LIFE IS A JOURNEY, LIFE IS A RACE, LIFE IS A BATTLE
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)
A major Bible reading in our first session was from Hebrews 12 – which begins with the word “therefore”, thus telling us that this summary of the “journey of life” is the conclusion of what has been said before – in Hebrews 11…
Therefore, we look to this – often known as “God’s hall of fame of faith” – and to two characters in particular – Abraham and Moses – to help us in our JOURNEY OF LIFE…
THE JOURNEY OF LIFE – PART 2 – LESSONS FROM MOSES
OUR ROLE ON THE “JOURNEY OF LIFE”
Last week we focused on this passage:
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11: 8)
And by it we learnt that we need to Trust and Obey God on our “Journey of Life”.
This week we move on to learn lessons from the faith of Moses as he walked with God on His “Journey of Life” –
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
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 ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 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. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application 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. (Hebrews 11: 23-29)
Moses too understood that although he might not know which steps to take on his “journey of life” yet he had faith in the One who was leading him – and he too chose, decided, to Trust and Obey – for there IS no other way!
With grateful thanks to the wonderfully encouraging and challenging UCB “Word for Today” let us learn 4 lessons from Moses that will help us along our “Journey of Life” just as they helped him:
- KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE
‘Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.’ (Hebrews 11:24 NIV)
Moses was born a Hebrew, but he was raised as an Egyptian by Pharaoh’s daughter. Even though he was being groomed to be second-in-command in Pharaoh’s kingdom, Moses knew God had called him to be one of His people – a Hebrew. So, he had to make a choice: ‘What am I going to do with my life? I’m not who these people think I am.’ Moses had every comfort he could wish for in the palace, and he could have stayed there. What would you have done? Moses made the right decision, but it meant spending the next eighty years of his life in the desert. Every one of us must come to grips with our identity. We all have a deep need and desire to accept who we are. Trying to be who we’re not is a quick way to get an ulcer, because it puts us under so much pressure. Moses recognised this tension and decided to stop pretending. It’s liberating when we stop trying to be somebody we’re not and accept God’s plan for our life. How would we remember Moses today if he had stayed in Pharaoh’s court? Maybe as an Egyptian mummy in some museum – or maybe not at all. But he made the hard decision, and in the light of eternity it was the best one. Learn from him! Know who YOU are: you are not the person that someone else wants you to be – you are unique and wonderfully made – you are YOU! Know who YOU are: you are British, you are a teacher or a mother or a nurse or a postman – but more than this you are a child of God – called to the life of a disciple, called to serve the purposes of God in your generation. How are YOU going to live on your “Journey of life”? Decide to be yourself! Decide to be who God has made you to be!
- Know who you really are – part of God’s family
- Don’t become what other people want you to be
- Know who you are in Christ – a beloved child of God
- Be self-aware and embrace what you can become in Christ – Moses didn’t realise that he was going to become a great leader and teacher…but God knew!
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE
‘He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin’ (Hebrews 11:25 NIV)
Oh! His life could have been SOOO easy and SOOO pleasurable. In the palace he had every luxury and pleasure that the richest nation in the world had to offer! But he had a CHOICE to make – and so do you. Enjoy the fleeting pleasures of your life now or live the life that God leads you in. It’s YOUR choice. And in Moses’s case It meant choosing to leave a life of ease for a life of mistreatment. God couldn’t make him. Pharaoh couldn’t make him. He had to take responsibility for his own life. And so do you! Notice, Moses made his decision ‘when he had grown up’. It’s a mark of maturity when you can settle the issue of personal responsibility. When Moses was a baby, it was okay to postpone the decision about who he was. But when he became an adult he had to make a choice, assume responsibility for his own life, and move ahead. It’s always easy to blame others: ‘I’d go God’s way if my boyfriend or girlfriend, mother or father, husband or wife, would do it too.’ Or, ‘I’d be a better person today if I had better parents.’ You can’t choose all the circumstances that come into your life, but you can choose whether those things will make you a bitter person or a better person. Ultimately no one can ruin your life except you! The devil can’t, because he doesn’t have enough power – and God won’t, because He loves you. So choose to go God’s way!
- Choosing to follow Christ could be hard – accept it
- Taking responsibility means knowing what you are called by God to do and doing it no matter what the cost might be
- Don’t blame others when things get tough – accept your responsibility
- Don’t get tempted to take the easy route of pleasure and ease that the world offers
- DETERMINE YOUR PRIORITIES ON YOUR “JOURNEY OF LIFE”
‘He was looking ahead to his reward.’ (Hebrews 11:26 NIV)
‘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.’ Here we see WHY Moses was willing to make the choice in life that he had made. It was a matter of focus. Rather than focus on the “here and now” on the immediate gratification, he made his focus on the eternal hope, on the long-term fulfilment and promise. Much of the world’s wealth during that time was stored in Egypt. So Moses already had what most people spend their lives trying to get: popularity, pleasure, and possessions. Yet God asked him to do something that was more important – and he did it. It was a matter of priorities. Moses could easily have rationalised, ‘The slave situation is bad, so I’ll stay in the system and work for reform.’ Being popular isn’t wrong – but it doesn’t last. Being rich isn’t wrong – look at Solomon and Abraham – but you can’t take your wealth with you when you die. Moses was willing to suffer “disgrace” now (in the eyes of Pharaoh and the Egyptians) in order to go on the “journey of life” that God was calling him to. He knew that his reward was in the present satisfaction of knowing that he was walking in God’s will and the eternal satisfaction of the “well done my true and trusted servant” as he entered into eternal life. What about you? Are you looking forward to the “goal” of your “journey of life” more than the transitory pleasures of the moment?
- We all have to decide what our priorities are on our “journey of life” – so much is on offer!
- Focus on the journey’s end – eternal life – let this be your priority
- Don’t let your focus stray onto what the world has to offer – or you’ll end up like Terah – in Haran
- PERSEVERE WHEN THE “JOURNEY OF LIFE” GETS TOUGH
‘By faith…he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.’ (Hebrews 11:27 NIV)
You could sum up the life of Moses in these two words: ‘He persevered.’ He made choices – right from the start – that led to an incredible roller-coaster of pleasure and pain. Set before him was God’s plan to save His people from slavery in Egypt, to lead them to the Promised Land, to establish the Law that underpinned their relationship with God – what pleasure! What privilege! But it was a life of opposition – not just from the Egyptians but from God’s people themselves – open rebellion against his leadership and against God Himself, sin and failure to himself make it into the Promised Land – what pain! It’s a fact of life that there’s no gain without pain, no advancement without adversity, and no progress without problems. Moses understood that difficulties come into every life, and he knew how to respond to them correctly and move on. And we must learn to do that too. As followers of Christ, we should never let problems defeat us; instead, we should let them draw us closer to God. Someone has said that we should never let problems get us down – except down on our knees to pray! God allows specific situations in our lives to bring growth. And without perseverance we won’t get very far. Notice the words ‘By faith…he persevered.’ Faith in what? Faith in whom? Faith in God! We’re not talking here about some white-knuckled, flesh-based form of self-help. No, we’re talking about the fact that when God calls you to do a job, He equips and empowers you. He goes ahead of you and provides everything you need. When you say yes to His plan for your life, you can stand on this promise: ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28 NIV). So you must a) know who you are; b) take responsibility for your life; c) determine your priorities; and d) persevere when life gets difficult. If you abide by these four Bible truths, you will live a life that is truly blessed by God.
- Never surrender! Never give up!
- So make the choice to persevere
- Do this through true faith that God is going to make all things good for you
THE CONCLUSION: OUR “JOURNEY OF LIFE” IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
And, in conclusion, how did Moses know who he really was? And what drove him to take responsibility for his own life? And what motivated him to get his priorities right? And what kept him persevering when life got tough? The answer: “because he saw Him who is invisible”. He focused on his relationship with Father God and that kept him going on his “journey of life” – and so it will with you too.