Jimmy Evans - The Power of God's Presence
Moses didn't know God at all when he met him and we're gonna read this story here in just a minute of God's introduction of himself to Moses. They didn't have a bible. Imagine living in a time, the children of Israel didn't have a bible. They've been for 430 in Egypt. Joseph was long dead. They had no bible, they had no church, they had no pastor. They had no priest, they had no synagogue. All they had was a verbal record of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph and the interactions that God had had with them hundreds of years before. They had no interaction with God. They did not know God at all and Moses did not know God at all, so all we're talking about is understanding the nature of God and understanding what he's trying to do in our lives and looking at the life of Moses and the children of Israel for that.
Let's look at Exodus chapter three. God has an answer for every single problem in our lives. And it's the same answer every time. Because God only needs one answer because it's the perfect answer. In Exodus chapter three, this is the story of when God calls Moses out of the wilderness to go deliver Israel out of Egypt. Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father in law, the priest of Midian. And he lead the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Listen, the angel of the Lord is Jesus. Jesus has always existed and Jesus is in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Jesus is all over the old testament because Jesus always was and he was always interacting with mankind. The angel of the Lord is the one, Jesus is the one appearing to Moses in the burning bush.
"The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked and behold the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn. So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, here I am. Then he said, do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you're standing is holy ground. Moreover, he said I am the God of your father. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face for he was surely afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt. And I have heard their cries because of their taskmasters. For I know their sorrows. So I've come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land to a land flowing with milk and honey to the place of the Canaanites, the Hivites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold the cry of the children of Israel has come to me and I've also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppressed them. Come now therefore and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. But Moses said to God", we're gonna continue reading in just a minute.
Now Moses, God came to Moses in the midst of a burning bush and the burning bush is very significant. And I'll talk about that more in just a minute. Moses rejects the call of God on his life. God comes to Moses and says, I've chosen you to go and deliver my people who are being oppressed. As far as Moses knows, it's death sentence. Moses fled from Egypt to save his life. Pharaoh was trying to kill him. And so God's trying to send him back to where he knows the death sentence is awaiting him. And so Moses begins to push back. But here's the significance of the burning bush. See God was revealing himself to Moses. This is God 101. This is the nature of God 101. And God could've appeared to Moses in any way that he wanted and he did.
But the burning bush, here's why the burning bush is significant. Number one, it's supernatural. Immediately when he saw this bush that was burning, but not being consumed. He knew this was not just a natural thing. And our God is a supernatural God. Number two, it's light giving. The bush was giving light. He looked and he saw the light coming from the bush. The only thing Moses knew were the dark, demonic, satanic gods of Egypt that were all dark and murderous and torturous. And now he is seeing God that actually produces light and not darkness. Number three, pure. Fire is pure and God said take the sandals off your feet because the place you're standing is holy ground and our God is a holy God. Powerful.
God was able to put a fire in a bush and the bush not be concern. And our God can do what no one else can do and he was demonstrating his supernatural power in that bush. Approachable. Our God is approachable. Moses saw the bus and turned and went to it. God could just have easily have appeared to Moses in a burning mountain that would have scared him to death. But God doesn't want us to run away. He wants us to come to him. He's an approachable God. We can come before the throne of grace. Moses, with all of his imperfections, God wanted him to approach. Relational. Jesus appeared to Moses in the bush and Moses turned away. He said, I can't look upon God. And Jesus began to speak to him from the midst of the burning bush. And natural. God comes to us in a bush. It wasn't a burning unicorn. It wasn't a burning, something weird. It was a bush. The natural, God interacts with us in the most natural things in our lives.
So the burning bush is a significant symbol of the nature of God to Moses and to all of us. But then Moses begins to push back. And he gives five negative responses to God's call on his life and God gives the same answer to Moses every time he pushes back and rejects the call. And this if very significant to all of us because we're all the same way. I'm the same way. In Exodus 3:11, where this is picking up, where we just left off, Moses said to God, who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? And this is just self-doubt. Fear of failure. Low self-esteem, whatever you wanna call it. And Moses is just saying, I can't do this thing. And God gives him an answer is verse 12 and here's what God says to Moses in verse 12. I will certainly be with you. This is God's answer.
Moses said, God I can't do this. And God's answer to Moses was, I promise I'll be with you. I'm going with you. I'm not sending you alone, son. I'm going with you. Didn't help Moses at all. So then Moses comes back to God. Exodus 3:13, Moses said, God indeed when I come to the children of Israel and I say to them the God of your fathers has sent me to you and they say to me, what is his name, what shall I say to them? God's response, verse 14, God said to Moses, I am who I am. And he said thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I am has sent me to you. The I am is the transcendent name of God. I am means, I'm with you right now and I transcend all the circumstances in your life. Egypt had many gods. The god of the sun, the god of Nile, the god of the crops, the Pharaoh was a god. They had many gods, but Israel only needed one God.
Our God is not the God of I was or I will be. He is the God of I am right now. And he's not the god of the sun, the god of the water, the god of the earth, the god of the flies, the god of the butterflies. He's the God of everything you see, feel, or sense and everything you can't see, feel, or sense. He is the God of I am and here's God's answer. Moses says to him, who am I that I should go? I'll be with you. What's your name? I'm with you. That's my name. I am. Hebrews 11:6, without faith it's impossible to please God. For whoever believes in God, whoever comes to God must believe that he is. What does that mean? He's with me right now. And he's bigger than my circumstances. Bigger than my giants, bigger than my mountains.
The essence of faith is believing in the presence of God. That's the essence of faith. It's not that he will be with me or he was with me, he's with me right now. Doesn't help Moses at all. God says, my name is I am and I want you to tell my people I'm with them. I'm with them. I'm with you, Moses, and I'm with them. Blows right past it. Exodus 4:1, third time Moses comes back. Then Moses answered and said, but suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice. Suppose they say, the Lord has not appeared to you. This is fear of the future. The first one was the fear of failure, self-doubt. The second one was the fear of man. What are people gonna say? You ever thought that? What are people gonna say? This is fear of the future. The what-ifs. Listen, Moses uses the word suppose to God twice in his come back here. Suppose they don't believe me. Suppose.
Listen, you can only suppose if you don't know. You come to me three months ago and you say, Jimmy suppose that the Dallas Cowboys lose the division in the last game of the season. I say to you, it's impossible. I know, I just know they won't. I wouldn't say that, but. I can only suppose it because I don't know it. God can't suppose because he knows everything. God can't think. You can only think to try to find something out. You can only think to try to process information. When you're talking to God, you're talking to the God who knows everything in your future. Everyone in your future. Every second in your future and he's thought it all out. Basically what Moses is saying to God is have you thought this thing through?
And here's what God didn't say. You know, you're a little smarter than I thought you were, Moses and evidently you've kind of thought this thing through better than I have. So I haven't thought about if they wouldn't believe you. Let me get back with you, Moses. Let me think that thing through and let me get back with you. That's not what God does. He's patronize, see we patronize the Lord. We think the holy spirit doesn't understand algebra. We think that God doesn't understand quantum physics. We think that God doesn't understand medicine and science. We think that God doesn't understand the economy. He is the ultimate genius of every subject and he will never be caught in a moment in time when he's unprepared and when we walk with him we walk prepared with the one who's the genius of every subject we will ever encounter. But we must, we must in our humanity patronize God as if he doesn't know and he doesn't care.
And he comes to call Moses so something so special just like he does all of us. He's not trying to put Moses down. He's not trying to curse him. He's trying bless him. And the constant mistrust, the constant suspicion, the constant patronizing of, have you thought this thing, suppose God. And God comes back when Moses says that and here's God's response, Exodus 4:2. The Lord said to him, what is that in your hand? He said, a rod and he said, cast her on the ground. So he cast her on the ground and it became a serpent and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said, reach out your hand and take it by the tail. And he reached out his hand and caught by the tail and became a rod in his hand.
Now from that point forward, God graphically explains to Moses, I'm gonna be with you in that rod. And if you've read Exodus or you've seen the movie, the Ten Commandment with Charlton Heston, the rod was what Moses used to strike the Nile and to strike the land and to reach up to the sky to create darkness. The rod became the instrument through which God delivered the children of Israel, ultimately out of the land. And so here's what God says, Moses says to him, what if the people don't believe me, suppose the people don't believe me. And here's God's answer. I'm gonna be in that stick, I'm gonna be with you in that stick. Wherever you go, Moses, I'm with you, I'm with the people of Israel and I'm gonna be with you in that stick. That's God's answer. I'm still gonna be with you. Doesn't help Moses at all.
Then Moses comes back the fourth time, Exodus 4:10. Moses said to the Lord, Lord I'm not an eloquent man, neither before nor since you have spoken to your servant but I am slow at speech and slow of tongue. This is his fourth push back on God. And it's an accusation against God and here's the accusation. Well if you wanted me to deliver Israel, you should have made me a better talker. Because there's gonna be some serious talking going on when I go down there and try to get three million Jews out of Egypt. I'm not an eloquent man, I don't know how to speak. And the Lord comes back and gives the same answer for the fourth time. The Lord said to him, who has made man's mouth or who makes the mute, the death, the sing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord, now therefore go listen and I will be with your mouth. I'm gonna be with your stick. I'm gonna be with your mouth. I'm gonna be, it's God's answer to every problem.
God keeps coming back with the same answer. Who made your mouth? Listen, what Moses is saying is you didn't prepare me for this. If you wanted me to do this, why didn't you prepare me for this? Two things, listen to me. God will always divinely disable you so you'll need God. See we want God to give us more money. We want God to make us prettier. We want God to make us more powerful. We want God to fix us somehow so we don't need God. Here's what God didn't want. See, God wanted glory when he took the children of Egypt, he didn't want Moses to get the glory. He didn't want the children of Egypt walking through the Red Sea and Pharaoh saying, he just talked me out of three million Jews. That is the most unbelievably eloquent man. He is a silver tongued devil. He talked me out of three million Jews.
I can't believe it, it was his oratory skills, I was just dazzled. That Moses is a legend, Moses is a legend. That's not what God wanted. God wanted the children of Israel to get out through the Red Sea and for everyone to say, in spite of Moses, God delivered them. That Moses couldn't talk, he's the worst talker I've ever heard. He couldn't sell the prettiest car in the world. He just stumbled all over himself, but that stick he carried was unbelievable. God wants the glory in your life. He has divinely disabled you in some area of your life where he's called you to so you can't do it without God because he wants the glory. Every time God calls you to do something, there's going to be something missing and God makes up the void of what's missing. I'm going to be in your mouth.
And this is the fifth time and this is the worst. Exodus 4:13, he said oh my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else you may send. And I believe he's talking about the rod. This powerful rod that God has given him. He comes to God and said, give it to somebody else. Send it by somebody else. I refuse. Four times Moses pushes back and four times God guarantees to Moses the he'll never be alone and God will be with him and it's not enough. I don't think it is for us a lot of times. I'm not saying that to put anybody down. I'm saying for me sometimes. I feel like I don't measure up. I may have fear of people. I may have hear of the future. There's uncertainty in my life. And I'm wanting God to give me an answer that solves all that and sometimes God's only answer is, I'm gonna be there.
He doesn't guarantee us that the future won't have any problems. He doesn't guarantee us there'll never be a giant or a mountain or a problem. The only thing he guarantees us is, I'll be there. You'll never in your life be anywhere without me. And because of that, you'll always have the answers and you'll always have the power. Nothing will be impossible for you because I'm there. And Moses said, that's not good enough. Now this is the saddest thing and this is God's response to Moses' final push back, he's not going. Exodus 4:14, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, God's frustrated. And he said, is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well and look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you he will be glad in his heart.
Okay, listen to me. Four times God promises Moses that if he goes to Egypt he'll be with him. And Moses says no and then God said, well I'll send your brother Aaron, and Moses said, okay. Is that kind of unbelievable? The comfort that God wouldn't produce, a person produced. Because Aaron was a good speaker. And Moses thought, well Aaron can talk. I know Aaron, if we get anything down there, I've got the stick, he's got the tongue. We can get out of anything with Aaron and Aaron was thorn in the side to Moses and Aaron was the one who made the golden calf. When Moses was on Mount Sanai, it was Aaron, his brother, that gave him the comfort of going. It was Aaron, his brother, that got them into the biggest trouble they got into in the wilderness.
Can I tell you something? God wants to do something great in your life and he's gonna be with you. And if you want any guarantees, that's the only guarantee he's gonna give you. You'll never be anywhere without God. He won't guarantee you a life without trouble. He won't guarantee you that you won't have any problems. The thing he'll guarantee you though, is in every step you take, he'll be with you. And I say to you, the problems that happen in our life, they don't happen because God's not there. They happen because we don't believe he's not there, we don't believe he's there. We don't trust his presence. We don't focus on his presence.
Let me say these things about the presence of God and I'm done. Number one, the presence of God is the answer to fear, worry, and anxiety. When we have, this is the answer, this is David in Psalm 23:4, ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for you are with me. This is valley of the shadow of death. This is the worst place in life. I fear no evil because you're here. When you focus on the presence of God, nothing can make you afraid. Fear breeds in a godless environment. It's not God is not there, we just don't think he's there so that's where fear breeds and anxiety.
Number two, the presence of God makes people and problems take the right perspective. Because Moses was not aware of God's presence, his problems, the Egyptians, the Jewish people, everyone got bigger. When the children of Israel went to the border of the promise land after a couple of years. See the 40 years they spent in the wilderness was not God's plan. He only wanted them to take a short journey into the promise land, but when they go to the border of the promise land, the giants were there. And they sent 12 spies into the promise land and 10 spies came out with an evil report, the bible says. And the 10 spies came out and said, listen, the giants were there and we were like grasshoppers in their sight. Is that not a ridiculous statement?
See, everybody thinks I'm stupid. Well how do you know what everybody thinks? Can I tell you this? Most people are so focused on themselves, they're not even thinking about you. Really and truly. You know, I know that everybody just thinks I'm fat. Everybody just, you don't know what everybody thinks. And they come out of the promise land saying, they just all think we're like grasshoppers. Did they interview the giants? No, the didn't talk to them. They're terrified of them. We're like grasshoppers. Joshua and Caleb came out and here's what they said. Our God is able to take us into that land and to defeat those giants. They'll be our prey because God has withdrawn their protection.
See, when you see God, people become small. When you don't see God, people become real big and you become real small. The presence of God makes everything take its proper perspective and people aren't too big, problems aren't too big. Your God is big and everything else is small enough for him to take care of it. When you live in the presence of God, you see everything correctly. But when God leaves in your mind, you don't.
Number three and this is it, the presence of God is the only thing that makes everything possible. What will be possible for the rest of your life? I say this to you, it just depends on if you will partner with God and believe he's with you. Anything God has called you to do is possible if you do it with God. You don't have to be perfect. One of the things I love about God is he loves messed up people. And because of the blood of Jesus, we just don't have to have it all together. Isn't that good news? I would've never preached my first sermon if I had to have it all together. But I'm thankful that God uses people like us. I love him. I'm a mess, but I love him. And if I rely on him and not myself and I believe he loves me and I trust in him, anything's possible. And I say to you, God has called you to greatness. I say to you, God has called you to go forward and to do what is impossible in the natural. But to do what is possible because of the presence of God.