Exodus 2:10 - When Life Does Not Make Sence
WHEN LIFE DOES NOT MAKE SENCE
At time's life does not make any sense. Many times there is no explanation, no under- standing as to why this crisis or why that crisis. But at times, God pulls back the curtains of his sovereign will, and He allows us to see why we are in a crisis. Such will be the case as we look at the life of Moses.
Moses once lived in a palace, but as we look at Exodus 2:15 now he lives in a desert. Moses once was a ruler and a leader of men, but soon he will be a ruler and leader of sheep. He has no idea that God was preparing him for an even greater ministry. We are going to pull back the curtains of heaven, and we are going to see how God used Moses' desert experience as preparation for incredible service. I do not know if you are going through a crisis, but for Moses it was preparation for being used greatly by God. And may I suggest that if you are going through a crises God is preparing for future service.
Alan Redpath while pastor of Moody Memorial Church put it this way "When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible person and crushes them."
Everything I have to say today as it relates to the life of Moses has to do with that statement. If the truth were known many of us would admit that we are impossible people. I mean our slogan in life is, “I want it my way.” And until
we are divinely crushed, until we are broken to the place of submission of God's will, God will not use us in that particular manner for which he has called us.
A. W. Tozer put it another way, "It is
doubtful that God can use anyone greatly until He has hurt them deeply."
There are times when God has allowed deep and severe trials. And when you are in those trials you will wonder about the justice of God. There will be times when God will kick the crutches out from under you. There will be times when God will take away your comforts and remove all your rights. And you will wonder why?
It may be that in God's great plan He wants to use you in a great way. In the life of Moses that is exactly God's intention. God is going to crush Moses. Today we will experience the brokenness of being crushed.
A. MOSES LIFE, PRIOR TO BE BROKEN BY GOD.
One thing that I want you to see in Moses is that he was highly qualified. Look at ACTS 7:22:
122 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
Do you see the word "powerful" in the New International Version, ("mighty" in the King James Version)? The Greek word is dunamai, from which we get our word dynamite. Meaning this, Moses was very powerful in communication and action. He was an incredible debater and a military hero.
A historian tells us that Moses led the Egyptian Army in numerous military campaigns, and he was always victorious. Moses had all the ability, all the intellect, and he had all the education. He was highly qualified, but he was entirely useless when it came to doing God's will, God's way. Look at:
23 "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.
Moses, in attempting to do God's will, kills an Egyptian. That’s Moses' way of doing God's will. After all Moses thinks, I am the champion of Egypt. I'm a hero. I can do no wrong. So he just kills the Egyptian.
Now he is trying to do God's will, his way. So many sincere Christians try to do God's will their way. I have seen where some will sincerely hold back their tithe for their own purposes, thinking that they are sincerely doing God's will, but they are sincerely wrong. Others will spread rumors discrediting someone so they can accomplish their own purposes.
When we attempt to do God's will our own way, it always backfires. Look at Acts 7:25:
25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, `Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' 27 "But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, `Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian.
Look at EXODUS 2:15 to get a good look at Moses.
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.
Here is Moses, the champion of Egypt sitting in the sand, by a well, as a murderer. To get a good picture of what Moses is feeling as he sits by the well, imagine being highly successful and losing everything. Or imagine being happily married, but one day as you are at work, you are served divorce papers. Those of you who have been there, know that when you are by the well, it is a lonely place. You can not imagine it, unless you have been there. The question most often asked is, by people who are by the well is, "How did it happen?" You don't have to do anything wrong to loose your business, all your prophets can be embezzled, or you can be swindled by a shady business partner. In Moses' case, he sits by the well, it is not by the actions of others, but attempting to do God's will his own way.
I was listening to David Jeremiah's radio program and he told the story of a very successful businessman. He said that the businessman was a Christian. And David Jeremiah believed that he was. He had done a great deal of good work for the Lord. He had founded ministries and funded them with his own money. He was well known in his community. He had a wife and a family. From all outward impressions, he was a model of a godly Christian businessman. But financial difficulties took over his empire. And as hard as it was for David Jeremiah to believe, the man conspired with two underworld characters to force his wife off the road and shoot his wife in the head. The police suggested that he was involved in the brutal murder. All the evidence pointed towards him. The week before, he had taken out a very large insurance policy on his wife. His own testimony was filled with inconsistency and holes. Today, he is serving time for the murder of his wife. Some would say he couldn't be a Christian and do something life that. I'm not telling the story to debate whether he knows the Lord. I'm just illustrating the story that even a person who seems to know the Lord can stray from the will of God. How does it happen? How did it happen to Moses? I have a better question. How does it happen to us?
Allow me to tell you how it happens.
FIRST -- IT HAPPENS WHEN WE TRY TO DO GOD'S WILL IN OUR OWN WISDOM AND STRENGTH.
Look at EXODUS 2:12 at Moses' actions just before killing the Egyptian.
12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (NIV)
Moses never looked up. There is not a word of prayer. There is not a mention of a counsel with God. Do you know why? Moses is bright. He has already proven his ability in the class room and the battlefield. So when it comes to being the deliverer Moses, thinks, "I can handle that too."
I can not remember who it was that shared a vital principle with me, but I wrote it down several years ago. Let me share it with you. "We ought to go to the private place with God, before we go to the public place for God." I have found that is true. A.J. was trying to move a large rock in our back yard. He was pushing it with all his might. His feet were dug into the ground, he was pushing the rock with his hands. There where little beads of sweat on his forehead. As I watched him, he was gaining no headway with the rock. So I asked him, "A.J., are you using all your strength?" He said, "Yes, daddy." I said, "No you're not, you haven't asked me to help." So often, that is how it is with us. We will use all of our strength, all of our own wisdom, but we will not ask for God's help. Many times we fail as we attempt to do God's will in our own wisdom and strength.
SECOND -- MANY TIMES WE WILL FAIL, BECAUSE WE TRY TO HIDE OUR SIN.
12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The world thinks that if we want to be successful, and have blown it, what we are to do is to hide our failures. But God says we want to be successful we are to confess our failures. Moses hid the body of the Egyptian he had slain.
We love to cover up our sin, don't we? How many here have ever tried to cover up their sin? Do you remember what Adam and Eve were doing after they sinned? They were hiding. Do you remember when Cain killed his brother Abel? What was the first thing that Cain did? He hid the body of Abel?
I have a couple of excuses that people gave for auto accidents. One has to do with a driver who hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. They asked him, "How is it that you ended up hitting the man?" The driver said, "The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I could hit him."
Here is the testimony of a driver who hit a telephone pole. He said, "The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of it's path when it struck my front end." It is amazing what we will say, what we will do, to cover up our wrongs. You know I believe that Moses was very sincere, and so were those folks who gave excuses for accidents. But the problem is they are trying to hide their sin. They are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Up to this very moment Moses has been a success. He has been the champion of Egypt. But now his whole world comes crashing all around him.
13 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?" 14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." 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. (NIV)
I believe there are at least 2 results when we fail in trying to serve God.
1ST -- IT WILL MOVE YOU to FEAR.
EXODUS 2:14 "Moses was afraid"
Moses runs for his life. I have seen that in Christians. They will attempt serve God in their own strength and blow it. The result is they will run in fear. I have seen it in pastors, and missionaries. I have seen it in Sunday School teachers.
ILLUSTRATION: Reading the wrong bulletin.
I know of one former pastor who was hurt so badly that he left the ministry. He personally told me that he would never, ever seek being a pastor of any church. He had no desire to be hurt so deeply again. The fear of being hurt will drive you away from serving God.
Velva and I know of one missionary couple who raised their support. They got to their field assignment and after being on the filed for only 3 months were told to pack up and return to the States. They had a fear of germs.
Let me give some statistic on fear. It is reported that Ann Landers receives an average of 10,000 letters each month. When asked what is the most prominate problem in the letters she said, "Fear."
It was said, that Stalin was so driven by fear that he had 8 bedrooms which could be locked up like a safety deposit box in a bank. It is reported that no one ever knew which bedroom he would sleep in.
Perhaps you heard about the Japanese soldier who did not surrender after WWII. He lived in a cave for 28 years in hiding. He ate frogs, rats and snails. When the islanders found him sick, they took him to a hospital. When someone asked him if he knew the war was over, he said yes. When asked why then didn't he come out of hiding he said, "I was afraid."
Moses is now running in fear.
2ND -- IT WILL KEEP YOU FROM SERVING GOD. EXODUS 3:10
10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." 11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (NIV)
When you come to Exodus 3:10, forty years have passed since Moses was by the well. And he still has withdrawls from serving God. When you fail, the tendency will be to retreat, to crawl up into a shell and to say, "I'm through, I'm not going to serve God again." You will convince yourself that you'll never serve God again. The tendency will be to focus in on the failure and criticism. And you will say no to every opportunity of service. Turn to I CORINTHIANS 6:11 Ray Steadman, former Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, Calif. was preaching on
I Corinthians 6:9-11.
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NIV)
He asked his congregation, "If that was true of your life, would you please stand?" Over half of the church stood up. What we need to realize is that God specializes in using failures. Focus in on that. Don't focus in on your past. Don't focus on the murder in Egypt. Don't focus on your failures.
There is a young lady who was raised in a broken home. Uninterested in High School, she fled to Las Vegas. She became a call girl. For several years she lived as a prostitute. While on the streets someone shared the gospel with her and she came to know Jesus Christ as her savior. She moved to another town, fell in love and told her boyfriend about her past. His response was, "You're forgiven through Jesus Christ, and I forgive you." They were married and eventually God called them into the ministry. They went to seminary and today they have a very successful ministry. I don't care how soiled your past has been, you are cleansed. It is time that you realize that God can handle all the Egypt's of your life. When you come back into service for God, keep in mind that it is God whom you are serving and it is God whome you're to please.
When you are divinely crushed, when you are in the desert, you will learn at least 3 things.
FIRST -- YOU WILL LEARN THE POSITION OF A SERVANT.
Look at: Exodus 2:15-17
Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. (NIV)
Can you get the picture of what is going on in Exodus 2:15-17? Moses is siting by a well, and 7 young ladies approach the well, attempting to water their sheep. But before they can provide the needed water, they are driven away. The Hebrew words "DROVE THEM AWAY" is one very intensive Hebrew verb. It means to use excessive force. So Moses comes to their rescue and forces the shepherds away and even waters their flock. Moses has no idea who the ladies are. But he knows what it is like to lose everything. When you are divinely crushed, it is amazing how it will pull your spirit towards others who are in need. I have seen it in those who have experienced cancer, the loss of a loved one, or those who have been severely injured. Those who have gone through the fire have an incredible compassion and desire to help those who are in affliction. God has equipped them to minister to you.
Would you look at: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (NIV)
Notice from verse 4, that the comfort you receive when you are in the desert. God has opened the door for you to apply your comfort to others. It is remarkable what a shepherd's heart God can give people who have suffered. Moses has no idea who these 7 young ladies are. But he has an incredible compassion for them. I guarantee you that when you are crushed, you will learn to be sensitive to the pain of others. You will understand what it means to be taken advantage of, ripped off, broken or misused. When you have walked through the fire, you will then understand that it was
God's great plan for your life. You will come to see that it's part of your healing ministry.
Look at Deuteronomy 32:10-12 and take a close look at the verbs.
10In a desert land GOD found him, in a barren and howling waste. GOD shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. 12 The LORD alone led him; no foreign god was with him. (NIV)
Verse 11 describes what it is like to be in the desert, to be crushed. It is a picture of an eagle who forces its young out of the nest. The little eaglet falls helplessly towards the ground. You can imagine the poor little eaglet falling head over heels, desperately flapping its wings and frankly calling out to its mother for help. The eagle then sweeps down and spreads her incredible wings and catches her young and carries her young to great heights. Do you know what the mother is trying to do? She is trying to teach her young how to fly, so it will soar to new heights. There will be times you feel as if you are falling, and you will be convinced that God has abandoned you, and you will cry out for God's help, but it will seem like he is silent. You will wonder, what is God doing? He is teaching you the position of a servant. He is preparing you to soar to new heights so you can minister to other in a great way.
So Moses learns the position of a servant and he ministers to the ladies. There is a 2nd thing you will learn when you are in a crisis, or in a desert.
SECOND -- YOU WILL LEARN THE PAIN OF OBSCURITY.
You will learn what it is like to be alone. I want you to see Moses' job description for 40 years.
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. (NIV)
Verse 23 begins with monotony. It says, "During that long period..." You can feel the incredible day after day of never changing monotony. The King James translates it this way: "And it came to pass in the process of time..." The New American Standard translates it: "It came about in the course of those many days..." Life as Moses knew it has come to a slow, sluggish pace. When you are in the desert, you will feel all alone. Now remember, Moses is the hero of Egypt. He was use to action. He was use to a quick pace. He was as the Bible says in Acts 7:22
22 Moses was powerful in speech and action. (NIV)
But life now has come to a grinding stop.
I remember when Velva and I moved from Portland, Oregon to Emmett, Idaho. The population of Emmett is 4,700. Shortly after moving there we soon learned that the main activity was driving up to the bakery and watching the dough rise. I mean the pace was slow and it took some adjustment. Well, Moses is now at a 40 year rest stop. For 40 years he has been in a desert. When you are being crushed there is an aloneness that you can not imagine.
I heard of a man who was deeply crushed with cutting remarks from his own church. He said to his wife, "I don't want to go to that church any more. People aren't friendly there. They don't speak to me. They walk away from me. I just don't want to go there ever again." His wife said, "You ought to go." He replied, "But I don't want to go." She said, "You need to go." He said, "But I don't want to. Why should I go?" She said, "You're a member of the church, and after all, you're the pastor."
When you have been hurt deeply, you will feel so alone. We are not use to being alone. We're use to a rapid pace. But not in God's classroom. When you are in God's classroom, when God is preparing you for a future ministry, life comes to a grinding stop.
You have heard the American prayer, "Lord, I want patience and I want it now!" For 40 years Moses has been in the desert. This is the pharaoh elect. He is highly qualified in science, math, and in public speaking. And now the he can only speak to sheep. When you are divinely crushed, you will learn to be still.
THIRD -- YOU WILL LEARN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. (NIV)
Notice it says in verse 24 and 25, "GOD HEARD, GOD REMEMBERED, GOD LOOKED", and "GOD WAS
CONCERNED." No matter what your crisis, God has not forgotten you. "GOD HEARD", the Hebrew word means to listen intently. God hears your groaning. Verse 24 says, "GOD REMEMBERED", the Hebrew word means to write it down. God has your cry for help written down, it will not be forgotten. Then it says, "GOD LOOKED," the Hebrew word means to look after. God is looking after your need. Then it says, "GOD WAS CONCERNED," the Hebrew word means to know by personal experience. God knows personally the crisis you are in because he has experienced the same pain. You can not escape that God is personally acquainted with your crisis. Look at:
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn..., 0 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (NIV)
What does that mean? It means even if you could travel the speed of light, you still could not flee t
travel the speed of light, at 186,000 miles per second, you would be at the moon in 11/3 seconds. You would be at the closest star in 4 years. What is God telling you? He is telling you that you can not flee His presence. But when you are in the desert you will question that God is even there. You will forget that God hears your groaning. And yet, you are precisely where God wants you to be. God is preparing you for greater service by chipping off the rough edges.
In Florence, Italy there is an 8 foot, white marble statue of David by Michelangelo. He was working for the religious leaders of the church. They had at great expense purchased that large block of marble and they became very disturbed that Michelangelo was chipping away so many pieces. He was approached by one the leading religious figures who rebuked him for chipping away so much. Michelangelo replied, "As the chips fall away, a perfect image emerges."
That's us as we are in the desert. Your chips are falling away and the image of Christ is emerging. When life doesn't make any sense, don't hurry the process. It takes time to do a good piece of sculpture.