Exodus 1-2 CSB | Caleb Martinez | January 1, 2023
Moses’ origin story begins like any other story: he’s born among a people in need on saving, he goes through tests and trials to shape him as a leader, and he receives his calling from a divine encounter with God.
But in the middle of his birth and his calling, Moses finds himself in the wilderness. His past mistakes have led him to a desolate place where his identity is lost, and his hope is destroyed.
Like Moses, all of us will find ourselves in the wilderness at some point. Our sin, fear, and suffering bring us to a desolate place where we come face to face with our own brokenness and the brokenness of the world around us. But in the wilderness, God speaks.
Like Moses, God often leads us into the wilderness to separate us from the external noise of the world around us and the internal noise of our anxious souls. By leaning into seasons in the wilderness, we turn our focus to a God who hears us, remembers us, sees us, and knows us.
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Yeah. If you have your Bibles go ahead and open up to the Book of Exodus. This is the second book of the Bible right after Genesis. Like Trey said, we’re starting a new series in the in the book of Exodus, but really looking at the life of Moses. For the next six weeks, we’re gonna look at his life and his leadership and his interactions with God, and hopefully learn some things about how Moses plays his role in God’s story.
And then ultimately how we can learn to play our own role in God’s story as well. We’re really praying that this is just, you see the grace of God through the life of Moses, through the Old Testament, especially. I think there’s this weird kind of thing where we think that Jesus is really full of grace and compassion, and the God of the Old Testament is not.
And I think if you understand the life of Moses and the story that he’s a part of and his story really, that God has been gracious from the start. And so that’s what we’re really hoping for as we kinda look at his life and in these series of over the next six weeks. So I’m gonna pray and then we’re gonna start.
So God, we thank you for the start of a new year. We thank you that we’ve made it. We thank you for everything that we’re leaving behind the previous year, the good and the bad.
And God, we trust you that this next year is gonna be the same full of ups and downs, things that work out for us and things that don’t. But we are even more grateful that you are weaving and using the good and the bad for our good and for your glory. And we just we thank you for that.
We pray that as we look at the beginning of Moses’ life, we might see clearly an invitation from you to trust you and seasons of joy and of sorrow seasons in paradise and seasons in the wilderness. And we just give you this time, we pray to your name. Amen. Amen. If you’ve seen any movie ever in your life or if you’ve read any book or played any game or you have seen the pattern the story pattern, it’s called The Hero’s Journey.
Have you guys, are you guys familiar with this? Have you heard of Joseph Campbell? All right. We’ve probably used this in an illustration before. The Hero’s Journey permeates every story that you’ve ever heard and it usually goes something like this. Joseph Campbell broke it up into 16 stages.
We’re not gonna do that. There’s three stages that I think are really important. One is departure, initiation, and return. So departure, right? This is when your hero of the story, the person that you’re gonna be following the whole time is called out of their life of comfort. Usually by some sort of conflict.
Something happens either on a cosmic level or just happens to them and they experience sort of a disruption. Stage two is initiation where they’ve been called out of their home, their life of comfort. Now they have to learn how to live life in the unknown. Usually they encounter some sort of guide or mentor, and they receive the tools that they need to fight the conflict and make things right or overcome the obstacle.
And there’s all sorts of things that happen here. Usually a testing of some kind along with a training. And then stage three, the third step is return. So usually they go back to the familiar world, they confront the conflict head on and they resolve it. They fight the bad guy, they go home. Everything is good.
You live happily ever after. That is the found, that is the building block. Those are the building blocks of every story. Star Wars. You can see Luke is called out of his home. Yeah, there it is. It took me, I think, what, two minutes into 2023 to mention Star Wars, Harry Potter. If you’re more of a Harry Potter person or Chronicles a Narnia, you see this Every Marvel movie ever.
This is the origin story of the superhero. They start at home. Their life is disrupted by a radioactive thing. They get a power, they learn how to do the thing, and then they go and they fight the bad guys. And this pattern is really important and good stories know how to subvert that and twist it and play with it.
But the pattern, that pattern itself is really important because it’s familiar. and it orients us. It gives us something to ground ourselves in when we’re watching a movie or a show or reading a book or playing a game or something like that. Because it, it tells us that what we’re seeing, what we’re experiencing and what we’re about to engage with is a story.
It is not just information, but it’s. It’s a journey that we’re about to go on. And stories are really powerful because they captivate not just our minds, but also our hearts. They invite us to take part in them. When we read a story, we are participating in it, not just observing it, but we like to see ourselves in the characters that are presented in it.
We like to test our metal and see if we compare to the hero, see what decisions that we would make that the hero makes, and so on and so forth. And when it comes to our formation, how we change and how we become people of love, joy, and peace, better followers of Jesus, it is not just information alone that transforms us.
It is the power of stories. That’s why the gospels are written as stories. That’s why Exodus is a. . That’s why the book of Moses or sorry, the book of exist that tells us about the life of Moses is told like a story. In fact, there are a lot of elements in the story that we’re gonna see function more like a folk tale than like historical biography.
And it doesn’t mean that it’s not true, but it does mean that we can’t read it like a textbook. A lot of times we look at the story and we think that we’re expecting it like a play-by-play of exact sort of details of his life. And you do this with the gospels too. But what this is inviting us into is to see Moses as a story, and it almost lines up perfectly with the hero’s journey of departure, initiation and return.
Moses is the hero brought up against the backdrop of a people who are oppressed by a brutal regime, ruled by an anonymous bad guy, vaguely named Pharaoh, which is not a name that’s a. and he’s given a calling after a divine encounter with God. He’s given an identity forged by his destiny to be a leader and savior of a people out of slavery and into freedom.
This is the hero’s journey, Moses’ Life is told as a story. And so as we look at the introduction, as we intro this and kind of project forward the next six weeks we’re gonna work through the beginning of Moses’s story and we’re gonna read it like a story. We’re actually gonna read a lot of it together.
So if you have your Bibles, hopefully you’ve had a chance to turn there. But I’m gonna break Moses’ story up into four key scenes. This is helpful for me to picture where we’re at in the bigger story. And so I hope it’s helpful for you as well. Does that sound good? Yeah. Let’s do it. All right.
Scene one a people enslaved. Now Exodus is more like a chapter in a book than a book on its own. And so when we begin Exodus one, as we start reading, we’re actually entering into the middle of a story that’s already been going on and being told. And so here’s the story so far. Genesis one starts off, God creates everything.
We know that. Familiar with that? Genesis three, what happens? Humans make a mess of everything. The sin, the fall, everything evil, chaos disorder, e human nature is introduced into the world. And the rest of Genesis really is about the consequences of that. It is the mess that humans make in the Garden of Eden by introducing sin just infects all of God’s creation.
And so the Book of Genesis is about repercussions, and it’s about sin, and it’s about consequences, but it’s also about the grace of God. Because what God does is he promises not to leave creation as it is. He promises to restore creation by entering into relationship with it, specifically by entering into a relationship or a covenant with one family.
And so the book of Genesis is, it goes from being really cosmic and bid about the big, about the beginning of the world and all of that. And it narrows in and focuses on one family for the rest of it, from chapter 12 on. And it’s about God’s interacting and dealing with this family about him, saving them from different difficulties and trials and evil and rescuing them so that they can become a nation, a bigger nation, the nation of Israel, and ultimately bring peace and prosperity, blessing to the other nations in the world around them.
And by the time we finish the first book of the Bible, genesis things are looking pretty good. Joseph’s family, which is a family that we’ve been following, the family that would become Israel is saved from extinction by famine and set up pretty nicely in Egypt. And so when we start the book of Exodus, here’s what we see.
Exodus one, verse seven, but the Israelites were fruitful, increased, rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous so that the land was filled with them. , if you are an astute reader of the Bible wh where have you heard that before? Genesis, right? Be fruitful and multiply is commandment given in Genesis one and two, and actually throughout, later through the book of Genesis, it’s repeated several times.
That’s God’s mandate for his peoples to spread, be fruitful, multiply. He’s gonna bless you if you do that. And so when we enter the story, Israel is doing that. They’ve been blessed by doing exactly what God has called them to. But here’s how it turns out. Verse eight, A new king who did not know about Joseph came to power in Egypt and he said to his people, look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are.
Come let us deal shrewdly with them. Otherwise, they will multiply further and when war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country. So the Egyptians assigned task masters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Piam and Ramsey as supply cities for Pharaoh.
But the more they oppress them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of field work. They ruthlessly imposed all of this work on them.
So when we begin the Book of Exodus, we’re supposed to wonder if this is God’s rescue mission for the world, it’s not going very well. How are the people that God is sent to bless the nations, going to bless the nations if they are being oppressed by the nations, and then they can get worse. In verse 15, the King of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, the first, whose name was Shipra, and the second whose name was pah.
When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him. But if it’s a daughter, she may live. The midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them. They let the boys live. So the King of Egypt someon the midwives and asked them, why have you done this and let the boys live?
The midwives said to Pharaoh, the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them. So God was good to the mid wive. and the people multiplied and became very numerous since the midwives feared God. He gave them families. Pharaoh then commanded all of his people.
You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but let the daughters live. Now, God’s chosen people at this point. This is chapter one. They cannot catch a break. It seems like they are being punished for the very thing that God has called them to do. The more they are fruitful and multiply, the more they are cursed.
Have you ever felt like your obedience is actually cursing you then the Book of Exodus for you? That’s a good word. And this is the world that Moses is born into. This is the backdrop that he’s brought into verse one of chapter two. Wow. Now, a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son.
You’re supposed to gasp. Oh no. What happens to sons? It’s not funny. It’s tragic. . That’s right. When she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months, but when she could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coded it with asphalt and pitch. She placed a child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.
Then his sister stood at a distance in order to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeves, sent her slave girl, took it, opened it, and saw him the child again, like you know the story, so your mind jumps ahead and you know that he’s being saved right now.
But if you, if you’re reading this for the first time, this is not good. Moses is delivered into the hands of the people that are supposed to kill him. There he was little boy crying. . She felt sorry for him and said, this is one of the Hebrew boys. And then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, should I go and call a Hebrew woman who is nursing to nurse the boy for you go.
Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages. So the woman took the boy and nursed. . When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses because she said I drew him out of the water.
Now this is a crazy origin story. This is Moses being introduced as the hero of the story and it’s wild. First, he survives mass and infanticide by the bravery of his mother, and then he survives the craziest river float down in history. If you’ve seen the Prince of Egypt, this is like crocodiles and like a waterfall and piranas and all sorts of crazy stuff, and then he’s miraculously reunited with his mother.
Now, why does the Book of Exodus tell us all of this to show us that God is still sovereign over Moses’? . Moses has a traumatic childhood, even by biblical standards and we don’t want to impose kind of psychological language onto the text, but I don’t think this sets anybody up well for success in a mental, cognitive healthy mental, cognitive health in the future.
He’s born to a people enslaved, so that’s the foundation of his identity. He’s almost murdered during a mass and infanticide. He’s abandoned by his mother, although she had good intentions adopted into a royal family, and then returned to his mother, and then returned to his adoptive family. He’s dealing with a disintegrated identity.
He’s not fully Hebrew, but he’s also not fully Egyptian. He received Hebrew religion and then pagan religion. His fragmented origin story, no doubt, had an effect on his psyche born a slave grown in royalty, and as we’ll see, ending up a foreigner in the wilderness. But God uses these broken pieces of his past as opportunities throughout his life to shape who he’s going to become.
And here’s an example. He grows up in a Hebrew household. This is giving him his ethnic identity so that he can relate to and lead his people. Without this, he would not be able to win the trust of the people he’s going to lead. But some scholars think when he was around eight years old is when he gets returned to the house of Pharaoh.
He’s trained in the ways the customs and the practices of Egypt, not just with their traditions, but also with their judicial and civil practices. If you know anything about the life of Moses, the Book of Exodus is part story and part law, right? And what is Moses gonna end up doing? He’s gonna give the law.
To the people of Israel. The law that is unique because it’s centered around Yahweh and God’s holiness, but is also really similar to the laws and the customs and the practices that he would’ve grown up studying and knowing in and out. And so the simple lesson for us today is this, but this isn’t even the main part of the sermon.
This is just, I think this is good. Don’t miss God’s invitation to use where you are, to prepare you for where you’re going. Yeah. Yeah. I think so many times, especially as we look past on 2022 and we prepare for the new year, we want to do away with all of the bad and just look forward to what’s ahead.
And I think there’s something really good about that. But at the same time, God uses all of it in the world of our spiritual formation. All of it is forming us into somebody. Come on. And the choice is not whether we have a good upbringing, a good past or not, but rather what we do with the bad parts that all of us have, are we willing to yield that to God and let him use it or not?
This is how Moses’ story begins. And so chapter one, scene one ends a people enslaved, but a hero born. Scene two, the test. We jump ahead a little bit into the story of Moses to see him grown up. And again, if you are an astute reader, you recognize Moses as the hero, but you want to know what kind of hero is he gonna be?
So verse 11 years later, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people and observed their force labor. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his people looking all around and seeing no one. He struck the Egyptian dead and hit him in the sand. The next day, he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting.
He asked the one in the wrong, why are you attacking your neighbor? Who made you commander and judge over us? The man replied, ironic, because Moses will be the commander and judge over them. Are you planning to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? . Then Moses became afraid and thought. What I did is certainly known when Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.
Now at every point in every hero’s story you are building on or reflecting on what we call the test, and the test comes as a way to see if the hero can face some kind of entry level obstacle and stack up against it. The test is really important because the test shows you who you really are. It’s the refining fire of your character.
In fact, throughout the Bible, God gives tests to people. God tests people, but it’s never to see if they have faith. It’s always to see what their faith is made of. It’s meant to show the weaknesses in their metal. . And so the test for Moses is not whether he’s going to intercede on behalf of these two Egyptians or the Egyptian in the Hebrew, but rather how he’s going to intercede.
The first words spoken by a person in the biblical narrative are usually really symbolic, and they always point to what that person will become. And the first words spoken by Moses that we get ever in his life are, why are you attacking your neighbor in this instance? This is the defining moment, the symbolic destiny.
Foreshadowing who Moses will become. Moses is interceding in a struggle to pose a question, a moral question, and then impose a structure of justice. This is the test. Is he going to trust in the promise of the God of his ancestors, or is he going to give into the righteous anger and the primal justice of his flesh to right or wrong, the way that he sees fit?
And Moses fails the test. He murders the Egyptian. This is the Mo. This is the, this is Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back. This is despite the warnings of Yoda and of Obiwan, he goes headfirst into a conflict that he is not yet ready to face. Being Darth Vader, who’s his father, and it’s this whole thing and he chops the arm off and it’s great.
He confronts Darth Vader out of anger and out of cockiness. Look at the way he confronts him. If the end of Empire strikes back and compare that to his fight at the end of return to the Jedi, it’s so good. Wow. The parallels are here. Wow. There we go. And his flaws are revealed. You see who Luke really is, and here we see who Moses really is.
Now to be clear, this isn’t, it’s not told that this is a test by God. In the text that doesn’t say it, but it doesn function like a test. This is the thing that’s going to define Moses and ultimately drive him into scene three, which is the wilder. . So verse 16. Now the priest median has seven daughters.
They came to draw water and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. Then some shepherds arrived and drove them away, but Moses came to their rescue and watered their flock. When they returned to their father, Raul, he asked, why have you come back so quickly today? They answered, an Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds.
Who is Moses? Is he Hebrew or is he an Egyptian?
He even drew water for us, and he watered the flock. So where is he? He asked his daughters, why then did you leave the man behind? Invite him to eat dinner, go reward him for saving your lives? Don’t just run. Moses agreed to stay with the man he gave them, and he gave his daughters z Pura to Moses in marriage.
She gave birth to his son, whom he named germ for. He said, I have been a resident alien in a foreign land. Again. Who is Moses? Now this story takes a turn in between his birth and his calling. Moses finds himself in the wilderness, right? His past mistakes have led him to a des place where his identity is lost and his hope is destroyed.
Moses started out as a royal member of the Egyptian court, and now he’s ended up as a resident alien in a foreign land. Now, for a lot of us, the story of Moses is a grand, larger than life story. , right? Moses is an archetype of the hero of the stories that we read. Again, he’s the Luke Skywalker who balances the force, the chosen one, Harry Potter.
If you’re into that, the four kids, the ancy kids in Chronicles of Narnia, he’s like the Spider-Man. If you’re more of a Marvel person, and as much as we wanna identify as the hero, this is an overpowered protagonist and an epic story that none of us really feel like we ourselves are living. But the good news about this and why this is such a pivotal scene in Moses’ life is because it shows us that Moses’s story is our story too.
And we might not lead a mass group of people from oppressive an impressive nation and established their judicial system while wandering in the desert for four decades, which is what Moses does. But all of us have disintegration in our past, right? We all come from broken families. Even if you had really good parents, they still pass baggage onto you.
We all live fragmented lives. We all run and we all hide from our mistakes. Now, before we look at the final scene, I just want us to pause for a minute and I want to ask who you identified the most with in this story. This is how you read biblical narrative. You put yourself in it and you see these different characters that are given names and qualities and traits, and you see which one you relate to.
Are you Moses? Are you troubled by your past failures and your mistakes? Maybe you feel fragmented in your identity. You don’t know who you are. You find yourself chasing affirmation and belonging that just remains elusive. If anything, you feel like you are running and hiding out of fear for God, and you find yourself in a season of wandering and you’re in the wilderness.
Are you Israel? You just feel like you can’t catch a break. Are you feel like you’ve been oppressed and victimized by things completely out of your control. I know we don’t like being the victim and you have power over your circumstances and how you respond and all of that, but at some point or another, you will feel the oppressive weight of a system that is not built to make you succeed.
All of us at some point are not only wicked, but we are also wounded. People hurt us. Do you feel like the nation of Israel, or what I’ve been compelled by is, as I’ve been reading through this the past week or so, do you feel like Moses’ mother, you’ve been forced to give up things that you cherish the most or worse, forced to grieve who or what has been taken from you regardless of who you are, who you relate to, or how you feel?
All of us end up in the wilderness. Wow. That’s good. The wilderness feels like the consequences of your failures and your mistakes. And because in the wilderness you come face to face with the parts of yourself that you don’t really like. Wow. And maybe you feel like you’re in the wilderness today. Maybe 2023 is not just this joyous sort of celebratory, way to enter in a new year.
Maybe it’s you are, you’re, you are experiencing a season of loneliness, and you are praying that this would be the time that you get out of it. In between seasons of growth and joy. Maybe you feel like you’re waiting for God to show up, or you’re struggling to reconcile the consequences of your past with where you are now.
Or maybe you’re face to face with your sin, your shame, the guilt that’s actually shaped more of your identity than God’s love. You’re forgiven, but you don’t feel like you are. Wherever you are. The hope in the story isn’t that the wilderness comes for us all though that is a hope, and I think it’s really powerful that Moses is not the perfect hero who gets his stuff together and saves the people right away.
The hope and the story is that while you may be in the wilderness, God speaks the loudest in the wilderness, right? The wilderness in the Bible serves as a place of confrontation and clarity. You see this throughout scripture. In Genesis, the wilderness is the setting of a cage match between Jacob and God, where Jacob wrestles with God for a blessing after living a life deceiving others, and then being deceived.
He’s at rock bottom and he says to God, I’m not gonna let go of you until you bless me. That happens in the wilderness later in Exodus. The wilderness is where God’s people will be formed and shaped where their faith will be tested and where their idolatry will be exposed. One of my favorite passages, one Kings 19.
The wilderness is where Elijah runs depressed and fearing for his life after destroying false prophets and successfully tearing down idols, it’s where God meets him and comforts him. Notice this for Elijah. If you know the story, the wilderness begins as a place of desolation and pain, but turns into a place of comfort and renewal.
That’s where he experiences the presence of God. Wow. In the gospels, the wilderness is where Jesus comes face to face with our ultimate adversary. Thus Satan, the accuser facing the trials and temptations for 40 days straight to reconcile us back to him facing the trials and temptations that you and I fail every single day.
And in the Book of Acts, the wilderness is where Paul goes after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, forced to reconcile his evil past of murdering Christians with his new future of leading and serving them and in your life and in mind. The wilderness is where God calls us when we’ve been running from our sin, hiding from our shame and avoiding the deep healing that God offers.
And for some of you, the wilderness is where God first got ahold of your heart, where you became a Christian, a follower of Jesus by coming face to face with your sin and encountering a God who doesn’t meet you with wrath and judgment, but radical forgiveness and overwhelming love. And you feel like you are being led into the wilderness again by a God who wants to remind you of his radical forgiveness and his overwhelming love.
Or for others of you, you have yet to follow Jesus, but your life apart from God isn’t fulfilling. And you find that you are living life in a desert, not flourishing. And my hope and prayer for you is that you would come face to face with your sin and submit to the overwhelming love and radical forgiveness of Jesus that happens in the wilderness.
The bottom line is in the wilderness is when God speaks. And so we get to our last scene four.
Chapter two, verse 23. After a long time, the King of Egypt died, the Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God. And God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and God saw the Israelites and God knew this is the key moment I would argue in the whole book of Exodus, and notice it comes when Moses is at his lowest.
Why is that? Because Moses is not the hero of the story. God. Salvation doesn’t come from Moses for the Israeli people, it comes from God. Moses doesn’t pull himself up by his bootstraps, get his stuff together and then go save his people. Our story today, the chapter that we’re reading in the life of Moses Ends, and Moses is defeated, but God is not.
When you’re reading biblical narrative, you have to see, the whoever’s writing the book of Exodus, Moses, or somebody else, is piecing this key moment that God is hearing and responding to not only the cries of Israel, but also Moses here for a reason, because it’s God who provides a salvation.
It is not Moses, and these verses actually tell us that God does four really powerful things. First God heard. That means that God is close enough to his people to actually hear them. In a pagan world with false God’s ideologies and different idols, you have no way of knowing if your God can hear you. So you offer sacrifice after sacrifice, hoping the off chance that your God might lend an ear to you and do something about your pain.
But the God of the Bible is not a pagan God, who is faren waiting for you to give something up in order for him to respond to you. He is near to you and to me. He is in proximity to those in pain. He hears our cries and is moved to action by them, which is the second thing God remembered when we read about God.
Remembering in the Old Testament, it’s not like he forgot something. It’s not like he was like, oh, these people are in trouble. And I remember I made this pact with them and I better go do something about it. It’s more like God acted literally the Hebrew translates God took to heart. Oh, God acted on the cries of the people.
He didn’t just observe. He didn’t just watch them from afar. He did something about it. Third, God saw God turned his attention towards those in affliction. He had not just a part of him. He wasn’t just side eyeing or just doing other things and half listening to what’s going on. He turned his whole being to point to those in pain.
And then last, God knew the Hebrew word means not just intellectually, but experientially. It’s a word of intimacy that designates God’s desire to come into the pain with us. It’s a reminder that God always associates himself with the hurting because in the wilderness, God reminds us of his nearness.
When we’re at our lowest, when our hearts and souls are laid bare before God. That’s where God does the deepest work of healing. That’s right. When we’ve silenced both the internal and the external voices of distraction enough to discern and hear the quiet still voice of God, that’s when he speaks. And this is just the first chapter in Moses’ story.
Next week things will really get good, but we have to reconcile with the wilderness. We have to notice the place of refining clarity, this place of confrontation with God. And as we close, We always like to end with something tangible, something that we can do, put into practice, be a doer of the word, and not just hear.
And so the question that I wrestled with is there a practice from the way of Jesus, something that we can do to bring us into the wilderness so that we can have an interaction with God and hear him clearly or to make the most of the wilderness that we feel that we are in? And the obvious answer is yes, there is.
It’s a practice of silence and solitude. In silence and solitude. We voluntarily enter into wilderness. We take a moment to slip away from the external noise of the world around us and the internal noise of our chattering souls. We quiet our minds and we still our bodies and we confront head on the sin and the shame that we’ve been running from and we let God speak.
And now there’s a lot of ways to formulate it and put it into steps and processes. And if you have never done anything like silence and solitude and you have questions, please come and confine me or Trey or somebody. We can help you figure out what that looks like. But at its base level, it’s just being quiet.
It’s just setting a timer, two, three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, whatever you’re comfortable with. One minute and being in the presence of God. There’s nothing mystical or magic. Nothing happens here. There’s nothing really powerful other than you are just turning your attention and your focus to God.
And here’s what happens. The silence. Becomes really frightening because the first thing that’s gonna happen is you’re gonna start to think of all your to-dos, all your errands, all the anxieties and the worries and things that you have to write down, things left undone. Goals for the future. All of that is gonna jump to the forefront of your mind.
If you just wait deeper, things start to rise to the surface. Things like your sin and you are shame and your guilt and the things that have made you so fearful of doing the very thing that you find yourself doing, which is confronting them. But in that space, God speaks not again, audible. I I don’t know.
Audible stuff happens. Maybe, I don’t know. That’s not what the sermon’s about. But I think lifetime built habituating. This, you will find that in those moments of stillness, God reminds you that he hears you, that he remembers you,
that he sees you, and that he knows you. So as you ring in the new year, what if you choose to give God the first word of your day or the first word of your. That rather than jumping straight into your goals, your errands, your work, what have you committed to? Starting each day with just a few moments of silence, allowing God to clear the noise and speak to you, to remind you that in your pain, your apathy, your shame, your guilt, the monotony of the life that you find yourself in the wilderness, God hears you.
God remembers you, he sees you and he knows you.