Summary: This sermon is an introduction to a study of the life of Moses. It is based on Charles Swindoll's book on Moses from his character series.
A. A young girl asked her father, “Do all fairy tales begin with “Once Upon A Time?”
1. “No,” he replied, “A whole lot of them begin with ‘If elected I promise…’ ”
B. “Once upon a time” is a wonderful, classic phrase that has been used in storytelling, in the English language, in some form since at least 1380 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary).
1. It became a widely accepted convention for opening oral narratives by around 1600.
2. These stories often then end with “...and they all lived happily ever after.”
3. There are a couple of modern variants of the phrase – I think you will recognize them.
4. Don McLean's 1971 hit song “American Pie” begins with the phrase “A long, long time ago...”
a. “So bye-bye, miss american pie. Drove my chevy to the levee, But the levee was dry.”
5. All six of the Star Wars films begin with the phrase “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”
C. Today, we begin a sermon series in which we will retell the story of God and His people during the time of Moses.
1. Unlike the fairy tales we love, this story is a true one.
2. All of the people, places, and events are and were real.
3. As we embark on this study of the life of Moses, I want us to begin with the goal of becoming God’s followers and leaders just like Moses.
4. I hope we will learn from him the important lessons that God wants to teach us.
5. I trust that we will learn as much from his failures as we learn from his victories.
D. What are the first thoughts or images that come to mind when I mention Moses?
1. I hope it isn’t Moses Malone, who is a Hall of Fame basketball player and one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time.
2. When I say Moses, you more likely think of Charlton Heston in the award-winning film, The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille.
3. Today’s generation is more likely to think of the rendition of Moses in the animated film called The Prince of Egypt.
E. Unfortunately, both of those films present the story of Moses in a less than realistic and truthful fashion.
1. The most reliable source about the life of Moses is the Bible, and it is to the Bible that we will turn for our study.
2. As we examine the story of Moses that comes from Scripture, we will find that we can relate to this man who faced the kinds of struggles we face, but didn’t always handle them correctly.
3. Nevertheless, we will see that in spite of his sins and shortcomings, Moses became useful in God’s hands for God’s sovereign purposes, in keeping with God’s perfect timing and plan.
4. Over and over, we will find ourselves nodding with understanding, thinking, “been there, done that.”
5. Time and again we will be inspired by the life of an ordinary human being who, by God’s matchless grace and power, was able to accomplish some pretty remarkable things.
6. I believe that God is still looking for men, women and children who will believe in Him and become a mighty tool in His hand.
I. The Story
A. The story of Moses is told in the book of Exodus, the second book of the Old Testament.
1. The very title of that book should tip us off to the fact that great and climactic events are in the works.
2. The word “Exodus” means “departure, going out,” and that certainly describes the major theme of the book.
3. The book of Exodus records the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, where they had lived for more than 400 years.
4. They had entered the land of Egypt as a small family, and they departed as a huge nation.
5. The book of Exodus actually continues the story that began in the book of Genesis.
6. Exodus picks up where Genesis leaves off, some 350 years later.
B. The connection between these two books is the fascinating story of a man named Joseph.
1. The main character toward the end of Genesis is Joseph.
2. You remember his story, don’t you? We preached through his story last summer.
3. He was the second youngest of 12 brothers, and was hated and mistreated by them, and sold by them as a slave to a passing caravan bound for Egypt.
4. Nevertheless, through time and a chain of incredible events, God greatly honored Joseph and promoted him from the pit to the pinnacle – second in command in all of Egypt.
5. All this occurred just in time, because God informed Joseph of a terrible famine that was going to sweep all the world.