What Does God Want with Me?
Pastor Andy G., looking off at the waters, pondering God's next mission for him.

Exodus 3:1-15
One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
“Don’t come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you’re standing on holy ground. I Am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
God replied to Moses, “I Am who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.
This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.

2:23-25 = background for later mentioning:
It had been a long period of time. Moses was in the wilderness with his new family, new life, and new faith. The King of Egypt, who had reigned during Moses’ time there, and who also put out a price on his head, was now dead. The Israelites groaned and cried out, and God heard them, remembered them, and was concerned.

Think for a moment:

  • Do you remember the name of the Dr. who delivered you at birth?
  • Can you tell me the name of the policeman/men who arrested Abraham Lincoln’s murderer?

In the 3rd chapter of Exodus, we read that Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock. His father-in-law was the Midian priest, derived of the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s first son. So as Moses was tending the flock, he walked quite a ways, coming into Horeb, also known as the “Mountain of God”. There, “The Angel of the Lord” (often referred to as Jesus pre-incarnate) appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. This made Moses curious, for the bush wasn’t being consumed by the fire…so he decided to explore this. At that moment, the Lord called to Moses from within the bush: “Moses, Moses!” And Moses answered, “Here I am!”

The Lord said, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you’re standing is Holy ground.” Then He introduced Himself to Moses as the God of his fathers. When Moses heard this, he hid his face from the Lord and was afraid of looking at Him.

Now the issues here that God shares with Moses are:

  • God has seen the misery of God’s people in Egypt
  • God has heard their cries
  • God is concerned for them.

So what we have here is that God has seen, God has heard, and God is concerned”. In response to this, God tells Moses, “So I have come down to rescue them.” God has come down from heaven to rescue His people from slavery. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yeah, Jesus, exactly.

So God explains to Moses why He’s there, and what His vision is for His people: to free His people, they’ll own a very spacious land with everything to be desired, currently owned by enemies of God…but at the moment, God needed to rescue His people because they were suffering.

So now imagine this, if you will…Moses is probably still trying to figure out why the bush isn’t being consumed by the fire, the bush from which the Lord’s voce is coming. God is telling Moses why He’s there and what He’s going to do – ever have one of those conversations with somebody where as they’re telling you, you’re wondering, ‘why are they telling this to me? What’s the point of me knowing this?’ I figure that after God told him all this, Moses’ response was probably somewhere along the lines of, ‘Alright, well, good luck with that.’

But then, the Lord says, “So now, go…I’m sending you…” Any fans of Scooby Doo? “Awrrrr?” So what happens? How do you think Moses responded? ‘Uh, yeah, ya know Lord, I’d really like to, but you see, I’ve got this family thing going for me now…I’ve got a beautiful wife, a home among friendly people, and as you know, we just had a son, Gershom…we’re financially stable, and I’m not much of a speaker, anyway…’ In other words, he makes up excuses.

But then look what the Lord says in verse 12: “I will be with you.” You would think that would be enough, wouldn’t you? I mean, if the Lord told you to do something big and dangerous, and then said, “It’s OK, I’ll be with you,” wouldn’t that be enough for you to say, “OK, well let’s go then!”?
OK, be honest now…really?

Let’s look at some of the issues and blessings in Moses’ life, and nod if you can relate in any way:

  • Israelite under Egyptian care (trying to figure out who he is?)
  • Fugitive (let’s look at what put him there)
    • Uncontrollable anger?
    • Unrepentant sin?
    • Try to hide sin from others knowing the truth?
  • Started up a new family:
    • Midianites (descendants of Ishmael) (?)
    • His father-in-law is a Midian Priest
    • Wife
    • Son (Gershom)
    • Shepherd and all-around help with the property
  • Interested in God’s vision for His people, want to see the victory, but not so much take part in the battle?

Moses no doubt figured that when God said that He’s come down to rescue His people, God’s going to rescue them Himself…I mean, He’s God! He created everything, He can do everything…remember Sodom and Gomorrah? How about the flood?

God: “I’ve chosen you – to bring my people to me.”

We’ve heard all this before, though, haven’t we? I don’t just mean Moses’ story, but this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, too…check out these comparisons:

  • God told Moses, “I’ve come down to rescue them out of the hand of Egypt (slavery)…”
  • Jesus came down in order to rescue us out of the hand of sin (slavery).
  • God told Moses, “So now, go. I’m sending you.”
  • Jesus told us in the Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (go, I’m sending you.)
  • God told Moses, “I will be with you.”
  • Jesus told us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  • God told Moses, “I AM who I AM.”
  • Jesus told us, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”; and Jesus also said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

“I’ve seen their suffering, and indeed I’ve heard their cries,” says the Lord, “and I am concerned. So, I have come down to rescue them from the hand of slavery…and I have chosen you to bring them to me.”

In the 1st original Star Trek movie, Captain Kirk receives a message from his long-lost brother. Towards the end, after the Enterprise is about to enter the void that’s thought to be Heaven, where this guy who claims to be God is residing (but later just turns out to be trapped), Kirk asked, “What does God need with a starship?” It’s a good question. If God is God, then why does God need a Starship? This is also the worldview of God, and I wonder if sometimes we get into a similar mode where we ask, “What does God need…with me? If God is God, the creator of everything that exists, then what does He need…with me?” This too is a good question, and it’s a question that philosophers have asked for millenniums. What does God need with creation? Does God need creation? Does He need us to love Him? To serve Him? To obey Him? Does He have to do things through us, or can He do things on His own? Why does God use people to accomplish things that God can do on His own?

There was a man who was born blind. Jesus’ disciples asked if it was because of the man’s parents’ sins or his own that caused him to be born blind? I always thought this was an odd question, for who can sin from within the womb, and who within the womb is with more sin than the rest of us? But either way, Jesus replied that it was neither, but this happened so that the works of God may be displayed in him.

My wife and I studied the gospel of John together, and one thing we noticed was that in each and every chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus’ deity is revealed at least once. Yet the problem that continues to arise in each chapter is that nobody’s able to catch it…they don’t see. When Lazarus became sick, Jesus said that his sickness “is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Whenever Jesus healed somebody, the first thing they did was go and tell everybody about what Jesus had done. Jesus healed, people witnessed and told, others believed. Do you see now why God “needs” people for His purpose?

Jesus healed, people witnessed and told, others believed. Jesus brought back to life several people, people witnessed and told, others believed. Jesus died and was resurrected, people witnessed and told, others believed. God did, people responded, others believed.

Isn’t that how gossip works, too? People say or do something crazy or out of the ordinary, we see or hear about it and tell others. Why can’t we gossip then about what God did? You’ll often hear me ask about “God sightings”. Did God do anything that made you go, “wow”? Did Jesus answer any prayers recently that just blew you away when He did? Why not tell somebody about it? Who really cares if they know the Lord or not, share your excitement…you may bring somebody closer to or introduce somebody to the Lord.

Did the Pastor say something in church the other day that makes you go, “huh”? Did you read something in the scriptures that you’re wrestling with? Why not bring it up in conversation? Maybe somebody can help you with it…or maybe somebody who doesn’t know the Lord will come to learn that Christians actually don’t know everything about God, and that we’re humble enough to admit it.

“I’ve seen their suffering, and indeed I’ve heard their cries,” says the Lord, “and I am concerned. So, I have come down to rescue them from the hand of slavery…and I have chosen you to bring them to me.”

I challenge you…just bring up something about Jesus in a conversation one day…while gossiping (don’t lie, I know you gossip). What? What’s your excuse? You can’t do that? Why not? Because then it wouldn’t be gossip, but evangelism, and you don’t want to shove my faith down somebody else’s throat? Actually, gossip is evangelism for the devil…so why can’t we turn that around and make God the focus?

See, this is good, because it puts us right up there with Moses. For Moses also tried to make excuses for not telling His people about the Lord. See, in verse 11, “Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Did you see that? ‘Who am I? Why me? Why out of anybody would they listen to me? I’m nobody special.’

In the book of Acts, we read the story about Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul. At this time, he was a strong persecutor of the Church. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen; he had Christians arrested and thrown into jail, and many were later killed; and on the road to Damascus, Paul was on the hunt for a means to stop this movement. But on the way to Damascus, the Lord appeared before him, and blinded him. After being taken to a house in Damascus, and being put under guard, the Lord called somebody. Do you remember who? (Ananias). Acts 9:10 says, “In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ‘Ananias!’”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him exactly what to do, who would be there, who he needed to see, and what to say upon his arrival. He also told him that Saul was expecting him. But what was Ananias’ response in verse 13? Basically, “Are you sure you?” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” So Ananias went, did what the Lord told him to do, said what the Lord told him to say, and this Saul, later known as Paul, wrote letters to the Church that pretty much take up our New Testament. Tell me, has anybody heard anything about Ananias since? And all he had to do was obey God’s command to “Go!”

We don’t often know what the Lord has planned when He calls us to do something. But as humans, we want all the details, don’t we? We want to know why, what’s going to happen, will it be safe, will we be mocked, and honestly, how the Lord will work through this. We’re sometimes afraid to step forward when the Lord says, “go”. I think we also wonder if the Lord’s going to be with us in this…we wonder if He’s going to tell us to do something and sit back, watching us as if testing how we’ll respond. But that’s not how the Lord works, and we need to remember this always. Notice what God told Moses in verse 12: “I will be with you.” He also offered a sign to comfort Moses in knowing that it is in fact the Lord to whom he’s talking. In the same way, we’re reminded of what God said in Hebrews, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”? “I’ve chosen you…trust me.”

But was that enough for Moses to say OK? Nope. In verse 13, Moses again tries to opt out: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

Say I mention to somebody about what the Lord has done or shown me today, and they ask me more about Him…what shall I say then? Suppose they ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to…what will I say/do then? Suppose I go…suppose I say, suppose they ask…even after the Lord has told Moses that He Himself will be with him, Moses is already assuming that he will fail.

“I’ve seen their suffering, and indeed I’ve heard their cries,” says the Lord, “and I am concerned. So, I have come down to rescue them from the hand of slavery…and I have chosen you to bring them to me.”

But what will I say? I’m too shy; I don’t know how to talk to people.” Guys, have you ever had a buddy who likes a girl, and you want to encourage him to go up and talk to her? Or maybe you were the guy. Either way, guys, how did you encourage him to go and talk with her? You tell him what to do and what to say to help him start off a conversation. That’s what God did for Moses, too. He told Moses exactly what to say: “Say to the Israelites, ‘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…later, God even tells Moses exactly what to say, to whom to say it, and even a backup plan in case they decide not to listen to him. So after a lot of whining and doubting on Moses’ part, even throughout the first part of the next chapter, he finally goes. And what happened? Eureka! It’s a success, just as God said it would be.

I can imagine Jesus saying to Moses as He did to the disciples, “Oh ye of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

So now, the bush is burning without being consumed, and as he approaches it, it begins to talk to him. Freaky, but to Moses, when he heard the Lord say, “Moses! Moses!”, instead of freaking out, Moses replied, “Here I am”.

Now, the Hebrew word for “Here I am” is pronounced “hay-EE-nee”, the same word that Samuel said when the Lord called his name, although I doubt the young Samuel realized at that time that his response was the same as that of Moses’, over 400 years previous. Why do I bother to mention this? Because in both incidents, God was calling somebody who He had plans for, special plans to serve Him and further His Kingdom. Samuel would grow up to be a prophet who soon anointed both King Saul and King David, and who would also serve the Lord obediently. Moses would serve the Lord by leading God’s people out of slavery from Egypt. But look at each one. Samuel was just a little boy. Hardly the sight of what he was to become in the Lord’s service. And Moses, an Israelite fugitive who grew up in Egyptian royalty and is now living among descendants of Ishmael…no doubt dealing with an identity crisis, and an obvious low self-esteem. Two people who you would least expect to become great prophets and great servants of the Lord. But yet, that’s exactly what happened. Why? Because when the Lord called them, their first response was, “Here I am.”

Reflection:

  • When God calls you for something, how will you respond?

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3 thoughts on “What Does God Want with Me?

  1. Mark 4:24–“(Jesus says)Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given, and you will receive even more”. Once God has my attention (ala Moses and Samuel), that would make me want to listen to Him more, to use “more understanding” as one of God’s weapons (2 Corinthians 10) against gossip/”evangelism for the devil”. Gaining more understanding from God is never a waste, and anything against God is a waste and will eventually be put to eternal waste (Revelation 20).

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