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Sermon24 Ex1-4 Guide

Ex 1-4 recitation verse Ex 3:14

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

During last few weeks, through Genesis, while looking at the life story of Abraham’s faith, Isaac’s gentle obedience, Jacob’s blessings of progenitor in 12 tribes and Joseph’s forgiveness in Providential care, we became to know that Genesis ended with the story that all the family of Jacob went down to Egypt to settle down there. From this week, we would like to investigate how God cultivated them as a great nation and led them out of Egypt and let them conquer the promised land, Canaan. Especially this week, we would like to learn how God called and trained Moses as a great leader to achieve His mission together.

1) As God said in Gen 15:13-16, when God made the covenant of the torch with Abraham, whole 70 family of Jacob, including the family of Joseph, eventually entered to live in Egypt when severe famine hit the earth. As time passed, Joseph and his generation passed away, and when new king of Egypt arose, the Israelites prospered, yet, they became slaved to build supply cities of Pithom and Raamses. But, despite the oppression, the Israelites thrived even more. And when the Egyptian midwives were ordered to kill any male children born to Israelite mothers, they disobeyed the king's command due to their fear of God. As a result, the Israelites multiplied even further. In response, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, commanded that all newborn sons be thrown into the Nile River.

2) At that time, Moses was born to Amram and Jochebed, descendants of the tribe of Levi. Due to the dire circumstances, Moses was placed in a basket made of reeds and set adrift on the Nile River. But, he was discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh, who happened to come to the river to bathe and Moses became the son of Pharaoh's daughter while his biological mother, Jochebed, was appointed as his nursemaid and thus Moses was raised by her. This allowed Moses to receive both the education of Egypt as the son of Pharaoh's daughter and to learn about his identity as an Israelite and the history of the Israelite people from his nursemaid, Jochebed.

3) As Moses grew older, he went out and witnessed the harsh labor imposed upon his fellow Israelites. But when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and, seeing that there were no witnesses, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. And the next day, when he went out again, he saw two Hebrews fighting. When he reprimanded the wrongdoer and asked why he was striking his fellow Hebrew, the man retorted, 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?' Upon realizing that his act of killing the Egyptian was known, Moses was afraid and fled to the land of Midian to escape Pharaoh's wrath. This happened when Moses was forty years old.

4) One day, while Moses was sitting by a well, a group of the shepherd girls came to draw water for their flocks of sheep. However, when other unruly shepherds arrived and tried to drive the girls away, Moses stood up to help them and provided water for their sheep. When these girls returned to their father, who happened to be a Midianite priest, they told him about the kind act Moses had done. The father, whose name was Reuel (also known as Jethro), invited Moses to his home, treated him hospitably, and eventually offered his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. They had a son, whom they named Gershom, meaning 'stranger,' signifying that Moses was a sojourner in a foreign land. Many years passed in this manner.

5) One day, while Moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro (who was also known as Reuel), he reached the mountain of God, Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai). There, he noticed a bush that was on fire but was not being consumed by the flames. Intrigued by this sight, Moses approached to see, and at that moment, God called out to him from the bush. God explained how He had seen the suffering of the Israelite people and intended to send Moses to deliver them from the hands of the Egyptians. God's plan was to lead them to the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, as He promised.

6) In response, Moses asked, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?' God assured Moses that He would be with him and promised that Moses and the Israelites would worship God together. When Moses asked what name he should tell the Israelites about the God who sent him, God replied, 'I AM WHO I AM,' and instructed Moses to say, 'The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' had sent him. God told Moses to gather the elders and approach Pharaoh to request a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord. However, Moses was concerned that the Israelites might not believe him, so God provided signs: turning his staff into a snake, causing his hand to become leprous and then healing it, and turning water from the Nile into blood. Yet, even after these signs, Moses doubted his ability to speak well. God assured Moses that He would be with his mouth and teach him what to say. Yet still, Moses persisted, asking God to send someone else. This angered God, who then said that Moses's brother Aaron would assist him. Finally, Moses returned to Egypt with Aaron, and they appeared before Pharaoh, delivering the message that the God of Israel commanded the release of His people to worship God in the wilderness. Despite Pharaoh's repeated refusals, a series of ten plagues struck Egypt. Eventually, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave.

7) In today's passage, we would like to reflect on the transformation and leadership of Moses. First, let's consider his transformation. Initially, in his leadership journey, when Moses turned 40, he noticed that the time was approaching, as mentioned in Genesis 15, when God spoke to Abraham (at that time, almost 390 years had passed, and it was only 10 years away from reaching 400 years). Moses began to take action, reacting to situations around him. He witnessed an Egyptian mistreating his fellow Hebrew, and in anger, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the ground. This early leadership was reactive and uncontrollable. The following day, when he saw two Hebrews fighting, he tried to intervene, but they rejected his assistance. His attempt to help was met with skepticism, with the Hebrews questioning his authority and position. We observe here that within the 40-year-old Moses, there were unresolved anger and impulsiveness that manifested externally when triggered by certain situations. Leading the 2.5 million Israelites required healing these internal wounds first. God's plan for this healing was solitude. Moses needed to confront his true self, deep within him, in the isolated Midian wilderness. There, a process of encountering his true self and healing it within the presence of God was necessary. During these 40 years in the wilderness, Moses transformed into a humble and meek leader, leading God's people. This leadership was one of constant reliance on God, letting go of his own strength, knowledge, and speech, and instead relying on God's power, plan, and word. This transformation was necessary because tasks such as rescuing the Israelites from Egypt, leading them to Canaan, conquering the land required the power and guidance of God. But why did Moses need to humble himself so thoroughly? Because of the Israelites. For 430 years, they had been enslaved in Egypt, carrying within them trauma, pain, anger, low self-esteem, and feelings of defeat. Leading this people of Israel, transforming them into a group that could enter the Promised Land of Canaan, was Moses's mission. To accomplish this, he needed to understand their internalized anger and suffering, experience the healing process that God had gone through over many generations, and apply it. Indeed, righteous individuals are gathered by God into the church. Then, what kind of people should be the leaders of God's church? Should they be extraordinary warriors leading spiritual battles in this world with exceptional abilities, strategies, and tactics? While those things certainly help, above all, a leader should be someone who has encountered their own deep inner struggles, weaknesses, or sinful nature and experienced healing, while relinquishing their own image to God's presence. Such a leader should be someone who silently watches over and waits as others, too, lay down their true selves before God, to be healed in God's time and way. I pray that all of us can become and stand as such leaders so that we can guide God's people with humility and meekness, so that others can also present their true selves before God and experience healing in God's time and way.

Activity questions and thought behind

Q1 In today's passage, although mentioned in just a few lines, we can see that when Moses fled to the wilderness of Midian, he was 40 years old, and when he received God's calling and returned to Egypt, he was 80 years old. In fact, the time it took for him to encounter God in the solitude of the wilderness and have his inner self healed was 40 years. When he first entered the wilderness of Midian, it had been 390 years since God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 15 about 400 years of foreign living. It wasn't until 30 more years had passed in the wilderness that God appeared to him in the burning bush, contrary to Moses potentially expecting it to happen after 10 years. I hope you can imagine how Moses felt during this 30 years to share your thought with members.

(Through this question, I hope we can empathize with Moses' mind and heart. Despite being an unrestrained and impulsive leader who couldn't control his inner anger, could he have thought that if he waited just 10 more years, he would be brought out of Egypt? But another 10 years went by, and even waiting 20 years didn't result in any calling from God. It was only after 10 more years that God finally appeared and told him to go. When considering Moses's reaction to God who appeared in the burning bush, we might somewhat understand his response. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Q2 In today's passage, as we observe the unfolding of history from the calling of Abraham in Ur of the Chaldeans, through Jacob and the establishment of the twelve tribes, the journey to Egypt through Joseph, the formation of a nation, the raising of Moses to lead them, and eventually the conquest of Canaan through Joshua, we can discern God's grand plan and providence. However, within this process of God leading history, it's evident that as God calls individuals, He also trains them to become fitting vessels for His calling. Each of us has a divine calling and a mission entrusted to us. Reflecting on our individual callings, missions, and the training we are undergoing, I hope you can share your thoughts with one another.

(Through this question, I hope we can contemplate church leadership. Leadership in the secular world is often about achieving a mission, educating and organizing people, and leading them. However, leadership in the church is not primarily about ministry. In a way, establishing the kingdom of God is God's work, not our own achieved through our plans and efforts. In the context of the Exodus, as seen in today's passage (Exodus 3:7), God declares, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry... I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them... to a land flowing with milk and honey." God tells Moses to go, but it's clear that the action is initiated and carried out by God, highlighting that the Exodus is God's work. Moses is merely a called servant in alignment with God's will. Similarly, church leaders must grasp this concept accurately. They need to understand that they are conduits of God's work. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Q3 However, do you know what Moses accomplished as a great leader after receiving 40 years of training in the wilderness? Yes, he led the Israelites out of Egypt, miraculously crossed the Red Sea, arrived at Mount Sinai, received God's laws and regulations, and much more. However, after this, when they journeyed to Kadesh Barnea and ten of the twelve spies, excluding Joshua and Caleb, reported about the fearsome inhabitants of Canaan, the Israelites' faith wavered. They spoke of returning to Egypt, which invoked God's wrath. For the next 40 years, they wandered in the wilderness, waiting for the old generation to pass away and the new one to rise. In this time, whenever they complained about water or food, Moses interceded before God, seeking provision. His role was to navigate the wilderness again and again, alongside a weak and faltering community. So, what do you think? What if, after diligently training to become a great leader, instead of conquering Canaan or becoming a victorious general, you found yourself leading a flawed and fragile people, not due to your own shortcomings but theirs? What if you had to guide them through the wilderness until they all passed away and a new generation emerged? I hope you can share your thought with one another.

(Through this question, I hope we can deeply contemplate the essence of leadership—who leaders are and what it means to lead. In Christian leadership, it's essential to reflect on the fact that leadership isn't always about guiding impressive and capable individuals to victory and achievement. While some leaders, like Joshua, lead and conquer lands like Canaan with the Israelites, there are others, like Moses, who, through their 40 years of wilderness training, ultimately guide their people through the wilderness until their death before the conquest of Canaan. What did Canaan mean to Moses? Ruth Haley Barton, in her book "Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership," said that for Moses, the Promised Land was God's presence As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Love you, bless you, and thank you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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