Exodus Part Four: Dive
MOSES — SEEKING GOD'S PRESENCE
In Exodus, we watch the development of an incredible leader: Moses. Have you enjoyed getting to read the real story rather than just watching the movie or remembering from Sunday school?
Moses is an amazing leader, but not in the first couple of chapters. Did you notice when we first met Moses way back in the beginning of Exodus how adamantly he fought God to not use him? Look at Exodus 3:11, the first response of Moses to God’s call is ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’. Then he begins to talk God out of using him in Exodus 3:13
Exodus 3:13 Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?”
Moses begins with self-doubt, continues in doubting his own knowledge, then goes into doubt that the people will believe or listen to him, then questions his communication skills, saying ‘I am slow of speech’. By verse 4:13, he asks God outright to send someone else!
Have you ever doubted that God chose the right person when he chose you? I do — everyday! But the thing I love about Exodus is you get to see this man of God that doubted himself gain confidence in God and become one of the greatest leaders of all time.
I loved reading the plagues, not because I am sadistic but because if you stop and look at who is doing the miracles, you can see that, at first, it is Moses and Aaron together (Exodus 7:8), then it is the ‘Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron to...”’ and Aaron does the miracles (Exodus 7:19, 8:5, 8:16). Then, as we go along, it is ‘Then the Lord said to Moses to confront Pharaoh’ and to do the miracles and he does. At first, it is Aaron and Moses, then Moses tells Aaron and then he does it himself. He gains confidence in himself and trusts in God.
A Leader for the ages
Did you get frustrated at the Israelites when you read Exodus? Oh my, all that grumbling and complaining and God answers them and Moses continue to lead them. He shows himself as an incredibly patient leader. Again, we see the development of Moses from lessons on delegation (Exodus 18:13) to an incredible man that speaks to God face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:11). The more time Moses spends with God, the wiser and stronger he becomes as a leader.
Have you loved reading Moses’ encounters with God on Mount Sinai? These life-changing moments where Moses gets to go and commune with God, interceding on behalf of the people of Israel, getting instructions, laws and warnings. I love Moses’ relationship with God, he takes time out away from the crowds and talks to God. This is how we should be as leaders; no matter how busy we are or how many things we need to take care of, our priority is to come away from the crowds and mess and spend time face to face with God. Moses gets so used to the presence of God that the thought of not having Him with him terrifies him. Look in Exodus 33:1-3, God says to Moses ‘Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt and go to the land I promised… he says I will send an angel before you… But I will not go with you because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way’. God is fed up with the people, can you see in this statement to Moses in Exodus 33:1? ‘The people you brought up out of Egypt’ — God has disowned them and now they are Moses’ problem. Moses is a great leader in this moment, he reminds God in Exodus 33:12 to ‘remember that this nation is your people’.
Ex. 33:15-16 If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?
This is the best statement a leader can make. I love these verses, what is Moses saying – ‘I’m not going unless you go with me and furthermore your presence makes us distinct and special’. Wow, do you know that the presence of God in you makes you special? It is your distinguishing marker from everyone else.
And the God encounters don’t stop there, Moses gets to see the back of God. He asked to see His face but the face of God is so glorious he would die, so God says ‘I’ll place you in the cleft of this rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. When I have passed I will remove my hand so you can see the back of me’! How great is this, this man, in human form, gets to see God! Read the full story in Exodus 11:12-23.
the power of his presence
Don’t forget to notice the language used in a book. In Exodus, it is the words of holiness and glory that describe the presence of God. My greatest passion today is that people would see God’s glory. It frustrates me sometimes when we walk into a church and we forget that the presence of God is there. We stand in worship more worried about missing a Facebook post then missing the face of God. Never forget that in the Old Testament, they were not allowed to enter the presence of God and if they did with disrespect or unholiness they died. Don’t abuse the freedom that Jesus gave us in having the presence of God with us all the time.
Love spending time in God’s presence, in His awesome holiness. When was the last time your face was radiant with the glory of God (Exodus 34:29-35)? Where you had to wear a veil because you had been in the presence of God and encountered His glory?
I love the wording in Exodus of God’s glory, the cloud of His presence over the camp, the encounters with angels. The glory is mentioned time and time again in relation to the Tabernacle, it was the tangible presence of God. Actually, the Book of Exodus finishes on the glory of the Lord filling the tent of meeting. This signifies God’s endorsement, when God comes and rests on His people, He is their protection, their light, their guide and the cloud showed them that He was with them.
This week, go and spend time in the presence of God, not asking for anything but just having time with Him face to face. This gift is why Jesus died on the cross, don’t waste it or take it for granted. It will change you into a better leader, mother, businessman, boss and employee. Love your times in prayer with God, when you come out changed, transformed for His Glory.
Huge congratulations on getting through another book of the Bible – well done! Next week we start on the Book of Philippians, the book of joy!