Last week we looked at the period in the life of Moses in which God prepared him for what He would one day lead him to do. Moses knew that he was to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians, but he wanted to do it in his own way and on his own timing. The result was failure. After years in the desert, removed from any notion of being used to deliver the Israelites, Moses was in for a surprise. God appeared to Moses and removed him from the desert. It was time for Moses to carry out God’s plan. God had prepared him and worked in his life during these years in Egypt and in Midian. By now, Moses probably had given up any hope of being used by God after what had happened in Egypt. However, God’s timetable is different from ours.
Are you open to what God is asking you to do for Him? Are you willing to step out in faith and follow God regardless of what He is asking you to do? Do you feel as if you are too “old” or too “young” to step out in faith? Ask God to speak to your heart this week as you look to his Word.
It was time for Moses to carry out God’s grander purposes for him. Years in the desert had passed, yet these were not wasted years. Moses may have felt that he would spend the rest of his life in that desert and that God was finished with him. Yet God knew Moses was ready to carry out His plan. He appeared to him when Moses probably least expected it. Today we will look at God’s encounter with Moses.
1. How long was Moses in the desert? Looking back at Acts 7:23, how old would that make Moses at this time?
2. What was Moses doing when God appeared to him? How might that have prepared Moses for his future task?
3. Describe Moses’ response to the burning bush and to God’s appearance. (Look also at Acts 7:31-32.)
4. In Exodus 3:7-9, list the responses of God to the cries of the Israelites. What is God communicating to Moses here?
Contrast God’s plan for Moses with the perspective of the sons of Israel.
How does this encourage you personally?
5. What characteristics would you use to describe God in Exodus 3:1-10?
6. What methods has God used to direct or redirect your life, or to get your attention?
Be attentive to God’s calling and leading in your life. You are never too young or too old to serve Him.
God took Moses, who was a murderer, and made him into one of the greatest Prophets of the Old Testament. Your past mistakes do not necessarily hinder God from using you.
God answers prayer in His timing and in His way.
Take some time to praise God for the attributes you listed under question 5 Moses was filled with awe in the presence of God. Are you?
God knew that Moses was the man He wanted to deliver the Israelites. Now He must show Moses that he can do it, with God’s help. As you study His Word today, think through your own life and in what ways you relate to Moses.
7. How did Moses respond to God’s call in verse 11?
8. What are some possible reasons why Moses hesitated to step out now and be the leader and deliverer he once wanted to be?
9. What were the two promises that God made to Moses (verse 12)? How would those promises encourage Moses to follow God’s calling?
Horeb was another name for Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 5:2). God would again meet with Moses at this mountain, Horeb or Sinai, once he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. Notice how God kept His promise in Exodus 19:1-2. It would also be on this same mountain that God would give Moses the Mosaic covenant (Exodus 19-23).
How did God encourage others in the following passages? Write down any phrases that specifically encourage you.
10. How do you respond to God when you feel inadequate to do something He has called you to do?
11. How does knowing that God is “with you” affect your daily life?
12. What kind of character qualities does God desire in our lives so that He can use us to draw others to Himself?
Don’t let past failures or fear of the future render you useless to the Lord.
God knows exactly why He chooses you to carry out His purpose. All He asks of you is to trust and obediently follow Him.
Spend some time with Him today and be honest concerning your feelings about where He has you in life. Do you trust God in how He is leading you? Are you willing to step out in faith and follow His leading? Are you where He wants you?
Feeling inadequate is not necessarily a weakness. If we turn our attention and focus on God instead of on ourselves, then it can actually be a strength. When I am feeling inadequate, I know that I have to depend on the Lord. There is no other option, other than failure. When I am feeling adequate and strong in my abilities, I am tempted to draw from my own strength and not from the Lord. I personally don’t like feeling inadequate, but that is when I see God working in my life in a special way. It is a good place to be, even though it may not feel that way at the time.
Today we will continue looking at the conversation between Moses and God. We will look at some of the struggles that Moses was dealing with in his heart and how God answered him. God wanted him to know that He is all that Moses needed. He is an all-sufficient God.
13. What was Moses’ next response to God’s call (v. 13)?
14. God gives several names for Himself that he repeats a number of times in Exodus 3. List the names. (Look at vv. 6, 14, 15, 16, and 18.)
Moses’ fear that the elders would not accept him is understandable. God had not revealed Himself to His people for over 400 years. When Moses asked how he should answer the question, “What is His name?” he was asking how he could demonstrate to them that their God had sent him. God’s name, I AM, expressed His nature and actions. The name Yahweh can be interpreted I AM WHO I AM and I WILL BE WHO I PROMISED I WILL BE. The use of capital letters (LORD) in the Bible text indicates that the Hebrew word is Yahweh.
15. What were the details of God’s plan in verses 16-22?
16. What do you suppose was God’s intent in laying out the details of the future for Moses at this point?
17. What are some possible reasons why God doesn’t lay out the details of our future for us today?
Many years later, Jesus would attribute to Himself the name “I AM” (John 8:58). How did He complete the name?
How does each name indicate that He is all we need, that He alone is sufficient?
What does using “I AM” say about who Jesus claimed to be?
God is sufficient for us in every situation we may find ourselves. That will never change.
If God leads you to do something, He will always enable you to accomplish it.
Take some time today to praise Him as Yahweh: a God who is personal, a God whose goal is to redeem His people, a God who is self-existent and self-sufficient, and a God who will be that He will be.
Excuses…Excuses… We all have them and we all use them at some point in our lives. When I am asked to do something that I really don’t want to do or feel inadequate to do, it’s amazing how many reasons I can come up with for why I can’t do it. Moses was no exception. He wasn’t eager to get back into a position of leadership. He had failed once, and he probably felt as if he would fail again. Moses was hesitant to follow God’s calling, yet God continued to encourage him through each excuse and objection. Today, we continue to look at Moses’ reasons for not wanting to follow God’s call in his life. Perhaps you can identify with some of his reasons.
18. What were the other excuses or objections that Moses gave God (vv. 1, 10, 13)? What were his objections or excuses centered around?
19. What was God trying to communicate to Moses by His response in verses 11-12 and 14-17?
20. As you look at Acts 7:22, how had Moses changed in those 40 years in the desert?
21. In what areas do you feel inadequate in serving God? In what areas do you feel gifted?
22. How can we balance using our gifts and strengths in serving God, and yet drawing from His strength and not our own? How do we keep from becoming prideful in our strong areas?
What similarities do you see in the way Moses and Jeremiah responded to God’s calling, as well as the way God encouraged them?
The way God sees us is more important than the way we see ourselves. Are you looking at yourself through God’s perspective or your own?
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows how He wants to use us for His glory. Are you willing to put aside your fears, inadequacies, and excuses and follow His leading?
Is there an area in which God is leading you but you have been hesitant to step out in faith? What is your biggest fear? How do you see yourself? Take some time and be honest with God about your fears and hesitations.
God had given Moses his mission. Moses had given God his objections as to why he was not the right person for the task. Yet God was not swayed or convinced to look elsewhere. He knew this was the right man, in spite of his weaknesses, fears, and past failures. I am so thankful that God doesn’t put us “on the shelf” just because we may have blown it in the past.
Today we will look at what happened after the encounter between Moses and God and how Moses took those first steps in obedience.
23. How was Moses encouraged by Jethro and Aaron?
The incident in 4:24-26 tell us that Moses had failed to circumcise his second son. Circumcision was God’s appointed sign of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 17:9-14, which signified Abraham’s commitment to the Lord. The Lord alone would be His God, whom he would trust and serve. Circumcision symbolized a self-cursing oath: “If I am not loyal in faith and obedience to the Lord, may the sword of the Lord cut off me and my offspring, as I have cut off my foreskin.” Thus, Abraham was to submit himself under the rule of God, consecrating himself, his offspring, and all he owned to the service of the Lord.
24. Why was it important for Moses to circumcise his son? (Look also at Gen 17:10-14.)
25. After Moses and Aaron told the elders of the sons of Israel what God had spoken to Moses, the people bowed low and worshipped (Ex 4:31). What expectations of God did they have?
26. Have you used any of the excuses of Moses when God has asked you to serve Him in some way? What was the outcome?
27. How has God encouraged you through others to move forward in doing something you were hesitant to do?
28. How has God shown you an area of disobedience in your life?
When God calls us to step out in obedience to His leading, we often feel inadequate. We think of all the reasons why we are not the “best” person for the “job.” Yet, God wants us to come to the place where we know our adequacy comes from Him, not ourselves.
How do these verses encourage you at times when God is asking you to step out in obedience even though you may feel inadequate?
There is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will, doing what He has asked you to do.
When God first called me to Asia, I was working on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ in Kentucky. I had to make a decision whether or not I would follow His call, and it was not an easy decision. “Lord, I’ll follow You anywhere, but it would devastate my mom if I move to the other side of the world for four years.” “Lord, I’ll follow You anywhere, but ministry is going so well here at Western Kentucky. Maybe we could wait until I’ve finished what I can do here.” “Lord, I’m not married yet, and if I move to Asia, I’ll probably never marry. Perhaps it would be better if I married first. Then we could go overseas and serve You together.”
I came up with some good reasons for not going, but I knew that if I didn’t follow His calling, I would be settling for less than God’s best in my life. I had committed my life to follow Him, and yet, here I was, hesitant to follow Him into the unknown. I finally let go of my excuses and made the decision to move forward in the direction He was calling me. Yes, it was hard leaving family, friends, ministry, and the comforts of home. (It was even hard for me to leave my cat!) However, God provided new friends, new family, and grace to adapt to a new way of living. I would not trade anything for those four years in Asia. Being in the center of God’s will, regardless of where that may be, is far better than settling for the comfortable and familiar, and being outside of His will.
He never promised that following Him would be easy, but He promised that He would always be with us. He will give the grace and strength we need to follow Him wholeheartedly. Will you obey His leading? Will you submit to His will even before you know what lies ahead?
Ask God to search your heart today. Are you yielded to His will for you? Are you willing to obey even if you are fearful or feeling inadequate? Go before Him with your honest feelings.
Moses felt inadequate to deliver God’s people. He had tried once and failed. Why would this time be any different? He pleads his case before God, but God doesn’t give in to Moses. Now, Moses is ready from God’s perspective. He knows he is inadequate on his own strength. He knows that he alone cannot carry out God’s purpose. That is exactly where God wanted him, dependent on Him alone.