Your Way or Yahweh

April 14, 2024

Book: Exodus

Scripture: Exodus 2:11-3:12

Sermon Summary:

The sermon delves into the life of Moses as depicted in the Book of Exodus, offering insights into the enduring challenge of aligning human desires with the divine will. It discusses the temptation to follow our own paths instead of God’s, the transformative pursuit of His glory, and the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding us toward godliness. Through Moses’s story, the sermon calls for reflection on our daily choices and the impact of living a life that mirrors God’s compassion, grace, and righteousness. Is it Your Way or Yahweh?

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Sermon Points:

  • TEMPTATION: Have it your way!
  • Moses “went out” and acted as a “redeemer” for his people
  • As Christians, we are immersed in a world that affirms and applauds so much of what the Bible condemns and calls us to forsake.
  • The Glory of God!
  • The Gospel is manifested at hte intersection of our desire to express our humaness and the opportunity to demonstrate Godliness.
  • TRUTH: the way of Yahweh is always best.
  • god’s plan is always deeper, broader, greater, more holistic, and more effective than ours!
  • God’s grace is greater than our sin!

Key Takeaways:

  • The struggle between choosing our will and God’s will is illustrated by Moses’s life, particularly in the events described in Exodus chapters 2 and 3.
  • Moses’s initial choice to kill an Egyptian and the consequences of that action highlight the temptation to “have it our way.”
  • The concept of ‘kavod,’ or God’s glory, signifies His weighty presence and is reflected in His attributes, which we are called to mirror in our lives.
  • Despite human shortcomings, there is hope in the Holy Spirit’s guidance toward embodying divine attributes.
  • The sermon emphasizes the need for Christians to act according to God’s plan, which is deeper and more holistic than our own.
  • Moses’s legacy serves as an inspiration to reflect God’s redemptive narrative in our lives and to trust in His superior plan for us.

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Scripture References:

  • The sermon examines passages from Exodus chapters 2 and 3, highlighting the stories of Moses’s killing of the Egyptian and his encounter with the burning bush


  • The tradition of transforming palm branches from Palm Sunday into ashes for Ash Wednesday as a symbol of life’s cycles.
  • Reflections on the unnamed over the named in Exodus, particularly the decision to name Hebrew midwives while omitting the Pharaoh’s name.
  • Parallels between the 40 years of Israelites in the wilderness and Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry.
  • Jesus’ reinterpretation of the Passover and His positioning as the ultimate sacrifice, linking to the Exodus narrative.
  • The tearing of the temple veil at Jesus’ crucifixion as a fulfillment of the Exodus story, indicating the obsolescence of the sacrificial system and the direct access to God through Jesus.


Thank you, Worship Ministry, for leading us in worship today. Thank you, Michael, also for leading us. Well, if you’ve been with us at all here at First Baptist this year, you know that our theme for 2024 is Together and we are exploring various facets of what it means to be together. And we’ve just come through the Easter season and we have begun our new season in the spring and our theme for the spring is Together for God’s Glory. And you know that this year what we are doing is, each week, we are providing you with a focal passage of Scripture to reflect on for the entire week, to read and to study and to meditate on, and we’re calling that Together in Word, the entire congregation. And then you’ll also know that our staff has put together this devotional booklet. I hope you’ve gotten yours. They’re available to all of our welcome areas Together for God’s Glory, and it also contains some suggestions for what it means to be together in deed, to take the scripture that we’re meditating on and put it into practice. And, parents, there are suggestions for you and how to spotlight this with your children in y’all’s devotionals in your homes, and I hope that you’ll take advantage of this material. So, with all that said, I want us to look today at two stories from the life of Moses. They’re actually juxtaposed in the scripture, in the text, but we don’t usually put them together because they’re separated by some 40 years or so. But what I want us to do today is connect these two very famous stories in Moses’ life and see if we can’t learn the profound spiritual truth that I believe is found therein. So if you have your copy of the Old Testament, we’re going to be in Exodus 2 and 3. I’ve entitled the message your Way or Yahweh. So I want us to begin with the first story, and it is found in Exodus 2, verse 11. So look with me at this text.

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 hit him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew? The man said who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian. Then Moses was afraid and thought what I did must have become known. When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

Well, when we read this text, we are beginning our story today in Egypt, almost 1,500 years before Christ was born, and Moses is a Hebrew who has been reared in the palace of Pharaoh. He was elevated to Pharaoh’s royal family and then he was educated in Pharaoh’s educational institutions, and he is now a prince of Egypt. Well, that meant that he wore Egyptian clothes, he spoke the Egyptian language, he knew the Egyptian culture and, as best we can tell, we believe, at this point in the story Moses is about 40 years old, and what we’re going to discover today is he faced a great temptation. Well, what was that temptation? Have it your way. I’m old enough to remember Burger King’s commercials. Y’all remember those. Have it your way. Have it your way. Y’all remember that. I didn’t actually write that, michael, you’re not old enough to remember it, but that was Burger King’s thing, man, have it your way. And man that just fed into everything we believe about ourselves. So here’s my question how did Moses respond to this age-old temptation to have it his way? Well, here’s what the text says.

If you look at verse 11, moses went out and, according to the interpretation of Stephen later in Acts 7, he acted as a redeemer for his people. Now that word in Hebrew, went out, is going to be a very significant word in this book, because this book is about Israel going out. They went out of Egypt, so Moses went out and he acted as a redeemer. In fact, stephen in Acts 7, he’s preaching a sermon on Moses, and Stephen says Moses thought in Acts 7, verse 25, he thought his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but he was wrong. So Moses was acting on his own as a redeemer or rescuer. So there it is Moses decided to have it his way.

Now, as I read this text, as you also study the book of Hebrews, here’s what we can kind of piece together. We don’t know everything about what happened to Moses in Egypt, in spite of Cecil B DeMille’s interpretation of what happened to Moses while he was in Egypt. We don’t really know, but Moses exhibited the appearance of an Egyptian and yet deep down he must have known he was a Hebrew. And so, according to this story, one day he’s out and he sees an Egyptian master beating a Hebrew slave. And it spoke to something deep inside of Moses. And for whatever reason Moses? Now, in Hebrews 11, the writer says Moses understood his own identity to be that of a Hebrew, but for whatever reason, moses reacted and in haste he intervened and he kills the Egyptian master and then he hides his body.

In other words, moses took matters into his own hands. He acted according to his own will. Was it impulsive? Was it an act of justice? Was it an act of righteousness? Was it an act of anger? Well, I’ll leave you to interpret that, but here’s what I would say about it he did it his way. And there it is. That’s the temptation. So how did Moses respond to that temptation? He succumbed to it and he chose his way.

Well, you and I face the very same temptation. Now, we may not be living our lives on the scale of Moses, I get that but we face the very same temptation. Act on our own, have our own way, take things in our own hands, mark out our territory, fulfill our own desires. Sometimes we reserve the right to think what we want to think, say what we want to say Do what we want to do. We can be impulsive, we don’t need to know everything. A limited perspective is all we need and we can act. Do y’all all struggle with that? I do. You know why? I trust myself, I believe in myself and I’m the resident expert of my own opinion, and so I find this to be very tempting. Do it my way, own life. What I’ve noticed as a pastor pick an arena. This temptation is in every arena of life. If we’re not careful, we’ll give into it.

In our marriages, sometimes we’ll act impulsively, have our own way In our families, our relationship to our children, our parents. We do it at church. Sometimes we’ll act impulsively, say what we want to say, think what we want to think, feel what we want to feel. We do it at our offices, at our workplace. We’ll act somehow and even if we don’t know everything, sometimes we’ll just express this desire to do it our way, choose to do what we want to do. We can do it in our communities, in our neighborhoods, and it may not have the result of Moses’ decision. Obviously, murder, wouldn’t we agree, is kind of on the edge of the scale here. But wouldn’t you agree with me that there are times when we act that way. It can be destructive, it can be harmful, it can be harmful. We can be vengeful, we can be hurtful, we can cause harm and those words can cause destruction.

And you know what Our world loves it. Our world loves it Because, you see, as Christians we are immersed in a world that affirms and applauds so much of what the Bible condemns and calls us to forsake. That’s what’s challenging about this. You see, my world blesses revenge. It does, it loves it, it enjoys it. My world blesses hurt. My world blesses anger. My world blesses selfish behavior. If you don’t believe that, just brag on your selfish behavior to a group of people. Man, they all go get them. Man. You know that’s what you should have done. You know my world just comes around me and affirms and blesses and applauds. And yet I read my Bible and so much of that is condemned in the Bible and I’m called to forsake it as a Christian. Jesus in John 15, he doesn’t say it quite this directly, but this is basically what he says you are in this world, but you’re not really of this world.

The apostle Paul in Romans, 12, verse 2, says we’re not supposed to conform to the pattern of this world. We’re supposed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In Ephesians 4, paul says don’t live like the Gentiles live anymore. You’re supposed to take all of that off and you’re supposed to have a new attitude. You’re to wear new clothes, you’re supposed to have a new way of life. Well, how does that look, y’all, as Christians? Well, let me give you my take on it.

Y’all remember last week we looked at this passage in Exodus 34 about the glory of God. You remember that? You remember when Moses said show me your glory. And God says I’ll give you a glimpse, I’ll pass by. And then the Lord starts proclaiming his name.

And what does the Bible say about the glory of God? The manifestation of the essence of God, if you will, the nature of God, the character of God on display through his glory. Well, what is his glory? You know the Hebrew word for glory is kavod. It means weight, not W-A-I-T, w-e-i-g-h-t. It means heavy, it means to have a presence.

Well, what is it? Well, the Bible says God is compassionate, he’s gracious, he’s slow to anger, he’s abounding in love, he’s abounding in faithfulness, he forgives, he’s righteous. John says when we saw Jesus, we saw the glory of God, the one and only on display in Jesus. And so you and I, as God’s people, we have these two responsibilities. That is, we’re supposed to bear the image of God and we’re supposed to reflect the glory of God. As a matter of fact, isaiah 43, verse 7, says my people, whom I’ve created for my glory, I have formed and shaped them, god says so. We’ve been designed uniquely by God to bear his image, reflect his glory in this world. Well, what is his glory? It’s compassion, it’s grace, it’s slow to anger, it’s abounding in love and faithfulness, it’s forgiving, it’s righteous.

And so why is it so often that you and I, as Christians, that we’re not compassionate? Why is it that we are quick to anger, not slow to anger? Why is it that sometimes we don’t abound in love? And what is it about us, as Christians, that we are? We’re slow to forgive, that we want to sometimes hold people down on the mat, not let them up and remind them of what they’ve done, and hold them hostage to their past. What is it about us? In other words, why is it that we so often do things our way?

Well, here’s what I would say as I look at myself, I look at fellow Christians. I don’t believe we do it because we’re evil, because we’re not evil. We do it because we’re human. That’s really what has happened to us. That’s really what has happened to us. We’re human.

You see, as Christians, nt Wright says, we are carriers of the solution and bearers of the problem at the same time. That’s the intersection. So the gospel. You know why the gospel is good news? It’s because the gospel is manifested at the intersection of our desire to express our humanness and the opportunity to demonstrate godliness. See, that’s where the gospel has its effect. That’s where the power of the gospel is on display. It’s in our humanness, because we’re all so human. Are y’all still with me, right? You know we’re human, right, and you know it’s in our humanness. This is where we struggle and that is where the gospel intersects our lives.

You see, the good news is the Holy Spirit indwells us as his people, and because the Holy Spirit is in us and with us, he gives us the strength, when we face these opportunities, to resist the temptation to have it all our way. Because here’s what the Bible teaches us about the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians, 2. And then he reveals the deep things of God to us, just like when Moses was out there that day and something spoke to the depth of who he was as a Hebrew. God speaks to something deep in us as Christians and calls us beyond ourselves, something deep in us as Christians, and calls us beyond ourselves. He calls us to understand the deep things of God, to overcome our innate human tendencies. But you know what I know to be true, I know it’s true of myself it is easier to be human than to be Christian. Right, and we’re just really good at it.

Don’t you wish it were easier to be Christian? I mean what if it were just easier? I mean y’all. If it were easier to be Christian, every marriage would be reconciled, every family would be at peace. I mean, if it were easy to be Christian, every relationship would be in harmony. Violence would be Christian. Every relationship would be in harmony. Violence would be forgotten. There would be no church splits or arguments, there’d be no wars. We wouldn’t be worried about bombs going off in Israel like we are this morning. There’d be no hatred, there’d be no prejudice. Our world, our families, our neighborhoods, our churches Can you imagine if it were easy to be Christian. But here’s what I would submit to us this morning. Our world, our families, our neighborhoods, our churches, our schools need Christians who act like Christians. Lest you and I do it Now. Here’s the lesson for Moses.

Let’s look at the next story. Now we’re going to fast forward 40 years, okay, and look at Exodus 3, verse 1. Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God, and there the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses Horeb the mountain of God, and there the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it didn’t burn up. So Moses thought I will go over and see this strange sight, why the bush does not burn up.

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, god called to him from within the bush Moses, moses. And Moses said here I am, do not come any closer. God said Take off your sandals, for the place where you’re standing is holy ground. And then he said I’m the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. At this, moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. And the Lord said I’ve indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am concerned about their suffering. So I’ve come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the home of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I’ve seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now go, I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

Well now, the lesson for Moses is very clear. We’re 40 years later and look where we are y’all. Midian, I mean. Come on. You remember Midian. Midian is a son of Abraham, so is Moses. Moses is in the line of promise, but Midian was a son of Abraham and Keturah. And now here he is in Midian. You know, the Midianites are the ones that bought Joseph and took him to Egypt. And now here Abraham, I mean Moses is out of Egypt, being rescued by the Midianites.

Kind of a fascinating juxtaposition of these two stories of Joseph and Moses. So here’s the truth in the midst of the temptation the way of Yahweh is always best. The way of Yahweh is always best. And everybody said amen. You know, the Bible says his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. So Moses encounters Yahweh in this burning bush and God says you’ve tried to have it your way, now try my way. And here’s what I’ve learned God’s plan is always deeper, broader, greater, more holistic and more effective than ours. Come on, y’all Think about it.

Moses, he rescued one Hebrew from one Egyptian master. God’s going to rescue every Hebrew from every Egyptian master. Moses was trying to resolve the conflict between just two Hebrew men. God’s going to give all of Israel a way to live so that they can all live together in peace. God had a plan and here’s what he did he calls Moses back to Egypt and he strategically and intentionally dismantles the world view of the Egyptians. God takes on every pagan god and goddess of the Egyptians and he defeats this pantheon of gods and goddesses and idols and he demonstrates through the plagues that he’s the one and only true God, and he called Israel to himself to show them he was their God, and he gave them a new worldview. Now, how entrenched were the Hebrew people in the Egyptian worldview, I don’t know. All I know is it didn’t take them long to build a golden calf out in the desert and bow down to it. Where’d they learn that?

Well, god had a comprehensive plan, and that comprehensive plan was to rescue his people, to bring about his redemption and to build into the story missiological and messianic and eternal implications that we still live with to this very day. God had a plan. His plan was better and greater than Moses’ plan, and that’s why you and I have to pause and seek his plan and his way and stop demanding our plan and our way. And it’s hard to do. But here’s the good news God’s grace is greater than all our sin. Hallelujah.

Moses was not disqualified. He was actually rescued, he was forgiven, he was restored and he did become that instrument of redemption. As a matter of fact, I’m standing here in 2024, and we’re still talking about him. They’re still making movies about him. As a matter of fact, three of the greatest and largest religions in the world revere him Jews, muslims and Christians, because this man had quite a story and he learned a valuable lesson. It’s going to be hard for him, but he learned it.

So me and you, let me ask you the question your way or yahweh? Which is best? Amen, our will, his will, our will, his will, our plan, his plan. Come on y’all. God has a plan, he has a will. He’s trying to call us to live like Him, be like Him, be a colony of heaven on this earth and show this world what it really could be like.

In Christ Jesus, let’s give God an opportunity to work in our lives. Let’s let him lead me and you beyond our humanness and allow his glory to be on display in and through us. May it be so. Let’s pray together. Father, today we bow here in this place, in humility, recognizing that we all face these temptations. We do and we don’t want to give in, lord. We don’t want to give in to our humanness, but we do. We need your help, we need the power of your Spirit, your grace, forgive us when we do it, help us to learn lessons and move past it. We pray for your restoring, redemptive hand to be at work in us and we ask you, lord, to give us wisdom when we find ourselves at that intersection where the gospel can truly manifest itself. May we see it alive in us, and we pray that in Jesus name amen.