Out of Egypt August 31, 2014

Exodus 3:1-15 Psalm 105 Romans 12:9-21 Matthew 16:21-28

When Moses saw the Egyptian beating to death the Israelite, Moses killed the Egyptian. The next day, Moses e even called down two Israelites for fighting. The Israelite who was hitting the other Israelite asked Moses, “Who made you our boss?” Then Moses learned that Pharaoh knew of his killing of the Egyptian, he fled Egypt.

As Moses arrived in Midian, he saw the priest’s seven daughters attempting to water their flock at a well. But the other shepherds were harassing the daughters. So, not liking the situation, Moses drove the shepherds away. This lead to Moses meeting Jethro. This in turn led to Moses marrying the priest’s daughter Zipporah.

All through these events we see Moses not knowing exactly who he was. Last week we learned that it is important to know who you are and to whom you belong. Yet, despite not knowing who he was, Moses knew injustice when he saw it. That is why he killed the Egyptian and drove off the shepherds.

Now we find Moses in setting where he discovers just how much injustice his people are going through. Much like he stood up for the weaker party previously, now he is going to stand up to Pharaoh. But this time it won’t be just Moses. God will be with him!

I will say that I am indebted to Rev. Dawn Chesser at http://www.gbod.org for several of the questions that will help us see what God is calling us to do. These questions help us to realize what was going on with Moses and God as they conversed beside the burning bush. They also point us in the direction of how we can respond to God is calling us to serve him in this world.

A. What ways does God need to use to get our attention? (Ex. 3:1-6)
     1. Moses is just working, minding his own business
      2. Then an angel appears in the flame of a burning bush
      3. Moses was interested in what was going on
      4. God called to him, right near his work!
      5. God told him he was on holy ground, right near his work!
      6. God told Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob
      7. Moses was afraid to look at God & God was right near his work!
      8. Maybe it is someplace right near where you work that God is going to get your attention. Maybe it won’t be a bush with an angel standing in a flame. But God will get your attention! When He does, we might be afraid to look at him as well. It might just turn out that God wants you to work in a place where wrong is overtaking right. That is presupposing that you care.

B. How much are we caring about right the and wrong in this world? (Ex. 3:7-12)
     1. God has observed the misery of his people
     2. God has heard their cry
     3. God knows their sufferings
     4. God has come down to deliver them out of Egypt!
     5. God is going to send Moses to do the work,  Plus God will bring Moses & the Israelites to that exact mountain to worship to show that God is with Moses!

     7. I remember my 2nd job. I had already been mowing the church yard for 1 summer. Then the owner of the local gas station asked me to work for him. So, my junior year of high school, I was pumping gas and changing tires. Then came the summer, and I was to go out with the excavating crew! I had all sorts of questions. There were questions like, who was I to do this work; who is sending me to do this; who is going to go with me so I don’t screw it up; and what tools will I use to do the work. It wasn’t long before I knew how to set up the transit, level the bottom of the hole for the septic tank, and glue pipe together for a sewer line. I think that might have been what Moses was doing, he was asking questions so he didn’t screw up the work that God was calling him to do. Otherwise, Moses may not have done exactly what God wanted him to do! So, he went off to Egypt to do work with God. Moses responded to God calling him to a new place of ministry and service.

C. How is God calling us and this church to new places of ministry and service? (Ex. 3:13-15)
   1. Moses needed to know what he was to say and do
   2. God told him what he was to say & do, even calling God by name!
   3. Is the “Great I Am” calling us to do ministry and service? He is! So we remember how our ancestors served God. Steve Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship, reminds us why we are Methodists. For a United Methodist Church, Steve notes that we embody the Wesleyan way of discipleship by living the following characteristics:

• Commitment to ongoing catechesis and formation in Christian doctrine.
• Faithful worship that draws on the rich liturgical resources of the tradition.
• Regular celebration of Holy Communion and use of other occasional ritual means of grace such as the Love Feast and the Wesleyan Covenant Service.
• “Watching over one another in love” through small groups, mentoring and accountability.
• Emphasis on cultivating intentional relationships and ministry with the poor.
• Embrace of Wesley’s model of stewardship as a way of life.
• Regular Bible study, prayer, fasting, and other personal means of grace.
• Consistent concern for inviting individuals and families into relationship with Jesus Christ, with intentional initiation into discipleship.
• Attending to identifying and cultivating those gifted for leadership.

In other words, our friends and family are in bondage. That is right, our people are enslaved, slaves of sin. In order for them to get out of Egypt, the place of their bondage, we are to be about the work that God has for us. We are to know God. We are to respect the holy ground that he has around us, even where we work. We are to remember how God was with our ancestors.

That is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and John Welsey is still working today. He is doing mighty work to get the attention of the people in our lives who are still slaves to sin. He wants you to be the one to go where they are, and to bring them out of slavery.

So, go ahead and ask God who you are to do this task. Ask God who he is in sending you on this task. Ask God what tools you will need for the task. Ask God who will go with you so that your people will be free from slavery to sin. Ask God how you will make sure there is more right than wrong in the place right near your work.

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