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Defining Our Own Destiny

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Hebrews 11:23-24

"By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment."

"By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter."

It was by faith that Moses when he grew up, refused to be treated as the grandson of the king, but chose to share ill treatment with God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the promised Christ than to own all the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking forward to the great reward that God would give him.

Alexander Solzenitzn has said that western civilization as a whole makes all of its decisions based on pleasure, possessions, or power. Men used of God teach us to make our decisions based on God's purpose. Too often we fail to decide our purpose because we have an identity problem (not knowing who we are), or not being willing to assume responsibility for our own destiny, nor have we learned to make choices based on prioritizing (putting first things first), or how to go through difficulties without giving in or giving up. The text before us teaches us some remarkable lessons on what constitutes the life of a lofty leader. Henry Kaiser said on one occasion, "I always view problems as opportunities in work clothes."

Examining the life of Moses causes us to raise the question, "What do you ask God to change when you want to conquer a crisis. Is it your companion? Your circumstances? Or your condition?" No, it's your character God wants to deal with. God changes our character through content, our conflict through principles, and our pain through doctrine and difficulties.

Now the emphatic idiom of the original tongue places stress, linguistically, or by faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God (verse 11). This text argues the necessity of functioning with a commitment to our own personhood, simply by refusing to be called by names that really don't define us. Moses refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter because he was aware that a name is what we receive, is recognized by, and respond to. A name suggests our individuality, our identity, and our independence. Thus, I thought it would be helpful to examine these two verses and see what contemporary lessons we have here for our growth and development.

I.  First of all the text teaches us to choose our path. I was at the Houston International Airport waiting to depart for San Diego. Planes were taking off all around me. Some for Europe, some for Mexico, some for the Caribbean, some for even more far away, exotic places, but I was wise enough to choose my own path even if I had to wait while others were flying high.

I believe it takes three things to choose your own path. You have to decide your own direction. Down in Houston, I often get on I-10 which is a broad interstate highway, comfortable and unhindered with stop signs and even a 55 m.p.h. speed limit; however, my personal choice is to get off at Beltway, and travel to main arterial called Woodforest, then off Woodforest, I turn onto a very narrow street called Haymarket. Now the only reason I do that, even ofttimes having to pull over, and yield to oncoming traffic, is because Haymarket takes me where I want to go, which is home.

Not only, however, do I have to decide on my direction but I must dare to be different. Do you know any leader or contributor who was the same as the mob crowd? When Henry Ford decided to be different and shared his vision for inventing a horseless carriage, he was laughed to scorn because the conclusion was that even if he built an automobile, there were no roads to travel on. The crowd did not realize or recognize that when you have a great idea, people will build the roads. When Walt Disney had his vision for a fantasy land, he was rejected by possible investors based on what they concluded to be an impractical idea. That is why it is called Disney Land. Walt Disney dared to be different.

A third thing is necessary. We must not only decide our own direction, and dare to be different, but we must also discipline ourselves to develop. Point out any performer and you will notice he has developed his skill in his area of expertise. We must specialize until we are special.

II.  There is also a need to concentrate on your pursuit (verse 27). There again, three focuses are evident. We must pinpoint our goal and keep our eye on the basket, or on the football, or on the tape at the end of the race. Once we pinpoint our goal, we must practice and seek to improve our performance. Hakeem Olajawon came to the U.S.A. as a raw talent from Lagos, Nigeria able basically, only to dunk a basketball, yet, at Fondren Center he practiced year in and year out. Now he is the most polished center in the league and most valuable player in the N.B.A. and playing for the present world champions. We must be ready to perform when the opportunity arises. In other words, we must deny ourselves in order to develop our skills.

III.  Finally, we must not only choose our path, and concentrate on our pursuit, but we must also communicate our purpose. Not only do we have the life of the most productive man in the Old Testament, telling us how he chose to live his life, Paul said, also, three things are needed for us to conquer our challenge. We need a settled attitude (Romans 1:14), of being a debtor to society. We have no right to occupy space as only a consumer and spectator without ever becoming a creator and contributor. Moses made his choice. We must also possess an ambition by being ready. In Romans 1:15, Paul said, "I am ready." Moses was willing to suffer, if necessary. Providence navigated the "movement" to the doorstep of Dr. Martin Luther King in Montgomery, Alabama; fortunately, Dr. King was ready. We must also declare our affirmation (Romans 1:16); we are not ashamed.

Verse 27, it was because Moses trusted God that he left the land of Egypt and wasn't afraid of the king's anger. Moses simply kept on going and it was as though he could see God right there with him. In other words, God came down and traveled with Moses, even through the Red Sea. Whatever situation we are in today, we ought to ask God to do for us what He did for Moses. God didn't leave Moses in the Red Sea. God did not build a bridge for Moses over the Red Sea. God did not even lead Moses around the Red Sea. God led Moses through the Red Sea.

Whatever we are going through right now, the good news is that when we go through the water, the water won't drown us. When we go through the fire, the fire won't burn us. Even when we go in the grave, the grave won't hold us. Lord, like Moses, whatever we are going through, please, Sir, lead us through it to the glory of your own name!


—Joy for the Journey

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