Exodus - Part 16

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Introduce self...
Heavenly Father, thank you for another day in which we can freely gather and worship you. Reveal yourself to our hearts. Give me grace as I preach your word and teach us all through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Exodus 17:8–10 ESV
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
Exodus 17:11–13 ESV
Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Exodus 17:14–16 ESV
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
First, supernatural provision of bread, then water, now military strength.
Should we expect this sort of supernatural provision in our lives?
Should we be disappointed or concerned when we don’t have miracles?
NO. The absence of the supernatural does not mean the absence of God.
God’s providence is at work constantly, most often through natural means.


Most of you are familiar with the story of Joseph:
Joseph is hated by his brothers and sold into slavery.
Ends up in Egypt as a slave.
We read this
Genesis 39:3 ESV
His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.
There is no indication that anything supernatural occurred to deliver this bless.
In fact, as we read on, Joseph had success, but also continued to face trial.
He was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit and thrown in prison.
But then we read this:
Genesis 39:23 ESV
The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
Even though Joseph was acting, God was acting.
This ends up becoming one of the primary themes of this story, one of the primary themes of Genesis, and even arguably even one of the primary themes of the entire Bible.
Genesis 50:20 ESV
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
This is one of the great mysteries of God.
How can we have agency and God still be sovereign?

Abraham & Issac

There is another story earlier in Genesis that has always stood out to me:
Abraham is getting old and he calls his servant and asks him to go fetch him a wife for his son from his own people, not the Canaanites.
Genesis 24:7 ESV
The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
And then we don’t hear about this angel again for the rest of the story,.
What we do see is a series of apparently completely natural events.

Elisha’s Servant & the Chariots of Fire

In 2 Kings, the king of Syria was attacking Israel.
2 Kings 6:15–17 ESV
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Michael & Prince of the Kingdom of Persia

Daniel 10:12–14 ESV
Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

The “Random” Arrow

1 Kings 22:34 ESV
But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”

Our days are numbered

Psalm 139:16 ESV
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
2 Kings 20:5–6 (ESV)
“...Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life...”
I’m taking the time to preach this today because the culture we live in today and the religion of scientism.
Scientism (Merriam-Webster)
an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)
The Bible teaches that God is near and intimately involved in people’s lives.
The Bible teaches that the spiritual realm is more real and more eternal than the physical realm.

Sparrows & Hairs

Luke 12:6–7 ESV
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Fine-tuning argument

If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10^60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible. [See Davies, 1982, pp. 90-91. (As John Jefferson Davis points out (p. 140), an accuracy of one part in 10^60 can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)
Maybe you’re strongly anti-Big Bang theory.
This was one of the most significant blows to the idea of naturalism in the past 100 years. The idea that the material universe as we know it has a beginning lines up directly with Genesis 1:1 and this is profound.
There are at least 11 references in the Bible to God “stretching out” or “spreading out” the heavens.
Passages like:
Psalm 104:1–2 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
Isaiah 40:22 ESV
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
Jeremiah 10:12 ESV
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Davies, 1984, p. 242.)
Strong nuclear force
The electromagnetic force
The relationship of the mass of a neutron relative to a proton
AND a thousand other finely tuned variables
Jesus is the God who created the world and sustains it:
Hebrews 1:1–3 (ESV)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
God is sovereign, his is intimately involved and directing every aspect of the universe, and yet, we somehow still have agency and a role to play in the world. God maintains his sovereignty through us.
Look at this passage:
2 Timothy 2:7 ESV
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Or this passage:
Philippians 2:12 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
Philippians 2:13 ESV
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
What is the big take away? I don’t have all the answers to how God governs the universe. But I will chose to trust him.
Israel was chastised because they failed to trust God, despite the work of his hand right in front of their faces.
Hebrews 3:7–9 ESV
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.
Hebrews 3:10–11 ESV
Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ ”
Hebrews 3:12–13 ESV
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
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