Commentary by Walter Albritton

September 19


Our God is Able to Deliver His People from Evil


Exodus 3-4


Key Verse: I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. – Exodus 3:10


          This series of lessons sends us leap-frogging through the Scriptures from Genesis to Ephesians. Our focus throughout is on the “God of Continuing Creation.” Today we search for help and truth in the stirring story of Moses.

          We find the Israelites in bondage in Egypt, but increasing in numbers. To minimize the possibility of a military uprising, the Egyptians began killing the Hebrew male babies. The baby Moses was spared, partly by his adoption into the royal family, a privilege he enjoyed for forty years.

          Then one day, observing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew unjustly, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. Realizing the next day that his crime was known, he fled from the wrath of Pharaoh who tried to kill him.

          Now Moses the murderer was on the lam. He found a good hiding place, as well as a bride, in Midian. His father-in-law gave Moses a job as a shepherd, sending him to the boondocks to tend the flock. For Moses it was a safe haven for forty years. However, though the Egyptians could not find him, God did. One day, seeking better grazing for the sheep, Moses led the flock to the far side of the desert, near Horeb, the mountain of God. What happened there changed his life forever.

          There, Moses reported, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.” Though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up. Moses walked over to inspect this strange sight. It was then that God spoke to him, calling his name. Wisely, Moses replied, “Here I am.”

          God warned him not to come any closer, and to take off his shoes for he was standing on “holy ground.” Explaining to Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God made clear the reason for his appearance. He had seen the misery of his people. He had heard their cry for help. So I am going to rescue them from the hand of their oppressors and bring them out to “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

          As though that was not surprising enough to the fugitive Moses, God went on to tell Moses, “I am sending you to handle this rescue for me.” Already afraid to look at God, Moses responded as any man might have, “Who am I to tackle such a job?” God’s only reassurance was that he would be with him, and that when the rescue was finished, “you will worship God on this mountain.” So, overcoming his reluctance, Moses began to follow orders. No longer would he herd sheep, soon he would be herding thousands of Egyptians to a new life in a new land.

          What lessons for our lives may we learn from this passage? Here are some of the more obvious lessons:

          l. God cares. Our God is no stoic ruler of the universe. He does not observe his creation with indifference.  He is a God of compassion. Though he may seem silent at times, God cares. That is essentially why we call God “Our Father,” because he is a Person whose heart is touched by our needs.

          2. God cares about hurting people. Here is a window into the heart of God. He does not like it when his people are oppressed. Treat people cruelly and you have a problem with God! As followers of Christ, we are expected to treat all people with respect and kindness. None is “beneath us.” We are not superior to other races. Made in the image of God, we are expected to share God’s concern for all people to have freedom and justice.

          3. God calls people to help hurting people. Though he has the power to do otherwise, God chooses to use willing people to correct injustice. He dignifies our lives by allowing us the privilege of sharing in his mighty works of deliverance. In this way we may choose to be “co-workers” with God. What an honor!

          4. God chooses people whom we might ignore to serve him. Who among us would have gone to the far side of nowhere and picked a sheepherder to deliver the Israelites from bondage? This should cause us to pay more attention to the people we disregard when we make up our lists of people worthy to serve the Lord. Remember, this was the same God who arranged for the Savior of the world to be born in the remote village of Bethlehem!

          5. God gets our attention in many different ways. God is not predictable. He is the God of infinite variety. As far as I can tell, Moses was the only man whose attention God got with a burning bush. We should be foolish to look for burning bushes. We should be wise to look and listen for the unique way God chooses to speak to us.

          6. No situation is hopeless to God. Rescuing the Israelites from Egypt appears to us, as it probably did to Moses, a “mission impossible.” Fortunately, we stand on this side of the Cross. We are aware of the mighty power of God to raise his Son from the dead. We know, because Jesus said it, that “what seems impossible to man is possible with God”! We are people who sing in faith, “Nothing is impossible when you put your trust in God.” Such faith makes us willing to pray for miracles of deliverance in situations that seem hopeless to unbelievers.

          7. God promises to be “with us” also when we accept our mission. God was with Moses. He was with other heroes of the faith. We have the promise of his Son, “I will be with you.” Whenever, and wherever, he calls us to serve him, we can obey him in the calm assurance that God keeps his promises and he has the power to deliver his people from evil. This we affirm each time we prayer the words in the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from evil.”

          This being our conviction, we should never then stand behind the teacher’s podium or the sacred deck like timid souls afraid of our shadow. Rather, we should speak boldly of the power of God to deliver those who trust him. We have such good news. We can be co-workers with the God who can break the chains of bondage, set the prisoner free, and cause the lame to leap with joy! No other religion offers such a high privilege!

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