There was a time when Moses was convinced that “he was the man!” But 40 years of being a shepherd had thoroughly humbled him. We read back in Exodus 2:21 that he was “content,” to live the simple life in Midian.
Here we have God appearing to Moses in a burning bush – speaking with him – but Moses is resisting the call, he doesn’t think he has what it takes to do the job. Humility is good, but doubt isn’t, and definitely not disobedience – Moses is pushing the envelope, battling the boundaries in many ways. He’s asking God for signs to convince the people of His commission. He’s telling God that He can’t talk, he’s not eloquent, he has a stutter. God brings up a good point, “Who made you Moses? Who made the mouth? I did, so go!”
When it comes to ministry and our mission in life, all that matters is God! We will never be worthy and we must not look to our own ability, all that matters is God. Is He calling us to the task? If so, He will help us complete the task, after all it’s not just a mission, it’s a CO-mission; He will be with us!
Exodus 4:12 (NKJV) “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
We see in essence, the same thing in the Great Commission that Jesus has commanded all of us!
Matthew 28:19–20 (NKJV) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The LORD is so good, that He even uses Moses’ mistake to bring him a helper, his brother Aaron who would become Moses’ assistant and future High Priest of Israel. We all need helpers in ministry. God would speak to Moses, and Moses would speak to Aaron, who in certain situations, early on, would be the spokesman. Eventually Moses became quite an orator.
As Moses and his family set out to Egypt, we have a bizarre story in which God threatens to kill Moses – more than likely he became deathly ill (Exodus 5:24-26). He and his wife knew why – it was because Moses hadn’t circumcised his sons. The LORD had commanded the Jews to do this as a sign of their faith in Him and entrance into the Abrahamic Covenant (see Genesis 17:10-14) but Moses hadn’t done this. As you read just a little between the lines, and note the reaction of Moses’ wife Zipporah (who was forced to do it herself, but complained vigorously), more than likely Moses had brought this up to his wife, she opposed it, and Moses had chosen to obey his wife instead of God. It’s dangerous for any of us to obey any person at the expense of obedience to God.
The first meeting with elders of Israel went well. We read in:
Exodus 4:31 (NKJV) “So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.”
I have mixed emotions at this point. I’m not saying their expression of faith and worship wasn’t sincere, but we will see that this “belief” on their part, didn’t last too long. The moment circumstances went sour the whining (and doubting) began. God help us to keep the faith, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will keep His Word. This doesn’t mean that the journey will be smooth sailing, it simply means He will get us to the other side.
Moses issued a declaration of war against Pharaoh, the slaves of Israel versus the soldiers of Egypt, the children were challenging the chariots, who would win? It’s a lot easier to determine the answer to that question by remembering what’s really going on? It’s God against Satan – and we all know that God wins, every time – big time.
Maybe you’ve heard that conversation in the sports world, “Who’s the G.O.A.T.?” (Greatest of all Time)
The disciples discussed this topic of greatness and who would be “first,” frequently between themselves. Jesus sets them straight by pointing them to the children. As far as the Kingdom goes, you have to have the faith of a child to even enter in. After that, true greatness is rooted in true humility. When it comes to ministry we might elevate the pastors or people in prominent positions, but Jesus elevates those in “Children’s Ministry,” because there’s usually no glory (human recognition) in receiving children and giving them a cup of water (Matthew 10:42). But as we see through this entire section, children are precious to God. Don’t hurt them, deal severely with yourself if you have any sin within you that might make them (the children) stumble, don’t despise them, for every child has a guardian angel (Matthew 18:10) and that angel will give a report to God (tell on you).
I believe it’s also okay to allow this to spill over into the concept that all true believers are God’s children (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1) and if one goes astray, God will go out of His way to bring that child back.
Thank You Lord!
We should too.
In Matthew 18:15-17 we have the detailed instructions on what to do if someone sins against you. First, go to that person yourself and try to work things out. It’s so sad to see how many people skip that first step, even to the point of gossip and slander. If step one doesn’t work, step two is to take a mature believer with you to meet again with that person; make an honest attempt and be open to constructive criticism and counsel. If that doesn’t work share it with a pastor in the church. The pastor and church leadership should then pray and reach out to that person who’s struggling, and yes, meet again. If that doesn’t work, the body of Christ must exercise church discipline in the form of excommunication, for even that is God’s way of bringing that person back to him (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:20).
The remainder of the chapter must be kept in context. The binding and loosing of Matthew 18:18 are (in this case) a reference to church discipline; that God has given us that authority and responsibility, that God will lead us as a church as we yield to Him in these situations and even heaven itself will be a part of reaching out to that lost sheep.
Agreeing in prayer is powerful. When two or more come together in Jesus’ Name, for Him, and His plans and His purposes, this brings a special manifest presence/working of Christ among Christians (Matthew 18:18-20).
Verses 19-22 consist of prayer. As Jesus prayed and yielded Himself into the Father’s hands – His surrender brought salvation for us, leading to Jesus’ declaration to us:
Psalm 22:22 (NKJV) “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”
It’s beautiful to see the people God reaches out to in this Psalm, those who fear the Lord, the afflicted, the poor, all the ends of the world, all the families of the all the nations, even the prosperous of the earth.
I have a hunch the eating as described in Psalm 22:26, 29 are in reference to placing our faith in Jesus Christ. Remember what Jesus said?
John 6:54 (NKJV) “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Of course it’s not a literal, physical eating, it’s a spiritual “eating” in which we take it all in, we “swallow it all,” we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe in His cross of redemption on our behalf. It begins the moment we believe in Him and it’s expressed every time we partake of communion.
I’ve always thought of Psalms 22:30-31 as missions verses we must pass on to our children and the next generation.
Psalm 22:30–31 (NLT) “Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. 31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.”
Sexual intimacy is a beautiful gift to be enjoyed only within the confines of marriage (Hebrew 13:4). We are to drink from our own cistern, rejoice with the wife of our youth, and even be enraptured with her love.
Some people tragically choose to be unfaithful to their spouse (or future spouse) and they think they can hide it from God, get away with their sin…but God sees everything, absolutely everything.
Proverbs 5:21 (NKJV) “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He ponders all his paths.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.