NIV. 

Do you see what serving God and the people come to? 

God hopes that whatever experience we have, we will be able to help others get to to have it too. 

Moses' vision, he receives from God, is not only to take people out of Egypt. It is also to lead them to the mountain of God. 

Don't leave people halfway. Take them where God is waiting for them!

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Bringing it together

Yes, you can do it because of three primary reasons. First, you choose to walk into anything, even when everything seems impossible to you. Second, you acknowledge all that needs done is a part of the bigger plan. Lastly, you know that you're a part of God's bigger plan: EXODUS. 


This is a reflection based on the sermon I delivered at the United Methodist Church of Harris and Lake Park. Click the link below to listen to the full audio sermon.