God's Guiding Hand

Advent Wednesdays  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  0:04
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
Almost 43 years ago — just turning 20 years of age — I began my first career.
It was a career selling life insurance, among other things.
My Dad was not supportive AT ALL; in fact, he tried to talk me out of it.
But, it was with a Christian organization — Lutheran — so I stuck with it.
Through this company I met my wife, Tanya.
And 20 years into a successful and financially comfortable tenure with the company, God’s hand guided me into a different direction—Specifically, Pastoral Ministry.
In a word, we were “Terrified!”
We had a very comfortable standard of living. We owned a very nice home and were quite comfortable.
I had transitioned into the realm of teaching and training, which was a lot of fun!
But, I could not shake “the call,” and I quickly found myself growing dissatisfied with my vocation, desiring a change.
Now this change would require me to finish some under-graduate work and then enter graduate school — Seminary. Already 40 years of age, and I wasn’t sure I was up to it.
Then there was the money issue — How are we going to pay for this? How are we going to support ourselves? Truth be known, our standard of living was greater than the average Pastor.
Two passages of Scripture were continually put in front of us:
Philippians 4:5b-7“The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And the other was Philippians 4:19-20“And my God will fully supply your every need, according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever! Amen.”
This was pretty much where Moses found himself. A 40 year career of being a shepherd brings him to a “call” on his life to do something very different.
He, too, had questions.
But the LORD promised — “I will certainly be with you.”
Whether we recognize it, or not, God is intimately involved and present in our Life, and He Knows What is happening in your Life; He Knows Your Struggles; and more importantly, He Knows What You Need.

God is intimately involved and present in our life!

God Knows What’s Happening

In this evening’s text Moses was tending sheep in Midian: This turned out to be
Preparation for the work God has for him in the future.
He would be shepherding, or tending, God’s flock.
While looking for pasture and water, Moses came to Horeb.
What a bizarre sight Moses must seen in a bush burning, but not consumed.
Yet, our text explains how this was all possible. It was “the angel of the Lord” appearing to Moses.
The Angel of the Lord is not one of God’s created angels but, rather, the Lord Jesus himself! The term “the angel of the Lord” is a familiar expression used throughout the OT for the second person of the Holy Trinity — Jesus Himself, before He took on human flesh.
He manifests Himself as a burning bush. This angel identified himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and of his people Israel, whom Moses will free from Egypt.
Up to this point, the angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar (Ge 16:7) and as a voice from heaven telling Abraham not to kill Isaac (Ge 22:11).
God, who had been silent for hundreds of years, was now speaking to Moses out of this burning bush, calling him by name.
7The Lord said, “I have certainly seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry for help because of their slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8So I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey… 9Now indeed, the Israelites’ cry for help has come to me. Yes, I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7–10 (EHV)).
These verses let us know that God indeed hears and answers the prayers of his children.
He has seen the affliction of his people, but his time had not yet come.
The Israelites had turned to him in prayer, and their situation was never hidden from the mind and heart of God.
The time had come for God to “come down to rescue them.”
So, He steps into their history in a miraculous way so that they might always know that he is responsible for this deliverance.
He will also fulfill the promise he made to Abraham centuries before (Ge 12:7; 17:8).
The Israelites had a homeland reserved for them by God’s promise.
It was a good land and a spacious, contrasting it to the confinement of their bondage.
It was “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
God tells Moses that he should go because he was sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring it all to pass.
It was not an easy task for Moses, leading the people to their homeland.
Though God had indeed rescued His people from their slavery, in answer to their prayers, it was a 40 year journey to the Promised Land.
They complained about all manner of things, and food was at the top of their list.
Yet, God was faithful amid the peoples unfaithfulness. God did fulfill the promise He made to Abraham.
God is in the rescuing business.

God Knows Your Struggles

This entire account, including the burning bush is designed to be a “type” of the final thing yet to come.
Jesus becoming flesh and blood, instead of a burning bush, took place because of our bondage to sin and death, and being unable to free ourselves.
Our Lord Jesus hears our cries for help and so at just the right time, God came down, put on human flesh, to deal with the most important struggles we face today.
God keeps his promises, with a big one found in Genesis 3:15, where He declares, The seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent, and this serpent will bruise His heel.
The biggest struggle we face in this life is death, and an eternity of suffering. This is the bondage the world is shackled by. They cannot break free of it, no matter how hard one tries.
We see nothing but suffering in this world, and yet in our hubris we think we can solve it on our own.
The problem is, we live in a broken world. And the events in Genesis between the serpent, the woman, and man is what broke it. Sin entered the world, something God never intended, and we think we can fix it.
If we just did the right things, we can turn the tide.
But, all of our works are nothing but filthy rags, as Isaiah 64:6 tells us:
Isaiah 64:6 (EHV)
6 All of us have become like something unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like a filthy cloth.
What we need is a Savior who can sift through the mess that we have made of things and put everything right!
And that is exactly what God has done!
The problem is, depending on the situation, we have a difficult time accepting the fact that Jesus and His Word is the only infallible authority for all matters of faith and life.
Doctors don’t know the cure for what ails us, but Jesus does.
The other part of our problem is many times our idea of the cure is different than Jesus, so we are quick to dismiss turning to him.
The Israelites were the same way when Moses was leading them to the Promised Land. And as a result, what should have only been a 2-week journey turned into a 40-year journey. They constantly grumbled and complained against Moses.
Like the Israelites, we grumble and complain against Pastors, and this has especially been on the rise during this age of COVID.
God is in the rescuing business and came for all of humanity. But instead of coming in the form of a burning bush and sending a Moses, Jesus came Himself. He became a human being to rescue humanity from their slavery to sin and death.

He Knows What You Need

God is not some impersonal supreme being, who sits above us in heaven, wondering what’s happening on earth. He knows exactly what’s happening here on earth;
He is aware of the condition of his people;
He has heard your prayers for mercy and help
And, He knows each and every one of you by name.
What’s more, He cares for you in every way that is in keeping with his plan for history;
that means our individual histories as well as the history of the world and the church will work out for the best (Ro 8:28).
Romans 8:28 EHV
28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose,
Jesus Christ came at just the right time in history to solve, once and for all, every problem that we face in life.
Through His life and death, resurrection and ascension is the solution to all that troubles us this day.
And now, He has gone to prepare a place for you in His kingdom, with a promise that He will come again and receive you to Himself.
In other words, like the Promised Land of old, heaven is Paradise Restored. Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden, and now because of Jesus, He promises that our new home will look like this.
Revelation 7:15–17 EHV
15 Because of this they are in front of the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 They will never be hungry or thirsty ever again. The sun will never beat upon them, nor will any scorching heat, 17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
God keeps His promises:
He made a promise to the Israelites of old that He would rescue them from their bondage, and He kept that promise
He also made a promise to us today that His new covenant will not be like the one of old, the one the people broke — and He kept that promise
He further made a promise concerning a Messiah to save us from our bondage to sin, death, and the devil — and He kept that promise.
Finally, He made a final promise about His Father’s kingdom and that He’s going to prepare a place for us, and will come again to receive us — and this promise is partially fulfilled.
The point is, if God made and kept every single promise in history — including the sending of Jesus to die for our sin — you can trust Him to keep this final one.
He who revealed Himself to Moses in the branches of a bush has now taken on your flesh and blood in order that you might become His branches, that you might be joined to Him and draw your life from Him.
Apart from Jesus, the branches wither and die and are burned in judgment.
But abiding in Jesus, the branches thrive and share in the fire of His divine life.
Jesus Christ is indeed a holy vine that took root in Bethlehem and that has now spread throughout the earth.
Truly then, the burning bush is a great sign of our Lord’s coming at Christmas, a living prophecy of His incarnation.
As you prepare to celebrate this nativity of our Lord, God grant that He who is that flame of fire may light your hearts with penitent faith and holy love.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more