Exodus - Part 12
Heavenly Father, we worship you this morning for you sovereign power and immeasurable goodness. We thank you for being with us through all our hurt and brokenness. Please open our ears and our hearts to your word this morning. Please give me grace as I deliver the good news of your gospel.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
I’m excited for the book of Exodus:
We are going to be turning the corner today as we kind of built a foundation for the idea of redemption, of being set free from bondage, to pilgrimage and worship.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
God hears his people, and he cares for them:
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
He hears you
He remembers his promises to you
He sees you
And he is concerned for you.
“In Exodus God moves from being perceived as a distant deity to becoming a God who dwells in the midst of His people.”
I would add to Sproul’s commentary that we see the movement of God continue from dwelling in the midst of His people to actually indwelling his people.
Exodus 26, Moses is given instruction for building a Tabernacle, an elaborate tent that served as a holy place for God’s presence to dwell.
God tells Moses during the burning bush encounter:
But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.
Watch because you are going to see 4 references to God’s “strong hand” in the text today.
Recall what I said 2 weeks ago...
We are given a demonstration of God’s “mighty hand” or his “strong hand” in the way he deals judgment on Pharaoh.
It was God’s strong hand that crushed Pharaoh...
Isaiah tells us that this Judgement was coming to us as rebels against God, but Jesus stands in the way:
Isaiah 53:10 (ESV)
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
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.’ ”
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.”
God strikes Egypt with 10 plagues, each one growing in severity and consequence.
The 10th plague is the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt, including Pharaoh’s own son...
It took the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn son for Israel to be freed from the bondage of Egypt...
It took the death of God’s firstborn son for us to be freed from the bondage of sin...
This is the picture of redemption that Exodus gives us.
Picking up the story where we left off last time:
All the people of Israel did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.
Now that you’re free, how should you live?
You have been redeemed from Egypt and idol worship,
As we leave the Egypt, our old way of life and our love for the world, how are we to think, act, be?
This is the turning the corner to worship and pilgrimage.
This is by no means an exhaustive list answering that question, but these are some key ideas from the text:
The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
Consecrated = set apart for specific purposes, we belong to God
Live or die we belong to the Lord
Throughout the narrative of Exodus, Israel is constantly referred to by God as “my people”
The entire nation was to be consecrated, that is set apart from the rest of the nations of the world
And this is what we see in our church age relationship with God as well:
For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
My flesh says, I belong to me, I am my own. This is the same idolatry of Pharaoh
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Individualism, self-sufficiency, I can be anything I want to be mentality, is distinctly not Biblical
We are a people, we are a community
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month.
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’
God saved us and redeemed us with such haste, that our bread didn’t have time to rise.
It’s tangible, you can feel it, smell it, taste it, and it REMINDS us of a reality about God
His faithfulness, his mercy, and his strong hand
And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.
Remembrance, remember the strong hand of God, remember the deliverance of God
He saved us so quickly that the bread didn’t even have time to rise.
This is to call us back
We are so quick to call on God when things are going poorly, but as soon as things turn around, we take credit, we think we are the ones who have brought about good fortune and blessing on our lives.
“When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
The idea here is that redemption comes at a price.
Israel’s redemption came at a price, our redemption came at a price.
The firstborn donkey was a representative of all the unclean animals
Breaking its neck was death without the shedding of blood.
To redeem a firstborn son, a lamb was to be sacrificed.
And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”
Israel was not exempt from the consequence of sin
The blood of the lamb covered Israel while in Egypt
This covering was to continue for the first borns
First borns were consecrated, redeemed by the shedding of blood.
We too have been consecrated, redeemed by the shedding of blood.
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.”
God’s leading and plan for your life is better than yours
But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”
Throwback to Joseph, who was a main character in the book of Genesis...
Joseph trusts and believes in God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promise to Abraham
And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
We may wish we had pillars of fire and cloud, but we fool ourselves if we think this would somehow increase our faith.
We have so much more revelation in the word of God.
We have such a closer access to God,
God the Holy Spirit lives in us.
Don’t feel him?
Do not quench the Spirit.
The word “quench” is actually a reference to fire, the Holy Spirit is like a fire, to quench the Holy Spirit is to snuff him out.
Not that God can be “snuffed out” but that his effect in your life, his guidance, can be snuffed out.
How do I know if I have the Holy Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Even Jesus made this radical claim:
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
God redeemed Israel out of their bondage in Egypt
God redeemed us out of our bondage in the world.
This is what we immediately see: