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As I wrote last week, we must all embrace the reality of what God puts in our hands for each season of our lives. When we embrace who we are today, we can expect the supernatural testimonies of who God is in our lives for today. There is a Scripture concerning Moses and the children of Israel that is often misquoted. In this past season of COVID with its restraints and imposed adjustments to our lives, I have seen this text posted to proclaim what God is going to do in our day.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
These words of Scripture can only be understood if we look at the further text of Scripture where they were given. There is a time where God says to stand still, but that was not the case at the banks of the Red Sea. God had put something in Moses’ hand that would enable him to move forward even in a day of natural challenges that seemingly offered no way forward. We can easily misquote Scripture when we look at it according to mere chapters and verses. The chapters and verses of our Bible were not added until the 13th and 14th century after Christ came. It is handy to have the chapters and verses to be able to locate things in our Bibles, but they also very often distract us from the full story of their context. The Bible is filled with statements of truth as well as simply truly stated statements. When these two things are considered together in the context of their story, they present a greater testimony of truth. In this story of Moses and Israel at the banks of the Red Sea, God did not say to stand still. These were the words of Moses. The following verses reveal the reality of the truth.
Exodus 13:15 And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
God didn’t say to stand still. He expected Moses and the Israelites to move forward. God didn’t show up merely because of the cry of the people at their point of facing the Red Sea. He had already shown up in the rod that was in the hand of Moses. God was demonstrating that the rod in the hand of Moses was the source of the miracle for the day. God believed in Moses and what God had commissioned to be in the hand of Moses was the authority for the now circumstance of Moses’ life. What was that rod? Where did that rod come from? How did Moses receive that rod? The story of the rod in the hand of Moses can be found in the testimony of Moses finding God in his everyday world of the wilderness. Moses had to spend forty years in the wilderness of Midian to be prepared for the days of leading Israel in the path to the Promised Land.
Exodus 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Since we have read our Bibles, we know that miraculous things happened on Mount Horeb. But in the days of Moses in the wilderness, it was a dry, and sometimes difficult, place of taking care of Jethro’s sheep. It was in that place that Moses had to discover the fresh presence of God in his life. Finding God’s consuming presence in that place held the key to the authority in Moses’ rod of tomorrow.
Exodus 3:2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
God’s presence in the bush inspired Moses to turn from what he had been doing to discover what God would have him be and do. He had to know that who he was would determine what he must do in his present world and that was not determined by his present circumstances. It was determined by the consuming presence of God in his life. When he turned to look, he heard God call.
Exodus 3:5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover 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 upon God. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 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?” 12 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.” 13 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?” 14 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.'”
Spectacular things were destined to happen at Horeb. Water from the rock, law given, golden calf (judgment), covenant made. The yet to be supernatural mountain was the common everyday backyard of Moses. It was his everyday situation. Like Moses, the mountain of God in our lives is found in our everyday situation, not somewhere else. It was the same old place that Moses had been walking around for 40 years. God had been doing a work in the heart of Moses. The Egyptian Moses had to die before the Hebrew Moses could be revealed. He, like each of us, had to die to his own personal agenda. He couldn’t be Pharaoh’s son. He had to be God’s son. Moses had to find out who he really was.
The place that God has provided for you is not very far off. Who are you? Who am I? God knows who He is. We are a son or a daughter of God. We are who we are, and great things are destined to happen in the coming days of our lives, but we must discover the presence of God now that is like the consuming fire of the bush. A consuming fire is a fire that gets our full attention. God must have our full attention today for us to move forward into our tomorrow. Things that have we have lost or things that we want to see happen cannot be what consumes our attention. God must consume our attention. Without God coming in a fresh presence in our lives today, we will be tempted to either stay in the circumstance of our present or to return to some no longer relevant season of our past. Where is the burning bush of God’s presence in our lives right now? Moses had to experience the consuming presence of God to discover the rod he would hold in his tomorrow.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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