Exodus 4:1-5:21, Matthew 18:1-20, Psalms 22:19-31, Proverbs 5:15-21
Today is the 27th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it’s wonderful to be here with you today as we come in and find ourselves around the Global Campfire, find ourselves…even though we’re all over the world. Just knowing that we’re not alone. No one ever listens to the Daily Audio Bible alone. Someone somewhere, many someone’s, many somewhere’s normally. It…it’s always happening. We’re never alone. So, it’s great to be here with you now as we take the next step forward in our week and in our adventure through the Scriptures. And we have begun the second book of the Old Testament, the book of Exodus. And we have met a person named Moses and we’ll be traveling through the story of Moses and the rise of the children of Israel for a while now. The children of Israel have thrived and flourished in Egypt after Joseph’s death, but they have also been enslaved. And we learned of Moses in the…in the river, in the basket and becoming Pharaoh’s daughter and killing an Egyptian and fleeing. And then there’s this burning bush that’s not being consumed and God is calling Moses to go back to Egypt, back to Pharaoh and demand…and demand the people’s release. So let’s pick up the story. Exodus chapter 4 verse 1 through 25 verse 21 today.
Okay. So, wow, there’s so much to talk about you guys. Like every day there’s so much to talk about. Let’s talk about the book of Exodus just for a second and let’s touch on the book of Matthew. So, in Exodus we have met Moses. Obviously, the burning bush incident has occurred and we…we witnessed that today and…and God instructed Moses to go back and supplied him with some signs that he could see knowing that he was going back with some actual power of God. And Moses is doing all kinds of backpedaling about why he can’t do what he’s being asked to do and why he’s not qualified to do what he’s being asked to do. And…and he's…he’s telling God this who is speaking to him in a burning bush that is not being consumed. It's…it's…it’s beautiful to watch God’s patience, how He’s just having the conversation about all of the concerns that Moses has. And he’s essentially saying like, “I see that you have these concerns, but I will be with you and I am that I am. Like I will be with you. You don’t have to fear. You’re not going alone. I’ll go with you.” But Moses just keeps backpedaling. “I can’t talk. I don’t know how to form my words.” All of these things until we reach another one of the really sad, sad scenes in the Bible because here is God and…and we’ve watched the story unfold right, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, who became Israel who had children, who were the children of Israel, Joseph going to Egypt, the early children of Israel going to Egypt and becoming a massive people while in Egypt over four centuries. There was a promise and Abraham was told all these things were before his progeny. And, so, now God is coming because the people have accumulated and are now ready to leave Egypt so that they can move toward the land of promise, so that the promise can be fulfilled. And, so, God comes and calls this prophetic voice in Moses, “go back. You’re gonna lead my people out of Egypt.” And Moses says, “could you send somebody else?” We can certainly put ourselves in the position of Moses and understand that what He’s being asked to do is pretty serious. And yeah, like his concerns are legitimate. Will the people listen to him? Will they pay attention to him? Like he’s gotta go back to a nation where he’s wanted for murder. Like, he’s being asked to do some big things and so we can easily get into the into the mindset of Moses, but what about the heart of God in this situation? God has heard his people crying out. They have become a people and He has heard their cry and He has come for them and He’s being asked to find somebody else. You have to wonder how many times that has happened at critical points in our human story when there was no one else. We have to look at our own lives when we’re feeling the nudge, when we’re feeling the pull, when we’re being swept into something that God seems to be pulling us into. And, you know, always when you get a vision for something, the beginning of the story is always fun. It’s a dream, but then when you have to do it, it’s not a dream anymore. It’s a very, very, very high mountain to climb. So, we could think of how many times God has been asked to send somebody else throughout our history and we can only imagine because if we look at our own lives, we realize that’s been us too, that’s been our voice to Him too. Thankfully God is patient and perseverant. And Aaron comes, Moses brother, and they do go back, and the people believe them, and they are able to get before Pharaoh and speak the word of the Lord, right? So, like, through it all, at the end of it all Moses obeyed and was given an audience before the Pharaoh of Egypt and he was able to say in the ears of Pharaoh the word of the Lord, “let my people go.” And, of course, Pharaoh’s like, “who’s the Lord?” He didn’t let the people go. Actually, where we leave today’s reading, he has withdrawn supplies for them to do their forced labor. And, so, now things have only gotten harder.
Okay. Let’s push pause. Let’s look at the story of the Bible so far. We don’t have to review every story. But if we look at the arc after…after a word of the Lord, after a promise is given things don’t just get easy and just kind of sail downhill into the promise, they get harder and more difficult and then the promise must be contended for and that season of difficulty becomes a refining furnace that purifies. This arc is over and over and over throughout the stories of the Bible. Take for example the story that we just read as we concluded the book of Genesis, the story of Joseph who’s having dreams as a child, but before those dreams are fulfilled he’s trafficked into slavery by his own family, right, falsely accused, thrown into a dungeon. Like, we know the story. It got way more challenging before the outcome became apparent. Joseph was refined and by the time that Pharaoh called him up he was ready to lead. We’re gonna watch the same thing happen to Moses and then at some point we might wonder why in the world it’s happening to us, misread the obstacles and challenges, become estranged from God and angry, while missing the point that we were being refined and called up into the next thing for us. This is important context for our lives and it’s coming from the Bible.
We move into the book of Matthew and Jesus is asked a question, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”, which is…which is like the exact…like the…the worst question that could be asked based upon what Jesus is teaching about the kingdom. And, so, Jesus uses a child as an illustration by calling a child and saying, “unless you’re turned and become like children, you’ll never even enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” We know these kinds of stories. we know Jesus love for children. It’s legendary. There’s lots of paintings depicting it. Like, we know this, but are we hearing what He’s saying, because He’s saying once again what He’s been saying all along. The world is backward, it’s all backward to the ways of God’s kingdom. You become the greatest in God’s kingdom by not even thinking about that. That’s not the goal. Humble yourself like a little child if you want to be great in God’s kingdom. I mean, it should be obvious to us how opposite the world is to what Jesus is saying because our cultures are normally about how much we can shine the light on us as individuals. We can’t become superstars of God’s kingdom and…and…and that the evidence of that be that we’re on the cover of a magazine or have a best-selling book or like…that’s not the evidence, the humility of a child in a person, at least according to Jesus, is the evidence. But we live in a culture that…that…that praises and worships individuality, that the accomplishment that one person can do. But this is not the way of God’s kingdom. So, one of the last things that Jesus said in our reading today was, “if two of you on earth agree to ask for anything it will be done for them by my father who is in heaven. In fact, where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am among them.” He didn’t say anything about one, which is not to say that God’s presence does not exist if you are by yourself. What Jesus is laying out for us and what the apostle Paul will unpack thoroughly for us is that this whole process is not about us getting to be more and more individual and unique and high and mighty and celebrated. It is that we become aware that the separation that existed between us and God no longer exists, which means the separation from each other also no longer exists for those who are in Christ. We are being made one. And Jesus specifically prays for that and Paul gives us useful language, “the body. We are one body.” The objective isn’t to be the greatest in God’s kingdom. The objective is to be overwhelmed by the fact that we are in it at all.
Father we invite you into all that we’ve read as we launch into our week here. We…we find that we have asked you to send someone else just like Moses. We’re all guilty of this. It’s in us all and we’ve all been less than humble like a child as we’ve represented you in this world. We have misrepresented you on a number of occasions and even had the audacity to blame you for things that you had nothing to do with. And, so, there's…this kind of stuff comes up a lot because we struggle with these things…this…this is the battle and we thank you for bringing these things up in your word so that we can wrestle with them, so that they won’t go away until they’re dealt with. And, so, come Holy Spirit, help us to have the humility of a child today. Help us walk around this earth with wonder that we’re here and wonder that there are others like us here and that we bear your image. Help us to be light in the darkness. Help us to be good in a world that is full of evil. Hep us to continue to understand that the journey that we are ultimately on is a journey inward, that you are awakening things in our hearts, that you are awakening our hearts to your presence. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.
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