Excerpt from Arm Wrestling with Pharaoh, Copyright 2016 SueAnn Porter. All rights reserved. Scriptures from Easy Read 2013 Bible, by Joel Nelson, used with permission.
My thoughts based on Exodus Chapter 3 — my humble opinions in bold type.
1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
God did something to get Moses’ attention. Fire will do that. The bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed or burned up.
4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
God talks to Moses out of the fire. That would certainly get my attention.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground.
The place where God dwells is holy ground. We need to have proper respect for it.
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.
Moses knew God kept His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Moses was afraid. Who wouldn’t be?
7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
This answers the question, “Does God hear me when I cry?” Yes. Yes, He does. “Doesn’t God see the injustice going on?” Yes. He sees that too.
8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
God says that He has come down to deliver them. He wants to bring them out of the cruel situation and into a good land.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
Does God want to free the oppressed? Yes, he does.
10 Come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Right here answers the age-old question: Why doesn’t God do something about fill-in-the-blank? He did. He is sending YOU to do something.
11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
Moses asks, “Who am I?” What can I do about the situation? The situation is too big, too hard, too impossible. Does that sound like us? Hmm, yeah.
12 And he said, Certainly I will be with you;
God promises to be with Moses. He does not send Moses into the situation alone.
and this shall be a token unto you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.
Hold on a second! The sign will be AFTER I’ve brought the people out? After it’s all over, that will be the sign that God has sent me? We humans prefer to have our signs up front, thank you. We want to see the proof first, and then go on our way. Yikes! I have to go talk to Pharaoh without proof up front?
13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
Moses thinks for a minute: Who’s going to believe me? How can I prove I really talked to God? I know, I will find out God’s name. (No one at that time spoke God’s name out loud because it is too holy.)
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you.
The original Hebrew of “I AM” translates to “I am He who is, who was, and who is to come.” God says, “Tell the elders that I AM has sent me to you, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” One and the same.
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
God tells Moses to tell the elders that God will bring them out of their suffering in Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. But wait a minute, there are already people living there! The Israelites are going to have to fight for the land that God says is theirs.
18 And they shall hearken to your voice: and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and you shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us: and now let us go, we beseech you, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
“So Moses, you and the elders of Israel shall go to Pharaoh, and tell him to let you go three days journey so that you can sacrifice to the Lord.”
The elders of Israel don’t join him. Why not? Imagine if all the elders of Israel went to Pharaoh altogether, with Moses as their leader, and said, “Let my people go.” Would this have made a bigger impression on Pharaoh? Would the move out of Egypt have happened sooner?
We wait for “special people” to step up and do what needs to be done.
We are the special people.
19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
The King of Egypt (Pharaoh) has a mighty hand. He’s not going to let you go without a fight, Moses.
God tells Moses right away to go talk to Pharaoh, tell him you want to leave, and he’s going to tell you “No.”
20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
But God also says, “I will stretch out MY hand, and do several wonders, and after that he will let you go. There will be some back-and-forth interaction with Pharaoh. Don’t be surprised. It’s not going to be easy. But you will win. You will eventually be free. I will do it.”
21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, you shall not go empty:
22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor and of her that sojourns in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and you shall spoil the Egyptians.
God gives hope for the future:
“Tell the women to borrow silver, gold, and clothes from the Egyptians, and you will have nice belongings as reparations for your years in slavery.”
Of course, right now they are slaves, barely surviving. It’s a big stretch to believe God in this situation. As humans, we find it difficult to see things getting better when we are stuck in bad circumstances.
When we find ourselves in hard situations, we get weighed down by the stress and find it hard to believe for better things.
** End of Chapter Three
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