Learning from God's Word: Exodus 3
The people had prayed. Now, God was about to answer prayer. Moses had not yet taken centre stage. He was still waiting in the wings – ‘keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro’ (3:1). Soon, the time of preparation would be over. The time of ministry was soon to begin. The call of God would bring Moses into a new situation. No longer would he be a shepherd, looking after sheep. Soon, he would be a shepherd of souls. He will care for the people of God. He will lead them into their new situation, the situation of redemption. The time of Joseph had ended. The time of Moses was about to begin. The time of oppression was almost over. The time of deliverance was drawing near.
The story of Moses continues. It is not merely a human story. Moses was called to be a servant of God’s people. He was to be their leader. He would play an important part in bringing God’s blessing to the people of Israel. He was not to be a ‘lone ranger’. He was to ‘assemble the leaders of Israel’ (v. 16). He was to share with them the Lord’s vision for His people’s future. God was taking them away from their ‘misery’. He was leading them on to blessing. He was taking them out of Egypt. He was taking them to a new land - ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’. Moses was not to go to Pharaoh as a ‘lone ranger’ – ‘you and the leaders must go to the King of Egypt’ (v. 18). There are important lessons for God’s servants in every generation. We move forward together. We move forward as ‘one body in Christ’.
The story of Moses is the story of God at work in human history. God is working out His purpose of salvation. This is the great story of which the story of Moses is only a part. Moses was called to serve the Lord. We are called to serve the Lord. As we look together at the Old Testament story, with its many changes in circumstances, we must learn to see that the one constant factor is God Himself. Joseph comes. Joseph goes. Joseph is replaced by Moses. Moses comes. Moses goes. Moses is replaced by Joshua. Through all the changes, God remains the same – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua. This God is our God. He had plans for His people, Israel. He was giving them a brighter and better future. He has plans for us. He holds our future in His hands. He is leading us forward into His future – a future filled with His blessing.
The Exodus was a mighty miracle of God’s love and power. It was not, however, the end of Israel’s problems. They were to face forty years of wilderness wanderings. In all of this, God did not lose sight of His saving purpose. He did not abandon His people. He will not abandon us. God had great things planned for His people. He was leading them on to better things. He is preparing a great future for us. He is leading us to a place that is far more wonderful than ‘the land flowing with milk and honey’. He is leading to His eternal Kingdom. In all the changing circumstances of our life, we must never lose sight of this – the God of heaven is building ‘a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, a Kingdom which shall stand for ever’ (Daniel 2:44).
In announcing His purpose of redemption, God identified Himself with the mysterious words, ‘I am who I am’ (v. 14). In this Name, we have the divine promise; ‘I will be there for you. I will be present for you. I will be effective for you’. In this Name, we have a declaration of God’s faithfulness. God’s promise is utterly reliable. We can stand upon His Word, confident that He will never fail those who put their trust in Him. The words, ‘I am who I am’ may be mysterious. They are not, however, an evasion of the question, ‘Who are You?’ They are God’s way of saying to us, ‘I am there for you. You can count on Me.’ We learn who God is as we walk with Him. We observe what He does for us. We learn that He is the God who is completely trustworthy. We learn that He is the God who is worthy of all praise, glory and honour.
When we walk with God, walking in the pathway of His redemption, we leave behind the life that is depicted in the word, ‘Egypt’. ‘Pharaoh’ has no power over us. We have been set free by the Lord, the God of our salvation. As we walk with God, we learn that we have no need to go back to the world’s way of living. Our trust is in the Lord, the God of grace. He fulfils His purpose in us. With Him, we ‘walk in newness of life’ (Romans 6:4). We are ‘changed’ by Him, as He leads us on ‘from glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Walking with Him, we are travelling towards the full revelation of His glorious salvation. With this glorious destination ahead of us, we ‘rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ as (1 Peter 1:8-9).