Moses: From Prince to Pauper and Back Again!

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series When the Heroes of Faith speak...

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Psalm 31:1-8;14-24


For the last couple of months, we?ve been looking at the Heroes of the Faith that the writer of Hebrews described in Hebrews 11.

In Hebrews 11:1, the faith is defined.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

A working definition of Christian faith is “Believing and trusting that our God is in control, even when we can?t see it.” (Paul Black in the message, “Moses ? God?s Mighty Man for the Moment”)

After he defines faith, the writer of Hebrews goes on in verse 2 to state that Godly faith is the only way to be acceptable to God.

Hebrews 11:2 (NIV)

2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

It?s faith that allows Christ to come into our hearts and forgive our sins.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

After defining faith, the writer of Hebrews goes on to give a short list of godly men and women who had lived their lives with faith, and held unto God even through their failures.

During the last few months, we?ve looked into the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

We?ve placed them on a microscope and peered into their actions and attitudes, looking for wisdom that we can apply to our own lives.

I don?t know about you, but I want to learn from the heroes of the faith.

I want to know what it was that made them so cherished in God?s that he put them in the book.

I want to know where they failed, so that I can learn from their mistakes

I want to learn from their successes as well.

What was it about them that drove them to faithfully seek/follow Jehovah God?

I want that passion for God in my life.

So, as we continue to look at the lives of the “Heroes of the Faith”, let?s use their examples, both good and bad, to guide us as we seek to serve the one who died for us.

This morning, we?re going to look at the life of Moses.

Considered by the Jewish people to be the greatest man in history, Moses was a man of incredible faith.

Moses was a man who went from being a prince to a pauper and back again ? all in the plan of God.

God wanted a man to lead the people from bondage in Egypt to peace in the promised land.

Moses was the man that God called through a fiery bush to lead a faithless people to a fabled land.

For 400 years, they had heard about the Promised Land.

Moses was God?s man to lead them there.

If he were here today, what would Moses say to us?

What struggles would he share?what stories would he tell?

If he were in this pulpit, what words would he utter to encourage you and me?

As a pastor, I literally could preach an entire sermon series on advice that Moses could give to us.

However, I want to focus on just 3 spiritual nuggets of golden wisdom that I believe Moses would share with you this morning.


First, I believe that Moses would challenge you to:

1. Put God First in Your Life (Verses 24-26)

Hebrews 11:24-26 (NIV)

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses is the penultimate example of a man giving everything up to follow God.

We all know the story of Moses.

Pharoah had ordered all the Hebrew boys murdered.

They were to be thrown in the river and drowned.

Moses mother made an ark out of bulrushes, daubed tar inside it, and put her baby boy into the backwaters of the Nile.

Pharoah?s daughter found Moses, and he was raised as an Egyptian, living in the house of Pharoah.

He was a man of education, power and privilege.

He was a part of the government that enslaved and oppressed the Hebrews.

He was an enemy of the Hebrew people.

He was an enemy of God.

Now here?s a beautiful principle that I want you to see.

Even when we?re unfaithful.

Even when we?re thinking about anything but God.

Even when we?re enemies of God, God is faithful to us.

He was faithful to Moses, and began to draw Moses to His side.

Look back with me to Exodus 2:11

Exodus 2:11 (NIV)

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.

Look carefully at what?s happening here.

Look carefully at what God?s doing in Moses? life.

He had no reason to care about the Hebrews.

He had no reason to feel compassion for them.

Remember, Moses had been raised in the court of Pharoah.

Hebrews were slaves.

Hebrews were 2nd class.

Hebrews were cheap labor to be used to build the grain cities, monuments and palaces of Pharoah.

Yet, look what God was doing in Moses? heart, even before he had placed faith in God.

Scripture says that Moses deliberately went out to look at the Hebrew?s burdens.

What do you think made Moses look with compassion on the Hebrew slaves?

The same God who later hardened the heart of Pharoah was now softening the heart of Moses.

This was before Moses? salvation, before he had trust/faith in Jehovah God.

How do I know this?

Exodus 2:12 (NIV)

12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Now I want to make something clear – that?s not an act of a man who has faith in an all powerful God to handle any situation.

That?s the act of a man who feels that he has to handle every situation himself.

Pharoah heard about the murder, and Moses was forced to flee into the desert.

He met Jethro, married Jethro?s daughter, and settled down to a life of exile herding sheep.

40 years passed, and still Moses was not a faithful follower of God.

Then, Exodus 3 tells us that Moses was tending the flock one day when he noticed a burning bush that would not go out.

God was in that simple bush, and spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:6.

Exodus 3:6 (NIV)

6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

I believe that it is in this moment that Moses has the seed of faith sown in his heart. I believe it is in this moment that Moses realized that he was in a dangerous place! His fear was genuine ? it was a righteous fear born out of respect for who God is and the power He has!

There is a bit of a shaky start ? but from that moment on, Moses? faith and trust in God grow as he confronts Pharaoh and leads his people out of Egypt and into the promised land.

This morning, Moses would urge you to put God first in you life.

I?ll talk about this more in a minute, but where would Moses have been if God was not first in His life when he stood before Pharaoh, demanding the release of the Hebrews?

Where would Moses have been if God was not first in his life when the death angel took the firstborn of every home not marked by the blood of the lamb?

Where would Moses have been if God was not first in his life when the Hebrews were backed up against the Red Sea by Pharoah?s army?

Where would Moses have been if God was not first in his life when the people rose up against his leadership in the desert because he was taking them to a new, unfamiliar place, and it was difficult/uncomfortable?

Where would Moses have been if God was not first in his life during the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai desert.

May I tell you where Moses would have been?

He would have been nothing, no where, dead!

He would have spent the rest of his life herding smelly sheep in a barren desert.

He would have died a murderer and an exile, unable to even visit his family.

The name Moses would have died along with him.

Hebrews 11 tells us that Moses was smart enough to realize that all he was, and all he ever hoped to be lay in following Jehovah God.

He knew that he couldn?t do it on his own?he?d tried that when he murdered the Egyptian.

All that brought was ruin.

Moses hitched his heart to God, and vowed to follow him no matter what lay ahead.

Brothers/sisters, I don?t know what you?re facing this morning.

I don?t know what turmoil/heartache you?re carrying behind that face that smiles and tries to pretend everything is “Fine, Just fine”.

I don?t know what pressures you?re under, what temptations you fight.

But I do know one thing.

The same God who loved Moses loves you this morning.

The same God who gave Moses the courage to face down Pharoah can give you the courage to face down your enemies.

The same God who parted the Red Sea and move any obstacle in your life.

The same God who led Moses by cloud and by fire can lead you.

The same God who delivered them to the promised land can take you where you need to be.

How about some faith this morning?

How about putting God first in you life today?

How about trusting Him to take care of all the hurts/pains/struggles?

How about trusting Him to lead you to a better place?

Jesus said it this way.

Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Moses would say, “Put God first in your life. You just can?t do it all alone.”

2nd, Moses would tell you to:

2. Put God First Even When the Outcome is Unclear (Verse 27)

Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Moses knew what it was like to live his life with uncertainty about the future.

He made a stand against the most powerful man in the world.

He went head to head with the most influential man on the planet.

All Moses had going for him was a conversation with a bush that burned in the desert.

God even told Moses that Pharaoh would refuse to let the people go.

When Moses really pressed God about the danger of confronting Pharaoh, God told him in Exodus 4 to take his staff and “Cast it to the ground”.

It became a snake, and I know that Moses was a man just like me because verse 3 says that “Moses ran from it” ?

Then, God had Moses stick his hand into his coat, and when he pulled it out, it was leprous.

He stuck it back in, and when it came out, he was healed.

Then God told Moses that if those two miracles didn?t work then He was to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water Moses would take from the river would become blood.

Now take note that even after God showed Moses the miraculous signs that He would do through Moses in support of his message ? Moses still doubted ? because the future was still uncertain. In verse 10 Moses makes the excuse that He is not a man of words?(expand on)

God?s answer is Aaron ? and notice that God said in vs 14 that Aaron was already on his way to meet his brother!

God made provision for every excuse of Moses but the greatest hope he gave Moses was this ? God was certain to go with him and before him!!

Exodus 3:10 (NIV)

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Exodus 3:12 (NIV)

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Exodus 3:20 (NIV)

20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

Exodus 3:21 (NIV)

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.

Exodus 4:11-12 (NIV)

11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

So Moses and Aaron went off to see the Pharaoh?

Exodus 7:10-12 (NIV)

10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

If you were Moses and Aaron, How would you be feeling at that moment?

“911, can I help you?”

“Yes, we?ve got a situation here! The leader of the world is about to kill me for standing up to him. Could you send the police, and ambulance, and a hearse to Pharoah?s palace??!!”

Moses went through a lot of times where the outcome was unclear.

He never knew if his next visit to Pharoah?s court would be his last.

What do you think was running through Moses? mind when he stood with his back to the Red Sea, facing all of Pharoah?s horsemen and chariots?

Do you think that he really knew with absolute certainty that when he lifted his arms, the waters would part?

Friends, we all face those times of uncertainty in our lives.

We sit before a pile of bills, wondering where the money will come to pay them.

We sit beside the bed of a loved one, not knowing whether the next breath they take will be their last.

We sit beside the telephone, wondering where that child is when it?s long past curfew, or wondering if we got the job or not.

The list goes on and on, and it seems that uncertainty is always there, looking over our shoulder.

It is crucial that you hear me this morning?

You and I are not in control of one single area of our lives!

We work like little ants, thinking that we control our destiny.

We don?t control anything.

There?s no savings account that illness/accident can?t drain.

There?s no retirement account that can care for every need we?ll have in our old age.

There?s no doctor that can keep death from knocking at our door.

There?s no airbag that can keep us totally safe when we leave this place.

Moses would tell you this morning that we need to pout God first in times of uncertainty.

There is nothing beyond His knowledge/control.

There is no problem He can?t handle.

There is no illness He can?t cure.

Moses Put God first in times of uncertainty, and God blessed Moses.

God took care of Moses.

The rubber of our faith meets the road during times of uncertainty.

You can determine how much faith you have in God by how you handle uncertainty!

Do you have certain faith that a certain God can handle an uncertain future.

I pray that you do!

Last, Moses would say to us:

3. Put God First in Times of Fear. (Verses 28-29)

Hebrews 11:28-29 (NIV)

28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

Wait a minute pastor ? you may ask – isn?t that the same point that you just preached?

These points are similar ? after all uncertainty is a fuel for fear. However?

It?s one thing to hold onto God during times of uncertainty, it?s an entirely different matter to hold on to Him through times of panic.

I want you to imagine for a moment the scene that played out over Egypt on the night the death angel passed through and took every firstborn son of Egypt?Imagine for a moment the trauma that was upon the Israelites trapped between a vengeful Egyptian army and a raging Red Sea?

Friends, that?s a time of total panic.

Mothers, all of the firstborn whose doors are not marked with the blood of a sacrificed lamb are dying horrible deaths.

Are you absolutely certain that the death angel will pass you by?

Didn?t you sin yesterday?

Will he still pass you by?

Moses, you got these people into this mess by challenging Pharoah.

Will they all die?

Did you do everything that you were supposed to do as their leader?

Will their blood be on you hands?

Friends, Moses knew what it was like to be afraid.

He knew what total panic was like.

He had to know, because he was human!

You can?t hear the screams of the dying without feeling the panic yourself.

You can?t realize that you?re pinned between the ocean and Pharoah?s army without feeling the terror rise up in your throat.

May I ask you a question this morning?

What are you most afraid of?

What haunts your nightmares?

What makes you shake with terror?

Now, let me ask you another question.

Do you trust God with that fear?

Do you trust that God is able to handle that situation?

Do you trust that God cares enough about you to handle that situation?

Do you trust that God is on duty to handle that situation?


May I ask you a question this morning?

Have you put God first in your life? (EXPOUND)

Have you made Him Lord over your uncertainties? (EXPOUND)

Have you made Him Lord over you fears? (EXPOUND)

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