God of the Impossible - Radical

God of the Impossible

In the midst of sin and suffering, God hears the cries of His people and He rescues them. This same God also sends His people out for purposes that are, humanly speaking, impossible. In this message from Exodus 2:23–3:22, David Platt shows us that, despite our weaknesses, God empowers us by His Spirit to accomplish His purposes in the world.

Download the weekly Bible reading plan to follow along with each sermon.

God of the Impossible

The Story of Scripture series

If you have a Bible—and I hope you do—let me invite you to open to Exodus 2. It’s good to be together around God’s Word.

I want to start by telling you a personal story that you are not going to believe is true. But you need to know that every single detail of this story I’m going to tell you is true. This really happened. I  told our students this story at camp last summer, but I think it’s time for me to share it with the whole church.

I’ve told you some about my basketball career when I was in eighth grade. This was the first year we could try out for basketball and everybody who was cool was on the eighth-grade basketball team. So  I thought, “I need to be cool, so I need to be on the team.” The only problem was I was the shortest kid in the eighth grade. That’s not good when it comes to basketball. As the shortest kid on the court, every time

I would throw the ball up, what happened? It came back in my face.

So I was stressed out, thinking, “How am I going to make the eighth-grade basketball team?” True story. A couple weeks before tryouts began, I was in my room. I was actually reading my Bible and came across Luke 1:37 which says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” It was like the words of  Scripture leapt off the page and into my heart. I knew at that moment how I could make the team. The  Bible says, “For nothing is impossible with God” and that means that with God’s power and strength, I  could dunk the basketball. And if I dunked the basketball, the coach would definitely put me on the team.  I was the shortest kid on the court and I was planning on dunking it.

So, true story, I left my Bible sitting there in my room, went outside my house where we had a  basketball goal, and got a basketball. I went to the back of our driveway, got down on my knees and I  said, “God, I believe, with Your power and strength, I can dunk this basketball. Nothing is impossible  with You.” I wanted everything to be perfect and wanted to get a running start, so I counted out how many steps it was going to take to get from the back of the driveway up to the goal.

Then my plan was that when I was about two feet away, I was going to close my eyes, take the last two steps with my eyes closed, and then jump with my eyes closed. That way I could picture the angels lifting me up to the goal. The plan was that the next thing I would feel would be the rim and I was going to throw the ball through the rim, then hang up there—because I’ve never been up there before.  That was the plan.

So I went to the back of my driveway and got down on my knees. People were driving by,  walking by—it was a normal day for them—but I was having revival right there in my driveway. I said,  “God, I believe with Your power and strength, nothing is impossible with You. I believe I can dunk this  basketball.”

Now, I want to ask a question and I want you to be totally honest. I promise, every single thing  I’m telling you is true. So be honest. How many of you think I dunked the basketball? Okay. There are seven people in this campus, including one full of faith over here. Be honest. How many of you think,  “No chance. You did not dunk the basketball”? All right. I see how it is. I was hoping there was a little more faith in me than that.

True story. I pray, “I believe with Your power I can do this.” I get up off my knees. I start running as hard as I could. I get two feet away. I close my eyes. I take the last two steps with my eyes closed and jump—with my eyes closed. I could feel something on my right and my left. The next thing I felt was that basketball…pole, right in my forehead. Boom. I want you to imagine walking by my house that day. You see this kid get up off his knees, supposedly in prayer, with a basketball, start running—and jump right into a basketball pole.

So when I look back at my eighth-grade self, there is a variety of things that come to mind. On one hand, I needed to understand more about the Bible. So the context of that passage in Luke is about the impossibility of the virgin birth of the Son of God. Not the impossibility of dunking a basketball. So apparently context matters; you can’t just take a verse wherever you want and make it mean whatever you want.

On the other hand, I look back at my eighth-grade self and actually long for that kind of faith in my life today—the kind of faith that actually takes God at His Word, no matter what someone else says,  or even what worldly common sense might say. I long for the kind of faith that actually believes God is able to do the impossible, which is what I believe we’re seeing in our Bible reading throughout Genesis.

God promises Abraham, “I’m going to give you a son.” But his wife was 90 years old and barren.  God said, “Believe Me.” They laughed—until God answered. That’s why Isaac’s name means laughter.  God did what He said He would do. Genesis 21:1: “The Lord visited Sarah as he had promised, and the  Lord did to Sarah just as he had said.” This is the constant refrain over and over again in Genesis. God promised and God delivered. God promised and God did what He said He would do—every single time.

As I was praying about what God is saying to us through our Bible reading this week, I couldn’t help but think that God is calling us to lift our eyes to the God of the impossible. I don’t know all that’s going on in your life right now or what you think about your future, but I have a feeling that many if not most of us think on a pretty natural plane of what we can handle.

For the next few minutes, I just want to lift your eyes to another way of living—to a supernatural plane of what God can do in and through your life. And not just what God can do, but what God will do if you take Him at His Word. For the next few minutes, I want to challenge you—whether it’s amidst struggles you’re facing or possibilities you’re exploring—to lift your eyes to Who God is and all God desires and even promises to do in and through your life, far beyond what you can fathom, if you will simply take Him at His Word.

Let’s look at the text. Here’s the setup. Back in Genesis 15:13, God gave this promise to  Abraham: “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will  be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.” This is why we’re not surprised when we turn from Genesis to Exodus and find Abraham’s descendants, the people of Israel, in slavery in  Egypt. But God had also promised in Genesis 15:14, “But I will bring judgment on the nation that they  serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” With that set-up, let’s pick up in  Exodus 2:23. The Bible says:

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with  Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

Let’s take it one step at a time. Let’s meditate on Exodus 2 and 3. Not just read it, but let’s soak in what it means. What is Exodus 2:23-25 teaching us?

God sees His people suffering in a world of sin.

One thing Exodus 2 is teaching us is that God sees His people suffering in a world of sin. We’ve talked about this a good bit the last few weeks, between Job and Joseph. We’ve talked about God’s sovereignty over our suffering. But don’t miss the picture here. Just because God is sovereign over suffering and pain and hurt doesn’t mean that God delights in suffering and pain and hurt. God hates sin and the effects of sin in the suffering in this world.

Picture Jesus when Lazarus has died, with Mary and Martha are weeping. What does Jesus do?  He weeps with them. The whole book of Lamentations is about the compassion of God for His people in pain and suffering. The clear teaching of what we just read in Exodus is that God hears our cries and knows our needs.

I get the prayer requests people in our church turn in every single week about struggling lives, marriages, kids, families, work, and health situations. I can’t read and pray through those without my heart just aching for you. While I pray that my love for you as your pastor is strong, it’s nowhere near  God’s love for you. Please know that amidst whatever you’re walking through today or whatever you will walk through in the future, God hears your cries and knows your needs even better than you know them.

When I read the word “groaning” in Exodus 2 in the Bible reading this week, I just couldn’t get past it. I think that is an apt description of life in a sinful world. I want us always to be careful as a  church never to give off some happy-go-lucky, glib, giddy impression of Christianity. We must never just gather together, sing upbeat songs, hear some superficial message, walk away in a shallow façade of faith that pretends everything is as it should be in a world of sin and suffering when it’s not true. Look at the Psalms, and throughout Scripture, and you see songs of lament. You see cries of longing for a hope in and beyond a world of sin and suffering.

The God Who sees is the God Who saves.

Yes, we acknowledge the reality of suffering and sin, but that doesn’t mean we’re some grim group just wallowing in suffering, because we have a God Who sees our suffering and hears our cries.  The God Who sees is the God Who saves.

Let’s read the first part of Exodus 3:

1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian,  and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And  Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When  the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses,  Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals  off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am  the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the  Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

Here’s the promise of God, the Word of God. His people are in slavery and God says, “I am  going to deliver them, just like I promised I would do.” Now, hold your place here, and jump with me over to Exodus 6, where God says essentially the same thing. But I want you to feel the fullness of what  God is promising here. Look at Exodus 6:5, where God says, almost verbatim, what we just read in  Exodus 3: “Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as  slaves, and I have remembered my covenant…”—My promise to them. Then starting in Exodus 6:6, I  want you to highlight every time you see God make a promise in the next three verses, every time you  see Him say, “I will do this” or “I will do that.”

6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God,  who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’”

Did you see that? Seven different times in three short verses, God says, “I will. I will. I will bring you out, deliver you, redeem you, take you to be My people. I will be your God. I will bring you into a  new land and give it to you.” The God Who sees is the God Who saves.

Just think about what God is promising to do here in Exodus 3 and 6. I see at least three things.  One, He liberates. He delivers. You see that word over and over again. He frees hundreds of thousands of people from slavery in Exodus, the most powerful empire in the world. God says, “That’s going to end,  just like that. You’re going to walk out of there. I’m going to take you as My people.”

God liberates and He also adopts. The picture here is one of God’s possession of His people as  His family. “I’m going to show that you are Mine.”

I mentioned this last week with the celebration of 12 years ago when we adopted our first son, Caleb, into our family. I will never forget the moment we walked out of that courtroom in Kazakhstan.  We were officially Caleb’s parents. I pulled out a short video of when we took him out of his baby house,  which is what they called orphanages in Kazakhstan, in the freezing cold. We wrapped him up—he’s in one of those Christmas Story snowsuits. Poor kid, he couldn’t move. I just pulled out this video as a  reminder of bringing him out of that picture into our home as our family. It’s not the best quality video,  but just watch this with me.

[Video]

That’s just a little picture of what God is saying in this text: “I will take you to be Mine.” God is saying this. God liberates. God adopts, which means God provides. That’s the whole picture with adoption. We didn’t bring Caleb home and say, “All right, little buddy. You’re on your own now.” No, we took responsibility. We take responsibility today for providing for him and for our other children.

This is what God says to His people. “I take responsibility to provide you with a land that is  plentiful, that has all you need.” God doesn’t just see our suffering. The God Who sees is the God Who saves. You’ll notice in Exodus 6, in those last three verses, God said three times, “I am the LORD. I am the LORD. I am the LORD.” Notice that He says it up in verses two and three as well. And the word LORD is in all caps.

That takes us back to Exodus 3, so turn there with me. We’ll jump ahead a bit from where we left off, but look with me at Exodus 3:13. This is where God sends Moses to bring the people in Egypt out of slavery. Moses asks God, “Who should I say sent me?” God’s answer is our memory verse: “God said to  Moses, I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (3:14).

Then keep going to Exodus 3:15:

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your  fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

Whenever you read in the Bible, “forever…all generations,” know that now includes you and me.  This is a massive moment in the Old Testament, when God reveals Himself to His people as Yahweh, a  name based on the Hebrew verb “to be.” God is the “I AM, the One Who is.” When you think about it,  this is awesome. This name is a reference to God’s self-existence. God is. He has no origin outside of  Himself like we do. God’s self-sufficiency means He has no need outside Himself like we do. God’s eternality means He always has been, always is and always will be. God’s immutability means He never changes or fluctuates like we do. God has power over and above everything else that exists. God is the I  AM and this will become the most prevalent name for God throughout the rest of the Old Testament. It’s used over 6,000 times. By way of comparison, that’s three times as many occurrences as the more common name for God—Elohim—in Hebrew.

The point is that what we just read will become the steadfast confession in the Old Testament. God is the Lord. God is the self-existent, self-sufficient, everlasting, never-changing, all-powerful One.  And don’t forget this context: this is the God Who saves His people. He liberates them from slavery. He adopts them as His own, and He provides for all they need. God is the Lord. He is the I AM.

We’ve got to pause here for a minute, because this is one of those places we just can’t stay in the  Old Testament. Remember, every story in Scripture is ultimately pointing us to Jesus. This whole story in the Old Testament is preparing for the day when One will come into a world of sin and suffering, saying,  “I am come to bring liberty to the captives. I have come to liberate men and women from slavery to sin. I  have come to adopt men and women as My children. I have come to provide eternal life for all who trust in Me. I am the Bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the door. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am…I am…I am.”

One day when Jewish leaders are talking about Abraham, their father in the faith, they ask Jesus Who He is in John 8 and Jesus replies in verse 58, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I  am.” As soon as Jesus says that, do you know what they tried to do to Him? They tried to stone Him.  Think about why. If I come up and say, “I am,” you would look at me and say, “You are weird.” But when Jesus said it, everybody knew this Man was claiming to be God. And this is the stunning realization in the New Testament: Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is God and Jesus is able to set you free from your sin.

Non-Christian friend or family member here today, please hear this good news. This is the greatest news in all the world. We have all sinned against God and we are all separated from God in our sin. When we die, we deserve eternity separated from God in our sin. But God has not left us alone in this state. God has come to us in the Person of Jesus. Jesus has lived a life of no sin, Jesus has died on a  cross for our sin, and Jesus has risen from the dead in victory over sin, so that everyone who trusts in

Jesus as Lord will be saved from all their sin. Hear this stunning realization in these words from Romans  10:9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him  from the dead, you will be saved.”

Today, right where you’re sitting, you can be liberated from the penalty, power, and payment of sin—all your sin against God. You can be adopted as a son or daughter of God and provided with eternal life. In other words, God can do the impossible right where you are sitting right now. God can supernaturally, right now, save you from all your sin against Him and give you new life in a relationship with Him that will last for all eternity—if you will trust in Jesus as Lord. I urge you today, don’t let another second go by. Trust in Jesus as Lord.

I pray that even as I proclaim this in this moment, that faith would rise here. Some of you have been exploring Christianity or maybe this is the first time you’ve ever been in church. But in your heart, you’re saying, “Yes, I want to trust in Jesus as Lord, as my Savior from sin. I want to be freed from my  sin against God and adopted into the family of God and provided with eternal life.” By faith, trusting in  Jesus as Lord, that can be a reality in your heart right now. The God Who sees is the God Who saves.

You would think that would be the end of the story, right? God saves—period. That’s awesome.  Let’s call it a day. But there’s more, because the God Who saves is the God Who sends.

The God Who saves is the God Who sends.

Go back to Exodus 3:9 where God said, “I’m going to deliver My people out of slavery.” Now listen in verse ten to how God is going to do that. God says to Moses, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh  that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Now, this is where things took a very surprising turn for Moses, and it should be pretty surprising to us. For anybody who’s read this story before, you kind of know what’s going to happen here—Moses is going to lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. But when you think about it, God didn’t have to do it this way. I mean, God could have worked in a million other ways to bring His people out of slavery in  Egypt. Instead, God comes to Moses, this man wandering around in Midian, and God says, “I’m going to  send you to Egypt to bring My people out.” Moses is shocked. Listen to what he says in Exodus 3:11: “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of  Egypt?’” Translation: “What are You thinking? Why me? What in the world qualifies me to do this?”

Put yourself in Moses’ bare feet for a minute here. I think you’d be asking the same question. You’re a random shepherd in a random field and now you’re supposed to go to the most powerful ruler in the world and say, “Knock, knock. Let your slaves go. Thank you.” How’s that possible? Here’s the picture we’re seeing here, and we’ll see it throughout the Bible. God calls weak people to accomplish world-revolutionizing purposes. And God calls weak people to accomplish world-revolutionizing purposes. Moses is near the beginning of a long line of weak people in the Old Testament, including a frightened farmer named Gideon, a shepherd boy named David, a prostitute named Rahab, as well as a  Moabite named Ruth.

This is not just in the Old Testament. After Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, He  looked at a group of frightened women and rag-tag fishermen and He said, “I’m entrusting you with a  mission to make disciples in every nation on the planet.” Apparently, God is in the business of calling people to do that which they could never do on their own. Apparently, God is in the business of calling people to do the impossible.

Let me ask you a question. Let’s bring this down to your level. Do you ever feel like you’re in over your head? I sure do. I think about parenting. The longer I’m a parent, the more I am convinced I  have no clue what I am doing. I said that to someone this week and they replied, “You’re just saying that.” I said, “Oh, no. I’m not just saying that.” Obviously, I don’t need to go into details, but you should have seen Heather and me literally on our faces before the Lord over the last couple weeks, crying out in  tears, “God, we have no idea what to do!” Ad we’re working to bring another child into our home? What are we thinking?

I think about being a pastor. Can I just be honest? I’m in over my head. I know I’m not supposed to say that, particularly here in the DC culture where you’re supposed to assert yourself and boost your credibility at every point. But I’m shooting mine down. Sure, I’ve been a pastor for however many years and hopefully have learned a few things. But who am I to lead people to know, love, and experience all  God has for your lives, for the spread of God’s glory in Washington, DC, and around the world? Who am  I?

Do you ever think, “I can’t do this”—as a single, in marriage, in parenting, grandparenting?  Maybe at work? Maybe with your financial situation? Maybe you get that diagnosis from the doctor and think, “I can’t do this. How am I going to do this?” Maybe you’re like one family in our midst that I was praying for on Friday—Eleanor, a young mom, with her husband and their little girl. Eleanor was going  through another surgery with more complications and she wondered, “How can we keep doing this?”

Maybe it’s a struggle with some sin—over and over and over again. You think, “How can I get  past this?” Maybe it’s a choice or decision you know God’s calling you to make, but you think, “I just  don’t know if I can do it.” Maybe it’s a desire or dream you have, that as best you can tell is from God,  yet you wonder, “Can it really happen?”

I could go on and on with examples, but this is where I want you to see that the God Who sees is the God Who saves, and the God Who saves is the God Who sends, Who puts you and me in situations where we cannot do what He is calling us to do on our own. In those situations, the God Who sends is the God Who supplies.

The God Who sends is the God Who supplies.

First notice what God does not say to Moses in response to him asking, “Who am I, that I should  do this?” What God does not say is, “Well, bro, you were trained in Pharaoh’s court. You’ve learned a lot of good wilderness skills out here in the open. You’re Egyptian enough to talk to the Egyptians and you’re Hebrew enough to talk to the Hebrews. When it comes down to it, you’re the best shot we’ve  got.”

No. Many of those things were true about Moses’ background and how God had sovereignly prepared him for this, but that is not what God said in response to Moses. God said in verse 12, “But I  will be with you.” Don’t miss this. The point was not that Moses was qualified. The point was not even who Moses was. The point was Who God was, the One Who is. So when Moses said, “I can’t do this,” God said, “You’re not going to do this. I am. I will be with you. I will make this happen.” God said, “I  will do in you what you can never do on your own.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, I am convinced is a summary of the Christian life. Please hear this loud and clear. The life God calls you to live is impossible by yourself. I’m not just talking change the world here. I’m talking every detail of your life. So single brother or sister, you cannot live the joyful,  content, satisfied single-minded life that honors God in all your relationships by yourself. Husband, you can’t be the man your wife needs you to be by yourself. Wife, you cannot be the woman your husband needs you to be by yourself. Parents, you can’t do this by yourself. Students, you can’t do this by yourself.

Not one of us in this room can think and desire and live in all the roles and in all the ways God has called us to live in His Word by ourselves. Not one of us can live in purity before God, with compassion for others; not one of us can face all the trials that come and all the temptations we encounter by ourselves. Every facet of the life God has called us to live, every single thing God calls us to do, is impossible by ourselves. But here’s the beauty. The life God calls you to live is absolutely possible by the power of God’s presence with you. “I will be with you,” God tells Moses. “Trust Me to do in you what  you could never do on your own.” And this reality only gets better the further we get into the Bible. Over and over again in the Old Testament, God promises His people He will be with them.

We’ll see that same promise in the New Testament, but it takes on a whole new meaning there, because when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven, He poured out His Spirit on all who trust in Him. If you’re a follower of Jesus and you’ve trusted in Him as  Lord, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit of God now dwells in you. That means the life God calls you to live is absolutely possible by the power of God’s presence with you—or better yet, by the power of  God’s Spirit in you. To all who have trusted in Jesus as Lord, God in His Spirit dwells inside of you.

So look at your life then and apply these truths. We talk about application in terms of our head, our heart, and our hands. In your head, I exhort you today, based on the Word of God: believe all God says. Believe what He says about who you are. You are a sinner, personally loved by God and constantly in need of grace. Believe God’s Word and His love for you. Believe that God sees you and God saves you.

For all who trust in Jesus as Lord, God is your Liberator; He has freed you from the penalty and power of sin. God is your Father; He has adopted you as His child. Feel that today. You are a child of  God. God is your Provider. God has committed to providing every single thing you need—and you need  His grace every moment. You cannot do anything God has called you to do right now. People say  Christianity is for the weak. The reality is Christianity is for the wise who realize who we are in our weakness and who realize Who God is in His strength.

So put down your pride. Put aside the self-exaltation we so prize in this culture. Put it aside and live for God’s exaltation. Stop trying to do it on your own. You can’t do it on your own. See your need for God’s grace and see God’s willingness to give grace to you in abundance. Lift your eyes from a  natural plane to a supernatural plane. Lift your eyes and believe all God says, not just about who you are,  but about Who He is. He is the self-existent, self-sufficient, everlasting, never-changing, all-powerful,  always faithful God. He is with you. He is for you and He is in you. Just let that soak in.

This hit me when I was reading Exodus 3 this last week in my time with the Lord. I was reading about Moses meeting with God in a burning bush and it all of a sudden hit me in a fresh way: “The same  God, the Lord, the I AM Who Moses was talking with then, I’m talking with right now in this room. He’s  the same God.”

He’s with me and He’s with you. God is with you and God is for you. He’s not against you, He’s for you. And He is in you. Let that soak in.

As a single parent, God is with you, He is for you, and He is in you. I just want to encourage you with that today. With that special need in your life or your family, God is with you, for you, and in you. In that struggling marriage, you can’t do it on your own. But God is with you, He’s for you and He’s in you—in whatever struggle. I see so many people trying to fix so many things—relationships, situations—on your own. Don’t do it. Turn to God. Lift your eyes and look to God. Ask and trust God to do what only He can do. He is the God Who promises to be with you, for you, and in you. Stop trying to do things your own way and in your own strength. Do things God’s way with God’s strength, which leads to the second application.

In your heart, desire all God desires for your life. Hear what God says in His Word. On your own, in your home, in your work, in your school, in your relationships, with your health, with your finances, in your future—even in the middle of a world of suffering—God has so many good desires for your life, far beyond what you can fathom. Put yourself in Moses’ place. God is saying, “I want to do so  much in you that is so far beyond you.”

I urge you, don’t settle for this world’s desires for you. Don’t settle for anything less than God’s desires for your life. It’s so much better than anything this world is offering you. So desire all God desires for your life; desire all God desires in this world. Go back to weak people and world revolutionizing purposes. This can be on a big scale.

As I was praying about this this week, I was thinking about my brothers and sisters. God has entrusted so much to us in this church. We have over 10,000 people in one of the wealthiest places in the entire world. In this global city, God has entrusted so much by His grace to us. There is so much we can do together by His Spirit at work in this city. God desires His grace and His glory to be made known across Metro Washington, DC. So let’s ask God to make His glory known here in ways far beyond what we can fathom, plus far from here in a world of urgent spiritual and physical needs. We have so much opportunity to make a massive impact for the glory of our God. So in faith, let’s desire all God desires to use us to do in this world. Let’s not just kind of coast through a routine, just coming to church because that’s what we do. No! We are created for something so much more. God uses weak people to accomplish world-revolutionizing purposes.

Then think on smaller levels too. Don’t underestimate the opportunities to change people’s worlds around you, in light of that friend with special needs, in light of that coworker or neighbor going through a hard struggle. Just think simply. Imagine sharing the gospel this week with a coworker or neighbor or friend, then that coworker or neighbor or friend comes to faith in Christ, saved from sin for all of eternity—the next ten trillion years and beyond. That’s world-changing for them and God is sending you to do that work this week. Don’t miss all God desires in your life in this world.

That leads us to the last application: with your hands, do all that God calls you to do. One of my  constant prayers over the last few weeks came from something that stuck out to me when we were  reading Genesis 7:5: “Noah did all that the Lord had commanded.” I’ve just been praying, “God, I want to do all You’ve commanded me to do. I don’t want to do anything less than all You’ve commanded me  to do.” We saw it again in Exodus 7:6 this week: Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. Don’t you want that?

I think of my life, in my home, as a part of this church, my work in this world—I want to do all  He’s called me to. I want to go back to my eighth-grade self, take God at His Word, and do all He calls me to do. I don’t want to get to the end and say, “I kind of did some of it.” By His grace, I want to do as much of what He’s calling me to do as possible.

This is what I love about verse 12 in Exodus 3. Moses says, “Who am I?” God says, “It’s not  about who you are.” Verse 12: “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you.” Moses is thinking, “Okay, what’s the sign?” God says, “When you have brought the people out of  Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Now, if I’m Moses in that moment, I’m a little disappointed with the sign. Because when I’m looking for a sign, I’m actually looking for something in advance to give me assurance of what I’m about to do. “Give me a sign. Ah, I see it. Okay, I’ll turn here.” But for Moses, the sign won’t actually come until after he does what God is telling Him to do. God does give him some other signs in Exodus 4, but here all God does is give Moses a promise. He says, “You will serve Me here, in this place, as a free people. Moses, trust Me to be faithful to that promise.”

So here’s my challenge to every single one of you today, right where you’re sitting. I challenge you to do all that God is calling you to do. All of it—whether it’s obeying that impossible command, loving that impossible person, embracing that impossible trial, pursuing that impossible dream—or taking that impossible step. Do all that God is calling you to do, in total dependence on all God has promised He will do. As you do, know this: God will deliver on His promises every single time. Do you know how I know that? Because He is the Lord and God of the impossible.

Now how should we respond to this? I don’t want to do is let this word come to us, but then not pause and respond to God in each of our lives.

So for the next couple minutes, I want to invite you to find a place to write out a prayer to God.  Remember when we talked about M.A.P.S. —what we really can get out of the Bible? Meditate, Apply,  Pray. Or remember the acrostic P.R.A.Y. we also used. Based on what we just saw, how might you Praise  God? Then R for Repent—maybe there are some things you need to repent of and confess your need for  God. A is for Ask. Ask God for help in this or that. In the first gathering, that was all I was doing. “God, I  need Your help for this. I need Your help for that.” Then Y is for Yield. “God, I just want to trust in You.”

I pray that God would take this Word and apply it to thousands of hearts. I hope God is speaking to you right now and I want to give you an opportunity to respond to Him. So for the next couple minutes, I want to invite you to do that in quietness. Maybe some of you will say, “God, I need You to forgive me of my sins. I want to trust in Jesus as the Lord of my life and Savior from my sin.” I invite you to pray that now. All across this church—just spend some time in prayer, then I’ll close in prayer after that.

Feel free to pray individually as I pray for us together.

O God, even now, I’m reminded that prayer in and of itself is a posture of humility. You are God; we are not. We need You. We need Your grace. We need Your wisdom. We need Your strength, We need  Your help. We need Your guidance. We need Your provision. God, we praise You for Your faithfulness to provide all these things. We pray that You would help us to be a people who take You at Your Word. Help us to trust You. Help us to trust Your wisdom above ours. Help us to trust Your ways above ours. Help us to trust Your plans above our plans and live for Your purposes above our purposes.

We praise You for saving us, for freeing us and liberating us, for adopting us and providing for us. We praise You, Jesus, as the way, the truth, and the life. We praise You for the eternal life we have in  You. So amidst every facet of our lives, keep our eyes fixed on You, we pray. Lift our eyes from a natural plane to a supernatural plane. Help us see Who You are, worship You for Who you are, and surrender our lives totally to do all You desire to do in and through us. We pray this for Your glory and we trust You for our joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

How can we apply this question to our lives?

Question 1

How has God proven that we can take Him at His Word?

Question 2

What have churches done to misrepresent Christianity as a superficial facade?

Question 3

Why did Jesus say to those listening in John 8 “Before Abraham was born, I am”?

Question 4

In what area of your life are you tempted to live dependent on self rather than God?

Question 5

How is it comforting for the Christian that the God who sends is the God who equips?

GENESIS 21:1 

“The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.” 

GENESIS 15:13 – 14 

“Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there,  and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” 

EXODUS 2:23 – 25 

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and  God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and  God knew.” 

GOD SEES HIS PEOPLE SUFFERING IN A WORLD OF SIN.

He hears our cries and He knows our needs. 

THE GOD WHO SEES IS THE GOD WHO SAVES. 

EXODUS 3:1 – 9

“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.’ When the  Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I  am.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing  is holy ground.’ And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God  of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the  Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of  Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.’” 

EXODUS 6:5 

“Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have  remembered my covenant.”

EXODUS 6:6 – 8 

“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the  Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that  I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am  the Lord.’” 

He liberates . . . He adopts . . . and He provides.  

EXODUS 3:14 – 15 

“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I am has sent me to you.”’  God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of  Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, and thus I am  to be remembered throughout all generations.’” 

The steadfast confession in the Old Testament: God is the Lord. 

JOHN 8:58 

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’”  

The stunning realization in the New Testament: Jesus is the Lord! 

ROMANS 10:9 – 10 

“. . . because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one  confesses and is saved.” 

THE GOD WHO SAVES IS THE GOD WHO SENDS. 

EXODUS 3:10

“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of

EXODUS 3:11 

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’” God calls weak people to accomplish world-revolutionizing purposes.  

THE GOD WHO SENDS IS THE GOD WHO SUPPLIES. 

The life God calls you to live is impossible by yourself. 

The life God calls you to live is absolutely possible by the power of God’s presence with you . . . or better put,  by the power of God’s Spirit in you. 

IN YOUR HEAD 

Believe all that God says . . . about who you are: a sinner personally loved by God and constantly in need of grace. 

Believe all that God says . . . about who He is: the self-existent, self-sufficient, ever-lasting, never-changing, all-powerful, always-faithful God who is with you, for you, and in you. 

IN YOUR HEART 

Desire all that God desires . . . for your life.  

Desire all that God desires . . . in this world.  

WITH YOUR HANDS

Do all that God calls you to do . . . in total dependence on all God has promised He will do.

 

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

LESS THAN 1% OF ALL MONEY GIVEN TO MISSIONS GOES TO UNREACHED PEOPLE AND PLACES.

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!