SER # 36Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
13TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY AUGUST 30TH 2020
TEXTS: EXODUS 3: 1 – 15
THEME: GOD CALLS MOSES.
It has been almost forty years since Moses run away from Egypt to save his life. He grew up in the home of Pharaoh and he was a powerful man. But he knew that he was an Israelite. He knew his parent’s brothers and sisters. When he carried his royal duties, he was aware of who he was that why when he found an Egyptian fighting an Israelite, he killed an Egyptian. The next time he was out, there were two Israelites fighting and when he tried to separate them one of the revealed that they had seen him kill and Egyptian who was fighting an Israelite. He knew right then his secret was no longer a secret but public information. He also knew before long the Pharaoh will know this hence, he decided to run away from Egyptian to the land of Median where he finds refuge to a home of Median priest. He gets a job from this Median priest whose name was Jethro. He eventually got himself a wife whose name was Zipporah the daughter of Jethro the priest. Out of this marriage he had two boys.
After 40 years away from his people (Egypt) God visit him with a mission to do. Though Moses knew about Yahweh he was not sure if the Israelites would believe him if told them Yahweh hand send him. As you continue reading the story you will see how God is trying to prove to Moses that he was God all was possible. I would like us to draw the following lesson from the text.
- God shows up at our place of work: We have to realize that Moses was doing his usual work of taking care of the father – in Law sheep when God shows up. When God does show up, we will know it because something unusual start to happen. Something that might catch our attention or thinking. For Moses it was the burning bush. The fire was not what was unusual, but the fire that does not consume was. Moses is drawn to this unusual happening and in doing so he approached the bush just to be told, stop please remove your sandals this is a holy ground. I believe that God may appear to us as well we are doing our regular chores. We have to be attentive to our environment to notice God’s working. It may not be as clear as the burning bush but could be a friend, an activity that triggers something in you. It could be a song coming to your mind and the words seem to speak to you. It could be a bible passage that triggers some curiosity? Let us be aware of God signs to use everyday. God may show up as you are doing dishing at the kitchen sink or even when driving. God has many props that he can use to draw our attention but we have to be observant. The fires were not unusual in Moses days but he was keen enough to notice that this fire was different. It did not consume as other fires do. It had to be different and Moses decides to go and investigate.
- God invite us to honor Holy ground: Noticing is good but not enough, one has to act on what they notice. It is when we act that we hear the voice of God. “The Moses said to himself, let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up. When the LORD saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses! Moses said, I ‘m here. Then the LORD said, don’t come any closer! Take of your sandals because you are standing on Holy ground” Exodus 3: 3 -5). When God reveals himself to us, he often reminds us of his holiness. I like us to think for a moment about holy ground as people of faith. First – The Sanctuary:, I realize with Covid-19 many of you are not able to come to the sanctuary to worship as you used to but I like to believe that when you enter the sanctuary you are entering a holy ground. We therefore have to remember to remove our “sandals.” Sandals can be represented something unclean. For us removing the sandal could mean many things: removing any bad thinking, removing the negativity within you, the business in your mind, any distraction that might prevent you from communicating with your God. Unfinished projects and to do list can take away your focus from what God is wanting to say to you. Second-corner, chair: It might be nice to create a small holy place in your house. This could be just a chair or a certain corner where you focus on listening to God. Some have designated a chair in their office as a holy ground once their sit there they get centered and their spirit connects with their creator. Third, to the farmers you can designate a small corner of your farm or a certain tree or even a rock where you go to be centered and to connect with your God. some people have used their patio as a holy ground where they are able to connect with God.
- God reminds us who he is: When Moses approached the burning bush and after he removed his sandals God was able to remind him who he was. This was important for Moses having been away from his people for 40 years it was time to remember his roots. It is important to remind ourselves everyday of who God is to us. As we journey through life let us never forget how far the LORD has taken us. We have different marker stones of how far the Lord has taken us. Some have put something visual to remind them that how far God has taken them. Some even plant a tree, paint a wall or a brick, special scarf. Samuel had stone put together to remind him how far the LORD had taken him. “Then Samuel took stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). The LORD has become our stone of hope. He is our Ebenezer for this far he has taken us. Have you created your Ebenezer Rock that when you look at it you stop complaining and say “The LORD my Ebenezer for thus far you have carried me.” None of us knew we would be where we are some years back, but God has been faithful. Let create a historical marker for God’s acts in our life, if not physical at least in our mind to remind us everyday of his faithfulness. As we go before God let us remember these things who God is. God is: a) Jehovah Jireh (The LORD our provider). When Abraham went up with his son to give offering, his son Isaac wondered where the offering lamb was because they had the wood and the fire. It was Abraham response to his son, that tell us who God is as Jehovah Jireh, for this is how he responds; “Abraham answered, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son’. And the two of them went together (Genesis 22: 8). When we go before God in our prayer let us remind ourselves that our God is our provider. God knows what we need and when so we do not have to worry about anything. b) Jehovah Nissi: This means that (The LORD our banner). It is important to remember on which side we belong as we march on. We march under the banner we call Jehovah Nissi. This is the banner of love, joy peace goodness kindness…… under this banner we will win battles against the devil and all the schemes that he has for us. “Moses built an altar and called it ‘The LORD is my banner.’ He said, ‘Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation” Exodus 17 15 -16). This banner of the LORD reminds us of the word of David as he faced the giant called goliath. “David said to the Philistine, you come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of armies of Israel whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give all of you into our hands (1 Samuel 17: 45 -47). c) Jehovah Rapha (The LORD our healer). The Lord heals us spiritually, emotionally as well as physically. We go through moment of life when we truly need help to keep moving on the right direction. When the Israelites were out in the wilderness and needed water, God was able to provide. When water needed treatment to be drinkable God directed Moses what to do (Exodus 15: 22 -26). We can claim his name because we know that he healed in the past and he heals today and tomorrow for he is the same as he was yesterday today and tomorrow.
- God sends us to missions: Moses is finally directed to the mission that God wanted him to do. We can learn a lesson here to. a) Mission: Moses is being send back to the man he run away from to save his life. So, what has changed this time that Moses would go? The key to this is in our text, “God said I will go with you” (Exodus 3: 12a). We have to remember then whenever the LORD sends us to do his work his promise is to go with us. We just become the visible hands, feet and voice of God himself. God will send us even to places we least want to. Or to places we think we have a good reason not to go. Don’t you think Moses had a good reason not to go back to Egypt? Remember he was a fugitive from there. Have you seen how even little children enjoy going out trickier treat even when it is late in the evening? The reason is the parents are with them hence they are not afraid. The same with our God he promises to accompany us whenever he sends us even places, we rather not go. b) offers direction: God is like the GPS once he tells you go; he will offer us the necessary direction. If you come to the Sea and there is no road, he will create a road for you. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with strong east winds and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground with a wall of water on their right and on their left (Exodus 21: -23). When you meet an obstacle on the way he has a plan B for you but you have to be attentive of what he says. c) Give us the words to say. To Pharaoh the words were, ‘let my people go.’ Moses was to tell the Israelites that God was aware of their suffering. Let the people Israel know that God has heard their prayer. He is aware of the injustices that exist and the oppression that they were going through. Finally, God was coming to deliver them to freedom and fulfill his promise by taken them to the Land of the covenant with milk and honey.