Lesson 3 -- fourth quarter 2004
September 19, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Just who are you?
How inquisitive are you about the mysteries of God?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
God calls at the right time.
Though the Israelites were away from their own land for a long time, God didn't move to relocate them. Though the Israelites lost some of their freedoms in that foreign land, God was not yet ready to move them back to where they belonged. Though the Israelites went through terrible hardship and suffering, God seemed in no hurry to liberate them. Though Moses wanted to be part of the process, God allowed him to fail and go into exile. Finally, after forty years of that, God called Moses to set His people free. Why such a long wait for Moses and a much longer wait for the Israelites? Because any time before then was not the right time. Only God knew when the time was precisely correct for Israel, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, Egypt, and everyone else near and far who would be affected by the uprooting and relocating of Israel. God wasn't waiting idly by; He was busy working all that time. And when the time was right at last, He called Moses. God is no different today!
God's ways are His own.
God used that bush to catch Moses' attention. That was His way that time for that man for that message. He'll use that method again if ever and whenever it suits His purposes. His ways are His alone. We do well to neither expect nor insist that He suit His ways to ours!
Just as surely as God had been seeing the affliction, hearing the cry, and knowing the sorrow of His people back then, He has been seeing, hearing, and knowing our needs. Our comfort lies not in being excused from hard times but in knowing that we and our condition are known in the heart of the Almighty Shepherd. Rest!
Questions and Responses
Why would God use a burning-but-not-consuming bush?
Who knows but God? And should it matter that we do not know?
Job declared that He does "great things past finding out" (Job 9:10). In Isaiah 55:8 we have God's explanation: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." This should lead us each to the same conclusion we find expressed in Romans 11:33 -- "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Did God ignore the question of Moses recorded in Exodus 3:11?
God is under no obligation to answer anyone's questions. When He chooses to answer, it is because of His wisdom and not because of our whims or wishes. Shall any human dare complain against the Almighty should He opt to ignore a question? "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
Even so, God chose to answer Moses, who dared reply to God's call by asking, "God, who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" God's answer, though hidden, rings forth in the following verse: "It's not who you are (or aren't), Moses, but Who I Am . . . and I will be with you. That's what matters -- not who you think you aren't." I admit I have interpreted God's answer, so listen to it here in its direct simplicity: "Certainly I will be with thee."
Clearly, God's answers are sometimes hidden.
Would God have called Moses had he not turned aside toward the bush?
We obviously do not know. However, the wording and sentence structure of the Scriptures certainly seems to leave us room to conclude that had Moses walked on, God would not have called him at that time: "And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him" (Exodus 3:4). It also seems that God used this phenomenon as a test of Moses' spiritual sensitivity. It seems that Moses could later look back to this incident as assuring proof that God honors and uses those who demonstrate the spiritual "curiosity" to investigate the works and doings of God.
May God deliver us from an uninterested heart and an uninquisitive spirit that have no interest in "checking out" what God is up to!
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