02(Exodus 05-06) Hanging the Preacher
On Nov. 9, according to police in Creedmoor, N.C., Leroy Howard, 30, took a space heater from the back of one truck, placed it into the truck he was driving, and fled, just as the police chief, who happened to be driving by, asked him what he was doing. Chief Ted Pollard chased Howard, who abandoned the truck (which had been stolen in nearby Oxford, N.C.) and fled on foot. Oxford police joined in the chase. Two state wildlife officers were in the area and also joined. Two vans carrying a SWAT team happened to be passing by, headed for training, and joined in, and then called their 60 colleagues at the training site to come on over. A Highway Patrol helicopter was nearby, also, and joined the chase. Four hours after the theft, Howard was in custody.
Maybe you’ve had a day like that recently. Certainly Moses did. We imagine Moses as Charlton Heston, a man’s man. But he had his weaknesses. We are going to look at one of those days he probably wished he could have skipped.
Three major personalities in Exodus 5 & 6: Moses, Pharaoh, and the Lord. The story is not about Moses and Pharaoh, but about Moses and God. Pharaoh is the middleman.
Moses and Aaron come to Pharaoh (Read 5:1). They were on the mountaintop having just spoken with the elders and showing them the signs. With their blessings, they make the demand of the king.
They perhaps thought this would be easy, slam-dunk. Moses knew better, that God said it would not be easy. But you how it is with us. We don’t want to think about the hard stuff, just the glorious deliverance.
When they gave that command, thought that was it. Now it is going to happen.
But it didn’t. nothing happened. (5:2). That was the start of a bad day. It was going downhill. Been there? Approached someone with idea or proposal, so excited about it, plotted out the perfect time to meet, the perfect words to say, only to get a cold “No. Not interested”?
v3. Came back with modified proposal. This is exactly what God had wanted Moses to say.
But Pharaoh’s response was to further humiliate the Hebrews (5:4-8).
The foremen (Hebrews) tried labor negotiations. (17-18). It was then they discovered this was the result of Moses’ meeting with the king. Now they were both afraid, and angry. (19-21).
Being misunderstood hurts all the way to the bone. Maybe you’ve felt that. You did the right things the right way, but someone misjudged you, reading motives into your acts or words that you never intended. And you cannot change their minds about you.
If you are a leader, you have felt this; it is called standing alone.
Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders – “the leader must be one who, while welcoming the friendship and support of all who can offer it, has sufficient resources to stand alone, even in the face of fierce opposition, in the discharge of his responsibilities. He or she must be prepared to have ‘no one but God.’”
At that moment, that is all Moses had. (v. 22). He poured out his heart, doubting his own fitness for the task. “Maybe I am not cut out for this.” “I told you I was no good at this, but you kept encouraging me, and now here I am, in trouble with the king and hated by these people.
Look at God’s gracious answer. Did not say “back off, Moses. You should be ashamed of yourself.” I love that about our Lord. He never shames you when you come to Him. When you come with an honest, hurting question that cries out for an answer.
Read 6:1-2. He says, “just wait…I am the Lord.”
HANG THE PREACHER.
Despite the Lord’s assurance, it keeps going from bad to worse. Israel would no longer listen to him (6:9).
1. On account of their despondency. They were irritated, impatient, and resentful. And when you’re mad at the preacher, you don’t accept the message.
2. On account of the cruel bondage. Things were bad enough, and now worse.
So what do you do when things get worse? Use Moses plan. He goes back to the Lord. (12)
WATCH ME WORK.
“Go tell Pharaoh.” What? I have failed. I have done all that I can do….
* The best condition for God to do His best work is when things are impossible and we feel totally unqualified to handle it. That’s His favorite circumstance.
When we are at a total loss, “have done all we can do”, yet our eyes are on Him. Time after time, He proves Himself faithful.
Moses would learn to let God work. (Exodus 14:13).
1. Circumstances that turn against us force dependence.
2. Circumstances that force dependence teach us patience.
3. Circumstances that teach us patience make us wise.
A man coming to the end of his rope- William Cowper. So deep in discouragement that tried to kill himself by drinking poison, but stomach pumped. Hired a coach driven to Thames River, intended to plunge into the river, but driver would not allow it.
Found a penknife and fell on it, only to have it break. Rigged a rope, first on his bed, but it broke, then went to basement and hung himself, only to be found by someone. A failure even at taking his life.
Drove himself to the book of Romans, and found faith in Christ.
“and there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.”
James 1:2-5 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.