12 Jan 2011
God is the Master preparer
It may seem like a simple thing to state that God is the great preparer. Think with me for a moment. What has God done that He did not provide for the preparation? He prepared Moses to lead His people out of the bondage of Egypt. Moses was, by the time the Lord was ready to use him, eighty years old. It seems that most of the fight had left him and he did not want to be the hero to lead a nation out of bondage at this stage of His life. God had been preparing him. A big portion of God’s preparation it seems for Moses was to humble him. When he was young and full of fight he thought that he might solve the whole slavery problem of his people singlehandedly. As you may recall this did not work out so well but in a sense it did play into God’s hands regarding Moses’ preparation for doing the will and work of God. Sometimes failure in our eyes may simply be preparation in the plan and will of God.
Let’s pick up the narrative during his conversation with God just after he approached the burning bush. God had told Moses that He had come down to deliver His people out of the bondage of Egypt. Then He told Moses “ come now therefore and I will send you” Moses apparently did not hear the part that God was going to do it, as he answered God from the perspective that he, Moses would be required to do it. In Exodus chapter 4 the discussion between God and Moses was not going too well. When Moses complained to God that the people would not listen to him or obey him, God simply, by way of illustration, gave Moses a glimpse of His power. Please see Exodus 4:1-9 below.
Exodus 4:1-9 (AMP)1 AND MOSES answered, But behold, they will not believe me or listen to and obey my voice; for they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you.
2 And the Lord said to him, What is that in your hand? And he said, A rod.
3 And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he did so and it became a serpent [the symbol of royal and divine power worn on the crown of the Pharaohs]; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the Lord said to Moses, Put forth your hand and take it by the tail. And he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand,
5 [This you shall do, said the Lord] that the elders may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has indeed appeared to you.
6 The Lord said also to him, Put your hand into your bosom. He put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.
7 [God] said, Put your hand into your bosom again. So he put his hand back into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored as the rest of his flesh.
8 [Then God said] If they will not believe you or heed the voice or the testimony of the first sign, they may believe the voice or the witness of the second sign.
9 But if they will also not believe these two signs or heed your voice, you shall take some water of the river [Nile] and pour it upon the dry land; and the water which you take out of the river [Nile] shall become blood on the dry land.
The Lord was preparing Moses to become a great leader. Moses probably would not have been hired by most of us for this job with his current resume. Moses apparently had some leadership experience perhaps fifty years earlier, but in recent times he had been leading a flock of sheep. Of course the sheep leading was a critical part of God’s preparation! God, in His preparation of Moses, ask Moses what is this in your hand? He then demonstrated that He had power to use any external resource for His purposes. What has God placed in your hand? We so often overlook what God has already provided into our hands. Perhaps you should ask your Abba Father what He has placed in your hand. What has He provided to you that He desires to empower and bring alive for His purposes?
God then focused on the hand, Moses’ hand that had held the rod. In this preparation lesson God showed Moses that He had power not only over the external resources but over all things that were intimately internal to Moses himself. Now it was not an external resource that bore the sign and testimony of the power of God, but it was the very person of Moses himself. God showed Moses that He had power to use him, to kill and to make alive for His glory and for the fulfillment of His plan. Are there things in your life that He desires to kill? …..things He desires to make alive? Moses followed God’s commands exactly and by his obedience he saw the power of God demonstrated in and through his own body.
The Lord then mentioned a third sign; one that could not be done in the place where they were as it was specific to the area, the real estate of the Egyptians. Moses knew that the Egyptians worshiped the Nile God Hapi and that the annual flooding of the Nile was critical to the food supply of the nation. God gave Moses the promise of the third sign; one that would turn the water of the Nile into blood. This spoke to Moses of God’s supreme power over nature, economics, and all other gods. These signs signified to Moses and also to us that God desires to empower men to be His leaders! Further, the man who is committed to trusting and obeying God will be lifted up, not for his own glory, but for the purpose of bringing glory to God.
God is the Master Provider
Exodus 17:1 (AMP)
1 ALL THE congregation of the Israelites moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and encamped at Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.
God has a plan for His children. He had appointed a leader [pastor]. He had led them into a difficult [no water] situation.
How did these people respond to the no water test from the Lord?
Exodus 17:2-3 (AMP)
2 Therefore, the people contended with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said to them, Why do you find fault with me? Why do you tempt the Lord and try His patience?
3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?
Notice that they are in the center of God’s plan and will and yet the people are very upset at their God appointed leader. In fact it seems clear that Moses felt that the people are on the verge of getting rid of him …. perhaps to choose a new leader who would lead them back to Egypt?
God will make sure that tests like these come up. The question for pastors today is …… will I be careful to not get in hot water with the people or will I be careful to go to God and get His direction and obey?
How did Moses respond to this test? As in most of God’s tests this test will be for both the pastor and leaders as well as for the people.
Exodus 17:4 (AMP)
4 So Moses cried to the Lord, What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.
Moses cried out to the Lord. He did not come up with his plan or call an emergency meeting ….. he cried out to the Lord. His eyes were only on the Lord for direction and provision.
How did the Lord respond?
Exodus 17:5-6 (AMP)
5 And the Lord said to Moses, Pass on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you smote the river [Nile], and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at [Mount] Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Look at the instruction from the Lord. First …. don’t hide from the people. Second …. don’t try to go it alone, persist in My Presence and bring in the other leaders I have provided. Third and most important …. take in your hand the rod [ the Holy Spirit ] the power of God. Notice that God promised His presence to be with Moses as he obeys God’s command to go and to strike the rock. Today God has promised and provided His Holy Spirit to not only be our power but to represent His presence. The Holy
Spirit is our cloud and pillar of fire. Oh how we often miss God’s best because we do not rely on the guidance of the Spirit Cloud by day and the Spirit Pillar of Fire by night.
Do you have any “no water” situations that are looking for attention? Below are some things to consider.
· Have you been crying out to God?
· Has He answered? Are you committed to getting only His direction?· Have you been looking for a place or way to hide?
· Is your perspective: you are alone and must solve this yourself?
· To what extent are you cultivating the presence of God? … fellowship of other leaders?
Moses was chosen by God and called to lead. Moses cultivated the presence of God.
God provided a pillar of cloud and fire for guidance. Does He desire to provide to you less?
Even in the midst of the leading by cloud and fire God gave Moses specific direction and power to address the need [ no water and no faith ] of the nation [body he was leading].
Like the nation of Israel, many in our pews today want to return to Egypt. Sheep want to eat the leaks and garlic of the old pre-Christ life in the world. God’s plan for us as leaders of His flock is to lead them out of the world and into His promise land. This will involve testing and the testing will be for them and also for us. Our perspective and thus our choices are everything. We have been given by God all the provisions needed to lead these people on this journey. Only be strong and courageous. He will provide for you all you need ……….
with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great (awesome) power and with signs and with wonders …….. to bring glory to His Name and to His Kingdom!Lead on Pastor Moses, you are prepared provided for and empowered by none other than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! His arm is not short nor His hand weak.
Psalms 80:17-18 (NASB95)
17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.