What a Difference an Encounter with God Makes
Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Hebrews 11:27 What a Difference an Encounter with God Makes
Moses left Egypt twice. To which exit does the writer of Hebrews refer? The first time Moses left Egypt (Exodus 2:14-15), scripture, written by Moses himself, says that he was afraid. The first time, Moses had seen a need and tried to fill it with his own strength and cunning. He killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite, one of Moses’ people. Looking in every direction and seeing no one around, he struck the Egyptian and killed him and then buried the Egyptian in the sand. The next day, two Hebrew were fighting and when Moses tried to stop them, they wanted to know if he intended to kill one of them as he had the Egyptian. According to Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7 Moses thought “…his brethren would understand that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand.”(Acts 7:25) Moses became afraid that his act of killing the Egyptian the day before would be known. It was. Pharaoh heard and tried to kill Moses. That Pharaoh would die before Moses returned. Afraid Moses fled to Midian where he—Mr. Hero—protected from bullies the seven daughters of the priest of Midian and watered the sheep the daughters were tending. Daddy said, “Why didn’t you bring him home. Invite him to dinner.” (Reuel probably wanted a man around to protect his daughters and the sheep.) Moses lived with them and married Zipporah and they had a son (two actually) and Moses became a shepherd. Moses wanted to free Israel from their problems; God wanted to free Israel to worship.
The second time Moses left Egypt, he is shepherding an army of people. They had groaned to God and then grown accustomed to Moses as the miracles of God made evident that God wanted His people freed to worship Him. All Moses could do was say God wants His people free and to see what God was doing to free them. The new Pharaoh was non-to-pleased with Moses and the miracles of God (Exodus 10:7-28, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. The Pharaoh said to [Moses] ‘Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!’ and Moses said, ‘You are right; I shall never see your face again.” As Moses left Egypt the second time, there was no fear in him. Fleeing, fearful Moses had become freed, faith-firm Moses. My-own-strength-Moses had become only-in-God Moses. He left Egypt the second time with full confidence in the living God.
What made the difference? In his first attempt he had no commission. Yet, terror enters when our faith is tried by fear. Faith and fear are opposites. How do we move to (Isaiah 12:2) “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation”? We see the invisible God! The power of faith lived out under a God given commission lifts us above honor, riches, pleasures. The second exodus was God-ordained, God-empowered, God-guided, God-commissioned. During Moses’ time in the wilderness of Midian (a land founded by a son of Abraham by his second wife, Keturah), while shepherding the sheep, he encountered The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the great I Am God had reconfirmed His commitment to His people and had commissioned Moses (Exodus 3:1-17). 1) Moses had never stopped believing in God. His father-in-law Reuel’s name means “friend of God”. So Moses’ first escape was to the company of the friend of God—what a great person to partner with when stuck in a “personal-wilderness” in life. Moses must have sorted through the experiences of his first 40-years over and over during his everyday life of shepherding the family sheep. How easy it could have been to forget Israel. New wife, a couple of sons born to them, the daily work-load, could have distracted. The pain of rejection remembered could have defeated him. However, the calling of God is sure—“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9) Wait for God and press on.
The presence of God was made known and Moses fulfilled His calling. Deacon Stephen made this clear in his sermon before his death: “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge? Is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush.’” (Acts 7:35) Why? Acts 7:30-34. Here is confidence confirmed by faith in God.
Moses found the durability of faith. The Spiritual grace that motivated Moses to want to do something for his people is now empowering him and maintaining him as he faces toe-to-toe the enemy that is both physical. pharaoh, and spiritual, the forces of Satan that would seek to impeded the plan of God. Moses had a clear and distinct view that God is all present, all power, and faithful to His covenant. So we must arrive at that place of faith in our life. We do so as we live under the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ our Lord and the commission to make disciples. Have you encountered God? Have you made your excuses and yet God persists? Have you found that God has it all worked out in His Son Jesus Christ who is Lord of life?