Moses was one of the most extraordinary human beings to ever live. He was the founder of the nation of Israel; he was the giver of the law; he established Israel’s worship; he organized Israel’s government; and he led Israel to freedom. Outside of Jesus Christ, we could argue Moses was the single most influential human being to ever live.
While Moses was a remarkable human being, he could claim a somewhat dysfunctional start to life. He made some unwise decisions in his younger years. In midlife he used every argument he could think of to challenge God’s call on his life. However, through it all God remained faithful to this rather ordinary individual and together, they accomplished an extraordinary event that resonated throughout world history.
God may call you at a time when you feel ordinary, unworthy, incapable or far from him to accomplish something great that he has for you. Just like Moses, you could be headed for an extraordinary life like you’ve never experienced before.Read More
Full Sermon Script
Welcome, I’m Matt VanCleave, one of the Teaching Pastor at Blue Oaks.
If this is your first time at Blue Oaks, I want to say a special welcome to you. I’m glad you decided to join us for this series. 
Over the next five weeks we’re going to look at the life of Moses, one of the most extraordinary human beings to ever live. 
Moses is a pivotal character in the Old Testament.
*He was the founder of the nation of Israel.
*He was the giver of the law.
*He established Israel’s worship.
*He organized their government.
*And he led them to freedom.
Today, three major religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – all cite Moses as the one who brought their divinely-inspired moral code.
Outside of Jesus Christ, I think we could argue that he was the single most influential human being to ever live. 
And we’re going to learn a lot from Moses over the next five weeks.
I hope we can all look at him as a friend who has some amazing things to teach us about God. 
Well, today I want to give you a little background on his life. 
First of all, God called Abraham centuries before Moses to build a new community of faith – the nation of Israel. And this community of faith would exist not just for one ethnic group. God said to Abraham, “The whole world shall be blessed.” God’s dream was to redeem the human race, and he was looking for people to help him build this community of faith.
So Abraham leaves his home and goes to the Promised Land, but there’s a famine. If you remember the story, you know that Abraham’s descendants went to Egypt, and Joseph became a top official under Pharaoh, and his family was honored.
But time passes, and the writers of the Old Testament tell us that something like 400 years pass after Joseph. Exodus 1:8 tells us there was a new Pharaoh who came to power in Egypt. And this Pharaoh doesn’t remember and doesn’t honor Joseph’s descendants. 
While God made a promise to Israel that he would give them their own land – the promised land – their circumstances would continue to get more and more desperate. The chance of that promise ever getting fulfilled looks more and more remote through the first half of Exodus.
And it’s significant that the writer of Exodus does this – lets us know about how desperate things are for Israel. Because when the people are rescued, when they are delivered, we will know this could only be by the hand of God. There was no other way. 
And the reason that’s important is so that when your circumstances get desperate, when you face a Pharaoh in your life, you will stay faithful, trusting God even in the worst possible situation you find yourself in. >>>>>
Exodus 1:8 says:
Then the new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.
> It’s been centuries since Joseph died. The idea of verse 8 is not just that there’s a new Pharaoh. There’s a whole new dynasty with no sense of obligation to Joseph or his people. The new Pharaoh feels free to enslave and terrorize the Israelites. But the more he oppresses them, the more fruitful they are, the more they multiply. 
So what does he do? He decides on a policy of genocide. >>>>>
Look at verse 15.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”
The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.
> Now, these are remarkable women. I want you to remember their names. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
They defy a Pharaoh, and risk their own lives in an act of heroism. >>>>>
Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
> The women don’t say, “It’s because we fear God.” They say, “These Hebrew women are just too darn fast, and their babies pop out before we get there.” 
And I want to address this, because I know this question will come up. Does this mean it’s okay for me to lie? 
And my short answer is no. 
And here’s my short comment on this story: If you are ever coerced into committing mass murder by a genocidal maniac, and the only way you can think of to get out of committing murder is to deceive the genocidal maniac, I will not criticize you. 
But if you try to use that to justify the kind of self-serving deceit that most of us engage in that breaks community and destroys trust, you’re making a big mistake.  
Now one other thing about this – according to the author of Exodus, what was this Pharaoh’s name? Do you know? 
The writer never says. 
This is a very interesting thing. In the hierarchy of Egypt, the Pharaoh is on top, and the midwives are at the very bottom. They’re servants to slaves. They don’t count. But in God’s kingdom, they’re heroes. They risked their lives. So God is kind of saying here, “Pharaoh, these women are the important ones in my kingdom. Shiphrah and Puah, they go in my book. I want those names remembered.” 
And today, three thousand and some years later, we still remember the name Shiphrah and Puah. 
This is an early indicator of the law of inversion in the kingdom of God.
*The first shall be last.
*The humble shall be exalted.
*The servant will be greatest of all. 
And I mention this because if you ever feel unimportant, or feel like what you’re doing is quite obscure, not noticed, doesn’t matter… remember these two women.
Every time you remember Shiphrah and Puah, remember, faithfulness always matters to God. Faithfulness, no matter how low profile, always counts with God. 
Well, through these two midwives, God thwarts the will of a Pharaoh. And the people become even more numerous. >>>>>
So in verse 22, we’re told:
Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
> Now think about what a precious thing a baby is. This is unconscionable, what they’re doing. They take these baby boys and throw them in the Nile by the dozen, by the thousands.
The Israelites see these bodies floating in the Nile every day. 
Yet, one of these bodies is saved. It’s a boy named Moses, and the writer says he’s saved by his mom. 
Look at Exodus 2:1. This is the beginning of his life. >>>>>
Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.
But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
“Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
> So here we have the beginning of this extraordinary life. 
Now, when Moses is born and his mother sees, as the writer says, that he is a fine child – the implication here is that the mother recognizes God’s mark is on this child – she can’t bear the thought of her son dying, so she hides him. And up until this point, to the reader of Scripture, it seems like God’s dream is dead. 
I mean, God has been silent now for hundreds of years. These people have forgotten him. From Joshua 24:14, we know that the people of Israel basically have forgotten about God and were serving false gods in Egypt. 
Then this one little baby is born, and God’s dream is held together by a small thread. 
You see, God is at work, and this baby is found by – of all people – the daughter of Pharaoh. This is the Pharaoh who condemned babies like this to death.
The death sentence that the Pharaoh intended to use to destroy babies like this ends up meaning that this little baby will be raised with the finest education available in the world.
Pharaoh, the one who intended to destroy Israel, ends up serving as the sponsor of the one who will liberate Israel.
Moses’ own sister negotiates so that he can grow up in the care of his own family in his early years. Against overwhelming odds, God is at work in the life of Moses.
And his birth is not the only time. Moses’ whole life – as we’ll see in the weeks ahead – is a story of God’s persistent and miraculous care for his people in unbelievable ways. 
There’s an old story. I don’t know if this really happened or not, but a kid comes home from Sunday school one day. His class was studying Moses, and his dad asked him, “Son, what are you learning?”
The kid says, “Dad, we’ve been learning about Moses. Moses was leading Israel out of Egypt, but he was blocked by the Red Sea and Pharaoh was chasing him. He got the people into a bunch of pontoon boats, and he floated them across the Red Sea. He coordinated the transport with two-way communication systems, waited until the Egyptian army was halfway across the water and blew them up with a series of ship-to-shore torpedoes.” 
His father said, “Is that what the teacher really said?”
The kid said, “No, but if I told you what he really said, you never would believe it.” 
The whole story of Moses is the story of God doing amazing things.
Of course, there are times when Moses longs for God to do something, and God doesn’t to do anything. There are times when Moses is alone.
Sometimes Moses follows God, and sometimes he resists. He is a very human person. 
I want to read Exodus 2:11. This is a time when Moses is not following God yet, but he’s concerned for his people. >>>>> The writer says:
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
> Notice, the writer says he looks “this way and that.” He looks to the right and to the left. Which way did he not look? He didn’t look up. He didn’t think about God. 
But word of what he did got around. And Pharaoh puts a price on Moses’ head.
He has no people, no country. He runs away. He goes to the land of the Midianites. He’s sitting by a well, and he notices some young women with flocks who are being chased away, kept away from a well by a group of shepherds.
Moses apparently has a passion for justice. He just can’t stand to see people oppressed, so he single-handedly comes to their rescue. 
He ends up marrying one of them, a woman named Zipporah.
He has a son, and it looks like he’ll spend the rest of his life as a shepherd.
But there’s something happening behind the scenes. No one can see it, but the writer wants us to know about it. >>>>>
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
> Now, when he says “God remembered,” it doesn’t mean God had forgotten. 
Usually in the Bible when the writers talk about God remembering something, that means God is about to act now. It means, “Watch out.” 
And in the weeks ahead, we’ll learn what God is up to.  
And I believe if you commit to learning from Moses, there are four things will happen in your life and in my life. And we’re going to talk about what those are in just a moment. 
Announcement from Scott:
Well, my birth wasn’t as dramatic as Moses’, and my guess is yours wasn’t either, but that doesn’t mean God hasn’t planned extraordinary things for our lives, and who doesn’t want to live an extraordinary life?
Over the next four weeks we’re going to see God call Moses to things that are way beyond his ability. And the surprising thing is, He does the same with us. *We’re going to learn that Moses was never alone, even in his darkest moment; and neither are we! *We’ll learn how Moses responds in a crisis situation, and how people desperately need someone with conviction to say, “This is the way; walk in it.” *And when, like Moses, we’re standing at a fork in the road that leads to life or death, we’ll learn about choosing the way that leads to life, and joy, and freedom.
Now, we all know someone who could benefit from this series. So, here’s my challenge: when God brings that person to your mind, commit to extending an invitation. We may not be able to gather in person, but with technology, we can move from “come sit with me” to “come join me online.”
Something extraordinary may happen, even in a time of shelter in place and social distancing.
The same is true of us gathering in community with others. We can’t sit with one another, but we can stay connected online. We NEED to stay connected online. God created us for community. So as we head towards the fall, we’re making plans to launch more online small groups and there are opportunities to take a next step in your spiritual growth by leading a group. Group leadership is really about facilitating great conversations, not knowing the answer to every Bible question. We’ll provide you with the training and resources to equip you. All you need to do is make yourself available for God to do the extraordinary thru you.
If you’d like to know more, simply text GROUPS to (925) 275-5520 and I’d love to connect with you.
Now, let’s hear what will happen in our lives as we learn from the life of Moses.
Alright, so if we commit to learning from Moses, four things will happen in your life and mine. One of them is: We will know God better.
Moses has this insatiable appetite to know God.
*He’s called at the burning bush, and we’ll look at that in a few weeks.
*Moses brings the Ten Commandments to the people. Moses is the one God uses so that we all can learn what God’s will is for human life.
*Moses hungers for intimacy with God. One of the richest passages in all of the Bible is where Moses enters into the tent where the pillar of God hovers. This is the presence of God. This cloud by day and pillar of fire by night is about God being present with human beings.
*God used to speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend. It’s one of the most amazing events in Scripture. 
As we study this friend of God, we’re going to get to know God like Moses knew God. We’re going to learn to speak to God intimately and as a friend in the way that Moses did. 
We will know God better.  
The second thing that will happen is: We will trust God more.
The whole story of Moses is written very carefully to testify to this amazing power of God who intervenes in what looks like an impossible situation from a human perspective.
The people of Israel are slaves of Egypt. Egypt is a world power. It has been an advanced civilization since the dawn of history in the Near East which was about 3000 B.C. And as best as we can tell, this story in the Book of Exodus takes place sometime around 1300 B.C.
That means, for 1,700 years until Moses is born, Egypt has been a world power.
You have to ask yourself a question. To these people, what are the odds of this little tribe defying a nation that has been a world power for 1,700 years. 
By the time Moses was born, pyramids were already a thousand years old. 
But God put his dream in the hands of this little baby in a basket floating in the reeds trying to keep from being killed by the Pharaoh. 
You see, God’s question is always, “Who will trust me? Will you trust me?”
And by this, he doesn’t mean, “I want you to feel no doubt.” He means, “Who will trust me just enough to do what I say? Will you trust me enough to do what I say?”  
And as we learn to trust God like Moses did, the third thing we will do is: We will learn to pray.
Moses is going to teach us how to pray. 
We’ll look at Moses at the burning bush, where Moses was very open to God when he didn’t want to do what God told him to do.
We’ll also learn from Moses how to pray for people. He became this amazing intercessor, praying on behalf of the people of God.
There’s one battle where Israel is facing another nation, and Moses prays for his people. Moses lifted his hands up in prayer. The writer of Scripture says, “As long as Moses’ hands were lifted in prayer, the nation of Israel would prevail.” 
After a while, do you know what happened? His hands got tired, so he put them down. Then Israel started to lose. Because God was reminding his people of the power of prayer on behalf of someone else.
Two of Moses’ friends came along beside him. One was on the right, and one was on the left. Do you know what they did?
They each took an arm and lifted his arms back up, and he prayed, and Israel won.
Together, we’re going to find this amazing power of prayer on behalf of others. 
Moses prayed for people even though they were far from God and spiritually bankrupt.
And we’re going to get into that, too, in chapter 32. It’s after the Israelites have bowed down to the golden calf.
Moses intervenes. He intercedes with God on behalf of these people who look like they are so far from God.
The amazing thing about Moses is that he actually expected his prayers to make a difference. He really thought that his prayers would cause something to happen. 
Let me ask you this. If you’re honest about your life right now, do you find yourself with that kind of faith? Do you really believe that prayer moves the hand of God? 
I heard a great story about a pastor who probably shouldn’t have been a pastor because he had such little faith in God.
One day he went to visit a woman in a hospital. He talked to her for a while and then said to her, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
She said, “You can pray.”
He said, “What do you want me to pray for?”
She said, “I want you to pray that I will be healed.” She’s in a hospital because she needs healing.
This pastor prayed, “God, be with our sister. She’s in pain and has had a hard time, so give the doctors wisdom. We don’t know what the best thing is, but if it be your will and if it’s possible, heal her. We don’t expect much, so if you don’t heal her, just let her know you’re here.” It was that kind of a prayer.
He finishes the prayer with, “God, if by some stretch it is possible that you can heal her, please heal her today.”
For a few moments, she sits there in bed and then says, “I think I’m feeling better. I’m actually better.”
She gets out of bed, walks to the doctor and says, “I’m feeling better. I’ve been healed.”
The doctor does a check up on her and to his amazement, there’s nothing wrong with her.
So she checks out of the hospital. She just drives away.
The pastor goes out to his car exhausted, and says a little prayer: “God, don’t ever do that to me again.” 
Let me ask you a question – who are you praying for with great anticipation? For whom are you saying, “God, pour out your presence in this life?”
There are people in your life who have been bowing down before the golden calf.
There are people in your life who worship idols. They may not be physical and made out of gold, but idolatry is the only alternative to God that’s available to human beings. 
They don’t have anyone praying for them. No one is doing for them what Moses did for the children of Israel.
You can do this. You really can, and it will make a difference. God responds to the prayer of his people. Right now, you might ask God to begin bringing to your mind the face and name of someone who you need to be praying for.  
And this leads us to the fourth thing that will happen as we study the life of Moses: We will share God’s heart for people.
Like Moses, you and I can be difference makers in our community, partnering with God to redeem humanity one person at a time. 
There was an amazing thing about Moses. Very often when he looked at people he saw them with God’s eyes and felt for them with God’s heart. 
In the story we just read, Moses was born. His parents were afraid that he was going to die, because this decree had come down from Pharaoh that all Jewish children should be killed, so they hid him for a while. When he was too big to hide anymore, they put him in a little bassinet that would float.
Pharaoh discovered Moses. For a brief time, he stayed with his family. Eventually, he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in Pharaoh’s household, and he was given an amazing education.
*He was raised as a member of Pharaoh’s household and as a person of prominence. *He was raised as a powerful Egyptian.
One day, he looked at the Israelites. In the household where he now lived, everyone else saw a cheap labor pool, slaves, aliens and despised people.
Moses didn’t. He saw people who were precious in the eyes of God, and he was willing to sacrifice his position and comfort to go and be with them. He identified with them. They became his people.
He didn’t have to do that. He did it at enormous personal sacrifice.
Moses could have stayed in the court, and his life would have been infinitely easier.
He had God’s heart for people. He was willing to sacrifice his position and comfort to love people.
When the time came, he taught these people about God. They were not receptive always, but he didn’t back down. He wanted others to know God, and they became a nation. Then he made provisions for foreigners who would be in their midst so that they, too, could become part of the people of God.
We’re going to develop that kind of heart, because God still has his dream. It’s still held together by a thin thread, and that’s you and me.  
When you look at the people around you, what do you see? 
I think God is waiting for some of us to realize how much people matter to Him. 
God is still looking for people who will be part of his community, pour out their lives, develop relationships with other people, and share the good news of Jesus Christ, apart from which men and women are headed for a Christless eternity.
God is looking for people who will bring the saving news of Jesus and build his community. 
I want to ask you to make a commitment in this area of inviting: at some point this week, will you extend an invitation to at least one person, maybe it’s someone you’ve been praying for, send them a note with the invitation that says, “There’s a series we’re in right now that’s about ordinary people like me and you doing extraordinary things. I would love for you to join me.” 
Let me pray for you if you’re willing to make that commitment.
Announcement from Scott:
As Matt just said, will you commit to making an invitation this week? As a staff, we’ve been working on how to assist you in inviting your friends, neighbors and coworkers to join this community of faith called Blue Oaks.Why? Because in this community of faith, people will experience a fresh approach to Christianity and the teachings of the Bible, maybe for the first time, or maybe in a way that’s very different from previous experiences.
Here is one way you can all do this: We’ve created a webpage, blueoakschurch.org/extraordinary, for you to share. You can send it in a text, an email, or a message on social media. Here they will find encouragement, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, because we all face the same challenges and issues in life, and we all want to live an extraordinary life. We’re just asking you to take the simple step of sending an invitation to blueoakschurch.org/extraordinary and see what God does.
Now, Michaela and the team are going to lead us in a time of worship, and I want to ask that during the next few minutes, will you ask God who he wants you to invite?*Ask God to prepare that person’s heart.*Ask God to give you wisdom, discernment about what to say, boldness and grace. *Ask God to open their mind and heart to the invitation.
As we sing, pray and then commit to extending that invitation.
Blue Oaks Church