Wednesday, August 11, 2021

2021.08.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 3:10–22

Read Exodus 3:10–22

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does God propose to send Moses (Exodus 3:10)? To do what? What question does Moses ask about this plan (Exodus 3:11)? What is God’s answer to that question (Exodus 3:12a)? What does God offer as a sign (verse 12b)? What does Moses anticipate being asked (Exodus 3:13)? What answer does God give to Moses, and what answer is Moses to give to the Israelites (Exodus 3:14)? How does God, in Exodus 3:15, improve upon Moses’s originally planned introduction from Exodus 3:13? What does God say is the Name by which He is to be remembered? To whom, specifically, is Moses to make this new introduction (Exodus 3:16)? What is he to say that God has already done? And what is he to say that God has now promised to do (Exodus 3:17)? How will the elders respond (Exodus 3:18a)? Then who will go to the king of Egypt (verse 18b)? What will they say to him (verse 18c)? How does God say that Pharaoh will then respond (Exodus 3:19)? What then will God to Egypt (Exodus 3:20a)? With what ultimate result (verse 20b)? And what additional result will this process produce (Exodus 3:21)? What are the people to do, when they are finally leaving (Exodus 3:22)? With what result?

Worship. Covenant. Opposition. Victory. Several themes about the church that will run through the rest of Scripture and the rest of history appear here, as the Lord begins to charge Moses with the church’s formal establishment.

Worship, Exodus 3:10-12. Once we get to Moses’s active resistance of his calling, God will give Moses other signs to perform, so we might forget that there is one sign that precedes and supersedes them all: worship. The church is actually on the right track when it asks, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11), as Moses does with his own calling (Exodus 3:10). For, God specifically calls those who are unimpressive to highlight that all the glory is His own (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26–31). God responds to Moses’s question about Moses with an answer about the Lord: “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12a).

This is why the sign that God offers for the authenticity of Moses’s call is one that will strike us odd if we are not focused upon Him and His glory: “this shall be a sign … you shall worship God on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12b). Part of the sign is that Moses will succeed. This is true of all prophets. Anything less than a 100% fulfillment rate invalidates all of their prophecy (cf. Deuteronomy 18:20–22; a standard that would mercifully end many purportedly prophetic ministries today). 

But the bigger part of the sign is the purpose of all of this: the worship of God. It is not only Moses’s calling that is all about God, but the church’s own calling is all about God. This she will find out, when she arrives at the mountain, and it burns in darkness and storm and frightful trumpet and voice of words and threat of death (cf. Hebrews 12:18–20). When Israel stands before all of this, this will be the greatest sign that it really is God Himself Who has called them to be a church. The awesome presence of God Himself will dwarf every plague of Egypt and every deliverance of the wilderness.

Your calling too, dear believer, and the calling of the entire church as a whole, is all about the glory of God and the glory of His worship. God displays this to you in the public worship week by week, but it will be ultimately and climactically apparent when you, too, stand before Him!

Covenant, Exodus 3:13-17. Moses seems to accept his calling at first, but then there’s the question of whether the children of Israel will accept it (Exodus 3:13). Pharaoh was the purported embodiment of Ra, and the crowded pantheon of Egypt had its priests and prophets. If he shows up claiming to be a prophet, they will require i.d., “Indeed… they will say to me” (verse 13). It will not suffice just to say “prophet of God.” They will demand to know which one.

Part of God’s answer is that He is the only one, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14a). He is self-existent, independent of anyone or anything else. He does not draw characteristics from other things; everything else depends entirely upon Him. He is holy, completely other, the absolutely only true God. It’s a way of saying that the implied question (“which God”) is the most mistaken and wicked question imaginable.

But another part of God’s answer is His voluntarily entering into a relationship in which He binds Himself to this people forever and ever. “I AM has sent me to you” (verse 14b) is a formal introduction and establishment of this relationship. He expands this introduction in Exodus 3:15, giving “Yahweh” (“LORD”) as His memorial name, the name by which they are to address Him in this formal covenant relationship. Indeed, He gives as His full title, “Yahweh God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” This is the God Who has seen that the time is right to gather them to Himself (Exodus 3:16-17). By saying that He has now sent Moses to them, He is also implying “the God of you”(!).

And the God of you, if you are a Christian. It is a marvel of grace that the God Who describes Himself to us by the completeness and uniqueness of His self-existence would so join Himself to us in covenant as to take a title in which He identifies Himself with us entirely and eternally. He is ours, and we are His. Entirely. Eternally. That’s covenant.

OppositionExodus 3:18-19. Yahweh being the only true God does not mean that His people will be unopposed. In fact, it means entirely the opposite. Though the elders will initially accept Moses and his God (Exodus 3:18, a fact that seems to get lost in how repeatedly they subsequently rebel), the king of Egypt will not (Exodus 3:19). 

Christians today seem to think that an indicator of belonging to God, or walking with God, will be how much the world sees this and accepts them. But from the beginning of the church, throughout the rest of Scripture, and throughout history, the fact that believers belong to God has been a cause of their being rejected by the world, not accepted. We should expect to be opposed, even to be slaughtered all day long (cf. John 15:18–25; Romans 8:35–36; 2 Timothy 3:12). 

Victory, Exodus 3:20-22. Ultimately, God raises up opposition to His church that He might give them inexplicable victory that must be explained only by His redemption. In this case, He will “strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst” (Exodus 3:20). And this victory will be seen in the favor of neighbors (Exodus 3:21) and in the bridal shower in which they are given both luxuries and necessities as they are sent away to covenant with Yahweh (Exodus 3:22). Though believers love not their lives even unto death, they are already super-conquerors (cf. Romans 8:37–39) who ultimately overcome by the blood of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 12:10–11). 

How does the priority of worship show up in your life? In your church’s life? In what circumstances do you need to operate more as someone who is in covenant with God? How are you experiencing opposition for belong to the Lord Jesus? How are you keeping mindful of His ultimate victory?

Sample prayer:  O Yahweh, You alone are true God! Forgive us for when we make our salvation about what we want or how we feel, rather than wanting You and Your glory, and enjoying You and Your glory. Thank You for reminding us of how this world will oppose You and us, so that we would cling to Your love in Jesus, and Your blood shed for us in Jesus, and Your sure victory in Jesus. Grant that we would do so, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH483 “Loved with Everlasting Love”

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