Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 7
MOSES, THE DELIVERER OF ISRAEL
Let’s continue on where we left off at the end of the last lesson. Remember that Moses has been commissioned by God to confront Pharaoh, for the distinct purpose of bringing the children of Israel out of their bondage. But as we know, he’s going to have some difficulty. Now if you will go to Exodus 4 and start with verse 10, you will find Moses is still claiming he can’t do it. He had lost his polish, as we discussed last lesson, but remember God couldn’t use Moses if he was prepared by the world. But he can use him as he is now, being at one of the lowest points of his life.
“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: But I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
“And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?”
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
I think it’s interesting to notice, that God has already used the signs to convince Moses that he, indeed, was going to be led of God. By throwing the rod down, and having his hand turn leprous, these were signs we studied in the previous lesson. Now, as we go to the New Testament and study some of the references that have a direct connection with this, I would like to look at the fact that the Jews, beginning right here with Moses, and all the way up through their history, had to have signs in order to be convinced of what God was saying and what He was doing.
However, before we look at the sign aspect, let’s go to 1 Corinthians and see why God had to put Moses on the back side of the desert for 40 years in order to prepare him to be an instrument that God could use. Here in Chapter 1, Paul is laying out the wisdom that can come only from God, and not from men:
1 Corinthians 1:26,27
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world (that is from the world’s view-point) to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty:”
Let’s put that right back in perspective with Moses. Isn’t that exactly what God did with him? Oh, when he was mighty, when he had power, when he had clout, God couldn’t use him. He went out there in the energy of the flesh and thought he could deliver the Children of Israel. So God, by a Sovereign act, gets Moses where He can prepare him to be the kind of man He can use. He makes out of him a sheepherder for 40 years – out where he has no contact with the public.
So Moses is now, in his own eyes, NOTHING! But in God’s eyes he’s EVERYTHING! That’s the requirement for service, even today. That’s what Paul referred to here in Corinthians. If you want to be a Sunday School teacher, or a missionary, or anything in God’s service, the first place we have to come to is an understanding that in ourselves, we are nothing! We all must come to the place that Moses did. Even Paul was brought to such a place. Educated as he was at the feet of Gamaliel, Paul had to understand that, when it came to be a servant of God’s Grace, especially to the Gentiles, he had to begin as a nobody! Paul tells us that all the way through his writings. Look at Chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians for a moment:
I Corinthians 2:1-4
“‘And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech (He didn’t come polished, he was not an Apollos) or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.'”
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling.”
A lot of times we look at Paul with all of his journeys, and Preachings, and think the man had a lot of guts, but he didn’t. He shook in his boots, as he would enter some of these strange places, just as you and I would.
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
A lot of people think it takes enticing words, but it doesn’t. You don’t have to have degrees behind your name in order to be something for God. I thank goodness that’s true, for I wouldn’t be here teaching today if that was a requirement. I’m always reminded when, years ago, I had a young man who was attending one of our great Bible Schools, in preparation for the ministry. One of the young gentlemen in his class seemed to have everything – personality, looks, voice, and intelligence. So his fellow classmates, before they graduated, had voted that this young man was most likely to succeed in the ministry. He got a little church, and within six months was out of the ministry. Why? He couldn’t cut it. He was relying on the things of the flesh, and not on the real call of God.
I also said we would look in the New Testament with regard to the beginning of the signs that Moses experienced, even before he goes before Pharaoh. And then of course we are going to see in Chapter 5 of Exodus, where he puts those signs to use in front of the old pagan King of Egypt. Right now, turn to Matthew Chapter 11. Most of us who know anything about our Bible at all, realize that when Jesus began His earthly ministry, He began with miracles. For three years He performed miracle after miracle. Why?
“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples.”
“And said unto him (Jesus), ‘Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?'”
Now, can you imagine a man like John the Baptist, having fulfilled the ministry that he had, coming to the place where he questions. But he does. And again it shows John knows that Jesus has the power to take him out of prison if He wants to. But He’s not doing it. So from the human stand point you can see what John is beginning to wonder. Well is He Who He says He is! Is He Who I said He is? Now, look at Jesus’ answer:
“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Go and shew John again (reinforce his knowledge) those things which ye do hear and see.'”
“‘The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them’.”
Why, basically, did Jesus perform all of those miracles to the nation of Israel? To prove Who He was! Remember that the Jew required a sign. 1 (Corinthians 1:22) So the Jew all the way through the Old Testament, and through Jesus’ ministry had to have a sign. It was just their very nature.
Another place we can look at is Acts 10. This is where Cornelius sends for Peter. In verse 14, Peter had the vision. What was in that sheet? Unclean animals according to the Jewish diet and the Jewish Law. So Peter wasn’t about to eat. Now, if you think Peter has been set free from the Law, then you haven’t read and understood your Bible. Remember, this is ten years after Pentecost and Peter is still sticking to the Law. He’s not about to eat pork. And if you think I’m making too much of that, look at the following account .
We are here in Acts Chapter 10, where we have the account of Cornelius in Caesarea, being prompted by God to send for Peter, who is down on the coast in the city of Joppa. And Peter, by the urging of the Holy Spirit of God, finally gets to the house of Cornelius, But remember, Peter was still a good Law-keeping Jew, and had a problem going into Cornelius’ home. So, for this reason, he took several of his Jewish believers with him, from Joppa to Caesarea. Look at verse 28. This is about ten years after Pentecost, and the Crucifixion. If any of you think that the Law had long since been set aside as soon as you get into Matthew, you had better think again. Look at what Peter says when he gets to the house of Cornelius:
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation: but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
He was never convinced before this. Peter began preaching to the house of Cornelius and is moving right along with his message:
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
Keep in mind, all of these are Gentiles, with the exception of a few Jews that came with Peter, from Joppa, and I imagine they came for moral support.
“And they of the circumcision which BELIEVED (These were not the unbelieving Jews that Jesus had to put up with. These were Jews who, along with Peter, had recognized Who Jesus was. Reading on). were astonished (Ten years after Pentecost and they were astonished. Yes they were! Most people never see that word. Why were they astonished? It had never happened before. Gentiles had never come into a knowledge of salvation. Oh, there was some proselytes, but most proselytes probably never really had salvation. They had religion, as we witness the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. Oh, he was religious, he had been to Jerusalem, had worshiped, but on his way back to Ethiopia, what did Philip do? He leads him to the place of salvation. But these Jews that were with Peter were believers,), as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” How did these Jews know? Next verse:
“For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.”
What did that do to those Jews? It proved that God was doing something that they didn’t think was possible. And that was to save a Gentile, without becoming a proselyte of Israel.Here again the sign was used to convinced these Jews. Where are the Jews going to go from Cornelius’ house? Right back to Jerusalem. And what should they have done? They should have spread the Word, that God is now ready to turn to the Gentiles, without Israel. But, did they? No. You can go back to Acts 15, and you’ll find out that Peter and these that were with him had never said a word for another eight or ten years. Not one word did they pass on; that God was ready to deal with the Gentiles on His own ground, and not on the basis of using the nation of Israel.
Now, let’s go back to I Corinthians, and for the sake of content we must start with verse 18. I never like to use just one verse if I can help it. You must use the whole context, if at all possible.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;”
At some point in the next few lessons we are going to come back to the New Testament and show that so much of what we are hearing today is leaving out the Cross. And we can’t do that. No one can be saved by simply believing in Jesus. It has to be the work of the Cross. And so Paul states that here. The world may think the preaching of the Cross is foolishness, but to us that are saved, it is the power of God. It takes the power of God to save us, to set us free from the shackles of sin And that power can never be released from God until weBELIEVE THE GOSPEL. That Christ died, was buried and rose again.
I may say it again before these next four lessons are over. I always tell people that it’s not because I’m getting senile, but I repeat a lot of these things purposely for emphasis, because the Scripture does. What we have to understand is that today, even among evangelical Christians, there is too much use of what I call “clichés.” Now, you know what a cliché is? It’s just a little coined statement, that we’ve learned to use in the proper places.
I think too much of Christianity is using clichés which, if the person fully understands the whole Gospel picture, that cliché may say it all. But too many don’t. You say, “what are you talking about?” You have all heard the expression (I’ve used it and imagine you have used it) “Well, I’ve accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior.” Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but what is it? It’s a coined phrase. It’s not in the Bible! You show me one verse where it says that if you will take Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior, that you will be saved. It doesn’t say that.
Now, if you take the Lord Jesus Christ as you personal Savior, based on the fact that He, the very Son of God, became flesh, went to the Cross, shed His blood, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you put that whole truth into your cliché, then I have no problem with that. But how many people can do that? Another one we like to use is, “Well if you just believe in Jesus.” Which Jesus are you believing in? Are you believing in the Jesus of the three years that He ministered to Israel, or are you putting your faith in that Jesus that went to the Cross, and rose from the dead?
Do you see what I’m saying? How many times have you heard the expression “Well if you’ll just take Jesus into your heart,” and again, there is nothing basically wrong with that, except, unless the person who is taking Him into his heart, understands that the only reason you can have Christ in your heart, is because He died on that Cross. This is what worries me, that people are being led into a false security by simply taking a shortcut, or clichés without knowing the full truth of the matter. So we are saved by the power of God, from the preaching of the Cross.
I Corinthians 1:19-21
“For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'”
“‘Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?'”
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Isn’t that so true. The Jewish scholars studied the Torah, and still do. But they don’t know God. Recently, I received a newspaper clipping, written by one of the Chief Rabbis in Jerusalem. In so many words he said, “Concerning the coming of the Messiah: the Messiah that Israel is looking for, will be a man. All of Israel is aware of this fact and that His coming is imminent. He will come in with political clout; He will have military power behind him, and he is going to be able to set Israel up, destroy her enemies, and then from that power base, bring peace to the whole world.”
Which man are they looking for? The Anti-christ! The foregoing is a perfect description of him. The rabbi wasn’t thinking in terms of the Anti-christ; he was thinking of Israel’s Messiah. That’s the wisdom of this world. But Paul wants us to have the wisdom of God, and how do we get it? By the foolishness of preaching, to save them that BELIEVE! Remember, Faith plus Nothing. Here is the verse I was heading for; it just took a long time to get to it:
I Corinthians 1:22
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks, seek after wisdom:”
We’ll see when we go back to Exodus, that as soon as Moses approaches the children of Israel, he does all these signs that God tells him to do. And then in the next verse, it says that they believed. Why, because they saw the signs, and that’s the way it’s been all through Israel’s history. And if nothing else is remembered from this lesson, the reason Jesus spent three years performing signs and miracles up and down the land of Israel, was to prove to these Jews who He really was.