Communion lesson to the teachers

Grace is viewed as a NT thing, but I've come to realize that it is not really even a Bible thing, but a God thing. It's a part of God's heart, character and his essence. I'm reading through my chronological Bible this year focusing on God's heart. I'm into Exodus and I already have seen God over and over look past man's sin to get to his heart. It's clear that God Iismore concerned about our heart than our sin. Moses is a great example of this.

Exodus 3:7-14
7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey-the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you [1] will worship God on this mountain."
13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I am who I am . [2] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

Exodus 4:1-5
1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"
2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"
"A staff," he replied.
3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD , "is so that they may believe that the LORD , the God of their fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has appeared to you."

Exodus 4:10-17
10 Moses said to the LORD , "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."

Look at Moses' faithlessness and disobedience! What is your reaction to this kind of behavior in your kids or other disciples? Aren't we quick to correct and rebuke and tell them to change? But what of God? He patiently talks Moses through it, reasoning with him. When Moses ultimately comes up with a reason why he shouldn't do it (not being able to speak), God, rather than rebuking his faithlessness, gives him an out by sending Aaron with him. This is so convicting to me! I always want to tell people to deal with it. As God, I wouldn't have sent Aaron. I would have told Moses to grow up, have faith, quit whining and more. God's love for us is amazing.

Exodus 5:1-9
1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the LORD , the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.' "
2 Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD , that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go."
3 Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword."
4 But the king of Egypt said, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!" 5 Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working."
6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: 7 "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' 9 Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."

Exodus 5:22-6:8
22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."
2 God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD . 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, [1] but by my name the LORD [2] I did not make myself known to them. [3] 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD , and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD .' "

So Moses does what he is told, and it doesn't go so well. Look at his reaction – angry, accusatory, and prideful – full of sin. But check out God's response. He doesn't give Moses' sin any attention. Not one word is devoted to it. Just patient, steadfast reassurance. He addresses Moses concerns, even his accusations, but lets the sin slide by. When someone confronts you, especially unjustly, what is at the forefront of your mind? I know for me it's their sin. I want them to be made aware so they can change. If I'm particularly spiritual that day I might be able to stuff that reaction and not say anything, but it's still there and often takes days of fighting to suppress it. But to God, it seems that the sin is almost a non-issue. Certainly God hates sin. Just a few chapters earlier he wiped out the whole earth in a flood because of it and after that frustrated language when man's pride got carried away. But here, and in other places, He gives Moses a pass on his sin because there are more important things at work. He wants Moses' heart and undying devotion more than he wants to correct each and every misstep in his life.

So Aaron speaks for Moses and God begins to bring the plaques on Egypt, the water to blood, then the frogs. Look at the account of Pharaoh with Moses and Aaron after the frogs arrive.

Exodus 8:8-15
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD ."
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, "I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile."
10 "Tomorrow," Pharaoh said.
Moses replied, "It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile."
12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

Is this the same Moses? Look how bold he is, telling Pharaoh to choose when he wants the frogs to go. And look at verse 13, "And the LORD did what Moses asked." Having Pharaoh set the time was Moses' idea, not God's, yet God did what Moses said. At the end of all the plagues you'd be hard pressed to remember Moses as a shy, insecure and faithless complainer. This is what grace produces in people, transformed lives.

So the cross for me is no longer a new idea of God's. No, God has consistently treated people with a level of grace. Grace isn't a license to sin. The people of the OT always got a new chance to change and God overlooked so much sin, but the sacrifices still had to be made and God still expected their heart. In fact that was the whole goal of the grace.

What's new, however, and amazing and mind blowing is that it's now guaranteed. The contract has been signed in the blood of God. As disciples we have the promise that we are always forgiven. No need for sacrifices, no wondering if this is the day of God's wrath, no wondering if we've done enough. The cross is God driving the point home that he's been trying to make from the beginning. He doesn't really care how many times we blow it or in what ways. He just wants our heart.

2 Comments

I wonder if you are correct to characterize Moses' attitude in these passages as sin. Time and again in scripture, (Job, as another example), God seems to tolerate and even expect that even the most devoted believer is going to struggle with doubt, anxiety, and a desire to quit. Perhaps this is not sin. Perhaps this is humanity, and God knows it. At no point did Moses disobey or flat out refuse God. I would even go so far as to argue that such skepticism and inertia on the part of the faithful is a blessing--it prevents us from going off on zealous tangents that we THINK are god's will, only to find in retrospect they were just our own ideas.

You make a good point. I guess I should clarify what I am calling sin. It's not the doubt or questioning that's sin here. I would characterize his attitude in 5:22-23 as sinful, and his initial responses in chapter 3 were very close to, if not actually disobedience. At the very least in those two passages you'd be hard pressed to call Moses 'Godly' or 'Righteous'. My point, I guess, is that God ignored Moses' shortcomings for the greater good of capturing his heart and devotion.

The idea that it is hard to call it sin, I think illustrates the point that we make a bigger deal of 'sin' than God does, at least at first blush. Had Moses not submitted to God in chapter 3, there likely would have been concequences (God was beginning to get worked up) and if he would have kept his bad attitude in chapter 5 there probably would have been concequences as well. In each case, Moses changed course and God let it go. We are hesitant to call it sin because we see sin as fatal. Perhaps God doesn't see it that way, unless it is undealt with, deliberately kept up with no attempt to change. Hebrews 10:26-28 teaches that it is a deliberate decision to sin that condemns us. It even suggests that under the law of Moses it was the rejection of the law that brought death, not necessarily one transgression.



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  • You make a good point. I guess I should clarify what I am calling sin. It's not the doubt or questioning that's sin here. I would characterize his attitude in 5:22-23 as sinful, and his initial responses in chapter 3 ...

  • I wonder if you are correct to characterize Moses' attitude in these passages as sin. Time and again in scripture, (Job, as another example), God seems to tolerate and even expect that even the most devoted believer is ...

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