Failure is fatal. Once a loser, always a loser. You failed once, you’ll fail again. You might as well give up and stop trying.
Instead of basing our lives on to God’s grace, we believe poetry like that written by the hymn writer, Hezekiah Butterworth (1839-1905). He penned a hymn, “The bird with the broken pinion,” in which the phrase is repeated, “There is healing for every pain; but the bird with a broken pinion never soars as high again.” It may be wonderful poetry, but it is poor theology.
Scripture gives numerous examples of people who failed and yet who were used by God in tremendous ways. Abraham was a liar but was later known as the friend of God. Jacob went from deceiver to the father of the twelve tribes. Rahab was a prostitute who saved two spies and became the great-grandmother of King David. Jonah ran from God but was later used to bring a great revival to the city of Nineveh. John Mark bailed out on his first missionary assignment but was later considered profitable for ministry. The apostle Paul persecuted the church but later helped plant and establish churches. Moses was a murderer and a fugitive who later served to deliver Israel from bondage in Egypt.
Exodus 3:1-10 tells the story of how God interrupted Moses’ life and gave him a second chance to know and serve God. Moses was serving as a shepherd when God appeared to him in the ordinary events of life (1-3). His nomadic shepherding duties took him to the Sinai Peninsula. It was there he was astounded by a burning bush.
The miracle was not that a bush was burning. Being in the desert, bushes often became dry and brittle. A stray spark or a lightning strike might cause any number of bushes to catch fire. The miracle was that the bush kept on burning and was not consumed. It grabbed Moses’ attention and drew him closer to investigate.
Through the encounter, God gave Moses a fresh vision of himself (4-10).
- God spoke to Moses out of the bush (4).
- God charged Moses to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground (5). On the one hand, Moses was to keep a respectful distance between him and God, but he was also not to let anything come between him and God.
- By identifying himself with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God reveals himself as the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God (6).
- God reveals his compassion with the phrases, “I have seen the affliction … I have heard their cry … I know their sufferings …” (7). God cares about his people.
- God is personally interested (8-9). “I have come down to deliver.” Rather than be detached or distant, God is actively concerned and involved.
- God is a redeemer (8). God will bring Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
- God invites us to join him (10). Moses discovers his life purpose as the deliverer of Israel. In the same way, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
When God gives you a second chance, take every opportunity to know him better. Like Moses, we should turn aside, listen up, strip down, accept God’s invitation, and discover who God is and our role in his plan.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 2, 2017. It is part of a series on the life of Moses. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.