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Expect God to Do the Unexpected

Exodus 7

Jim Davis

A young man went to see a fortune-teller. She studied his hand and told him, "You will be poor and completely miserable until you are 41 years old." The man said, "Then what will happen? Will I become rich?" "No, " said the fortune teller. "You'll always be poor, but you'll become accustomed to it so that it no longer makes your miserable."

When life fails to meet your expectations, you should expect God to do the unexpected. We become discouraged when life, people and God don't meet our expectations. We believe that we live in a cause-and-effect world. We believe things are supposed to turn out a certain way. We believe that if we continue to do "A", eventually it will result in "B" but life doesn't work that way. It is in these times that we need to expect God to do the unexpected. We have nothing to lose by expecting God to do the unexpected in our lives. Our lives aren't going anywhere without him anyway. We may discover that the unexpected exceeds our expectations.

When we come to Exodus chapter 7, God is about to do the unexpected for Moses. We find Moses alienated from the world. He has been to the Pharaoh seeking deliverance for the Hebrew slaves. The Pharaoh didn't meet his expectations. The Pharaoh only increased the burdens of the Hebrews. Increased burdens only spelt trouble in Goshen. Moses finds himself alienated from his world. Moses is one lone person in a world of confusion. All his expectations had proved fruitless. Now God is asking Moses to expect the unexpected.

Exodus 6:28-7:5
Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt, he said to him, "I am the LORD. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you." But Moses said to the LORD, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?" Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it." (NIV)

When Moses became discouraged, God tells Moses to expect the unexpected. God really can't deliver us from the enslavement of sin until we trust him to do the unexpected. Pharaoh thinks he is god. But God tells Moses that Moses will become God to the Pharaoh.

There are certain things we must do before God can do the unexpected with our lives.

We Must Confront Our Problems in God's Presence

When Moses fails to meet his personal expectations in seeking to resolve the problems, he confronts his failed personal expectations in the presence of God. "Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt, he said to him, 'I am the LORD. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.' But Moses said to the LORD, 'Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?' 'See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.'" Moses believed that he had failed because he lacked the abilities to accomplish God’s task. Moses was blaming his own inadequacies for his failure. Yet, he was courageous enough to confront his problems in the presence of God. It was as if Moses was saying, "Look God I have this weakness that prevents me from accomplishing your purpose."

At least Moses brought his problem to God. The Bible has much to say about confronting our problems in the presence of God.

James 5:13-18
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (NIV)

Have you ever wondered why God didn't make Moses speak with the tongues of men and angels? It was because God was in the process of revealing himself through the unexpected and the unbelievable. God wasn't depending on any natural abilities that Moses possessed. Too often we are looking for God to give us the ability and strength to do what needs to be done. God wants us to rely on his power and wisdom.

It was Moses weakness that made God’s work possible. Moses’ weakness brought him to the realization of his need of God. God wants to do his work in spite of our weaknesses and inabilities. God's power would be perfected through Moses' weaknesses. This would be done without eliminating Moses' weaknesses. Too many of us are waiting on God to eliminate our inabilities before we start to work for God. It's not going to happen. If it did happen we would start relying on our own strength and ingenuity.

1 Corinthians 1:24-29
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (NIV)

Moses was like most of us; he measured himself by his natural abilities. We take spiritual gift test to ascertain our qualifications to do certain works in God’s kingdom. We focus on our talents, abilities or interests as we seek to determine what God is calling us to do. Amazingly, God was calling Moses to do something he had no natural ability to do. He was calling Moses to do something that could not be done by the natural man. Moses was educated in all the ways of the Egyptians. He was mighty in words and actions, but those natural abilities were powerless to accomplish God’s purpose. Initially, they were a hindrance.

God is always ready to do his greatest work at precisely the moment we begin to think things are hopeless. The moment Moses reaches the end of his rope, God steps in and says, "Don't worry, I have everything under control. I am going to let Aaron be your spokesman and when I get through, Pharaoh will think you are God."

God's power is far beyond anything we can comprehend, so why shouldn't we expect God to do the unimaginable? Why shouldn’t we seek to follow his will?

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)

It was no accident that Moses sought God after each plague. It is no accident that each time God did what was unexpected. Moses' courage to confront the problems he faced in the presence of God made it all possible. If Moses had of left Egypt in bitter disappointment as he had forty years earlier, God's power would have been limited by his failure to expect the unexpected.

We Must Believe in God's Wisdom

It doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are, there is one lesson we all must learn in life. God can't do the unexpected with our lives until we do what he says. Even if doing what he says doesn't make things work as we expect them to. Even if doing what he says doesn't seem to make sense.

Exodus 7:6-9
Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' then say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,' and it will become a snake." (NIV)

God is not trying to increase our abilities. He is trying to produce faith in him regardless of our abilities. That is where life with God begins. Life begins with a step-by-step faith as we obey the will of God. A life of faith doesn't require that we see the end from the beginning. Faith only requires us to take the step God instructs us to take.

Exodus 7:10-14
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. "Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen just as the LORD had said." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. (NIV)

You must see the progress Moses is making in these verses. Moses and Aaron did what God commanded. He throws down his staff; it becomes a snake that swallows up the snakes of the sorcerers. This time when Pharaoh's heart became hard, they saw it as the work of God. Notice what Moses says, "Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen . . . just as the LORD had said." Moses now sees Pharaoh's unwillingness to listen as a fulfillment of what God had said. Pharaoh's unwillingness is no longer seen as the result of Moses' inabilities. Moses’ personal willingness to obey God allowed him to see the hand of God at work.

Before God can work the unexpected in your life you must believe in his willingness to remove the obstacles in your path as you choose to obey him.

Matthew 17:14-20
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

These verses don't say what we think they say. These verses don't say what most of us want them to say. They do tell us that God can't work the unexpected in our lives because of our expectations of ourselves. The disciples ask, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" Do you see the emphasizes on "we"? They were depending on their own abilities: "Why couldn't "we" do it?" God can only do the unexpected to remove the impossibilities when we trust and obey him. And remember, you can only do it if it is within his will. If it is within his will, it makes little difference whether it makes any earthly sense or not.

God is working with Moses as you work with a child to get the child to take its first step. Moses tells God he can't speak well enough, so God gives him someone to speak for him. However, God reminds Moses that no matter how it is said, or who says it, Pharaoh will not listen. To persuade Moses to take that first step in faith God gives him Aaron to speak for him.

Moses is beginning to realize that when he does what God tells him to do things work "just as the Lord had said." If we do exactly what the Lord says, things will always work out just as the Lord has said. This is the first great step we all must take in faith. It is scary to stop trusting in yourself and start believing and following God's will. However it is the only way to live beyond what is expected.

Do you think that Aaron ever ask Moses, "Are you sure this is what you want me to say?" And then Moses responds by saying, "Yes, this is what God wants you to say, but you had better be careful about how you say it to the Pharaoh. You might get your head chopped off." Aaron may have been the more courageous of the two.

We Must Understand What God Is Doing

Before God can work the unexpected in our lives we must seek to understand what he is doing. We want to be doing something. Many times we are shouting, "Don’t just stand there, do something!" We feel like we must be doing and doing and doing. God isn’t just interested in you doing something. He wants you to become involved in what he is doing. I think God would like to tell us, "Don’t just do something; stand there!" Then he could get our attention long enough to direct our lives into what he is doing.

We want God to show us the way. We want God to give us a road map that will direct us to our final destination. We want God to give us the direction to head. We want God to tell us where he wants us to be. The next thing we would do is to plot our own course to reach that destination. We would be thinking get out of my way and I will get there on my own. After all, I know where I am going. Moses had already spent forty years herding sheep because he tried to plot his on course.

Too many of us are asking, "What is God’s will for my life?" We should be asking, "What is God’s will?" Once you know God’s will you can adjust your life to fit his purposes. Once you know what God is doing, you can know what you need to do. God wants you to become involved in what he is doing. When you discover what God is doing, you will discover what God wants to accomplish through you.

Usually we are two busy trying to get God to work our will in our lives. We want God to adjust his will to fit our purposes. If we knew where we were going we would devise our own plans as how to get there. Then we would ask God to bless our plans for our lives.

God wants your faith to grow through experience. Experience comes in following God one day at a time. We walk by faith and not by sight. God seldom gave extensive details on the front end. When God calls us he doesn’t give us all the details up front. God told Abraham to get out of his country. God’s call wasn’t that specific. Abraham didn’t know where he was going. God simply called him out of his country into a land that God would later show him. He didn’t know the details up front. Initially, the important thing was just to get out. The important thing was to take that first step. Without that step things remain the same.

Actually it is much easier to just take one step at a time than it is to know everything beforehand. How many of us would have taken the road to where we are now if we had known about the obstacles in our path beforehand? I don’t think I would have been preaching for 28 years if I had known the hardships beforehand.

When you step out one step at a time it allows God to fill your life with his presence. It allows God to work through you to the accomplishing of his will. It will be God at work in you. Moses finally realized God was all he needed. God is all you need. When you follow one step at a time you will find yourself in the center of God’s will for your life.

When you follow one step at a time into the will of God you will become more confident with each step. Moses returns to the Pharaoh three times. The first time he appears before Pharaoh God causes Moses’ staff to become a snake and it swallows up the sorcerer's snakes. The second time God turns the water to blood. The third time Moses returns to the Pharaoh God brings the plague of frogs upon Egypt. It was during the third plague that the Pharaoh comes to Moses.

Exodus 8:8-14
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD." Moses said to Pharaoh, "I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile." "Tomorrow," Pharaoh said. Moses replied, "It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile." After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. (NIV)

Moses begins to realize what is taking place according to God's will. Moses begins to step out confidently into the will of God. The Pharaoh says, "Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away . . ." Moses simply asks, "When do you want it to happen?" Pharaoh set the time. Then Moses goes before God and asks God to remove the frogs according to the Pharaoh's timetable. "And the Lord did what Moses ask." Do you see Moses' confidence beginning to build? Moses is being converted to a man of confidence as he seeks to obey God’s call. The "Lord did what Moses ask" because Moses was doing what God ask him to do. Now you see God and Moses working together to accomplish God's purpose.

It was in the fourth plague that God fully reveals himself as the God of the Hebrews. After the frogs God sent the gnats. After gnats came the flies, but the fourth plague was different.

Exodus 8:20-24
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are. "'But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.'" And the LORD did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh's palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies. (NIV)

The first three plagues come upon the Egyptians and Hebrews alike. Now God will make a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians. This distinction proclaims God's favor on the Hebrews. What the Hebrews experience was comparable to being in the eye of a hurricane where all is calm. The storm is raging on all sides, but the center is calm. The flies are swarming all over Egypt, but Goshen is peaceful as the Hebrews experience the unexpected.

There is a vast distinction between the people of God and the people of the world. The people of God enjoy the protective hand of God as they seek to do heaven’s bidding. They live anticipating God to do the unexpected as their lives unfold before them one step at a time. The child of God grows more confident with each step taken. The further you go into the will of God the more confident you are in the unexpected work of God.

Conclusion:

There are too many of us today trying to do the work of the Lord while focused on our natural abilities. We are looking to our natural abilities for the confidence we need to step out and live for the Lord. Instead, we should be placing our confidence in the Lord. Only the Lord can accomplish his purposes in our lives. Only then will God do the unexpected.

Remember, great men aren't born they are made. They are made as they yield to God's will one step at a time. God is calling you into his will, but you must take the first step in faith.

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

Jesus wants you to share his yoke. Yokes are made for two. His invitation is for you to get into his yoke with him. Getting into the yoke with Jesus allows you to begin working where Jesus is already working. That allows him to accomplish his work through you. It becomes easy and light as we remain yoked to God through Christ.

God will never ask you to do anything that he will not enable you to do. When we become yoked with God we can depend upon his supernatural power and wisdom to accomplish his work in and through us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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