The Man God Tried to Kill

The Man God Tried to Kill

Scripture: Exodus 4:24, James 4:17, John 9:41
There is a Bible reference about a man God sought to kill. This broadcast looks at this strange Bible verse and at the life of the man spoken of -- Moses. We will learn that God has very clear commandments and expects us to be obedient.
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During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, freedom marches were held all across the United States. Listen, friends, have you read the account of history's greatest and most successful freedom march? It was a nonviolent movement involving millions of people who had been held in virtual slavery. The heroic leader of the movement was almost killed before he could begin his work. And the strangest thing of all is that God tried to kill him. I wonder if you have read the story for yourself. Perhaps you didn't even know that there was such an account in the Bible. Let's read it then so that you will know that I'm not just making a play upon words. The text is found in Exodus 4:24, "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him." Now, there you have the man, friends. Why did God meet this individual in a hotel room and try to kill him? And what is the reason that God did not complete that work? Strange as it may seem, that man lived on to become one of the great leaders of God's work in the Old Testament.

The man, of course, was Moses. He was on his way to Egypt with his wife and son where he was to stand before Pharaoh and lead out the hard-pressed Israelites in the greatest freedom march on record. It had now been forty years since Moses fled as a refugee from Egypt after having slain an Egyptian. During those long years he had been employed as a shepherd in the backside of the wilderness of Sinai taking care of sheep and learning some of the humble lessons of patience and humility so necessary for his appointed work. He had also been unlearning some of the things that he had absorbed in the great universities of Egypt in his earlier years. He had finished his college course at the University of Heliopolis and was among the most wise, cultured scholars on the face of the earth at that time.

I'm sure that Moses must have wondered just why God was allowing him to remain in that Sinai desert during those forty years of shepherding. With his tremendous educational background, it would seem that he could do a greater and more important work. His first forty years had been spent in Egypt learning all of the political, social, economic and religious wisdom which would apply to an heir-apparent to the throne of Egypt. There was probably not another man in all the world who had such a preparation for leadership. Yet in that very year when he seemed so promising, God sent him back into the wilderness to spend another forty years just taking care of sheep. During that time he learned to be very patient and tender, and he also married a wife. Both of these are tremendous accomplishments. No doubt both also had much to do with his preparation for the future work God had in mind for him to perform.

Apparently Moses had a divine curiosity, because one day as he followed the familiar well-worn paths with his sheep, he noticed a bush burning over to the side of the trail. Strangely enough the bush did not seem to be consumed in the flame, and Moses drew near out of curiosity. As he came closer, suddenly God spoke to him out of that burning bush and said, "Come not near, but take off your shoes from your feet, this is holy ground where you stand." Then we have a dialogue recorded in the Scriptures between God and Moses. God wanted Moses to go down to Egypt and be the deliverer of the Israelites. He was to face Pharaoh and bring about a mighty emancipation of all the enslaved Jews from the land of Egypt. To Moses it seemed to be an impossible assignment. He had forgotten much of the language, and his speech, apparently, was rather stammering and hesitating. He pleaded with God to release him from the divine commission. In response, God gave him the assurance that Aaron could be his spokesman before the king. And through his shepherd's rod God demonstrated the great miracles of power that would be manifested before the king so he would be willing to release the people.

At last everything was settled, Moses was on his way to Egypt with his wife and son to join Aaron who was to be his spokesman before the king. It was on that trip toward Egypt that God met Moses in a hotel room and sought to kill him. What a strange thing this was for God to perform toward the man who was to be the great lawgiver and deliverer of Israel. No, it is not so strange when you read the other verses in connection with the story. This strange interlude in the hotel becomes very clear when we understand that Moses had neglected to obey one of the commandments of God. My friends, please don't miss this point in our story today. God expects us to live the message we believe. He gave commandments in order that we might obey them, not neglect them. We must live and act the truth just as surely as we believe it and preach it to others.

Moses was to be God's man to stand before the people of Egypt. But he could not be God's man in Egypt unless he was God's man in his own household. Moses was to be used of God in reviving the commandments of heaven in the great land of Egypt. He was to tell the people what was right, and he was to show them by his life also what was right. But for some reason he had neglected, forgotten, or procrastinated in obeying one of the direct commandments of God, and that one had to do with circumcision. God had given Abraham the rite of circumcision. It was to be a mark of the chosen people of God. Moses, for some reason, had neglected to perform this rite upon his own son. Perhaps in all the hurry and rush of getting ready to go to Egypt the performance of the ceremony had been overlooked. But now, before he could get into his work, he was brought face to face with his accountability to God. If he was going to preach to others, he would have to live up to all the rules himself. It almost seemed as though God said to him, "Moses, settle it now, once and for all, that you will be my man or not. Are you going to do it with all your heart and soul? I can't have a man representing me who will not obey me in all things. Now which way are you going, settle it now." Well, you can read the whole story for yourself. Moses' wife quickly intervened and the act of circumcision was performed instantly upon the child, and Moses' life was saved.

Now what does this story have to teach us who live in this 20th century? My friends, there is a tremendous lesson concerning the way God deals with human beings. He means exactly what He says. There can be no excuse for neglecting or overlooking obedience to any commandment contained in God's word. God is particular about His orders. He doesn't say things that are not significant and meaningful. He gives no commands that are not to be obeyed by His children. We either show our love for Him and our loyalty by being completely faithful and obedient, or else we show our disloyalty by disobeying in even one point. This story illustrates that everything can be lost over the issue of one point of disobedience. How contrary this must appear to multitudes of people living in the age of relativity and existentialism. Modern church members and theologians alike are steering far away from any position of absolute laws of life and conduct. The obsessive urge to find more personal freedom has led millions of people to refute and deny the binding claims of God's holy ten-commandment law.

The popularity of the freedom movement has reached an alarming crescendo in the days in which we now live. The few feeble Protestant voices still trying to uphold the Bible and the Bible only as the platform for personal conduct are being completely overwhelmed and drowned out by the cries of the liberals and modernists. The great ten commandments of God are being ridiculed and belittled. The strangest thing of all is that the theologians are speaking in the loudest denunciation of that law. The ones who have the greatest light are also rejecting the greatest light. What does God think of this situation, friends?

Notice James 4:17, "Therefore to him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Religious leaders are going to be called to an accountability that very few others will have to face. The greater our knowledge of truth, the more responsible we are for living that truth and bearing witness of it to others. Jesus spoke these words in John 15:22. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin." My friends, the man who refuses to walk in the light which has come to him is in the most deadly position of sin. One of the greatest insults to God is to reject truth that He has allowed to shine in our pathway. One of the greatest favors that heaven can bestow upon us is to lead us into an understanding of the truth of God's word. How strange it is that multitudes will actually pray for that truth and then refuse to walk in it after it does come. The guilt of certain people is much more emphasized in the words of Jesus in John 9:41, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." With these words in mind, we need but remind ourselves that we are living in the most enlightened period of earth's history. Spiritual revelation of truth has come from God's word, yet in terms of obedience to God's clearly revealed laws, it is undoubtedly the most dark and discouraging period that has ever been known to man.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 11:21 seem especially appropriate to our own unbelieving age. He said, "for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." Surely we can say that no other generation has seen greater confirmation of the truth than the one in which we live. All the discoveries of archaeology have confirmed the Bible as the very word of God. Hundreds of signs have been fulfilled before our very eyes which were described in minute detail in the words of our Lord. The evidences are continually before us that not one word of divine prophecy has failed in describing the world as it is in this 20th century.

Yet, even as it was in the days of Jesus, men still refuse to believe the overpowering spiritual evidences of God before their very eyes. Modernists, theologians, and liberals will not relinquish their positions of unbelief and skepticism. But their refusal to believe the truth will only bring a more profound condemnation. Satan will be able to take such in his subtle snare of deception. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 we read these words, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." That is very strange language, friends, to be found in the Bible, yet it describes those who will deliberately close their eyes to the revealed truth of heaven. By insisting upon their own way and their own interpretation, their own relative values, God at last abandons them to their course of self-made morality and righteousness. They are deluded into believing that a lie is actually the truth.

The only true security that anyone can find in these days of relative values is by clinging to the one infallible source of revelation, God's word. Unless a man believes that as the very revelation of truth, he will inevitably be swept away by the tides of human opinion and tradition. The man who rejects the word of God as inspired does not have a single foothold upon which to anchor a saving faith. In the light of these things today, may God enable you to gather up all the rays of light that have fallen on your pathway and walk in obedience to that light. Do not be deceived by the devious philosophizing and arguing of men. 1 John 3:7 says, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil." There it is without a lot of sugar-coating and icing. The man who lives a righteous, obedient life is the man whom God can save. The one who commits and condones sin is of the devil. There can be no middle path, no compromise between the two. The cleansing power of God's grace is sufficient for us only as we continue to walk a path of obedience.

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