Their Problems And Ours
EasyEnglish Study Units (Level B) that show that God is sufficient whatever the problem
Moses: The Problem Of Feeling *Inadequate
by Raymond Brown, M.A., M.Th., Ph.D.
translated into EasyEnglish by Mary Read
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Paul says: ‘Everything that people wrote in the past was to teach us. They wrote those things so that we could have hope. That hope comes from the patience and strength that the Bible gives to us’ (Romans 15:4).
Here Paul suggests reasons why we should study the OT. (OT means Old Testament, the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before Jesus’ birth.) The OT is history. It also has stories of people’s lives. These great OT stories:
· Teach the mind. (Read 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 10:11.)
· Encourage the heart. One translation of Romans 15:4 uses this word. The OT stories encourage us. We all have times when we desire some word from God. We know that this would encourage us. It would help us in our difficulties.
· Make the will strong. (Note: The will is the part of us that makes us able to choose). The Holy Spirit gives us the strength to continue when things are hard.
Jerome K. Jerome writes funny books. His most famous one is ‘Three Men in a Boat’. The man who is telling the story visits a library. He wants to know what to do about a minor illness. He finds that he seems to have 101 serious diseases! That is not the purpose of this book! Nobody will have all the problems that are in this book.
But all of us have bad times. We may have problems. We may feel sad. One trouble often leads to another too. Some of the subjects are very similar. They may go with each other. So, fear and worry may go together. But they are separate here. One situation may not be the same as the reader’s situation. Another one will be. There is something else important. We may not have these difficulties ourselves. But we may need to help people who do have them.
Perhaps you have sometimes felt unable to deal with life. Maybe you can remember the awful feeling that you had then. There was total weakness. You just did not have those essential qualities for life. You had a true inner peace before. Now it is not there.
Moses knew that feeling. We will study some passages. They are familiar ones. They come at the beginning of Exodus. They tell how God calls Moses. He gives him a job to do. Moses feels unable to do it. He feels ‘inadequate’ for the task. (He feels the lack of the necessary qualities for the task.)
These are great chapters. They can encourage us. They can help us to be brave and confident. We can be like this whatever happens. God expects this from his people.
Feeling inadequate can come from:
(Read Exodus 2:11-15.)
There is pain and despair about the future. This is because we feel upset about the past.
This could have been true of Moses. God made him the leader. This was a big responsibility. Moses was unable to accept it. Maybe this was because he did not trust himself. He remembered a terrible event. He had killed an Egyptian man. Then he had buried him in the sand.
Our past failures sometimes hold us back. They make us feel that we have no power. But it does not need to be like this. They need not stop us from doing great things for God.
However, there is a danger. The Bible warns us about it. It is in our story. (Read Exodus 2:11-15.) This story shows us how something good can become evil. Then Satan (the devil) can use it. Moses’ strong sympathy and pity for his people led to murder. Two things can be closer to each other than we think. They are our best and our worst qualities.
Remember Elijah. He was full of courage at Mount Carmel. (Read 1 Kings 18:17-40.) Then he became a complete coward. This was when he heard Jezebel’s evil promise to kill him. (Read 1 Kings 19:1-4.)
Moses had sympathy and pity for his people. This was right. But murder was very wrong. This was an awful event. It was probably a great worry to Moses. He may have had a certain fear. Leadership is hard. Perhaps he would not be able to control his temper. We cannot be sure of this idea. But read Numbers 20:7-12. The event there may suggest something. Perhaps he was impatient sometimes. Maybe he became annoyed at times.
We must realise something important here. Our failures in the past may have been serious. But God is kind and loving. He is eager to *pardon us. He will give us all that we need for our present situation.
Then, feeling inadequate can come from:
(Read Exodus 3:6-12.)
God’s instructions were definite. Moses should not hesitate. The bush was burning. But the fire did not destroy it. Moses stood near it. He heard God’s voice clearly. Look again at God’s message:
‘I have seen...’. Remember this fact when you have problems. God sees your troubles. He knows everything about them. You do not know everything. We saw this in our study of Job’s problem. God reminds Moses that his knowledge has no limits. God knew all that had happened to the *Hebrew slaves. ‘I have seen...’. He sees your problem too.
‘I know about their pain’. God not only saw their problem. He also felt sympathy for them in it. God makes this very clear to Moses.
We, too, must remember this when we have difficulties. We may feel inadequate. But the *Lord God knows all the details of our problem. He sees our need. He cares very much about us.
‘I am come down to save...’. God knows about his people’s trouble. He feels sympathy for them in it. But there is more than this. God is able and eager to do something about it. God is saying to Moses: ‘You may feel inadequate, but I am not. I am able to help you in this situation and in every situation.’
‘I will send you...’. The people of Israel were slaves. Their circumstances were awful. But God knew that he could change things. God was going to use a man to lead his people into freedom. That man was Moses. This meant much responsibility. But it was part of God’s great purpose for Moses’ life.
God’s word was direct and personal. ‘I have seen...I know...I am come down to save...I will send you...’. But Moses had doubts. He tried to delay things. It can be the same with us. We refuse to listen to what God has said in his Word. We do not need a new understanding. We need a new trust in what he has already said to us.
Feeling inadequate can also be because of:
(Read Exodus 3:13-22.) The *Lord God declares his name to Moses. This was important to the *Hebrew people. Names were special in their world too. One example is in religions. The name showed the nature of a god.
Read Genesis 32:29 again. ‘Please tell me your name’, asks Jacob. Someone struggled with him all night. Jacob knew that the man was someone special. Jacob wants to know more about this person. He wants to know his nature. He seems to be more than an ordinary man.
With Moses, God declares his name. Actually, he is declaring his nature. God needs to remind us, too, of his nature. He is the ‘I AM’. Let us think about what this name means. In this passage, there are 3 basic parts of his nature. They are also his good qualities. ‘I AM’ is:
‘I am who I am.’ The tense here has 3 equal meanings. They are: ‘I was’, ‘I am being’, ‘I will be’.
John wrote the book of Revelation. It is the last book in the Bible. He was a lonely prisoner, far away from home. He was on the island of Patmos. John needed to hear the same message as Moses. God promised to give John help and peace. The special message came to John. It was from ‘the One who is, who always was, and who is coming’. (Read Revelation 1:4.) He is ever-present. He is always with his people.
This records the great evidence from the past. God describes himself to Moses. He is ‘the *Lord God of your fathers...This is, and always will be, my name.’ In past centuries, God’s people had hard times. God reminds Moses that he did not fail them then. Now he promises that he will not disappoint Moses.
‘I will take you away from the troubles.’ This is the God of all power who is speaking to Moses. Nothing is too hard for him. He intended to do this great work. He would bring his people into a new land. Nothing could stop him doing this. Nobody, not even Pharaoh (the king of Egypt), could spoil God’s purposes.
There was danger for Moses. He was forgetting three important things about God. First, God himself was with Moses. Then, he could always trust God. Third, God was all-powerful.
I may be feeling inadequate. There could be a definite cause for it. I may be refusing the *sovereignty of God in my life.
There is another truth about feeling inadequate.
The *Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt. There would have been many brave men among them. But they were not suitable for God’s purposes. God wanted Moses. Yes, Moses felt weak. He felt inadequate. But God knew that Moses was the right man to do the job.
Notice similar reactions in other people. God called Gideon (Judges 6:12-16). He called Jeremiah too. (Read Jeremiah 1:6-8.) Do not forget Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:5; 4:7.
Notice Moses’ 5 excuses:
Every Christian should be humble. But it is bad to have no sense of our worth. That is not being humble.
‘I would do this task *Lord. But I lack the necessary qualities...’
Moses is full of doubts. ‘Suppose that I was able to do this work for you, *Lord. I am sure that it would not be successful.’ It is the same for us too. Doubts will stop us being successful in our service for God.
Moses continues with one excuse after another. ‘You can find someone better than me, *Lord.’
‘I know that someone must do the work. But find somebody else for this leadership.’
God gave Moses such a great promise (4:11-12). But Moses still has all these excuses. Perhaps you try to avoid God’s work in the same ways.
Perhaps you feel inadequate. If you do, then remember the facts of Christian history:
Remember what God said as the bush burned with fire. (Read Exodus 3:6.) God encourages Moses in his first statement. He calls himself the God of 4 people. The first is Moses’ father. Then there are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let us think about the kind of God who came to help them.
(Read Hebrews 11:23.) He is the God who gives courage. Moses’ parents were brave. They are heroes.
(Read Genesis 15:5-6.) God supported Abraham. He is the God who rewards *faith. Abraham started his journey with *faith. He needed God. Moses had a journey too. He needed God in the same way.
(Read Genesis 26:24. Compare Genesis 26:28.) It was natural for Isaac to be afraid. But he chooses to have *faith in God. He trusts the God who promises to be his companion. God makes the same promise to Moses later. (Read Exodus 33:14.)
(Read Genesis 28:13, 15.) Jacob had to learn to trust God. He is the God who provides help. ‘I will not leave you until I have done what I promised.’
All this should have encouraged Moses. These four men were very different people. God declared himself to Moses as the God of these four men. He did this right at the beginning. He wanted Moses to understand something. He is saying, ‘I am the God who can help. I can help all kinds of people. I can help them in all sorts of difficulties.’
There is a solution to feeling inadequate.
We defeat our feeling of weakness when we act. This is why God often makes his servants do something. ‘Now therefore go...’ (Exodus 4:12). But this is the hardest thing to do. We all want to feel capable before we act. However, this does not often happen. That sort of confidence could easily become trust in oneself.
‘Go’ said God to Moses. He expects us to act too. We must take a risk and act. Then God will come with the power that we need. The Holy Spirit often acts in human lives at the time of their action. This is when all can see the Holy Spirit’s activity.
One final thing: God can use another way. This will help us not to feel inadequate. He can do it by:
(Read Exodus 4:14-16, 27-31.)
How kind God is. He sends Aaron to meet Moses (4:27). The *Lord always deals with us in love. He knew that Moses could not do this work alone. So, God promised a companion and helper for him.
God knows what we can do. And he knows what we cannot do. He does not deal with us in a hard way. He is patient with us. He is gentle too. We should always be glad of this. David knew about it. He said: ‘Your gentle help has made me great.’ (Read 2 Samuel 22:36.)
It was like that for Elijah. He needed to have a helper. He needed someone who would encourage him. So, God gave him Elisha, who was young. He was able to help the older man, who was the leader. (Read 1 Kings 19:16.) Then Elisha was able to serve Elijah too. He did this in practical ways. (Read 2 Kings 3:11.)
God is loving and kind. He cares about us very much. He provides us with helpers and partners. He gives us loyal companions. We know that God will help us. He has promised us human friendship too. So, nobody needs to feel inadequate.
faith ~ complete trust in God; total confidence in God; an attitude that leads to action; read Romans 4, Hebrews 11 and James 2.
Hebrew ~ a nation, a people and a language; Jew is another name for a Hebrew person.
inadequate ~ to feel inadequate means to feel the lack of necessary qualities.
Lord ~ a name that we call God or Jesus; we call God or Jesus Lord when we do what they say.
pardon ~ this word can be a noun or a verb; the act of someone in authority; it means that a guilty person escapes punishment; man is guilty; God, the Judge, pardons him; this is because of who God is; it is also because of the cross; read Micah 7:18, 19 and Matthew 26:28.
sovereignty ~ God’s absolute right to rule everything, in the way that he chooses; but God always does things that fit with who he is; he will never act in any other way; so we can trust his sovereignty completely.
It has not been possible, so far, to discover the copyright holder of this book. If this information becomes available, WA will gladly recognise the publisher fully. The original publisher was Oliphants (1969) SBN 551 00136 4
Wycliffe Associates (UK) EasyEnglish(C) Translation (Level) B
WYCLIFFE ASSOCIATES (UK)
EasyEnglishÓ TRANSLATION (Level B) Mary Read
LINGUISTIC CHECKER Sue Hunter
© 1999-2003, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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