Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

12-15-04

Title: The Sovereignty of God in a Life

 

Series: Moses-An Example of Leadership

 

Author: Tom Lowe

 

Text: (Exodus 2:1-22)

 

 

Introduction

 

Moses was Israel’s Abraham Lincoln; a man raised up by God to break the shackles from a nation of slaves. 

 

He is a man of such importance in the Bible that he is named almost 700 times. 

 

His birth, just like the birth of all national heroes is of very great interest. 

 

He was born during a time of national crisis—when the first attempt was being made in history to exterminate the Hebrew people. 

 

He was protected by the power of God and actually raised to manhood in the very royal court he would later humble in the dust. 

 

Today, our story is in the first 22 verses of Exodus 2. 

 

There are 3 things that we can pick out of these verses that will start us on our study of this great man.

 

  1. THERE IS THE PROTECTION OF MOSES.
  2. THERE IS THE PROVING OF MOSES.
  3. THE PREPARATION OF MOSES.

 

The first 10 verses reveal the protection of Moses.

 

1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could hide him no longer she took for him a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and pitch; and she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds at the river’s brink.
4 And his sister stood at a distance, to know what would be done to him.
5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it.
6 When she opened it she saw the child; and lo, the babe was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.
9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

 

This is the age old story of a man who sees a woman, falls in love with her and marries her. 

 

She loves him in return, and they have a child. 

 

This is what human life is all about and that’s the story we have here. 

 

The man’s name is Amram and the woman is Jochebed; they are slaves in Egypt, where the times were difficult, but they had faith to get married and have a family.

 

There were two older children in the home when Moses was born, Aaron and Miriam.

 

It was not easy to provide for another child, but God enabled them to do it, as He still does for parents today. 

 

Moses was a healthy baby and very handsome in appearance and his parents took that as evidence that God had given him for a great purpose. 

 

I said that times were hard for the Hebrews.

 

The king or Pharaoh not only worked them to the point of exhaustion, but he also ordered a halt to Jewish population growth. 

 

That meant that male children were to be killed. 

 

Now, Jochebed had a serious problem. 

 

She could no longer hide her child, because Moses had a good set of lungs and the day came when he could cry at the top of his lungs. 

 

She took her baby and placed him in an ark made from the bulrushes that grew along the shore of the Nile River.  

 

A lot of religious people would have acted differently than this mother. 

 

They would say, “Well, we’re just going to trust the Lord.” 

 

That’s a wonderful statement to make, but do you really trust the Lord when you are playing the part of a fool? 

 

Jochebed would have been foolish to keep the child in her house when a guard passing by might have heard his cry. 

 

It would have meant instant death for Moses. 

 

I can hear someone saying, “I don’t believe the child would cry when the guard passed by.” 

 

How do you know? 

 

Faith is not a leap in the dark as I heard a liberal preacher say some years ago. 

 

God asks us to believe that which is good and solid. 

 

God never asks us to do foolish things. 

 

Jochebed did a sensible thing. 

 

She made a little ark and put Moses in it. 

 

But she did something else; she sent Moses’ sister to watch it and find out what would happen to her brother. 

 

Now, you can see the hand of the Lord at work. 

 

The Lord is going to intervene in this situation. 

 

Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to wash. 

 

It was undoubtedly a secluded spot. 

 

It was there she saw the ark, and she had one of her maids bring it to her. 

 

At that very moment it was the right time for the child to cry. 

 

In fact, the Lord pinched little Moses and he let out a yelp. 

 

That’s how God brought together two things He has made-a baby’s cry and a woman’s heart. 

 

Pharaoh’s daughter just couldn’t pass this little baby by.

 

She recognized the baby to be of Hebrew lineage, but she was attracted to him despite the king’s decree.

 

Next, we are told that Miriam, Moses’ sister, made a very helpful suggestion to the princess. 

 

She suggests a woman from the Hebrews for a wet-nurse to nurse the baby for her. 

 

This is a real turn of events, and it shows how God worked to protect baby Moses. 

 

Moses’ real mother was the one called to nurse him and be paid for it. 

 

You can’t beat that, friends. 

 

You can’t beat God when He is moving in our hearts and lives.

 

Jochebed and the princes made an agreement that she would bring the baby back after he was weaned.

Moses was probably about two years old when his mother weaned him and took him to Pharaoh’s daughter (according to their agreement) and he became her son.

 

Moses received all the rights, privileges, and education of an Egyptian prince.

 

However, God didn’t only protect baby Moses, He also provide evidence to Moses of his purpose to help his people.

 

It says in verses 11-15:


11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.
12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together; and he said to the man that did the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow?”
14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.”
15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

The first 40 years of Moses’ life was spent in the courts of Pharaoh. 

 

He was raised and trained like an Egyptian. 

 

He looked like an Egyptian, talked like an Egyptian, and acted like an Egyptian.

 

Moses, we are told was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.

 

The one great thing that lacked in Moses’ education was that he was not taught how to serve God. 

 

But don’t underestimate Moses, friends; he was an outstanding man. 

 

Stephen, in the book of Acts, gives us some insight into this period of Moses’ life. 

 

Stephen said this to the Jewish council that wanted to kill him-

 

20 At this time Moses was born, and he was extremely beautiful. For three months he was nursed in his father’s house;
21 but when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
22 Moses was educated (in) all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.
23 “When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his kinsfolk, the Israelites.
24 When he saw one of them treated unjustly, he defended and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian.
25 He assumed (his) kinsfolk would understand that God was offering them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.
26 The next day he appeared to them as they were fighting and tried to reconcile them peacefully, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why are you harming one another?’
27 Then the one who was harming his neighbor pushed him aside, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us?
28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’
29 Moses fled when he heard this and settled as an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

 

In other words, all of his training in Egypt did not prepare Moses to deliver the children of Israel. 

 

One day, when he was out, he saw one of his brethren being persecuted and beaten by one of the slave drivers, and Moses killed the guard. 

 

Moses looked this way and that way to see if his deed had been seen—but the trouble was he didn’t look up. 

 

He should have looked up to God who would have forbidden him to do a thing like this because Moses is 40 years ahead of God in delivering the children of Israel. 

 

Therefore God is going to put him out on the back side of the desert.

 

The sad story of Moses’ impatient anger, his murder of an Egyptian, and its discovery are familiar events.

 

Perhaps Moses thought he could help his people by his own power, prestige, and position.

 

He was wrong, and he had time during the next forty years of his life to contemplate his wrong ideas.

 

Moses had a splendid education (Acts 7:22), but he was lacking in faith.

 

He fought the wrong enemy at the wrong time with the wrong weapon.

 

When you start to look around and ask yourself “Is it safe?” and not “Is it right?” you have stopped living by faith. Sometimes God has to “set us aside” to teach us what we need to know—and to help us forget the way the world does things.

 

Moses’ impulsive deed sent him to the back of the desert for forty years, just as his impulsive words would keep him out of the Promised Land (Num. 20:9–13).

 

An impatient spirit is a dangerous thing.

 

So far we have seen God’s protection of Moses and His proving of Moses, but God did something else; He prepared Moses for the role he would play in delivering and leading the Israelites.

 

In verses 16-22 we are told:

 

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
17 The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
18 When they came to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?”
19 They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20 He said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”
21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.
22 She bore a son, and he called his name Gershom; for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

 

These young women met with some opposition when they tried to water their sheep.

 

It was more than they and their servants could handle. 

 

The shepherds of some neighboring prince, or some idle men that called themselves shepherds, drove away their flocks; but Moses, though downhearted and in misery, stood up and helped them, not only to run-off the shepherds, but, when that was done, to water the flocks.

 

The women told their father, “An Egyptian delivered us.”

 

Moses had received all the advantages of Egyptian royalty; no doubt he dressed, sounded, and acted like an Egyptian.

 

Therefore, they assumed that he was one.

 

Moses would stay in Midian, until he meets God in the burning bush that was not consumed. 

 

He married Zipporah the daughter of the prince whose sheep he saved. 

 

It’s interesting to note that even though Moses was God’s chosen deliverer; he was rejected by Israel, turned to the Gentiles, taking a Gentile bride; afterwards, he again appears as Israel’s deliverer and is accepted. 

 

And so we find Moses in the land of Midian. 

 

For the next 40 years it will be his home. 

 

Two sons are born to him there. 

 

In the desert he will begin his preparation to be the deliverer of Israel from their Egyptian bondage.

 

It was God’s will that brought Moses to Midian, but there were reasons for it. 

 

The first reason was to shelter him for the present.

 

So we know God will find hiding-places for his people when they are suffering. 

 

Second, he was brought to Midian to prepare him for the great tasks that God had for him to do.

 

His life in Midian, where he kept the flock of his father-in-law, would be of use to him for a couple of reasons.

 

First, to get him accustomed to hardship and poverty, so that he would learn how to live in want as well as how to live with plenty.

 

Those whom God intends to exalt he will make humble first.

 

Midian also got him used to deliberation and commitment.

 

His life in Egypt gifted him as a scholar, a gentleman, a statesman, a soldier, but none of those accomplishments were of use to him any more. 

 

But Moses still lacked one thing; he was to do everything by divine revelation.  

 

He must come to know, by a long experience, what it was like to live a life of close association with God; and that would come from the solitude and withdrawal of a shepherd’s life in Midian.

 

Sometimes God has to “set us aside” to teach us what we need to know—and to help us forget the way the world does things.

 

Moses’ impulsive deed sent him to the back of the desert for forty years, just as his impulsive words would keep him out of the Promised Land.

 

An impatient spirit is a dangerous thing.

 

I think there’s a lesson here for us.

 

We must have a confident trust in God and follow his guidance.

 

Things that happen to us which seem purely accidental, at first, may afterwards appear to have been designed by God for very good purposes.

 

A casual, momentary occurrence has sometimes brought the greatest and happiest change in a man’s life.

 

Conclusion

 

Moses is such an important person in the Bible that not only is he mentioned by name close to 700 times, but he is mentioned in every section of the Bible and to get rid of him we would have to tear our Bibles to shreds—which is just what many critics of the Bible have tried to do.

 

At the burning bush Moses was given a glimpse of the future of the people of Israel. 

 

The bush burned with fire and was not consumed. 

 

In all of its long history in the midst of hostile peoples, Israel has never been either exterminated or absorbed by another nation. 

 

Just as God was in that bush, so God has been in the midst of this people.

 

And, if you are a Christian God is with you, in fact, Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 

 

That promise is backed up by the event we celebrate at Easter time. 

 

Folks, we don’t serve a dead God, like all other religions do. 

 

Jesus is alive; He was raised by God the Father and made alive by Him. 

 

Because He lives, we also live. 

 

It’s a fact, through faith in Him we receive eternal life. 

 

I hope you believe in Jesus! 

 

The Bible says that if you believe in Jesus you are saved. 

 

If you have never done so, you can ask Him to forgive your sins now and to give you eternal life. 

 

Pray this prayer along with me.

 

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