Exodus 3:12

“And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”

Moses had been away from Egypt for forty years. He had settled into a quiet life in the wilderness. He had perhaps figured that he would die as a shepherd in his father-in-law’s employ. He surely had memories of the land where he was raised, the woman who raised him, Pharaoh, to whom he was a step-grandson, and the comforts of the courts of Egypt. But he had murdered an Egyptian because that man was mistreating an Israelite, one of Moses’ people. So, Pharaoh sought to bring him to justice, and Moses ran for his life.

One day Moses was caring for the sheep on the backside of the desert. He saw a burning bush, which was not consumed by the fire. So, he went to look at that strange sight. God spoke to him out of that bush, and told Moses that He was sending him back to Egypt to take Israel out, and lead them to the Promised Land. In the verse above God assured Moses that He would be with him. He also gave Moses a sign that it was He that was sending him.

Gideon was another man that the LORD had sent out. His story is told in the book of Judges. He asked the LORD for a sign, and the LORD graciously provided. Judges 6:36-38 tells us, “And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.” God also gave Gideon a second sign.

If we sense that God is leading us into service for Him, we may ask Him for a sign that we are being sent; that it is really Him that is sending. The sign that we would want would be one that would give us incentive to go: assurance that He was sending us. God told Moses that the sign that He would give would be that Moses would come back to Mount Horeb, after Moses brought Israel out of Egypt.

The next time Moses was in Mount Horeb was about 3 months after they had left Egypt. The story is told in Exodus 17:1-6, “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

The sign that God promised Moses came after he did what the LORD required of him. The story in Exodus 17 showed the heart of the people. Because of what happened Moses feared for his life. This was when he needed a sign that the LORD was with him, not before. It was then that the LORD provided for Moses just as He had promised. God’s grace to Gideon was not what Moses needed.

God’s provision is always exactly what we need, and it is always exactly when we need it. Gideon needed and received a sign from the Lord before he went to the task. Moses needed it afterward. It is not according to our timing that these things come, but God’s. In Matthew 6:7-8 Jesus said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” And in Matthew 6:31-33 Jesus said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek): for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

God knows what we need, and He knows when we need it. We must learn to trust Him more.

Great God of wonders! all Thy ways

Display Thine attributes divine;

But the bright glories of thy grace

Above Thine other wonders shine:


Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Such deep transgressions to forgive!

Such guilty sinners thus to spare!

This is Thy grand prerogative,

And in this honor none shall share:


Pardon, from an offended God!

Pardon, for sins of deepest dye!

Pardon, bestowed through Jesus’ blood!

Pardon, that brings the rebel nigh!

CHORUS (Samuel Davies)