You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, don't you hate it when you get a phone call from somebody and you don't know who it is? And you don't recognize the voice?
No, no. I'm not talking to you until I know who you are. Yeah, you got to know who they are. Well, when you have a good conversation, that's important.
And today Moses does not get a phone call from God, but he still has an encounter with God. And the question on his lips is, who are you today on More Than Ink? Well, a wonderfully warm welcome to you this morning. I'm Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And it's our delight to sit here across the dining table from one another and help you understand a little bit better what we're looking at in the Bible, but actually to equip you so that you not only know how to read the Bible, but that you'll be, how do you put it, have an appetite for it. An appetite, that is so important. Yeah, and sometimes just getting an exposure to the word is what develops that appetite.
Just like you don't know your favorite foods until you taste them the first time. Well, and getting away from a rote reading, right? Or just kind of you go into auto-listen when somebody starts reading from the Bible. And it's not that.
No, it's not that. So we are in Exodus right now, the wonderfully great story of the amazing rescue of what people consider, I'd estimate somewhere around maybe three million people came out of Egypt. So this is the amazing rescue of the three million Israelites. Well, and as we said a couple weeks ago, this is actually the central story of the whole Bible. God delivers his people. He himself provides a way out of bondage. Right, because the central message of the Bible is God doing that for all of mankind.
Right, through sending his son, the ultimate deliverer. So this is a way we start to understand the big plan. And even right now, this time of year that we're recording this, we have well turned the corner into the season change into winter. And winter is really a great time. But in that change, it's sort of nice. I like the fact that God changes the weather because I get tired of the old stuff. Well, as we're getting here into Exodus, a big change is about to take place. Not only in Moses' life, but even in the Israelites' life.
And so today, we see this gigantic change. The corner turns for Moses himself as he confronts God in Exodus 3. Yeah, so let's remember where Moses was at this point in his life. Because when he fled from Pharaoh, he headed east across the Sinai Peninsula and found himself in the region of Midian, encountered those shepherdesses at the well that were being bullied by the other local shepherds.
He helped them and winds up being drawn into the family of Jethro, the priest of Midian, and eventually marries one of his daughters, Zipporah. So that's where we are. Moses is just doing life as a shepherd in the wilderness. And he's deliberately not being in Egypt. And this has been going on for a long time. Yeah, most people, I think 40 years at this point.
Right, a whole generation. So he left Egypt, stomped the dust off his feet. He's been tending sheep. And for 40 years with his father-in-law, he doesn't even have his own flock to call his own. He's still taking care of his father-in-law's flock. Don't you think that at this point he's thinking, well, this is my life now.
This is it. I was raised in the palace in Egypt, and this is my life now. And for Moses, haven't heard anything from God in over 40 years. So he's gone out into the wilderness, in fact longer than that. Yeah, that's funny that you said that. I never really thought about that before. We don't know for a fact.
Not for a fact. But in terms of the documentation, it could be in Moses' mind that he successfully left Egypt and this life now in Midian tending his father-in-law's sheep is the end charge. This is actually his first real encounter with the God of his fathers.
There has been no reference to that up to this point. Now, God's fingerprints have been all over this story, but Moses does not have a firsthand acquaintanceship with this God. The God introduces himself here. That's all going to change today. Okay, we better get into it. Let's get into it. Let's get into it.
Yeah. So you want to read? Sure. Want me to read?
All right. Now, we're beginning right at the beginning of chapter 3. Chapter 3. So 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. Okay, can we stop there for a second? Yeah. Because where was he?
We read through this without stopping to think. We know that he fled to the east out of Egypt. And here we're told very specifically he's out rattling around in the wilderness with the sheep, and he comes to Horeb, the mountain of God. Well, Horeb, the mountain of God, is another name for Sinai. Mount Sinai.
That whole region. Which figures prominently later on. That's right. So, you know, I think it was only a few years ago that I realized that when Moses led the people out, he was familiar with this territory. Bingo.
They were not. Been here before. He had been shepherding sheep in that region for a very long time.
Yep, yep. Been here before. Okay, so he's out in this particular part of the wilderness. And the angel of the Lord, this is verse two, 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'll turn aside to see this great sight. Check it out. Why the bush is not burned. You think? Yeah.
I will. But when he 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're 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.
Let's stop there. He knew it wasn't a burning bush anymore. Well, yeah. Something odd going on, and he turns aside. Yeah. I think it's interesting that before God says anything to Moses, he has to get his attention. He attracts his attention.
Yeah. I think that's just fascinating. Because it's typical of us, we don't hear until God gets our attention. And God uses things to get our attention. So this got his attention. He sees this bush that's not being consumed. And so he says, check it out. There's something about this flame coming out of this bush. Check it out.
Yeah, there's something just odd going on here. And so in verse four, so when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see. So when he paid attention. Right. When he paid attention. The first words out of God's mouth are Moses. I know who you are.
Oh my God, your attention. Yeah. And Moses, remember the name means drawn out.
Drawn out. So here Moses has been drawn out into the wilderness. Yeah. God sets this trap.
Yeah. To get his attention. I just love that it's Moses. And he calls him by his name. Calls him by his name. Like Moses thinking, I'll just check out this strange anomaly and the anomaly calls his name.
So it's a personal thing. Everybody knows this story, right? Even people who've never read the Bible know this reference to the burning bush. But we don't pause here long enough to really consider what is going on here.
What is going on? Because the text says very clearly in verse two, and the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Right. In the flame of fire.
Right. So I always stop when I run across that expression, the angel of the Lord, because it is a very mysterious expression. An angel simply means a messenger or a representative. But when this phrase, the angel of the Lord, shows up throughout the Old Testament, mysterious things happen. Sometimes the angel speaks as a messenger and sometimes the angel of the Lord speaks in the first person is God himself. So that ought to get our attention. So an interesting speculation is, who do you know who is both the messenger of God and who is ascribed by the name of God?
God himself. Hmm. Hmm.
Yeah. So some people might say this could be Jesus, pre-incarnate. And actually that's very often what we are led to believe when we run into this, the other cases of the angel of the Lord, that this is a physical representation, a physical appearance of the Lord Jesus himself, who had not yet become flesh.
So Moses is literally encountering God himself. So we don't have too much time because we've got to cover up. No, I know. But what do you make about the sandals thing? The holy, no, take your sandals off because this place is holy.
That's not well understood by people. Well, I have understood it to mean that when you wear your shoes someplace, it's a symbol of you being an authority over that place. You own it. You can walk on it. But God says, no, take your shoes off. You don't own this land. You don't own this place. It's my place.
It's also just a very straightforward, it is that, but it's also a very straightforward thing. Like we do, we have chickens in the backyard and I have to be careful after I walk through the chicken area because I track stuff in from the chicken area that you don't track inside the house. We have chicken shoes. Yeah. That's what we wear out there. Well, it's, and you know, in many places, many homes we go to in our area, you take your shoes off when you come into the house because you don't want to track any outside stuff. Right. So it's often symbolic of the fact that you don't want to track in the muck and dirt of the fallen world into a place that needs to be clean and holy means set apart. So many times symbolically when you take your shoes off, you're saying, I'm going to set apart the contamination of the world and I'm going to be in this place that's not affected by that.
So that's part of it too. Well, and the Lord says to him in verse five, he says, now don't come near, take off your sandals. Right. You recognize that this is a holy place. So you're coming into a sanctified, a set apart thing here. Yeah. Let's keep reading.
Okay. I don't know where you stopped. Let's see if you're standing on holy ground. Verse six, and he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. So God identifies himself. Just in case you're wondering.
Right. Because they had knowledge of God. They knew about the God of Abraham. They knew who they were as a people, but not really.
They were just Abraham's extended family several generations later. So God says, now I want you to know who I am. And then the Lord said, I've 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, 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.
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt. Okay, stop. Yeah.
Yeah. God explains himself very succinctly here. So very often when I'm teaching a class, we will read a portion of scripture aloud and then I will just ask the women I'm teaching, what did you hear?
And that's really profitable. That's a way of observing simply what the text says. So I would say that to you who are listening, what did you hear? You asking me? Well, sure.
I mean, I'm looking at you, but I know that we have people who are listening. I know. You know, no, that's exactly what I do when I read it too because I would wait for things to jump out at me.
I can tell you what jumped out at me, which causes me to do some head scratching. In verse eight he says, I have come down to deliver them and then in 10 he says, I will send you. Right. So which one is it? Which is it?
It's both actually. And it's interesting because God chooses, he doesn't have to, but he chooses and he elects to use us in places where he's going to intercede in divine ways and he wants you involved. It's kind of my way of saying he gives you a front row seat on what he's going to do and he's asking you to be involved because he doesn't need Moses, but he chooses to use Moses. I have come down and I will send you.
Yeah. And I've come down to deliver, which is actually in verses eight, nine, so those are almost a direct quotation from Genesis 15, when God had told Abraham, I'm going to give this land to your people, the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, the Emirates. So I would encourage you who are listening, go back and read Genesis 15 and listen to what God said to Abraham, because he told him very specifically, your people are going to go down to Egypt. They're going to be enslaved for 400 years. I will bring them out of there and give them this land, but not yet.
But not yet. So, you know, when God says all this to Moses, he should be hearing the reiteration of God's covenant with Abraham. Yeah, consistent with God's promises. God's saying, I'm fulfilling my promise now.
So this is not a new act, this is a fulfilled act, is what this is going on. And again, we mentioned about the fact that so much time has passed, the Midian time with Moses, maybe 40 years, but even just the 400 years in Egypt, people might have started thinking, where is God and what's he doing and was his promise to Abraham still intact, or is that kind of faulting? And God's saying right here, nope, we're back to that. That's the plan, I'm involving you. You know, it leaps off the page to me as I was reading this even is, how many times did it say God says, I will, I have seen, I have heard, I know, I have come down, I will bring them up.
I will, I will, I will, I will. He's on top of it. He sees, he hears, he knows, he's aware of the sufferings of his people.
Yeah, yeah, exactly right. And now he's going to intercede. Even though it's been a really long time. This is the time. He says, Moses, Moses is, remember that name is drawn out, says, I've, I'm going to send you to bring my people out, right, right, right.
And then later on, he says, and when you have brought people out, you're going to bring them right back here to worship, right? Back to this point right here where we're launching this whole endeavor. Yeah. How far did we get? Well, I stopped reading at the end of verse 10, because I want to deal with those two questions. So we need that they're coming.
In 11? Yeah. Okay. I'll read that because this is, this is pivotal. But Moses said to God, who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, but I will be with you. And this shall be the sign for you that I have sent you when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.
Stop there. Yeah, that's the first question. So in the next couple chapters, through chapters three and four, we have five questions or five things that Moses says back to God.
And this is the first one. Who am I that you would do this to me? Well, when I was first studying Exodus a few years ago, it occurred to me, this is God unfolding to us. We don't know who we are until we know who our God is. Who am I and who are you are these first two questions. You could even say that that's the better question. The question isn't who am I, but who is God? Exactly.
Well, that's where Moses goes next. That's right. Who am I to do this and God says, it doesn't matter who you are.
It's who I am. That's irrelevant. That's right. That's kind of irrelevant.
I'm doing something here and I'm calling you. Yeah. Did you put in a resume for this job? No. Right. No.
It doesn't matter who you are. I mean, Moses has learned the last 40 years tending the sheep of the wilderness that he isn't anybody. And that's actually the biggest value of the Imidian was the humility. It'll say much later that Moses was the most humble man and God needed somebody who wasn't full of himself to do this task. Yeah. That's just a really big deal. God doesn't need anybody, but he was developing that humility in Moses.
But again, you know, if he wants to choose to use us in the things he's going to do when God comes down, boy, I got to tell you that the prerequisite on your resume is humility. That's right. It has to be. It's because it's just not about you. And that's what we see right here. That's right. And in a good way, Moses is bringing that up.
You know, I'm a nobody. So good. You learned the lesson. So now let's move forward. And then the second question comes up in verse 14, then Moses said to God, if I come to the people of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you and they ask me, what's his name? What shall I say to them?
Right? So question number two is, well, okay, who are you? And God's answer is astonishing. Verse 14, God said to Moses, I am who I am. And he said, say to this people of Israel, I am has sent me to you.
God also said to Moses, say to this people of Israel, the Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob has sent me to you. This is my name forever. Thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
Okay, we're stopping there. Well, yeah, here God says, I'm not a new God. I'm the same God you've always known. You know, I haven't forgotten about you, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which implies the promises made to them and this promise has come to fulfill it.
Right? I'm not a new God. Not a new God. But this I am that I am, you know, that I am the only God who is, essentially, I am dot, dot, dot, I am everything for you. Fill in the blank after that. Right.
This is my memorial name. This is the way I want to be remembered through all generations when you think of God, think the God who is. Yeah.
Yeah. And that's actually the I am who I am is kind of a longer version of just what Yahweh means. And now that title of God is it's all over Genesis.
So that's not a new idea. We say Yahweh, but in a previous generation, they said Jehovah, because this word is written only with four consonants and then just has vowel points on it. We don't really know how it was pronounced.
Yeah, we don't. Even today, devoted Jews will not speak this name. They substitute another Hebrew word.
It's way out of limits from a respect perspective. In fact, they call him the name. And yet here's God saying to Moses, this is my name, and I want you to know it. Exactly.
And I want you, and tell your people, I am sent you. So you know, it doesn't matter. We don't necessarily want to be so holy that we don't actually speak God's name as He chooses to be known. Right.
Because in a lot of the history of Israel, when God would come into the narrative, like in Genesis, often God had a unique name based on what was going on at the time. You know, like I remember Hagar. Okay, right. Hagar says, you know, this is the God who sees, because he sees your condition.
And that's not unusual. So in some sense, there might have been an expectation when he says, what's the name of this God that in giving that name, it would hint about what's going to happen next. Right. See, the character of God. But all he tells me is, well, the I Am is here. Well, that's the same name. We know that name. That's the God who promised to Abraham.
And he's going to say to Moses, and shortly later in this conversation now, I didn't introduce myself this way to your fathers. I was God Almighty to them. But to you, I want you to know I Am. I Am.
Yeah. Well, let's push on. I'll read from here. 16, verse 16, chapter three. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, the Lord, the God of your fathers.
By the way, it's right there. When you see Lord, that's Yahweh. That's it. Yeah. And God is Elohim. The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob has appeared to me saying, I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt.
And I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hittites, and the Jebusites. I should keep repeating that. Yeah. Well, it's a specific area. Well, it is. I mean, He's saying it again. I told you before, and I'm telling you again. This is where we're going. Right.
A land flowing with milk and honey. And then in 18, God says, and they will listen to your voice. Now that's an important, you need to put an asterisk right there, because that's going to come important as we go next week. But they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. And now please let us go a three days journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it.
And after that, he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And when you go, you shall not go empty or empty handed is what we'd say.
But each woman shall ask of her neighbor and any woman who lives in her house for silver or gold jewelry or for clothing. And you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. And you shall plunder the Egyptians. Wow.
So this is what's going to happen. God's telling him the entire story from beginning to end. He doesn't fill in what the what the plagues are, but he says, I'm going to move in a mighty way. Isn't it amazing? He said, look at how many times he says, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will, I'm sending you and you're gonna go, but I will, I will, I will, right, right.
It's just amazing. God's doing this. God's doing this. This is something God's going to do. Yeah. He's fulfilling what he said in verse eight.
I have come down to deliver them and this is how I'm going to do it. And this is what, how I'm going to involve the whole thing. What do you make of that thing? We're running short on time, but of the, the, the little, the, the thing about going into the desert and worshiping, you know, please let us go into the wilderness and sacrifice the Lord our God. That's kind of a, it's an interesting thing.
It's an interesting way to open it up. It kind of makes you wonder if they had not been in the habit of sacrificing prior to this. There was no real structural ceremonial worship as far as I understand it while they were in Egypt. But it occurred to me that this is a, this is an easy starter request for Pharaoh. Right. I mean it's a request that it's, it's appealing and he really can't come up with a real excuse for refusing this request. And so in the process of doing this, God knows that Pharaoh is going to refuse that. And in the process of doing that, Pharaoh's heart will be hardened because of this request. So you know, when you look at passages where it says God hardened Pharaoh's heart or Pharaoh hardened his own heart, here's where you actually see that happen. God puts this request in front of him that's starting the hardening process and Pharaoh says absolutely not without any good rationale and that hardens his heart.
So we see the hardening process going on. This, this may be, this is just my thinking, it's an interesting, easy request that he still says no to and makes him harden that much more against death. Well, since you opened the door for the hardened heart, that is a puzzle that we're going to deal with in the next few chapters as we watch this drama unfold. And it's, it requires some careful observation of the text to see what's happening when it says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Sometimes it says Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
And then there's a third way it's stated that's very passive. Pharaoh's heart was hardened. And so there is a pattern to the way those are presented in the book and we'll, we'll point those out as we go. We'll chart the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. But careful observation of the text is so important.
It's not, it is a compelling story. But we're given some very specific statements here. We need to double back for just a second and talk about when you in a Western translation or a Western edition of the Bible, run across the Lord, capital L-O-R-D, listeners, that is always going to be, that's the way Western editors translate that personal name of God. So that is the I am name. And you will see, when you see God, it's most often Elohim, it's kind of a generic term for God. Which means, which strongly implies power, large power, Elohim. So I just want you to, to bear in mind now running forward those statements or those places in the text where Lord, all in caps, shows up. Because here God has introduced himself and that's how we, that's how editors have translated that into our English.
That goes across all English translations, they do that same thing. So when you see Lord God, or Lord our God, or Lord the God, the Lord is the name Yahweh and it's emphasizing the promise keeping, the covenant keeping, the I am, the existence God. And when you see God, you're seeing a God who's capable of anything, is the mighty and powerful one. So in a sense, when I see it, I put together the God of promise, who's capable of keeping his process, promise.
So that's what I see. Well we are running short on time again. We've gotten halfway through the discussion between Moses and God. And there's still some great questions coming. And there's still more to come and we just don't have time to do all of them in one sitting. And this burning book conversation will continue.
So as we continue into chapter four next time, the conversation goes on and Moses says, well, I still have a few objections. And it doesn't really go well. And it does. I mean, God's on top of it. Well, ultimately it does. Yeah.
So we'll see that. So we're glad you're joining with us. This is great stuff. And I'm Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And we hope you join us next time as we explore this unfolding change in life for Moses and the entry of God into the timeline of Israel as he comes down to deliver. So we'll see you next week on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 23:09:06 / 2023-07-09 23:21:57 / 13