Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
Moses asked an important question in verse 13. It is important to have the right authority in place. The good news is that we cannot invoke God as our authority and expect that will wash on its own. We need God to give us His authority. As we noted yesterday, the true God is holy and righteous. There are many religions today that claim to be speaking on behalf of God, but God’s Word proves them to be liars. We can know the truth if we will humble ourselves and accept His Word as truth.
The problem that we see in Moses is that he asked a good question, but he asked it as a stall tactic. In verse 14 we see that God is patient with His children. His patience should not be misinterpreted as leniency. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows just how weak we are. He desires to help us to know Him and to trust Him. God reminded Moses of the importance of knowing Him as the eternal, ever-present God. “I AM THAT I AM.” What a statement. Only God can made such a declaration. True Christians can have confidence in God’s salvation because it is God that gives us the confidence.
I John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Notice the wording here. God provides confidence to those who believe on the name of the Son of God. Too many people have a head knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, but they do not have the heart knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. True Christians will exemplify the evidence of salvation.
In verse 15 God further told Moses that the LORD God of their fathers was the One Who was in charge. The children of Israel needed to know that Moses was not a self-imposed leader. He was God’s chosen vessel. He was not on an ego trip. We see in his response to God that he had no interest in being a leader.
The fact is that people are observant. In this present age, there is very little that we do that is not known by others. Those who claim to be Christians are watched by others. False professors flock to those who will scratch their itching ears. Those who are truly saved will be drawn by the Lord to the truth. God wants all to be saved, but sadly many refuse to listen to His drawing.
We see in our text that God did not ask the elders of Israel what kind of a leader they wanted. He knew what they needed and He chose Moses to be His servant and to lead the nation of Israel out of bondage. Moses needed to learn to trust God and to submit to His leadership, so that he could lead the nation of Israel successfully.
In verse 16 God told Moses to go. God’s people cannot ignore His commands. They are saved to serve Him. He calls His children and He also equips them to serve Him. He knows the capabilities of His child. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is important for the true child of God to be submissive to God and to follow Him obediently.
We see also that God puts people in places of authority. The elders were the senior members of each tribe of the children of Israel. God wants His children to learn as we age. Moses had 40 years to learn some important facts regarding walking with God. He would have another 40 years to learn how to lead a stiff-necked and rebellious people. His task would not be easy, but he could have success if he would submit to God’s leadership.
Too often we see older saints, who should be more stable and more steadfast in their walk with God, caving in to the compromises that their children want to make. There is a danger in thinking that the “old” ways do not work and we need some “new” thing to reach the next generation. That is the subtle lie of the devil. Sadly it seems to be working in too many elderly professing Christian’s lives.
As we see in the nation of Israel, the elders were not always spiritually minded. That was to their detriment. They were still the elders and they were accountable before God for their actions.
Moses was to establish his authority before the elders. He was to let them know Who was in charge and Who was sending him. The word LORD speaks of Jehovah God. The nation of Israel needed to be reminded that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the self-existent God who knows all things and He works all things according to His plan. They could look back and see how God had been leading them from the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They could see how He had provided for them and how He had blessed them as a nation. They could also see what happens when a saved person chooses to ignore God’s clear instructions. They could also see the mercy of God in chastening and teaching their forefathers His way.
Moses was told to assure the elders that He had visited them. Notice this is written in the past tense. The word translated as “visited” means “to observe, to oversee”. God never sleeps. He never slumbers. He sees all and He has the solution to every thing we face. God knew what was taking place in Egypt and how that was affecting the children of Israel.
In verse 17 Moses was to declare to the elders that the LORD was going to bring them out of Egypt. He was going to bring them into the land of Canaan. His will was to remove the foreigners from that land and it was to be solely for the children of Israel. Moses was to remind the elders that the land they were going to was a land flowing with milk and honey. It was a good land. It was better than the land of Goshen, which was some of the best land in Egypt. God was blessing the nation of Israel in that land, but the land of Israel would be better than that. God’s presence and His leadership would make Canaan that land flowing with milk and honey.
The elders needed to be informed of what God was doing. They needed to trust Moses to lead them out of their current situation. They were elders, but they were not called to lead the nation out of their current situation. They were to respect God’s choice of leadership and in that role, encourage the rest of the nation to also respect God’s choice of leadership.
In verse 18 we see that these elders needed to be in agreement with what God was doing. They were supposed to join Moses as he went before Pharaoh. They were to publicly identify with the LORD God. They were to be unified in the demand of God to let the children of Israel go and sacrifice to the LORD their God.
Spiritual unity is important. Those God calls into leadership do not draw back because others are hesitant. They need to know God’s leading and they need to encourage others to get on board. Those that are saved need to be reminded of Who is in charge. A godly leader needs to remind those he is called to lead under God’s authority. When people oppose God’s leadership, they are in reality opposing God. It is bigger than the non-confidence politicians may express toward their leader. Those leaders are secular. It is true that God sets up kings and He removes them. God would want those leaders to be godly individuals but we see that all the leaders we have in the secular realm now are wicked and ungodly individuals. They will answer to God for their ungodly ways.
God-appointed spiritual leaders must submit to His authority through His Word. God never chooses an ungodly or a compromised man to lead His flock spiritually. There are too many self-appointed leaders today who assume they can lead others spiritually. They deceive people and they will be held accountable for their rebellion against God. A spiritual leader is not to be worshipped. He is not infallible. He can be questioned. He needs to be “apt to teach”. He needs to be teachable by God’s Word. He is accountable to God for his leadership. Those under his leadership need to honour God by honouring His chosen leaders. Those who submit to God’s design will find great blessing in doing things His way.