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I'll Do Your Thing My Way
Scripture: Philippians 2:6-8; Exodus 2:11-15; Acts ...
Track 3 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series
Running time: 59 minutes, 07 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

We know very little about the early life of Jesus and we can only speculate what it would have been like from what we know of the lives of typical Jewish boys and young men in Nazareth during that time period. From what we know in scripture, Jesus wasnít someone beyond the typical Jewish male. Nazareth was a very small village, there was nothing special about the town nor was there anything special about people living there. It is not hard imagining what Jesusí would have been like growing up as a carpenterís son even though we donít have all the details written down for us.

Like Jesus, we know very little about the early life of Moses. We know how he was born, and like Jesus, we know how his life was spared by God when evil people tried to eliminate him. We can only speculate the next 40 years of his life. Unlike Jesus, the life Moses experienced in his first 40 years would be entirely opposite that of what Jesus experienced. Jesus was very ordinary, unassuming and very poor. Moses would experience the opposite being the grandson of Pharaoh himself. Even though we donít have all the details of the life of Moses as he grew up, we can with a good degree of certainty speculate what life Moses had living in the house of royalty.

Jesus and Moses have a lot in common. Even though Jesus grew up very poor and ordinary while he lived on this earth, in reality Jesus is God and while on the earth is the Son of God. In his earthly life, Moses is the son of who will soon be the Pharaoh of Egypt. Even though he was not a blood relative, he was the son of a god in the land. Pharaoh was recognized as a god so in essence, Moses too was a son (grandson) of a god.

Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deathó even death on a cross!

For Jesus to complete his ministry, He, being God, came to earth as a man. He stepped out of His nature as God and became a lowly man in order to be obedient by going to the cross and dying for our sins. He did this on His own and voluntarily humbled himself in order to bring man and God back together in relationship. In many respects, that is what Moses did also. It will not be quite the same as what Jesus did but Moses too will move away from being the son of a human god and become a lowly shepherd. Moses didnít do it at all like Jesus did but God was able to prepare Moses for that task God had planned for him to accomplish; to bring the house of Jacob out of bondage and to unite them to God as one Holy nation. Never before had God related to one nation; it had always been with one individual, a patriarch.

Todayís lesson will focus on the events that will start Moses down the path of his second 40 years of life. He will move away from being the son of a god to a life of a simple nobody. In the second 40 years of Moses life he will learn what it is like to be someone of no importance. In this lesson we will see a very important truth: it is one thing to do Godís will, it is another thing entirely to do it Godís way and in Godís time. This is a mistake several of Godís greatest heroes made at least one time in their lives. Moses will be no different.

At this point in Moses life, what do you think his resume would look like? What accomplishments, education, job skills and references would be listed? In modern society today, would Moses be qualified to work for any business in Quincy? What positions do you think he would apply for?

What we will see in our lesson today is something that is nothing new to the Scriptures. Too often Christians totally misunderstand Godís economy and Godís world. What seems good and right for man usually is just the opposite with God. Moses probably was one of the most qualified of any man in history to lead the people of God out of Egypt. But in his present state, with all his education, skills as a military leader, his wealth, power and polish, Moses was totally useless to God.

Exodus 2:11-15 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. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, ďWhy are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?Ē The man said, ďWho made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?Ē Then Moses was afraid and thought, ďWhat I did must have become known.Ē 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.

Before we move on, I want to look at the same event from a different angle. Like in the movies, a different angle or a view from a different lens helps us see a better picture. Stephen also talks about Moses and what he said sheds a better light on the event.

Acts 7:23-29 When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ĎMen, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?í ďBut the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ĎWho made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?íWhen Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

Stephen shares with us in the verse right before our passage that Moses was a man of great skill and talents. One of his talents was the ability to sway the masses. Stephen not only shares that Moses had great educational skills, Moses also had charisma. Moses spoke with ease and he was capable of leading men into battle. Now many of you might be questioning that statement because you always thought Moses was a man who didnít speak well. Some contend that he had a stuttering problem. But that is something untrue. All indications point to Moses being a man of great speaking talents and a real leader of men.

Letís take a survey: How many are high school graduates? Have their bachelorís degree? Masterís degree? Doctorate degree? How many are sales persons in some capacity? Has a managerís position in some sense of has others working under you?

What is fascinating to me; it is the same types of people with the same skill sets and education that when asked to do things for God, especially evangelism, the first words usually out their mouth comes the excuse that they arenít qualified or they are not capable of telling others about JesusÖthey havenít been trained or they donít know enough about the Bible.

How many of you have been personally trained in being an addict or how many have been trained in getting pregnant as a teenager? I bet that if we asked someone who no longer is an addict about what it was like being one, they could tell us. I bet they could probably help some else to get out of their addiction. How much training does it require for a former addict to help a person addicted to a substance give up the addiction? What qualifies them to help others escape from their addictions? Their experience! What is the difference with Christianity? I contend that the difference is the desire to follow God and be involved in the ministry given to the Christian and that is to share the Gospel with others.

With every advantage Moses had, Moses was vulnerable. In fact, he didnít really know how vulnerable he really was. Some people believe and others have written that Moses wasnít aware of what Godís will was for his life until he encountered God at the burning bush. But through my studies and some of the little things Stephen told us, I believe scriptures implies that Moses in his developing years was hearing from God in some way that his purpose in life was to lead the people out of Egypt. I donít think that God was speaking directly to him but I do believe the Spirit of God was softening his heart and putting the thoughts in his mind. His mother also might of helped him with that thought in his developing years.

I do believe that Moses knew Godís will but he didnít know Godís way. Being who he was and how he was raised, he had not learned Godís ways or timing. Instead, Moses began to carry out the plan according to Moses way and Moses time table. Look at the steps Moses took.

Step One: An Idea Initiated By Moses, Not God

Acts 7:23 When Moses was forty years old, he decided (It entered his mind) to visit his fellow Israelites.

I donít know about you but I find that statement rather strange. Moses is not a Hebrew in practical life; Moses was the son of Pharaoh. The son of Pharaoh just doesnít stroll down with the Hebrew slaves for a visit. He obviously knew who the Hebrew were, they would have been everywhere, they were the slaves of Egypt doing the dirty work for the Egyptian people. Scriptures donít tell us how or when, but somewhere and sometime Moses had connected his heritage to the Hebrew nation. Scripture implies that Moses became sympathetic to their situation. The question for me is why is Moses there with the Hebrew slaves?

To better understand this whole event, there is a fact we have to keep in mind; God did not lead Moses to kill an Egyptian. That decision was a freelance decision on Moses part. I do believe that when Moses did it, he did it believing that he was helping his people. Of the 120 years in Moses life, I believe 80 years was set back due to some bad decisions on Moses part. The first 40 years was a setback because he killed an Egyptian that led to him running for his life. It took 40 years to get ready Moses for the return. The last 40 years was due to his lack of leadership when the nation decided to listen to the 10 spies and not move into the Promised Land as the other 2 spies suggested. It took 40 years of wondering in the wilderness to kill off a whole generation, including Moses before the opportunity to enter the Promised Land returned.

Without realizing it, Moses entered into a vulnerable dangerous time in his life. I believe Moses wanted to do great things for God but he grew impatient. So like many of the great heroes of God, Moses decided to do something about it. What triggered his action?

Step Two: Energized By the Flesh

He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses had enough of the unfair treatment to his people. He intended to do something about it.

Exodus 2:12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

This verse is short but it tells us some important things. Describe the type of murder Moses committed? Moses is the son of Pharaoh, if he wanted the Egyptian punished for his actions; couldnít Moses have that done at his command? Why not deal with it that way? What do you think Moses hoped to gain from what he did?

The Bible doesnít really say how Moses did it. It is clear Moses knew how to kill someone probably from his days in the military. Did he kill him with a spear, did he run him through from behind with his sword or did he kill him with his bare hands. We are never told; it is irrelevant to know other than Moses, on his own motives, killed the Egyptian. It was not by Godís instruction; it was according to Mosesí own will.

Now we need to be careful here not to over judge Moses too harshly. I donít think he was grandstanding but I do think he was very sincere with his motives. The Egyptian task master was cruel and deserved to be punished. Moses also displayed courage to take the Egyptian on, but the problem came when Moses allowed his own desires and will to take over and not submit to the will of God. Following is a statement I want you to think about a minute:

Moses dedicated himself to the will of God, but not to the God whose will it was.

What does this statement mean? Can a person get into a situation where they are so committed to the will of God that they are driven by a false sense of purpose causing them to take matters into their own hands and leave God completely out of it? Any examples? How easily can this happen to good hearted people with the highest motives and the best of intentions? If we act without discerning Godís timing, what might happen and what might we expect?

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

At the right time we realize untold blessings, at the wrong timeÖthings can be different. How different might things have been if Jesus came at the wrong time? What keeps us from making these types of mistakes?

Exodus records for us a very interesting fact. Notice when Moses decided to kill the Egyptian, the directions he looked. He looked side to side. Notice the one direction he didnít look? Moses didnít look up, he only looked horizontally, not heavenly. Once he finished killing the Egyptian, notice where he put him. The Bible says Moses buried him in the sand. Here is a fact of reality: When man does something out of the flesh, he always has something to cover up. You have to bury your motive. You have to conceal the lie or half-truth. It is matter of time before the truth catches up with you. The sand always yields its secrets.

Genesis 3: 6-11 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ďWhere are you?Ē He answered, ďI heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.Ē And he said, ďWho told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?Ē

Manís fleshly desire always leads man to cover up what he did. It was no different with Moses. By burying the Egyptian in the sand tells us that Moses knew full well that the actions were clearly his and not Godís. I must emphasize here that even the most gifted are cursed with vulnerability. We see it many times in scripture when the mighty of God fall hard due to their own fleshly desires. When the flesh gets in the way, too often we do the right things at the wrong time or in the wrong way. God planned to punish Egypt through the actions of Moses but this was not the plan nor the way God intended.

Years later, when God took charge of Moses life and at the right time, God did bury Egypt when he buried the army of Pharaoh under the Red Sea. When God is in charge, the job gets done and failure flees.

Step Three: An Action Leading to Failure and Confusion

Donít miss this point, working outside Godís will and timing can and often does lead to misery. For Moses, this also was true. Moses thought he pulled off something pretty slick and was probably feeling pretty good about it. He made a bold gesture for his people but he had no idea that confusion, failure and grief were lurking just around the corner for him. Letís remember, Moses thought he was doing Godís will. His intentions were right but he paid the price for doing it wrong. There are many so-called Christians today who feel their right intentions will cover up their wrong actions. The following set of verses teaches that is not necessarily the case.

Acts 7:24-25 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.

According to Stephen, Moses thought he would be the deliverer of his people many years before he encountered the burning bush. He assumed everyone would realize it too. He thought that all he had to do was to get the ball rolling and the Hebrews would rally around him. But that didnít happen, they didnít understand and their confusion also spread to Moses. Now confusion replaced confidence and Moses realized he miscalculated the situation.

Acts 7:26-29 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ĎMen, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?í ďBut the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ĎWho made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?í When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

What affect do you think the response the Hebrew man had on Moses when he heard it? What fact of reality must have smacked Moses right in the face?

As we conclude this lesson lets think about the Moses we always assumed he was, a man who couldnít speak very well and a man who was very reluctant to be used by God even when God himself spoke to him. How do you think Moses got that way? Was he by nature that way or did something happen? It took 40 years of solitude and nothing living to get Moses ready again for the task God had in mind and in His own time frame.