Summary: Working through the book of Exodus using consecutive expository preaching. Exodus 4:18-4:31. Teaching Sheet for the bulletin included at end of text.
Sermon Series “Exodus”
“God Calls Us”
Exodus 4 “19 Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.” 20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ’ ”
We are fascinated by stories of folks who drop everything and start over. There were lots of those stories after 9-11-2001. When I was growing up we had the most amazing “reality tv show.” It was all about a New York lawyer and his very fancy wife who leave the high life in NYC and buy a run-down farm. It was called “Green Acres” – remember that? What!? That was not a reality show? Just kidding! That show was hilarious. I heard they were remaking it for today with two millennials who move out where there is no internet access- that’s really funny.
The box on your teaching sheet has a percentage – 98.5%. That’s totally my estimate. Almost the whole Bible (98.5%) can be understood with a "plain reading." As you begin to study, more and more layers of meaning will be revealed. Then - there is a small percentage of the Bible that is really difficult to explain. Even Bible Scholars struggle with a passage like Exodus 4:24-26. I’m going to come back to that at the end of my sermon.
To start the NEW THING – you have to step away
Exodus 4 “18 So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
Now we leave the burning bush behind. Moses has to make a transition – leaving behind the life of a shepherd. We are not told much in God’s Word about Moses’ time as in Midian. He has a wife and two sons (that’s important to that problem passage at the end of the sermon today). He has been a part of Jethro’s family ever since he fled Egypt, tradition holds that to be 40 years. He tells his father-in-law he must leave.
This is how most of the Christian life must be lived – new man/old man, new life/old life, repentance (look out for the sin-skid). Paul gives us a clear picture of the difference – Ephesians 4 “22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Then he gives examples – v.25 to start telling the truth leave behind lying, v.28 leave stealing and work hard, v.29 clean up your language- let all you say edify and minister grace ( there’s always more than one way to say something!)
I have talked to you about the beginning of repentance: “God you’re right and I’m wrong.” The next steps are STOP and TURN AROUND. If we try to repent without a full STOP we go into a “sin-skid.” Example – gossip is a sin (no question!) and so you say “God you’re right about gossip and I’m wrong to think it’s ok.” Then you don’t STOP and the “sin-skid” starts. That’s when we say “I know I shouldn’t be gossiping, but…” This is not true repentance!
When God calls you – He has a plan
Exodus 4:20 “And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand…”
In the previous verse, Moses has his staff/rod in his hand. Now God reveals a new part of the plan.
Repeat after me – “God always has a plan” “and He never messes it up”
We, on the other hand…
Which reminds me of the boy who showed up at school wearing only one glove. Teacher questioned why? “The weather man said that it would be mild to start the day but on the other hand get very cold.”