Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 3
Today, we'll see Moses, who gave up the world's gold for God's glory, experiencing both success and failure. Experiencing both the palace and the tent. Experiencing the shades of luxury and the heat of the desert, the scorching heat of the desert. We have already begun a series from the life of Moses, we're calling it "Giving Up the World's Gold for God's Glory". And that's exactly what the Bible said about Moses in Hebrews chapter 11. In Hebrews chapter 11, as you look at the life of Moses and the author, which is the Holy Spirit, says, "By faith, Moses turned his back on the power and the wealth of Egypt in order to choose instead the suffering with God's people in obedience to God".
As I said before, that does not mean everyone has to go through this, but sometimes we do. And we saw in the last message Hebrews 11:23, that by that same faith, the Bible said by faith, Moses's parents exercised that faith on his behalf, and by faith Moses's parents risked their life to keep him and save him, and they placed that basket right there in the edge of the River Nile, where they knew that Pharaoh's daughter comes to swim every morning. And sure enough, she comes across that basket, looks at that beautiful baby, and she says, "I want to adopt this baby". But in the end, Moses's birth mother ended up nursing him and got paid for it.
Moses got to spend the first five years, possibly six, with his birth mother and father. He had the privilege of spending those formative years with his real parents before they had to deliver him back to his adopted mother that is Pharaoh's daughter. But those first five years of Moses's life proved to be so extremely important in his development. During those years, no doubt his parents taught him and engraved in the cortex of his brain and his memories how God has been faithful, how he was faithful to Abraham, how he was faithful to Jacob, how he was faithful to Joseph who brought them into Egypt to begin with. How God has been faithful through the years. The following 35 years, he received the best of secular education in Egypt. I mean, it is the best. But they could not erase the first five years.
As adopted grandson of Pharaoh, Moses was given the best of education. Moses would have been trained in the temple of Heliopolis. Back then, it was the Oxford and the Harvard of the world at that time. In spite of that, he was also educated, because he can be schooled but not educated, right? You'll get that tomorrow morning at coffee. And so, here he is, the most educated man in the world at that time, but that was not all. He was also strong and powerful. Obviously he's been spending a lot of hours in the palace gym working out, pumping iron. You say, "Michael, how do you know that"? Well, with one punch, he killed a man. But actually more than that.
The Bible said in Acts 7:22, "Moses was powerful in speech and action". Now, listen to me, I want you to remember that. Tuck it in your brain as we go through this series, because I'm gonna show you the time is gonna come when Moses totally lost his self-confidence. Ah, but God built his confidence in him. See, when Moses traveled in his golden Ferrari chariot, people bowed to him. You see, when he came down the Nile in his royal yacht, people lined up the banks of the river trying to catch a glimpse of him as the music played. He was a prince, don't forget that. He was a prince, and yet through it all, he was thinking of his childhood training, of his childhood memory of Yahweh and his people and the suffering of his people and the salvation of his people.
Not only that, but he was probably concerned first and foremost of how he, Moses, can deliver them. Of how he, Moses, can release them from that misery. Of how he, Moses, can rescue them out of the mud pit and out of the lashes of the whips of the slave masters. And so, one day, he saw an opportunity and he took it. And so, he saw this slave driver beating up on two Hebrews, and he said, "This is it. This is my opportunity. This is my moment. This is my time". When Moses saw this abuse, the Bible said he looked to the left and then he looked to the right, and he saw that nobody was watching, and he killed the guy. Not only that, he buried him in the sand. What's wrong with this picture? It was not God's timing. It was not God's timing. Not only did he kill the slave driver, he buried him.
What was Moses thinking? If I bury this Egyptian, nobody will know, right? Nobody will know. That secret affair that you might be having, that secret liaison, that secret thing that you do in secret and think nobody knows, nobody knows, nobody was watching, God is watching. That's why the Bible said, "Be sure your sins will find you out". They'll find you out. You can try to bury the results of your disobedience, you can bury your secret sin, you can try to bury your pride, you can try to bury the evidence, but it will always haunt you, it will always rise to the surface of your memory. But thank God there is a place in which you can bury your sins. There is a place where you can bury your guilt. There is a place where you can bury the consequences of disobedience. There is only one place, and that is through repentance and confession and repentance, and you place them under the blood of Jesus, amen?
Some of you perhaps say, "Well, wait a minute, Michael, Moses did something very selfless. He selflessly acted. Moses was defending the oppressed. Moses was sincere. Moses thought that this is the way to help God out". You can do what you think is right to the best of your intentions, but is it the will of God? Is it God's timing? Is it what God commands? Is it consistent with the Word of God or go in contrary to the Word of God? Is it done in obedience to God? I want you to remember what I'm gonna tell you. There is no substitute for obedience. Are you with me? Even in the Old Testament, God looked down and said, "Wait a minute, obedience is better than sacrifice". It's a time when they're sacrificing at the drop of a hat. Obedience is better than a sacrifice.
So, let me repeat it again. There is no substitute for obedience. The good news is God gives us a second chance and a third chance and a fourth chance and a 50th chance and a 100th chance. God is always the God of second chances. He never gets tired, and that is why later we're gonna see Moses going into God's university. And God's university is very different from Heliopolis, let me tell you. It's a very different school altogether. And that is why later on we see Moses, this great man of God, after he's been through God's university in the desert, a man who was reared in the palace, and yet he is... the cause of God's people. Moses, who was nursed in the lap of luxury is now embraced adversity. Moses, the man who was reared in the school of despots, yet he became a champion of liberty.
Moses, who was long associated with oppressors, took the side of the oppressed. That is why he had the crown of Pharaoh, but he chose the cross of Christ. That's what happens after you graduate from God's university. You see, before all of that, before that happened, when Moses jumped ahead of God, he paid the price. Now, put yourself in Moses's place. You have everything going for you. You have the world at your feet. You are staring at the stairwell of the throne of the most powerful nation in the world. You are physically powerful. You're socially popular. You can do no wrong. What's wrong with that? Very simply, God cannot use you. Listen to me, God does not use powerful, arrogant, unbroken people to be his instruments.
And so, God had to first strip Moses of that veneer, so that he may build him up to be a great champion for God. Often God has to break the masks in order the real person he sees in us comes out. God had to take away the Mr. Egypt title in order that he may be the godly man, the meekest man on the face of the earth. God had to strip Moses of the garments of Pharaoh in order that he may be clothed with the righteousness of God. God specializes in using brokenness, he does. That is his speciality. And so, take heart. Take heart, rejoice in the middle of your brokenness, because you are about to experience greater height than you ever thought possible when you learn the lesson of your brokenness.
When Moses acted out of his emotions, and out of impulse, and out of feelings instead of obedience, what happened? He got into trouble and he brought brokenness on himself. But sometimes, because I know some of you sitting here are saying, "Well, Michael, I didn't do anything to bring about my brokenness. My brokenness came into my life unwelcome, unwanted, I'm experiencing brokenness right now that I can't explain. I cannot point my finger on something. I searched myself," and I don't want to put you on the guilt trip here, okay, because many times brokenness comes to us not sought, not requested, not wanted, and unwelcome, but in either case, God specializes in turning brokenness into glorious opportunities, amen? If you're willing to learn, he will create a beautiful tapestry out of your brokenness. And so, please, please, please, please, please, please be very careful when you act out of emotions and sentimentality and feelings, and not obedience.
So, what happened to Moses? Well, God had to send him to 40 years of God's university, 40 more years of schooling. Oh, but this is very different from Heliopolis university. Very, very different. Remember I told you at the very first message that Stephen, the first Christian martyr in the book of Acts chapter 7, he divided Moses's life into three stages. Each of them was 40 years. And I gave you a Youssef explanation of those three stages. The first 40 years, he was in the palace of Pharaoh learning that he is something. The next 40 years with the Midianites in the desert, he was learning that he was nothing. And then, 40 years with God's people in the wilderness where he was learning that God is everything, is everything. And that's what God is waiting for you to learn, and waiting for me to learn. The first 40 years, Moses believed in Moses. Hello, believe in yourself, are you with me? Moses deeply felt rejection. He was rejected by his own fellow Hebrews.
Beloved, listen to me. Fear of rejection causes you to flee every time. When you believe in yourself, not in the power of God working in you, the slightest problem will turn your courage into fear, and you will run. Where did fear take Moses? Well, it took him to a place of helplessness and hopelessness, and you can see even in the naming of his first son. See, he burnt all his Egyptian bridges, he was rejected by his fellow Hebrews, had nothing left, right? Ah, but he got everything left because he got God. You may be where Moses was at that point. You might be down and discouraged. You might be saying, "Why, God, why? Why did this happen? God, where are you? God, I know I ran ahead of you, but you promised to overrule, and you're taking your sweet time".
Listen carefully, please, what I'm gonna tell you. God is never too early and God is never too late. God is always on time. He does, oh, give him glory, don't clap for me. Give him glory. Give him glory, he is. And he is working things out for what he knows to be your good. Now, you might not agree with God, you might not think it's good, it's not for your good, but he does, because he sees the end from the beginning. He is working it all for what he knows to be your good. And so, the desert school, this college of God hasn't yet quite begun when Moses ended up with the Midianites. It hasn't started yet. I'm gonna show you why. School didn't start right away, it took a while because you'll see in the Bible reading of today, Moses comes in, and he runs into a bunch of good-looking girls, hello. They were good looking, so good that he married one of them. And he saw them being harassed by the shepherds, what did he do? See this, right? He flexed his biceps, and he gave them a whacking. He's still trying to do things Moses's way.
As I told you, later on the Bible said, "Moses was the meekest man on the face of the earth". That was later, after school, the school of God. Why is that? Ah, because, listen carefully, meekness does not mean weakness. It's not saying he was the weakest man, oh no, he was the meekest man in the world. You know what meekness means? It means power under control. And when Moses learned to place his power under the control of God, God used him mightily like very few people on the face of the earth. Are you in school right now? Graduation is on its way. Take heart, but you have to come, if you want to graduate, you have to come to this conviction, not words, not say, "Oh, yeah, okay, I agree". No, when you believe it with every ounce of your being, God, without you I can do nothing, then you're on your way to graduation.