PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Exodus 4:27-31; Providence, Belief, Worship

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20100905_exodus04_27-31.mp3
9/5 Exodus 4:27-31 Providence, Belief and Worship

Introduction:

Exodus is about God. God is at work among his people. He is blessing his people and preserving them in the midst of hardship. God is stirring his people to disregard the evil commands of a wicked ruler and do what is right. God is thwarting the plans of the most powerful dictator on the planet by means of things we would consider weak and helpless. He is hearing the cries for help from his people, and he is taking note of their desperate circumstances. He knows their pain and has come down to take action. He is making good on promises he had made many centuries earlier. He invades the solitude of his chosen instrument, introduces himself in his holiness, and defeats his excuses one by one. He is preparing his deliverer and unveils his plan to win the hearts of his people and execute judgment on his enemies. Now we are at the point of action. It’s go time!

4:19 And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’” 24 At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. 27 The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

The Providence of God

What are the odds that Moses and his brother Aaron converge on the same spot on Mount Sinai at this particular time? Remember, Moses only spent his youngest years with his Hebrew family. He was raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter in the courts of Egypt. Moses has now been exiled from Egypt for 40 years because he stood up to defend his people. He is now an 80 year old man. He was tending sheep on the back side of the desert when God intruded into his quiet retirement. At Sinai God gave him his assignment – that he would be the instrument God would use to deliver his people from Egypt. So he took Jethro’s flocks back to Midian, sought his father-in-law’s permission to leave, packed up his family and set out. Then God confronted them at the lodging place as he demanded obedience and holiness from his servant.

Meanwhile, back in Egypt, the LORD says to Aaron “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” If you think about it for a moment, that sounds absolutely crazy. When Moses left Egypt, he sat down by a well. That was where people met. Everybody has to have water, so a well is a good spot to meet other people. If you’re going to connect with someone, you choose a commonly understood landmark. You don’t choose the wilderness. ‘Can you meet me in the wilderness tomorrow? I’ll be just past the twelfth bend in the road, over the hill, a little to the south; I’ll be standing by the sage brush.’ That would be almost as bad as trying to find your wife in Wal-Mart! Could you imagine a conversation between Moses and Aaron? – ‘service is kind of sketchy out here, but I’ll text you my GPS coordinates in a minute.’ The fact that they connected at all is amazing evidence of God’s providential hand at work in every detail of their lives.

I wonder when it was that God told Aaron to go to the wilderness to meet Moses. Do you think it was before or after Moses complained that he couldn’t speak well and didn’t want to go? Back in verse 14:

4:14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

What an encouragement this would be to our reluctant leader. This is a brother he had probably not seen in 40 years, now coming out to meet him in the wilderness. What confirmation that this really is God working. God, who controls all things, is able to orchestrate the reunion of these two brothers on the mountain where God had met with Moses. They have a joyful reunion and Moses downloads to his brother all the words God has spoken and shows him the signs God has given him. We don’t know how much Aaron knew about what was happening. God simply told him ‘Go into the wilderness to meet Moses’. Moses was the one to tell his brother that God was sending him to set the Israelites free to worship God on this mountain. Moses was the one to relay to Aaron that he had whined and complained so much to God about his own inadequacies that God granted him Aaron to be his mouthpiece. I wonder how Aaron took that news?

Faithful messengers

So Moses and Aaron went. They went to Egypt to gather the elders of Israel just as God had instructed them. It says ‘Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses’. They didn’t leave anything out. They didn’t add anything to the message. They were faithful messengers. That’s what a faithful messenger does. He speaks all the words the LORD puts in his mouth, and doesn’t go beyond the words the LORD gives him. Even Balaam, a corrupt prophet, understood what the role of a prophet was.

Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak’

Moses and Aaron were faithful to proclaim the message God had given them. God had spoken to Moses from the burning bush and said:

3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”’ 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘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, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’

Moses’ response to this was:

4:1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.”’

Now he is finally in the situation faithfully proclaiming the word of the Lord to the people and look what happens.

31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Pay close attention to this! It says the people believed when they heard. God sent Moses to proclaim a message. His message. Moses and Aaron declared all the words of the Lord to the people and the people believed when they heard.

Romans 10: 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? …17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Moses’ concern was ‘the people will not believe me or listen to my voice’. Moses was all worried that they would not accept the messenger. But it’s not about the messenger! It’s not about how eloquent or how animated or how plain or how polished or how trendy or how not-traditional and out-of-the-box the messenger is. It’s not about the messenger! Moses, they don’t have to believe you. They don’t have to listen to your voice. Moses, I want them to hear my voice. You faithfully proclaim what I tell you to say and the people will hear my voice. What the people heard was that the LORD had visited the people and the LORD had seen their affliction. The message was about the LORD and the messenger was simply the middle man bringing the word of the LORD to the people of God so that his people could be in the presence of their LORD.

The Goal – Worship

And that is the end goal. That is the end goal of the exodus. To reveal to the people the nearness of God and to lead them into worship, glad service of the Lord.

Exodus 3:12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Exodus 4:23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.”’

The first two of the ten commandments are commandments about worship.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The majority of the book of Exodus details what worship will look like for the Israelites. Worship is what Exodus is about. Moses faithfully brings God’s word to God’s people, and they hear and believe and they respond with worship. They bowed their heads and worshiped.

Worship is the end goal of the gospel. That we, the blood-bought multitude, can feel and say and sing and live the surpassing worth and excellency of the King of kings. This is truly what it is all about! This is what our salvation is all about. Our salvation is not primarily a salvation from something. Yes, God rescues us from an eternity separated from him, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. But salvation is not a ‘get out of hell free card’ that we can stick in our back pocket and sit on as we go about the rest of our lives. We are saved to something and for someone. ‘We were ransomed’ Peter says (1Pet.1:18-19) ‘from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot’ so we should ‘conduct ourselves with fear (v.17)’ – awe over the depth of the price that was paid. We are ransomed – purchased – bought – out of futility and into a life with purpose – one purpose – to fear God. To live in awe of who he is and what he’s done. We are ransomed, redeemed, and under new ownership so that we can worship.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Your body is now a worship center for the living God. Our central purpose is worship – to glorify God with our bodies. To bring him honor. Jesus said:

John 5:22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. …40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

We must honor Jesus just as we honor the Father. Eternal life comes only to those who worship Jesus. This is what heaven is. Heaven is all about God. It is all about worship. Jesus said:

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Here are some snapshots straight out of heaven, and they are snapshots of worship.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Then, at the end of Revelation, in the new Jerusalem, in the new heavens and the new earth:

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Hear God’s word faithfully proclaimed. Believe. Embrace him as king. Do what you were made to do – with your lips, with your thoughts, with your emotions, with you life – worship!

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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September 5, 2010 - Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , ,

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