Friday, March 13, 2015

The Call of Moses: Exodus 3

Exo.3:1 - Under the shadow of someone, his father-in-law. Serving in waiting.

Exo.3:2 - The burning bush is anything that God uses to draw one's attention aside, to hear Him.

Exo.3:3 - To "turn aside" or be turned aside... how crucial it is, to turn aside to God (in Moses' case, unwittingly)! To turn aside from ones daily routine.

Exo.3:4 - He calls an individual specifically, He calls by his name. Calling is individual and specific.

Exo.3:5 - In the Old Testament, the veil was still there. There was a point of separation between God and man. In the New, He became flesh. The veil was torn. How much more privileged we are! We are not just near Him, we are in Him.

Exo.3:6 - The OT address: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. NT address: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have no reason to be afraid to look upon God (1Jn.1:1-2).

Exo.3:7-10 - Mission starts with Divine Concern and Compassion, with the heart of God for His people. Mission also is connected to Divine Covenant (that He made with the fathers, by which Israel is identified as His people). Mission proceeds with Divine Choice, Call, and Commissioning (He chooses a person).

Exo.3:11 - Divine concern doesn't necessarily imply human sympathy and compassion. Moses doesn't seem to feel the same concern at this moment. Neither did Jonah feel the like concern. Nevertheless, God insists because it is His mission. Also, human incapability is not an excuse anymore when the Almighty calls forward.

Exo.3:12 - "Who am I" finds its answer in "Who goes with me? (action/mission language)" and "Whom do I serve?". "Moses, you are the one with whom God goes and you are the one who comes back to God here to serve Him." God is the Sender, the Companion, the Redeemer, the Master, and the Destiny. A Christian worker's identity is not contingent on human credentials; his identity is tied with the God who goes with him to do what He has purposed. One cannot serve unless one has learnt that "It is no longer I, but Christ that lives in me!"

"Serve God on this mountain". The end of mission is God Himself, and to serve and worship God is the only reasonable response that humans, especially the redeemed, can have. (Rom.12:1-2; Matt.4:10; Phil.2:10; Rev.4:10,11; 19)

But, worshiping God is not the end of missions. God's mission and work extends till He brings His people into the Promised Land, the Land of Rest, to the Lord of Sabbath (Heb.4:1ff; Phil.2:12,13). God's mission is not just to "bring out of" but also to "bring into" (1Pet.2:9; Col.1:13). Mt. Sinai is the beginning of the teaching, of the Law, of the Commandment (summed up as "Love" by Jesus). It is analogous to the didaske (the teaching of the Apostles received from Christ, Jn.1:17; Acts 2:42). The goal is rest in God (the Lord of the Sabbath), His Promised Land, His Kingdom. Worship is just our inevitable and reasonable response in which we present our bodies as a living sacrifice in service to Him. Mission exists because people are in bondage and oppression, and are cut off from God and the rest that is truly found only in Him. However, God brings us to "serve God on this mountain" because His salvation is only available to those who willingly choose Him ("Whoever is on the LORD'S side-- come to me." (Exo 32:26)). Salvation cannot be forced upon the oppressed; a forced salvation is just another form of oppression, not liberty (Jude 1:5; Rom.8:21; 2Cor.3:17,18).

Exo.3:13 - "Do we have a God of our fathers? What is His Name?" The Personal God in the midst of the pluralistic spirituality of Egyptian polytheism.

Exo.3:14 - Unlike the finite gods and goddesses of Egyptian polytheism, the God of Israel is the Great I AM - the Self-existing, Self-sufficient, Sovereign Almighty.

Exo.3:15 - Here God introduces His Personal Name YHWH. This is God's eternal Name.

Exo. 3:16-22 - Mission has a strategy. Moses had to go to the elders and declare to them God's word. Then, together with the elders, he goes to Pharaoh to ask for permission to take the children of Israel out of Egypt; but, God knows that Pharaoh will not let go, and God will work His wonders to redeem His people. Mission is nothing but God going with His servant to accomplish what He purposed; of course, He tells Moses to bring forth His people, but it is God Himself who alone can bring them out. A missionary doesn't have a strategy of his own, it is not he who saves; he is only the vessel by which God accomplishes His mission for His glory. In this working together with God is found the fulfillment of mission. Any mission that rules out the necessity of divine involvement is godless. At the same time, there can be no mission without human involvement and obedience (Heb.2:1-4).

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