Beware of the white hand of leprosy: self-righteousness!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Exodus 4:19-24 and Genesis 17:14. After the burning bush experience, Moses sets out for Egypt with his wife Zipporah and sons. Zipporah had the knowledge of circumcision but would not allow Moses to perform this act on her sons. She shielded her sons because, in Midian, it was not a common practice. What was good in Midian did not pass as acceptable when returning to Egypt and the Hebrew nation. Upon leaving Midian, circumcision became very important because Moses had violated a covenant given in Genesis. A death angel came to him; he was dying and was unable to perform the act. Zipporah circumcised her sons while Moses lay dying. Like Moses, we face death as a consequence of our disobedience. Spiritual death comes with disobeying the commandments of God. The LORD requires obedience; we determine whether in blessing or judgement. In Exodus 4:21-23, God gives specific instructions to Moses, even down to what he should say in the presence of Pharoah. Take note that the LORD explained to him that He would harden the heart of Pharoah "that he shall not let the people go". Moses was warned in advance to expect this reaction. Please read verses 29-31 (same chapter). The Hebrew nation, held in Egyptian bondage, gives us a blueprint on how to receive the Word of God. They heard and understood which produced belief; then they worshipped. Hear, see, believe, worship!
Moses and Aaron have an audience with Pharoah but do not deliver the message given them in chapter 4:22-23. In chapter 5:1-3 we see they added and subtracted from the Word. The LORD said nothing about a feast (a party) or going 3-days journey into the wilderness to sacrifice. Moses watered down the message to Pharoah; he removed the "punch" and the seriousness. In 4:23 the word serve means a permanent lifestyle change, not an addition or somenthing to make them feel good. They were to serve - - - commit to a total lifestyle change of giving themselves in service to Jehovah God! In a previous lesson, the old man is a spiritual picture of a grasping, controlling, enslaving Pharoah. The LORD God says to the old man, "Let my people go that they may SERVE me"! In other word, loose my people that they can commit to a total lifestyle change and give themselves in complete service to God! He does not want us to be satisfied with some "fire insurance" and being a Sunday Christian; just enough to assuage the conscience and relieve some guilt. Service to Him should be a sold-out, jump-in-with-both-feet-go-all-the-way-ain't-looking-back commitment!
Please read chapter 5:20-23. Moses pours out his complaint to the LORD. He took the punch and seriousness out of the message, he provided no sign, and spoke the wrong words. He complained because his interpretation of the Word was not blessed. Moses was specifically told that He would harden Pharoah's heart and would not let the people go. Just like Moses, we get mad at God and blame Him when our efforts, rooted in our carnal interpretations and expectations, aren't blessed. Remember the color of Moses' hand when he pulled it out of his bosom? Self-righteousness, the white hand of leprosy, causes us to accuse and blame the LORD when our efforts aren't blessed; when we are the ones seriously wrong!
A personal relationship influences those around us
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: #121 is the conclusion to a 4-part series starting with #118)
In Exodus 4, Moses has quite a conversation with the LORD at the burning bush. The LORD revealed 4 signs to Moses with the purpose of convincing him to simply believe that He was able to perform what He wanted to do with Israel. When Moses was rooted in unwavering belief in the Name and Nature of the Almighty God, this experience would then influence Israel to believe as well. Moses was to establish a personal, impirical relationship with God which, in turn, would cause Israel to yearn for the same experience. Revelation of the Word is not for us to go out and try to impress others with what we know. Revelation comes for the purpose of the recipient to establish and maintain personal contact with the Source; to have a deep experience with the Giver. Please read I Corinthians 13:1. The fruit of a personal experience is LOVE. If there is no love in the voice (a personal experience) then it is "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal". The LORD knew that Moses had to return to Israel and speak to them in love. He had to establish a personal relationship first so he could accomplish turning their unbelief in to belief. Israel would hear the voice of his union with and love for God. They would realize he had something they wanted and it started with belief in His Heavenly, Divine, Name and Nature.
Regarding the first sign, the rod, Moses was to pick up the serpent by the tail. When you pick up the tail you also get the rest of the serpent, including his head - - - you get the whole serpent! Wisdom begins with confessing that the LORD is the Head over all things! Wisdom, the Son of God, the Word of God, is really what is important- - - not earthly wisdom in the form of opinions and perceptions. The LORD had Moses throw down his ideas, education, perceptions, opinions, etc. and grab hold of Serpent Wisdom: God is the Head!
In reference to the second sign, notice what color Moses' hand was when he pulled it from his bosom (Exodus 4:6). White leprosy is a spiritual picture of self-righteousness. Moses was unaware of the self-righteousness of his heart until pulling his hand out from his bosom (heart). Self-righteousness is dangerous because we can't see it; at least until it is revealed by God. He wants the heart clean, a result of having a personal relationship with the LORD. The LORD proved to Moses He had the power to clean the heart when he removed his hand from his bosom and his hand was clean. Accept wisdom, look at the condition of the heart because it affects ministry and service. We are to look at our OWN heart.
Referring to the third sign, the blood, Moses was to pour out his life (blood) in being an example of what Israel could experience for themselves. Please read John 15:13. This verse is printed in red ink, spoken by Jesus Himself. Love is manifested through the pouring out of life (blood) in service to others and the brotherhood. When a personal relationship is flourishing in the life of a believer, they speak and liquid love is poured out in to the hearts of those listening. Words are move powerful when connected to a practicing example. Moses was to live the Word before Israel and influence them to love the Word. We are to throw down our own wisdom, have a clean heart, minister with clean hands, pour out our life and be an example to those around us by living the Word (love). It is a relationship with God that affects others.
Moses' stammering tongue is the final sign. He complained he was not eloquent; he didn't know the Hebrew language. For only 5 years Moses spoke Hebrew, for the next 75 he spoke Egyptian. The LORD said He would teach his mouth the Hebrew language - - - when Moses got out of the way! God wants our weakness, not our strength, so He can work.
In the end, Moses outright rejected the fourth sign. Similarly, he discounted the three preceding signs and didn't take them personally. He did not use all four signs for their intended use: to establish a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His relationship would have caused him to be an example to Israel and lead them from unbelief to belief as they travelled to Canaan's Land. These four signs are given to us as present-day believers (2 Timothy 3:16-17) for the purpose of taking them personally; developing and establishing an intimate relationship with our Precious LORD as we make our journey from earth to Heavenly Canaan's Land!
Unbelief can be healed through four signs!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: #119 is a continuation of lesson #118. Please read #118 if necessary.)
In Exodus 4:1-11, four signs were given to Moses so he could have an experience and believe the LORD. These signs would prepare him to go back to Israel, held captive in Egypt, and help them to also believe. You can lead someone else to an experience if you have had one. A sign is defined as a forecast, a prognostication. To convince Israel that Moses had seen the LORD and believe, God gave him the following four signs.
Verses 2-5 identify the first sign: the rod. Verse 5 says, "that they (Israel) may believe. . . ". A rod is most useful in an upright position. Moses had used his rod for 40 years as a shepherd and was accustomed to the support it provided. It was a tool to lean on. The rod is a picture of Moses' government, authority, and earthly wisdom. It represents his thoughts, his education, his power. To be delivered from unbelief, God asked him to throw all this down. Moses was a prince of Egypt, highly educated and trained in war. As an army general, he conquered Ethiopia (where he got his Ethiopian wife). He was accustomed to the finer things in life that came along with being raised as Pharoah's son. The LORD told him to cast down all his learned earthly wisdom to a subdued, horizontal position. In verse 3, the rod became a serpent. We know from past lessons that the Son of God, Jesus, is the Heavenly Serpent, the Wisdom of God. Notice the LORD said to pick up the serpent by the tail. Pick up wisdom with a "tail" revelation---that God is the Head over all things. Moses didn't need a whole revelation of the entire Serpent of Wisdom, just the beginning to recognize He is the Head! The LORD was saying He was going to take Moses from Midian to Egypt and then to a promised land. It wasn't so important that he go from point A to point B. What was important was what Moses would become through the journey. The journey would allow him to receive a greater and greater revelation of the Serpent of Wisdom. To be a candidate to dwell in Canaan's Land, earthly wisdom, thoughts, authority and education must be thrown down.
In verses 6&7 we see the next sign. Moses was to take his hand and put it in his bosom. Bosom signifies the heart. His hand, when it was removed, displayed the condition of his heart. His heart was full of leprosy---unbelief. The LORD was showing Moses that it was a heart problem. The condition of the heart was the root of his unbelief. Hands speak of service. To influence others, Moses needed a clean heart and clean hands (service). He could not serve Israel with dirty hands. After removing his hand from his bosom the hand was once again clean. The LORD was proving to him that He could cleanse a leprous hand as well as a leprous heart. Are our hands (service) different with different people? Do we greet some and purposely pass by another because of anger or dislike? Do we ignore some and gush over others? It is a heart problem---it is what we become through the journey. Will the journey make us more like Him or bitter and resentful? Notice, in verse 8, that the first two signs have a voice.
We will continue with the last two signs in sermon #120. Meet you there!
Unbelief blocks our entrance into Canaan's Land
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: this lesson is the continuation of lessons 118 and 119. Please read them if necessary)
In Exodus 4:9 the LORD gives Moses the third sign. If he were to take water out of the river and pour it out on dry land, the water would be turned into blood. Blood is life. Blood makes organisms living and viable. The LORD was intent upon healing Moses of his unbelief. Consequently, the third sign of pouring out blood would help accomplish this. God was asking Moses to willingly pour out his life; lay down his life for the children of Israel. If he became liquid life for the LORD's captive son, Israel, he would be rewarded with new life from the Father. When we lay down our life, pour out our blood in service to others in bondage, we are given new life to replace what we have given.
Exodus 4:10-11 we read about the fourth and final sign. Moses continues to justify his unbelief by claiming he was not eloquent and possessed a slow tongue. In modern English, Moses stuttered. Moses could not imagine going before the rulers and principle men of Israel with a stammering tongue. How humiliating! But God had a plan and that plan included Moses' stuttering speech. The LORD intended to use the stuttering to differentiate between words spoken by God and words spoken by Moses. If he was in a casual conversation his stuttering would persist. As soon as the LORD annointed his speech with a message of truth to Israel, the stuttering would cease and his speech would become eloquent. This was to be a sign to Israel that the God of their fathers was truly speaking and had remembered the covenant he made with the patriarchs. With this sign, Moses could powerfully persuade Israel that God had indeed visited him and sent him to deliver them from bondage. Thus, he could help them overcome any unbelief and skepticism they had about how authentic he was.
These four signs were given to Moses, so that he might first believe and then lead Israel to conquer their unbelief. If we will only believe Who He is and what He can do! Please read Hebrews 3:17-19. Did Israel believe? Verse 19 says that the original crowd that exited Egypt did not enter into his rest or Canaan's Land. What barred them from reaching the Promised Land? Their refusal to acknowledge that God was speaking through Moses' mouth when the stuttering stopped and their persistance in questioning his authority and position. In other words, their staunch unbelief! God, help us all! What is the one word that will take us to the Promised Land? BELIEF!
Exposure of sin gives opportunity for an experience!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Exodus 4:1 & Exodus 3:18. In these two verses we read about the opinion of Moses and the truth of the Almighty God. Moses has an opposite opinion to the truth spoken by the LORD. God said, "And they shall hearken to thy voice". Moses said, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice". He essentially called the LORD a liar while standing in His presence at the burning bush. Moses pointed the finger at the people of Israel and accused them of unbelief. He deflected the exposure of his own unbelief by the LORD and accused Israel of the very thing he was guilty of. God appeared to Moses at the burning bush for the purpose of exposing his unbelief in the nature and power of His Holy, Omnipotent Name! He quickly transposed his own guilt on to the people. At this point he has been a shepherd in Midian for 40 years---how could he possibly know how Israel would respond to him? Could he really say, with any authority, that he knew how they would react to his re-appearance in Egypt? Truthfully, he was saying, "I don't believe!" Likewise, we point the finger and blame others, deflecting the exposure of our own sin on to other people. In reality, we don't know anything about anybody else. We don't know how they were raised, their education, their pain, their victories, etc. When we blame others we are accusing them of what we are unwilling to admit to ourselves: we are guilty of the same offense. Moses was pretty sassy at the burning bush---just like us. He was more concerned about what the people thought of him than what God thought. Yet, the LORD kept right on talking and reasoning with him, hoping Moses would identify his own unbelief. It is better to be more concerned with what God is thinking than those we know nothing about. Is the LORD pleased with this? How will the LORD react if I do this? Can I do this and still be in the will of God? Moses put the people above God. Still, He came to Moses, in his unbelief, and started a conversation. When the LORD points his finger and exposes our sin, it is for the purpose of giving an opportunity to love self and love God. We should give our self to Him and bring Him near to perform His acts of redemption. At the Great White Throne Judgement, Christians will blame and accuse the Just Judge, pointing an angry, recalcitrant finger of obstinance in the holy presence of the Ancient of Days. Sometimes, we are just as sassy, and more so, than Moses.
The LORD continued on with His conversation. His objective was to give Moses 4 signs. These signs were designed to give Moses an experience; to help him identify his unbelief. They were also given to help him persuade Israel to believe in the God of their fathers---after he had conquered his own unbelief. The LORD wanted Moses to overcome his unbelief so he could be sent to Israel and help them with their unbelief. A leader must believe in the nature of the Almighty God to be able to assist others with the same problem. The LORD had deliverance in mind for Israel, but Moses had to be delivered from unbelief first. These are the four signs: the rod, put hand in the bosom, water on the ground turned to blood, stammering tongue being changed. We will discuss the signs and how they apply to us in sermon #119---see you there?!