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In The Desert Places Of Life

Sunday Morning 01/22/2023 – Pastor Eric Davis

All right, exodus chapter number one. And we’re not going to repeat Wednesday night’s message. Kind of more of an overview on Wednesday night, but I want to look at a few different things this morning. One central thought I think the Lord has laid on my heart and we got to do a little bit of reading together, get to that point first. So Exodus chapter number one, a little bit of background. God gave Abraham a promise. How far back you want to go? Amen. God gave Abraham a promise he’s going to make of him a great nation and bless him. And Abraham was 90 years old, 95 years old, 100 years old and hadn’t had a son yet. And God gave him a son when he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old. So I never think that God is through with you. After you reach a certain age, God can do more. God can do great things with you. And I was going to say God did more with Moses in the last third of his life than he did in the first two thirds of his life, the first 80 years of his life. God did more in the last 40 of his life. So don’t ever think that you’re too old to do what God would have you to do. But God gave that promise to Abraham. Abraham began Isaac, and Isaac had two sons, jacob and Esau. But the promise came through Jacob. And then Jacob had twelve sons. And Joseph was sold into Egypt. And we know the story how he went from the pit to prison to Potiphar’s House or vice versa, right from the pit to Potiphar’s house, then to prison and then to the palace. And God kept him safe and protected him, placed him where he was for a special reason. And then Jacob and his sons, rest of the remaining sons, all came down in Egypt so Joseph could provide for them. Joseph forgave them. What a beautiful picture of forgiveness that is. And then we start pick up in exhaust chapter one with them numbering those that came into Egypt. And then we find out that they increased greatly at a rapid rate and God bless them. So we’re going to look at that here in just a moment. Let’s begin in prayer first. All right. Heavenly Father, we love you and thank you again for this opportunity. And Lord, thank you for all the songs that have been sung. Pray that they were pleasing unto Thee. And Lord, we sure are thankful for Your many blessings to us. Help us in the next few moments we open up Your Word. Please speak to our hearts. Each of us have individual and different needs. Lord, please meet that need this morning according to Your will and through Your Word. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Exist, chapter one, verse one. Now these are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt to every man and his household came with Jacob, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, isacre Zebulin and Benjamin, dan and Nathalie, Gad and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the lords of Jacob were how many, 70 souls? For Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brother and all that generation and the children of Israel were fruitful and increased, abundantly and multiplied and waxed, exceeding mighty. And the land was filled with them. Do you get the picture? God blessed them. You know where God blessed them? While they were in captivity? God blessed them so much that when they came out of Egypt in numbers, it says that there were 600,000 fighting men that were 20 years old and upward from eleven tribes and those that were in Levi from one month old and upward. Male children were 22,000. And those are just the boys you consider the wives and the daughters. It numbered at least 1 million people that came out, and they survive Israel, and some estimated to be closer to 2 million that Moses led through the Red Sea on dry ground. Amen. God protected them, but God blessed them. Just before we get going, here’s a promise that God fulfilled. He was leading them to the Promised Land. But it took a little while to fulfill that promise. So let’s not get discouraged along the way when it doesn’t seem like maybe in our lives. It seemed God has gone quiet. God’s not missing, and God doesn’t mean that God’s not active. The promise is still in force. Even though it might be quiet, god was still working behind the scenes. Okay, let’s skip down a little bit and I’ll just give you the quick summary. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, a different Pharaoh, arose and knew not Joseph and wanted to stop the increase of the children of Israel. So he ordered the midwives, when they saw that the baby being born was a boy, to kill the boy baby. But midwives feared God and God blessed them for it. So he took matters in his own hands. He commanded his people to cast the boy babies into the river and they would drown. And I don’t know what kind of animals they have over there, but I’m sure they would be eaten up. He wanted them to die. He was actually doing the bidding of the devil, trying to thwart and stop God’s plan. Does that remind you of somebody else, of another story, when a king tried, ordered for all the babies two years old and under to be killed because he was trying to stop a king from coming, and that was King Jesus when Jesus was born. But you can’t stop God’s plan and God’s purpose. God will still accomplish his purpose. And so Moses, during this time, it seemed like the lowest ebb of history for the children of Israel. That when they were afflicted the most. Moses was born. He was hid for three months. And how many of you know you can’t hide a three month old for very long? When they learn that they have lungs, they exercise those lungs. And so she knew she couldn’t hide him any longer, but she trusted God, she and her husband. The Bible says in Hebrews Eleven. So she made an ark and placed Moses in that arc, set him in the river, and trusted God with the rest. And you know the story if you’re familiar with it. The Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe herself in the river. She saw in the bullrushes and ark. She sent her maids to fetch it. She opened the ark and there was Moses. And I think God maybe pinched baby Moses. What? Pastor Vance always says something like that, pinched baby Moses. And he cried right at the right moment. And she had compassion on him and picked him up out of the water, took care of him. She became, as her son, raised in Egypt, and there’s many things there, but I want us to look verse number ten. And the child grew, and she brought him under Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses. And she said, because I drew him out of the water. And it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown, that he went out into his brethren and looked on their burdens, and he spied an Egyptian smiting in Hebrew, one of his brethren. Let’s just stop for a minute. Take note. We know from other scripture in Acts chapter seven that Moses was 40 years old when this happened. Okay? So 40 years have passed. He’s grown. He goes out, he sees an Egyptian smiting the Hebrew, and verse twelve. And he looked this way and that way. When he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold two men of the Hebrew strove together. And he said to him that did the wrong, wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, who made the apprentice and a judge over us? And tendest thou to kill me as I’ll kill the Egyptian? And Moses feared and said, surely this thing is known. Now we know what Moses was doing because God gives us the commentary on it later in Hebrews. He believed he knew that God was going to bring the children of Israel out. He trusted God by faith. He believed that. And he thought that God was going to use him in this manner to deliver the children of Israel. And God was going to use him. But he got ahead of God and he did things like we all do things in the power of our flesh instead of waiting on God and not criticizing him. But that’s what happens to many of us. God was still going to use him, but it wasn’t time yet for God to deliver his children out of Egypt. So he didn’t understand that. The Hebrews didn’t understand that. Verse 15. Now, when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. So in Moses life, 40 years old, he’s probably a little bit discouraged, wouldn’t you think? He’s tried to deliver in his own strength and his own understanding. He. He’s forsaking Pharaoh’s house. By faith, he’s forsaking Pharaoh’s house. He’s just turn to Hebrews eleven. Let me just read what that says. By faith, moses, when he was coming to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. There was a break there, and I’m sure there were tears that were shed if she was still alive, as his foster mother had raised him from when he was five. Just a young person, however old he was when that time came, when his mother we didn’t cover that. But his mother was able to train him and to teach him. God worked all that out. You can read that for yourself sometime. But when he went to live full time in Pharaoh’s household, from that time forth, I’m sure there was some attachment there. But he said, I know what God wants me to do. I can no longer be considered part of Pharaoh’s household. I’m a Hebrew. God’s made me a Hebrew. I’m one of God’s people. And so he left that, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. So, by faith, the Bible says he forsook Egypt. He left everything behind, trusting in God. But here he’s on the backside of the desert. And how many times in our life do we find ourselves we’re trusting God, we’re trying to follow Him, but we find ourselves in a desert place in life. Have you ever been there? That’s the title this morning’s message in the desert places of life. Sometimes the place seems barren. There’s nothing there. Sometimes the place seems quiet, that God is not working. We know that’s not true. Sometimes it seems like God has abandoned us and left us alone. You ever felt that way? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Moses feelings were, but I can imagine he’s trying to sort all this out. It’s not a geographic place. You can be in the desert spiritual, no matter where you are. But it’s sometimes a misunderstood place. But it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care. And God’s not through. It’s not a place where God has forgotten you or God has forgotten me. Because we’re going through that time doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a purpose. There was a purpose for Moses to be where he was. There’s a purpose for others. In the Bible we read for David to be where he was. He learned some things, but all of us have that place sometimes. But there’s a purpose behind the place. And that’s what we want to talk about a little bit this morning. I want you to notice that just because it looked barren doesn’t mean it was barren. Look at the next verse. Now, the priests of Meeting had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away. But Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. And when they came to rule their father, he said, how is it that you come so soon today? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and also drew water enough for us and watered the flock. And he said unto his daughters, and where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread. And Moses was content to dwell with a man. And he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter, and she bear him a son. And he called his name Gersham. For he said, I’ve been a stranger in a strange land. It wasn’t barren for Moses. He got a wife. And how many men will say, that’s a good thing? If you’re married, you better raise your hand. All right. Got your wife with you? A wife is a good thing from God. It’s a gift from God. He not only got a wife, but the Bible says he had two sons. And one of them here is named. The name of the other was given later, but God blessed him while he was in on the backside of the desert, in this desert place. He thought God’s through with me. I don’t know what I’ve done. I thought God was going to use me to deliver the children of Israel. I know God’s got this promise. He didn’t leave. God didn’t forget God, because we’re not going to read it. But in chapter three, when God appears to him in the bush and he calls him, moses draws near and says, Here am I. And God tells him who he is speaking to him in the bush. And Moses was afraid to look upon God. He still remembered who God was through that time. Here’s. One of the first things we’ll say is when you’re in that desert place, don’t lose your faith in God. Amen. He still got a purpose. There is a purpose in the place. The purpose for Moses was to learn some things. God has us in our desert places to learn some things. What did Moses have to learn? Well, he had to learn not to rely on self. You and I, when we try to do things their own strength, their own power, how often do we fail? But when we sit back and say, Lord, I can’t do this. If anything’s going to get done, you’re going to have to do it. And God takes care of it, and God does it. Let me ask you a question. Did Moses learn his lesson? I believe he did. Look at me. With me. Chapter number three, verse number seven. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. And we’ve talked about this before, but God sees the affliction of his people while Moses are on the backside of the desert. God knew where Moses was. God knew where the children of Israel were. He saw them. He heard their cry. He knew their sorrows. When you’re going through your difficulty, know that God knows where you are. God sees what you’re going through. He hears your prayers. Just because you don’t see the answer doesn’t mean God hasn’t heard your prayer. And then we’ll look at what he says, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians. We got to go back to verse 23. We’ll do that in a minute. But I want you to look at, ah, verse number eleven. And Moses said unto God, god said, Moses, I’m going to send you to Pharaoh to deliver the children visitor out of Egypt. Now, Moses is now 80 years old. How would you like to start on a grand expedition of delivering the children? Visual at 80 years old? I don’t know that I like to start. I’m I’m almost 40. I don’t I don’t have the strength that I once had, man. I think children take that out of you and sleepless nights and tummy aches and potty training and all the above will wear a body out. That’s a story for another day. And Moses said unto God, who am I? That I should go on to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt. I know Moses still had some things to learn, but I believe he realized, hey, I can’t do this. He said, God, who am I? I’ve tried it once before, and it didn’t happen the way I thought it. It should happen now. I can’t do it in my own strength. Who am I? And God told him, but God’s answer was, certainly I will be with thee. He said Moses. News flash. It’s not about you, it’s about me. And I’m going to go with you. You know, a whole book of Exodus, we learn about Moses and the children of Israel. But let’s get an overview. Let’s get a higher look at things. It’s not about Moses and not about the children of Israel. It’s about God bringing out a people unto Himself, right? Let’s take a survey of our life. It’s not about us. It’s about God taking out a people, bringing us unto himself. See, God had a purpose for Moses in the desert place. It was a place of learning. Sometimes going to school is tough, isn’t it? Sometimes going to school is tough. Brother Bill. Right. Sometimes riding home from school is tough. It’s better to take a different route. But God has you can ask Brother Bill about that later. God has lessons for us to learn in life. And sometimes he has to bring us to a place where we’re willing to listen. If God tried to teach Moses while he was in the palace, you think he would hear very well. Sometimes God has to bring us to where we have to depend upon him to realize, hey, our self is not as good as we thought it was. We got to depend upon the Lord. Once you look at verse number 23 chapter two, verse 23. We want to back up for a minute. Well, let’s go back to verse 22. And she bear him a son. He called his name Gersham. For? He said what? I have been a stranger in a strange land. He realized that this was not his home. You and I will do well to realize that even though we’re in a desert place, this is not our home. There will be another place that we’ll go through, but far past this life. We’re going to heaven, which is far from a desert place, far from deserted. We heard about that this morning. They’re worshiping the Lord right now in heaven. He said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. We are strangers. We’re just passing through. This world is not our home. Verse 23. And it came to pass in process of time that the King of Egypt died. God has a way of dealing with our enemies. You know, the funny thing is, the same thing happened to Herod. Herod sought to kill Jesus and Herod died. Jesus remained. I tell you, our enemies would love nothing more than to get rid of the church. Get rid of those that have standards, that are holding true to the word of God. But God’s church will remain. We just got to be faithful to him. God’s faithful. God’s faithful in the desert. Acts, chapter number seven. I’m going to turn there, but you can stay where you are or write it down. You can turn there if you want. Acts, chapter seven, verse 17 says, but when the time of the promise drew nigh this is Steven’s message. He’s getting ready to be stoned. He’s talking about Moses. He said, when the time of the promise drew nigh which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose which knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtly with our kindred and evil and treated our fathers so that they cast out their young children to the end they may not live. In which time Moses was born and was exceeding fair and nourished up in his father’s house three months when he was cast out fair, his daughter took him up and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words. And indeeds, when he was full 40 years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And we read that account back in Exodus and verse number 29. Then fled Moses at this saying and was estranged in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons. And when 40 years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. And so the phrase I want to look at a couple of times, it said, in process of time, god has a time for everything in our life. God has a time for bounty. And don’t you like those prosperous times when you open up the cupboard and there are snacks there and there’s extra stuff there? You have not just one bag of chips, you’ve got five bag of chips on the counter and you’re prosperous and things are going well. And then comes a day maybe during the winter months when things get a little bit bare in the cupboard. And somebody was talking about that this morning. Now the wintertime sometimes just trying to get through, trying to make ends meet. But God has places in our life, it will fill us all prosperity all the time, all good health all the time. Where would we turn to God? Where would we trust God? Moses had to learn, hey, I can’t do this on my own. I’ve got to trust God for some things. And I think he had a lot yet to learn, but I think he learned that lesson. So there’s a purpose in the desert places. God has a purpose there. I’m all over my notes, so bear with me. You know how that goes, don’t you, dad? God is sovereign even in the desert places. God’s still in control even when we’re sick. Our body is full of sickness, right, brother Randall? God’s still in control even when we’re not feeling well. The finances aren’t there, things aren’t going like we want to. Maybe we even have a wayward. Son or daughter, god is still in control. Don’t ever forget that. And God is still faithful in the desert places. We can trust him. It’s a purposeful time. There were some lessons that he learned. It’s some humility that he had to learn it. And that is a hard lesson to learn. He had to learn a lesson on perspective. Who God is. He can meet my need. What’s that song say? I never knew if I didn’t have a problem. I never knew that God could solve that problem, could solve them. He had a perspective on where he was. I think God allows us to go through these things sometimes to realize that. Help us realize this is not our home. Get our eyes heavenward listen, love not the world set our affections on things above, on what God is doing. God’s working things out. You remember, think about this. God promised to deliver Israel, and he did so without Israel’s assistance. He didn’t need one of them right now. He used Moses, and they had to follow him. But God did it all by himself. I think Moses had to learn that. The children of Israel had to learn that you and I are times we need to learn. God doesn’t need us to accomplish his work. He wants to use us, and he needs our mouths to tell others about Jesus. But if we sat down and our rebellious on God, god will find somebody to get his work done, because God’s work is getting done. But I’m glad that he wants to use me. It’s a time of waiting. It’s a time where God guides and directs. It’s a fruitful time. I said, it’s a time of production. He was productive in the desert place. He drew near to God when he approached the burning bush. God told him, he said, who am I? Moses said, who am I? God. God said, I will be with thee. He said, When I come to the children of Israel, they’re going to ask me what your name is. Because they’re in a land where there’s so many gods, everything is a God. What am I going to tell them? And God said, tell them I am that I am. I don’t need anybody’s assistance. I am the self sufficient one. I’m the Almighty God. You tell them that I am hath sent me unto you. And he said, they’re not going to believe me. Moses said moses told God, they’re not going to believe me. God said, I’m going to give you some signs that you can take and they’ll believe you. And Moses argues with the Lord. And he said, Lord, I’m slow of speech. I’m a slow tongue. I stutter, I stammer. I don’t speak very well. God said, I will be with thee and teach thee what thou shalt say. Then I think Moses says the last thing he says. He said, Lord, O my Lord, sin, I pray thee, by the hand of Him whom thou wilt sinned. I think he was a little bit unwilling at this point. I don’t know the reason why. But here we read that God’s anger was kindled against Moses. He already promised that he would go with him. He already promised him that he would take care of his needs. But then he saw that Moses wasn’t as willing to go as he should have been, and his anger was kindled against him. So he still had some things to learn. And there’s a lesson here for us. When God calls us to do something, just go do it. But the desert place was a place of learning for Moses, and it was a place where he could draw near to God. It was a time for him to wait on God’s instruction. He’s 80 years old. You know, God gives him strength, and God helps him for another 40 years to lead the children of Israel. I was thinking about this. You remember Caleb? He was one of the two spies that went in to survey the land of Canaan. He was 40 years old when he went into the land of Canaan just to survey, to spy, be a spy. And he was 80 years old when he went into Canaan again the second time. And he looked at Joshua and he said, this mountain right here, the one that’s fortified, the one that nobody else can take, give me this mountain. I want that mountain. And God gave him that mountain. God can do great things at any point in our life. You say, My life is almost done. My life is almost spent. Listen, Moses life, moses could have said the same thing, but he gave God what he had, and God used him in a great way. I don’t know the purpose specifically why you are where you are, but I know God’s got a lesson for us to learn. Let’s make sure we learn that. Not only learn the lesson, but it’s a time to be fruitful. It’s a time to be faithful. God wants you to be fruitful, even in the desert place. Listen, Moses was the only one there that could have told his sons, his family about who God was. You might be going through what you’re going through because you’re the only one that could reach somebody in your family, somebody at the doctor’s office. We know of an individual. He’s been sick a lot lately, but he’s been able to witness to nurses, witness to doctors, and several of them have been saved because of his witness. Had he not gone through all this, he wouldn’t have had the witness that he has. I don’t know all the reasons we get to heaven. God may reveal some of that to us, but right now we just got to trust Him. Say, Lord, you know what’s best. I’m trusting you through even though this place seems like a desert, I know you’ve got some lessons for me to learn. I know I can be productive. I want to be faithful to you. You’ve got a reason. Help me to trust you through this time. And God brought Moses through. God brought the children of Israel through. God’s going to bring us through. Psalm 23, verse four says, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I was talking with a gentleman in our church whose family is going through things, and you all probably know who it is. And he said that verse has been a comfort to him. He said, Because the valley of the shadow of death, we’re going through. That with the Lord. So in the desert place, know there’s a purpose. Know there’s there’s a time that you can be fruitful. Know that time will pass that’s not forever. But know also that there is a person going with you through that place. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, I will never leave thee nor forsake if you’re a child of God, you’ve got the greatest friend that you could ever have, and he’s going with you through everything. I can’t see him. Job said, I looked on my left hand, looked on my right hand. I could not find him. But he knows the way that I take, and he knows the way that you’re taking as well. He knows what you’re going through. God has a reason. God has a purpose. We’ve got to trust him. Amen. God is sovereign. Matthew Henry, a great commentator of the Bible, he said this. He said, Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the proceedings towards the accomplishment of God’s promises. God knows how to redeem the time that seems to have been lost. When the year of the redeemed is at hand. He can do a work in a single day. FB. Meyer said this, and listen to this. Sometimes we lift Moses up to say, well, Moses was a great man. This is what he said. He said, we make a profound mistake in attributing to these men extraordinary qualities of courage and strength, of body or soul. To do so with them is the whole point of the teaching of Scripture. They were not different from ordinary men except in their faith. They believed God. Listen, it’s God, not Moses. It’s God, not you and not me. Amen. God can lead us through this desert place. Listen, I’ll be honest with you. As a pastor, I wish that this place was overflowing and full. Had to open the windows on a cold January morning, that people seated outside. Wouldn’t that be a blessing? That would be a blessing. Wouldn’t that be a blessing to me? But God has a reason and a purpose, and God’s working. I believe that firmly. And I know God’s working in your life, even though things may not be exactly what you’d have to be in your picture perfect world, god’s working. We’ve got to trust Him, got to depend upon Him, and got to allow Him to lead us step by step and day by day. Remember, it was in Egypt where they were oppressed and ruled with such affliction, their lives were made bitter. That’s where God blessed and multiplied. One writer said this suffering times have often been growing times with the church. Think of the first church and the suffering, the Flicks, and they went through. Our church has been through a lot physically. But I’ll be honest with you, I believe we’ve grown together in prayer and love, one for another, and I believe God’s got great things in store. It’s not a time to give up. Not a time to quit. It’s a time to keep trusting God what he’s got in store. Amen. All right, let’s stand with head bowed and eyes closed. That’s the message this morning.

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