Uncertainty of Life and the Guarantee of Heaven

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go. Exodus 3:18-20

The Lord had good news, bad news, and more good news for Moses. The people would listen to him, but the king? Not so much. Moses was already insecure without this foreknowledge of what would happen. He knew that the king of Egypt could have his head if he had wanted it, but Moses was going to demand that his people be free to take a three-day sabbatical, as it were.

This is as close to predicting the future as anything possible. Moses couln’t mess it up. It was the way it was going to be.

Even as Moses knew what would happen, he still had to go through it all, the doubts, the what-ifs, the chastisement from the king of Egypt. In other words, he still had to go through the motions because even though Moses knew what would happen, the Pharaoh wasn’t aware of it yet.

It would be he same way if God had told us our immediate future. We’d know it, but we’d still have to live it.

So, how does this relate to us?

Well, oversimplifying it, revelation back then was necessary because they didn’t have Scripture. They had to be led every step of the way.

We do have Scripture, and according to it, our future is with God in heaven.

Between now and then, though, we’ve got a lot of living to do. We don’t know what our lot will be tomorrow or the next day, whether it’ll end in tears or pure joy, sorrow or rejoicing. We do know that:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.

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Why Me?

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ Exodus 3:15-17

The Lord gave Moses a very tall order. I completely understand how Moses might have been intimidated by it, though he started with the excuses before he knew what the assignment was.

If I were Moses, I’d be asking why.

Why me?
Why now?
How could you possibly use a cowardly murderer like me?

And there again is the point, isn’t it?

God has used and will continue to use flawed humans since He created us. What better way to reveal his mercy and grace than through a completely compromised individual. It certainly doesn’t give us license to commit these atrocities ourselves, thinking that’s the only way to get God’s attention and for Him to use us.

No, God uses His people in spite of their past (and some would argue because of their past) for His glory.

If He is calling you to do something you feel inadequate to do, rest assured, He will give you what it takes to do the job, again, for His glory.

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God Will Be With You

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

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will 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.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:11-14

It’s no wonder Moses had misgivings of what he was to do for God. He was probably still concerned about how he would be received when he returned. After all, he did murder an Egyptian.

But God had his hand on Moses and believe in Him. That is not an insignificant point.

Of course each of us can say the same thing. God’s revelation to Moses was specific enough for him to know what needed to be done. Details were left out purposely. It was just enough information for Moses to recognize that he might be in over his head. And he was right except for one point: God would be with him.

That is a point I wish we all drilled into our minds and hearts. In those moments of insecurity and helplessness, God is certainly with us. He will sustain us.

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Their Cry Has Reached Me

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10

In verse 9, the Lord says, “and now the cry of the Israelites has reached me…” It’s an interesting phrase we see a lot in the Old Testament.

I’ve always wondered how many prayers have to be stored up for Him to notice and respond? I’m sure it’s much different than that but that’s what I take away from it.

When you pray and nothing happens….
When you plead with God and you hear nothing…
When thousands of us pray about an issue and nothing happens…

Does it take 10,002 people praying to effect an answer from God?

Or just one of us?

The Bible tells us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 Does that then mean that we pray and nothing happens that we’re unrighteous people?

Hardly.

Prayer is complex, and certainly more complex than we want it to be. The actual “mechanics” of pray is simple: baring out souls to God. What happens then?

We don’t see the unseen world. We don’t know what’s going on behind that Unseen Curtain.

And we don’t know how many prayers it takes to “move God,” as it were.

Nevertheless, we are commanded to pray.

And pray we will.

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The Burning Bush Talks

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:4-6

When the burning bush talked, Moses knew it was the real deal. Moses was right not to look at God. If the burning bush wasn’t enough, the Lord invoked his ancestors to get his attention. I am certain growing up he had heard all the stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even though he had never met them, he knew of their exploits and walk with God because it was probably passed on down the line.

We will hear those three names used together often in the Old Testament and a few times in the New Testament. The Israelite always harkened back to those good ol’ days in their history. If this voice in the burning bush said He was the God of the covenant, then Moses knew he’d better take it seriously.

The Lord warned Moses about getting any closer. He had not entered into covenant with Moses.

Contrast that with what is said in the Book of James. “Come close to God and He will come close to you.” James 4:8.

Jesus had torn the veil that separated us from God. “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Matthew 27:51. We can now “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Now we can draw near to God but we ought not to do it lightly or flippantly.

The throne of grace is accessible to all who call on His name. We would do well to approach it often every day.

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