Sermon delivered April 17, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical Quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Maturing Moses

Today's sermon is part two in a series on Moses, one of the greatest characters in the whole bible. Today is called, "Maturing Moses."

You know, when Moses reached his twelfth birthday, it was like a funeral because any minute that royal chariot would arrive to take him away forever. Maybe never see his mother or his family again. Jochebed, his mother washed one last time behind his ears, and slicked down his hair. He was smothered with kisses and hugs. Her last words may have been: "I'll be praying for you, I will always love you.... you be a good boy! Don't forget I love you. Don't forget God loves you." Then the chariot came. He got in the golden chariot and was taken away to the great palace. I can imagine him looking back at his family as they got smaller and smaller in the distance. Finally obscured by the dust on the horizon.

Now Moses would be another woman's son. A pagan idolater would be his adoptive mother. Now, Moses could have turned antagonistic and fought the system. But he made the best of where he found himself. Now I think that is what we need to do as people. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in you make the best of it. There's a lesson in this for us today. You blossom where you are planted even if destiny transplants you where you don't want to be.

Maybe you never knew the warm love of your birth mother or father. Some of you here are like that. Maybe you were adopted, maybe you were in a foster home, maybe your home was or is deplorable. The road has been hard and long for you. Your mother doesn't really care for you. You don't even have a relationship with your parents. If so, you need to listen well to Moses' story because the difficult path you have been climbing for so long could be the ramp to future fame and glory and fitting in with god's purpose.

Poor Moses was severed from the influence and strength of his mighty mother. Now Moses would surely be vulnerable to all the evils of Pagan Egypt. I mean, he was surrounded with idolaters, with pagans, and wickedness, and filth and vice of every kind. And no mother to straighten him out. But you know, a good mother is not a person to lean on, but one who makes leaning unnecessary.

After he saw his mother for the last time, he still continued to receive what we could call a Christian Education! Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 245 - EG White: "Angels instructed Moses..." After he left his Christian home and was surrounded by pagan influence, God's holy angels continued to point Moses to God's will for his life.

There's a lesson in that. You train up that child in the way he should go and when he is older he won't depart from it. Moses didn't.

Mothers, listen up! Today, if you have a son or daughter out there in the world, and perhaps even they are not in the church don't give up on that kid. God doesn't give up on them. He send the angels after them. And even if you die or cannot have an influence over them any longer, the angels of God continue the godly instruction you started.

I want to appeal to some of you wayward children that are here today. Maybe you're here for some reason this morning. If you have a godly mother or if you had a godly mother I want you to make sure that in your life if you've strayed away from God's path, you get back onto that path. I want to invite you like Moses to choose to be with God's people rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. You leave that sinful life. Come back to God. Honor Him and honor your mother.

It must have been quite a change. There he was. He'd moved into the palace. He was surrounded by gold and silver and ivory and all sorts of expensive things. Living in the Egyptian "White House," in the oval bedroom. What a change from the hovel of slavery. Everybody was a total stranger. He didn't know a soul. Did you ever have that circumstance? You have if you've ben in a foster home. You don't know anybody. And here they are, supposed to be your family. This motherless boy undoubtedly cried himself to sleep many a night in his royal bedroom.

Hebrews 11:24,25 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Praise God for Moses!

You know, Moses was now 40 years old. He was educated. Do you realize that Moses was the "Einstein" of the Old Testament.!! You're dealing with the most educated man, probably, in the whole Bible. The smartest person since Adam. Acts 7:22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. We're told in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 246. EG White: "His intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of all ages. As historian, philosopher, poet, general of armies, and legislator, he stands without a peer"

That's Moses. You're dealing with a author of six books of the Bible. And what great institution of higher learning did he attend? Who was the first of his great teachers? Just a God fearing, praying, Bible believing, desperate, home-schooling mother! While in the Egyptian White House he sat at the feet of the brightest PhD's that Egypt could offer. Remember was in its bright period. It was in its heyday. If you think Greek is bad to learn, and it is. Hieroglyphics is worse. Moses studied astronomy, law, philosophy, science, combat, music, art, medicine, religion, you name it. He studied it and he mastered it. He may well have been the most educated man in all of Egypt, or possibly of all the world.

He did well because we learn from ancient historians (we don't get this in the Bible) that Moses became a brilliant military strategist even defeating the Ethiopian Army in a decisive battle. Moses developed into a wise and able leader. He was intelligent and captivating in his oratory ability. Maturing Moses was a great prince of Egypt. He had much knowledge but he didn't have true Wisdom yet. And God would take care of that.

And notice here in Hebrews 11:26 - He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ. Isn't that amazing? The author of Hebrews puts the word, "Christ" in there. Moses was looking forward to Christ? Does this hint at the knowledge of the coming Messiah? I think it does.

He often visited his toiling brethren at the brickyard and encouraged them. He made up his mind to try and deliver them. "Who else? Why not me?" Somehow, God laid that burden on him. Moses' choice reminds me of the decision Jesus made. Jesus had everything made up in heaven. He lived in peace and He chose to come down to this battlefield, down to this world to save His people who were suffering from the mistreatment from a devilish slave-driver. That's what Moses did, too.

One day he saw his chance. Exodus 2:11,12 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Now, that was an awful deed, wasn't it. It's interesting that's not what keep him from being translated. What one sin kept Moses from being translated? Striking the rock. Was this a sin to kill this Egyptian? He killed many people, didn't he? But this was a sin, because when you do something without God telling you to do it, it becomes a sin. So, he killed the Egyptian. Did God tell him to kill an Egyptian? NO. In fact, Acts 7:23 NAS gives us a little light. It says, When he was almost forty it entered HIS mind to visit his brethren... God didn't send that. It was his idea. Moses murdered on His own initiative. He jumped the gun on being a savior. He said, "Let's get started here. I want to get busy delivering these people." But God didn't tell him to do it. This set him back forty years. For forty years Moses wandered in his own personal wilderness because he jumped the gun. He did it too quick. Have you ever done that? Maybe you wanted to get married. "God isn't sending me somebody. Here I am thirty years old. I'm still single. This is horrible. I'm just going to go out and find just anybody and marry them." Don't jump the gun.

Abraham jumped the gun by marrying Hagar. Jacob jumped the gun by grabbing the birthright. God would have given him the birthright. All good things in His time. We just need to have patience, the patience of the saints. We must wait for God's timing. but, Moses didn't quite have that yet.

Quickly Moses grabbed the controls from God and took matters into his own hands. A quick slash with his sword or a striking blow from one trained in martial arts, and the taskmaster went down. Moses was physically strong. It was his timing and not God's timing. Josephus tells us that Moses' physique, his looks, his beauty, were extraordinary. The people of Egypt tried to get a glimpse of him as he passed by. He was quite a fellow. Moses, physically strong. He always was a champion of the underdog. But Moses was wrong in his timing. And it wasn't God's timing.

Here we see that Moses was an emotional man. He strikes out at this Egyptian. This, the trait of losing his temper would follow him all of his life.

Jesus knew how to wait for His Father's timing. Galatians 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son... Many times Jesus said, "My time has not yet come." Jesus knew how to wait. Moses hadn't learned that yet. How often we take into our own hands matters that God has promised to do for us in His own time. We get worried. "Well, I'm not pregnant yet. Here I am approaching forty." Let's just do it in God's own time. So often we pray for an express train on the fast track and God sends something slow like a snail with rheumatism. And we want to go faster.

Notice Exodus 2:12. Here is an amazing lesson! We read verse twelve. Let's read it again. We probably missed something. It says, Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. You notice something interesting here? Moses looked to the right and to the left, but he did not look UP! He did not look in the vertical direction. All he looked was horizontal. I will tell that when you don't consult with the vertical you lose out. Your horizontal view must never outweigh your Vertical view. He did not pray about it! He didn't look to God. He looked to the right and he looked to the left and he killed the Egyptian. He didn't consult with God. He didn't pray. And it cost him forty years! Purposes that are not bathed in prayer are doomed to failure. Never forget that.

After his sin, the first thing he tried to do was to cover it up. That's what Adam and Eve tried to do. They tried to hide from God in their fig leaves. Moses tried to cover up his sin. But I will tell you that shifting sand doesn't hold its secret very long. Be sure your sins will find you out. They will. Somebody's going to find out about it. Forty years later when Moses did act according to God's will and God's timing, God was able to permanently cover up by the shifting waters an entire Egyptian Army under the Red Sea. So it can be done in God's timing.

Exodus 2:13,14 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?" The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? (You're not our deliverer. Here Moses thought he was the deliverer.) Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." He thought it was a secret. Perhaps he forgot the person he was protecting the day before. He thought he could go out and do his thing and it would be a secret. You may think, "I can go out and have my affair. I can go out and drink a little on the side. Nobody will ever know." They will know.

Poor Moses thought that all he had to do was strike the Egyptian dead and all two million Hebrew slaves would grab up their pitchforks and rally to the cause and be free.

His crime was quickly told. It was greatly exaggerated. Soon Pharaoh was told that Moses was planning a secret plot to overthrow the government. Moses was planning on getting all these slaves together, two million Hebrews to revolt. At once a death decree was put out against Moses. He was among the ten most wanted men in Egypt.

His own people had rejected Moses as their deliverer just like the Jews rejected Jesus as their deliverer. They didn't change much, did they. In fact, what did God wee in the Israelites? Were they really that good a people? They were into idolatry about like everybody else. What did God see in the Israelites? Why were they His people for so many years? You know the reason? Because God loved Abraham. God mad a promise to Abraham that lasted until they stoned Stephen.

Exodus 2:15 When Pharaoh heard of this he tried to kill Moses but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. I can just imagine Moses fleeing in fear for his life in fear of Pharaoh, can't you? Well, that's not the way it was. We are told in Hebrews 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; He was not afraid of the king. So why did he run away from Egypt? I'll let you figure that out. [I'd guess that he knew his job was over after being rejected by the Hebrews and was no longer acceptable in the king's court. - Editor] Moses girded up his royal raiment and ran. He still had a lot to learn before he could be the deliverer. He must not rely on human strength. He needed to be de-Egyptianized. That could only happen out there in the wilderness. For forty years he learned in the humble task of being a shepherd. Tenderly caring for the sheep prepared him to be a compassionate longsuffering leader.

Here's another interesting statement: "Time, change of surroundings and communion with God could remove (negative Egyptian influences from Moses)." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 248 - EG White. What three things? Here's the way to get the world flushed out of your life. Three things can lead from brokenness to reconstruction. Time, change of surroundings, and communion with God. That's worth learning. Tenderly caring for those sheep prepared him to be a compassionate, long-suffering leader. Shut in by the bulwarks of those mountains, Moses had daily time for zeroing in on God. It changed his life. There in the stillness he beheld the Most High. And until you take time to behold God, you aren't going to be changed.

They called me the other day and asked me if I would be speaker at Camp-Meeting early morning service Sabbath morning. It meets at 4:30, 6:30, some unearthly time like that. They asked me for a title, so I gave them a title: "We are Saved by our Good Looks." Of course that is taken from one of the sermons I've preached here. We're saved by beholding Jesus. That's how we are changed. That's what happens. Anyway, there in the wilderness, headstrong Moses became one of the meekest people in the history of the world. Meek as Moses. Have you ever heard that? - (Numbers 12:3).

Moses may have actually thought he was a failure. In fact, every time he looked at the shepherd's rod in his hand he realized that instead of the shepherd's rod in his hand, there should have been a golden scepter in his hand. Every time he saw that rod he felt he was a failure, washed up, done. But God wasn't done with him. Self became less and less important and God greater by the day.

There in Midian, the desert was hot. it was dry. He may have buried some of his sweaty royal robes in the blistering sand on that long journey. He was a hunted outlaw. He had disappointed God and his people had rejected him. He was washed up. But not in God's sight. You may think that when you're forty you're over the hill, your life is done. Not so! Actually you may be on the verge of spiritual success. Just hang in there.

Failure is not a problem. Often the real problem is that we have not failed deep enough sometimes. Moses reached the bottom. There he was by that well, that deep well. He may have looked down in there. He was at the bottom of his experience in his life. The only direction he could go was up.

He finally Moses saw that oasis surrounded by palms trees. He sat down by that watering trough beside the well. The first thing he knew, here came seven ladies, seven girls with their thirsty sheep. Then as he watched, here came some shepherds, some hooligans and what happened is a very interesting story.

Exodus 2:16,17 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. This has a lot to do with water, doesn't it. Their thirst led him to the water of life and there his spirit drank from the refreshing river of life. And when we do that, our faith begins to grow.

Here we see Moses developing a servant attitude. Notice he's no longer in line for Pharaoh. He's serving the servants. Isn't that a blessing! That's what our Savior did. These seven girls needed a deliverer. He wanted to deliver two million people. God said, "Here's seven girls. Deliver them." And he did. These local roughnecks were driven away. Now remember, Moses is strong. He was trained in the military. He stood up and helped the helpless. Singlehandedly he drove those people away in brute strength. With his right hand he delivered them. Just like with his own right hand he struck down the taskmaster. But he still had a lot to learn.

But eventually he learned that it is not by muscle but by faith that God delivers. Here's a lesson Moses learned. Exodus 15:6 Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. See how Moses matured! No longer his right hand, it's God's right hand. That's why I like Moses.

The Pharaoh Elect had wanted to deliver two million people, but God wants us to begin with small things. That's where Moses started. He that is faithful in little things shall be given greater things. Luke 12: 48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Let's say that God has given you the ability to speak, and you think, "I've never been invited to address the United nations." What if you're invited to teach in the Junior Sabbath School Department. Would you be willing to do that? Maybe God had given you the gift of writing, and you say, "Well, I've never written a book. The opportunity has never been there." Well, how about writing for the church newsletter? You see, we need to start where we are at. Maybe you've been given a great mind, and you have never been invited to lecture at Harvard. How about using that mind to turn other hearts and minds to Jesus Christ? That's what it is all about. That's what Moses learned there in the desert of Midian. If you've been endowed with the talent of making big money, or maybe you've inherited big money, God expects you to use your assets to advance His work. Moses found the truth of Matthew 6:33, But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

He got a wife, Zipporah and a son, and he got a job. He got a future. And he got a relationship with God. It's the greatest thing that could have happened to him, and it did happen. Do you have a relationship with God? Like Moses, if you have that you've got everything else. You've got the world in your hands if you have Jesus in your heart. Are you putting God first in your life? Are you maturing like Moses? With God, you can. He will take you wherever you're at. If you're in the bottom of the well, the bottom of the barrel, that's a good place to start. he can use you.

Well, nest week is
April 24,  Motivated Moses....  Burning Bush!
May 1,     Mousey Moses ......  Stuttering and timid!
May 8,     Mighty Moses ......  Let the plagues start!
May 15     Magician Moses.....  10 troubles in Egypt!
May 22,    Mobile Moses.......  The Exodus!


Opening Hymn: 70 Praise Ye the Father
Scripture:   Psalm 24:3-6
Closing Hymn:   473   Nearer My God to Thee

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