Exodus Chap. 2: New Direction, New Life #3
"Stranger in a Strange Land"
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto 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.
Adopted by the Princess but still a stranger
Moses is born, hidden and then saved by his parents by placing him in a small boat and floated in a calm place in the river. There he is rescued when the princess of Egypt, one of Pharaoh’s daughters sees the child and rescues him. His sister Miriam who was set to watch over her little brother, runs to the princess and tell her she knows a nursemaid who can care for the child. Miriam goes and gets Moses own mother and she nurses her child in the courts of Pharaoh and I’m sure teaches him who he really is and most importantly who his God is.
He is raised in the Egyptian courts as a prince of Egypt but taught by his Mother, a Hebrew slave. Because of this he knew that the Pharaoh’s palace was not his real home.
Despite being adopted into the luxury, ease, and the privilege of royal life, Moses knew he was a stranger in the palace.
We are adopted by this world Christians are still strangers.
I see a parallel in Moses in the palace and us as Christians in this world.
Both have been adopted both have been accepted, both have access to what their adopted homes have to offer but both are truly strangers and must never feel completely at home.
Scripture: Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
It would have been easier for Moses to remain a prince of Egypt but he knew he was a Hebrew, a wanderer, looking for God’s place and it was not the palace of Egypt. Many times as Christians I fear we lose sight of the place we are destined for. We forget that we are here for only a short time and that our real home is not of this world.
Illustration: (Song) This world is not my home
A song my grandmother used to tell me her father’s used to sing when he was approaching death. When she passed away, I played it on my harmonica at her funeral.
This World Is Not My Home
This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
Transition: Moses is not just a stranger in the courts of Pharaoh.
Stranger In Goshen Exodus 2:11-15
And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and 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 Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. 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.
Rejected by His Own
Moses moves to protect his true people from this adopted ones.
Hebrews 11: 24-25 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
He makes the choice to reject the false gods of Egypt for the one true God or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and he rejects his family in the palace for his true family, the Hebrews.
Yet even in making this choice he still does not find his true home.
His own people rejected him, refused to listen to him and he had to flee his adopted place and his adapted people.
Reality of Rejection by Our Own
Can you imagine anything more painful, more schocking?
After having made the choice to stand God’s people to be rejected by God’s people?
Is this an exception or is it more commonplace than we like to imagine? Are God’s people hurtful to one another? Are they hurtful to God’s leaders?
You know the answer don’t you. They were then and they are now.
Joke: Where You Calling From
One Sunday morning, I got up and was looking through the paper, reading the death notices and lo and behold was my name. I thought, "I wonder if the deacons have seen it?"
I got on the phone and called one of them and said, "Have you read the morning paper yet?"
He said, "Yes, sir."
I said, "Did you see my name in the death notices?"
He said, "Yes, I did. (Silence) Preacher, where are you calling from?"
- Rev. George Goldtrap, Madison, TN, The Preacher Joke Book, p. 54.
The reality is that God’s people are not infallible, they are not sinless. They still leave in a sinful world and are subject to sin’s influence. This doesn’t excuse the sin of rejection but it does make us understand why it happens. People make mistakes, people are selfish, people are just sinners even when they go to church.
You see the next lesson we should learn from this passage is that not only is this world not my home but God’s people in this world can fail me. I can’t begin to put my trust into people rather than in God.
People will fail you, family will fail you, not because they don’t love you, or aren’t saved but because they are people with all the weaknesses and failings of people.
Moses learned and we must learn that our only sure place of absolute trust and faith is in Jesus Christ. When I truly learn this then the disappointment of others will not drive me further from Him but indeed will drive me closer to Him.
Illustration: David, who was betrayed by the commander of his army and by his own son Absalom wrote this -
Psalm 27:7-14 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Transition: Moses flees Goshen the land where the Hebrews had dwelt and now finds himself in Midian and there he starts a family, yet even there he knows he is a stranger in a strange land.
Stranger in Midian Exodus 2:16-22
Now the priest of Midian 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 Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day? 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 ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread. And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
Moses Dwells In Midian but It Is Not Home.
At the birth of his son he names him Gershom. The name literally means foreigner.
Moses had learned the hard but necessary truth, he was a stranger in a stranger land and would remain so. If Moses was to lead God’s people to their true home, if he was to bring them to the land of Canaan that God had promised to Abraham, then he could never settle for any country other than the Promised land.
Only after the birth of his son and after realizing who he was, a stranger in a strange land, that God then could use him to one day deliver his people from Egypt. Moses had lost all that Pharaoh had to offer, he lost all that his own people had to offer but he then found all that only God would give him.
We Dwell Here But We Must Be Strangers In a Strange Land
Listen to what the Bible says about Abraham
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. Isn’t this what Moses did, isn’t it what Paul did, isn’t it what John did? Isn’t this what all the great heroes of the faith did?
And isn’t this what we are called to do?
Looking must be looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
We cannot get comfortable in this world. We can’t rely on its relationships. We can’t allow ourselves to get used to the sin, the sorrow and the suffering of this world. The world isn’t home, we are just passing through. We are pilgrims on our way to that fair city whose builder and maker is God. That is our home, that is where we are headed.
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The reason is so important that we know and understand that heaven is my home is because if we believe it then we are willing to sacrifice for it, we are willing to invest in it, we are willing to go wherever God may send us in order to tell others about it’s glory and wonder.
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Illustration: Missionaries return to find no one waiting for them.
An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.
No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.
As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."
"Dear, you shouldn't feel that way," his wife said.
"I can't help it; it doesn't seem right."
When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival, but no one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly."
His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"
A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"
"The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!'"
You’re not home yet either.
Don’t settle for a place in this world, it isn’t permanent. Don’t put your trust in others instead of in the Lord, they will fail you. Let us all look for that city whose builder and maker is God and we’ll have the strength to be “Strangers in a Strange Land.” And when the time comes that God needs us we will be ready to server and ready to go.