A Passion for God: Moses
  1. Introduction
    1. What do you think of when you think of Moses? Maybe, the great leader of Israel or splitting the Red Sea or receiving the 10 commandments. But, what about a man with a very close relationship to God?
    2. Matthew 17:1-13 — Moses appeared with Elijah in the transfiguration.
      1. Why not King David, the man after God's own heart, or Abraham, the great patriarch?
      2. There may have been larger symbolic reasons, but I think that in part, Moses had a very close relationship to God.
    3. Deuteronomy 34:10 — And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

      1. So Moses, did indeed have a very special relationship with God.
      2. Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37
        1. What an incredible thing to say, "You will know the Messiah, because He will be like me"!
        2. Jesus was the only one Moses is compared to.
      3. So not only did Moses have a close relationship with God, but he had a tremendous ministry for God
    4. There is a story that illustrates this very well.
      1. Numbers 12:1-2 — Aaron and Miriam thought Moses was taking on too much authority.
      2. Aaron was God's first High Priest, the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies. Miriam had saved Moses life and was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20).
      3. Numbers 12:4-9 — But when they took on Moses, God stepped in, in a big way!
      4. God says, "Hey! You don't mess with My man Moses!"
      5. Wow!
    5. I want a close relationship to God like that. I want a ministry for God like that.
      1. How did Moses get so close to God?
      2. I don't know. I don't think there is any magic 3 step plan to an intimate relationship with God.
      3. However, I think we can look over Moses' life and maybe find a few keys to a closer walk with God.
  2. How did Moses obtain this special relationship?
    1. Hebrews 11:24-26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt
      1. Egypt was one of the great world powers at that time and Moses lived in Pharaoh's house. You could not get a better life than that!
      2. But Moses' faith took God's promises seriously. Moses saw that all Pharaoh had paled against the long term riches that God promised.
      3. Other men have made this point more eloquently, so I will quote them.
        1. C.S. Lewis - The Weight of Glory
          If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
        2. John Piper - His Commandments Are Not Burdensome

          What can overcome the temptations of the world? What can unmask the lies of the world?

          Answer: God can. And he does it by causing us to be born again so that we can see the infinite superiority of the promises of Christ over the promises of the world. The result is that we trust Christ and by trusting him overcome the temptations of the world.

          Faith says to every temptation of the world: NO, BE GONE! I know where true satisfaction is to be found. God has loved me with an infinite love. He promises to work everything together for good for those who love him. He withholds no good thing form those who walk uprightly. Nothing you offer can compare to the joy of his fellowship now and the glory to be revealed hereafter. World, you have lost your power. I have become the glad slave of a Good Master. His yoke is easy and the burden of his commandments is light.

        3. Helen Lemmel - Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
          Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
          Look full in His wonderful face,
          And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
          In the light of His glory and grace.
    2. Fellowship with God
      1. Exodus 24:12-18 — Moses was up on Mount Sinai for 40 days getting the law on tablets
        1. Exodus 24:16 — It is interesting to note that Moses had to wait 6 days before the close fellowship started.
        2. Perhaps that is a lesson to us that we need to be patient as we seek God, close fellowship doesn't happen overnight.
        1. In the next 7 chapters God describes exactly how the Tabernacle should be built.
      2. Exodus 31:18 — God writes on the tables of stone.
      3. Exodus 32:1 — The Israelites were pretty certain that Moses could not last that long.
        1. The Israelites, gave up on Moses. So, it is clear that 40 days away was unusual even for them.
        2. Moses had spent a lot of time with God.
        3. Finally Moses had to leave God and come down to the camp and deal with the wickedness that the Israelites were committing. Just as soon as that is dealt with though Moses is back talking with God.
      4. Exodus 34:1, 2, 28 — Again Moses spends 40 days with God.
        1. After the trials of dealing with the wickedness of Israel, Moses wants to know God even more. (See: A passion for God, below).
        2. Exodus 34:28 — He had no food or water, but lived on close fellowship with God.
      5. What can we learn from this?
        1. God and Moses placed a priority on close fellowship.
        2. Moses did not let his daily needs (food and water) draw him away from time with God. Instead he allowed God to meet those needs.
        3. Moses did have to leave that close fellowship with God to perform his duties in the world. However, the fellowship prepared him to perform his duties and his duties showed him how much he needed more fellowship with God.
        1. Exodus 34:29-35 — The time Moses had spent with God showed to those he came into contact with.
        2. What about me, how is the time I am spending with God?
    3. A passion for God
      1. Exodus 33:1-3 — This comes right after Moses' first 40 days with God.
        1. Israel has sinned grievously in worshiping the golden calf.
        2. Because of Israel's rebellion God has said that He is not going to go on with them any more.
        3. Now Moses has gone to speak with God. His responses to God are instructive.
      2. Exodus 33:11-13 — First, Moses wanted to know God.
        1. shew me now thy way, that I may know thee — Moses wanted to know what God was doing, so that he could get to know God better.
        2. that I may find grace in thy sight — Moses wanted to know God so that he could please God.
        3. Moses did not have the Bible so he had to learn about God from direct revelation. Today we can learn about God from the Bible. The question is do we have the same burning desire to know God?
      3. Exodus 33:14-15 — Moses doesn't want to go where God is not.
        1. Despite saying He would not go with them, God had still promised all the physical blessings. He would still help them conquer their enemies and give them the Promised Land.
        2. However, Moses was not interested in the physical blessings. He wanted to be where God was.
        3. We saw this same idea when Moses left Egypt. He gave up every possible physical comfort because following God was his foremost priority.
        4. Exodus 33:16 — For Moses, the sign of God's blessing was His presence. What a privilege we have now that God dwells in us! (See: Ministries of the Holy Spirit)
      4. Exodus 33:17-23 — Moses is still not content. He wants to understand God's glory.
        1. In the last few chapters God has been revealing to Israel just how mighty and holy He is.
        2. Moses wants more. He wants to see God's glory.
        3. We, like Israel, often do not appreciate or reverence God's glory and holiness as we should. Perhaps, we should be asking God to show us His glory so that we can worship Him as we should.
        4. Ephesians 1:15-23 — This is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians.
        5. Exodus 34:4-9 — God did show Moses His glory. Moses' response was to worship Him.
      5. Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

        1. This certainly seems to be the theme of Moses' life.
        2. Do I have a passion to be where God is? Or better said, to be in the center of God's will?
        3. Do I have a passion to know God fully? (Psalms 119:18; Luke 24:45; 2 Corinthians 4:6)
    4. Humble and meek
      1. Exodus 32:9-14 — God offers to make a great people from Moses, and destroy Israel. But Moses intercedes for Israel.
        1. Moses was not focused on himself and promoting himself.
        2. Moses was focused on serving God and Israel.
        3. Where is my focus?
        4. Later, after Israel refuses to take the promised land, God again offers to destroy Israel and raise up a great nation from Moses (Numbers 14:11-12).
          • Moses' reply is: For the sake of God's glory He mustn't destroy Israel (Numbers 14:13-20).
          • After all the trials Moses had had with Israel in the desert, you would think he would be glad to be rid of them.
          • But still Moses is focused on God's glory and others rather than himself.
      2. Numbers 11:16-17 — God had commanded Moses to gather 70 elders to come to the Tabernacle and He would put His spirit upon them so that they could help Moses lead the people.
        1. Numbers 11:24 — So Moses called the elders out to the Tabernacle, but two didn't come.
        2. Numbers 11:26 — Even though they didn't come, they still got the Spirit like the others.
        3. Numbers 11:28 — Joshua was upset, the two had been rebellious and didn't deserve to be part of this.
        4. Numbers 11:29 — Even though they had directly disobeyed Moses, he was still gracious and looked at the positive rather than letting his pride make him angry.
      3. Numbers 12:3 — Moses was the meekest man alive.
        1. This is right in the middle of the story of Aaron and Miriam opposing Moses, he could have defended himself and pointed out all the great things God had done through him, but instead he was quiet.
        2. Moses realized that he was just a vessel that God was using and didn't let his pride grow. He wasn't focused on himself.
        3. Now put yourself in Moses' shoes. Even if you had started out meek, would still have been meek after God had used you to split the Red Sea and had given the 10 Commandments through you?
      4. Humility is mandatory for a relationship with God
        1. James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

          1. Before this verse we are reminded that our own lusts are destroying ourselves and those around us.
            • Our desires are to be focused on God, not the world.
            • God will not share worship with any other.
          2. Pride may be considered self worship. It is promotion of self, focusing on self, and reliance on self. All of these are wrong.
            • We are to promote God's glory.
            • We are to focus on God and then others.
            • We are to rely on God.
          3. The context that follows talks about a closer relationship to God.
        2. For an example of the dangers of pride, see the study on Joshua.
        3. The song I Can't Even Walk expresses, at least in part, our inability to serve without humility.
        4. 1 Peter 5:5 — Humility is a key to closer fellowship with God
          1. 2 Chronicles 32:26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, [both] he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

          2. 2 Chronicles 33:12, 19, 23,
          3. Job 22:29 When [men] are cast down, then thou shalt say, [There is] lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

          4. Psalms 138:6 Though the LORD [be] high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

          5. Proverbs 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

          6. Proverbs 6:16-17 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

          7. Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

          8. Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

          9. Philippians 2:3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

          10. Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

          11. 1 Peter 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

    5. God was his strength
      1. When God first called Moses at the burning bush, Moses had lots of objections.
        1. Exodus 3:7-10 — God is finally going to deliver Israel from Egypt. Now He calls Moses to go to Pharaoh and command him to let Israel go.
          1. On first reading that may sound exciting, but it scared Moses.
          2. God was sending him to possibly the most powerful man in the world at that time, and Moses was supposed to tell this man what to do. Powerful men, don't like to be told what to do.
          3. Just trying to tell Pharaoh what to do is tough, but then to tell him to let his entire labor force just up and leave is impossible. Asking for 600,000 laborers (Exodus 12:37) to just drop their work and leave would seriously disrupt the economy!
          4. Besides Moses did not leave Egypt on good terms with Pharaoh. This was a new Pharaoh, but likely he remembered Moses.
        2. Exodus 3:11-12 — I am a nobody.
          1. Moses contends that he has no personal worth or prestige to bring to leading Israel.
          2. By himself Moses didn't have any worth, but God was going with him. That is what gave him authority.
        3. Exodus 3:13-18 — Who shall I say sent me?
          1. Moses didn't know what to tell Israel about God.
          2. God says, I am the same God that lead Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
        4. Exodus 4:1-9 — What if they don't believe me?
          1. Why should the Israelites believe some shepherd from the desert?
          2. God gave Moses three special signs for Israel.
        5. Exodus 4:10-17 — I am not a good public speaker
          1. Moses was not a eloquent, how could he persuade kings?
          2. God reminds Moses that He made him and can enable him. God promises that He will help Moses.
        6. Exodus 4:13-17 — Send someone else
          1. Moses has run out of excuses, but still doesn't want to go.
          2. God tells him that his older brother Aaron is already coming to meet him and will help him.
      2. Moses has raised a lot of concerns, many of which are legitimate. However, for every concern and inability Moses raises God has a solution.
        1. Notice that in almost all of these, God doesn't say, "You can do it!"
        2. Instead God says, "Yes, you can not do it, but I will help you."
        3. Moses is learning that he can rely on God even when he is called to the impossible.
      3. Moses did learn this lesson of relying on God.
        1. Exodus 14:10-12 — At the Red Sea
          1. The Egyptians have come after the Israelites and they are trapped with no escape.
          2. They are facing certain slaughter and the people are panicking.
          3. Remember that nearly every soldier in Pharaoh's army had lost a son to Israel's God. They were not going to be gentle or show mercy.
          4. Exodus 14:13-14 — Moses recognizes the imminent danger, but calmly says, Don't be afraid, let's wait to see what God is going to do.
          5. What a change from chapter 3! Moses has learned that even when facing the impossible, he can turn to God and God will deliver.
        2. Moses continues with that attitude. Every time Israel gets in a jam, Moses immediately turns to God. (Exodus 15:23-25; Exodus 16:1-4; Exodus 17:1-4 etc.)
      4. Do I rely on God, not only for the impossible but also for my daily needs, or am I relying on myself (which is pride)?
    6. Faith is one of the threads that tie it all of this together
      1. Delight in God's promises — Moses could delight in God because he believed God's promises.
      2. Fellowship — Fellowship begins with believing God and what He has said. (Hebrews 11:6)
      3. Passion — Moses wanted to really know God. The faith that he had (ie. believing what God had already revealed) made him want God to build his faith even more.
      4. Humility — As we begin to believe God and understand how great He is, that leads us to realize our insignificance. Putting us in our proper place of humility.
      5. Reliance — Faith does two things here:
        1. It is faith that allows us to wait on God when everything looks impossible.
        2. It is our faith that motivates us into obedient action when God calls.
  3. Conclusion
    1. Deuteronomy 32:48-52 — There is a sad note at the end of Moses' life
      1. Israel is preparing to finally enter the promised land. However, God is not going to allow Moses to enter the Land.
      2. Instead God sends Moses up to Mt. Pisgah where he will die.
    2. Why didn't God let Moses enter the land?
      1. Numbers 20:1-13 — Moses had disobeyed God.
      2. The stone was to be a type of Christ, but Moses' disobedience spoiled the picture.
      3. God took this very seriously.
      4. Note also that God attributed Moses' disobedience to a lack of faith (v. 12)
    3. How did Moses feel about this?
      1. Deuteronomy 3:21-28 — Moses had asked God to allow him to enter the land, but God denied the request.
        1. Receiving the Promised Land was the hope of every Israelite since the time of Abraham.
        2. Moses' calling in life had been to lead Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land, now he is not going to be able to see the culmination of that work.
        3. Moses was understandably disappointed and saddened to not be able to enter the land.
      2. Deuteronomy 33:26-29 — However, Moses hadn't given up on God.
        1. At the end of chapter 32 God had given Moses the command to go up Mt. Pisgah. Chapter 33 is Moses' final message to Israel.
        2. He ends his message with a reminder of how great and good God is.
        3. It is clear that even now as God denies him entrance into the Promised land, Moses would not exchange for any other god.
        4. He still has a close relationship and love for God.
    4. What can we learn from this?
      1. Romans 3:23 — Everyone has sinned, even the great servants of God.
      2. God is just, and sin has consequence for everyone. God did not sweep Moses' sin under the carpet just because he was a close friend.
    5. Deuteronomy 34:1-4 — God's final blessing to Moses
      1. Even though Moses could not enter the land, God comes to him with a special blessing.
      2. He shows Moses the whole land.
      3. I presume that this is supper natural vision.
        1. It does not seem he would be able to see all the land otherwise.
        1. See a map here and here.
      4. Deuteronomy 34:5-6 — God personally took and buried Moses.
      5. Deuteronomy 34:7 — God had strengthened Moses right to the end of his life.
    6. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 — Moses was a great servant of the Lord. By looking over his life there is a lot we can learn and apply to our own lives.