Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 2
It's not a secret that I'm deeply concerned about the next generation. You cannot be around me for any length of time without knowing that and sensing that. I allow the flesh on occasions to operate in me in my heart. Praise God, doesn't last for very long because very quickly the Holy Spirit helps me reflect back in my own life when I should've been aborted. But God had the last word. When I grew up, the first 18 years of my life in a culture, in a society that is totally hostile to the Christian faith and to Christians, when God's hands supernaturally intervene again and again to rescue me, then I become encouraged and lifted up. I begin to praise God for the fact that he is not threatened by the hostility toward our children and the hostility toward his children.
As I go and read the Scripture, I'm encouraged, I'm lifted up, for I find there is one common thing among all of those men and women who are powerful for God, who stood against all the odds in their lives. There is one common theme, there's one common thing, and that is somebody exercised faith on their behalf. Somebody prayed for them, somebody interceded for them, somebody trained them. Timothy had his mother and grandmother not only praying for him, but training him. And David had the prayers and the intercession of the prophet Samuel, and I can go on and on and on.
Now, for those of you visiting with us, we just started a series of messages, we're calling it, "Giving Up the World's Gold for God's Glory". Gold for glory as a short, focusing specifically on the life of Moses, a man who turned his back on all the wealth and the power of the world at that time in order to glorify God, and God honored him. He's mentioned in the Bible 700 times. But you have to understand that Moses did not come out in a vacuum. He didn't just appear from nowhere. There are a lot of elements that have played a role in bringing up this man to the point when he can truly turn his back on the gold of the world and for the sake of God's glory. I'm talking about babies.
Probably there is no more known baby who, as soon as he opened his eyes to the world, he opened them to danger, no more known baby was born with a sentence of death hanging around his neck and his infant body like Moses. Yet the faith and the commitment of his parents under God's sovereign plan gave us this great champion for God. Look, I'm not fooling myself, there can be no doubt today's generation have greater and more temptations and more challenges than even their parents' generation or my generation. There can be no little doubt that Moses's parents not only exhibited courage in the midst of a hostile environment, but they used every opportunity in those early days of Moses's life and his childhood to teach him about God, and the plan of God, and the plan of God for his life.
You say, "Michael, how do you know that"? Well, I'm glad you asked because right there in the Scripture, Hebrews 11:23. Last message, we saw Hebrews 11:26, "By faith, Moses turned his back on gold for God's glory". Here in verse 23, "By faith Moses's parents hid him for three months after he was born because they were not afraid of the king's edict". Turn with me to Exodus chapter 1. And as you're finding Exodus chapter 1, let me remind you of what I said in the last message, namely that God told his friend Abraham, he said, "Abraham, your descendants are going to go down into slavery in Egypt for 400 years. And then after 400 years, I'm going to bring them out of that slavery. I'm going to redeem them out of Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land".
That was God's promise to Abraham. In the course of 400 years, they reached 2 million people. Think about that. When we come to the part when Moses took them out of Egypt across the Red Sea, think about taking 2 million people. But what happened in those 400 years with 2 million people inside Egypt, they'd became a nation inside the nation. The new pharaoh who came on the scene did not know or probably couldn't care less of how Joseph the Hebrew, the son of Israel, saved Egypt from death and starvation. All he can think of is what a threat these Israelites are to him. In fact, he was so fearful and he projected his fear. Look at what he said in verse 9, Exodus 1, verse 9. "Pharaoh said to his people, 'Look, the Israelites have become much too numerous for us.'"
So, he devised a three-prong evil plan to cull the population of the people of Israel. I got them all and we're starting with these so you remember them. First, he wanted to demoralize them. And secondly, he wanted to decrease their number. And thirdly, he wanted to destroy their future. Let's look at this diabolic three-pronged plan. First of all, he wanted to demoralize them. So what did he do? He was trying to wear them out. And he wore them down, physically, in every area, their morale was down. He got them working and not just knee-deep, but waist-deep in mud, making bricks for Egypt. He just tried to demoralize them. And he thought that the more he does that, the less children they will have. But it failed. The more pressure he puts on them, the more kids they've got. The more he'll press them, the more they produced.
So, he goes to the second plan, decrease their number. He begins what is probably the first time in history abortion not on demand, by demand, by the demand of edict of the self-centered dictator. Controlling birth by murder. Beloved, let me tell you something, this can only be devised by the devil himself. Pharaoh's order was clear, kill all the male born babies, newborn male babies. Now, Moses's parents already had two children before this edict was issued. They had Miriam and they had Aaron, the two siblings of Moses. But this second prong approach failed, too. The health and human services commission issued a decree to these public servants, the midwives, they were government employees. And it says to them, "Kill, as soon as the baby's born, it's a boy, kill him".
But God gave the Israelites favor in the eyes of these government employees, these midwives. He gave them favor, they let the boys live. These same government employees risked their own lives to obey the God of power and might, and not the power of Pharaoh. So, the midwives allowed the boys to live. Finally, Pharaoh goes to the third plan. Throw the babies, the baby boys, throw them into the river Nile. Destroy their future. See, this godless leader, this godless pharaoh was doing basically, trying to kill two birds with one stone. What he was doing, trying to destroy the future generation of the Israelites, at the same time appeasing his God, the God of the crocodiles, by offering these babies to the crocodiles.
And some professing Christians say the devil doesn't exist. If this is not diabolical, I don't know what. In the midst of this severe crisis, my beloved friends, Moses is born. In the midst of this global catastrophe, Moses is born. In the midst of this fearful and terrifying time, Moses is born. As I said earlier, if I allow myself to focus too much on the situation that we are living in, I could become discouraged. But thank God for the Scripture because it shows us how to live in courage in the midst of tough times. And thank God for Jochebed and Amram, Moses's parents, who were filled with godly courage, not fear in the midst of crisis. Godly courage says with the psalmist, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. He will say to the Lord, 'You are my refuge and my fortress, and my God in whom I trust.'"
And so, Jochebed and Amram, both from the tribe of Levi, had everything working against them, everything. They lived in a pagan society and a pagan culture of Egypt. But that's not all. The Israelites, who have lived in Egypt, the vast majority of them were impacted and they were basically practicing pagan religion just like the Egyptians. There were knee not only deep in mud, but they were knee deep in paganism, imitating the host country. So much so, it was so deeply entrenched in them that 50 years after they left the land of the slavery, Egypt, Joshua in 24:14, would say to them, "Fear the Lord and throw away the gods of your forefathers worshiped in Egypt".
Fifty years after they saw with their own eyes the miraculous work of God of drying up the Red Sea, and getting them to cross, and drowning the Egyptians, that's how much paganism, superstition, worshipping foreign gods were so entrenched in the practice of the Israelites. So, for Moses's parents, they're not only fighting a godless culture, their church was against him too, the Israelites themselves. So this couple, Moses's parents, were facing opposition from every side. This couple were among the truly small handful of faithful people in slavery of Egypt. They were faithful and trusting of God's promise to Abraham. They were faithful in wanting God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, were faithful in keeping the faith of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.
What should this tell us about parenting today? Listen carefully, please. Only God in heaven knows how much I pray for you. It tells us that even if the whole world goes whacko, and it has right now, God will always honor the faith of one couple. It tells us that even when churches abandon the gospel and the Word of God, God will honor the few remnant faithful people. It tells us that even when other professing Christians get swept off their feet by this modern sexual revolution, God will uphold those who stand firm for him. Hebrews 11:23 again, "By faith, Moses's parents hid him for three months". Why? They knew that they could trust God in the midst of this incredibly dark situation.
I mean, this is incredible. I wish you can visualize it with me. God gave them that faith. Make no mistake about it, God will give you faith if you ask for it. It was God who gave them faith. He gave them the faith to stand against the godless laws of the day, to stand against the government tyranny of the day, to stand against the evil powers of the day, to stand against wicked legislation. My beloved friends, our children need to see in us faithfulness. I can only imagine those three months, it felt like as long as three years. I mean, can you imagine? I know they're only three months, but think about this, how are you going to keep a baby secret?
Just think about this, for three months. Every moment of those three months, they were swinging probably between faith and fear. But thank God faith immobilizes fear every time. I want to repeat that. Faith immobilizes fear every time. Not only that, but faith gave them the courage to follow God's plan. Jochebed made a waterproof basket, covered the bottom with tar so it could float in the Nile, and they placed baby Moses in that basket. And they placed him where, where? In the Nile. The Nile, to the Jews who are living in Egypt, the Nile is synonymous with death. Pharaoh's throwing babies in this Nile. But by faith, they placed their baby at the very place that has been a source of death.
You see, since the baby boys were thrown into that Nile, normally actually throughout history of Egypt, the Nile was a source of life for the Egyptians. But to the Israelites, it'd become an instrument of death and sorrow and grief. When you are in God's protective plan, even the instrument of death becomes a source of life. The river Nile was the grave for many a baby. And yet, it became a very source of life for baby Moses. I often tell people, and some of you heard me say this, I'm invincible until God says so. When God says my time is up, my time is up.
Jesus said, "Who have you by worrying, you can add a minute to your life"? And the answer is none. Until God decides it's time for me to go home to glory, no man, no disease, no illness will call the shots. God will call the shots. He'll call us home when he's ready for us. They diligently worked, they carefully planned, they thoughtfully prayed. And so, they placed the basket at the right place at the right time. Meanwhile, sister Miriam is hiding in the bushes, watching Pharaoh's daughter and her maiden going into the water. And as soon as she saw them open the basket, get that beautiful baby out, and they're googing and ga ga goo ga with the baby, she jumps out of the bushes and says, "Wet nurse, anyone"?
Pharaoh's daughter probably thought, "What a good luck that this woman is there to find a nurse nearby". They probably thought, "What a coincidence that Miriam knew someone who's close by that could nurse the baby". There are so many delicious ironies when you walk by faith, you cannot explain it any other way. First, Jochebed got to nurse and train her own baby, and got paid for it. How about that in the Middle East, huh? I mean, that's a deal. We like that. Not only that, Jochebed got to nurse and train her baby under the protection of Pharaoh's soldiers who would've killed him. We truly miss out on these incredible ironies when we cease to live by faith, and trust in the Lord, and take risks for God, and get out of our comfort zone, and trust him.
I want to speak to the parents and the grandparents as I conclude here today. Beloved friends, as a father and a grandfather who made many mistakes, I plead with you to implement God's plan for your children. That's the first thing, implement God's plan for your children no matter what. All the distractions of the world should not come in your way of accomplishing, implementing God's plan for them. Secondly, practice your faith unashamedly and openly in front of them so that you are setting the example, so you can see it in you, and they will grow up to practice it. For you know and I know example is far more powerful than all the words that are spoken. And thirdly, unite together with other believers in your walk of faith. No believer should walk alone because I can tell you that's exactly how the devil likes it. Don't stand alone. Hold hands together.
The name Moses means the one who's drawn out of the water, the one who's snatched out. That's what Moses means literally. And every believer in Jesus Christ, listen to me, every believer in Jesus Christ is drawn out. Every believer in Jesus Christ has been snatched out from among the lost and the perishing. We are snatched out of the jaws of sin and death and Satan. We have been snatched out of hell and Hades, so let's live like it. Let's live like it. Listen, the moment you take your salvation for granted and you get, "Oh, ho hum, yes I'm saved, so what?" that's the moment you're in trouble. Because God snatched us out of sin and death.
We need to ask the question, I do that on a regular basis, trust me, why did he snatch me from sin and death? Why did he save me? And the answer comes screaming back at me every time, so that I might spend every waking moment to glorify his name. And that applies to you. Everyone, whether you're young or old, has nothing to do with age, that God saved you so that you might live for his glory. How are you going about it? I hope that question will stay with you for a long time until you answer it.
But then there may be someone here today who said, "Michael, I really have never committed my life to Jesus Christ, and I'm still looking, and I'm still trying hard, and I'm trying to find my way". Today, your search can be over. Come to Jesus. He died for you and his hands are open. You know, you're not here by accident. You have a divine appointment to come and hear the Word of God. And so, if you have never committed your life to Jesus Christ, you've never experienced the incredible love, and the forgiveness of sin, and the affirming and the assurance of eternal life, you can do that today, amen?