Thank you for joining us this week. We are happy you are here and trust you will be blessed by our study in Exodus 3; this is where God makes that remarkable statement about Himself. He says, “I AM THAT I AM.” And the title of today’s lesson is Go when God Commands. Bible teacher J. Mark is here, so let’s give him our attention.
Hope is an important ingredient of life. One secret of having hope is to hear God. An ancient philosopher once said, “Oh that someone would come, man or God, to show us God.” He understood that if we could just hear God, that would give us some hope. But we can hear God. We hear Him when we read from His Holy Book, the sacred Scriptures.
God also speaks to us personally. Not usually as an audible voice, but God can make Himself heard when we are listening. It may be that God will ask us to do something that we don’t want to do. I have learned that if a person really wants to know God’s will, he must lay everything else aside. He must make a full surrender to God. That is a very difficult thing to do. My message, GO WHEN GOD COMMANDS, requires us to listen and be ready to obey.
But the question also comes to us, how can we be sure we are hearing God? Moses was testing it out. Moses was measuring it. He had stopped by the burning bush to see why it was not burned, and God spoke to him there. The conversation is found in Exodus 3:7-15.
7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows.
8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
9. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
11. And Moses said unto God, who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
12. And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
13. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them?
14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15. And God said moreover unto Moses, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
This text teaches us how God makes PROMISES that help us to go when He commands.
The first promise is,
I. The Promise of Deliverance
The promise of deliverance was based on the conditions of the people. God looked down; He saw the conditions. He said, “I have seen the affliction of my people.” God knows all the conditions. He is able to survey all that is going on. He said, too, “I know their sorrows.” God entered into their experiences. He was there with them. His heart beat with their heart. He felt their pain. He understood their sorrow. Then God said, “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.”
The promise of deliverance is based on God’s understanding of the conditions of the people. He felt their sorrows, and He came to act on their behalf. The Lord said, “I have heard the cry of the children of Israel. It has come up to me.” That means God hears. That’s a wonderful consolation, isn’t it, to know that God hears. God said that He had heard the cry of the Israelites.
The promise of deliverance is based also upon the commission to Moses. God purposed to do something about the conditions He saw and heard. He commissioned Moses. He said, “Come therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh.” I see here the purpose of God in commissioning Moses to carry out the promise of His deliverance.
Do you know that in almost every situation, God depends upon a man? Yes, I have observed that in the Bible. I have observed that in life, too, that in almost every situation, God depends upon a man to accomplish His plans. In this case, He called Moses to deliver the children of Israel. I wonder, what does God want you to do? Can it be that God is speaking to you now, asking you to do something for Him? If so, I urge you to go when God commands.
The second promise is
II. The Promise of Assurance
Moses’ response was objection. He raised a very simple question, “Who am I?” Many people raise that question today: the identity question, who am I? Moses was a humble servant. One time, he had been the prince in Pharaoh’s court, but he ran away when they tried to kill him.
So, he said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? I’m not fit. I’ve been out here on the backside of the desert these forty years. I’ve lost all touch with the courts of the kings. I’m just a humble shepherd. I’m no match for Pharaoh; in fact, he tried to kill me when I was last there. Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh? I am no leader. The people won’t have me. They didn’t have me before; they won’t have me now. Why should I go? Who am I?”
Yes, Moses had a very keen understanding. His objection was well placed, but the promise of assurance was not based on who he was. It was based on God’s presence, for the Lord had said to him, “Certainly I will be with you.” That was a very personal relationship. God said, “I am here asking you to go, but I will not expect you to go by yourself. I will go with you. I will be with you.”
To bolster that assurance, God gave Moses a token or a sign. He said, “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will gather here at this mountain to serve me.” Proof of God’s presence was worship at this mountain. That gave Moses a brief insight into the road ahead.
God had a long-range program in mind. It wasn’t just a matter of bringing the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. No, in fact, He had said that He was going to bring them out that He might take them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses found the assurance of God’s presence really strengthening.
God never expects us to “go it alone” when He commands us to go. He always goes along. That’s a beautiful truth about the Lord. He never sends His man out to battle; He leads him out. He goes along with him; He goes before him. When the going is hard, the Lord is there, and that is the promise of assurance. Overriding Moses’ objection, God said, “I will be with you.” What a blessed promise, what a blessed assurance this must have been to Moses! You and I can have that same assurance as we follow God’s command.
There was also
III. The Promise of Identification
Moses replied to God, “Let us suppose I go, yes, and when I come to the children of Israel, they are going to ask me, ‘Who sent you?’ Ah, there is a possibility of a mistake, Lord, so I must know what your name is. What shall I say to them when they ask me, ‘Who sent you?”’ It must have been rather vivid in Moses’ memory how they rejected him when that one said to him, “Who made you a judge over us?” He didn’t want to make another mistake. He didn’t want to assume too much. He wanted to be sure this time that he had actually heard the word of the Lord. He wanted to be able to tell the people of Israel exactly who had sent him. So, he said, “What is your name? What shall I say to them?”
God gave him a very plain and simple answer. The Lord God said to him, “I AM THAT I AM. That is my name.” A great many people have tried to explain it; they’ve tried to pronounce it; they’ve tried to write it. But it is hardly within the scope of man to make a definition of who God is. By the fact that He said, “I AM THAT I AM,” suggests strongly to us that He’s a self-existent One. He is not dependent upon outside circumstances, outside forces for His existence. He is a self-sufficient One, the eternal One.
Then God said further to Moses, “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you.” He said, “This is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” There is something striking about His identification as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is no change. God’s eternal name, God’s unchanging purpose.
I keep thinking of the many religions in the world. They can’t all be right. They could all be wrong, and, indeed, they are. There is only one true God. He is the great I AM. This is the promise of the identification which God gave to Moses.
Go when God commands on the basis of the promise of deliverance, the promise of assurance, and the promise of identification. God has His man or woman for every situation. Are you His person for your situation? God calls His man and goes along with him. Do you know what it is to have God’s presence with you? God is the great Eternal One, never changing. Moses knew Him personally. Many others have known Him personally. Do you know Him personally? You can.
Thanks, J. Mark, for this teaching from Exodus, and thank you for joining us. It is a privilege to study God’s Word and grow in our understanding together. Now let’s take what we’ve heard and allow it to affect our lives. As James tells us, we are to be “doers of the word and not hearers only.” If we just hear the Word, it’s like seeing ourselves in a mirror, then going away, and forgetting what we just saw. Don’t let that happen; allow God’s Word to change you from the inside out.
We bless you as you walk with Jesus and put His teaching into practice. If you have any questions or if you would like today’s teaching, please contact us, and ask for it by title or passage. We also have a study guide available designed to help you learn more from each of these lessons in Exodus. It is called the Hope Herald, and if you would like one, we would be happy to send one to you.
Here are a few ways you can reach us. The quickest and easiest way is through email. Our email is email@example.com. If you don’t have email, you could send us a letter, send it to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Another way you can contact us is through our website. Our website is heraldsofhope.org. While you are there, please look on our website for this teaching and other similar teaching. There you will also find other resources available from Heralds of Hope. Again, the website is www.heraldsofhope.org.
We thank you again for joining us for today’s program. I encourage you to join us again next week as we continue our journey through Exodus. We look forward to being with you then and will leave you with this thought from II Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
This episode is an exposition of Exodus 3:7-15 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with an opening and closing by Arlin Horst.