Obedience in Leadership
Posted September 4, 2022
Lesson 1 Fall Quarter
Lesson Text: Exodus 3:1-12
Golden Text: Exodus 3:10
This week’s lesson is going to be the first lesson of the fall quarter of 2022. The title for this quarter is titled: Learning to Honor God. As often is the case, this quarter of lessons breaks down into three units of lesson per month with the first unit of lessons titled – Beginning with Obedience. In this week’s lesson, we are going to find Moses standing at the burning bush that was not consumed speaking to the Lord. This week’s lesson is being taught from Exodus 3:1-12.
Commanded to Lead God’s Flock
Our lesson opens up with Moses tending to the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, who was the priest of Midian (v.1). The opening verse is what those in literature would call foreshadowing. Moses, we are told, was leading the flock of his father-in-law to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God which is also known as Mount Sinai. This, of course, foreshadows Moses one day leading the flock of God’s chosen people, Israel, to Mount Sinai after the exodus of Egypt.
God calls out to Moses
As he was tending to the flock, scripture tells us that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush but the bush was not consumed by the fire (v.2). Typically, when we see the Angel of the Lord appear in Old Testament scripture, this Angel is the preincarnate Christ. I would tell you today that it was the preincarnate Christ that spoke to Moses from the bush that burned but was not consumed.
In the NKJV translation, the “A” is capitalized which signifies this was not just a common angel. Also, I would point out that Moses, the writer of this book, did not write that “an angel” of the Lord appeared to him but that “the Angel” of the Lord appeared to him. We will also notice that the Angel spoke as God in comparison to Gabriel, a messenger angel, when he spoke on behalf of God on his visits (Dan. 8:15-26; Luke 1:11-19, 26-37).
It would certainly make sense for the Angel of the Lord to speak as God. Christ, as we know, is God the Son in the triumvirate of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While physically manifested in the world, it was the only begotten Son that said to the people that He and the Father are one (John 10:25-30). So it certainly makes sense for the preincarnate Christ, the Son, to speak as God to Moses because He is God.
Now, this was a sight that caught Moses’ eye and left him astonished as he could see that the bush was not burning. So, Moses made his way to investigate and see why the bush was not being consumed (v.3). As Moses approached, the Lord called out to him and Moses responded, “Here I am.” At this point, I can’t imagine what Moses must have been thinking at this sight and now hearing a voice from the bush call out to him!
Respect for the Lord
As Moses continued to approach, probably cautiously, the Lord said to Moses not to keep drawing near and to take off his sandals for the place where he stood was holy ground (v.5). In those times, it was tradition for one to remove their sandals when entering holy grounds as a sign of honor and respect. Even to this day, there are many people who remove their shoes when entering a holy place.
Now, something that I always point out about this particular verse is the fact that specific ground was not holy in and of itself. That place, the ground the Moses stood on, was holy because the Lord was present there. The Lord makes this point clear to Moses when He said, “I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (v.6).” So, the holiness of the place and ground was all because of the Lord.
Something that should give us pause and make us think for a moment is the fact that the Lord, through the inner dwelling of the Holy Spirit, is present in all who genuinely believe. In essence, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the genuine believer is, or should be, holy. This is why we see Paul speak about why we should honor and be respectful, and not defile our temple as the Lord dwells in all of us (1 Cor. 3:14-17).
Commanded to lead
The Lord then begins to speak to Moses about seeing the oppression of His people – the children of Israel – and hearing their cries as they were living in the bondage of Egypt (v.7). This, of course, speaks to the fact that God is everywhere at all times and is all knowing as well – God is omniscient and omnipresent.
Now, I like to point out the fact that it was no accident that the children of Israel were in bondage. The children of Israel ended up in bondage due to the fear of a Pharaoh that lived after the days of Joseph (Ex. 1:8-14). The children of Israel ended up in Egypt because of a terrible famine in the land of Canaan during the later days of Jacob (Gen. 42,44).
The children of Israel were in the bondage of the most powerful people in the world at that time. You see, Pharaoh thought of himself as a god and so the first reason the children of Israel ended up in bondage was because it was time for the Lord to make it known to the world who the true sovereign ruler of the world is. As we see the Lord say to Moses here, “I have come down to deliver them (the children of Israel) out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up from that land to a good and large land (v.8).”
The second reason that the children of Israel ended up in bondage is so that they could see the omnipotence of the Lord – God is all powerful. God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt through the plagues which showed Pharaoh that he was no god at all. Thirdly, there was the promise of the Promised Land from the Lord, and so the Lord desired to show Israel that He is the one that blesses and to have faith in Him.
In the golden text for today, we will see the Lord say to Moses, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt (v.10).” This is God giving Moses the task – commissioning him – to lead His people. Moses led the flock of Jethro, and now we see that he would lead the flock of the Lord to the Promised Land.
We, as genuine believers, have been commissioned with a similar task of leading others to the promise of God’s heavenly kingdom. The question for us is whether we are being obedient in leading – guiding – others to God’s heavenly kingdom or not?
Moses, after hearing of the task that God had for him, we will see Moses hesitate and even make excuses. Moses asks, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt (v.11)?”
Moses was essentially saying that he was not the man for the job. Imagine telling the Lord that you’re not the person for the job when God is telling you that you are the person for the job. We often come up with such an excuse when we are trying to find our way out of doing something.
Moses, with his history of having been raised in an Egyptian house, would have definitely been fit for this job. The one thing that we should not do is doubt the Lord when it comes with what He tasks for us to do. The Lord knows what we are capable of doing and will properly use us. Though this verse does not come up in our lesson, Moses would later make an excuse about his lack of eloquent speech as to why he could not carry out this task (Ex. 4:10-11).
After the excuse of not being the guy for the job, the Lord responded to Moses, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain (v.12).” Again, Moses did not believe he was the man for the job but the Lord tells him that he was indeed the man for the job and one day he would be serving God on Mount Sinai.
True enough, Moses ended up bringing the children of Israel to Mount Sinai where he would worship God on the mount and even spend forty days on the mountain (Ex. 24:9–18). For that day to come, Moses simply needed to keep to what the Lord had commanded of him. In other words, Moses needed to be obedient rather than come up with excuses.
The same thing holds true for us, the children of God should be obedient to the task of leading and guiding others. Let us not come up with excuses as to why we aren’t obedient in leading and guiding others.