Friday, January 7, 2011

Hall of Faith Series - The Crossroads of Moses

It has been some time, but today we are heading back to our series on the "Hall of Faith."  We left off with Moses, well more specifically with Moses' mother, and today we will continue with Moses.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  Hebrews 11:24-26 NKJV
When we left off a few weeks ago, to save him from death by Pharaoh's command, Moses was hidden for a time by his parents and when that became impracticable, he was placed in a basket and floated down the river.  He was found by Pharaoh's daughter who took pity on the baby and adopted him as her own.  God's marvelous plan allowed to Moses' mother to ultimately be hired to raise her own son.  What exactly precipitated Moses to refuse to be called a son of Pharaoh's daughter we do not know, we also know from here it was when he came of age but even still we do not know exactly when.  Today we will be back in Exodus, where it picks up with Moses already an adult and already associating with his people, though still not accepted by them. 
Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. Exodus 2:11 NKJV
We are at a point now where Moses is already associating with his brethren.  He was out among them, seeing their burden, seeing the harsh treatment the Egyptians over them.  It must have been hard for him to see.  In this case, he is witnessing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. 
So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  Exodus 2:12 NKJV
Moses is now locking in his decision as to which people he will belong to.  The step he takes here is one where there is no turning back from.  I am not saying Moses did the right thing in killing the Egyptian, not by a long shot, but what he did sealed his fate.  I think this verse also brings up an interesting point.  When we sin, our main concern always seems to be if we will get caught.  We, like Moses, look to the left and to the right and if no one (or at least no one important) is looking, we feel safe to sin without consequence.  I wonder where God really is in our hearts when that happens.  We seem to "forget" rather conveniently that there is a God and that God is very, very real.  We should care more to look up then left or right because if we look up we will see a God who is always looking.  We may be able to hide our sin from our friends and family, but we can never hide our sin from God.  God sees it before we even commit it.  Jesus saw it, and suffered for it, before we even thought of it.
And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, "Why are you striking your companion?" Then he said, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" So Moses feared and said, "Surely this thing is known!"  Exodus 2:13-14 NKJV
The next day comes along and Moses is again among his people.  He sees two of his brethren arguing and tries to intervene.  The reaction is outright rejection of Moses.  He may have been physically among them, he may have associated with them, but he was not accepted as one of them.  I wonder if Moses was feeling his calling to be a leader because we know that later Moses becomes judge of all Israel.  I wonder if he felt even then as their leader and was confused at their reaction.  I wonder because I know the feeling. I know what it is like to have a heart for a group of people that rejects you or at the very least does not accept you as one of them.  I also know the feeling of knowing my calling but having others not see it in me. I know that God has much work to do in me before I am truly ready for what He has in store for me, but I have never been a patient person.  Perhaps that is another thing God is working in me.  I can say for sure that it is frustrating to know what God has called you to be and not have others see it in you.  I know how hurtful it can be to have a heart for a group of people that rejects you. 

We also see in this passage the futility of trying to hide your sin.  Our prisons are filled with people who thought they did a good enough job of hiding the evidence of their crimes.  There are many families torn apart because either the husband or wife thought they did a good enough job covering the tracks of their adultery.  God has a way of amplifying that one scrap of evidence we leave behind.  Maybe a mysterious phone number, a random text, a slip of the tongue, or one of a million other seemingly insignificant things that lead to the exposure of our sin.  These two Hebrews knew that Moses killed the Egyptian and Moses was astonished and scared.  His crime was exposed. 
When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.  Exodus 2:15 NKJV
Once the news of the crime made it back to Pharaoh, Pharaoh wanted Moses dead.  Now Moses had no home among the Egyptians or the Hebrews and was forced to flee.  He fled to the land of Midian and there he stayed for a very long time.  It was quite a time, as God spent that time preparing Moses for the amazing call that would come later in his life. 

I want to bring us back to Hebrews to really see the lesson of what Moses' choice meant and what it can mean for our own lives.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.  Hebrews 11:24-26 NKJV
Moses, at some point, came to a crossroads in his life.  It is a crossroads we all have faced.  I know that most who read this blog are Christians, but some are not and know they are not and others are not but think they are.  Right now I am addresses those who are not (and though they may not realize it, I am also addressing those who think they are but aren't).  Your life is perpetually at a crossroads where the choice is to embrace Jesus or the world.  The choice is yours to choose the passing pleasures of sin in this life or the eternal treasures in the next.  Moses knew that giving up his attributed birthright to be in the king's court meant associating with a class of people who were not only slaves but also hated.  The Hebrews were hated by the Egyptians despite a Jew (Joseph) saving them all from perishing during a famine many years before.  Moses gave up the riches of being part of the royal family of a rich and powerful nation to be among the poor, hated, and abused slaves that were his brethren. It may seem as though he got the bad end of that deal, but what he inherited was so much more than his Egyptian world could have ever given him.  He gave up the good life for a life of slavery but in the end gained an eternity in Paradise.  We also learn that our sin is always visible to God.  You can hide, lie, cheat, cover up, and excuse the sin you know you commit all you want, but it is bare and naked before God.  And while you may think that God is unconcerned or nonexistent because He has not struck you down yet, you are confusing His patience and mercy for a lack of concern.  Please understand that the only reason you have not been been struck dead and condemned to eternal judgment for your sin is because God, in His mercy, has chosen to keep you alive to give you a chance to come to Jesus.  Do not lose this opportunity to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.  That invitation is open to all, free to all, but only given to those who ask for it by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Once your time on this earth ends, there are no second chances.  This, right now, maybe even this day, is your last chance. 

To conclude today's lesson I just have to say that I love passages like this that frustrate the doctrine of those who promise material success as part of the Gospel.  Moses did not choose his people for the money, he did so because he realized that all the riches and wealth available to him were nothing compared to the eternal riches in God.  When we come to Jesus, we need to come to Jesus as Lord and not as Sugar Daddy.  We need to come humbly before our Lord and confess our need for his free gift of salvation and not arrogantly with our hands out waiting for our payday.  Some may make the argument that in the end Moses was the leader of a nation and was immensly successful in terms of being rich and prosperous.  Was he, though?  Yes, he was leader of Israel and yes they had some treasures from Egypt, but in the end he was the leader of a vagabond nation living in tents in the desert for decades never seeing the Promised Land.  He did not have a Bentley, private jet, huge home, and giant overpriced church with an extensive television minsitry.  His life was hard, but his eternity is unbelievably amazing.  He forsook the riches of this world and all the snares they come with for the greater promise of an eternal reward from God.  May we have that same heart.  May we have the heart to have our treasures laid up for us in Heaven and not strive for them on earth. Treasures on earth consume us with striving to attain them followed by fear of losing them and in the end we can not even take them with us.  Treasures in Heaven are in an escroe securely adminsisted by God Himself reserved for us in eternity.  Would you rather have a small treasure you can't take with you or a treasure beyond imagination waiting for you when you get there?  

Moses made his choice. I have made mine. What will your choice be?
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

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