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Who Knot Me!
Scripture: Psalms 32:9; Exodus 3:10-20; Exodus 4:1-...
Track 6 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series
Running time: 53 minutes, 10 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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Who? Knot Me!

All throughout the Bible the image of God’s people is shown as sheep. When we think about it, that is not too bad considering some of the scriptures we read that when in a relationship with God, we see visions of green pastures, still waters and a gentle shepherd keeping watch over his flock. But scripture also refers to us as mules. In reality, that is probably a better image of who we are most of the time.

What are the differences between a mule and sheep? Which do you think best describes your personality? Why?

Psalms 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

Don’t be like the mule that resists and doesn’t have any understanding. I think the understanding the scripture talks about is when the master calls to protect the horse only to have the horse or mule resist out of fear or just plain stubbornness. Christians can be the same way at times. God wants us to come to him or to travel a certain path because He knows what is best but we only have a limited knowledge and resist because the way is unknown to us.

What confuses me at times about myself is when I resist God who I know loves me more than I can imagine. He is such a magnificent being and yet I fear at times the paths he wants me to follow. It really doesn’t make sense at all. Have any of you found yourself fighting the same things in your life? Why do we do this especially when we have the experience of failing over and over when we resist his leading? What makes it even tougher for me is when God calls me to do something that I already failed in. My first reaction is to say no and not to deal with the memories or the shame of failing.

Those of you who have children, were there times you wished your kids had come to you sooner with a problem rather than later? By waiting, did the problem become worse or better? Why did they wait until the problem got worse? Was fear involved in waiting?

I have to admit, I do this also in my relationship with God. There are so many things I deal with and if I would just lay them at God’s feet early in the process, the problems I get myself in would be a lot less of a problem rather than trying to get out of the messes myself. I seem to waste so much time trying to do things myself and failing in the end. I think to myself when in these messes that if I work harder at it, I can get myself out of the mess only to find that I am deeper into trouble. This not only applies to God but also with the people who are around us. The “I can do it myself” disease is a dangerous disease to catch.

With thoughtlessness and impatient hands,
We tangle up the plans the Lord hath wrought.
And when we cry in pain, He says,
“Be quiet, My child, while I untangle the knot.”

This is where Moses is when God approaches him to accept the call to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Notice that God asked Moses to do something that earlier Moses tight up in knots and then ran for his life because he created such a big mess. That is very often how God does things. God values the mistakes we make because He knows there are lessons to learn from mistakes. God will fix the mess Moses made from his first attempt to save Israel and send him back to do the job right this time.

How resistant can you be when you don’t want to do something? How long can you hold out? Are you someone by nature who gives in easily or someone who can be very tough and hold to the things you want and don’t want to do? What does it take to get you to do something you absolutely don’t want to do?

Moses was tough when it came to resisting God. In fact, he resisted and idea of going back to Egypt for 40 years. When God came calling with a direct, simple call, the old shepherd couldn’t handle it. In fact, he refused to believe that God could use him again after the mess he caused the first time.

Exodus 3:10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

How much simpler can God say it? God told Moses in a simple way to very important commands; 1) “I will send you” and 2) “You will bring my people out”. It was a simple plan. Notice that what God said to Moses was not a multiple choice question nor was it an invitation. It was a call. God does not speak and ask our advice regarding his plans. God simply makes declarations. He doesn’t open up to allow you to give your input or to express your concerns. In many cases, He doesn’t even let you think about it. He speaks and that is that.

How many of you ever expect, while living on this earth, to have God appear to you and speak directly to you like He did Moses? What would you do if that really happened? How would you react and if he gave you a direct calling, would you listen and do what he said?

Too often when Go speaks to us, we are distracted by what God says and we don’t hear exactly what it is he wants us to do. We hear his call though the filter of resistance and don’t understand what the call was all about. Moses really messed things up 40 years earlier when he thought he was to be the deliverer of Israel. When God approaches Moses again about returning, Moses only heard God’s call through his own understanding and didn’t hear actually what God said.

What did God want Moses to do and what did he want Moses to become? Why did Moses resist?
Moses resisted because he didn’t hear God clearly. I think that Moses feared this day. In some way, he probably knew he was right and that eventually God would find him and he would be confronted with the mission he was born to complete. But his idea of the mission was not correct. The reason he failed the first time was because he didn’t understand the mission. Look at what God said.

Exodus 3:7-10 The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

According to this passage, who is going to rescue Israel from the hand of the Egyptians? Who is going to bring them out? Who is going to save God’s people?

Salvation comes from God and God alone. We cannot save ourselves nor can we save anyone else. If salvation is to happen, it is done by God. What role was Moses to play? He was the instrument, not the deliverer. God is the deliverer; he uses us as the instrument to get the job done. Moses misunderstood the call. The call was to be the instrument, not the deliverer. We are no different. When we are called to be His child, with that comes the responsibility to tell others about the salvation we have. We are not the deliverer, we are the instrument. It is foolish to say that I can’t tell someone about salvation when it isn’t your job to save them, it is Gods job.

How many of you play some sort of instrument? By itself with no help from the musician, can the instrument play all on its own? The music and the quality that comes from it depends upon the musician. It is the musician that makes the music, not the instrument that is played.

The same is true with us and God. He is the musician, we are the instrument and because of the quality of the God, the music that comes from us is of God, not us. We are not the player in this game, we simply are played. God asked Moses to be the instrument by which God would use to deliver Israel from bondage.

I love how man tries to resist God by using excuses as though excuses will fool God into believing we are incapable of doing something. Trust me; there is no excuse you can use to fool God. He sees all and knows all and believe me, he heard your excuses before by the millions of other people who used them before you did. Moses is no different than you or I; he too tried to use excuses to get out from under the call of God. Many of these you have heard before…most of these you probably tried to use yourself at one time or another.

Excuse #1: “I don’t have all the answers.”

Exodus 3:13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

When asked to go and tell someone about Jesus, this is usually the first excuse that comes out of our mouths. This is such a lame excuse. Think about this a minute, what sin does this excuse rest on? It sits on the foundation of pride. When did God say we have to have all the answers? Pride says that if I don’t have a comeback to a direct question, or if I say I don’t know, they will laugh at me and I will fail in winning these people to Christ. I find that when I say, “I don’t know”, it is a reasonable response because everyone doesn’t have all the answers. But what we don’t know is what God is doing behind the scenes through us or how the Holy Spirit is working.

When Moses gave the first miserable excuse he said he might not have all the answers. God’s immediate reply was that might be true but you will have all of Me.

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

In addition to this, God made two promises to Moses that reassured him that his lack of answers won’t be a problem.

Exodus 3:18-20 The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

Excuse #2: “I may not have their respect”

Exodus 4:1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?

What caused Moses to flee Egypt the first time? With that in mind, what fear does Moses have? He fears ridicule. More than anything else, he doesn’t want to appear as a silly old man. What has to be lingering in the back of his mind as he proclaims this excuse?

As a shepherd, life was safe from ridicule. Remember what I said about sheep a few lessons ago; sheep don’t care who you are, what your past was or who you might become someday. They look to be safe and eat all day. As long as you provide that, they will follow you. They don’t laugh at your mistakes and they don’t ridicule you. They just eat.

How many times have you not done something because you were afraid of the “what if”? Are you by nature a person who is a worry-wart, hesitant to step out and take a chance because you are uncertain what might happen or are you a maverick, always pushing the limits to what you can do?

Moses was no different, he too was afraid of the “what if”. But God had an answer to his fear. He gave Moses a tool to use to prove he was a man sent by God.

Exodus 4:2-4 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 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.

What an awesome display. God also asked him to place his hand inside his cloak and when he removed it; his hand was full of leprosy. When he placed it back again, the leprosy was gone. Surely Moses was convinced by now.

Excuse #3: I’m slow in my expressions

Exodus 4:10 Moses said to the LORD, “O 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.”

From what we know about Moses and his life back in Egypt, what is wrong with this excuse?
What is the big misunderstanding about the ability to speak? Is this needed? Does a person have to have the knack of speaking well in order to convince people to accept Jesus?

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

What kind of speaking ability is needed to proclaim the Gospel? What do you lack this morning that keeps you from being affective as a proclaimer of the Gospel?

Exodus 4:11-12 The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

How many excuses can you tolerate? If you tell your kids to do something or you encourage someone to do something out of their comfort zone, how many excuses can you tolerate before you get a little aggravated or angry? Do you think your excuses cause God to get aggravated with you? Think about this a minute; how many excuses have you given God?

Exodus 4:13-17 But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” 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 his heart will be glad when he sees you. 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. 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. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it.”

Notice in verse 13 that there was no longer any excuse. Moses ran out of excuses and just told God the real story…he didn’t want to go. But Moses being the man he was submitted to what God called him to and he went. We too are like Moses. In reality, we don’t want to do something and we use excuses to get out from under the responsibility.