Summary: This sermon focuses on three places we can live - a. In a land of slavery (enslaved to the penalty and power of sin) b. In the wilderness (going around in circles) or c. In God's Promise Land - cleansed, infilled and enjoying the Life made possible by God's Holy Spirit
Theme: Living Abundantly
Title: Promise Land Living
Grace and peace today from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I want to talk to you today about where you are living. I don't mean your physical address; although that is important but your spiritual address. I want to talk to you about the place where you heart and mind lives this morning.
I have been studying the journey of the People of Israel over the last few weeks and have discovered that for the most part they found themselves living in one of three places:
+ As slaves under bondage
+In the wilderness going around in circles
+ or enjoying life in God's Promise Land
I have also discovered that like Israel a great many people live in one of those three places - in slavery, in the wilderness or in the Promise Land.
+ In a place of spiritual slavery - being enslaved by sin, addiction and death
+ In the wilderness - having been rescued by the LORD but finding themselves spiritually going around in circles and having an up and down spiritual life
+ In the Promise Land of God - being filled with Holy Spirit and living under the guidance and will of God's favor, anointing and blessing
Let's take a few moments and look at all this in more detail.
I. Land of Slavery
When we get to the end of the book of Genesis it looks like the Children of Israel are in a good place. They are living safe and secure in the land of Goshen. They are able to grow their crops, tend their sheep (livestock) and serve the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY? Everything looks like they will be enjoy a time of prosperity and success for generations to come. The Egyptians are their friends, Joseph is in control and life is good.
So what happened? What happened between the last chapters of Genesis and the first chapters of the book of Exodus? What caused them to go from being a part of the highest social class to being a part of the lowest social class? What caused them from being in people in power to becoming slaves?
While we don't know for sure, But, I think the Bible does give us some very important clues. If you read Genesis chapter 47 you find out that while Joseph and the Pharaoh at the time gave people food to eat during the years of the famine they also enslaved the people.
At first, the people spent all their money for food. When their money ran out they gave all their livestock. Then when they no longer owned any more livestock they signed over their homes to Joseph and Pharaoh.
Listen to the words found in Genesis 37:20 - 21
"So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaoh's. As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other."
Everyone except for the Israelites living in the land of Goshen had become slaves.
Then in Exodus chapter one we read about a new Pharaoh, a new king coming to power in Egypt. A Pharaoh that did not know Joseph. In other words, the new Pharaoh did not come from the same line as the Pharaoh that knew Joseph. Bible scholars tell us that a new group of Egyptians came to power. This new group had been a part of the people that Joseph and the former Pharaoh had enslaved.
When you read that, it doesn't take long to realize that whether they knew it or not when Joseph and Pharaoh enslaved those people they sent about Israel's demise. The enslaved people came to power and when they came to power they set about enslaving the people who they thought had been responsible for taking their land, their homes, their livestock and their lives.
It appears that Joseph and Pharaoh made some bad decisions. The Bible never tells us that the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY wanted Joseph to enslave the Egyptians. Joseph was God ordained to come to power so that His People and the people of Egypt and the whole Middle East would survive the famine. God did not endorse the plan to enslave the people because they could not pay for food.
Poor choices, going beyond God's permission and thinking that we know best always gets us in trouble. It's the perfect formula for disaster. It got Joseph and the Children of Israel in trouble. It got Adam and Eve and trouble and it will get us in trouble as well.
How many times do we find ourselves enslaved to this addiction or that addiction, to this sin or to that sin because we made a bad choice, we thought we knew better and we did something without God's permission?