Pray, Love, and Serve: Moses’ Example

Pray Love Serve Cross

How do you react when those in your church, family, circle of friends, or community act contrary to God’s Word? Do you throw up your hands and give up? Do you brow beat them? Or do you lovingly correct, pray for, and serve them?

Last night at Bible Study, we briefly discussed Deuteronomy 9. It is Moses’ reminder to the people why God is giving them the Promised Land. He wants to make it clear it is not because of their righteousness. Rather it is because the Lord wishes to drive the wickedness out of the land and honor His promise to their fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (4-6). To show the stubbornness of the people, Moses recounts the story of the Golden Calf and their failure to take the land.

The Golden Calf

After spending forty days and nights on the mountain with God receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses comes down to find the people worshipping an idol – a Golden Calf. The same people who just witnessed the great power of God in the Exodus. The same people the Lord just redeemed as His own possession. The same people who watched Moses ascend to the top of the mountain to commune with God. In just forty short days and nights, they forgot the Lord and turned to worship an idol.

The Failure to Take the Land

The second story Moses recounts is their failure to trust the Lord to give them the land. If you remember, they sent spies into the land. After gathering the requested items, they returned with a daunting report. Those in the land are giants and too numerous for us to overtake. Again, they forgot the power of their God, even as He was providing for them in the wilderness and telling them He would give them the land.

Moses’ Example

Talk about being frustrated. I am sure Moses was livid, in a righteous way of course. His actions though are surprising and act as an example for us. Yes, Moses corrected the people, but he also interceded for them and continued to serve them.

Why would he do a thing like that? Why intercede for them asking the Lord to preserve them when they were blatantly rebellious?

He did so because he loved and cared for them. Even though they were rebellious, he desired they experience the blessings of the Lord, worship the Lord, and glorify the Lord. For those reasons, Moses twice spent forty days and nights prostrate before the Lord in prayer, continually corrected and served them.

The Challenge

Do you love those in your church, family, circle of friends, or community enough to seek their welfare? Do you desire to reach out to them with the gospel? Do you desire to pray the Lord would not destroy them, but change their hearts and make them His? Do you serve them in a way that shows the love of Jesus? I know those are tough questions, but they are crucial questions.

If we find we do not love those around us in a way that causes us to reach out to them with the gospel, pray for them, and serve them, we need to get on our knees and ask that God would change our hearts.

Moses did not manufacture his love for the people. God changed his heart as he communed with Him. Likewise, as we commune with God through prayer and Bible study, He will change our heart.

So then, if you are having trouble loving, praying for, and serving those in your community, open His Word and seek His face in prayer, asking that He would change your heart.

Question for Reflection

  1. How could you motivate those in your church to reach out to, serve, and pray for those in your community?

Resource

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What Does the Exodus Reveal About God’s Mission?

The Exodus Event serves as a model of holistic redemption. The event itself is a type, pointing forward to the redemption Jesus brings to all those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. Not only is it a type, but it also tells us the scope of God’s mission.

What is the Scope of God’s Mission?

When we look at the Exodus event, we see a four-fold scope in God’s mission:

(1) Political

In Exodus 1:1-22, we learn Israel were refugees in the land of the Egyptians because of the great famine. They originally were protected and lived by themselves in the land of Goshen, but after Joseph died they faced political oppression by the Egyptian’s. They were afflicted with heavy burdens because they were too many of them and they were too mighty for the Egyptians to handle. For fear that the Israelites might overthrow them, or band with another nation in war against them, they enslaved them. They made them work with brick and mortar, building store cities for them, as well as they were forced to serve in the fields, tending to the Egyptian’s crops.

(2) Economic

In Exodus 1:11-14, we also see that they were not allowed to care for their own well-being. Through forced labor, they had to care for the Egyptians by building them store cities and working their fields. This would have left no time for them to care for their own flocks and to work their own land. The prosperity they once knew was gone because of economic oppression.

(3) Social

In Exodus 1:8-22, we learn Israel was oppressed by Egypt because they were Hebrews. More than forced labor was dealt out to them, Pharaoh ordered that their midwives kill all male sons that were born to the Hebrew women. So then, the Hebrews were not only treated as slaves, but a state-wide genocide was ordered against their male sons simple because of who they were.

(4) Spiritual

Not only was the oppression Israel faced political, economic, and social, but it was also spiritual. They were kept by Pharaoh from journeying into the wilderness to worship their God (Ex. 4:22-23; 5:1-9).

God Heard their Cry

God heard the groanings of the Egyptians and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 2:23-25). He then raised up Moses and paired him with Aaron to go and confront Pharaoh (Ex. 3-4). Moses and Aaron’s initial request was denied by Pharaoh, so God sent plagues on the land of Egypt with the final one resulting in the Israelites release in the Exodus event (Ex. 5-12).

Through the Exodus Event, God delivered Israel from political, economic, social, and spiritual bondage. They were given their own land, God made them to be His people, and He defeated their enemy by drowning them in the Red Sea (Ex. 6:6-8; 14:26-31). While God did deliver Israel from this four-fold bondage and gave them these blessings, He did more than that. He delivered them from sin. Not so much their own sin, but the sin of Pharaoh, who was their oppressor [1].

So we see the scope of God’s missions involves deliverance from political, economic, social, and spiritual bondage, as well as deliverance from sin.

Connecting it to Jesus

The Exodus event becomes a motif, a recurring event that has significance in a story. It is used over and over throughout the prophets as they look forward to a final exodus (Eze. 20:32-38; 37:15-28; Jer. 16:14-15; Isa. 35:8-10) [2]. One that is led by Jesus, known as the New Exodus.

The New Exodus occurred during Jesus’ death on the cross, where He defeated Satan and his kingdom releasing those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior from the bondage and slavery that oppresses human life and well-being and opposes God.

All those who believe in Jesus, form a new community, which is freed from the bondage of sin and the rule of Satan over their lives. One day, when Jesus returns, this new community will also be ultimately freed from all political, economic, social, and spiritual oppression, completing the New Exodus event. At this time, God’s glory will dominate (Isa. 40:5, 9-11; 60:1-22), Jesus will reign in justice and righteousness (Isa. 11:1-9), and everything will be restored back to its originally intended way of life as sin, which is the reason for all forms of oppression, is ultimately removed from the world (Isa. 65:17-25).

Conclusion

As we look at the Exodus Event, we see that it serves as a type pointing to the New Exodus that is led by Jesus Christ. It also serves to tell us the scope of God’s mission, which includes release from all political, economic, social, and spiritual bondage, as well as a release from the bondage of sin and the rule of Satan over our lives, so that we can worship God.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. If God’s mission involves the ultimate removal of all political, economic, social, and spiritual bondage, should we, as God’s people, who have taken up God’s mission, also work for these things?
  2. If we are to take up God’s mission, how might you propose we work for political, economic, social, and spiritual freedom?
  3. Have you witnessed others helped, or been helped yourself, by Christians to be released from political, economic, social, or spiritual bondage? If so, how did they accomplish this task?

Resources

  • [1] Christopher Wright, The Mission of God, 278.
  • [2] Zephaniah, Zechariah, as well as Matthew, Mark, and Luke recognize the New Exodus as a motif and use it in their writings.
  • Post adapted from Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 100-107.

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Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. Have you ever wondered what that means? Or what is significant about this day?

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday occurs the Thursday before Easter and commemorates the Last Supper of our Lord. On the day before Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus and the Disciples met in the upper room to take the Last Supper, which occurred on the day of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:7). The day when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed (Luke 22:7).

The Passover

If you remember, the Passover was instituted during the Exodus event (Ex 12:14). Before God brought Israel out of Egypt, a final plague was delivered on the Egyptians. God declared that every firstborn in the land would be killed unless the blood of a lamb was smeared on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. As the Lord passed through the land, He would Passover the houses with the blood, while executing judgment on those who did not have the blood on the doorposts and lintel.

That night, at twilight, a lamb was to be slain and its blood spread on the doorposts and lintels, while its body was roasted to eat. As the Israelites waited, they were to eat the roasted lamb, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread with their belt fastened, sandals on their feet, and their staff in hand. In other words, they were to be ready to leave as they watched and waited on the deliverance of the Lord.

That night, the Lord passed through the land killing the firstborn of all who did not have the blood smeared on their doorposts and lintel. After which, the Exodus of Israel from Egypt occurred. At that time, the Israelites were delivered from the bondage and slavery of Egypt and set free to worship their God.

Jesus Re-institutes the Passover

In order to commemorate the Exodus, the feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted. It was this feast that the disciples and Jesus were celebrating. But something new was happening during the celebration. Jesus takes the wine and says that it represents His blood (Luke 22:20). He takes the bread and says it represents His body (Luke 22:19). At this time, Jesus was re-instituting the Passover Meal around Himself. In other words, He was telling the disciples that He would be the one to deliver His people from the slavery and bondage of sin, through a New Exodus (Eze 20:32-38; 37:15-28; Jer 16:14-15; Isa 40:1-13; 62:10-12). Thus, instituting a new covenant with His blood that would provide all who believed in Him with a new heart (Jer 31:31).

Taking the Lord’s Supper

When we take the Lord’s Supper tonight, in celebration of Maundy Thursday, we should take it in a state of celebration for Jesus’ work on the cross because it is His sacrifice that delivers us from the bondage of sin.

We also should take the Lord’s Supper with the same expectation and hope as the Israelites in Egypt. They were in a state of expectation, waiting and watching for the Lord’s deliverance as they ate their meal. We too, as we take the Supper, must wait in a state of expectation for our Lord’s return. We too must watch and be ready for Him to lead us in a final Exodus.