Summary: Desperation is often the harbinger to breakthrough. Although this message was preached prior to the presidential election, the principles taught still apply nationally and individually. How does God use desperation to ultimately bless us?
A. I have experienced a heightened awareness of God’s love for Israel this week. As you know this is the time of year when Israel is approaching the Feast of Tabernacles. We are currently in the midst of Ten Days of Awe which began last Sunday with the Feast of Trumpets and will conclude this Wednesday with Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement. Perhaps that helps explain the attention I feel toward the nation of Israel. I noticed in the news that our administration in the White House is giving Israel a hard time concerning their settlements in the West Bank.i Of course, they have been relatively quiet about the terrorist attacks against Israel.ii I hope we can get someone in the White House who will stand up for Israel rather than oppose this ally.iii Israel is God’s chosen nation, even if they are currently in a state of unbelief. God is working a plan in that nation and He will defend that plan. We saw that in the Six Day War and even in the daily survival of that tiny nation. I hope we can get somebody in the White House who will be a friend to Israel rather than condemn her. As a nation, we are currently treading on thin ice.
B. I want to begin this morning talking about God’s dealings with Israel; then make some applications for our own lives. 1 Cor. 10:11 tells us to do that. Paul says that Israel’s experience is recorded for our admonition. In principle, the way God dealt with Israel is the way He will deal with you.iv If He blessed their obedience, He will bless your obedience. If He chastens their disobedience, He will chasten your disobedience. When we look at God’s dealings with Israel, we’re not just studying history. We’re learning about God and how He works with people, and we’re applying those lessons to our own lives. The lesson today is about desperation. Have you experienced it? Are you experiencing it? Is it friend or foe? That depends on how we respond to it. Desperation is often the Precursor to Breakthrough! God often waits until we’re desperate enough to change, before He intervenes—the principle of desperation.
I. The Principle Observed in God’s Dealings with the Nation of Israel
A. Why did God wait 400 years before He delivered Israel out of Egyptian slavery?v Was it because of any weakness on His part? Was it because of any indifference on His part? No, it was because there were things that had to happen in the Hebrew hearts before they were ready for His deliverance. In the midst of all their afflictions He was increasing their numbers and preparing them for the deliverance.vi When God met with Moses at the burning bush, He said to him in Ex. 3:7-10 “…I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.vii I’m sent to tell you this morning, God sees the oppression or trouble you experience. The Hebrew word translated oppression comes from another Hebrew word that means depression.viii Whether it’s oppression or depression, God is aware of what you’re going through.
He also says two other things in that verse. (1) “I …have heard their cry.” Your prayers are not in vain, even when they are not being answered immediately. (2) “I know their sorrows.” At what level does God know your sorrows? It’s not just at an intellectual level. It’s not just that He knows what you’re going through. He feels it with you. He knows it as you know it! Isa 63:9 “In all their affliction He was afflicted [it’s not distant. It’s intimate and personal], And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.” Look at verse 8 in Exodus 3 “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.” [God never just delivers us out of something. He is always delivering us into something as well. Out of Egypt, into the Promise Land. Out of despair into fulfillment ] Verse 9 “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."