Summary: Deliverance. We talk about it. We ask for it. We demand it. We know we need it. However, deliverance is often accompanied by dilemmas! Are we willing to hold on for freedom?
Pt. 3 - Diet
The load had become too heavy. 430 years of harsh slavery. 430 years of no freedom. 430 years of being treated as less than. Finally, the people have had all they can take and their desire for rescue has culminated in the desperate cry for deliverance. The people of God, once again, cry out to Him for help. We find the cry for help is heard in Exodus 2.
"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. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So, God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
In Chapter 3, God responds by sending those in need of deliverance a deliverer. We talked last week about the dilemma that we, I mean the Israelites, have in recognizing a deliverer. Their lack of revelation almost cost them their release. They show us that preferences can keep you in prison.
Moses on a mission stands before Pharaoh and demands the release of God's people. Here is where the story gets interesting. Go back with me and read what happens at this point of demand.
Text: Exodus 5:4-13 (TLB)
“Who do you think you are,” Pharaoh shouted, “distracting the people from their work? Get back to your jobs!” That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the taskmasters and officers he had set over the people of Israel: “Don’t give the people any more straw for making bricks! However, don’t reduce their production quotas by a single brick, for they obviously don’t have enough to do or else they wouldn’t be talking about going out into the wilderness and sacrificing to their God. Load them with work and make them sweat; that will teach them to listen to Moses’ and Aaron’s lies!” So, the taskmasters and officers informed the people: “Pharaoh has given orders to furnish you with no more straw. Go and find it wherever you can; but you must produce just as many bricks as before!” So, the people scattered everywhere to gather straw. The taskmasters were brutal. “Fulfill your daily quota just as before,” they kept demanding.
Moses' demand for freedom is met with an edict from Pharaoh for even harsher, more brutal treatment of the Hebrew slaves. I don't even have time to mess with this, but just for a second can I tell you that one of the deliverance dilemmas is that often the darkness gets darker right before we are delivered! The enemy will test your resolve. The enemy won't give up his slaves easily. The enemy won't gleefully give you up. If the chains seem tighter. If the bars seem stronger. If the dungeon seems to have darkened. Hold on . . . deliverance must be close. Keep fighting. Keep hoping. Keep believing. Your freedom is approaching if you won't quit now!
Finally, after 10 plagues, culminating with the death of all the first born in Egypt, sent by God against Pharaoh causes the dictator to relent. He finally releases the Hebrews. Once again, the Pharaoh changes his mind and gives pursuit and is ultimately swallowed up in the waters of the Red Sea. The slaves are now free. The people who had been in bondage for 430 years are now tasting the flavor of freedom. The ones who had longed for freedom, cried for freedom, plead for freedom, dreamed of freedom now find themselves unchained. It as free men that they face the hardest of the deliverance dilemmas. It is found in
Numbers 11:4-6 (TLB)
Then the Egyptians who had come with them began to long for the good things of Egypt (BTW - not everyone you were in bondage with is good company in freedom. They are comfortable with you as a slave, but not as a soldier). This added to the discontent of the people of Israel and they wept, “Oh, for a few bites of meat! Oh, that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed so much in Egypt, and the wonderful cucumbers and melons, leeks, onions, and garlic! But now our strength is gone, and day after day we have to face this manna!”
Deliverance will force you to deal with diet.
The most difficult dilemma that we will face as we work towards deliverance is our diet. You can visit freedom, but you can’t stay there if you won’t deal with your diet. What am I saying? Am I railing against donuts, cake or caffeine? No! What I am saying is that in order to be free and remain free our spiritual appetites have to change.
Paul addressed this need for change in Galatians when he says, "Gal. 5:24 (NIV) - Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. In other words, their diet changes. Their desires change.