Introduction: Wherever we turn, the voice of the LORD speaks through those He calls to bring His word before the world, whether the “prophets of old” or, in our day, elders, preachers and teachers. For example, this week we focus on the ordained offices of elder and prophet, which offices God used to pronounce judgment on Pharaoh in Exodus 3:18. May we learn this week to rejoice in the orderly manner in which God saves His people and brings them out of Egypt by raising up officers to speak for Him in announcing the good news of redemption, as well as declaring judgment on Pharaoh.
Monday: read Exodus 3:11, 3:16-18. We see the confidence with which God commissions Moses, despite Moses’ own misgivings in verse 11, when we read God’s prediction in verse 18 that the elders of Israel … “will listen to him,” as Moses exercises the office of prophet. Why will they? Because God Himself invested Moses with a unique level of authority, which moved men to recognize God’s voice speaking through him. In other words, while God “spoke” to other men in dreams, visions and the like, with Moses God spoke “face to face” (Numbers 12:6-8). This is what makes Jesus so much like Moses that He is called “the prophet like Moses” in Deut. 18:15. In our Savior, we have God’s word spoken to us “face to face” for our salvation!
Meditate and Pray: Let us thank God for the sure foundation which we have in “the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). God did not leave the writing of His Scriptures to the haphazard efforts of miscellaneous people. He chose the greatest leaders of each epoch of history to be His mouthpieces! There was only one Moses; only one Daniel; only one Elijah; only one Samuel; and only one David, and God used them all in order to speak to men. May the Lord give us an ever-increasing hunger for direct communion with Him by means of His precious word. As hymn # 378 in our Trinity Hymnal puts it:
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.
Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with Thee the royal wine of Heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.
Tuesday: read Exodus 3:16-18; Isaiah 55:6 and Acts 7:35-37. In his famous speech before his martyrdom in Acts 7, Stephen underlines the importance of Moses by spending twenty-five verses on him, compared to seven verses on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; nine verses on Joseph, and two verses on the great kings David and Solomon! Why did God use this one man in such a unique way? Suffice it to say that, whatever the reason God had for exalting Moses as His chosen mouthpiece, His very selectivity in choosing only one to be “the” prophet of the Old Testament reminds us that God’s word doesn’t come with a frequency which allows us to take it for granted. Let us make no mistake: Isaiah commands us in Isaiah 55:6 to “seek the Lord while He may be found,” urging us never to trifle with the word of God when it comes to appeal to us “right where we are living.” That word may not always be available to us tomorrow as it is in gracious power today! Indeed, men can cause a “famine of the word” in their day by ignoring its message.
Meditate and Pray: “Lord, as we think of loved ones, neighbors, and others with whom we have had the privilege to share the Gospel, how many are asleep and complacent when it comes to the word of God! Concerning such, please awaken us to the need to pray for and speak with urgent perseverance. Help our church family to proclaim in ministry and personal witness, the urgent plea of hymn # 475:
Come to the Savior now,
Come to the Savior now,
Wednesday: read Acts 7:35-41 and 7:51-53. Tragically, the Israel whom Moses was called to lead out of Egypt with a “mighty arm” rejected him, saying in the words of the Hebrew slave of Exodus 2:14: “Who made you ruler and judge over us?” (Acts 7:35). Such an attitude characterized all their history, as they refused to listen to any of the prophets who were sent to them (Acts 7:52). The result was that, for much of the Old Testament, the word of the Lord was “rare” among God’s people (1 Samuel 3:1), precisely because they treated its message lightly and despised those called to bring it to them. Just as the Hebrew rejected Moses in Exodus 2:14, never to hear from him again for forty years (compare Acts 7:29-30), so nations and lands today can drive the word from their midst. God save His church from such days, when the word and its messengers, like Moses, have to flee into the wilderness to hide!
Meditate and Pray: Pray for the blessings of the word of God to be poured out effectively upon your congregation through the many different opportunities to sit under that word, in worship, Bible study and Sunday school. Ask the Lord to bless that word through the lyrics of hymn # 141:
God, in the Gospel of His Son,
Here sinners of a humble frame
The prisoner here may break his chains;
O grant us grace, Almighty Lord,
Thursday: read Exodus 3:11; Exodus 4:1 and 4:10. Moses is correct about one thing, as he argues with God about his unsuitability to lead Israel out of Egypt: God did not choose to exalt Moses to the pinnacle of Old Testament prophecy because he was a gifted leader, surpassing others in eloquence! To be sure, Moses had a supreme position of leadership – but there is nevertheless much truth in his complaint that he lacked the qualities to serve as God’s redeemer and to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moreover, Moses had this sense of weakness throughout his years of service to God. Leading God’s people was always a burden to him. Why then did God choose to call this man: timid, weak, lacking convincing powers of speech, and often displaying almost paralyzing fear? It was to show us that God calls the “foolish, weak, lowly, and despised … to shame the strong … so that no one can boast before Him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).
Meditate and Pray: “Father, we thank you for the callings which you place on our lives, and even more, that these callings are gifted to us by grace, not merely according to our abilities. Help us to be content to humbly give you all the credit for the good works we accomplish in our callings, always confessing the truth of Ephesians 2:10: that even our good works are already ordained before we do them! May we rely on your strength alone to accomplish even the meanest, and simplest of tasks. We pray this in the Name of the One, Jesus, who daily drew on your Fatherly strength to accomplish His calling to be our Savior. Amen.”
Friday: read Exodus 3:18; Exodus 18:5-6 and 18:13-18. For Moses, governing the children of Israel was a great burden. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, sees how both Moses and the people of Israel will “wear themselves out” (Exodus 18:18) because the task of ruling God’s people is “too heavy for Moses; he cannot handle it alone.” Accordingly, in the rest of Exodus 18, Jethro outlines the appointment of the public office of elder: taking men of character, and setting them apart to “judge” and “rule” over God’s people. This office continues in the church today, as every true church should have a plurality of leaders, described in Hebrews 13:17 as those who “must give an account” for their oversight of the flock of God.
Meditate and Pray: Pray, pray, pray, for your elders, and for those leaders who are called to the oversight of the church of God. Ask the Lord to take of the same Spirit of wise rule which dwelt on Moses, and which he shared with the elders in Number 11:16-17, and bestow it in daily abundance on those who rule in your congregation. May the Lord then bring great blessings upon His people through the unified rule of godly leadership, even as Psalm 133 expresses it (hymn # 356):
How beautiful the sight
Of brethren who agree
In friendship to unite,
And bonds of charity;
’Tis like the precious ointment, shed
O’er all his robes, from Aaron’s head.
For there the Lord commands
Blessings, a boundless store,
From His unsparing hands,
Yea, life forevermore;
Thrice happy they who meet above
To spend eternity in love!