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ROUTE 66

 

2 Exodus: Time to Go

September 10, 2017

 

Rulon Gardner

Do you know that name?  Probably not.

Rulon Gardner was a farm boy from Wisconsin that made the U.S. Wrestling Team for the Athens Olympics back in 2000.  Not much was expected of Gardner, since he was not considered the strongest member of the team.  But he surprised everyone by making the finals, where he was to face off against the Russian champion Aleksander Karelin.  Karelin had already won gold medals in three Olympics, he was undefeated in matches for 15 years and hadn’t even conceded a single point in over a decade.

So what happened?  In a real-life Rocky moment, Rulon Gardner wrestled the mighty Russian for three periods and an overtime, and ultimately came out the Olympic Champion with a 1-0 win.

This feat is considered to be one of the biggest and most unexpected wins in sports history.

We all like the Big Win, don’t we?  The Razorbacks got one yesterday.  But you know, Big Wins don’t just happen in sports.  You can probably think of a moment in your life that was a Big Win.

Maybe it was your wedding day.  Or the day your son or daughter was born.  Or the day you got a promotion on the job.  Students, maybe your Big Win came when you studied hard and did well on a difficult test or got the date you were wanting for homecoming.

Here’s why I’m thinking about Big Wins.  Because as we come to the second mile of our Journey on Route 66, we enter into the experience of one of the Biggest Wins in all of recorded history.

 

1 - Exodus / Deliverance

Author: Moses           Date: 1600-1445 B.C.

Significant Events: Enslavement of Israelites, Birth of Moses and Burning Bush Call, Plagues upon Egypt, Passover and Exodus, Parting of the Red Sea, Giving of the Law and the Ten Commandments

Key Verse: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” – Exodus 20:2

 

The second of 66 books in the Bible is the book of Exodus.  It’s all about DELIVERANCE.  The author is Moses, who plays a huge role in the events detailed in this historical record. 

You’re probably familiar with the high points.  The Israelite clan had gone down to live in Egypt during a time of famine when Jacob’s son Joseph became second in command to Pharaoh in all the land.  Jacob’s family and their descendants prospered in the land of Egypt, until a new Pharaoh came to power who decided to enslave the Hebrew people.

This harsh slavery went on for generations, and the Israelites called out to God for relief and deliverance, and so about 1525 B.C. God raises up a Hebrew man named Moses to lead them out of Egypt and northeast about 250 miles to the land of Canaan, their Promised Land.

You might remember that God protected Moses at his birth through the actions of his mother and sister and then had him raised in the royal court of Pharaoh.  At the age of 40, Moses tried to stop an Egyptian slavemaster from beating a Hebrew, and he ended up killing the Egyptian, so he fled far away to the land of Midian.  Forty years later God calls to Moses from a burning bush and commissions Moses to return to Egypt in order to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of the enslavement.

Moses, of course, didn’t want to go back.  You might know what that feels like.  If you’ve ever had one of those experiences in life where you messed up or failed or suffered bad luck on a job, in a school, in a particular place you’ve lived, then when you get out of that place, you never want to go back.  You’ve just got bad memories there.  Plus you don’t know how you’ll be received if you go back.

That’s how Moses felt.  He had all sorts of reasons why he shouldn’t return to Egypt.  But ultimately he does as God calls.  And right away it goes just as he has feared it would.  Pharaoh laughs at Moses.  He has no respect for Moses and no reverence for the God who commanded that the Hebrews be set free.   

In fact, after Moses has an audience with Pharaoh and sets forth God’s terms for the people to be let go, Pharaoh doubles down and makes conditions harsher and more cruel for the Hebrew slaves.  And then the Israelites also begin to question Moses’ leadership. 

 

So let’s jump into the story in chapter 5:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the historical record shows that God sent 10 plagues upon the Egyptians while sparing the Hebrew people:  Water turns to blood, Frogs and Gnats and Locusts and Flies descend upon the land, there are hailstorms and 3 days of complete darkness and painful boils that fall upon the people, and ultimately God sends a death angel to strike down the firstborn of every family in Egypt while protecting the Israelites who have spread the blood of a lamb over the top and down the sides of the doorframe so that they will be passed over and not suffer this plague.

You know, some have wondered if this is the hand of God that we’ve had three hurricanes in the vicinity of the U.S. over this last week.  And I will tell you, yes, because God is sovereign over the weather and all things.  All the natural order is under His care and direction.  But when things we can’t explain happen, people ask, “Is this the hand of God?  What does it mean?”  And we want to know the answer.

Moses has been telling Pharaoh exactly why this is happening.  God says, “Let My people go.”  And finally, Exodus 12 records when Egypt has had enough:

 

 

 

 

There are so many wonderful events and critical truths in the book of Exodus.  But let’s focus on three take aways:

God’s Truth in the Book of Exodus

  • God has a divine purpose in taking you through challenge and hardship.

God took His people down to Egypt.  And God allowed them to be enslaved there for generations.  That’s a hard reality for us to receive and embrace.

Why?  Why would God let His people go through that?

Why would a good and powerful God let you go through so much difficulty and hardship?  Why aren’t you more prosperous?  Why isn’t life easier?  Why does God let the car break down, let your relationships struggle, let others get ahead of you in career and finances and at school? 

While the Hebrews were in Egypt, they were growing from a small family clan of 70 people to a mighty nation with a population over one million.  They were learning that this world was not their home.  They were witnesses of God’s faithfulness and care to the godless Egyptians. 

And Exodus records that when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, there were other people groups who had come to identify with God who made the journey with them.  And all Egypt knew that the Lord was God and had opportunity to believe and worship Him.

The reality is that God has a purpose for everything in your life.  He has a purpose for your successes and for your failures and your challenges.  And all these things revolve around you seeing Him as God, loving Him more than any other, and experiencing real blessing as you trust in and respond to His love and leadership. 

 God is doing so much more in you and through you than you can ever fathom.  There is an eternal, God-ordained reason that you have the life that God has given you.  And the promise of God is that He is working all things together for your good if you love Him and live according to your purpose. 

 

God’s Truth in the Book of Exodus

  • Obedience and faith prepare you to experience deliverance.

Moses and the Israelites had to believe God and respond as people of faith so that they could receive the deliverance that God had prepared for them.

Moses had to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh.  The people had to unite and stand with Moses even when it seemed his demands led only to more hardship. 

The danger for us is that difficulties and fear will cause us to not believe and obey God when He has blessing for us just beyond the horizon of challenge and hardship.

This is why so many people will not trust in Jesus as Savior, why so many who believe they are Christians will not really let Him lead them as Lord over their finances, their resources, their time and talents.  They just don’t believe it will work out or pay off.

But God teaches again and again in Exodus that obedience and faith leads to deliverance.

Go back to Egypt.  Slay the Passover Lamb.  That leads to Freedom.

Move toward the Red Sea while armies of Egypt are pursuing you.  Don’t believe you are trapped.  That led to God opening up the waters so that His people could pass through on dry land.

Walk across the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula with your entire family.  Don’t turn back.  Trust that God will provide.  That led to God delivering manna from heaven to eat everyday and water from a rock when the people were thirsty.

Just about 12 years ago God led me to plant this church with a few friends.  And this work has been a challenge.  There’s no way that I could have known that over 140 people would come to confess Christ as Savior and follow Him in baptism.  That’s eternal impact that is invaluable.  And the Revolution has been a huge blessing to my family.  I didn’t know that would be the case.

Would you like to discover what blessing God has planned for you that you never would have anticipated? 

Obedience and faith.

 

God’s Truth in the Book of Exodus

  • It’s time to turn your focus toward the Promised Land.

I believe for all of us that God has new areas of challenge and growth and blessing ahead. 

And this is what I know – You’re not going to get to the Promised Land just by waiting on it.

God doesn’t bring the Promised Land to you. 

He takes you to the Promised Land.  Because the journey is a process of growing and becoming. 

God has saved you just as you are.  He will forgive your sin as you repent of a self-led life and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

But God’s intent and desire is to change you.  He is working in you and on you so that you take on more and more of His character.  He wants you to live every day with an eternal perspective and Godly values. 

He wants to teach you that no good thing is worth anything without Him. 

But with God, being loved by Him and learning to treasure Him above all else, all things fit together for His purpose – His glory and your blessing.

 

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Is this why You sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all.”

1Then 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.” – Exodus 5:22-6:1

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.” – Exodus 12:31-32

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