Summary: Moses serves as an example of how God prepares us for the task he’s calling us to.
We’re talking about being backyard missionaries - people who are touching others with the love of God in our every day lives. Last week we talked about this being incarnational mission, and if you missed that you can listen to it on the web, just visit our church website for directions.
A few months ago I car-pooled into Morley with a bunch of friends. All the way there and all the way back I had a captive audience, and I don’t think I talked about God once! I was so frustrated with myself.
Do you ever have experiences like that? There’s a danger in doing mission incarnationally, that we’ll become so ’every day’ that, as far as our faith goes, we’re invisible! What are the sorts of things that can make us reluctant to share our faith?
[Prompt for responses - timidity, don’t want to offend, don’t know what to say]
A lot of us struggle with this, but I think we all realise how important it is for people to hear the message of God’s love and life. So how do we make sure we’re effective and intentional as incarnational backyard missionaries?
This morning I want to look at the way God prepared Moses for his mission and see what we can learn from this story.
You’ll find the story of Moses in Exodus chapter 2. We’re not going to read the whole lot, but keep you finger stuck around there and we’ll flip through it as we go.
The story of Moses begins with a pretty tragic event. The Hebrews had settled in Egypt some 400 years earlier when Jacob and his family moved there during a famine. You probably know the story of Joseph and how he became prime minister of Egypt. So the Hebrews started off in a very privileged position. But as time went on God blessed them and the population of Hebrews grew until the Egyptians felt they’d become a threat. So Pharaoh hatched a plan to control their population by killing all the boys in the Nile river.
But the Bible says that Moses’ mum saw he was a ’fine child.’ She takes the risk of hiding Moses until he’s just getting to noisy and boisterous, when she gets his sister to take him down to the river in a water proof basket in the hope that God will intervene.
And God intervenes big time! Let’s pick up the story in Ex 2.5
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
How cool is that? God organises for Moses to be found by a princess, no-less, and he gets to spend those first couple of formative years with his own mum and among his own people!
Can you imagine what a privileged life Moses must have led in the palace? He had access to all the wisdom and education of the superpower of that day. He would have been groomed for leadership.
Moses access to the royal court was no accident. God was preparing him for the mammoth task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and to the promised land.
Preparation is vital for any endeavour, isn’t it? When did you last go on a holiday without preparing for it? Or your job - how much preparation did that take? Even if you’re at the checkout in Woollies it still takes some training.
When we think of preparation for spiritual endeavour, especially mission, we often think of spiritual preparation. Going to Bible college or something like that. But that’s not where Moses’ preparation began. It was in the pagan palaces of Egypt. It was the equivalent of our secular education.
Growing up in a royal household would have taught Moses a lot about leading a nation, but it wasn’t enough for the man who was going to lead God’s nation. As events transpired Moses took matters into his own hands a little bit. He killed an Egyptian slave driver who had been beating an Israelite. Ex 2.15 picks up the story of what happened next.