Exodus 3:11

1. THE HINDRANCE FOUND IN THE SENSE OF OUR OWN WEAKNESS (vers. 11, 12).

1. Moses knew the pomp and pride of the Egyptian court. He remembered how Israel had rejected him when he was more than he was now. Once he had believed himself able for the task, but he was wiser now: "Who am I?" etc. He might serve God in the lowly place he held, but not there. Moses in this the type of multitudes. God's call for service is met on every hand by the cry, "Who am I that I should go?"

2. How God meets this sense of weakness.

(1) By the assurance of his presence. It was not Moses only that should go, but God also. The conviction that he is with us, and that we speak for him, makes the meekest bold, the weakest strong.

(2) By the assurance of success: "Ye shall serve God upon this mountain. He is armed with faith and hope. From self let us look to God and his pledged word.

II. THE HINDRANCE FOUND IN THE SENSE OF OUR IGNORANCE (vers. 13-17).

1. His own thought of God was dim. How then could he carry conviction to the hearts of the people? The same lack of clear, living thought of God keeps tongues tied to-day.

2. How it may be removed.

(1) God is THE UNCHANGING ONE. He had revealed himself to their fathers: he was all this still. It was his memorial for ever. Grasping this thought, all the past is God's revelation.

(2) He takes with him a gospel for present need (vers. 16, 17), and these two things will be God's full revelation. We must make men apprehend the revelation which God has given of himself in the past, and proclaim him as the God of to-day. I have surely visited you, and I will bring you up out of the affliction." - U.







Who am I?
I. IT IS SOMETIMES OCCASIONED BY UNDUE AND DEPRECIATING THOUGHTS OF SELF.

1. By undue thought of our social position.

2. By undue thought of our intellectual weakness.

3. By undue thought of our moral inability.

II. IT IS SOMETIMES OCCASIONED BY AN UNDUE ESTIMATION OF THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE WORK.

1. This may arise from the depressing experiences of youth.

2. This may arise from the removal of friendly aids.

III. IT IS SOMETIMES OCCASIONED BY OUR NOT APPRECIATING, AS WE OUGHT, THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND HELP.

1. The Divine presence is our guide.

2. The Divine presence is our sustaining influence.

3. The Divine presence is our victory.

IV. IT SHOULD BE REMOVED BY THE HOPES WITH WHICH IT IS ANIMATED.

1. By the hope of achieving the freedom of a vast nation.

2. By the hope of leading a vast nation into the land of promise. Moses was to lead the Israelites into Canaan:

(1)Fertile.

(2)Abundance.

(3)Beauty.So, the minister of Christ has to lead men to heaven — this is the hope by which he is animated — and ought to subdue all timidity — and inspire him with holy joy.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. God may sometimes be denied by the best of men in their infirmity.

2. The best souls are apt to have the lowest thoughts of themselves for God's work.

3. Visible difficulties in the Church may dishearten men to work.

4. The power of Egyptian oppressors may startle weak instruments of deliverance.

5. The redemption of men from the house of bondage is a startling fact.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. To change the views.

2. To calm the temper.

3. To humble the soul.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

No wonder that he so inquired. The message seemed to be much greater than the messenger. He works best who magnifies his office. Preachers, and all ministers of good, should see their work to be greater than themselves if they would work at the highest point of energy. Let a man suppose his work to be easy, to be unworthy of his talents, and he will not achieve much success.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. GOOD MEN OFTEN WANT GREATER CONFIDENCE IN THE SERVICE OF GOD.

1. Distrust may arise from an honest conviction of personal unfitness. The most suitable workers are often the most diffident. Great talkers are little workers.

2. Distrust may arise from a false impression of opposing difficulties. Our estimate of what we can accomplish should be measured by our determination and love.

3. Distrust may arise from a positive relapse of religious fervour. Love inspires zeal.

II. GOOD MEN OFTEN WANT SPECIAL ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE SERVICE OF GOD.

1. God encourages His servants by the assurance of His presence. He will give —

(1)Strength for every conflict;

(2)Wisdom for every emergency;

(3)Protection from every danger.

2. God encourages His servants by the assurance of ultimate success.

III. GOOD MEN OFTEN REQUIRE MINUTE INSTRUCTION IN THE SERVICE OF GOD. When Moses determined to go to the Israelites, he anticipated the difficulties that would arise. They would want proof of his Divine commission, and he asks, "What shall I say unto them?"

1. We should inquire of God respecting our secular engagements. Why am I engaged in this work, and not in some other? What is the object for which I work? What is the influence of my work upon my life? What is the spirit in which I work?

2. We should inquire of God respecting our intellectual tendencies. This is an age of intellectual unrest. Old theories are discarded, and old doctrines thrown aside. Am I wandering from the old paths? Am I resting on the true foundation?

3. We should inquire of God respecting our religious progress. Spiritual life necessitates spiritual growth. Our progress may be slow and imperceptible, but it must advance or perish. Are we going forward in the Divine life? Is faith stronger? is love deeper? is zeal more intense?

IV. GOOD MEN OFTEN RECEIVED DIVINE AUTHORITY FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD.

1. What evidence had Moses of his Divine commission? It was attested by a miraculous call.

2. What evidence had the Israelites of his Divine commission? It was attested by a miraculous power.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)

These words indicate humility, not fear. Among the grounds which he alleges for his hesitation, in no instance is there any allusion to personal danger; what he feared was failure owing to incompetency, especially in the power of expression. This shrinking from self-assertion is the quality which seems to be specially intimated by the word rendered "meek" in Numbers 12:3.

(Canon Cook.)

Some people in studying this passage in the life of Moses will praise his humility. His pleas were all on the ground of personal unworthiness or unfitness for the great work. But let us not be deceived. That "humility" is not to be commended that shrinks from any duty which God commands. At Baalbec, in a quarry, lies a magnificent block, almost detached and ready for transportation. It was undoubtedly intended to be placed with its fellows in the wall which supported the Temple of the Sun. So large, so grand, it is a failure, because it never filled the place for which it was hewn. Like failures are many human lives. Who can tell how many men lie among the wastes and ruins of life, that God designed to fill grand places, but that, when called, refused to go? They folded their talents away in the napkins of supposed humility, of self-distrust, or of indolence or disobedience, and buried them in the earth. For ever they will lie in the quarries, pale ghosts of glorious "might have beens," while the places in God's temple which they were meant to fill remain for ever vacant. We can only make our lives successful by promptly, joyfully, and unhesitatingly accepting every call of our Master to His service, by putting ourselves utterly into His hands to be used anywhere, in any way, in any work, for any end, as He may direct.

(The Westminster Teacher.)

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