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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Exodus chapter 3



EXODUS 

CHAPTER

 3


1. Moses was keeping the flock of  father-in-law Jethro the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond  the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 1)


Moses was taking care of the flock of his father in law. He was heading in the direction of Horeb the mountain of God. As Christians and more specifically as human race we are to be shepherds to each other and lead each other in the direction of God and not away from Him.


God is our good shepherd. By means of significant others such as doctors and physicians God mends the broken bone that may need a cast but and bandage however in other cases such as that of a broken heart that needs a lot of love, guidance and care, God personally takes it into His own hand to provide the necessary support for He is a loving father even to those who do not know Him or believe in Him.


There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing yet it was not consumed 3. Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up"

(Exodus chapter 3 verses 2 to 3)



Throughout the course of our life we experience  many extraordinary events  some of which may have had a strong impact on our lives such as a near death experience, or a very close call, or maybe a case when the person who is so close to dying although and seems to have lost hope in being cured is miraculously given a second chance to live. Through personal experience I can testify the love and care of God who rescued me from what seemed to have been a head on collision. I had worked late hours and was feeling sleepy when I was driving. I could not keep my eyes open for long. The Fiat Uno felt very cosy and as I hit the bypass my head rested on the steering wheel and my foot on the accelerator. As I was approaching a roundabout God permitted someone with bright fog lights to flash them in my direction and my eyes opened just in time to go around a roundabout at 180 km per hour and avoid colliding with another car that was approaching the same roundabout that was a milli second away from hitting my side panel. God saved me just in time.


When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 4)


God then call moses and tell him that he is available to God and His will. If He had to call on us tonight or tomorrow would we have the same reply as Moses, or would we say that we are busy or do not have the time for Him. Every day God calls us by means of people and situations. As much as we can be available for God, we can be available for others, however God is always available for us.


“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 5)


God then tell Moses to take of his sandals because the place where Moses was standing was Holy. On reflecting it was presence of God that mad that location Holy. As much as humans expect obedience from other humans God also expects us to obey His Holy will. Up to that point God wanted to protect His boundaries. Moses was still not ready to meet God at a close encounter. The process of Mose's spiritual formation was still in progress. As humans we are not worthy of coming face to face with God, however God can always give us His grace and mercy that is enough to fill in the missing pieces in our human nature and make us worthy to enter His presence.


6. He said further,  “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 chapter 3 verse 6)


Although from a distance God still communicated with Moses thus revealing His true Identity. However Moses was not yet ready to face God. Moses was still adherent to the customs of his time that held that the moment a human saw God eye to eye that person would die. Therefore Moses hid his face from God. God at times gives us golden opportunities to meet him or experience him personally however, due to false humility that dictates that 'we are not worthy or not yet ready' we become shy and turn our backs on a golden opportunity.


7. Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings,  8 and I have come down to deliver them from 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 country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites ,and the Jebusites. 9. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me;  I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.

(Exodus chapter 3 verses 7 to 9)


God tells Moses that He has observed what was going on in Egypt. The eye of God penetrates deep to the bone more than the capacity of the human eye, therefore when we find written that God observed what was going on this means that God was fully aware of their feelings of bitterness and all the cruelty with which His people were being treated. God is also aware of what is going on in your and my life. This is a great assurance for us that we are to keep in mind especially during those moments when we feel alone and helpless. However as, in the case of the chosen people of God after our moments in Egypt, God has our promised land prepared for us to inhabit. The choice is ours weather to walk with God in obedience or against him. When promising the promised land God promised a land full of milk and honey. On reflecting these two substances are worthy of reflecting on. Milk is a very healthy substance, however it is not sweet. On the other hand honey is pure and sweet. Therefore when offering us a land of milk and honey God is offering us health and nourishment and also His sweet and loving kindness.


10. So come, I will  send you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 10)

God then commands Moses to go to Pharaoh in order to bring out God's chosen people out of Egypt. I can only imagine Moses in such a situation. Moses who was fully aware of the wrath of the Pharaoh and how Moses had ended his relationship with him on a very bad note so much that Pharaoh had wanted to kill him. Moses was aware that this was no easy task.


11. But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 11)


Moses immediately lets his emotions take the better of him and as a human manifests his fears. The underlined message seems to be, why did you choose me of all people; who do you think I am to go and face the Pharaoh and tell him to let Your people go you must be.... (ha ha). Our first reaction is to think that we are going to face the given quest single handed without considering the fact that God is always with us and is always there to lend a hand.




12. He said, “I will be with you; and this shall 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.”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 12)


God then assures Moses that He will be with him and that, when he will bring His people out of Egypt he was to bring the people to worship God in this mountain. It is worth noting that in His dialogue with Moses, God is speaking as if narrating the verses from a play that He knows by heart. God is a positive influence. He is aware that for those who believe in Him everything is possible.


13. But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to  them?”

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 13)
        

Moses then asks God about what he should tell God's people if in unbelief they should ask Moses for the name of this God. It must be kept in mind that many generations had passed since the death of Joseph and his brothers, therefore if the sons of Jacob had not spread the belief of God, this may have had died as if it never was.


14.  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.He said further, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ' I am has sent me to you.'"

(Exodus chapter 3 verse 14)


On reflecting God reveals himself in a very mysterious way, that can be interpreted in different ways. God declares Himself as being the 'I am". I am comes from the term 'To be' that can mean something that is 'to be' in the future. However on reflecting 'I am' is in the present tense that can also mean "I am" in the sense of "I have always been and cannot be made again or I have been in the eternal even before time itself ever existed. Or further more I am the absolute "all in all" that "was  is and ever shall be".

15. God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’15. God also said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'The LORD the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you'; “This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations. 16. “Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17.  I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 18. 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; let us now go a three days' journey into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

(Exodus chapter 3 verses 15 to 18)


God then commands Moses to go and tell the Israelites that the God of their father had sent him to them and to tell the elders of Israel that God is aware of their situation and promises to bring them out of Egypt. However the Pharaoh would have to permit them to go on a three day journey in order to offer a sacrifice to God..


During times of trials and tribulations God is well aware of our problems. In some way or another even if we are not aware God always sends us an angel or maybe a human in order to help us and bring us out from our Egypt. God has made a personal plan for our salvation on a global and personal level each day of our lives. In order to lead our every day life according to His will as part of God's plan for our salvation or in preparation for His second visit, God left us a manual or an instruction book which covers many issues that we face during our every day life. This book has all the needed solutions. This is the 'Bible' which is all truth and valid for all times.


19. I know, however that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20.  So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with my wonders that I will perform in it; after that, he will let you go.

(Exodus chapter 3 verses 19 to 20)


God is aware of the stubbornness of human nature, and our tendency to God against His will, therefore in order to prepare Moses against such a reality God assured Moses that when the situation reached its climax God would intervene with all his might in order to ensure their salvation. When God's people were being persecuted in the death camps of Auschwitz God sent holy people in order to encourage his sons and daughters who were facing  one of the worst forms of human destruction. As a reaction to the Nazi regime God raised all the forces in the world and subdued the negative force led by the devil that was trying to destroy the apple of God's eyes that was his chosen people. Although the Hebrews crucified His son in a spirit of unbelief Gods still had mercy on the Hebrews and did not permit the their destruction to be complete or absolute. God put an end to it.


21. I will bring this people this people into such favour with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; 22. each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor's house for jewelry of sliver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians."

(Exodus chapter 3 verses 21 to 22)


God shared with Moses that not only will He bring out His people out of Egypt but He will also dispossess the Egyptians from their wealth and permit that this wealth be freely given to the people of God. God humbles the proud and mighty and raises the humble to a better status.


I would like to end this chapter that was compiled by Mr. Deevain Ajit Pawar and edited by me Vincent Micallef with the following prayer:


Thank You God for looking upon me and also for the angels that You have sent in my life. Thanks for taking care of them, as much as You have taken care of me. Thank You  also for Your presence which I feel  it means a lot to me. Everything that you permit to happen in my life does so for a reason, and I believe that what you will to happen is always right.

Thank you God for everything