Summary: This message takes a look at what made Moses, Moses.
Moses, A Long Way from Nothing
He was a hero. And not just in the Bible but also on the big screen. But that wasn’t the way his life began. He was born as the son of slaves, his immediate future looked bleak and short.
Nobody would have assumed that his name would ever be known outside of his immediate family but ultimately he would assume an honoured spot in the traditions of the majority of the world’s religions.
His life would be featured in an Academy award winning film as well as a Disney animated feature that also won an Oscar. And well before he was winning awards on the big screen he was a star on the flannelgraph. His name of course is Moses.
This is week five of our Old School Sunday School series. Each week we’ve been re-telling some of the great bible stories from the Old Testament, and so we’ve discovered new insights from the story of Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and last week we looked at Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
A generation ago most children grew up hearing these stories in Sunday School and while Cornerstone doesn’t offer a traditional Sunday School program our Children’s ministries on Sunday morning still teach our children these stories, albeit without the flannelgraph.
For years flannelgraphs were an integral part of the Sunday School experience. How many of you had never seen or heard tell of a flannelgraph before we started this series?
This history of the flannelgraph grows back over 70 years. In 1942 a lady by the name of Ruth Overhotzer along with students from Dallas Baptist University launched a magazine called “Child Evangelism Magazine”. And each issue included a bible lesson with paper cut-outs to be used on a flannelgraph. And as they say, the rest is history. It wasn’t long before churches started ordering the magazine so they could use the flannelgraphs to supplement their Sunday School Curriculum.
Someone commented that flannelgraph was the first PowerPoint but that would actually be stained glass windows.
In most Sunday schools, before the students went to class, there would be the Sunday School Opening and that was when all the children gathered together and sang songs and played games.
And not just any games but games like “Sword Drill”. How many people know what a sword drill is? The kids would hold their bibles and the Sunday School Superintendent would call out scripture references and the kids would race to find the reference in their bibles and then they would jump up and read the verse. That was how a whole generation learned to find things in the Bible. This was also the time that children would be recognized for memorizing their memory verses for the week. And that was how a whole generation learned to memorize bible verses.
Of course both of those were dependent on the children bringing their bibles to Sunday School, which was of course dependent on the children having a bible. Brilliant concept!
We aren’t going to do a sword drill this morning but we are singing a Sunday School Chorus and Pastor Bayley is coming to lead us in “I am a C-H-R-S-T-I-A-N”
So without further ado let’s look at the story of Moses. While most people think Moses’ story begins in the book of Exodus it actually begins much earlier than that. Because there wouldn’t be a Moses’ story without the story of Joseph which is told in Genesis.
You remember Joseph? He was the boy with the coat of many colours who was sold into slavery by his brothers; he ended up in Egypt where through a series of events he became right hand man to the Pharaoh. In that position he was able to take steps to prepare Egypt for a seven year famine that came over the area and ultimately he was able to send for his family to save them from the famine as well.
Joseph and his family were highly regarded in Egypt. But that was then. The book of Exodus picks up the story 400 years later and tells us that Joseph and the seventy members of his family had prospered and multiplied, and then there is a note that says, “Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done.”
And the new King, or Pharaoh started thinking about what would happen if the Israelites rebelled, or if they decided to side with the enemies of Egypt. And there doesn’t seem to be any indications that either of those things were reality, but then again our realities are often determined by how we define them.
So, the king ordered that all of the Israelites should become the slaves of the Pharaoh to build cities for him, and as the saying goes, they worked them like rented mules.