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Table of Contents Introduction Session 1 :

Called to the Unexpected..........................................................................................................................6

Session 2 :

Called to a Relationship...........................................................................................................................12

Session 3 :

Called to Obedience.................................................................................................................................20

Session 4 :

Called to Courage.....................................................................................................................................26

Session 5 :

Called to Trust..........................................................................................................................................34

Session 6 :

Watching God in Action.........................................................................................................................42


Uncommon: Compelled by God’s Call

Introducing

Have you considered that when God calls us, we have to take action? Henry Blackaby stresses that we cannot respond to God’s call without moving to another place—physically or spiritually.1 This unit will take a look at six key encounters between God and His people. Each session provides the opportunity to consider the requirements on God’s call on our lives. Moses (1)—Unexpectedly, God called Moses to service from a burning bush. Moses’ call was

to do something unexpected—face Pharaoh with God’s message to free the Hebrews. God does not always speak in predictable ways when He calls us to action. How has God spoken to you? Moses (2)—After freeing the Hebrew slaves, God initiated a covenant relationship with His people. A covenant relationship is more than a promise; it is a way of life and faith. How has God created that covenant relationship with you? Caleb—Only two spies into the promised land recognized God’s power in leading the Hebrews to victory. In response to doubt and disobedience, God imposed harsh consequences, but He rewarded the faithful and obedient spies. How does obedience or disobedience to God’s call affect your relationship with Him? Joshua (1)—As Joshua inherited the responsibility of leadership from Moses, God encouraged Joshua to remain courageous. How has your response to God’s call required courage? Rahab—As the Hebrews entered the promised land, the people there were filled with fear. However, fear can lead to opportunities to trust God. How has fear impacted the way you trust God? Joshua (2)—The first battle in the promised land did not depend upon the strength of God’s army,

but on God. Even though God did not need help, He allowed the Hebrews to be a part of that victory. How has God included you in His purposes? Be prepared to consider, examine, and evaluate God’s Word as you move through this study. Our prayer is that this study will give you the opportunity to understand God’s call on your life and experience His amazing love in new ways.

1

Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 1990), 127.


Called to the Unexpected

years as a prince, he began his second career as a shepherd.

Biblical Passages: Exodus 3:1–12; 6:10–13 Supporting Passages: Genesis 15:5, 13–16, 18–21; Exodus 2:1–6:13; Deuteronomy 34:1–7, 10–12; Hebrews 11:23–29 Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9 Biblical Truth: God calls us to action in unpredictable ways.

Consider . . . How has God spoken to you? In an audible voice? Through the words of others? Through the beauty of His world? Or possibly, in a still, small voice that only you can hear? If you compare experiences with other Christians, you will find out that God speaks to us in a variety of ways. Besides all of the options listed above, God also uses unexpected or unpredictable ways to get our attention. Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush is one such example.

God Can Call Us, Even When We are Busy (Ex. 3:1–6). Moses had turned into a man on the run. The miraculous circumstances surrounding his rescue from the Nile and his royal upbringing could not keep him safe from Pharaoh’s wrath. When Moses killed an Egyptian, Pharaoh wanted his adopted grandson dead. After 40 years of palace life he found himself living as a fugitive. He escaped to Midian, where he married the daughter of a priest named Jethro. Although Moses had lived for 40 6

While tending the sheep one day, Moses approached Mount Horeb and came upon a most unusual sight: a “bush was on fire” but it was not burning up. Inching closer, Moses heard God’s voice coming from the bush. God stopped Moses from coming any closer by proclaiming that Moses stood on holy ground. God told Moses to remove his sandals in order to show respect and reverence. God identified Himself as the God of Moses’ ancestors— “I am”. Although Moses stood face to face with the God of the Hebrews, he hid his face from God because he was afraid to look. Reread verses 5–6. When have you experienced “standing on holy ground”? What makes a place holy? ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ ______________________

God Is God called Moses in the middle of his daily, routine life into a radical relationship with Himself that had far-reaching effects on the Hebrew nation. Because God Is, He called Moses, in an unpredictable way, to deliver the Israelites. Midian (Midyan) The Hebrew word Midyan means “strife” and was used to describe the Midianites, descendants of Abraham through his wife Keturah. The Midianites were also the people who bought Joseph from his brothers and later sold him into slavery. They were a nomadic people living in the desert. It was unusual for Jethro to provide Moses hospitality, since the Midianites were hostile toward Israel. I AM (Yahweh) When God said, “I will be with you,” He introduced the name that He would be known as. In Exodus 3:14, God used two forms of the verb to be to tell Moses His name: “I am who i am.” Since the verb used indicates continuing, unfinished action, the name could be translated “I am the One who always is.”


God Knows What is Happening In Our Lives (Ex. 3:7–10). God had seen the plight of the Hebrew slaves. He came to release them from bondage and bring them into a free and bountiful land.

asked of him. What excuses could you use in your life to turn God down? Have you used these? Why? _________________

God told Moses to return to Egypt after living as an outlaw for 40 years. Returning to Egypt was the last thing on Moses’ mind. He would have never thought that he would return to Egypt. Even more, he could never have predicted that God would use him as His spokesperson to rescue Israel from Egyptian bondage.

_________________ _________________ _________________

Reread verses 7–10. God told Moses that He knew about what was happening in the lives of His people. What strength and comfort can you draw from this?

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When God intervenes in your life He changes your abilities and inabilities to serve His purposes. What does God need to change in your life in order to use you for His purposes?

__________________________________________ __________________________________________ __________________________________________

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rescue (natsal) This Hebrew word can be translated “rescue, deliver, snatch away, or save.” Throughout the Old Testament, this verb is used primarily to demonstrate that violence will accompany the rescue. When Moses first returned to Egypt, the people believed his words of deliverance. But when Pharaoh refused to let the people go and increased the difficulty of their work, Moses’ own people turned on him. Moses returned to God as a failure. God told Moses to return to Pharaoh. Although Moses reasoned that if his own people would not listen to him why should Pharaoh, God knew what could be accomplished through Moses.

_________________

God Promises Us of His Presence (Ex. 3:11–12; 6:10–13). In spite of God’s call on his life, Moses felt that he was not the man for the rescue mission. God, however, was not dissuaded by Moses’ excuses. God gave Moses the promise of His presence and a sign of His promised presence. When he returned from his mission, Moses and the Hebrews would worship God at that spot.

_________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________

Reread 3:11 and 6:12. In each verse, Moses gave God excuses of why he would be unable to do what God

Interactive Questions: • Has  God’s leading in your life ever taken you by surprise? • What  is the most unpredictable thing you have ever done for God? • How  has God asked you to reorient your life for Him?

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Daily Bible Readings Day 1 — Unpredictable Beginning Read Exodus 2:1–10. An increasingly large number of Hebrews in Egypt, combined with a new king who had no relationship with Joseph, meant bad news for the Israelites. Moses’ parents took unpredictable measures to save their baby from drowning in the Nile. They could have never imagined what God had in store for their son. As you journal below, consider: What plans did your parents have for your when you were born? What plans did you have for yourself as a teenager? How do your current plans coincide with God’s call on your life?

Pause to Pray: Because God had His hand on Moses, He used a slave girl of Pharaoh’s daughter to save Moses from the Nile. Reflect on times in your life when you knew God had His hand on you. Praise Him for guiding you through the unpredictable currents of life.

Day 2 — Unpredictable Response Read Exodus 2:11–25. Enraged by witnessing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, Moses killed the Egyptian and tried to hide the body. In fear, Moses fled to Midian where he eventually married one of seven sisters. As you journal below, consider: When did you last find yourself backed against a wall, and then God intervened for your good? What part has God played in the transitions of your life? Was each move exactly (family, career, and so on) what you had planned?

Pause to Pray: Long before Moses’ basket negotiated the Nile, God brought His people to Egypt through Joseph. Praise God for saving you so that He could use you as an instrument of His grace.

Day 3 — Unpredictable Encounter Read Exodus 3:1–12. While working as a shepherd, Moses met God in a burning bush. God called him by name and Moses answered, 8


“Here I am.” God commanded Moses to remove his sandals at such a holy place. As you journal below, consider: How do you respond to God when you encounter Him?

Pause to Pray: God used Moses to tell Israel that He would rescue them from their oppression and lead them to a new home. Ask God to use you as an instrument to bring His salvation to those trapped by the darkness and oppression of sin.

Day 4 — Unpredictable Outcome Read Exodus 4:1–17. Moses was not convinced that the people would believe he had been with the Lord and believed that his poor speaking skills would prevent his usefulness to God. As you journal below, consider: What do you possess that you are willing to give to God to be used for His purpose? What excuses have you given to God when He has asked you to do something that had seemingly unpredictable results?

Pause to Pray: Moses left for Egypt with his family and his staff. God had once used a basket to save his life. Once again, God promised to provide. Pray for the faith to trust God in the face of unpredictable outcomes.

Day 5 — Unpredictable Impact Read Exodus 6:10–13 and Hebrews 11:23–29. On first hearing, the Israelites listened to Moses and believed. But in their plight they lost hope and stopped listening. As a result, Moses doubted his effectiveness. As you journal below, consider: How persistent are you in your faith? Do you trust God to use you to make an impact in unpredictable settings as much as you do in safe, familiar settings?

Pause to Pray: Moses grew into a man of faith. He left the palace for the unpredictability of following God. In so doing, God used him to rescue a nation. Ask God to grow you into a person of faith whom He can use to make an impact for Christ. 9


Called to the Unexpected Biblical Passage: Exodus 3:1–12; 6:10–13 Memory Verse: “ But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Table Talk Question: Are leaders born or made?

CALLED TO THE UNEXPECTED

1. God often approaches us when we are ___________________ with other things (Ex. 3:1–6).

2. God knows our ___________________ and chooses to act on our behalf (Ex. 3:7–10).

3. God assures us of His ___________________ when we act according to His will (Ex. 3:11–12; 6:10–13).

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

• Why would God use unpredictable ways to get our attention? • What other times in Scripture did God use unpredictable ways to accomplish His purpose? • How has God spoken to you or others you know in unpredictable ways?

for free thought

“God works by contraries so that a man feels himself to be lost in the very moment when he is on the point of being saved.” —Martin Luther

Answers: 1. busy; 2. situations; 3. presence. 10


SURPRISED Read the following scenarios and consider which position you would prefer to be in.

SITUATION #1: Getting ticketed for a traffic violation CHOICE: I would rather be . . . the officer . . . the violator.

SITUATION #2: Discovering in public that your shoes do not match CHOICE: I would rather be . . . the fashion police . . . the one wearing mismatched shoes.

SITUATION #3: Hugging a stranger from behind whom you thought was a friend CHOICE: I would rather be . . . the stranger . . . the hugger.

SITUATION #4: Eating something very hot or spicy at a dinner party and spitting it out CHOICE: I would rather be . . . another guest at the party . . . the one spitting out food.

SITUATION #5: Congratulating a woman who is not pregnant on her pregnancy CHOICE: I would rather be . . . the woman who is not pregnant . . . the person with

a foot in his or her mouth.

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