Summary: A panorama of Moses’ life breaks nicely into three forty year segments (Acts 7:23; Deut.34:7). Our focus today will be on the second forty year segment of his life for it was in this time of life that God did His greatest work in Moses.
Background: A panorama of Moses’ life breaks nicely into three forty year segments (Acts 7:23; Deut.34:7). Our focus today will be on the second forty year segment of his life for it was in this time of life that God did His greatest work in Moses. In Stephen’s speech just prior to his martyrdom in Acts 7, he does a fantastic job summarizing the life of Moses.
The First Forty Years – Moses Learned that he was a Somebody.
Text: Acts 7:20-22 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful to God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.
Explanation: Because of Jacob’s family growing rapidly in Goshen, the Egyptians, not only persecuted God’s people, they also implemented a policy of infanticide for all male Jewish boys. They were to be thrown into the Nile River. Not knowing what to do, one family made a waterproof basket, and floated their new born baby boy, Moses, down the river. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and Moses’ biological mother was hired to nurture him. After that, Moses received one of the finest Egyptian educations one could receive (Acts 7:22) and was privileged to Egyptian royalty.
The Second Forty Years – Moses Learned he was a Nobody.
Text: Acts 7:23 But when he was about forty years old… 7:29 …Moses fled and became a foreigner in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
Explanation: Several years later, sensing that God had a purpose for all of this, he actually murdered an Egyptian who was abusing one of God’s people. Fearing for his life, he ran into the desert.
During this forty years, Moses was in a period of forced obscurity. Oh, he married, and was a part of a family, but God used this time to shape him. And without this forty year segment of life, we would not have the next forty years.
The Third Forty Years – Moses Learned that God can do great things with a Nobody
Text: 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.
Explanation: The third forty year segment, Moses led God’s people out of Egypt, performed many miracles at God’s bidding, delivered the Law to the Israelites, and brought them up to the edge of the Promised Land.
The Life Story of Moses Argues for an Obscure Place
Explanation: I’m arguing this morning that the most critical time in the life story of Moses was that period of forced obscurity in the desert where he was alone and broken, discouraged and defeated. The wilderness humbled him and made him sensitive to God.
Definition: Obscurity - the quality or condition of being unknown. It’s life outside the limelight. It’s serving without recognition. It’s having something to offer, but having to offer it on a smaller stage.
Application: Can I tenderly exhort you today to learn lessons well in the schoolroom of obscurity?
1. Do I address one here today who is a gifted, capable, qualified leader deserving of so much more – and yet God has you and your life sidelined. Are you a motivated employee that’s caught in the middle? In obscurity, God shapes your character so that you can lead his people. Moses wasn’t ready to lead before his obscure place and you won’t be either. Oh, he was educated and trained, but he was full of self-will. The word Moses has for you is “surrender.” You need obscurity to build your character.
Explanation: There is a breaking and remaking process that every leader must go through – where our character is hammered out on the anvil of obscurity. Until we experience that, we are loose canons, and we hurt a lot of people needlessly. In self-will, Moses murdered before his obscure place. After his forty years of obscurity, he let God call the shots.
Question: How many of you have had a situation in your work experience where someone was very bright, talented, competent and good, but there was something about who he or she was as a person that somehow got in the way of all that ability (Cloud, Integrity, 6)? That was Moses. And it’s you and me unless we surrender to God’s obscure place.
Quotation: Swindoll writes to leaders: “God is preparing you as His chosen arrow. As yet your shaft is hidden in His quiver, in the shadows…but at the precise moment at which it will tell with the greatest effect, He will reach for you and launch you to that place of His appointment (Growing Strong…531).”