God formed his Nation out of slavery and fear; we are born again out of slavery to sin by a fearless man called Christ.

Covenant of Promise  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:20
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Scene 1/ There are times when the future isn’t looking good.
This was certainly the case during the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from the beaches & harbour of Dunkirk between 27 May & 4 June 1940.
Entire Armies from England, Belgium & France were surrounded by the Germans.
There was little hope of escape and there was the likelihood that they would lose every soldier either captured or killed.
338,226 men from the British, Belgium & French Armies were saved.
The losses of men captured and killed were still enormous.
The Belgium Army was almost entirely lost and their king captured.
The British lost 68 000 men captured or killed.
The van guard of mainly French forces had 30 to 40 000 men captured.
Soon after the German Army attacked Southern France.
The decision was made to withdraw the remaining British Forces from Southern France and the remaining French Forces surrendered when the Nazi’s marched into Paris.
Europe was under the control of Nazi Germany; almost the entire French Army, consisting of 100s of thousands of men had been captured and Britain had left most of its military equipment on the beaches of Europe.
They were so short of equipment that old buses were recovered from wreaking yards, repaired and put into service as troop transports.
The future for England wasn’t looking so good.
Most of us can think of times in our lives when the future has looked pretty bleak.
When we feel defeated & really aren’t sure if we can continue.
The people of Israel just before the time of Moses could also say that their future wasn’t looking so good.
Time had moved on, when Joseph had been ruler in Egypt the ruling Dynasty had a foreign background, just like Joseph.
But centuries later a new dynasty was in power, this dynasty was ruled by native Egyptians.
The Hebrew people were no longer seen as saviours but as a threat.
And the response of this Pharaoh was a common response.
If a group becomes too numerous, use them as forced labour.
It was a common practice in those times.
Those who are a threat, such as captured prisoners, the unpopular or numerous are forced into slavery to build things like cities, canals, temples and tombs.
And if death through exhaustion doesn’t reduce the threat then you institute policies to reduce their numbers.
Killing the male children meant that there would be fewer men capable of rising up and overpowering the Egyptians.
The future for the people of Israel wasn’t looking so good
Scene 2/ These are times when God’s plan isn’t visible.
Times when people do what they can to get by, to survive each day in the hope that the next generation will have a chance.
That certainly would have been the situation for the Hebrews under the rule of either Pharaoh Thutmose III his son Amenhotep II if we take an early date for the Exodus or as most scholars prefer today Pharaoh Rameses II if we take a later date.[1]
For Moses’ parents they didn’t know what God’s plan was.
They simply did what they could to keep their child alive.
We read in Exodus 2:1-10
Exodus 2:1–10 NLT
1 About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. 4 The baby’s sister then stood at a distance, watching to see what would happen to him. 5 Soon Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, and her attendants walked along the riverbank. When the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it for her. 6 When the princess opened it, she saw the baby. The little boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This must be one of the Hebrew children,” she said. 7 Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked. 8 “Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. 9 “Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. 10 Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.”
God’s plan wasn’t visible but he was up to something.
Pharaoh commands all Hebrew male children be thrown into the river.
Moses’ mother complies with this order; she just places a waterproof basket between the river and her son!
She also places him amongst the reeds where the slow current of the Nile river will not wash him away.
Did she intend to fetch him out of the river to feed him regularly?
Was the river just a safe place to stash the child during the day when there was a greater risk of being discovered by the Egyptians, is that why his sister was left on watch?
Or did she place him in a place where she knew he would be found by a daughter of Pharaoh, with the hope that a woman would have pity on a crying child.
Abandoning a child was not uncommon in ancient times, to abandon a child near a known bathing spot was a means of making sure that someone else would take in a child you could not care for!
Was Moses’ discovery by a daughter of Pharaoh intentional?
It was certainly God’s intention because Pharaoh ends up paying Moses’ mother to raise a child that he had ordered killed.
God’s plan wasn’t visible to the people of Israel, but he had a plan.
There are times when God’s plan isn’t visible to us.
Things may not be making sense; something comes out of left field which totally throws us of balance.
We may be lost for direction, receiving conflicting advice, we desire something which is just out of reach, or been denied something which we felt was obtainable.
Or we are just impatient for a result.
For any number of reasons we feel a need to press forward to take some action, to force a result.
Scene 3/ These are times when we can be tempted to take things into our own hands, with the usual disastrous consequences.
When Moses had grown up he took things into his own hands.
The consequences were disastrous!
READ Exodus 2:11-21
Exodus 2:11–21 NLT
11 Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his own people, the Hebrews, and he saw how hard they were forced to work. During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his fellow Hebrews. 12 After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. 13 The next day, when Moses went out to visit his people again, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. “Why are you beating up your friend?” Moses said to the one who had started the fight. 14 The man replied, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was afraid, thinking, “Everyone knows what I did.” 15 And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. 17 But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks. 18 When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” 19 “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” 20 “Then where is he?” their father asked. “Why did you leave him there? Invite him to come and eat with us.” 21 Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife.
Moses was an exile, on the run from Pharaoh.
He was in hiding in the land of Midian, a semi arid wasteland south of the Dead Sea and stretching into the Sinai Peninsula.
Now while he had some success in being accepted, given a wife and having children, he was and remained a man on the run.
A man unable to return to his own people.
Listen to Moses’ thoughts from Exodus 2:22
Exodus 2:22 NLT
22 Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.”
Moses had reaped the result of taking things into his own hands.
His sense of injustice had been growing since his youth.
He had been raised as a Hebrew by his own parents; his life was funded by Pharaoh the very ruler who had ordered the death of all his peers.
He had been taken into the palace.
We do not know for sure who this daughter of Pharaoh was.
She could have been quite significant in the royal family, or she could have been a minor princess.
Maybe Moses enjoyed all the benefits and the responsibility of the inner circle or maybe he was like the countless children of the Royal harem growing up knowing comfort and education but no responsibility and lots of time to think about where you came from.
Moses had seen the injustice, the oppression and he saw a solution.
But it didn’t work and as far as Moses could see the God he had been taught about as a child didn’t have a plan to care for his people.
I think we often fall into the same trap that Moses did.
We look around and see that the future doesn’t look so bright.
And we can’t see what God’s plan is; it isn’t visible to us so we take things into our own hands.
And the results are disastrous.
We feel that God hasn’t been watching out for us, he doesn’t have a plan and now he has let us down when we try to make things right.
Scene 4/ Which is why we are reluctant to trust God when his solution is presented to us, we think we have to be someone special when it is the fact that God is special that makes the difference.
When we put ourselves in Moses position it suddenly becomes easy to see why he was so reluctant to just accept what God was asking him to do.
Read Exodus 3:1-10
Exodus 3:1–10 NLT
1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
In the encounter between the Lord & Moses, which follows this passage there are 5 seperate occassions when Moses protests and says but, or I can’t or please send someone else because I can’t do it.
After all that Moses had encountered in the first 40 years of his life did we really expect that Moses would respond with,
“OK Lord, got it, go back to the absolute ruler of Egypt, who has a price on my head by the way, and tell him that all of his slave labourers, who are building his empire, have to take some time off to come out into the desert and worship a God who has spoken to me from a burning bush!
Moses was no one special.
He thought the future looked pretty grim.
He couldn’t see that God had a plan.
So he took things into his own hands.
It all went wrong for him and he was fearful.
But it wasn’t about Moses being special.
It is about God being special.
Scene 5/ God used Moses, a fearful man just like us, to save Israel from slavery and make them into a great nation;
It is God’s plan & God’s power that makes the difference.
He is the one who saved Israel from slavery
He made the people of Israel into a great nation.
It is God’s plan & God’s power that makes the difference in our lives.
He is the one who saves us from sin
He is the one who will complete his work in and through us
Christ came to save us from sin by obedience to God’s plan, so let’s trust his plan and walk by faith even when we don’t understand it.
For that has always been God’s way.
All of the hero’s of faith listed in Hebrews 11 had to walk by faith.
Only Enoch in verse 5 seems to have got it right.
Everyone else in some way or another failed miserably.
But, it was God who was at work.
The start of this list tells us
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
The end of this list tells us in Hebrews 12:1-2
Hebrews 12:1–2 NLT
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
It is God’s plan & God’s power that makes the difference in our lives
[1]Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible.
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