A famous paratrooper was speaking to a group of young recruits. When he finished his prepared talk, he asked if there were any questions. One young fellow raised his hand and asked, “What made you decide to make your first jump?” The paratrooper’s answer was quick and to the point, “An airplane at 20,000 with three dead engines.”
If someone asked Moses why he went to Egypt at age 80 to deliver the Hebrew people he might give a similar quick and to the point answer, “When God speaks to you out of a burning bush and commands you to do something, you do it.”
Moses was a card carrying member of the Middle Eastern version of AARP. He had lived the first part of his life in the fast lane as a part of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s court. He knew what it was like to live under the pressure of politics and big city life. He was destined for greatness at one point. All of the Pharaoh’s children whether conceived or adopted had a place in history. Everything changed when Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. It stirred something deep down in Moses and in a fit of anger, he killed the Egyptian.
Moses fled for his life. He went to the land of Midian where he married and settled down into a less stressful life. Suddenly, though, everything changed when God asked him to go back to Egypt to deliver the Hebrew people from bondage. Moses tried to excuse himself from the task but God’s call was not one that could be turned down. As you read in The Story this week, consider these questions and pray about God’s call in your life.
Questions for the week
Consider journaling your response to these questions:
Can you think of a time when you were minding your own business, going through your normal life, and God showed up, revealed Himself, or spoke to you in some surprising way?
When God calls Moses from the burning bush and reveals he will be sending Moses to speak with authority to the people of Israel and the mighty pharaoh of Egypt, Moses feels inadequate. Moses begs God to select someone else. Instead God tells Moses he will empower him and also raise up his brother Aaron to help him. Have you ever felt God was calling you to work for Him in the world but been fearful that you could not accomplish what God was asking of you? In those moments have you ever discovered strengths you did not know you had either in yourself or in those in the Christian community around you that helped you live into God's purpose?
God is dramatically active and engaged in his people’s deliverance. God cares (Exodus 3:1-10, p 45-46 in The Story). Looking at verses 7-10, what do you learn about God in the following areas:
· What did God see, hear, and feel?
· What did God say He would do?
· What did God call Moses to do?
How did Moses see himself and his abilities? How did God see Him (Exodus 4:10-12, p. 46-47 in The Story)? Tell about a conversation you had with God that may have sounded something like the one Moses had in this passage.
While God saw Moses as the perfect person to face Pharaoh—to speak the word of the Lord to the leader of Egypt—Moses saw himself as a political fugitive and poor communicator who had no business challenging such a powerful person. Think of ways God can sees you and how you see yourself. What can you do to increase your ability to see yourself from God’s perspective?
Think of a time when you dared to say “yes” to God even when you felt inadequate for the task. How did God show you the way?
As Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, God promises that he will free them, redeem them, and that he will be their God and take them as his own. He gives them proof of those promises by leading them through the dessert with a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. These serve as signs they are not just wandering aimlessly but are walking with God. Are there signs you look for in your life that help you know when you are walking with God and when you are following too much the devices and desires of your own heart? What are they?
When Moses comes down from the mountain for the first time and gives the people the law they rejoice saying, "everything the Lord has said, we will do." Yet when Moses returns up the mountain and stays longer than they expect they quickly become afraid. They turn from worshipping God to worshipping an idol they forge out of their melted down jewelry. Have there been seasons in your life you felt God had left you or found it hard to wait on God? What sustained you in those times? What parallels do you see between how God reaches out again and again to the people of Israel even as they repeatedly pull away from Him and how God acts in your own life in your moments of doubt or fear?
As you take time to pray, here are some ideas to get your started:
· Thank God that he uses limited, ordinary, and even broken people to accomplish his purposes in this world.
· Ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes more than through your own eyes.
· Confess where you have refused to follow God out of fear and pray for greater courage in the future.
We all have our “I could never” and “I hope God never ask me to . . . “ Moments. Where are the places you tend to resist God’s call? What things are you sure you could never do? As you honestly reflect on these questions, place them before the Lord, one by one. Admit your fear and resistance. Ask for new courage and boldness to follow God, even when you feel that you have nothing to offer or that your past disqualifies you. Commit to follow God, as best you can, no matter what he calls you to do.
Part of faith is taking action. If you feel prompted by God to sing in the church choir or play an instrument in the Praise Team, open your schedule and start practicing. If you feel God calling to be in mission in some way, surrender and commit to follow. Maybe you get the point. Surrender to the leading of the Lord, but also take action. God will do His part, but we need to do ours.
Read for Next Session
Read Chapter 5 in The Story.