This is the message that Terry Virgo preached at Jubilee Church last Sunday. Next week I will begin sharing my notes from his talks at 300 Leaders followed by an interview I filmed with him.
This is Moses’ reply to God’s call. Rather unexpected. You would expect a man to say “thanks for a great privilege.” Instead he is reluctant and slow to respond. His life was not a clean sheet. Like most of us some things are already written there. Often people are hesitant when God wants to work. Many of us have chains around our legs. When the meeting is finished we are going to walk out free into the adventure that God has for us. Moses almost missed his destiny. We need God to set us free to walk into all he has for us.
Moses’ people were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh had been concerned about this growing nation within a nation. The boys were killed. His parents hid him by faith. He had the privilege of being born to believers. They knew that through them the whole families of the world would be blessed.
God arranged it so that Pharoah was raising the deliver in his own home! Moses has two worlds in his heart. There is an invisible world where God is real and there is a messiah coming. He is also being raised in Egypt university. He had to choose which world he would live in. He came to his own decision, Hebrews 11 says he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He identified with the despised people of God. In the OT story it doesn’t look quite as clever as that! He killed an Egyptian. Moses is said to have led the armies of Egypt to war against Ethiopia. When it was known that he had killed the Egyptian he fled. It all went wrong and he is in the wilderness for 40 years.
When God says he has a great plan for him, it is like he said, “I did it before and it didn’t work.” Terry told a story of how many years ago he had gone out on a limb for God and because it didn’t go well he had said “I will never trust God again.” Many people play safe after such experiences. Despite this comment, less than a year later Terry found himself giving up work and living by faith. God had changed his heart. Make a fresh start with God. He said, I want to be part of your global plan.
Often people live with things that never got answered. We want him to explain to us. But he doesn’t always do that. At the end of the book of Job there is no real explanation. We are just effectively told God is God, so trust him. Don’t let what happened before to hold you down.
Moses doesn’t seem to be very happy. He is carrying some resentment. Its not just that he failed, but he is sure that the people won’t believe him. He risked everything for his people but that they had turned against him. He had 40 years to think about that. A lot of God’s people get very hurt by God’s people. It can be your brothers that let you down. People live with terrible things. It is hard to just forgive and let go. You feel it is not fair. I was right and they were wrong. I had the moral high ground. Yet I paid for it. Refusing to forgive makes you feel like you are in control. But you are allowing a chain to hold you back. You can’t run. God wants you to let them go. Today, forgive. It can’t be done to you, you must do it. Walk away. God forgave you. Forgive them. Leave the chains on the ground and go free. Don’t let a root of bitterness grow up spoiling many. Obtain grace. It will free you to let go. Never allow bitterness into you heart. It doesn’t live alone. Moses’ home doesn’t sound happy.
Moses is in real danger of missing the will of God.
He says he can’t do it. I am not really good enough. God is not impressed by this apparent humility. He is angry at him. Don’t masquerade behind a religious sounding statement that is really saying no to God. If we say “I don’t think I can” when God has called you to do it. People sometimes say “thanks for the way you played the keyboard” They might reply “it wasn’t me it was the Lord” Who played the bad notes then? The deacons used to pray “hide the preacher, we would see Jesus.” Sometimes we are saying I don’t really matter, I don’t exist. People sometimes say today “God is looking for a faceless army.” No he isn’t! If that was true we could rip out the pages and pages of lists of names in the Bible. God does not love anonymity. God is not scared of names and personalities. God loves every hair of your head. Don’t hide behind false humility. You are not a nothing. One day you will give account to God. He will evaluate. If God asks you to do something you mustn’t say “no.”
There is a famous prayer that says “we do these things not looking for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will.” But the Bible doesn’t say that! 1 Corinthians 3 tells us that Paul laid a foundation of Christ and each man must be careful how we build. Each man’s work will be tested by fire. What kind of thing we did and why we did it. We will be rewarded or suffer loss. We are not saved by works but by the blood of Jesus. There are works that God wants you to do for him. God will expose the motives of our hearts. A day is coming when God will open up the whole deal and test us. Jesus is coming with his reward. We should look for that reward just like Jesus did. There is a goal, an objective.
So don’t take the apparently humble line that says “I am a nobody I cant do it” If God says he wants you to do something, guess what, you can!
Then, later on God wanted to kill Moses. It doesn’t tell us whether there was a sickness or whether an angel appears. Immediately his wife circumcised their son. God has only given one law before now- on the eighth day he was meant to have circumcised his son. He is a hypocrite. He didn’t do behind closed doors what he knew he should have to. There is something wrong, and God doesn’t even have to tell them what is wrong they know. When they fix it, everything is fine immediately. Jesus is back in his life. Christian life is going with Jesus. Presumably he let it go because his wife didn’t like the idea. God knows what happens in the quiet place. God has ambition for you, he wants to use you. Moses is going to be one of the most famous names in history, and he almost missed it. Leave that chain behind so you can walk free.
God wants to bless you. God is going to do more and more great things. God hasn’t finished with this nation. He can take the likes of you and I and enlist us in his plan. But you must step out of those chains. I forgive. I know I tried it before, but I Am going to believe you again. I am going to step out of anonymity. I am going to deal with the secret things that I have accommodated. Cut away those things.