(Exodus 4:29-5:23) Waiting on God's Perfect Timing

Exodus   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:23
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Part of being a fallen creature in a fallen world is that we are impatient.
We all are characterized at times by extreme forms of impatience
Often our anger, our rudeness, our ruthlessness is because of our impatience.
impatience is so common that in many places in Scripture we are commanded in the spirit to be patient.
Galatians 5:22 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Here is a food for thought,
what if God treated us according to our impatience?
What kind of God would we have?
Let’s just say – I’m glad none of us are God.
This morning we will examine a text that will show an unbelieving Pharaoh,
but it will also show the impatience of Israel.
Pharaoh denied God, but Israel questioned God.
We can learn from their example of how we can be unreasonably impatient with God.
I would like this morning to skim over Exodus 4:18 – 28.
This section primarily covers Moses preparing and traveling to Egypt.
There is an emphasis on the importance of circumcision as part of God’s love that you bless Abraham and ultimately Israel. (4:24-26)
From Exodus 4:29-5:23 - i challenge us -

We ought to wait patiently for the perfect timing of God.

And this text will show us two characters of unbelief and impatience.
The first character we will consider this mornings is -

1) Pharaoh. (Ex 5:1-17)

Egypt at this time is one of the most powerful nations in the world.
They are building the pyramids – which will later call part of the seven wonders of the world.
And Pharoah ruled over Egypt like a God.
He literally was considered a representative of the pagan gods – and therefore also are divine himself.
And God has sent Moses to Pharaoh – to tell him “”let my people go”.
How does Pharoah respond to a Hebrew slave? – who claims the one true God sent him the command Pharaoh to let his people go.
In a world of hypothetical theology – Pharoah is given an option.
He could release Israel by his own free will.
He could have saved Egypt facing incredible plagues.
But we will see the Pharaoh is full of –
arrogance and pride
and in rebellion against God’s plan.
Look at –
Exodus 5:1–2 ESV
1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ ” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
As we understand the story here – what is the significance of his statement, who is the Lord?
There is a bit of irony in the story here.
Because most of the rest of Exodus will be teaching Pharaoh in Egypt exactly – who is the Lord.
What does this statement say about Pharaohs belief?
This statement clarifies – his
a) Unbelief, “Who is the Lord?”. (v. 2)
In one sense – he is saying he has no idea who the Lord is.
He likely had never heard the name Yahweh and thus has no idea who the Lord is.
But this statement reveals more than just’s ignorance
Because go back to Ex 5:2 *** No Slide ****
Exodus 5:2 ESV
2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
There’s a bit of pride here.
Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?
In a pagan society there are little gods and big god’s
and the gods of the slaves were considered to be nobodies.
and the gods of mighty empires like Egypt were considered the big God’s worth of pharaohs time and attention.
This Pharaoh was to high and mighty to pay attention to some slaves God.
His words showed his -
b) Pride and Arrogance. (v. 2, 4-17)
Pharoah was wickedly arrogant, proud, and haughty.
And remember God says arrogance does not go unpunished.
Proverbs 16:5 ESV
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
His words revealed more than just unbelief and arrogance
His words were defiant reply to God that he considered to be nobody.
And so his words were meant to be a direct -
c) Rebellion against the LORD and his plan. (v. 4-17)
Look how Pharoah responds to words of God, given by Moses.
*** No Slides*********
Exodus 5:2–17 ESV
2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.” 10 So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’ ” 12 So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” 14 And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?” 15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17 But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’
Pharoah not only refuses to let them go,
but gives them an unreasonable and impossible task.
Essentially he says –
you want to rebel against me,
then I will oppress you and make your life miserable.
Pharaoh responds to God’s plan with unbelief, pride and arrogance, and rebellion.
But what about Israel?
As Moses goes back to his people – one of the questions in our minds should be,
how are they going to respond to the incredible words God?
Remember - one of the big fears of Moses in Exodus 4 was that the people would not believe him.
Exodus 4:1 ESV
1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ”
How does Israel respond to the Words of God?
The next characters we should consider is -

2) Israel and their elders. (Ex. 4:29-31, 5:19-25)

Israel began with a right response to God’s words.
They began with -
a) Belief and worship of Yahweh (Initially). (v. 4:29-31)
Moses returns to Egypt and gathers Israel - and we read this -
Exodus 4:29–31 ESV
29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Just like God had promised to Moses at the burning bush,
everything went according to plan for Moses and Aaron.
Aaron spoke all the words of the Lord
he did all the signs and wonders just as God had said.
And praise to the Lord – the people believed.
They believe the promises of God,
and that God seen their affliction.
The response was to bow their heads and worship God.
Because of his incredible mercy, power, and promises.
But as we already read – Pharoah did not respond well to God’s word.
He not only showed unbelief and pride,
but he sought to defy the living God.
At the moment it looks like Pharaoh was winning.
Maybe his question was a good one – who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?
Because Israel is now suffering even worse than before.
Israel is not going to the promised land.
They are being oppressed, and beaten
for failing to comply with impossible orders.
And the people who took the greatest weight of suffering – was the taskmasters and foreman's of Egypt.
According to Exodus 5:15-16 - they were beaten for failing to follow impossible orders.
Exodus 5:15–16 ESV
15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.”
It is one thing to believe the words of God, when you have nothing to lose.
But the faith of the taskmasters was put to past early on.
Do you really believe the words of God?
Observe their response-
Exodus 5:19–23 ESV
19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” 22 Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”
What can we learn about the faith and belief of Israel at this time?
They bowed down with their hands,
But did they bow down with their hearts?
We could summarize the response this way –
First – they placed:
b) False hope in human authority. (5:19-23)
Who was the one that promised to deliver Israel from Egypt?
Who did Moses say would deliver them?
Did Moses come and say I am this great person, so listen to me.
Did Moses say how powerful he was, so follow me
Moses has made it very clear that he is not the one delivering them out of Egypt.
And Moses is made it very clear that he is not the one who has the power to show the signs and wonders.
The sign of the staff turning into a snake - was done by the power of God.
This sign of turning his hand leprosy, and back again - was done to show the power of God.
And the sign of turning of the Nile River in the blood - was done to show that God was with Moses.
And all the signs were there to show that God had the power to deliver them from Egypt.
In no way was Moses to blame for Pharaoh’s refusal.
Moses did not fail because it was never promised Moses’s power.
So what was the problem?
Did God fail Moses and Israel?
The true problem was their -
c) Impatience with God’s plan. (5:19-23)
What did God actually promise?
Did God promise Israel that they would immediately be able to depart to the promised land?
The answer is no.
They don’t know how many weeks or months it might be.
But God had very clearly told Moses that Pharaoh would not let them leave – until God had struck his mighty hand.
You might say – until God has shown to Pharaoh exactly who the Lord is.
Exodus 3:19–22 ESV
19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”
Exodus 4:21–22 ESV
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son,
So let me ask you this? –
Was the suffering and oppression of Israel a sign of God’s failure?
In fact, it was part of God’s promised plan.
God told them exactly when they would leave for the promised land,
and it was not until Egypt’s firstborn children were struck down by God.
But what Israel and its elders were showing – was impatience with God.
They were failing to wait on the perfect timing of the Lord they worshiped.
So while Israel began with worship,
they quickly became fearful and impatient with God.
What do we learn from Exodus 5?
Why would Moses include this in his book?
And I think it’s because he’s honest about the struggle of Israel.
While God has shown himself to be worthy of their worship,
they failed to wait for God’s perfect timing
Pharaoh denied God,
but Israel questioned God.
This passage gives us real life examples of what every one of us struggle with - impatience with God.
We ought to wait patiently for the perfect timing of God.
While this passage helps us understand how we can be impatient with God,
We are not Israel.
And we are not waiting to be delivered from Egypt.
So how is a New Testament Christian impatient with God?
We want to be perfect now.
We believe in the doctrine of Progressive Sanctification = That is our gradual, but progressive change from slaves to sin, to imitators of Christ.
We can be impatient with God’s plan for our sanctification.
- We do this by bearing guilt for sin Christ has already payed for.
- We do this by demanding that we be sinless, when our glorification is still future.
Sometimes the guilt that we carry shows our impatience with God.
We do this by expecting others to be perfect, when we know the Christian will not be perfect until Christ returns.
We often are great at telling people how they need Christ,
but I must confess - sometimes we are terrible at having compassion on Christians trapped in sin.
We expect Christians to all perfectly, uniformly meet this outward moral standard,
when in reality God has not promised that yet.
We expect Christians to be perfect when we can’t be perfect yet.
Often our sanctification shows our impatience with God.
And secondly,
We demand that creation to be perfect now.
- We falsely believe that if I’m a Christian, I should never face suffering.
- We think that because a Christian is called blessed – that means we should never face a trial or hardship.
[Kind of like Israel in our passage this morning]
We go out into the world expecting everything to work out according to plan,
and ignore the reality that this world is all in futile and will not be perfect until the new heaven and new earth.
In other words – we are impatient, demanding that creation be made perfect now.
And I get it - we struggle impatience because it hurts.
While we are not waiting to be delivered from Egypt,
we are waiting to be delivered from this fallen world.
In regards to our sin - we are told:
Philippians 3:20–21 ESV
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
In regards to creation - we are told:
Romans 8:18–21 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
I believe that two major areas that we sometimes show impatience with God is our sanctification and this worlds redemption.
We want sanctification and redemption the easy way, and we want it now.
We don’t want to have to wait for God’s perfect timing.
May we wait patiently for the perfect timing of God.
I would like to end with this quote from Andrew Murray:
*** Great book, worthy of your reading.
“All the exercises of the spiritual life, our reading and praying, our willing and doing, have their very great value. But they can go no farther than this, that they point the way and prepare us in humility to look to and to depend alone upon God Himself, and in patience to await His good time and mercy. The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence upon God's might working, and to make us in perfect patience place ourselves at His disposal.” ― Andrew Murray, Waiting on God
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