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Which Way Do I Go
11/16/2008
Scripture: Luke 7:28; Hebrews 11:24-28; Matthew 7:1...
Track 14 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute, 50 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.

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Which Way Do I Go?

I want you to think back to all the characters you know or heard of from the Bible and tell me which person you easily identify with. I am not asking you which one is your favorite; which one do you closely identify with?

For me I find this to be a tough question. It would be neat if I could get into each ones skin and try him or her out for awhile to answer that question. But I were to ask who are the top 5 Bible characters you most admire, for me, one would be Moses. This guy had a lot placed on his shoulders by God. He had several weaknesses but his dedication to God made him a successful servant. What made him great was his selfless dedication to God and not to himself.

There are a lot of successful people in the world today. It blows my mind how some of these individuals think and how big they think. I am a member of a national board. It is a great privilege to be associated with some of the best small business owners in the country. The very first board meeting I ever went to I came back and said to my wife, I am such a small thinker. I think way too small at times. There are people out there who think and work on a massive scale. They are deeply dedicated to what they want to accomplish and because of that dedication, they are successful beyond imagination above most Americans today.

When I look back over the pages in the Bible and read again about Moses, how huge is his presence there! This guy led the Exodus, witnessed the parting of the Red Sea, led a congregation of 2 million through a wilderness, sustained himself on the bread from angels for years on end, and followed a towering pillar. Stephen tells us that Moses was mighty in word and deed. He endured major obstacles, wasn't crushed by all the criticism thrown at him daily and remained dedicated to God every day.

Look at the people today we would consider "great". Can you name me some? Who are those out there that when people talk about them, at some point the word "great" is used? With all these people, are there things they have in common?

With every great person you will find that they were or are deeply dedicated. In fact, to be a super star, many times they have to not only be dedicated, they have to be selfless. What I mean in that is there are a lot of thing they have to sacrifice in order to be as dedicated as they are. I just think of guys like Michael Phelps. He is in the pool all day long. There are a lot of things he gives up in order to train and stay fit in order to compete at the level he does. Moses was no different; he too had to put aside his self interest and desires to accomplish all that he did.

What things can you imagine Moses had to sacrifice in order to be the success he became for God? In order for you to be considered great in God's kingdom, what sacrifices, what acts of selflessness do you need to perform? (How many of us actually believe we can be great in God's kingdom?)

Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

I heard it said that a man or woman's greatness can be summed up in the decisions that he or she makes in life. I do believe that a person's decisions can and do affect the type of life a person experiences and the amount of success a person achieves. What I find fascinating about Moses, there are no long lasting statues of him found in Egypt today. There are many testimonies still displayed of the great leaders in Egypt's history; but Moses is not listed anywhere. Is it because he wasn't great or never existed at all? I believe we can look back at his life and see three decisions he made that set the course for Moses' success and where his name is written as "great". His name doesn't appear anywhere in Egypt, but his name is all over the written record of God.

I want all of us to turn to Hebrews 11. This is a famous chapter; it is referred to as the Hall of Fame of Faith. Some of the great people of God are listed here. Notice what verse 24 says:

Hebrews 11:24-26 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. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses First Choice: He Refused to Sustain the Sinful

I want you to look at the phrase in this passage "when he had grown up" and explain to me what you think this means. We have to remember that Moses could easily pass as the next up and coming Pharaoh. But when Moses reached adulthood, something huge within him changed. The phrase doesn't mean when he grew up as an adult, the Hebrew actually says, "when Moses became great". That phrase makes this passage even more vivid. It tells us that when Moses became great, at his peak, he made an important decision.

Every one of us experiences the famous fork in the road. There are times when in our path in life, we run into a fork in the road. A decision has to be made as to which direction we will go. There are those paths that are traveled the most by people and there are those paths that very few every walk. I don't know about you, but when I am confronted by these forks, the first question I ask myself is, "I wonder why no one goes that way? I wonder what is wrong with that path?" Is there danger, maybe it is a dead end.

By nature, which path are you prone to choose? Are you a follower or are you a maverick, a risk taker always looking for adventure, driven to take risks?

Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Moses came to the first fork in the road and he was forced to make a decision, would he continue to be the known as the Pharaoh-to-be. Did he want to be popular, the king or be someone who would be a nobody. Firmly, Moses made the choice. Scripture says, "he refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter." We are never told how and when this happened. We don't know how he announced this or who he told. But his decision set him on a whole new course in life. The first decision Moses had to make was who he was and who he wasn't going to be.

Here is the question that needs to be answered, how could Moses, by faith, refuse what he did?
The answers are found in verses 25 and 26. Can anyone tell me what the answers are?

Verse 25 states that Moses made a choice. Verse 26 states Moses considered. The word "choosing" translated from the Greek means "to take for oneself a position". It is almost like a political action; one takes a position on an issue. In Moses case, unlike a politician, Moses was steadfast to his position and didn't waver when the winds were blowing against him or changed.

True or false: Part of the reason we make the wrong choice is because we have not taken a position for ourselves.

When we are faced with the fork in the road, when a decision has to be made one way or another, the one reason we are paralyzed by neutrality is because we haven't taken a position. We see this all the time with politicians. The weak politician is someone who refuses to take a stand one way or another. The politician who votes "present", not yes or no, shows clearly that they haven't taken a position so they are most likely going to be ineffective, someone you can't count on. I see this all the time in Springfield. Moses was not that way at all.

But what made Moses choose not to remain Pharaoh's grandson? Rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Some one comment on Moses reasoning; what is the wisdom or foolishness of it?

The word "considering"found in verse 26 is translated "to think beforehand". Moses was someone who could see ahead, he looked further than the fork in the road and allowed his imagination to run on ahead. He could see the consequences or benefits of his decisions before they occurred. The problem with many choices people make, they don't consider the results before making the choices.

Look at the passage; what did Moses see beyond his decision that caused him to make the choice he made? He saw the riches in following God greater than being an Egyptian. It was better to pursue righteousness than to enjoy sin for a short time. Here is the hard question, Have you gotten to this place? Have you faced the same fork in the road Moses faced? If so, in real life application, which direction did you go?

Second Choice: Leaving the Familiar

The second decision centers on the word, "left".


Hebrews 24: 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Moses turned his back on the familiar. Without reading Hebrews, my impression of Moses leaving Egypt was because he murdered an Egyptian, his murderous action was found out, his own people didn't really back him up and the Pharaoh was out to kill him. Because of his own life, he ran and went into self imposed exile. But when we read the account of Moses decision in Hebrews, I get a different picture.

How does the account in Hebrews modify or better explain the events recorded in Exodus and the statement by Stephen about Moses departure from Egypt?

Moving from what is familiar to the unknown is hard for most people to do. In fact, most people refuse to leave. People will actually choose poverty rather than move to look for another job, opportunity or a better way of life. The familiar is safer than the unknown, even if the familiar is far worse for them. Why is this a major battle for Americans? We have things, places, houses, belongings and territory we are unwilling to give up. We sink roots of our security into these things.

They can and do prevent us from doing great things for God because we refuse to leave the familiar. For most of us, the major battle is leaving Egypt. It's a risk of faith. We are born and bred to hang onto stuff. What is fascinating though, when a fire, a flood or a tornado crashes through a family's life and all the stuff is gone, it is not uncommon to hear them say, praise God our family is safe. We lost everything but no one was hurt or killed. Stuff is temporary; it is unfortunate we don't realize it until we lose it all. Think how much time or opportunity was wasted in collecting it or saving it when we should have been collecting or doing something more valuable.

Moses left Egypt, he burned the bridges. He didn't look back. He didn't fear the wrath of Pharaoh. He simply took off. Here are some statements to consider. Let me know if you agree or disagree with them.

We live by faith or we do not live at all.
Either we venture or we vegetate.
We risk or we rust.

There is a lesson to all parents if you teach these high standards to your kids. I learned this first hand and it isn't easy when they listen to you. What is the lesson? The lesson leads to the third decision.

The Third Decision: Doing the Unusual

This is the most fabulous part. I love how scripture states this. Again, here is one of those passages that are so familiar to us and we sometimes ask ourselves, what's the big deal?

Hebrews 11:28-29 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

Both events recorded in Hebrews have before them this phrase, "By faith". The reason that phrase is there is because why? They had never been done before. There was nothing Moses could reach back to in history to help his imagination grasp what was about to be done by God through him.

We take for granted as we read about the first Passover that Moses and the people went about their tasks in a normal way. We assume things went smoothly as they prepared for the Passover meal. But can you imagine what would be going through your head if you were there? What would you think when you first heard the instructions and what was going to happen that night? And what would be your reaction when you were told to also be totally packed and ready to leave being a slave for all your life?

The one main reason why I wanted to study Moses was because his life, his example is a roadmap for people just like us. We all come to the crossroads in life. When we drive and come to the crossroads, we look to the signs for direction. They tell us to stop, be cautious, when to go, where to turn and how. They tell us who goes first and who is to yield. It is no different in our spiritual lives as well. In our spiritual lives there are also signs to read and follow. If we want to go and arrive at the right destination in God's Kingdom, we need to follow the following signs:

1. Refuse the sinful, faith must overshadow my feeling. We live in a world today that is dictated by feelings. If it feels so good, it has to be right. But that is false and by faith, we have to move in a different direction

2. Leave the familiar, faith has to be my security. We need to hold precious things loosely because it hurts when God pries our fingers open and takes them from us especially when it is our kids. Are you teaching your kids to keep or to give? As a parent, are you willing to give your kids to God and his calling for them in their lives? Too often the parents hold on too tightly, unwilling to let their kids loose.

3. Do the unusual, faith must silence the critics. Trust me on this, the critics will be there. In every venture requiring faith to do the unusual, someone will criticize you, laugh at you for trying it. The journey requires discipline and determination to live through the mockery and the second guessing.

Faith is not belief without proof, it is trust without reservation. Elton Trueblood.

This was the kind of faith expressed by Moses as he lived his life. I pray we can have the faith and be as successful as he was in his generation.