(Audio Transcription Below)
- Coming to grip with yourself – Exodus 2:16-22
Moses settled into his new life: He embraced his new career – shepherding, he got married & had children.
The name of the child reveals something important in Moses. This was a profound admission. Moses finally acknowledged what was underneath his behavior. He was finally able to admit that all his life he had struggled with his identity. Moses was so accustomed to being unclear about his identity and adapting himself to whatever situation he found himself in that he just kept quiet and let people believe what they wanted (NOTE: vs. 18– Women referred to him as an Egyptian, Moses said nothing) –. But after time in solitude, Moses began to make sense of his own history. He was finally able to say, “This is who I am.” The experience of living as an alien in a foreign land is what has shaped me.” Finally he had come home to himself.
“All of us have need of this kind of homecoming in which we claim our experiences as our own and acknowledge the ways they have shaped us. Then we are in a position to take responsibility for ourselves rather than being driven by our unconscious patterns of manipulating and controlling reality. Taking responsibility for oneself may well be more demanding than taking responsibility for a congregation or an organization! When we fail to name reality accurately, we are left to wander around in the wilderness of our Illusions….because we are hiding from ourselves and from God.”
So many men don’t actually know who they are…we don’t stop and examine our unconscious patterns of manipulating and controlling. When we fail to see reality clearly …we lead out of an Illusion!
Death of a Salesman: Arthur Miller. Willie Loman – son: Biff
Very Powerful Scene: Willie lived his whole life in an Illusion and so did his family. Biff has finally come home to himself- begging his father to do the same. Willie can’t and ends up destroying himself.
“You are going to hear the truth – what you are and what I am – We don’t know who we are…we never told the truth for 10 minutes in this house” – “All that I want is out there for me the moment I say I know who I am” – “Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens”
Peter as a New Testament Example of Leading out of an Illusion:
- Upper Room – Peter and other disciples arguing about who will be the Greatest (Typical guys in a locker room!)
- Garden of Gethsemane: Peter draws out a sword (World Power) and chops off the ear of a soldier….(echo’s of Moses) – Peter needs a pyramid adjustment
- Peter had a vision of himself and Jesus that was an Illusion. Peter lived out of an Illusion…it took a massive failure and Jesus’ adjustment for Peter to become a true spiritual leader!
Interestingly – As Moses was coming to grips with Himself, the Israelites were coming to grips with themselves (God’s Timing).
(vs. 23) Let’s understand: If you remember – Egypt didn’t start out as a place of slavery. Originally, it was a place of protection from famine! It was a place where they flourished, but eventually this good thing became enslaving!
- Better said by Chuck DeGroat: Leaving Egypt – ‘The Womb became a Tomb” – what previously brought life, brought death
The pursuit of good things: protection/provision, safety/security, work, love, beauty…these good things can swallow our souls – we can become enslaved by them and we can lose our identity.
Think about this truth: How many men have lost their souls by first pursuing a good thing?
- Love, Companionship – Porn Addiction
- Safety/Security – Love of Money
- Meaningful Work – Workaholic … you are your job
“My work had become important to me in a subtly corrupting way. My busyness was a wonderful measure of my self-importance. I felt I was affecting hundreds of people… therefore it was worth killing myself a little for it.” -DeGroat
The Israelites finally cry out: “I am enslaved….I am not meant to live like this, this isn’t living at all. I need help.” – NOTE: Once these good things morph into God-things, they are difficult to extract! (How many times these people complained after they were free – “Let’s go back to Egypt”) — Let’s not pretend- slavery to false gods is very powerful.
Both Moses and the Israelites come to grips with themselves. They see where they are and cry out for change! This is the beginning of real leadership & real life – not living in an illusion.
Question: Why is it so difficult to address what’s happening in our internal world? Where have you seen your pursuit of a good thing morphing into enslavement? What Illusion or false god still appears attractive?
- Shepherding – Moses Re-Cast through Shepherding
God is at work in, what may seem like, insignificant moments.
Think about it: For the first 40 years, Moses learns how to lead an entire nation (from the best leaders on the planet) Then, for the next 40 years Moses learns to lead a large herd of animals through the wilderness. Moses spent his second 40 years learning about the desert: how to find food, water and shelter. Why? – because Moses was about to lead a nation through the desert for his final 40 years!
Why shepherding? Why not farming or building? Moses will have to learn how to lead very stubborn and often foolish people.
Sheep aren’t the smartest animal on the planet. Watch the following videos:
Sheep in Tire
Sheep jumping ditch
Moses learns how to lead difficult people….like leading sheep.
- Sheep are near-sighted and stubborn. They only see clearly what’s right in front of them and are resistant to being helped.
- Sheep get easily stuck on their back. This is referred to as “Cast Sheep” If a sheep rolls over on its back, because of its wool, it cannot easily upright itself. They kick their legs but eventually gas builds up in stomachs and legs become paralyzed. If the Shepherd doesn’t turn them over, eventually they suffocate.
- Sheep don’t have a homing device and can’t survive in the wild. If your dog gets lost, it has a built-in homing device which might help it get back home – if you had a pet sheep that got lost, forget about it! — They also have no ability to survive in the wild. You never come across a herd of wild sheep. They are helpless to survive on their own. It’s why shepherds must go find them.
- Finally, when you do find your lost sheep – the sheep doesn’t come running toward you like a dog would….NO, the sheep runs around in a panic! So the shepherd has to tackle the lost sheep, tie his legs together, thrown it over his shoulder and carry it all the way back to the flock.
Leading the Israelites out of slavery will have many parallels to leading difficult and stubborn sheep. Isn’t this amazing – God never wastes anything. — Moses may have thought his time in the desert was a waste but God redeemed the time spent in the desert.
- Why is it so difficult to address or comes to grips with what’s happening in our internal world?
- Where have you seen your pursuit of a good thing morphing into enslavement? What Illusion or false god still appears attractive?
- Nothing is wasted by God. How have you seen God use or redeem previous experiences for good?
- All leaders will lead stubborn or foolish people at some point. What can you learn from shepherding that can help you in your leadership?
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