Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In chapter one of Exodus we saw the children of Israel under slavery, and in chapter two we saw the preparation of a savior. In this message we come to Exodus 3, where we shall consider God’s calling of the prepared one.
The motivation of God’s calling was the cry of the children of Israel (2:23-25; 3:7, 9). Exodus 3:7 says, “And Jehovah said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Heb.). Not only did God hear their cry, but He also visited them in the place of their affliction. Hence, He fully knew their situation and was eager to rescue them from it.
Although God wanted to deliver the children of Israel out of bondage, He had to wait until Moses had been fully prepared. These chapters of Exodus reveal that God is very patient. Even before the birth of Moses, the children of Israel were suffering in Egypt. But God still waited for at least eighty years. It is easy to be patient if you do not have the strength or ability to do anything about the situation. In such a case, you have no choice except to wait. But for one who is capable and qualified, it is difficult to be patient. God was certainly able to deliver the children of Israel; His power was sufficient. Nevertheless, He waited patiently.
Sometimes we are exhausted by God’s patience and ask, “How long, Lord? Have You heard our prayers? Lord, where are You? Don’t You care for us? How long will it be before You do something for us?” It seems that there is no God in this universe. In the psalms such questions are asked again and again, for the psalmists were the same as we are.
It is good for us to be exhausted by the patience of God because after we are exhausted, we rest. We may be so exhausted that we give up praying. We know that God is true and real and that He has His timing. Therefore, we learn to leave the matter with Him. Then we shall be at rest.
After forty years of his life had gone by, Moses could no longer wait to deliver the children of Israel. He had received the highest education, and he had become a man powerful in words and in deeds (Acts 7:22). According to his own estimation, no doubt he thought he was qualified and ready to act on behalf of his people. But God set Moses aside for another forty years, until he was fully prepared according to God’s standard. In this we see the patience of our God.
What made it necessary for God to wait those eighty years? None of us would have been willing to wait such a long time. Surely God wanted a way to come in earlier than He did, but there was no one among the children of Israel to whom He could come. Therefore, God had to wait until Moses was born. Forty years later Moses was there, and had grown up, but God still had to wait because Moses was so natural. God had to wait because there was the lack of a prepared one.
Here we see a principle. In every age God has desired to do something. The problem has not been on His side; it has always been on the side of His people. The question has always been this: where is one who is ready to receive God’s call? In our age also God is eager to do certain things. But who is ready for His call? More than nineteen centuries ago the Lord Jesus said that He was coming quickly (Rev. 22:7). But He still has not come. If we ask the Lord why His coming back has been delayed so long, He may reply, “Where are those who are ready for Me to come back? When I see that a sufficient number are ready, I shall come. I am very eager to come back, but there must be something for Me to come back to.”
In Exodus God could not come in when Moses was a child or when he was still trusting in his natural strength and ability. God had to wait until Moses was eighty years of age. Then, after Moses had been prepared, God came in to call him. The children of Israel cried out because of the tyranny, the persecution, and the oppression, but God still had to wait for Moses to be prepared. In the same principle, the Lord continues to delay His coming back because not enough of His people are ready for Him to return.
In chapters two and three of Exodus we see that the persecuted children of God were crying out to Him and that the God of mercy, grace, and love was eager to rescue them. But Moses was growing slowly unto maturity. The cry of the Israelites was desperate and the eagerness of God was great, but the growth of Moses was slow. The situation is the same today. Many saints have been sighing and longing for the Lord to come back, and the Lord is yearning to come back. But where are the prepared ones? Therefore, instead of complaining to the Lord about today’s situation, we should give ourselves to grow in life.
When by God’s sovereignty Moses was set aside, he must have been very disappointed and he must have lost all hope. Having lost hope, he became content to be a shepherd caring for the flock in the land of Midian. A man who had been educated in the royal palace was now forced to live as a shepherd in the wilderness. As the years went by, he lost everything—his confidence, his future, his interest, his goal. Eventually, Moses probably reached the point where he had no further thought that he was the one whom God would use to rescue the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Moses might have said to himself, “I must care for this flock. But not even this flock is mine; it belongs to my father-in-law. I have no empire, no kingdom. There is nothing left for me to do except to labor in support of my family. My immediate concern is to find fresh grass for the flock and water for them to drink.” But one day, when Moses had been thoroughly processed, God appeared to him and called him. At the age of eighty, in the eyes of God Moses was fully prepared and qualified, and at the precise time He came to him.
The record of God’s calling of Moses is longer than the record of His calling of any other person in the Bible. The record of His calling of Abraham is brief, and so is that of Isaiah. The same is true of the calling of Peter and of Saul of Tarsus. But the record of the calling of Moses is lengthy and detailed. In this account we find all the basic points concerning God’s calling. Thus, if we would know the full significance of God’s calling, we must pay close attention to God’s calling of Moses in Exodus 3.
Moses was the first complete, qualified, and perfected servant of God in history. Noah was used by God to build the ark, but he was not the kind of servant Moses was. Not even Abraham, the father of faith, was perfected as a servant of God in the way Moses was. Because he was the first fully qualified servant of God in the Bible, Moses is the standard model of God’s servant, and God’s calling of him is the standard for His calling of all His servants. In principle, we all need to be called the way Moses was.
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