(Click - start)
1 Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh:
Because of my mighty hand he will let them go;
because of my mighty hand he will drive them out
of his country."
2 God also said to Moses,
"I am the LORD.
3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob
as God Almighty,
but by my name the LORD
I did not make myself known to them.
4 I also established my covenant with them
to give them the land of Canaan,
where they lived as aliens.
5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites,
whom the Egyptians are enslaving,
and I have remembered my covenant.
6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites:
'I am the LORD,
and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
I will free you from being slaves to them,
and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
and with mighty acts of judgment.
7 I will take you as my own people,
and I will be your God.
(Click - start)
Let my people go
Exodus 6:1-8, Ch. 7-11
Last Sunday we were introduced to Moses
Who had an encounter with the living God.
The Lord spoke to him from a burning bush
that was not consumed by the flames
and told him to go to Pharaoh
with a message of liberation.
“I have seen the oppression endured by my people,
And I have heard the cry of my people.
Go to Pharoah and tell him,
Let my people go.”
Over the next few weeks
we want to look at the Old Testament story
where God calls and forms a people for Himself
so that they will worship Him and serve Him.
The story that we are going to contemplate
Over the next weeks
Is the story of God’s salvation for His people.
We will be looking at stories from long ago…
And stories that repeat themselves even to this day…
Stories of human tyrany and oppression and slavery.
And stories of God’s mighty hand of salvation.
A good number of you where here on Tuesday night
When Joy Smith
Talked to us about the modern day problem
Of human trafficking.
(Click - Trafficking)
Let me recap briefly what trafficking means?
Trafficking may be a confusing term to some,
but its most simple definition is illegal commercial activity –
like drug trafficking or weapons trafficking.
We also use it to describe the trade in human beings
for purposes like commercial sexual exploitation,
such as the sex trades, prostitution, strip bars, pornography;
or labor exploitation: such as sweat shops, brick kilns,
cocoa plantations, or other agricultural settings.
This is a very complex problem,
And these modernday slave drivers
Are highly organized.
But instead of focusing on definitions
I’d like to share a CNN story with Aaron Brown
Aired December 8, 2004
that illustrate what trafficking is and who is affected.
(Click - Run Video Clip – “Stolen Childhoods) http://www.stolenchildhoods.org/mt/archives/videostories/cnn/index.php
(Click – if Video doesn’t run – “Modern Day Slavery”)
Brick kilns and gravel quarries
are a common sight in West Bengal, India
and the surrounding states of India.
The children that work here are exploited 12-16 hours a day,
7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Their world consists only of these mud holes,
drying fields, kilns, rock piles and grinders.
At night they sleep in the open
or in makeshift shelter where sanitary conditions
There are no schools here,
and for many there isn’t even a family.
Over 1/3 of the children working at this kiln
and 1/4 of the children at the quarry
have been shipped here from other areas,
where their parents have been forced
to either sell them into slavery
or are dependent on the meager wages
that these children can provide.
The work is extremely brutal,
hazardous, abusive and sometimes lethal.
Working all day in the hot sun,
these children carry
well over one ton of clay and rock each day.
At the kiln,
they crouch as they fabricate thousands of bricks
in old-fashioned molds.
(Click – “Gravel Quarries in India”)
At the quarry, they are exposed to rock
that leads to respiratory illness.
Nonetheless, the kids come, driven by necessity
and often unaware of what they are entering into,
(Click – “Modern Day Slavery”)
as they are sometimes tricked
or virtually kidnapped by unscrupulous agents.
The meager pay and hard work are just the beginning.
(Click – “The Jermals”)
These children tend to be chronically tired
from the long hours and irregular rest,
increasing the probability of accidents and injuries.
Disease, malnutrition and permanent skeletal injury
Medical treatment is primitive or non-existent.
None of these children go to school.
And for each of these, there are millions more people –
people made in the image of God,
known by Him,
loved by Him
each in unspeakable situations of torment and suffering.
In fact, there may be as many as
27 million slaves in the world today
and that means that hundreds of thousands of people
are trafficked into slavery each year.
(Click – “Mules”)
When you drive over the “Friendship Bridge”
In Foz do Iguazu,
By the border between Paraguay and Brasil
you can watch the "contrabandistas" sit on the ready
to carry merchandize over the bridge.
All day long,
an army of smugglers can be seen
passing along the mountainous path
that separates Argentina from Brazil and Paraguay.
(Click – “Drop”)
Locals know it as the "pique".
It is just one of a dozen or more unofficial crossing points
on the so-called triple frontier,
the name given to the porous border area
between these countries.
Everything from fake branded clothing
to Class A drugs
Computers, software, movies, etc.
are ferried back and forth along these “secret” routes.
The list of contraband goods now also extends to human beings. The human-trafficking business
is estimated to be worth over Ca$ 20 Billion a year,
making it the world's third most profitable criminal activity
after drug-smuggling and gun-running.
Many of those trafficked through the triple frontier
are destined for the illegal labour market in Brazil
The trade in babies for adoption is also widely reported.
But a large proportion end up as sex workers.
Many end up in brothels across the region,
although a high number are destined
for the triple frontier's own thriving sex industry.
Word Count: 534
(Click – Hand on fense)
These are people,
Innocent children and adults created by God,
Crying out for justice and hope
And freedom from slavery and oppression today.
(Click – The Trafficking of Joseph)
But trafficking in Persons is not a new phenomenon.
Actually trafficking in persons is as old as the Bible.
From the story of Joseph (Genesis 37: 13-28)
we know that jealousy drove his brothers
to sell him into slavery
to some merchants that were passing by
on their way to Egypt.
This event set into motion an incredible series of events:
In Egypt Joseph served as a slave in the house of Potiphar
Where he was falsely accused
of taking advantage of Potiphar’s daughter (39:7-18),
he was thrown in prison (39:19-20);
And eventually, through God’s leading,
he reigned over Egypt
as second only to Pharaoh himself (Genesis 41:40-41)
in the land of Egypt.
These events lead to the eventual resettlement of the Israelites
Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy food,
And after Joseph revealed himself to them
They also moved down and settled in Egypt.
(Click – Israel slaves in Egypt)
But things changed…
The rulers that looked favourably upon the Israelites died,
And future generations of Egyptian rulers
Saw the Hebrews as a source of cheap labour,
and ultimately they became enslaved to the Egyptians
This turn of events in Exodus
Set the stage for God to display his awesome power.
Through His servant Moses
God reveal His character
as the Great Liberator of humankind,
and He foreshadow his awesome act of redemption
of the human race through the death of Jesus on the cross.
We all know the story of Moses
and the dramatic events that lead
to Israel’s eventual release from Egypt’s tyranny…
We remember in Exodus Chapters 7-11,
How God sends the ten plagues
As judgements against the pharaoh
Who could not care less what happened
To the Hebrew slaves.
God called Moses and Aaron to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Because God remembered His promise to their forefathers
and heard the cries of Israel.
God sends Moses and Aaron
to carry one consistent message to Pharaoh,
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
In this story we see a contest of wills and power between
Pharaoh and his wise magitians,
Representing the power of evil and oppression,
And God, who his the only true God.
At first, Pharaoh hardens his own heart
and doesn’t allow them to leave.
And later on it is God who hardens the heart of pharaoh,
And even when he is sorry that he has sinned against God
It is impossible for him to change
And let God’s people go.
Again and again we hear the word of God
Through Moses and Aaron:
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
God is the only One
Who is deserving of our loyalty and service.
God has created us as free beings,
That we may serve Him out of gratitude
For his love for us.
God is consistently a liberating God,
Who sees the plight of His people,
And hears the cry of the oppressed.
In Jesus Christ,
God exclaimed the ultimate
“Let my people go, that they may serve me!”
In the face of death and all the forces of evil.
What does this message say to us today?
We’ve seen shocking images of slavery and oppression,
That many of us didn’t even know existed anymore today.
As we see and hear these stories of children
In far away lands
That supply much of the “stuff”
That we mindlessly consume every day,
We stand convicted as slaves to our own
Consumerism and affluence!
And I use the word “slaves” intentionally,
Because it’s not so easy to break free
From our need to shop and consume and throw away…
We too, are in need of freedom from slavery!
And at the same time we recognize
That we, in the West,
Are a big part of the problem.
While we are slaves to our own addictions
And need for consumption,
We are also indirectly
The slave drivers that drive the need
To find cheap laborers to supply our demand.
And so, as we reflect on this,
And how deeply we are in fact affected by the use of slaves
In the poor two thirds of the world,
We have to confess,
That freedom for us,
As for the early Hebrew slaves in Egypt,
Can only come through the mighty hand of God.
Only God can save us
From the torments that oppress us…
From the false gods of selfishness and insatiable consumption
That seek our loyalty.
Only God, in Jesus Christ, can save us from
Our Greed and Lust,
Our Anger and Unforgiveness,
Our Bitterness and Jealousy,
And many more.
Today, Jesus Christ, the new Moses,
Is calling out to the prince of this dark world,
“Let my people go, that they may serve me!”
As persons who are being saved from the chains of sin
We are being set free to serve the Lord.
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus reads from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
God has a purpose for our lives.
The church has been called to carry on God’s redeeming work
Through all generations.
To preach and be Good News to the poor…
To proclaim release for those who are in bondage…
To restore the vision of those
who have lost hope and faith in God…
To give new life and a future
To those who have no chance for a future.
Let us pray that God will let us be part
Of His work of salvation in the world?
 Adapted from: Oliver Balch. "Latin America's secret slave trade." Guardian Unlimited. 20 December 2006.