Summary: Though our own lives may seem insignificant or confusing, God is able to take them and use them for His great purpose
He single-handedly saved the Jewish nation on several occasions.
His life foreshadows that of Jesus, and he’s like Him in many ways. He predicted Jesus would come.
He makes an appearance in the Bible many years after his death.
His body is buried by God himself – an honor we read about no one else.
Still, he was more humble than any man on the face of the earth.
…no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt--to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Call that the first point if you must. It’s a simple point: The main character of Exodus 3 is no small-name. Moses is among the most important of people in Judeo-Christian history.
But Moses wasn’t always the hero he became. In fact, he had to go through some pretty major changes to get there, and looking at him this morning gives us another occasion to see a changed heart that became a changed life.
His life takes up too much space to look at much of it, so we’re looking at just one small part of it…a critical time when he set the course for the rest of his life.
Moses was just walking along, working, doing what he did, and suddenly there’s this burning bush and God’s there speaking with him. Here’s the fun part: That could be you this morning. Just like Moses didn’t expect to have God show up and change everything, you may have come here expecting nothing particularly significant to happen today. I hope you’re wrong. Let’s look at the change that made an exiled shepherd into the leader of a whole nation.
I. Change Means Putting Our Past To Use Rather Than Being Ruled By It
We all have something in common this morning. We all have a past. Some of ours are shorter than others, but we all have one. The place we allow the past to have in our lives can be crucial to how we’re handling the present.
We’re looking at Moses near the middle of his life today. Remember, he was born the son of slaves in Egypt. As a baby, he managed to escape the death sentence that Pharaoh had extended over all the Hebrew boys. In fact, he ended up being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Like the movie says, he was a “prince of Egypt.”
If you were to chart his life, it would have basically 3 parts, each one 40 years long: 40 years in Egypt living in the palace, 40 years in Midian as a shepherd, 40 years leading Israel in the desert.
(Acts 7:23 - "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.
Exodus 7:7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Deuteronomy 34:7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died...)
Today’s text starts with Moses at age 80. That means 2/3 of his life has been preparation – almost 40 years of knowing what it’s like to live in the palace; years of education and wealth; years of comfort; years of getting to understand the inside of Egyptian politics. Then came the day that Moses visited his people and he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. Word got out, and Moses got out of Dodge – he placed himself under a self-imposed exile – aka, he ran away so he wouldn’t be killed. He ran east, to the desert area of Midian. There, he lived the life of a refugee. He married a woman of the area, and took on a vocation – shepherd. 40 years of life in the desert. No more cushy palace life. 40 years of education in the wilderness of hard knocks; years of learning to live in the wild; years of preparation for what was to come; years he probably wondered what he was supposed to be doing with all he had experienced.
It will turn out that Moses’ first 80 years were grooming him to be a leader that God would use. The 1mil or so people of Israel who were going to leave Egypt needed the right man to lead them. How would you advertise to fill that position? I imagine the classified ad would read something like:
“Wanted: experienced Hebrew man to lead a newly-freed slave nation of about 1mil people. Must have thorough education, be able to understand Egyptian royalty, language, culture, and politics. Survival experience in the desert of Sinai also a must. Would prefer a man who understands leading and who has the patience to help a nation find its way.