|Series Theme: Meditations in Lessons from Israel|
Meditation No. 5
Meditation Title: God of Signs
Ex 3:12 And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt , you will worship God on this mountain."
My daughter, now happily married and mother of two, was confessing the other day how useless she is at navigating around the country in a car. The fact that she had a qualification in geography didn't help her reading maps and so out of exasperation I eventually said, “Well you could at least just follow the signs.” The signposts on Britain 's road are generally good and all you need to do is follow the signs and you'll get there but my daughter, like many, obviously doesn't like following the signs. I think this must be her equivalent to the male ‘thing' of not wanting to read the instructions on the flat pack until we are desperate! Why are we blind to signs?
Well the Bible has a lot to say about signs and Moses is being given a sign at the moment (perhaps not a very helpful one you may think but we'll come to that later). Probably the classic ‘sign-demander' in the Bible was Gideon (Judges 6:36 -40) with the famous fleece incident. The amazing thing is that the Lord went along with it.
In the New Testament, the Gospel writer, John, referred to Jesus' miracles as signs (see Jn 2:11,23, 3:2, 6:2, 26, 7:31, 9:16, 11:47, 12:37, 20:30). For him, you had to be blind not to realise who this was that was doing all these amazing things which were like signs pointing out who Jesus was. Now the interesting thing there, was that the things that Jesus did were ‘signs' for those who had eyes to see, whose hearts were open to him. In fact Jesus chided them sometimes that it was only the miraculous that would get them to believe (i.e. they couldn't believe the character or the teaching, they had to have the impossible done in front of them): “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe.” (Jn 4:48) Signs, therefore, as seen with Jesus, were miraculous things but which would only be seen as signs by those with hearts open to him.
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Spirit, spoke of Joel's prophecy, part of which had God declaring, “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke,” (Acts 2:19) before the last day and the return of Jesus. In other words there will be catastrophes on earth which will be signposts to the days nearing an end (there are other signs given in the New Testament as well), and one might ask, do we have eyes to see the things that are happening in our day and do we see the truths that they are pointing to?
So let's now look at what the Lord is saying to Moses. Remember, these are very early days in Moses' relationship with the Lord. Moses hasn't actually asked for a sign and so the Lord simply volunteers this information: “ this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt , you will worship God on this mountain." I think, in all honesty, if I had been Moses at that moment I would have been thinking, “Well excuse me Lord, but that is not very helpful. If you're going to give me a sign could I have it as a means of reassurance before I go off and do what you want me to do? Signs come to show the way ahead, don't they?” Having been around for some time and having observed the prophetic gift working quite extensively, I have learnt that so often prophecy (like God is giving Moses) is considered by the Lord sufficient to encourage. “How will I know if this is the Lord?” sometimes comes the question. Well follow it and then when it's happened you'll know it was Him, is the reply.
If you're struggling with this, stop and think about what is happening to Moses. He's standing before a burning bush that isn't being consumed and he's clearly hearing a voice coming out of it that is clear, coherent and understandable. What more do you need to convince you that this is God? Aren't these things sufficient in themselves? And when you read on you're going to see the Lord show Moses how to perform the miraculous with his staff and then, when he starts out, everything he says to Pharaoh is going to be fulfilled as they go along. Won't all these things be sufficient signposts?
Look back on your own life. Hasn't the life transformation when you were born again been an incredible sign of God's love for you? Consider the answers to prayer or the things that the Lord has done for you. Aren't they sufficient signs of God's love for you? When that prophetic word was brought to you, didn't the Holy Spirit within you give you a ‘buzz', didn't it come with a sense of authority and blessing? Hey, if you're still not sure, know that God loves you, understands your hesitancy and will probably speak it again if you're still being slow.
This ‘sign of completion', for that is what it will be, is just going to be a further bonus from the Lord and He'll no doubt remind Moses of it when they get back to Sinai with all the people. But don't think negatively about it. Really Moses has and is going to get so many signs along the way, that this is just the icing on the cake. If you want to pray, “Lord, open my eyes,” He'll show you the incredible number of things He's already done for you which, when you have eyes to see, will be more than enough! Go on, risk it, pray it!