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SERMON

 

"Dealing with Change"

“And God said, “I will be with you.”

(Exodus 3:12a)

 

September 10, 2017

 

 

I ended my sermon last week rejoicing that Moses was plucked from the Nile river. And that of all people who had a hand in his deliverance was Pharaoh’s daughter. At that time, he was a baby and only three months of age. Much has happened since he was taken to Pharaoh’s palace. Since that time, he has gone through lots of changes!

 

He was brought up in Pharaoh’s palace under the training of his birth mother. Pharaoh’s daughter didn’t know that his birth mother was right under her nose all along, but we know the real story. What we don’t know is what kind of training and influence his birth mother gave him even though he was known by those in the palace to be Pharaoh’s daughter’s good looking boy.

 

What we do know is there were lots of changes in Moses’ life inside and outside of Pharaoh’s palace. Inside the palace, he was keenly aware of what was happening to his Hebrew brothers. Even though he was treated like an Egyptian, he was through and through a Jew. He demonstrated his true identity when he took the life of an Egyptian whom he saw beating a Jew, and hid the murdered Egyptian in the sand. When he learned some of his Hebrew brothers saw him commit the crime, and that Pharaoh was on the hunt to kill him, he fled. He went from being known as Pharaoh daughter’s son to being a fugitive! He went through some mighty changes inside that palace.

 

Outside Pharaoh’s palace he fled to Midian. There he got into a fight with defending seven daughters of Jethro. He fought with some shepherds over the watering of the cattle. He won that fight too. After the fight, he endeared himself to Jethro and eventually married Zipporah one of Jethro’s seven girls. They became parents of a baby and named him Gershom,[c]saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.” He’s now married and a father. This change occurred outside of Pharaoh’s palace.

 

Then, there was a change in his life that trumped all of the prior changes. This change also occurred outside of Pharaoh’s palace. He was on the backside of Mt. Sinai grazing the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro, when he saw a bush burning that just would not burn up. It compelled his attention, and he went to take a closer look at it. God called his name, “Moses, Moses” from within the burning bush. He responded, “Here am I.” God told him “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

After God finished this talk, the author tells us, “At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. By any measure, this too was a dramatic change in his life!

 

For sure change is inevitable. I believe Moses’ life is an example. When he was inside Pharaoh’s palace and outside of it, he went through changes. From a three-month old child in the Nile River, to being a fugitive on the run, from fighting with shepherds and winning over them, to becoming a married man with a son, and from meeting God in a burning bush on the back side of Mt. Sinai to hearing God’s commission to go and get his people. All of these were changes in his life.

 

Change is inevitable for us as well. For example, let me be autobiographical. There is framed picture of me when I came here as pastor in 1975. I was in my 20 with an Afro-hair style. I had lots of hair. I look at that photo from time to time and I shake my head. I say to myself, “That was me?” Also, I had my little jar of Afro-sheen. I may have even had a few waves. Also, I had an Afro-comb with song silver-looking teeth. Now, 40-plus years later take a look! Can you believe it? I have gone through some changes. Change is inevitable for all of us.

 

Also, change is hard.  For example, when God instructed Moses to go to Pharaoh and to bring his people, the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses gave God one excuse after the other. In verse 11 we read:  11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

 

Also, Moses found it hard to approach the Israelites for the first time to tell them what God was going to do. 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

So, change is hard. For example, from 1979 to 1989, I served on the Berea Board of Education. The Berea City School System was blessed with a wonderful superintendent, J. R. Andrisek. He managed the schools like the Marine he was. When he died suddenly, we had to recruit a new superintendent, and he was quite different from Dick Andrisek. The change was so hard on the board, teachers, and staff that we had to recruit several superintendents before we found a superintendent acceptable to all. Change is hard!

 

Though change is inevitable and hard, I want you to know that God helps us to deal with change in our lives. As Moses dealt with change in his life, God told him, “I will be with you.” Those are the words that address changes in our lives. God was with Moses when he visited Pharaoh. God was with Moses when he told the Israelites that God was coming to set them free from the Egyptians. That is the message for all of us going through change.

At times, we don’t get God’s message. God has to break down his message of “I will be with you” for us to fully grasp how God is with us. He explained his message to Moses when he told him the very words to speak into the hearing of Pharaoh and the Israelites. Tell them that I am has sent me to you.’”

Also, Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ God broke his message down so he and they understand him.

 

At times, we need God to break down his message to us so we can fully grasp his help for us during changes in our lives. He broke down his message to one of his people who wanted to know how God was with him:

 

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you." (Source unknown)

 

That’s’ how God helps us with changes in our lives. He never, ever leaves us to ourselves. He is with us all the way. He helps us to deal with the changes in our lives. Amen.

 

 

 


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