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Letting God be God - Life of Moses Part 17

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
June 13, 2024 7:00 am

Letting God be God - Life of Moses Part 17

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Well, you know, for the last several months here at McLean Bible Church, we've been keeping company with a fellow named Moses. We've watched God preserve his life as a baby. We've watched God place him in the palace of Egypt to be trained in all of the wisdom of the Egyptians. And then we watched as God took Moses to the backside of the desert and spent 40 years breaking Moses and training him for spiritual service.

I love what Dwight L. Moody said, the great evangelist of the 19th century. He said, and I quote, Moses spent 40 years in Pharaoh's court thinking he was a somebody, 40 years in the desert learning he was a nobody, and 40 years showing what God can do with a somebody who found out he was a nobody. Did you follow that? Yes.

Okay, good. Well, as we pick up the story here, Moses now heads back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh in the power of God's Spirit. But you know, folks, there are a few more lessons that God still needs to teach Moses about how to become a powerful servant of God. And God decides to teach him one of the most important of these lessons immediately upon his arrival back in Egypt. And that's what we want to look at today. We're going to go back 3500 years in time and learn what that lesson is.

And then we're going to bring it forward and talk about, well, what difference does that make to you and me? So if you brought a Bible today, I'd like to invite you to open it to Exodus chapter five, second book in the Bible, Exodus five. And if you did not bring a Bible today, reach under the armrest right next to you. You will find a copy of the Bible there.

We're going to be on page 43 page 43 in our copy Exodus five in your copy. Now, folks, when Moses arrives back in Egypt, he goes immediately to see the Israelites. And he tells them everything that God has said at the burning bush. He tells them about God's promise to free them and about God's promise to lead them out of Egypt and about God's promise to give them the land that he had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Israelites, as you can imagine, were pretty excited. And so now it's time for Moses to go confront Pharaoh.

And that's where we pick up the story. Exodus chapter five, verse one. Now, afterwards, Moses and Aaron, of course, his brother, went to Pharaoh and said, This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, Let my people go so they may hold a festival to me in the desert.

You say, Hey, Lon, what is this festival in the desert thing? I mean, I thought that the issue here was total freedom, total liberation for the Israelites. What in the world is Moses talking about some festival in the desert? Well, folks, to be honest with you, I'm not 100% sure I can tell you why Moses started here. But you know, it really doesn't make any difference, because Pharaoh was not about to let the Israelites go anywhere to do anything.

So it doesn't matter. Verse two, Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go. Now, the year that Moses is here in front of Pharaoh is 1445 B.C., and the Pharaoh was Amenhotep II. Amenhotep II was brand new on the throne of Egypt, and his father, Thutmose III, had handed him the largest empire that Egypt would ever control. Let me show you a map.

It stretched from Ethiopia in the south to Turkey in the north and from Iraq in the east to Libya in the west. In 1445 B.C., Egypt was at the zenith of her power, and Amenhotep II regarded Egypt and himself as invincible, which is why he made the arrogant statement, I do not know the Lord. Who is He? And I'm not letting anybody go. He went on to say, verse four of chapter five, Moses and Aaron, you are taking the people away from their work.

Why are you doing that? Why are you stopping them from working? Pharaoh decides that all this talk about freedom is distracting the Israelites from their job, and so he does two things. Number one, he throws Moses and Aaron out of his presence, and number two, he decides to increase the burden on the Israelites so they don't have time to indulge in such frivolous ideas as freedom.

Verse six, that same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers in charge of the Israelites. You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks, he says. Let them go gather their own straw, but require them to make the same number of bricks as before.

Do not reduce the quota. Make them work harder so that they will have no time to pay attention to Moses' lies. Now, you know, it's interesting that archaeology once again has confirmed the historical accuracy of the Bible at this point. The Bible claims that here in 1445 BC, the bricks which the Egyptians used for their building projects were made out of straw mixed with mud, and not too long ago we found the tomb of a fellow named Rechmeyer. He was the chief architect under Amenhotep II and his father, Thutmose III, and on one of the walls we found a painting, here's an artist's rendition of it, in which if you look very carefully you will see slaves making bricks. Now notice inside the red circle you see the slaves out gathering straw to make those bricks. Inside the orange circle you see them carrying a mixture of mud and straw, and inside the green circle you see them forming that mud-straw mix into actual bricks using brick molds. The archaeologist also found in that tomb an actual brick mold that was used at the time of Moses, and you see it on the screen. All of this confirms for us that in the 18th Dynasty, in 1445 BC, brick making, that process, was exactly the way the Bible describes it here in Exodus chapter 5, or as we like to say, the more they dig out of the ground, the more the Bible proves to be right. Well anyway, Pharaoh commands that the Israelites now have to go gather their own straw, but their daily quota of bricks remains unchanged.

Now can you imagine how much tougher this must have made it? In fact, the Israelites just flat couldn't do it. They began to fall behind on their quota, and so their leaders go to see Pharaoh, verse 15. Then the Israelite foreman went and said to Pharaoh, why are you treating us like this? We are given no straw, and yet we're told to make the same number of bricks? Verse 17, and Pharaoh said to them, you're lazy.

That's why you keep saying, let us go and sacrifice to the Lord. Now get back to work. You will not be given any straw, but you must still produce your full quota of bricks. Pharaoh said to them, hey, if you guys have enough time to sit around and think about going out and holding festivals for your God, then guess what? You've got enough time to go out and gather your own straw.

Now get out of here and go back to work. Chapter 5, verse 20. Now when they left Pharaoh, the Israelite foreman found Moses and Aaron. And they said to Moses, praise God that he's working out his wonderful plan for us, even though our life is tougher and it doesn't make any sense to us, praise God. Right?

Not hardly. Here's what they actually said. Verse 21, may God judge you, they say to Moses. You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians. You have put a sword in their hand to kill us. They say, way to go, Moses, way to go. You and your God have really done us up right this time.

Things were bad enough for us before you came back, but now you've made them 50 times worse. So Moses, here's what we want to say to you. Take your God and your Exodus and get lost, pal. Now Moses was unprepared for all of this to unwind the way it just had here in Egypt. I mean, at the burning bush, God had told Moses that Pharaoh would resist him at first, but God had said nothing at the burning bush about Pharaoh unleashing this kind of persecution on the Israelites. God had said nothing to Moses at the burning bush about the Israelites turning on him like this. God had said nothing to Moses at the burning bush about Pharaoh persisting in his refusal to let the Israelites go. And so Moses goes back to the Lord, verse 22, and says, Oh, why have you brought trouble like this on your people?

Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done harm to this people, and you haven't delivered your people at all. See, folks, here's the problem. The problem is when Moses headed back from the burning bush to Egypt to do this Exodus thing, he had it all worked out in his mind how this thing was going to unfold. He said, Okay, I'm going to go in. I'm going to confront Pharaoh. Initially, Pharaoh's going to say no, then God's going to work in Pharaoh's heart quickly, and he's going to change his mind. And Pharaoh's now then going to give us permission to gleefully march out of Egypt like the seven dwarfs singing Hi ho, hi ho to the promised land we go, la la la la la la la. This is how he had it worked out in his mind. And friends, nothing had gone this way at all.

It had all gone opposite of this. And so Moses comes to God and he says, Hey, God, what is the deal here? Instead of softening Pharaoh's heart, you've made it hard as a rock. Instead of freeing the Israelites, you've made their slavery worse. Instead of them following me, the Israelites is their leader.

Now they're telling me to go take a hike. And instead of making me a hero, you've made me into into a bum. God, what is the deal here? Nothing is going the way it's supposed to go. Folks, what exactly is Moses struggling with here? Well, he's struggling with the very same thing that you and I as followers of Jesus Christ so often struggle with today. He's struggling with letting God be God in his life. He's struggling to accept God's plan for things when it seems so wrong, so illogical, so opposite of the way he planned it out in his mind.

He's struggling because it looks like God has reneged on all the promises that God made to him. And I want you to see what God says to Moses in response to this. He says two things to it. Number one, he says to him, Moses, I am God, and I always do what I promise. Look what God says. Chapter six, verse one. He says, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh Moses because of my mighty hand. He will let the Israelites go because of my mighty hand.

He will drive the Israelites out of this country. Verse six. Therefore, say to the Israelites, I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

Verse eight. And I will bring you to the land. I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I will give it to you. God says, Moses, I will make good on every single promise I made. I am the Lord Moses.

And when I tell you something, pal, you can take it to the bank. And then the second thing he says in response is God says number two, Moses, but I want you to know I run my business my way. I keep my promises my way, whether you understand it or not. Moses, Chapter seven, verse three. God says, I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I might multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out with mighty acts of judgment. Friends, God says to Moses, Moses, I've got a reason why I did not deliberate the Israelites right away. I don't want Pharaoh to let the Israelites go yet. I don't want it to happen the way you had it planned out in your mind, Moses. I want Pharaoh to oppose me.

I want him to resist me. I want him to challenge me because I want to answer the question he asked. He said, what question was that? Remember back in Chapter five, here's what Pharaoh said. He said, Who is the Lord that I should listen to him? God says, You know what, Moses, I want to answer that question for that man.

And I want to answer it in such a way that he will never ever forget the answer to that question in a way that the Egyptians will never ever forget the answer to that question. I'm going to free the Israelites, Moses, God says, but I'm going to do it my way. I've still got some miracles to come before I free them. I've still got some plagues to come before I free them. I still got a Red Sea I need to open before I free them. And so you know what, Moses, just let me run my business my way, would you please?

Let me do it the way I've got it planned. Now, friends, the lesson that Moses had to learn here is that God does not operate on human logic. Isaiah 55, verse eight, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says the Lord, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. God does not always do what seems logical to us. God does not always do what seems sensible to us, or what seems reasonable to us. Now, this does not mean that God is illogical. It simply means that God operates on a higher logic than you and I do. This is why the Apostle Paul said Romans 11, Oh, the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his actions, and unfathomable his ways.

And so let's summarize. When Moses complains that God isn't doing things the way he promised that God isn't doing things the way Moses had it all figured out in his mind. God says to him, Moses, you're wrong.

I always do what I promise. It's just that I do it my way, Moses, not your way. So stop trying to control everything, Moses. Stop trying to figure everything out, Moses. Stop trying to get everything to go to go the way you've got it all planned in your mind, Moses. Just take your hands off of it, Moses, and let me run my business my way. And when all the dust settles at the end, you'll be glad I did. Let me be God, okay?

Not you, Moses. How about that? Now, friends, that's as far as we want to go in the passage today, because I want to stop now and I want us to ask our most important question.

And we all know what that is. So are we ready? Are we ready? Here we go, nice and loud.

One, two, three. Yeah, you say, Lon, so what? You say, so all right, this is a great story. What difference does any of this make to me in my life today? Well, I think a lot, my friends, because I think that God has to teach every single one of us as followers of Christ the very same lesson that he taught Moses right here, because every one of us are just like Moses. Every one of us want our problems solved our way. We want our problems solved with no inconvenience. We want them solved with no suffering. We want our problems solved with no waiting at all.

We want our problems solved neat and clean and sterile and quick. As a matter of fact, all of us here know exactly how God should best solve our problems. And we don't mind going to him in prayer and informing him exactly how he should solve our problems. We are happy to let God be God as long as God does things the way we want him to. But when he doesn't, so often we're quick to do exactly what Moses did. We're quick to question God, impugn God, accuse God of failing to keep his promises to us.

Sometimes we're quick to get angry with God and bitter with God and resentful towards God. Friends, as followers of Jesus Christ here today, may God help us see the error of our ways. Just like Moses, we have to learn that God's ways are higher than our ways. Just like Moses, we have to learn that our puny human logic is exactly that.

It is puny. Just like Moses, we have to learn that God runs his universe. And if we're followers of Christ, he runs our lives according to his unfathomable wisdom and knowledge. And we have to learn that God never calls us to understand his plan. God never calls us to be able to explain his plan. All God calls us to do is to trust and obey.

That's it. You know, Job had to learn this same lesson, didn't he? I mean, this is what the whole book of Job is about. Job was a God-fearing man, a Godly man. Human logic would say that Job should have had nothing but prosperity and success his whole life. But God's purposes were higher than human logic. Job had to learn, Job 1 21, that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

But either way, blessed be the name of the Lord. Job had to learn that God is still God, even when he does things that you and I don't understand. And hey, in the end, God made sure everything turned out okay for Job, didn't he? Hey, what about Joseph?

He had to learn this same lesson. God had promised him that God was going to raise him up to unbelievable heights of leadership. But hidden in the bowels of an Egyptian jail for 13 years, I'm sure old Joseph must have wondered, particularly since it was for a crime he didn't even commit, I'm sure he must have wondered what in the world God was up to. But to Joseph's credit, he trusted God, he rejected bitterness and anger, he refused to impugn God for the way God was running things. I love what Joseph said to his brothers. He said, you meant evil against me, but God was bigger than you.

God meant it for good. And in the end, God did everything for Joseph he promised and more. Hey, David had to learn this lesson. You remember the prophet Samuel told David he was going to be the next king.

But then he spent seven years living in caves like a criminal, while Saul chased him around and tried to kill him out in the wilderness. I'm sure David must have wondered what in the world was going on here. But you know, he trusted God just like Joseph. He trusted God just like Job. And God did for David everything he promised. And then there's Abraham. God told Abraham at age 75, that he was going to have a son with his beloved wife, Sarah.

25 years later, there's still no son. And at that point, the body says that Abraham's body had dried up and Sarah's womb was dead. But I love what Romans four says about Abraham.

It says this. Abraham did not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God. But he gave glory to God being fully persuaded that what God had promised God was able to perform, even though for the life of him, Abraham could not figure out how in the world God was going to do it. And you remember what Sarah did when at age 90, she found out she was pregnant? What did she do? She laughed.

She laughed. I guess if you're 90 and you find out you're pregnant, it's laugh or cry. So you might as well laugh. That's how I see it anyway.

But what do I do anyway? The point is, God did for Abraham exactly what he said he was going to do for Abraham, friends, Job and Joseph and Abraham and David and Moses and the Israelites in Egypt and thousands of other people like them all got exactly what God promised them. But in every case, God did it his way, not their way. In every case, these people, when it was all over, confessed that God's way indeed was better, not the way that they had it planned out in their own mind.

And my friends, that truth still holds today. I'm sure there are many of us here today who are struggling in our lives, just like Moses was in Exodus chapters 5, 6 and 7, struggling because we're looking at things in our life and we're saying, God, why are things happening this way? We're saying, hey, God, this is not the way they're supposed to go. I know the way they're supposed to go, God, and this is not the way they're supposed to go.

This is not at all the way I have it planned out. Situations where God is running our life His way and not our way. And many of us are not just struggling with this, but if we're not careful, many of us will impugn God about this and we'll point our finger at God about this and we'll become angry at God. Friends, may I say to you, I'm here to urge you to let God be God in your life, not you. I'm here to urge you to give up control and let God run His business His way in your life. I'm here to urge you to trust Him even though you don't understand, just like Abraham did and Joseph did and David did and Moses did and Job did. This is what made them the great men and women of God in the Bible.

I love what Charles Spurgeon says. He says, God is too kind to do anything cruel, too wise to make a mistake and too deep to explain Himself to us. What that means is whether you and I understand it, whether you and I can explain what God is doing in our life or why things are unfolding the way they are. Folks, that doesn't mean God isn't God. It just means His ways are higher than your ways. But if you'll trust Him, I promise you, just like Abraham and Joseph and David and Moses and Job, when it's all said and done, God will keep every promise He's made you as well. And you know what? He'll do it better than any way you ever planned it out for you.

He will. Fanny Crosby said it about as well as anybody could say it. She said, all the way my Savior leads me, not part of the way. What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy who through life has been my guide? He's led me this far.

How can I doubt Him now? And when my spirit clothed the immortal at the end of my life, wings its flight to realms of day, this will be my song through the endless ages, Jesus led me all the way. The parts I understood, the parts I didn't understand. The parts I liked and the parts I didn't like.

The parts that were comfortable and the parts that were uncomfortable. When I look back from eternity, I will confess Jesus led me all the way. That's true. And so I'm here to urge you to accept that truth. Take the hands off your life and let God be God in your life. Let's pray together. With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, I want to give you just a moment to talk to God because I suspect that there are many of us here today who are in a huge power struggle with God in our lives because we want things done our way and God's not doing them our way. And folks, I want to give you a moment, if that's you, right here today to run the white flag up the pole and say, okay, God, I surrender.

We'll do it your way. Not only will God give you great peace and joy if you do that, but friends, He'll do it better than you had planned out anyway. So you take a moment and if you need to talk to God right now, here's your moment to do that. Lord Jesus, as Charles Spurgeon said, you are too kind to do anything cruel.

You are too wise to make a mistake. And you are too deep to explain yourself to us. And it's in that spirit that we come to you as the all wise God of the universe. And we lay our lives at your feet. And as your children, we say, okay, Lord Jesus, do your business your way in our lives.

We yield control. We take our hands off and we're going to let God be God in our lives. Lord, accept our surrender today and use our surrender to work out your perfect plan for our life, which is so much better than any plan that we could ever dream up. Lord, help us to reject our puny human logic and instead trade it in for the unfathomable knowledge and wisdom of God in running our lives. Lord, free us today of our bitterness, our anger, our resentment, and give us the sweet peace of God that passes all understanding, the peace that comes from surrendering and laying our lives completely at your disposal. Thanks for speaking to us today from your word. Change our lives because we were here today and sat under the teaching of God's word. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-13 08:09:20 / 2024-06-13 08:19:34 / 10

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