The Gospel of John chapter 5 provides a story about a man paralyzed for 38 years who is lying at the top of the steps leading to water that was believed to have healing power. When Jesus comes along and asks the man if he wants to be healed, the man answers that he doesn’t have anyone to help him into the water. But Jesus hasn’t asked why the man hasn’t been healed, and he isn’t looking for excuses; He’s only asking if the man wants to be healed.
What about you? Where is God asking to bring healing into your life today? Do you want your relationship mended, your finances restored, your mind and body to be healthy, or clarity about your life path? When God asks us, often we respond with excuses as to why it hasn’t happened, just as the paralyzed man responded. But He’s only asking if you want His healing - yes or no?
God has something for each one of us. He created us to have a relationship with Him and a role in His kingdom.
God has something for each one of us. He created us to have a relationship with Him and a role in His kingdom. Be challenged today just to trust Him, ignoring whatever history you have or whatever obstacles you see around you - and say, “Yes!”
In today’s Scripture from Exodus 3-4, Moses encounters God in the form of a bush on fire (but not burning itself) and is called into ministry at the age of 80:
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. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-9
As Moses replies with all the excuses he can muster, God replies with truth and power.
1. Moses expressed his insecurity, so God encouraged him with His presence. Exodus 3:11-12
We must trust in God’s presence.
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?” 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.” Exodus 3:11-12
When God calls you to do something, it will be bigger than you. A little naysaying voice will come along and say, “Who do you think you are?” But you can confidently answer, “Nobody!”
God chooses the foolish to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). You may be nobody, however, it’s not about who you are, but about Whose you are. Trust the one you belong to. When God’s with you, what do you need to fear? It’s not about you, but about His presence in you.
2. Moses claimed ignorance, so God educated him with His name. Exodus 3:13-14
We must trust in God’s name.
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?” 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.’” Exodus 3:13-14
God explains that it isn’t His name that is of concern, but who He is.
Science tells us everything has to have a beginning, so something had to begin God, right? But God exists outside the laws of science. He created the scientific laws to bring us to Himself. We wouldn’t understand His name. We can barely understand His love! But if we know His character - who He is - then we don’t need to understand His name because we understand the meaning of His name. We can trust all He has revealed to us, all of the blessings and provisions He has given, and all the miracles He has provided - and we can know that He is our source of joy and peace.
3. Moses feared being viewed “in-credible,” so God empowered him. Exodus 4:1-9
We must trust God’s power.
Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
Furthermore, the Lord said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.” Exodus 4:1-9
Moses wonders, “What if people doubt me?” He is concerned about himself, his knowledge, and his ability. But it’s not the amount of information that is transformative. It’s God’s power!
Think about your experiences following Christ. What would impact people around you more - the number of times you have attended church or the evidence of your transformed life? God’s power is transformative - and if we have evidence of God’s power, what is left to doubt?
4. Moses focused on his inabilities, not God’s design. Exodus 4:10-12
We must trust God’s design.
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.” 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? Now, therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Exodus 4:10-12
Don’t focus on what you can’t do, but what God can do.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When you are dependent on God more than you depend on yourself, then you are strong. The best conclusion we can come to is to admit we can’t do things on our own and to allow God to come alongside us in His power.
5. Moses expressed insubordination, so God equipped him with a partner. Exodus 4:13
We must trust God’s people.
But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”
Moses, a murderer, a fugitive, who has just seen amazing miracles demonstrating God’s power and is now talking to a burning bush, still says “no” to God. God sends Him a partner to support him.
How many times has God done miracles in your life or blessed you beyond your imagination, and yet you say “no” to Him? God doesn’t impose Himself upon us; He is waiting for an invitation. If you forever tell Him no and reject Him, then when you die, He’ll give you what you have asked - separation from Him.
Pastor Miles’ challenge today to think about your burning bush conversations with God and about what He wants from you. Stop saying no to Him, stop making excuses, and finally, declare your yes! You have more than enough evidence to believe and trust Him.