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Getting To Know God Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2021 1:00 am

Getting To Know God Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 9, 2021 1:00 am

On the surface it sounds preposterous. If someone says, “I know God,” many people would simply laugh. It’s hard enough to meet an important official like the President, so how could we think we know God? But the truth about God is amazing! While we may never shake the President’s hand, we can know God and know Him intimately. That’s what Moses found out.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

On the surface, it sounds preposterous. If someone says, I know God, a lot of people would say, sure you do, and I know the President. We may never shake the President's hand, but we can know God and know Him intimately. That's what Moses found out.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, on the surface, it does sound a bit arrogant to say that we can know God. Well Dave, it does seem arrogant, but we think of the words of Jesus Christ in John chapter 17, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. As a matter of fact, you know, we have blessings today that the people during the time of Moses did not have, because Christ had not yet come. They had fellowship with God, and that of course was based on the fact that someday Jesus would come, but we are on this side of the cross.

So the answer is yes, we can know God, and the invitation is extended to everyone who comes to God through Jesus Christ. I've written a book entitled Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses. Let me explain to you why it is so important that in the Bible so much is written about the life of Moses, because God wants us to know He uses flawed people.

Moses was not perfect, and we'll certainly see that even as these sermons unfold. But if you would like to have a copy of this book for a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses. And even as we open our Bibles now, we'll understand much better God's interaction with Moses, and in the process we'll better understand God's interaction with us. Recently I was on a plane sitting next to a Jewish woman. We were discussing Judaism. She was telling me about her religion, and in order to get down to more important issues so far as where she was at, I turned to her and said, I'd like to ask you something. Could you say that you really know God? Let's suppose somebody asked you that question. Do you really know God? J.I. Packer, in his excellent book entitled Knowing God, gives four characteristics of people who really know God.

Let's use them as a checklist and see how you do. First of all, Packer says that people who know God have great energy for God. They have great energy for God. Daniel chapter 11 verse 32, the people who know their God shall be strong and shall do exploits.

When they see the name of God dishonored, they are invigorated because they are jealous for the honor of God's name, and they wait on God and receive strength to change the situation. Secondly, Packer says that they have great thoughts about God. Great thoughts about God. You read the book of Daniel and you discover that Daniel has some of the most beautiful passages in all the Bible regarding the awesome government of God throughout the whole universe.

It is the Most High who rules in the kingdom of men and gives those kingdoms to whomever he wills. Great thoughts about God. One of the greatest needs of the church today is to expand its conception of God at least partially in the direction of the wonderful revelation of God.

Nobody can comprehend God completely, but we all need to think greatly of him. Discouragement oftentimes means that we are not depending on God, that we are clinging to a piece of driftwood as if God no longer exists. Third, Packer says that they show great boldness for God. You remember Daniel was told that he should not pray toward Jerusalem or anywhere else, and there was a decree made in the kingdom that those who prayed would be thrown into the lion's den. Was Daniel intimidated? Was he intimidated as some of us might be tempted to be someday when we need to compromise our religious conviction so far as the state is concerned as our freedoms are being stripped away? No, Daniel continued to pray, the Bible says, as formerly, and then he was thrown into the lion's den, and the lions, of course, their mouths were closed. But let's suppose that the lions had torn him apart.

Would it make any difference? No, because obedience is really what counts. Those who know God have great boldness for God. And number four, they have great contentment with God. I've told you before that George Mueller believed that the first duty of every single Christian is to be content with his God. Contentment with God means that we can do without some things that we think we need because we have an inner contentment with God.

We can survive a ruptured relationship. We can live through some pretty tough situations because we know God and God gives us the inner sense of peace. The condemnation is gone and the presence of God by faith dwells within us.

We have contentment with God. This is a third in a series of messages on the life of Moses and I want you to be reminded as you turn in your Bibles to Exodus chapter 4 that Moses had spent some time in Egypt and then he spent some time in Midian and now the Lord God was taking him back to Egypt to become the leader of his people. But before Moses could go to Pharaoh, before he could do something mighty for God, he had to know God better.

And what I'd like to do today is to give you three instances, three experiences that Moses had and each of those experiences drew him closer to God and he understood one of the attributes of God just a little better and how much he needed those experiences. First of all, God says I'm going to help you to understand my sovereignty, the first attribute, the sovereignty of God. Notice in chapter 4 Moses goes back and tells his father-in-law that he has to leave for Egypt and it says in verse 20 that he took his wife and children. Verse 21, the Lord said to Moses when you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh thus says the Lord Israel is my son my firstborn. What the Lord is saying here in this text is I am sovereign in history.

I'm sovereign over individuals and as we shall see in a moment the Lord is sovereign even over nations. God says Moses I want you to go back to Egypt and as for Pharaoh I will harden his heart. Oh the hardness of Pharaoh's heart has caused so many problems for people throughout the ages. Why would God harden Pharaoh's heart? Well first of all let me point out that God probably did not do it directly but indirectly. He may simply have withdrawn his grace in the life of Pharaoh and allow that hard heart to get even harder or maybe he used Satan to do it. God sometimes uses Satan for his own purposes that is for God's own purposes because in the old testament God is oftentimes said to do things that he actually permits to be done and that makes sense when you come to think of it because he is God he could choose to not permit it therefore if he permits it it is spoken of as if he has done it. But you say well even so pastor Lutzer why take a man's heart and harden it?

Well I need to tell you it is so that God might display his power and that God wanted a Pharaoh whose hard heart was made even harder so that he would withstand the children of Israel and eventually God would overcome Pharaoh and crush him and use him as an example of the sovereignty of God in human history even in the midst of leaders such as Pharaoh. You say well are you sure you're not going beyond the scripture? No I want you to turn today to the ninth chapter of the book of Romans where Paul refers to this explicitly as an example of God's power. Romans chapter 9 verse 17.

It says the scripture says to Pharaoh for this very purpose I raised you up in order to demonstrate my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth. Paul says so then God has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires. Are you troubled by that? This past weekend I met someone who said that in their church when a minister is expounding the book of Romans he begins with chapter 8 and begins with chapter 12 because there's an agreement that 9, 10, and 11 will not be commented on because they are too controversial.

Well I'm sorry about that I won't tell you what denomination it is but why are we ashamed to say what God said? But I know there's something within us that says that doesn't make sense. How then can he blame Pharaoh if he hardens his heart? Isn't that exactly what you're thinking?

If you're awake you should be. And Paul knows that that's what we're going to be thinking so he says in verse 19 you will say then to me why does he still find fault for who has resisted his will? You know what Paul says?

He says it more politely than I'm going to say it but he's saying uh would you please shut up? You have no right to question God. On the contrary who are you old man who answers back to God?

The thing molded will not say to the molder why did you make me like this will it? Does not the potter have power over the clay to make of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and for another of common use? Cannot God take a man whose heart is hard and withdraw his presence and let him become harder if God wants to demonstrate something? And the apostle Paul says yes he can. You know the freedom of the will has been a controversial point in the church history for 2000 years. Erasmus was a man who wrote a book on the freedom of the will. Luther believed that if you believe in the freedom of the will you do not understand salvation. Therefore Luther wrote his best book entitled The Bondage of the Will and what Luther said in that book is that your will is something like a beast and he says if God rides the beast why then indeed the beast goes where God wills that it go and if Satan ride the beast the beast goes where Satan wills that the beast go. You know today we are berserk with the question of who am I?

Everybody's asking who am I? That was never a question for Martin Luther. Martin Luther's question was not who am I but rather whose am I?

To whom do I belong? If I do not belong to God I am not the free man that I think I am but I end up doing what Satan wants me to do and that's why I plead with you this morning that if there is at least a spark of desire for you to do God's will cry out to God and ask him to help you to do it because you are not as free as you think you are and the Bible would teach us to beware of a hardened heart that could become harder. Now the Lord is saying to Moses, Moses I have control over Pharaoh but also over nations verse 22 you shall say to Pharaoh thus says my firstborn Israel was God's firstborn. The Lord says I have chosen you. You remember God chose Abraham when he was still an idol worshiper.

It was not because there was some righteousness in Abraham. God says I'm going to sovereignly choose you as mine and so he chose Abraham and he chose the Jewish race and what the Lord is saying to Moses up front is Moses I am sovereign over history. I want you to know that my control even extends providentially even to the human wills and to human beings and to nations.

Now let me ask you a question. Why is it that Moses needed to know that before he was going back to Egypt? He needed to know it because the Lord says Moses I want you to know that I am the God of obstacles. You are going to run across someone who is going to be very stubborn but I do not want you to think that that stubbornness was somehow beyond my control or that his stubbornness was going to block my purposes.

Oh no. No Moses you must understand that even human stubbornness can bring about and fulfill my intentions and my purposes because I'm God. Moses do not take the hardness of Pharaoh's heart as if it's something that is beyond my providential will. There is no obstacle that stands in the way of what God wants to do and Moses needed that and you and I need it because we encounter stubborn people if not every day at least twice a day and therefore what we need is to recognize that God works in and through all of these human dilemmas. So first of all the Lord says Moses you need to understand my sovereignty. Secondly the Lord said to Moses you need to understand my holiness. Now here's a puzzle in verse 24.

I say puzzle because many people have wondered what this text teaches. It says it came about at the lodging place on the way. They're going back to Egypt that the Lord met him and sought to put Moses to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses feet and said you are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me so God let him alone. At that time she said you are a bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision. Just a little vignette inserted as they're going back to Egypt. What does it mean? You see Moses was now to go as leader of the people and God had told Abraham that all of your seed should be circumcised because circumcision would be a sign of the covenant and Moses had been disobedient in his household and had not done it. And evidently he had not done it because his wife did not want to have it done because she said it is bloody and it is detestable.

And so they're going along and this incident happens. What God is saying in the strongest possible language to Moses is Moses number one I want you to get something straight. You are the head of your home and if you think that you can go back to Egypt and be some kind of a leader there when your own act isn't cleaned up when you have not displayed obedience in those things that pertain to your domestic matters I want you to know that you need to do that first. Furthermore you need to be reminded of the covenant because if you are not reminded of that you are going to collapse into despair. By the way as we go through the life of Moses I want you to watch every time his wife is referred to because I have a suspicion that he and Zipporah or Zipporah depending on where you put the emphasis.

I have the suspicion that they didn't really get along too well. But more than that the lesson to be drawn is this there are some men who are not spiritual leaders in their home because their wife is resistant. She may say I don't want to go to church I don't want to do this I don't want to do that and so he thinks to himself well to keep peace I'll do nothing. Listen to me very carefully God will judge you and discipline you for your disobedience.

Now oftentimes in homes it is the opposite way isn't it? It is the wife who wants to be spiritual and she looks to her husband for that spiritual leadership and it isn't there and bless her heart she has to step in and be a spiritual leader to the children. But I want to say to all of the men that are here today the married men the fathers as I say to myself God says first of all you must understand that I want obedience even in your home leadership. Furthermore Moses could have argued with God and said well God I'm already going to Egypt I'm being obedient to the big thing. And God says I want you to know that being obedient to the big call does not let you off the hook for obedience in lesser matters. I am holy and I expect you to obey. So Moses has had a lesson in the sovereignty of God he's had a lesson in the holiness of God and now he needs a third lesson. Let me tell you why he needed this third lesson. It's because when he went to Egypt he did get a chance to talk to Pharaoh and he said Pharaoh would you please let us go and worship God for three days? He's making a request that is very reasonable he's not saying we're going to leave permanently but he's saying at least for three days. The king of Egypt says to himself what are these Jews up to?

They're asking these questions because they don't have enough to do. And now notice what the text has to say in verse 7 of chapter 5. You are no longer to give the people straw to make bricks as previously let them go and gather straw for themselves. Let's skip to verse 19 and the foreman of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told you must not reduce your daily amount of bricks. In other words what Pharaoh did was he responded negatively and said look in light of the fact that all that you're worrying about is taking three days off I'm going to even give you more work. The children of Israel were slaves they were building cities they were building with bricks and they were given straw to do it and he said I want the same quota of bricks but you gather your own straw and those whips that were used for those Jewish slaves were brought down on the backs of God's people and there was a reaction toward Moses. Let's read of it it says verse 20. When they left Pharaoh's presence they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them and the Lord said to them may the Lord look upon you and judge you for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants to put a sword in their hand to kill us. Then then Moses returned to the Lord and said oh Lord why has thou brought harm to this people why did thou ever send me ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name he has done harm to this people and thou has not delivered the people at all. Here's Moses obedient trying to do God's will reluctantly dragged out of the desert brought back to Egypt and now is the time when he expects finally the people will accept him he already experienced the pain of rejection 40 years ago and he comes and in obedience to God it blows up in his face the people rebel and now his own people are angry with him. One of the hardest things for us to endure is when we do right and get blamed for it or get misunderstood for it.

It is difficult to take. My friend this is Pastor Lutzer. Do you now understand why I think that Moses has so much to teach us and in his life we see ourselves. The story that you have just heard is one that perhaps you have experienced. I hold in my hands a book I've written entitled Getting Closer to God.

It's actually this series of messages but I need to tell you that in it I have this story. I am a man 31 years old and divorced though I fought the divorce bitterly. I feel badly because I have no hope for the future. Often I go home from church and cry but there's no one to hold me when I cry.

No one cares. What hurts most is that I beg God for the grace to be single for his glory and to fix my eyes on Jesus but nothing changes. I continue to fail. I'm a basket case emotionally or on the verge of collapse. Something is very wrong. I'm so crippled and embittered that I can scarcely relate to others anymore.

I feel I will have to sit out the rest of my life in the penalty box. This book that I've written entitled Getting Closer to God not only has the stories of my life not only has the stories of Moses but the stories of others who've been through hurt, disappointment, anger issues, relational issues and yet even in their lives we see the faithfulness of God. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours. It's entitled Getting Closer to God.

Here's what you do. Go to Now of course that's all one word or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses.

Of course we know that God is close to us all the time but there is a sense in which we learn to live in his presence and that's what this book is all about. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and let me thank you in advance for helping us here at Running to Win. Running to Win ministry is in 20 different countries in three different languages all because of people just like you.

You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Dr. Erwin Lutzer with part one of Getting to Know God, the third in a series of 12 messages about Moses, a man getting closer to God. Next time we'll watch as Moses finds God to be absolutely faithful. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 18:19:31 / 2023-09-23 18:28:15 / 9

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