PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART X
Moses became a very crucial partner with God in the redemption history of his people. Moses cooperated in every instruction the Spirit revealed to him. More than to any one else, God disclosed His Power and His Will to Moses.
Moses was born when his people were being oppressed! Male babies were killed at birth. Yet, Moses’ mother managed to escape detection. She gave birth to her second son, put him in a basket, and placed him in the Nile River, where the Egyptian princes took her daily bath. The princes liked children and she had pity on the little Hebrew boy. Nearby, Miriam, Moses’ much older sister watched and she was ready with offering a nanny for the baby, which was Moses’ own mother. Thus, Moses, the boy, was nurtured and groomed by the princes, as well as by his own mother. The secret between mother and son was kept until Moses, at the age of forty, decided to help his people quietly. However, Moses was misunderstood by one of his own people when he killed an Egyptian, who was hurting a Jew. Moses fled for his life and ended up in Midian with Reuel, a priest of the Most High God (Exodus 1-2).
One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and his him in the sand. When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together; and he said to the man that did the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow?” He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.
But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?” They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock. He said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. She bore a son, and he called his name Gershom; for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:11-22).
WHAT HELD GOD BACK FROM BEING A PARTNER TO MOSES?
Moses felt that he could not do what God was asking him to do.
The Israelites must have asked, “What do we do today when things do not stop from hurting or even killing us? Where is God? And why does God not intervene? According to the Apostle Paul and Moses, the Israelites learned that the Lord is as close as our breath (Romans 10:5-13). And according to Revelation, the Lord is knocking on our door (Revelation 3:20). God is Spirit! And God has planted a gadget (a receiver) called “spirit” or “breath” into each man/person. When man opens up to listen, that “breath” and that “spirit” can hear God. Unfortunately, it took Moses eighty years to hear the Lord calling him to be the partner who could set Israel free. The answer to the question, “Where is God and why does God not step in?” The answer is that man is not ready and man is not willing to deliver his own fellowmen. And when at last Moses consented to serve God, God did not give him an army. Because Moses had a speech problem, God only gave Moses a shepherd’s staff and Aaron, his talking brother. We read:
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the westside of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside and see this great sight, why this bush is not burnt.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 3:1:6).
THE BURNING BUSH AND THE VOICE DID MORE THAN SURPRISE MOSES
Whether it was a messenger of God or an angel — it was God, who began to talk to Moses, and who gave him orders. Yahweh was sending Moses back to Egypt to free his people from Pharaoh. It is inconceivable how inadequate and how small Moses must have felt when God pointed at him as being the great deliverer of the Hebrews; a people who had driven him into exile. Moses was brave enough to ask God for evidence that He was who He was. And Moses also asked God to give him some weapon to challenge Pharaoh and prove to his people that he was sent by their God. God did more than Moses asked:
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, “I Am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’; this is my name for ever, and this I am to be remembered throughout all generations. God and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt; and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.” And they will hearken to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, we pray you let’s go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all the wonders which I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her who sojourns in her house, jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; thus you shall despoil the Egyptians (Exodus 3:13-22).
MOSES STILL HESITATED AND HE REQUIRED MORE PERSUASION
The lesson Moses needed was on the “true nature of man.” Moses suffered from the misconception that man is a helpless weakling, and practically useless to God. The idea of being helpless does not come from God. Helplessness even comes from good people who have been misled by Satan, the father of lies. God has complete confidence in man’s ability to manage his affairs. Man can choose between right and wrong! God created man intelligent and strong enough to manage the world with Adam, with Noah, and then with Moses. God delivered and prepared Israel to be a nation partnering in the “Covenant” with God. When man’s spirit, which God has planted in man while he was created, fuses with the Spirit of God, an enormous energy and a surplus of power become available to man, so that man can overcome his self-imposed weakness. The Gospel of John gives us two such pertinent examples. Those who join Christ receive power to become “Children of God!” And as “Children of God,” they bring forth “streams of living water”:
But to all who received him (Christ), he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he (Jesus) said about the Spirit, which those who believe in him (Jesus) were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).
Moses was such a recipient of God’s Spirit and of God’s Power! And God’s Spirit had Moses practice God’s Power in him. Moses had to learn how to live in the Spirit. God’s Spirit was patient with Moses. But then, even God got angry at Moses for delaying to go and for not obeying the bond and the “Covenant of Circumcision” on his son. His wife quickly corrected his mistake and saved Moses, her husband. God’s Spirit could not function until Moses had obeyed God’s Law. Particularly, a chosen servant cannot circumvent the smallest dot of God’s Words and God’s Commandments (Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17). The mission was a one time event to display God’s intention for Israel. Pentecost was a similar event to disclose the redemptive power of Christ (Acts 2). In reading the story, let us remember that we are watching the God who made the world, which makes the scrimmage with Pharaoh minuet:
The Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’” 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. But the LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand, and take it by the tail” — so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand —” that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Again, the LORD said to him, “Put you hand into your bosom.” And he put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, behold, his hand was a leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, “Put you hand back into your bosom.” So he put his hand back into his bosom and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or heed the first sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it upon the dry ground; and the water which you shall take from the Nile will become blood upon the dry ground.”
But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou has spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh , my Lord, send, I pray, some other person.” Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well; and behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. And you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He shall speak to you to the people; and he shall be a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take in your hand this rod, with which you shall do the signs.”
Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me go back, I pray, to my kinsmen in Egypt and see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on an ass, and went back to the land of Egypt; and in his hand Moses took the rod of God.
And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus said the LORD, Israel is my first-born son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me”; if you refuse to let his go, behold, I will slay your first-born son.’”
At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. Then it was that she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision (Exodus 4:1-26).
GOD DID REPLENISH MOSES’ WEAKNESS, NOT WITH MORE HEAVENLY GIFTS, BUT WITH HIS BROTHER AARON
It would have been simple for God just to loosen Moses’ tongue and to roll the words out of his mouth, but God did not. Jesus, being the Son of God, could easily have converted a few stones into bread, but Jesus let the ladies supply His need. Paul told his readers that God would supply their needs. However, Paul’s own needs were supplied by the Philippians, to whom he had addressed his letter. Paul told the Corinthians that the Lord would step in and lighten their burden when they became too heavy. However, Paul, many times, used his Roman citizenship to bail him out. As I look back in my life, even some of our enemies saved us. Horses and wagons helped us escape from death; and more than once, physicians, surgeons, nurses brought me back from death. My education, more than equal to four Phd’s, was paid by the compensation, the churches, and some of the schools. Family, friends, and foes have colored my eight-eight years with character, that spells God’s Presence in my life. God has supplied all the things I needed to become who I am. I am convinced that God has done even much more for you! So, you need to open your eyes of faith and look at yourself at who you are, and what you have become. God has many helpers ready to supply your needs. Even the great Moses needed help and God sent him his older brother Aaron:
Then the LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went, and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him, and all the signs which he had charged him to do. Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped (Exodus 4:27-31).