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Forty Years Ahead of God

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 6, 2022 12:00 am

Forty Years Ahead of God

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 6, 2022 12:00 am

It's only natural for us to want what we want, when we want it. But part of submitting to God's authority in our lives means giving up control of our Day Timers! When Moses took matters into his own hands it brought about disastrous results. He was forty years ahead of God! Who's timetable are you working on?

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And he goes out, and before he can get his speech together, he sees two Hebrews fighting one another, as if they didn't have enough trouble, they were fighting each other.

And he says, why are you striking your companion? And this Hebrew says to him, who made you prince over us? In other words, where is the source of your authority? You see, 40 years later, Moses would come back to the people with a rod in his hand and a message that I am coming under the authority of Yahweh. But they are basically asking him, what is your source of authority?

And Moses has nothing to say. When was the last time you found yourself in a really difficult situation? Let me ask you this, did you remember to pray? When we find ourselves in those tough circumstances of life, God wants us to pray. He wants us to seek his help. There is an account in Exodus where Moses forgot that.

Instead of talking with God and relying on him, Moses took matters into his own hands. We're looking at that account today. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. We're continuing through a series called, Out of Egypt. Stephen's entitled today's lesson, 40 Years Ahead of God. Take your Bibles please and turn to the book of Acts, the book of Acts chapter 7. Our study this morning has several parallel passages, one in Hebrews chapter 11, one in Acts chapter 7, and then of course in Exodus chapter 2 as we continue in our study of that great Old Testament book.

I want to read with you before we get into our study the passage in Acts chapter 7. Let's start with verse 20. And it was at this time that Moses was born and he was lovely in the sight of God. And he was nurtured three months in his father's home. And after he had been exposed, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. And Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians.

He was a man of power in words and in deeds. But when he was approaching the age of 40, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they didn't understand. And on the following day, he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, Men, you are brethren.

Why do you injure one another? But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him, Moses, away, saying, Who made you a ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you? And at this remark, Moses fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. Hold your finger there in that portion of scripture, Exodus chapter two. And I want to read just the few verses that are given to the same account. We'll start with verse 11 here. You'll note the similarity of the two passages. Now it came about in those days when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

Note this. So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. And he went out the very next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other, and he said to the offender, Why are you striking your companion? And he said, Who made you a prince or a judge over us?

Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then Moses was afraid and said, Surely the matter has become known. When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses.

But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. Now turn back to Acts chapter seven. If you have ever wondered if there is a scriptural illustration of getting ahead of God, you are about this morning to study one with me. It's possible to serve God and at the very same time ignore God.

It's possible to be interested in doing the will of God and yet doing it your way. It is possible in the account of Moses to be so far ahead of God that when you total up the years, you discover that he was 40 years ahead of God's plan. But yet God gave us this colossal failure by Moses for reasons that we want to discover this morning. Let's begin by discovering in context what happened to Moses after we studied last session, Pharaoh's daughter taking him away. The text tells us that he was educated.

Verse 22 of Acts chapter seven. In all of the learning of the Egyptians, we learned last week that Moses was given his name Moshe from Pharaoh's daughter, not from his parents. Moshe was actually a Hebrew or excuse me, an Egyptian pun on a Hebrew word that means to draw out. And Pharaoh's daughter was saying, this is my son who I drew out of the water. So she gave him a new name.

Here is perhaps a three or a four year old boy. Then it tells us in verse 22 that he was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians. And I would agree with most that Moses was being groomed. He was being prepared for nothing less than the throne of Egypt. He being the only son of Pharaoh's daughter was being groomed as the Pharaoh to be.

And as a result, this idiomatic phrase is given. He was learned in all of the wisdom of the Egyptians. The Egyptian commoners didn't have this opportunity. Archaeologists have helped us uncover what occurred back in those days, and they have uncovered the temple of the sun, which some have referred to as the Oxford of the ancient world. This was the place where Moses was educated. His head would have been shaved. He would have worn the gown of the priest, and he would have been given instruction in just about every area of study today. He was schooled in mathematics. He was schooled in archaeology. He was schooled in the sciences. Chemistry being one that the Egyptians still out distance us in, especially in embalming the dead, we have nothing that even compares to their process. The arts, painting, we have nothing that can even compare today to the Egyptians, where their murals have lasted 4,000 years, and their colors are brighter than what we have in Dupont.

I'm sure would love to get their hands on the formulas that they used back then, because you and I have to paint our houses every four years. Moses was schooled in law. Even while he was living, the code of Hammurabi was in existence, and it was the legal system that he learned so well, and I think God used as he would one day spell out the law for the people of Israel. I can't help but compare the fact that Moses traded in a humble slave shack for the palace of Egypt. He would leave a place that would have very simple meals for meals, the gourmet, the lights prepared by Pharaoh's own chefs.

You can't imagine, we cannot help but try what he left and what he potentially gained. So we find Moses then in verse 22 being educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and the result was this. You'll note verse 22, he became a man of power in word and in deed. In other words, Moses embodied the qualities of human leadership. Extra biblical records reveal that Moses perhaps led the Egyptian army against Nubia, or what is today Ethiopia, and he conquered Ethiopia, and he captured the capital city, because in his education, he was a warring lord. Pharaoh was conquering the known world, and Moses was right in the middle of it. But not only did he embody the qualities of human leadership, if you're taking notes, the second thing that strikes me is that Moses obviously exemplified the criteria for spiritual ministry, because he's about to turn his back on everything that he had.

Why? Because of his love for the people. He longed, I believe, to be their deliverer. He had a passion, and when the text says that he went out to look, it was with the word meaning with passion or great emotion. He wanted to lead these people out of tragic and severe slavery into freedom. He had all of the knowledge of the Egyptians, but he still lacked the wisdom that comes from God. So he hatches a plot. Before that, I want to turn you back to Exodus.

Keep your finger in Acts. Exodus. And I want to build a case on a premise that's not specifically spelled out in Scripture, but I think to be consistent with Scripture, you may agree with me that this is the case. Hebrews chapter 11 says that Moses left Egypt not fearing the king. Perhaps you remember that passage of Scripture as we studied Hebrews 11. However, you remember reading when we came to the end of this passage that he fled in fear for his life. It sounds like an apparent contradiction. However, the Scriptures revealed to us that he left to go view his brethren, and the word is given to us in verse 11.

Look at it with me. Chapter 2 of Exodus. Now it came about in those days when Moses had grown up. Acts tells us when he was approaching 40 that he went out to his brethren and he looked on their hard labors. Turn back to Acts chapter 7 and look with me at that verse, verse 23. But when he was approaching the age of 40, note this, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.

You could circle the word visit. The word visit is used several times in the New Testament. In fact, it's used in Luke chapter 7, verse 12, when Jesus Christ sees a funeral procession coming his way, and the coffin is right beside Jesus Christ, and the text tells us that Jesus reached over and he touched the coffin. And as a result, the pallbearers stopped their march, and Jesus Christ said to this deceased young man, get up. And right in the middle of this funeral procession, this boy sits up and starts talking.

Imagine being part of that one. Well, the people are amazed, and they said this, surely God has visited his people. Same word here, meaning that God has come to dwell among his people. When the text tells us that Moses went out to visit his brethren, I believe what he is saying is that Moses went out to live with them. It was then without fear of Pharaoh that he left all of the court, he left all of the wealth, and he went out to view with emotion to dwell among the slaves, the Israelites. It wouldn't be until later when he murdered that Egyptian that he fled for his life. So I believe that Moses is at this point abandoning Egypt. Let's go back to Exodus and take a look. It came about in those days when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and he looked on their hard labors, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So Moses looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and he hid him in the sand. Now, if you're taking notes, I want to give you two things about Moses's untimely plan for deliverance.

The first is this. His actions were prompted by his own timetable. Acts chapter 7 records it entered his mind to go to the Israelite. Perhaps Moses had taken stock and he had thought of all of the qualifications that he had had. He looked out and he knew from what was happening in the court that the Israelites were under an extermination edict.

The male babies were being thrown into the Nile River. They were being persecuted and killed, and perhaps he was so filled with emotion, he looked around and he thought, Lord, perhaps this is the time I'm going. And it entered his mind to go.

It's a key phrase. He looked that way. He perhaps looks behind him.

He looks everywhere but up. And at that moment, he lashes out with a stone, with a hammer, with a sword. We don't know. But he killed the Egyptian. I think the first thing that strikes me is that his actions were prompted by his own flesh, his own timetable, his own rationale. And I'm sure Moses could have rationalized. He was being beaten. Perhaps he would have been killed. They are slaughtering the Hebrews.

It's time to act. I think, and this is the second point, that his methods were inconsistent with God's plan. You know, it's a difficult thing to try to determine the mind of God. In fact, God says that my thoughts aren't your thoughts and your thoughts aren't mine.

Your ways are not mine. I think it's very difficult when we come to a conclusion that we are going to act and we look at all of the resources. We see what's happening. Perhaps you're thinking of investing some money and you gather all of the facts together and it all makes sense. The advisors say, go for it.

Now is the perfect time. And you do everything but look up. It's possible for us to concoct our own definition, our own formula for rearing children or for loving our husband and wife. And we never look at the manual.

We never look up. It's possible to rationalize our lives, to justify our means and our methods. That is why it is so crucial to compare them to the record of scripture. I pulled out that book I mentioned earlier or the author, Megatrends, which was a blockbuster bestseller by John Nasbit. And it represents pretty much the secularist thinking in terms of leadership. And I quote what he says about leadership. He says, leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it. And that's really clever.

That's the world's view. If you're really sharp, if you're really on edge, if you're watching, you'll see the gap opening up. And just then in the energy of the flesh, you'll manipulate your way in. You'll get in front. If you can sense a mood change among a few people, they need a leader and you're the one. And at the right time you step into the place, ah, it sounds so good. Moses probably figured out that the parade was ready.

Maybe he even heard the band striking up. It's time. There's a need.

I'm the man. God already told me through my parents that I was the deliverer. And so he stepped out in front. The problem is the parade was not going to be ready for 40 more years. His methods were inconsistent with God's plan. I think this is a difficult thing because so often we can evaluate our methodology on the basis of pragmatism, what seems to work. It has crept into the church. It has crept into Christian movements.

We do things because they work. And yet what may not seem to work was God's plan for 40 more years, more suffering, more death, more tragedy. And yet in that 40 year period, God was at work. I think of a man that I talked to recently who came back from a board meeting of a mission organization, ABWE. And they, along with other mission organizations, are involved behind the Iron Curtain.

And they cannot publicize it because they would give away people who are serving over there under cover, underground. One man was brought back out of Russia. Regardless of what you and I may read, there is not religious freedom over there today any more than there was 40 years ago. He had had a meeting with several Christian leaders. In fact, he told the story to this board that had gathered several hundred on this advisory board and he talked about how he was in Russia and he was ministering to what is called the persecuted church, not the licensed church. It is what they refer to themselves as the persecuted church. This is the underground church. In China, there are supposedly 40 million in the persecuted church with scraps of paper for Bibles and leaders who are sent to Siberia if they are caught.

Well, he had a meeting with 2,000 young people in the forest this past December and they met for four hours until the KGB discovered where they were and came in waving their pipes and their rubber hoses. What would we suggest to that church? What would we suggest to the believer? What should they do? What methods should they use in propagating the Gospel, in building a church, in living out their Christian lives? Should they take up the sword like Moses? Should they kill?

Should they use Egypt's methods to battle Egypt? Moses did and he was way ahead of schedule. This is the methodology of the New Testament church. Notice this, 1 Timothy 2.

Paul is writing from a prison cell. The man in leadership in Rome is none other than Nero and Nero has a habit that he enjoys. He takes Christians and after killing them, he impales them on a stake and he douses them with oil and then around his gardens are the bodies of Christians put to flame. And while these Christians encircle his gardens, he throws lavish parties and in the process of all of that, he is persecuting Christians, putting them to death and the Apostle Paul, an aged man, is writing from a prison cell and what does he say for the church to do? Notice verse 2. He says, well first of all verse 1, first of all that is in priority I urge that in treaties and prayers and petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men.

He could have stopped there. We could have assumed that he was talking about Nero but he says in verse 2, for kings, the word is basileus which means emperor, for the emperor and for all who are in authority. In other words, the New Testament church is to not adopt the methodology of the world. It is in spiritual warfare and our warfare weapons are spiritual and he says the priority is prayer. He says don't forget to pray for Nero. Pray what? Pray that he may be deposed. Pray that he will pass moral legislation. He says pray because God desires verse 4 all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Pray for our Nero. Pray for those in authority over us even when it seems that our prayers do not work. What would you tell the Russian believer? Pray.

Does it work? We don't know. We're dying by the hundreds. We do not measure methodology by what seems to work. We measure it by what the scriptures teach.

And our primary warfare is not a sword, it is a prayer. Well, Moses had something to learn from the apostle Paul and God would take him for 40 years and teach him that but I want you to notice the results of what happens when he adopts the methodology of Egypt to liberate the people from slavery. Look at verse 13. Moses went out the next day and just pause there for a moment. What's he doing going out the next day? He's going out the next day because he's going to announce himself. He is going to say I'm here. I'm the deliverer.

I'm God's man. And it's time for me to lead you out and let's begin shaping our plow shares into swords. And he goes out and before he can get his speech together, he sees two Hebrews fighting one another as if they didn't have enough trouble.

They were fighting each other. And he says, Why are you striking your companion? And this Hebrew says to him, Who made you prince over us? In other words, where is the source of your authority? Just because you announce yourself doesn't mean anything to us. You see 40 years later, Moses would come back to the people with a rod in his hand and a message that I am coming under the authority of Yahweh.

And then they would follow. But they are basically asking him, What is your source of authority? And Moses has nothing to say.

Why? Because he is there in the energy of the flesh. This is his ministry. This is his work. This is his timetable.

This is his job. Because of that, two things happen. Instead of being accepted, he was rejected.

The second thing that happens instead of becoming a leader, he becomes a fugitive. Look at verse 15. When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.

Sat down is related to literally pitching camp. Can you see Moses now on his steed racing across the desert? His gowns of royalty are whipping about in the wind as he gallops along for his life. And here is the prince. Here is the man, the leader now running scared.

He ends up in a little oasis in the land of Midian, and he sits down and he pitches camp by a well. Disillusioned. Ladies and gentlemen, may I suggest to you that whenever we operate in the flesh, whenever we tell God what we are going to do, whenever we discover some sliver of what God's will may be, and yet we define it by our own definition, we also can become disillusioned. Moses had had everything. He'd prepared his plan. He had done everything but seek the face of God. And over the next 40 years, and we're going to study that next time, God will take Moses and turn him from an obnoxious, brash, self-imposing leader who has his life under under his own control into a man who's under the control of God. By way of application, I want you to consider these questions.

There are three of them. Number one, is impatience a characteristic of your decision-making? Do you tend to make a decision, whether it's teach a Sunday school class or invest money or purchase something or whatever you do, on the basis of now? I can't wait. Now's the time, and everything seems to be right. I've looked to the left.

I've looked to the right. Why wait? Impatience. Hudson Taylor, the man who opened China up a century ago, said that the primary qualification for one who will serve God is threefold.

Patience, patience, patience. And I am stepping all over my toes up here. Secondly, are you making some decision right now? Here's an indicator of impatience. Are you making a decision that is violating the counsel of God?

No matter how you define it, no matter how you rationale or rationalize or justify, is there something in your spirit where God is saying you're out of bounds? But God, I want this. I want this job. I want this person. I want this position. I want this place. And sure, I'll pray a perfunctory prayer your way, but in a sense, it's my life here.

I'm running it. And as a result, violate God's command. You see, Moses knew that it was against God's nature to kill. In fact, Moses would one day with his own pen, and I think immersed with conviction, write the words, thou shalt not kill.

What an afternoon that must have been for him. One of the keys in understanding whether or not you and I are impatient, ministering by the flesh is that we violate something of God's counsel. Thirdly, do you look everywhere but up when planning some project?

My office, I have a little phrase or a motto that reminds me often of one of the greatest delights in life, if not the greatest. It was written by a missionary who said, wise is the individual who knows which way God is going and goes with him. Moses would need to learn which way God was going.

He would need to learn God's plan, God's consistent design, as I trust we in going with God. That was Stephen Davey and a message called 40 Years Ahead of God. During the month of July, we have a free resource to help you think biblically about politics. It's an excerpt from Stephen's book, I Pledge Allegiance. The Bible tells us that we are citizens of two kingdoms.

Of course, we're born as citizens of this earth and whatever country we're born into, but we are also citizens of heaven. In a portion of the book of Romans, Paul wanted to help that church understand the balance between church and state and our relationship that we should have between those two. In this resource, Stephen explores that relationship. To what extent should the church be involved in trying to reform the nation? And how far should we go in being involved in the political process? In this book, Stephen clarifies the believer's responsibility as a dual citizen of both heaven and earth.

He also examines the difficult relationship between the church and state, encouraging the church to focus on our most important mission, the spread of the gospel. Go to wisdomonline.org for information. There's a link on the home page that's going to direct you to this free resource. Do that today. Then join us back here next time as Stephen continues through this series here on Wisdom for the Hearts. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-27 15:49:28 / 2023-03-27 15:59:34 / 10

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