INTRODUCTION: Continuing our series, Experiencing God.
Today’s message is entitled, Adjust.
- Theme verse: Exodus 4:20 (NLT)—So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. … (after 40 years)
- Today we focus on Reality 6: You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing. (Moses left Midian and returned to Egypt.)
Joining God’s work requires…
#1 - Accepting God’s assignments. (Exodus 3:16-17; 4:1-5; Luke 9:23-24; Philippians 1:20-21)
- God and Moses had a continuing conversation at the burning bush at “Mt. Sinai (Heb. Horeb), the mountain of God.” (Ex.3:1)
- Moses had to surrender himself to accept and pursue God’s calling.
- Moses had protested when God told him to go Pharaoh and lead Israel out of slavery (Exodus 3:10-11), but God continued speaking and directed Moses to gather the elders of Israel and tell them God’s plan for deliverance. [Exodus 3:16-17]
- [Screen] Exodus 4:1 (NLT)[P49]—But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’?”
- God had chosen Moses, spoken to him directly from a burning bush that burned but was not consumed, but Moses was full of doubts—about self and about God.
- God had no doubts that Moses could accomplish God’s plan, but He had to convince Moses who had fled to Midian in failure, fear and shame.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:2 (NLT)[P49]—2 Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. 3 “Throw it down on the ground,” the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. [A dangerous snake!]4 Then the LORD told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” [Not the way you grab a snake, so it required some trust, some confidence, in God.] So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. [God was building Moses’ trust in Him.]5 “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—really has appeared to you.” [God also displayed miracles of diseased hand and turning water into blood; Exodus 4:6-9, foreshadowing plagues.]
- When God calls us, we must surrender what we have, who we are, to His use by accepting His assignments if we want to experience God working in and through our lives.
- Jesus also calls each of us to surrender our lives to Him—and His use!
- [Screen] Luke 9:23–24 (NLT)[P832]—23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way [wants, desires and conveniences], take up your cross daily, and follow Me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.”
- Taking up your cross daily means deciding to die to yourself, your personal ambitions, your preferences, your plans, every day and living for Christ.
- [Screen] Philippians 1:21 (NLT)[P947]— 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
- APP.: Have you surrendered your life to Christ, living for Him, carrying out His assignments so that you may come to know Him intimately, to experience Him, which will reveal your true self—the person you were created to be?
Joining God’s work requires…
#2 - Acknowledging dependence on God. (Exodus 4:10-17; John 15:5;
1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 4:13)
- Moses continued to resist even after several displays of God’s power.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:10–12 (NLT)[P50]—10 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” [Acts 7:22 (NLT) says in Egypt he was powerful in both speech and action.] 11 Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” [Lk.12:12 says the Holy Spirit will help us.]
- God didn’t intend for Moses to deliver Israel in his own strength, his own ability, but God had to lead Moses to understand, to believe, that this intimidating assignment of deliverance would be performed by God’s power, not Moses’.
- God would enable Moses to do whatever was necessary, including speaking.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:13–14 (NLT)[P50]—13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. [Because He expected Moses to trust Him, His Words, His miracles, His power.]“All right,” He said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. [Already arranged.] He will be delighted to see you.
- God was frustrated by Moses’ response and yet, He provided Aaron to help him.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:15–17 (NLT)[P50]—15 Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. 16 Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. [A prophet. Aaron spoke to the elders of Israel and Moses performed the miraculous signs (Exodus 4:29-31). They spoke together to Pharaoh.] 17 And take your shepherd’s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.”
- Moses’ fear and unbelief frustrated God, but still, God arranged for Aaron to assist; Aaron would later cause trouble out of jealousy. (Exodus 32; Numbers 12)
- As our Heavenly Father, God has expectations of us—and we can disappoint Him, but He loves and understands us, so He helps us through our weaknesses, though there may be consequences for our lack of faith.
- Our natural gifts are not sufficient to accomplish God’s supernatural, eternal results, so He invites us to join in His work so we will learn to depend on Him.
- Without God working through me, I can do nothing that will please God or have an eternal impact.
- [Screen] Philippians 4:13 (NLT)[P949]—For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. [1 Corinthians 15:10]
- APP.: Do you understand that God doesn’t expect or want, you to attempt His assignments by yourself? He wants you to experience Him as you work with Him.
Joining God’s work requires…
#3 - Agreeing to make adjustments. (Exodus 4:18-20; Isaiah 55:9; Mark 10:17-22; Romans 12:2)
- Moses had to make some significant changes in his life to obey God’s calling.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:18–20 (NLT)[P50]—18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.” [Doesn’t say the real reason for returning.]“Go in peace,” Jethro replied.19 Before Moses left Midian, the LORD said to him, “Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.” [Exodus 2:15; Moses’ concern for safety.]
- God reassured Moses that he would not be arrested and put to death in Egypt, which certainly comforted him, but he still had to adjust his life by relocating to Egypt and beginning an endeavor that would prevent him from returning home to Midian, to the safe obscurity of sheepherding.
- [Screen] Exodus 4:20 (NLT)[P50] —So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. [Perhaps Pharaoh’s death encouraged Moses to bring his family.] In his hand he carried the staff of God.
- The staff of Moses, an ordinary stick, became extraordinary, in the service of God.; once surrendered, the staff of Moses became the staff of God.
- In Moses’ hand, the staff parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16), struck a rock to produce water (Isaiah 17:6), and held aloft, enabled victory over the Amalekites. (Exodus 17:11).
- Whenever we submit whatever we have to God, He makes it sufficient for His task; so what was ordinary is enabled to impact eternity.
- Like Moses, we will need to make major adjustments to obey God’s calling—because His thoughts and ways are not like ours. (Isaiah 55:9; Mark 10:17-22)
- These adjustments can take many different forms and may include changes in our circumstances (job, home, finances), relationships (family, friends, business associates), thinking (prejudices, methods; Romans 12:2), commitments (to family, church, job, plans), actions (how you pray, give, serve) or beliefs (about God, His purposes, His ways, about yourself and your relationship to Him).
- You can’t stay where you are and go with God at the same time.
- APP.: Do you want to obey God’s calling, to join Him in His work? If so, are you willing to make significant changes in your life?