The Call of Moses: The Second Excuse - Authority - Divine Plan (Part 2)

"Then they will heed your voice...." (Exo 3:18)

Moses' second question also includes the concern about the "How" of doing this mission.

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?" (Exo 3:13)

He is already calculating the possible problems aforehand, which is not bad. Moses' question button turns on God's light on His plan of redemption. God tells him what he has to tell the elders and what they should do, how they should meet the Pharaoh, how he would refuse to let the people of Israel go, and then how God would bring them out.

Usually, the man or woman called to divine mission knows what the mission really is all about. However, not all of us have an idea of the divine plan. Sometimes, God shows us the entire plan at a glimpse. Sometimes, He leads us step by step. But, nevertheless, it is His desire to show to us His plan rather for us to design our own. God was certainly not going to leave Moses on his own to execute the divine commission. God was going to go with him, not like a co-traveler, but as the Leader and the Pilot.

What is God's immediate plan for the present mission? This is an important question to ask and seek God for. At this moment, God has not yet shown to Moses the plan of the Tabernacle or the plans related to entering the Promised Land. He is only giving to him a glimpse of His immediate plan of bringing out the Israelites out of Egypt. God may not always give us the entire plan for mission; He guides us step by step. But, He never leaves us without instructions.

By now, Moses' concerns regarding the mission should have come to end. But, they don't as we can see in the next chapter. He still has fears and doubts, which God will go on to remove through certain signs that prove the supremacy of God's power over all things that we consider to be our staff, support, and security (his rod and his hand). But, at this moment, God makes sure to comfort Moses with the assurance of His divine plan. Moses doesn't need to worry "how" this mission will be accomplished, because the Master knows "how" to use His vessel and "how" to accomplish His purposes. He is the Authority in charge. He HAS the plan.

We see the following ingredients of the Divine Plan:
1. Team Reaching and Team Building. Go and Gather the Elders Together (Exo.3:16). 
There are three sub-steps to this:
A. Identify the Family (Jesus identified that the first to be reached were the Jews, His own in genealogical terms).
B. Recognize and Reach the Leadership Structure. Moses had to go to the elders. (Jesus preached mainly in the synagogues. The disciples also began with synagogues. Similarly, Jesus understood the importance of raising elders; so, He chose disciples at the very beginning of ministry, even before He did His first miracle; Paul always usually started with preaching at synagogues and connected with local elders and believers).
C. Gather together. Build a team.

2. Communication and Discipleship. Say to Them (Exo.3:16). 
Moses had to communicate to the elders what God had communicated to him.
Jesus taught His disciples to teach others what He taught them. Paul's commission to Timothy was the same regarding the words of Christ: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2Ti 2:2). Jesus could pray in His priestly prayer: "I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me." (Joh 17:8). Communication is vital to the work of the Father.

3. Respecting the Local Principality and Government. Communicate to Pharaoh. (Exo.3:18). 
This cannot be ignored. God didn't bypass the local authority and system. It was important for God that Pharaoh let the people go. But, God doesn't compromise with Pharaoh. God communicates and strikes Pharaoh for disobedience. Pharaoh has to recognize that there is a government above his government. However, the church is not allowed to disrespect or challenge this authority.

Mission is not against contextual authority legitimized by God (Rom.13:1-8). Mission is not even anti-cultural. However, where any context is openly in disobedience to divine authority, the presence of mission poses a challenge to it and God's deliverance of people brings them out of the power of such oppressive structures. For instance, Christians in India who have really experienced divine deliverance are also delivered out of the evil caste-system that is the contextual oppressive element of Hindu cultural authority. However, Christians who wish to remain in the caste-system and follow it are self-deceived. At the same time, the Gospel never disrespects authority structures given by God, and such that have legitimate authority in a political or cultural context. Therefore, even Christ was not crucified without going through Jewish, Judaen, and Roman tribunals. The same holds also for principalities and powers in the heavenly places. "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jud 1:9 NKJ)

4. Understanding the World's Response. Pharaoh would not want to let the people go  (Exod.3:19).
The world wants to remain godless and keep the people of God as its slaves. Therefore, Jesus said we cannot serve God and mammon. Jesus also reminded His disciples that the world will be against them as it is against Him (Joh 15:18-25). There cannot be friendship between the world and God. The world-system cannot be "transformed"; it refuses to be changed. God wants to save His people out of it. God doesn't save the world-system. Babylon will burn in fire (Rev.18)

5. I will stretch out My Hand (Exod.3:20). God will do wonders.
Jesus also promised His disciples that signs would follow (Mark 16:17,20). He promised to them the Holy Spirit and power from above. There cannot be mission without the power acts of God Himself by His Spirit. (Acts 2:22; 5:12; Rom.15:19; Heb.2:4).

6. I will give this people favor (Exod.3: 21). Connections of Favor.
However, there will also be people who will be friends of God's people. God will give favor for His purposes. We have the examples of Nehemiah, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul and many others who were given favor with kings, princes, and leaders so that the work of the Lord could be done.

7. God will plunder the world to supply His children (Exod. 3:22). Provisions.
It doesn't mean that the Egyptians who gave would be plundered. In fact, they were giving out of favor. However, it symbolizes a plunder of the Egyptian economy as a whole, since gold and silver were being taken away out of the economy. This shows the supremacy of divine sovereignty over even world economy. The Anti-Christ will try to hijack this economy by introducing the seal (666) in connection with false worship. However, it will only end in self-destruction. God's work will never lack provision. Even the enemy cannot withhold anything from God. He is sovereign.

Luke 22:35. And he said to them, When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything? They said, Nothing.

Acts 3:6. But Peter said, I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!

God's working power is greater than human means.

A Winter Prayer

Protect children from the chill-hands of winter!
Protect families from accidents on foggy routes!
Provide for the homeless clothes, food, and shelter!
Fill hearts with warmness of love full of good fruits!
May eyes blinded by hatred find healing in Your love
That they may love and forgive and restore and build!
May hearts stiffened by indifference find life in Your love
That they may beat for the helpless and keep beating still.
May broken homes, sad and sorrowful, find a Visitor Friend--
You, O Lord, come to these homes, and may all sadness end!
For, times and seasons span our lives so short
Till Eternity takes us into Your Celestial Court!
Protect Your children, Lord, according to Your Promise:
"No evil shall befall you nor shall any plague come near your dwelling". (Psalm 91:10)

Vacuums, Covetousness, Temptation, and Victory

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psa 23:1)
You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Col 2:10)

Covetousness is the desire-call of false and godless vacuum. Covetousness never desires God to fill its emptiness, boredom, greed, or desire because its hunger is false and godless. Covetousness looks for something more, something different, something other and is easily deceived into taking the unreal for real.

There are at least 3 kinds of vacuums:

1. Original Vacuum. This is the vacuum of infinity within the human spirit (Eccl.3:11). It can only be resolved by faith in the Infinite God and loving devotion to Him. A life without Truth, without God is a bottomless pit, infinitely empty, and that is hell. This vacuum manifests as meaninglessness, purposelessness, hopelessness. People try to cover it up by a false belief in either the immortality of personal soul or a recourse to nihilism (or nothingness, absurdity, meaninglessness, pointlessness).

2. Illusory Vacuum. This is a false vacuum created by false ideas, ideals, and allurements. Advertisements, for instance, are well known for creating a need where no such need is real. People buy an advertised object not because they need it but because the advertisement makes them unfulfilled without such an object and they desire fulfillment. The devil told Eve that she lacked something, though she lacked nothing; this false and illusory vacuum in her was her deception. She desired for the forbidden fruit because it was falsely projected to her that this was really desirable. This is how products are sold. The allurement was so strong that she felt bad that she, in her innocence, was kept away from this "good" thing. The allurement reeked with vile thoughts of suspicion, egoism, rebellion, and idolatry. She listened to the devil and forsook the commandment of God. Any mind that doesn't keep the Word of God before it and listens credulously to any other voice that makes it feel unfulfilled or lacking is susceptible to fall. In the illusory state, the mind is deceived and turns to false things in order to fill a false vacuum. The resulting action is always covetousness, unfaithfulness, disobedience, and rebellion.

3. Addictive Vacuum. This is bondage. It is recurrent. It portrays a pattern. Addiction to drugs is one example of addictive vacuum. The bondage is intolerably strong and inescapable. There are also other addictions like addiction to self (narcissism), addiction to sex, addiction to silver, addiction to societal living, addiction to shopping, etc. Addictive vacuum is not just false, it becomes systemic warping the personality of the person. It enslaves the mind and will and emotion of the person and destroys his spirit. Therefore, deliverance is urgent.

Deliverance: "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)

1. Knowledge of the Truth about the deception and about the bondage comes first.
2. Knowledge of the Deliverer, Christ, is crucial. Not just mental knowledge, but faith and commitment to and total submission to. The Son sets us free.
3. Reject all False Vacuum, covetous allurements, and anything that attempts to turn you from the Truth of God. They are all false and unreal and attempt to suck us away from the reality of God.
4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs [confessing to others complete satisfaction in God], singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord [rejoicing in His goodness all the time even when alone], giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ [always filled with gratitude for the gifts of God that makes us lack nothing, doubting nothing, being certain that God has given us all the best for us, not fearing anything], submitting to one another in the fear of God [honoring the true godly connections in life]." (Eph 5:19-21). The Spirit is Reality. The Spiritual is the True Real.
5. Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:16)

The Call of Moses: The Second Excuse: Authority (Ex.3)

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?" (Exo 3:13)

"So, who are You?" Moses asks the Lord. In response, God gives to Moses a three-fold revelation of Himself.

1. He IS that He IS. The FINAL Authority of Mission. He replies, "I AM WHO I AM."..."Thus you shall say to the children of Israel,`I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exo 3:14). This reveals the ESSENTIAL IDENTITY of God. He cannot be identified with any definition because His existence is not dependent on anything outside Himself. My existence is dependent on many factors. So, if someone asks me who I am, I would reply saying, "I am the son of so and so, I live in such and such place, and I do such and such job or work for so and so...." This would still be only one aspect of the many things that makes me who I am. There are many defining factors. In fact, the very basic statement, "I am a human being" is a highly contingent or dependent statement; its meaning is dependent on a number of things like "mortal being," "rational being," "social being," "biped being," etc. However, God cannot be defined because He is that He is.

The gods of the world had contingent identities: god of river, god of pestilence, god of harvest, god of war, god of love, god of death, and so on. But, the ALMIGHTY ONE is the NECESSARY being. He is not existence; but, there is no existence without Him. He IS that He IS.

He is the self-existing, self-sufficient, self-contained, self-content one.

2. He is YHWH God of their fathers, The RIGHTFUL Authority of the Mission. "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". This reveals the RELATIONAL IDENTITY of God to Israel. YHWH is the God of Covenants. It is the Name which He revealed when He swore by Himself to Abraham, an oath that is impossible to be broken (Gen.22:15-17; 26:3; Heb.6:13-17).
Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only [son -- ] "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which [is] on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (Gen.22:15-17)
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."... For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation [is] for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it [is] impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before [us.] (Heb.6:13-18)
God reveals two things about His Name YHWH:

  • This is His name forever. (Exo 3:15)
  • This is His memorial to all generations. (Exo 3:15)

Scholars have believed that the name YHWH may mean "The Existing One", which relates to His declaration that He is I AM [EHYH] THAT I AM [EHYH]. In that case, we have a linguistic relation [HEBREW] as well. However, God precedes humans and all human languages. Therefore, it is dangerous to sacralize any human language as being divine. For instance, the Name JESUS is Y'SHUA in Hebrew, but the New Testament calls Him as IESOUS. Now, there are some who feel that there is something to the Hebrew language [in the same way as Muslims regard Arabic as heavenly and Hindus regard Sanskrit as heavenly]. However, the Bible discourages such thinking by asserting God as the God not just of the Jews but also of the Gentiles. The New Testament gift of tongues actually transcends all human language barriers. The Age of the Holy Spirit is the Age of Gospel to All Nations. And, this is part of the Abrahamic Covenant: "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." (Gal 3:8-9)

At this point, prior to the Exodus, this declaration of God affirms God's relation with the children of Israel by His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of their fathers. This was His relational identity with them.

We must contrast this with the New Testament declarations of God's relational identity with the church. He is not the God of our fathers; but, He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This speaks about relationship with us by the New Covenant. Also, God is referred to as "our Father", i.e. through Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2Co 1:2-3 NKJ)
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever (2Co 11:31)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:2)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you (Col 1:3)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phm 1:3)
Certainly, Jesus Christ is the One of whom God did say, "My name is in Him. (Exo 23:21)
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:4)
Moses was being sent by YHWH with a mission of deliverance; but, the True Deliverer, the Heir, was to come. And, in His Name is Everlasting Life. (Hebrews 3:1-19)

The Bible declares why God send Moses to save Israel out of Egypt.
...because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power (Deu 4:37)
The Bible also declares why God sent His Son to save us from our sins.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16 NKJ)

God had the Reason to Send Moses on this Mission: He Loved the Fathers.
God has the Reason why He sent Jesus Christ and will send Him again: His Love Us.

How much more shall we not love and await His Second Coming!?

3. HE has the Mission Plan. HE is the PERFECT Architect of the Mission.
God reveals to Moses His plan how to declare His Name (Exod.3:16-22). The commission was two-fold:

  • Declare to the Elders what the God of their fathers had Declared (Exod.3:16-17)
  • Declare to Pharaoh what the God of the Hebrews had Demanded (Exod.3:18).

The Servant of God doesn't need to be worried how to carry out God's commission. The One Who IS (In Himself) beyond all time and space, The One Who Is Our God (In Relation Through His Blood Covenant) Knows all things, Controls all things, and has Predestined His people to be saved.

This doesn't mean that all who are delivered out of Egypt will enter the Promised Land; but, only those who persevere in faith.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jud 1:5 NKJ)
whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Heb 3:6)
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb 3:14)
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard (Col 1:23)
God is the FINAL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the RIGHTFUL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the PERFECT ARCHITECT of Mission.


Babylonian Captivity of Theological Education

Since the Early Period of Christian history, the world has presented an almost inescapable allurement of dry logic or fake glory to divine faith. The world challenges faith to fight with it on its worldly ground, the ground of space-time reason (which apologists, sadly, find very compelling). On the one hand are the contextualists who try to localize revelation in terms of contexts, which attempts, most of which, have certainly been quite helpful, though some idolatrously inclusive. But, nothing has been more devastating to the cause of theological education than the allurement of the secular "university" system in modern times. In 1520, Martin Luther talked about the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. The Protestant Church soon forgot the lesson as it continued to be enamored with the gods of the surrounding nations, the gods of Enlightenment, Scientism, and Modernism. The chief warriors who fell to this honey-trap were theological professors who wished to appear as intellectual, modern, and educated as possible. The effects of liberalism have continued on to post-liberalism and beyond to the extent that in recent times, theologians have expressed concerns regarding the Babylonian captivity of theological education.

Sadly, Pentecostal and Charismatic seminaries have not been very successful in resisting the temptation of pseudo-intellectualism. Theological books and popular apologetics have advertised secular tools that can be used, to the extent that the ministry and role of the Holy Spirit has become extra-curricular, and dispensable. No longer is it the Holy Spirit that guides us into the truth. Degrees and diplomas are the modern idols. Recognition and accreditation are the goals. Despisal of unassociated training centers are the modern fiery darts of the enemy against faith. And, those who have failed to know who they are, where they stand, and what they are called to, have fallen in for the devil's tactics.

Of course, there is also a vile plethora of mammon-serving, fake, theological centers. Association and co-working is, certainly, important. However, association that sidelines the Holy Spirit and reduces the supernatural to mere pulpit preaching and emotional altar-calls is anti-biblical.

Then, there are myriads of false prophets, miracle claimers, pseudo-workers who gamble on the emotions and vulnerabilities of theologically illiterate masses. Crowds love convincing stories and the weak are easily deceived. Right theological education will expose both false theology and false spirituality.

Jesus trained His disciples and sent them to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. True and power-filled preaching of the Gospel wrecks the devil's plans and holdings. But, seminaries under Babylonian captivity are confused about what the Gospel is; they emphasize on a curriculum that has less to do with Biblical understanding; they de-emphasize the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, and if they emphasize, it's just dry talk and impractical; they are suspicious of testimonies regarding the supernatural; they are not open to the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit in all His fullness suspecting that these are dangerous and a threat to the consistency that they think can only be found in the pure academic mind of the intelligentsia; they ridicule and mock at any excitement shown regarding the supernatural. They favor intellectual elitism. As a result, all preaching is dry; the only momentary stimulation is in the clever interplay of words, voice, pace, gesture, and captivating story-telling; the topics of interest: counseling, faith, motivation, inspiration, and such. All the while, true reality (the supernatural) is disregarded and this-worldliness is emphasized. There is silence about heaven and hell, judgment, and the Second Coming. Dreams and visions are ignored. Supernatural encounters are unheard. Gifts are limited to speaking in tongues, some healing and miracles (and more emphasis on the medical), doubtful prophecies...

But, the Gospel is not just a mere cogitation and communication of ideas; it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. We need theological training centers that are Spirit-filled, Scripturally sound, and Service-oriented (i.e. doing the work of Christ as He did).


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