Summary: Needless to say, 2020 has been an interesting year. Too much tragedy, illness and isolation and most of us will really be happy when we are able to move forward.
“Out of Egypt”
Needless to say, 2020 has been an interesting year. Too much tragedy, illness and isolation and most of us will really be happy when we are able to move forward. One of the things adults mention often is a reference to their glory days. Those days when for one reason or another things seemed to be better. Perhaps we felt as though we understood life and things were just not as complicated. And we long to go back to a time when things were simpler. In the song Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen describes his past and in doing so he mentions his father who for 20 years worked on the assembly line at Ford Motor Company. After 20 years they let him go and Springsteen was only 9 years old but later he says all his Dad ever did after that was sit on a bar stool and talk to his buddies about the Glory Days…you know the Good Ole Days when everything was simpler and better.
As one man put it you know when you’re getting older if all you talk about is the past. And it’s true. For some that happens way too early in life; we give up, we lose hope; we think we have nothing to look forward to --- the best is behind us rather than in front of us. In the OT, God speaks the phrase “Out of Egypt” 186 times. Out of Egypt refers to a place where:
• God’s people were hurting
• It is the place where the 10 plagues took place
• It represents an old way of doing things
• None of us can forget how God called the Israelites out of Egypt and there they stood before the Red Sea—looking behind them, about to be slaughtered by the Egyptians but instead He parted the Red Sea and they walked across on dry ground. Incredible. And this is what I believe. God still wants to move his people out of Egypt---not tomorrow but now.
In the passage I read the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream; tells him to get up, take Mary and Jesus and get to Egypt because Herod is going to search for Jesus and kill him. So he leaves and takes Mary and Jesus and stays there until Herod dies. As a result the scripture from the prophet Hosea is fulfilled “out of Egypt I called my son.” It seems that everyone has an Egypt experience—a time when life is not all we had hoped. But here’s a truth we really need to capture and apply…..
God still calls his people out of Egypt.
There is still a promised land waiting for all of us.
And I’m ready for mine. ? In this passage God calls the Holy Family out of Egypt just in time, as Herod realizes the Wise Men have out smarted him—I mean isn’t that why they’re called wise men? Herod is furious and orders for all males under the age of two to be killed. In that way Jesus would be included. But now that time has passed; those who were attempting to kill Jesus are now dead and gone. They go to Nazareth and another scripture is fulfilled and that was spoken through the prophets. “He will be called a Nazarene, referring of course to Jesus of Nazareth.
I’m not sure I have ever preached a sermon with ten points but I am today. Let me add; ten brief points for us to better understand why we have an Egypt experience and how God plans to move us to Canaan if we will just listen. So let me give you what we might call The Red Sea Rules. Rules to live by if you wish to move out of Egypt.
1. Realize that God has a reason for you to be in Egypt. You think, why would God want me to be where I am right now? Things are broken in my life---COVID has changed everything. I’m stressed---worried---losing hope. God is a good God. Why would he want me here? Listen to what C.S. Lewis says: “pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain. Pain is his megaphone to rouse a world that is not listening.” The apostle Paul put it simply, “All things work together for God to those who love the Lord.” Romans 8:28. You may not understand it now, but God does have a reason.
2. Show more concern for God’s glory than your personal relief. When you and I experience pain and heartache, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Hard to focus on anything positive, hard to stay optimistic and frankly it’s hard to keep our eyes on Jesus. Why? Because pain insists on being attended to.