What comes into your head when I say the word ‘Moses’? Leader? Law-giver? Redeemer? Burning-bush? Bricks without straw? ‘Pharoah’? ‘Miracles’? ‘Passover lamb’? For me it’s this: ‘Go down, Moses, way down Egypt land, tell old, Pharoes, let my people go!’ A ‘spiritual’ - song sung by African-American slaves.
God wants people to be free 2:24
We have seen and heard the appalling news from horn of Africa. And of course from Norway. Poverty and oppression.
Poverty and oppression -- the two are often linked. But God sees, and God cares 2:24-25, 3:7 . He was in special relationship with the Israelites through their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs. (Though God is a God who delights to bring liberty to all peoples: ‘"Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?" declares the LORD. "Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?’ Amos 9:7). But here we see God about to make another covenant with His people: `You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." In Exodus 19:4-6 we see that freedom and obedience are linked.
God Calls us to a place where we are free to serve v4
Once before Moses tried to lead the Israelites. It all went badly wrong. He wasn’t at all in a place where he could serve God by leading the Israelite people.
The dark side of leadership: most leaders have a dark (driven) side to them. One thinks of Stalin – ‘Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union’(!), or Hitler – ‘One realm, one people, one leader’ . Moses was no exception. He liked to take charge, to take matters into his own hands. When things didn’t work out he ran. It took him 40 years of life spent in the Midian desert before he was ready to hear God’s call to be a servant-leader of the Israelite people. Have you got anything you need to be released from before you can serve?
And he felt very unworthy of this call:
‘Who am I?’ v11 It’s not a bad sign to feel insecure. It keeps us from pride (though a very low self-esteem can also be a sign of pride, or lack of faith).
‘I am with you’ v12 Reassurance from the LORD. The I AM (Yahweh – used to be Jehovah.) of the Bible – personal God. God who relates. God who remains the same – a loving, faithful God. Have you met him? Do you know him? Are you resting in God who you know loves you?
‘I am with you’. The I AM of the Bible is with us. It is our enemy who needs to fear. His fear should be of biblical proportions!