(Exodus 4, Luke 7; Optional Psalm 36, Proverbs 11:1-4)
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EXODUS 4 – God calling the 80-year old Moses who does NOT feel up to the task (contrary to how he DID feel ready as a 40-year old in Ex 2:11ff). Moses gives three excuses / pleas about why he doesn’t feel like he’s the right person for God to send. God gives three miraculous signs that all involve RADICAL TRANSFORMATION. Compare “a staff” in v 2 with “the staff/rod of God” in v 20. And God is transforming Moses! God glories in turning the mundane into the miraculous.
Ex 4:3-4 – God often commands things that are opposite from what we FEEL we should do. Going back TOWARDS the snake, and then picking it up “by the tail”!
Ex 4:10 – In other words, “God, I wasn’t eloquent BEFORE we started talking, and I have NOT had any radical transformation in my speaking abilities since we’ve been talking.” Moses was focused on what he perceived as a disabling IN-ability on his part. Notice (and compare Ex 3:11-12) that God does NOT build Moses’ SELF-confidence, but again builds his GOD-confidence.
Ex 4:11-12 – A powerful statement on the sovereignty of God making us exactly as He intended. He uses our weakness and infirmity to show HIS great strength, our INABILITY to show His surpassing ABILITY. Moses had grown up in the court of Egypt that prized smooth powerful talk. But God so often CHOOSES to use our weakness to highlight His strength. The Corinthian church (like Egypt in Moses’ day) had a wrong prizing of outward smoothness and obvious power. 1 and 2 Corinthians (especially 2 Cor) show how God uses our weakness and infirmity to showcase His greatness (see especially 1 Cor 1:18-31 and 2 Cor 12:7-10).
Ex 4:14-16 – God is so gracious! When you compare v 27 to v 14, you realize that God has already sent Aaron (Moses’ older brother) to help Moses. God takes us as we are, then continues to transform us.
Ex 4:22-23 – Introducing a vital theme of the nation of Israel as God’s son. And we’ll see God’s Beloved Son Jesus retracing Israel’s steps (compare Hosea 11:1 clearly talking about the NATION as the son but fulfilled in Jesus in Matt 2:15). But where Israel fell into sin, Jesus will perfectly trust His Father. We’ll see Israel tested by hunger, etc, in the desert and repeatedly FAILING to trust God, and we saw Jesus tested in the desert and completely TRUSTING His Father and defeating Satan’s temptations (Luke 4).
Ex 4:24-26 – This shocking little story reminds us that although God has changed (and is continuing to transform) Moses, he’s still a sinner that needs to take God’s covenant seriously. In Gen 17, God gave circumcision to Abraham as a sign for his descendants to remind them of God’s covenant with them. But Moses hasn’t obeyed in his own physical family (always our first ministry), and he’s headed towards leading all God’s people. God takes sin seriously, and NOT just for the heathens (like the Egyptians – see Ex 4:21-23), but also for His people!
LUKE 7 – Lk 7:4 – THEY thought the centurion was “worthy,” but see Lk 7:6 to see that he was humble in how he thought of himself (contrast Simon the pharisee at the end of this chapter).
Lk7:9 – A rare commendation from Jesus for the faith of this Gentile.
Lk 7:13 – A surprising command from Jesus, but immediately followed by Jesus EASILY raising her son from the dead, stopping the funeral!
Lk 7:16 – “great prophet” – Both of the great prophets Elijah (1 Kings 17:21) and Elisha (2 Ki 4:34-35) had raised young men from the dead, but they had to work a lot harder than Jesus did. Someone greater than even Elijah and Elisha was here!
Lk 7:18-35 – John was in prison because of his preaching (see Lk 3:20), and he was apparently having some doubts about whether Jesus really WAS the promised Messiah. Jesus sent back a two-part reply to 1) remind John that the Scriptures about the Messiah were being fulfilled by Jesus (v 22) and 2) give John both a gentle warning and a sweet promise (v 23). Then Jesus announces to the crowd that John is the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1. This is huge, because Jesus is letting them know that since John prepared the way, God has been picking up the story of rescue and redemption where He had left it off hundreds of years before in the last Old Testament book.
Lk 7:28 – As great as John was, though Jesus is so far greater that the least in His kingdom is even greater. John got to PREPARE for the arrival of Messiah Jesus, but believers today are actually in His kingdom!
Lk 7:31-38 – People were trying to play the very different STYLES of ministry of Jesus and John against each other, and Jesus wouldn’t allow it. Another reminder that God uses all sorts of personalities, styles of ministry and apparent differences. The real problem with “this generation” (see v 31, but it certainly applies to whatever generation we’re in, too) is that they want to ACT like it’s a rejection of STYLE, but it’s really a rejection of the SUBSTANCE – they didn’t want the MESSAGE of repentance that came from both John AND Jesus.
Lk 7:36-50 – Simon the Pharisee THOUGHT of himself as a righteous person, and was quick to judge the woman (known in town for her sins) and Jesus for allowing Himself to be touched by this sinner. But Jesus answers Simon’s thoughts and shows He knows EXACTLY who was touching Him and EXACTLY who Simon is, too. But Simon couldn’t see his own sin, and so the broken-hearted lady gets forgiven, and Simon doesn’t even realize how much he NEEDS forgiveness (compare Lk 5:30-32).
Optional Psalm 36 – Delighting in God, though surrounded by the wicked. Notice the BEAUTY in the middle of the darkness in v 7-9! Compare Ps 23 about the feast for God’s people, even in the presence of enemies.
Optional Proverbs 11:1-4 – God cares about integrity in everyday life and business practices! And what ULTIMATELY matters is not money stuff at all (see v 4).