|설교 한 주일||August 14, 2011|
(Reading of Exodus 4: 1-17 NIV)
1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the LORD, “is so 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.”
6 Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the LORD said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
Exodus Chapter 3 and 4 is actually the calling of the people of God (after Joseph in Egypt who became the dreamer). The time of Joseph was really good; everybody recognizes Joseph… Yesterday, we went to the Oceanview Beach to eat some dinner there. There was one guard who recognizes me – “Oh, Pastor Bang!” I was very shock for I never met him personally. It’s been a while, about one or two years since the last time I met the guard but he still remembers my name. It really feels so strange. …The time came that all the people who recognized Joseph already died in Egypt so that the Egyptians never recognize the Israelites. By the grace of the Lord, the number of the Israelites in Egypt increased so rapidly. So, one of the kings in Egypt decided to kill, to reduce the number of the Israelites in that place.
In that time, the king set a commandment or order to the people even in the hospitals: if there is a Jewish son who was born, you have to kill him. So, to the doctors: if you see that a Jewish son is born, you have to kill him immediately. But there is one son who has no name yet was born and he looks really handsome so his mother failed to kill his own son. And then, she sent him away in a basket into the Nile River. Of course you know that he was the man named Moses. To make the story short, he accidentally killed one Egyptian and he escaped to Midian which is a desert, and took care of the animals of his father-in-law. He spent 40 years there. At the age of about 80 years old, there was one big event that had occurred in his life – God called him in a burning bush.
Many cases we want to see something strange, “Wow! God is doing awesome!” Sometimes we even pray, “Lord, give me some kind of signs and wonders. I want to see it!” even Moses. There are some burning bushes there so he tried to get close to that burning bush. Everybody wants to, “What happened? I want to see it! I want that experience would be mine.” But God never stops us, just only touch, just only experience, just only to have it. But God want us to do His work in that signs and wonders. In such a case, many people refuse. You may sing, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord…I want to see you…” and then? When you see Him, that is the starting point. “Lord, please show me your face.” It’s cool. And then you say, “You know I saw and experience heaven and I…” that is only the starting point of a very special mission for you.
Moses heard the voice of the Lord. The voice said to Moses, “I have very special request to you…” “What is that?” “I have one situation…” “Okay, just tell me.” “Can you go to Egypt?” “Lord, can you tell me once again?” “Okay, I repeat. I want you to go to Egypt…” “Egypt? So, Lord you said Egypt?” “Can it be Philippines and not Egypt?” maybe Moses said. Why Moses doesn’t like going to Egypt? Because in Egypt is his past. What kind of past? He was a murderer. Everybody knows, “Oh, Moses you are a murderer! You killed your friend. You killed your brother. Where have you been for forty years? Now, you came here. Are you going to kill once again?” So, Moses has kind of bitterness.
It was just like for instance, if you have a servant in your household or if you have church leaders in your church, who was once a murderer. Why God called Moses? – Because Moses was already included in the plan of God. Moses was saved from the water. Moses was drifted into the Nile River inside a basket which is the ark (It’s not the ark of Noah). And then he spent 40 years and now 80 years, now his age almost can do nothing. That is all the background of my sermon today.
Alter your course. Working for the Lord in many cases requires you to change or modify or absolutely alter your course. I am now heading for south but the calling of the Lord requires you in many cases to change your course. And that time, we have excuse. “I’ve been here for so many miles on this course working for you, dear Lord. I never escaped from your love and faithfulness and then I’m doing this and that in spite of all trials…but why Lord, call me just today when I’m now 80 years old. Just leave me alone. I am good. I am attending church. I am serving the Lord this way…etc… Why God called me? And then why God said to me, ‘you change your course’ which is much better that you will choose one person in Egypt so you don’t need to ask, ‘anybody can go to Egypt?’ You, who are already in Egypt…, Can you do this? I want you to do this, Lord. Why you called me? I’m away; it’s a hundred thousand kilometers away from Egypt.” Remember brothers and sisters, God never consider the environment. Wherever you are, if you are opening your wings and you fly going to the end of the earth, there will be the Lord and ask you, “Can you go to Egypt?” Alteration of the course is always challenging. In my life, I had two kinds alteration of my course. But in His mission to change your course is so easy because it is impossible for you, but by the helping of the Holy Spirit, it’s so easy.
God called Moses. God wanted Moses to go to Egypt. It’s that simple. God has only one person – Moses; a thousand million of people in Egypt, a thousand million of people in Korea but one person in the Philippines, “Moses, can you go to Egypt?” Who will be the Moses? I don’t know. Can you go to Surigao? “Lord, in Surigao there’s a lot of people…I’m in Olongapo City, why you send me there? That’s not efficient if you think about efficiency. Just choose people in Surigao…” “Why Egypt? I’m here in Midian…I’m in Korea…I’m in the Philippines…why I have to go to other country…why I have to go to some other place…why? Because in here, there’s a lot of work also…” Maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, in the church…no praise and worship team…nobody prepared the projection…we have some leaking in the church…” And then God called some of our members – for example, Don King – to go to other nation, “Oh Pastor, Lord, in SFCF, there are lots of work too. Please don’t send me there because I have my girlfriend here…blah…blah…blah…” Sometimes you don’t understand but remember brothers and sisters, God never ask us to understand Him. In many cases, we don’t understand so listen to me brothers and sisters: do not make yourself listening to what God is doing in our lives.
“Why Egypt?” you may ask. “Why here? Why missionary? Why Pastor? Why church leader? Why Cawag every Sunday that in the morning I wake up 5:00 o’clock? In Cawag, nobody welcome us. The members run like a horse. There is no rope like a horse. So Pastor Neri and his members say, ‘Please come…please come…’” God knows. God is watching over you on what you are doing today. Why Egypt? – Because in Egypt, there were people of God who were praying in order to be released in the situation of slavery. God heard, according to the Bible when you see Exodus Chapter 3. God explained to Moses, “That’s why I called you. I want you to go to Egypt and let them go out of Egypt from the slavery. You go there and bring them out. I have something there so please get it.”
Moses was a simple servant. We are not in the position to ask why. Many cases, we ask, “Why? Why?” “Don’t ask me why. That’s what I like.” Jesus said. “Why you put me here? Why you do this? Why Lord, I have problem? Now I’m praying for this because this is a kind of trial – three days in the belly of fish! Why you put me here?” We ask many times ‘why.’ “My company, my business, my body situation, my relationship, sometimes my education… Why?” Brothers and sisters, if you believe in God, let us don’t ask why.
Why Moses? There are many people but why Moses? Moses is already in the plan of God. God saved Moses from all the dangers of Pharaoh. God saved you and me to save His people. God saved Moses in order to save people of God. We are all in His plan which is adorable, which is we never want to change with any other plan. Whether you want or not, there is always an excuse which we always do, “Who am I?” If God ask you to do this, “Go there and do this…” “Me? Who am I? I’m nobody. I’m short, I’m not beautiful, I have nothing, I’m nobody…Who am I?” that will be your excuse.
He was just an old simple shepherd, old enough – 80 years old. God knew that you are 80; even though, God is calling you. God knew that you are very simple shepherd. God says, “I will be with you…” When we have excuse, God has already the answer to your excuse. “Who am I? I’m nobody…” “Okay, I know. That’s why I will be with you. I’ll go with you…” “Not only this, but I don’t know what shall I say. I have no knowledge. Also, if they ask me who you are…” Then the answer was immediate, “I am who I am. Tell them, I am who I am. Tell them, I am who will be.” We have thousand excuses. God has another thousand reasons to answer to your excuses. “If they don’t believe in me, if not, the king of Egypt, if the Israelites, the people you said, supposed they don’t listen to me, what am I supposed to do?” Good excuse. We are always digging things which are not really happening, so negative things… “If they don’t know me…if they don’t go with me…if they refuse me…blah…blah…” But God showed Him, “What did you have?” “I have a staff…” “Throw it on the ground.” “Huh, it changed into a snake!” “You just get it in its tail…” When you hold a snake, you hold the head and not the tail, right? Of course we have some reason. Maybe the head will bite Moses. And then Moses experienced the sign, “Oh, my very simple staff, my very simple rod!” He cannot do anything by itself. I believe that it symbolizes Moses, himself. “Put your hands in your cloak and take it out.” “Oh, I am leprous just like a snow! What happened?” “Put it again…” It has been restored. “What’s happening? You are doing these things…” “And then just get water from Nile and pour it in the ground. It will change to blood. Show them this. God is working. Why God did so? – Very simple, God want you to do. God has no any idea; God has no any desire to replace you with somebody else because it’s your calling. Here in SFCF, Pastor Bang is my calling. Your house as parents, father and mother, it’s your call.
He (Moses) said another excuse, “I’m dummy dumb, dumb…I am very slow. I am no good in speaking…” “I know…” Even God arranged for Aaron to be Moses’ speaker. As you know, at last Moses went to Egypt and he delivered the people of God out of slavery. One thing we have to learn from this calling of Moses is that if we are in His plan, God will be with us and God will give us everything we need for His mission. Sometimes you ask the Lord, “My friend has it; why you never give it to me.” I want you to think about that. Am I His plan? Have I changed my course? I’m walking today according to His calling or not? God is calling us and answering to our excuses today. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” God is always looking for his people to work, to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end of earth. In that time, let’s answer just like Isaiah answered, “Send me Lord. I’m here.” Maybe this sermon will be a great blessing in your life – the meaning of hearing the voice of God today.
Rev. David Bang