Series: General | Title: Learning from the OT Leaders: Moses – Reluctant but Willing | Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday January 14, 2018
Moses – Reluctant but Willing
This sermon is a continuation of the series titled – “Learning from the Old Testament Leaders”. The first leader from the Old Testament is Moses. The moment we think of Moses, these are the following things that come to mind: he parted the red sea in half by the power of God, he was supposed to be dead as a baby, he obeyed God, he was not a fluent speaker, he had a face to face encounter with God, the incident of the burning bush, he was an intercessor, he was brought up as an Egyptian Prince, and so on.
The burning bush incident tells us that he was reluctant, not willing to lead but was forced to lead. We read that from:
Exodus 3:7 – And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
Exodus 3:10 – Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you must lead My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
God says that Moses “must” lead His children out of Egypt. To this Moses replies –
Exodus 3:11 – But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
God re-assures Moses and says –
Exodus 3:12 – So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Moses, still being doubtful –
Exodus 3:13 – Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
To which God replies –
Exodus 3:14 – And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
Then Moses, being anxious said what if they do not believe me or listen to me? To this God asked Moses to place the staff which he held in his hand on the ground which immediately turned into a serpent and when Moses lifted it up it turned back into a staff. To re-assure Moses, God asked him to put his hand into his bosom and take it out. The hand was leprous and again he did the same and the hand was clean. Did this satisfy Moses? No!
Exodus 4:10 – Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
To lift him up, God said –
Exodus 4:11, 12 – So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
After hearing all of this from God, finally Moses gave up and asked God to send someone else.
Exodus 4:13 – But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
There is no doubt Moses was a reluctant leader. Right now, God is speaking to you, prophetically concerning our future. Eventually Moses turned out to be a great leader. The main purpose of this teaching is to observe the qualities of Moses as a leader. This is a quick overview of who Moses was:
A quick overview of Moses’ life:
Moses was born in Egypt and was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, yet he had a passion in his heart for his own people because he saw a Hebrew getting beaten by an Egyptian whom he killed. After 40 years of life in the palace, Moses had to flee for his life. He fled into Midian and there he became a shepherd boy. That continued until he met God in the burning bush. Another 40 years went by when Moses reluctantly accepted the calling of God in his life. He was willing to go back to Egypt. When he went to Egypt, God did amazing things through Moses. Each event that took place in the life of Moses from Egypt to Mount Sinai – we truly see his role as a prophet, a priest, a ruler and as a savior of Israel. There is no doubt that Moses was called by God and how he reluctantly accepted the calling of God.
Characteristics of Moses:
- He was a murderer.
- He was a reluctant leader.
- He was easily provoked because of his short-tempered nature as we see in the Bible from the incidence when he was coming down from Mount Sinai and broke the tablet containing the ten commandments written by the hand of God.
- He disobeyed God by hitting the rock instead of speaking to the rock.
- Eventually he was punished by God when he was barred from entering the promised land.
God used Moses to lead His people from the land of Egypt. Nobody in the Bible was used in such a great manner. Moses was made for a time such as that, where it is impossible to think of a leader that could replace Moses.
Exodus Chapter 2 verses 11 through 15 – Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So, Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” 15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.
Acts 7:17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. 23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.
30 “And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. 33 ‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” ’
35 “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
Numbers Chapter 12 –
Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)
4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?” 9 So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. 11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12 Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!”
13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.” 15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again. 16 And afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.
What Moses considered his strengths, eventually became his weaknesses:
After reading these three references from the word of God where Moses is portrayed, we get a bigger picture. Whatever Moses considered as a strength during his early stage becomes a weakness during his later time. This can be true for us. Now Moses is not eloquent – slow to speech and tongue tied. Moses who once was living in Pharaoh’s house is later not able to face Pharaoh. Moses is angry with people and broke the covenant tablets. Moses was again angry and upset when people in Kadesh were crying out for water opposing Moses’ leadership and wanted to kill him. Moses comes and says “Hear now you rebels”. That is how Moses spoke, we do not see this often. He was very angry and upset. This is when he struck the rock out of anger instead of talking to the rock. He brought the children of God out of Egypt and did so many wonders but was eventually barred out of Canaan.
Zealous & Passionate:
Moses is a great comfort to us since we look up to him and want God to use us the way we are. Often, we say we want to cleanse ourselves and then serve God, but God wants to use us the way we are. Moses was a zealous and passionate man of God. He was very passionate about what he was doing.
Acts 7:22 – And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds.
At times we complain about our work, but God says that He wants us to be passionate about what we do. When Moses was in Pharaoh’s palace, we gained a lot of wisdom from the Egyptians. He learned about Geography, Physics, natural History, Symbols, Pictographs, Arithmetic, Geometry and everything the Egyptian way. He was not sitting idle, he was always equipped filled with wisdom and skills to battle in the battlefield and lead the army. Moses was very passionate about everything. Great leaders were not achieving many things at the start of their career, but they were very passionate about what they were doing. They were not just given a Nobel Prize when they are working in the laboratory, thinking of one day in the future when they will be rewarded.
Romans 12:11 – “Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord”. God always wants us to keep our spiritual temperature high. But many factors like sickness, work, financial situation and things of the world will not allow this. But God always wants us to keep our spiritual temperature high. But Moses was very passionate. He was teased by the Hebrews – “Who made you as a leader and ruler over us?” but God made him the leader.
His passion made him a ruler and judge:
Acts 7:35 – “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.
When people reject, God is there to lift us up. The place where we fall, that is the same place where we will also get up. God can rise you in the same place you failed. We are all called to lead.
Moses was zealous, not Aaron:
Why was Aaron not given the leadership even though he was very good at speech? Aaron was the one who was making the golden calf, he made the people worship the golden calf. But when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, the holy zeal for the Lord was burning within him as a leader. Now we realize why Aaron was not made a leader. But God was still holding onto Moses even though he was reluctant to take the leadership role.
Dependency on God (seen from in every step Moses took):
The reason God is holding onto you is because God found something special in your life. You may fail in other areas of your life, but God looks at your life and character that you have. Moses was a leader called to lead, he was dependent on God. God wants us to depend on Him. Moses was constantly connected to God. He was always consulting God for everything, that made him to be a great leader.
Numbers 7:7 – Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”
Some of us are living in this mess today because we failed to listen to the voice of the Lord in the decisions we made in our life. Right now, God is telling you to come back to Him and listen to Him in every decision you make. Because every step that we are going to make is important for our family, our children and for the benefit of the kingdom of God.
Moses heard from God before each plague was sent out:
Moses was in Egypt and before every plague was struck in the house of Egyptians Moses was asked by God to warn them.
Exodus 8:1-2 And the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs.
He is a God who speaks and tells us what to do.
Standing in front of the Red Sea:
When Moses was standing in front of the red sea, pharaoh’s army were coming at the back, and being surrounded by Mountains – the children of Israel did not know what to do. Moses cried out to God asking Him what to do. God spoke to him:
Exodus 14:15 – And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”
As they complained for food:
Again, when the children of Israel complained to Moses about how they did not have food to eat and were dying in this wilderness questioning why Moses brought them out. Moses went to God again to which God replied,
Exodus 16:11 – And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ ”
Burden for people:
As leaders God wants us to depend fully on Him on our future, children, marriage, education and every step of our life. If we decide to take a step without the permission of God, it is not going to be good. Moses was very clear on that. Moses was a great leader because he had the burden for the people. Although he was living in the palace of the Pharaoh he went out and saw the burden of his people.
Exodus 2:11 – Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens.
But when he saw his people being oppressed, his heart burned within himself. Moses did not hide himself from the face of the reality. A leader cannot stay silent when people are suffering and are oppressed. Moses truly challenges the leaders of 21st century. When the power is given to us, Moses says “do not keep quiet when people are oppressed”. God saw the heart of Moses and decided to make him the deliverer. When we have the burden for people, God sees you and sees our heart. Many times, we do not have that, we struggle within ourselves. When Moses came down from the mountain, people were already worshiping idols under Aaron’s leadership. Moses foresaw the kind of punishment that would be bestowed upon his people. He did not want his people perishing under their sins in front of his own eyes.
Exodus 32:32 – Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.
Who prays such a prayer? We need such a great leader.
God is putting some burdens in our heart these days and God wants to use you in the coming days and God wants to honor you. Intercession is not a characteristic of a prayer warrior, but a characteristic of a leader. If God is calling you to intercede, you are not just called to pray, but you are called to lead. God put that burden in Moses and not in Aaron. That tells that Moses was called to lead. If God is burdening you with souls, he is not expecting us to sit in our rooms and pray. He is calling us to lead the same way he called Moses.
Highly favored by God:
Moses was a man of God because he was highly favored by God. We all wish to be favored by God today. The favor of God is what makes a successful leader. Today we see many leaders and many leading in the secular and spiritual world. They are not very talented or equipped to lead. But they are called to lead because they have the favor of God. Moses was a short-tempered man, but God says he was humble:
Numbers 12:3 – Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.
At times, God does not see our shortcomings if we have the favor of God in our life. We need to cry out for that favor today. Moses was disobedient, God is telling him to go but he repeatedly came up with excuses. He was even punished for his disobedience. But still, God says he is faithful:
Numbers 12:7 – Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
Looks like God is partial, but that is not the case. That teaches us to not judge anybody on what they do. When God has a favor for him/her nobody can stand against them.
What was the secret of this supernatural favor upon Moses?
Hebrews 11:24-26 – It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
This is the secret of divine favor upon your life. God’s favor is going to be upon us, our family and children if we practice these scriptures. These are the secrets we need to mediate upon:
- God is asking us to step out by faith to serve people just like Moses stepped out of his comfort zone
- The favor came upon Moses because he chose to participate in other sufferings without being selfish. When we stop living for ourselves divine favor is upon us
- When we try to push aside the worldly pleasures, we receive the divine favors of God. We may look like fools to the world, but when we are doing it, we receive the divine favor of God upon our lives
- We should set our minds not to acquire the wealth of this world and become too rich, but just enough to feed us every day. Moses was not interested to get the treasures of Egypt. Those who decide to work for the eternal reward are highly favored by God.
We learnt from Moses:
- To be zealous and passionate about what we do
- To depend on God in every step of our life
- To have the burden for people as it is a leadership quality
- Somehow obtain the favor of God by pleasing Him as Moses did according to Hebrews 11:24 -26
Quote: Intercession is not a characteristic of a prayer warrior alone, intercession is a characteristic of a leader. If God is burdening you to intercede, you are not just called to pray, but you are called to lead. (Life of Moses – Exodus 32:32)