Sunday, 3 September 2017

A People Rescued - Exodus 3

This year we have been looking at the big overall story, with our theme 'His Story - Our Story'. God acting in the world He created, and us finding our place in it. We have looked also at stories of individuals and some families. Into this term we are now looking at the story of a whole people, a race, with God leading them on a journey, shaping them, preparing them for bigger purposes. Hence for the next few weeks we are considering "A People Called".

Most was out tending the flock in the open. See how ordinary that situation was: a guy, some sheep, and no doubt here and there some sheep poo on the ground! In the ordinariness God appears: the strange sight of the bush burning yet not being consumed. Then a voice calling Moses by name. Somehow into the ordinariness of life God is intervening and calling.

Moses is told the ground is holy. Now there was nothing special in the ground itself ... but it is now holy because God makes it holy with his presence. In that special place the plans for Moses are revealed, the calling on his life.

Key Qn: [UP] What is God's calling on your life?

At the Countess Free Church calling is important to us. No matter how ordinary our lives are, we encourage people to discover that underlying sense of why they are here.

Moses investigated the strange sight of the bush, staring into it. He was smart enough to have a sense of wonder. Imagine if he had not done so - no revelation, no call! Let us be smart enough to be open to wonder too ...

Challenge: Be open to wonder!

God unpacks the situation in v7. He has seen the misery, heard the crying of the race-relations of Moses. See how God is involved, seeing the suffering and having emotion. Jesus shows the same, e.g. the incident where he landed and saw the suffering in the crowd. We are told he had compassion, rolled up his sleeves and went to them to minister. Here in Exodus v8 He says 'I have come down to rescue'. This is not simply God sending Moses on an errand, but God Himself come, being active, rescuing among the people.

In other words this is Immanuel - God with us, come as rescuer and saviour. Our put another way it is Christmas, albeit 1,000 years early!

But with the rescue is a call. In v10 God sends Moses to Pharaoh to bring the people out. They were to be rescued, to learn to walk with God, to live a life of worship. This is all good, but it is not the whole story. For they were also to be a sign and witness to the whole world, that everyone might look to God. This was not just a call for Moses, but a whole people called.

As a church we do not understand ourselves as just a number of individuals, but as a people called. In fact a simple but reasonable definition of 'church' is 'a people called'. Our gatherings, e.g. on a Sunday, are an expression of us together, but not the whole story, for God has bigger purposes for us. Gathering is good, but each of us will actually grow more as we go and set about the calling God has for us. In fact we gather to scatter - taking the collective call across the city.

Our vision as a church is to see Kingdom Life across the City. For that we will need the grace of God, and we will need our own rescue from whatever holds us. We will need God leading and shaping us together as a people. We will also need to understand and pay attention to God's bigger call.

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