This world is not our home
Preached at Southbridge on 2/1/04
Preached at Farmington on 4/24/04
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 1/8/12
I want to give you all some background for the text we are going to look at today. We will be looking at the book of Exodus in a general way. We will be focusing on the Exodus out of Egypt the wandering and the Promised Land all in an overview fashion. Not in an in-depth study. But I want to remind us of the background. At the end of Genesis Jacob and all his sons and their families are in Egypt. Joseph is the second in command of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. As we move into the book of Exodus we find a recap of the sons of Jacob and we start to see the making of a nation. Well almost as soon as we start reading the book of Exodus we find a new Pharaoh comes into power that the text says knew not Joseph or didn‘t know Joseph and he convinces the rest of the Egyptians that the Israelites are growing in number and power and they need to do something about this. And that is where we will start our lesson this morning.
8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9 "Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10 come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country."
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.
The scriptures go on to tell us how Pharaoh wanted the male children killed and when we asked the Hebrew midwives to do it they didn’t so Pharaoh said to all the people that when a Male child is born they are to be thrown into the Nile river, they are to be killed. Let’s ask the question, was life in Egypt for the Israelites good, fun, or happy? No! Far from it.
1. Bondage to Pharaoh (give scriptural examples)
A) The first thing to note is that the Pharaoh put slave masters over the Israelites. They were slaves to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, Oppressed, they were forced to work and it was hard work, their lives were bitter, and the Egyptians used the Israelites ruthlessly.
I think it would be good for us to define some of these words quickly.
Slave: 1. A person who is the property of and wholly subject to another.
2. A person entirely under the domination of some influence or person.
Oppression: 1. The exercise of authority or power in a cruel or unjust manner.
Ruthless: without pity or compassion; cruel; merciless.
Bitter: 3. Hard to bear: a bitter sorrow.
4. Causing pain: a bitter chill.
B) These people were not free to do as they pleased.
C) There was fear I am sure, especially when the Pharaoh told all the people they had to throw their children into the Nile.
D) They were abused and mistreated.
Was there anything good about the life they lived in Egypt? I think we can see that life was far from good for the Israelites in Egypt.
3. Bondage to sin (give life examples and scriptural)
I don’t know how many of you have taken a good look at the state of this world lately but it’s not a very Holy happy place. We have poverty and people who are homeless and can’t get enough to eat people who are in slavery.
Before you came to Christ what was life like?
A) The Bible says that we were slaves to sin and to Satan. How were we slaves? What are we talking about?
Slave to Alcohol
I remember before I was a Christian I used to get home from work and open up a can of beer or on the weekend go out and drink it up. I was a slave to Alcohol, oh sure I thought I was in control but I wasn’t. I remember saying to myself I am going to quit drinking and I would on occasion make it a year or almost a year but then I was back to drinking. I was a slave to drinking. Even when I wasn’t drinking I wanted to be drinking. I can remember waking up in the morning not wanting to wake up. Feeling like my life was drained from me. My relationship with my family suffered and work suffered. All because of my being a slave to alcohol.
It’s not only alcohol or drugs that people are slaves to. We have something called Credit cards. These can and often do enslave people. Money and things.
Salve to Credit Cards
You know the average person over the Christmas season spent $1,000 on gifts and placed it on credit cards. That $1,000 will turn into being $2,000 if you pay only the minimum payment that could actually be higher depending on the interest rate. That $1,000 dollars that you put on that credit card will cost you $2,000 at the end and take you 13 to 15 years to pay it off just paying the minimum payments. That GI Joe you bought Little Billy is going to take you until Billy is in collage to pay it off. That’s what I call slavery. Abuse.
And of course we have slavery to sex.
Slave to Sex
When I worked for lucent technologies there was a young man I worked with. I didn’t know him really I only saw him around. One day I was sitting with some other coworkers and this young man came over, he knew some of the people sitting with me and he started to tell these people how he had gone out that past weekend and how he was trying to meet a woman. By the end of that conversation he was having with a few of these people he had explained pretty clearly how his hope desire and motivation in life was to meet and sleep with as many women as he could within the shortest time possible. The man was very much a slave to sex. Sex, like alcohol or drugs or money, sex was his master.
But really all you have to do is turn on the TV or log onto the Internet and you will see how much sex has become a slave master to a lot of people.
That’s what it’s like for every person who is in this world they are slaves to something. Ultimately we know that they are slaves to Satan and to sin just like we were.
2. Freedom from Pharaoh (give scriptural examples)
You know God doesn’t leave the Israelites in the bondage that they were in. They cry out to God and God has compassion.
God hears the cries of the Israelites and he responds.
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
God has been involved with the Israelites the whole time they were in Egypt but now He is going to bring them out of Bondage. He is going to send them someone to lead them out of Egypt and to a land of plenty.
Now God speaks to Moses and prepares him and then sends him, and you should go home later today and read this story in depth but we are going to pick up after the ten plagues. God has to teach Pharaoh who is really in change and finally the Egyptians let them go.
31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me."
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. "For otherwise," they said, "we will all die!" 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
God sets the Israelites free and they begin their journey to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. A land that was good and would produce vegetation and they could have homes and the land would be theirs.
The beginning of the trip
I know that these men and women were rejoicing. After being in bondage and slavery to a bitter oppressor they were being set free and I am sure that they sang songs of praise and were worshipping God and laughing and having a great time.
A) They no longer had TO WORRIE ABOUT BEING ABUSED.
B) Free from bitter oppression.
C) They were headed for a land that was flowing with milk and honey. That is it was a great place a land of their own and there were many blessings.
4. Freedom from sin (give life examples and scripture)
Just as God saved the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh God has saved us from slavery to Satan and sin. He has come down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and has lead those who were in slavery to sin out to freedom from Satan, sin, and death. And has promised us a land. We have the hope of a heavenly land.
A) No more fear. God keeps his promises
B) No more abuse
D) Promised land (heaven)
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
1 John 4:9-10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 Peter 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
We have been freed and are on our way to a better place. The promise land, heaven. And you know just like Israel when they were first set free they rejoiced and so do we just ask our sister Lee. She just became free from sin and Satan and she is hungry for the word and rejoices in the Lord for what He has done just as we did when we were first baptized. But our journey doesn’t end once were Baptized it only just begins. We to have to travel through a desert.
The Israelites are on their way to the Promised Land they were freed from slavery by God and they saw how God freed them with a showing of His power, with ten plaques. The people saw God working and now they come across their first problem after being set free.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!" 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptians--all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops--pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we say to you in Egypt, `Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"
They were just freed by God’s power and now they are afraid that God would let them die by the Egyptians.
Church trip to Tennessee
I remember about two years ago some of the members of the Southbridge Church decided to take a trip to Tennessee. We rented a 14 or 15 passenger van and packed it with almost that many people and all kinds of bags. We were going to visit the 4th avenue Church in Tennessee and visit their summer camp. At first it was great we were singing songs telling jokes and laughing having a great time. But about 2 hours into the trip we had a problem. We had directions and our directions stated that we needed to take a certain exit off of this highway that we were on. But we could not find our exit it was like exit #20 we went by and saw #19 and then #21 but no 20. So we turned around and saw exit #21 and then we said ok look for it and we saw exit #19. This happened a few times up and then back down and up again. Finally we found were we needed to go. I think we took a different exit. But after that the ride was getting uncomfortable and people were starting to get tired and want to sleep or use the bathroom. It’s very frustrating to want to sleep and not be able to get comfortable. At the end of the trip that was like a 25 hr drive and we went straight through. People were smelly and tired and not in good moods. Often there were complaints and grumbling along the ride. I remember at one point, I can’t remember if it was on the way down or the trip back but our brother Greg gave in and slept on the floor of that van that’s how bad of a trip that was that Greg slept on the floor. If you know Greg you will understand why that’s pretty bad.
Israel traveled through the desert and came across all kinds of trials and obstacles and Christians are traveling through a desert wilderness called life traveling through this world on our way to a land flowing with milk and honey that is a place more wonderful that you can imagine heaven.
We today are wandering through a desert of sin and temptation, a desert of heartache and pain on our way to a land of plenty a land where there will be no more tears.
Not Like Israel
Our God is a God of promises and He has kept all His promises. If you go back and read through the Bible Old and New you will see that He has kept every promise made. We need to follow Him, follow Christ. Keep our focus on Christ and not allow this world to take our attention away from Christ. The Israelites saw many great and powerful signs. The ten plagues that God sent upon the Egyptians the parting of the red sea, the water and Manna in the desert and many other signs and wonders and you know they still didn’t trust God or His promises. But God was faithful.
Some say show me a sign and I will follow Lord. I say there are answered prayers and miracles happening all around us that God has done and is doing. But even if God parted a great sea in front of many people those who want nothing to do with God would find a reason for that happening without finding God.
Israel saw all kinds of signs and wonders that God was doing to show them that they needed to trust Him and over and over again they grumbled against Moses and Aaron and really against God. They didn’t keep their eyes on God and they didn’t trust in God or His Promises.
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"
25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"
2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?"
Living in bondage and hard bitter oppression, forced hard labor under a ruthless leader who killed our children was better than following God. That’s’ what they were saying over and over again. We were better off in slavery than with God. God is not going to keep his promises to us. God can’t keep his promises.
The Israelites over and over again showed their lack of faith even though over and over again they were taken care of. Even when they were at the edge of the Promised Land and about to go in and take hold of it they said God will not do as he said. The land is exactly as God said it was but we can’t take the land.
You know life is hard, living in this world is hard, but God has freed us from the slavery to sin, Satan, and death and is leading us to a land, Heaven, were we will dwell with Him forever. God has promised to take care of your needs in this life, and He has hasn’t He. God has kept all His promises He will keep the promises He has made to each one of us.
Let’s remain faithful to God keeping our eyes on Christ and not be like Israel. We can learn a major lesson from them. How not to be.
Conclusion: A Better Place to Go
We were once slaves to Sin and Satan but God saw us and had compassion for us. God sent Christ to free us from the Bondage we were in and to lead us to heaven. We are going to have hard times we are wondering in place that is full of evil and wickedness but Jesus Christ has given us life through his blood. Through what He did on the Cross. We have a better place to go because of Jesus.
Thanks to Jesus, those of us who have been baptized into Christ can say This World is not my home I‘m just passing through.
Thank you and God bless you as you keep your eyes on Jesus.
???????? If you’re not a Christian you can be freed from slavery. Christ offers life to all who trust in Him.