Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Exodus: New Direction, New Life #4 “Fire of God’s Calling”

Text: Exodus 3:1-15

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Fire of Separation Exodus 3:1-4

 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.  And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.  And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

Called To Find The Fire

Moses is now 80 years old, he has been a shepherd in the desert for 40 years. He has settled into another life away from his first 40 years as a prince in Egypt. It would seem almost impossible to be used of God now after all that the time and events that have passed.He waited 40 years to try and lead God’s people and then failed entirely. Now he is a shepherd, not a prince. He leads a flock instead of a nation. He protects his own children rather than the Hebrew children.

Yet one day as he is out shepherding the flocks, he sees a bright fire burning and that fire will separate him from his present world forever. This fire of calling will separate him from his life, friends and livelihood of the past 4 decades.
The fire must have been bright to be able to see it in the sunshine of the desert.It probably was a distance away because the wording in these verses leads us to understand he turned aside, away from his normal path, away from familiar surroundings to travel to where the bush was burning.

We Must Leave Where We Are To Go To Where He Is

The call of God to serve Him always calls us away from ourselves, our interests and our world.
The call of God does not occur when we think it should, just as we see with Moses, our timing is not God’s timing. The call of God cannot be ignored, like the burning bush is it bright and burning and demands our attention. The call of God moves us away from our world, our plans, our future and into God’s will.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your aim in life is because God has taken you up into his purposes.  -Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Are we prepared for what sanctification will do? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth and an immense broadening of our interest in God. - Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Die before you die. There is no chance after. - C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Transition: Look with me at verses 5-10 and a second look at the fire of God’s calling.

Fire of Service Ex. 3:5-10

 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.  Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.  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;  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.  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.  Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Called To Set Captives Free

God tells Moses to remove his shoe and stand on Holy Ground. He tells Moses who he is and what He intends for Moses to do. He give Moses a calling and in that calling there is a purpose. Moses was to return and do what he thought he was supposed to do 40 years ago, deliver the people for oppression and bondage.

God’s plan hadn’t changed but Moses’ preparation had changed dramatically. Moses wasn’t fully God’s man 40 years ago and it had taken 40 years of humbling in the wilderness of Midian to make him so.

Acts 7:22- 25 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

He thought God was ready to use him 40 years ago after he had been prepared in Pharaoh’s palace, but it was 40 more years in wastes of the wilderness before God had fully prepared him.
When the desert was finished with Moses, then he was ready, not in his own eyes but in the eyes of God. Now he could fulfill the first purpose of God’s calling, to deliver those bound in the chains of slavery.

The Purpose Remains The Same

We as New Testament servants of God,  are also called to fulfill God’s first purpose; we are to deliver those bound in the chains of sin by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We will not be effective in this, the greatest calling every given to mortal man, unless we also are prepared by God to be His person and not our own.

Letting God use us His way and in His time took Moses 40 years, how long will it take us?
And if God does not call us to the level of leadership of a Moses will we still be faithful and humble in our service to Him? Moses was wrong in setting his own timetable and agenda, that had to be up to God’s timing. We must allow God to work in and through us the time of preparation, the type of service and the time of that service.

God Told Me to be a kid.

A pastor was leading a revival in another church. While there, a young boy took a special interest in the preacher, sitting beside him every evening.  If the pastor sat on the platform, that's where the little boy sat; if on a pew, the little boy sat with him on the pew. The little boy was not a bother, that he just wanted to sit with the preacher. He found out that the boy’s parents didn’t attend church and he came on the church van.

"One evening I was sitting on the first pew," wrote Cashman.  "He came and snuggled up real close.  He looked up and asked me, 'Why are you a preacher?' "I replied to him, 'Because that is what God told me He wanted me to be.' He paused a moment and then stated, 'God told me just to be a kid.' "
What ever it is and whenever it is, just do what God calls you to do.

Transition: There is one more aspect of the fire that we should consider today.

 Fire of Strength Ex. 3:11-15

Called to Glorify God

God overcomes Moses weakness in the second purpose, to glorify God. He answers Moses question, “Who Am I?” with the answer “I Am that I Am!” It was no longer a question of weak Moses, but the declaration of Jehovah God, who was the answer to all questions. God then give Moses the second purpose in his calling and I believe that same purpose is also still true today for us today. In telling Moses that he is not just the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but “Jehovah,” God gives the 2nd purpose to Moses calling, That he would be used to bring remembrance to God.

This was the first time that the personal name of God was revealed to anyone. God’s purpose in telling His personal name was to bring the people to remember Him for all generations. Like a memorial, erected to stand for eternity, the personal name of God would bring others to God just as the burning bush had brought Moses.

Our Highest Calling To bring Glory to God.

The great purpose of our calling today is also to bring a remembrance to who God is.
It is to bring honor and glory to God through our own calling. As Moses would show not his own strength but the strength of God, we in our weakness will show the greatness of God.

Ephesians 1:11-14 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

And just as the revelation of God’s name would bring glory in the Old Testament, the revelation of God’s Son would bring glory in the New Testament.

Jesus said, in John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Our great purpose is to show the world Jesus Christ, crucified, buried but raised again the payment for their sin and the gift of God for our forgiveness. This is the glory of our calling to show the world the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Illustration: David Livingstone’s calling

I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity. - David Livingstone


Have you looked for the fire of God’s calling in your life?
Have you experienced the fire of separation?
Have you yielded to the fire of service?
Have you felt the fire of God’s strength?

God’s call to salvation is always accompanied by a call to service. You cannot experience the first and not realize the second must also be true. Answer the call and God will provide all that is needed to fit us for the task of delivering the captives and glorifying His name.

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