Summary: 7 principles for sound decision-making drawn from the life of Moses

The Prince of Egypt:

When You’re Facing a Difficult Decision

Text: Numbers 11, Exodus 18

It was the hardest decision of my life.

Robin and I had served for twelve years as officers—ministers— in The Salvation Army,

and for not quite a year we had been pastoring a Salvation Army church in Youngstown, Ohio,

and had in that short time developed strong bonds of love with a great many of that church family. . .

And yet Robin and I both suspected that God was calling us elsewhere,

that he might be prompting me toward a change that might allow more time for a writing ministry, which he had already begun to bless.

But The Salvation Army had been our church for as long as we could remember;

we had never imagined being anything but Salvation Army officers,

and we couldn’t bear the thought of leaving

behind Doug, Stella,

Janice, Diane,

Lloyd, Ophelia,

Jason, Jodi, Ericka, Candi,

Enrique, Rayviana, Tamika—

all those wonderful people we loved so much

and who loved us right back.

The decision was so agonizing,

that Robin and I both became physically sick as we struggled to decide.

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

Maybe you’ve struggled through something far, far more serious than the decision we faced.

Maybe you’re wrestling with a tough choice or a difficult decision even now. . .

And you not only don’t know what to decide,

you’re not even sure HOW to decide,

how to even come to a decision.

You may be flummoxed, bewildered,

at your wit’s end.

You may be paralyzed with indecision.


you may just be more like a hungry teenager

standing in front of an open refrigerator, wondering, What do I want? What do I want?

Well, believe it or not, you’re not the first

to have that problem,

to face that dilemma. . .

In fact, as the dramatic monologue just a few moments ago illustrated for us,

several millenia ago

there was a man named Moses —

a man our sermon series here at OBF has focused on for the past five weeks now —

who faced some pretty tough decisions,

some pretty heavy loads. . .

And with the help of God’s word,

we’re going to draw some spiritual insight from

his experience.

But before we do that, I’d invite you to pray with me:


thank you for the gracious

and life-changing gift of your Word,

Please— help me to handle it correctly,

help your people to hear it carefully,

and help us all to heed it completely.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please turn in your Bibles to Numbers, chapter 11. . . If you’re like me, you have to think, let’s see, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, NUMBERS! And you breathe a sigh of relief that the preacher’s not preaching from Zephaniah, because that might take a little longer to find.

In the next fifteen or twenty minutes, I hope to draw some Biblical insights on decision making from this passage, as well as from Exodus 18 and just a little bit from Exodus 4.

That well-acted monologue by Mark Fitzgerald which we witnessed earlier gives you some of the background of this passage. The people of Israel, who had been miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt, followed Moses in the wilderness and then started to complain. . .

And Moses came to realize that he had to do something; he had to make some decision.


at least for our purposes today,

because I want to point out to you seven things that Moses does—or learns—in this and other passages that will be helpful to anyone in this place today who be facing a difficult decision.

So, if you’ll look at Numbers 11, verses 10-13, you’ll see there the first insight from Moses’ experience, which is this: when facing a difficult decision. . . .

I Acknowledge the problem & define it clearly

Look at verse 10:

Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, `Give us meat to eat!’”

Moses had NO trouble acknowledging his problem: a bunch of rabble were creating malcontent in the camp!

If I’ve heard Josh McDowell say it once, I’ve heard him say it at least twenty or thirty times, and he’s actually quoting his father when he says,

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