Summary: 1st sermon in the EXODUS series. (Audio at www.sermonlist.com/2007.html)
Last Sunday, as we left the book of GENESIS, we talked about the faith of Joseph. How he kept focused on the Lord and the dreams he received, even in the face of great hardship. And, looking back, we can see how God blessed Joseph, by letting him become the second most powerful man in the world – so that he could save the Israelites from starvation.
Through the encounter of his brother coming to buy grain from him, Joseph was reunited with his family and they moved to Egypt to be with him, and while the Pharaoh was still alive, the Israelites were treated as royal guests, and they multiplied in exceeding numbers.
But a change in Pharaohs, brought in a change of political climate, much like that of electing a new president does today. And with those changes, the Israelites went from being treated as royal guests to becoming slaves at the hands of the harsh slave masters. And they were kept as slaves in very miserable conditions for just over 400 years.
God foretold this to Abram in GENESIS 15:13-14.
‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward, they will come out with great possessions.’
Today, we begin our series that will take us through the book of EXODUS, and along this journey, we will see where the prophecy that God gave to Abram comes true exactly as it was foretold. We will see how God entered into the daily lives of His people and walked with them daily, giving them step-by-step instructions on what to do next.
He not only led them out of captivity, but He did it in such a way as to prove that the Egyptian gods were as nothing when compared to Him, and He also made the captors want to give their treasures to the Israelites as they were leaving that nation.
The word “EXODUS” means ‘to exit from or to depart from.’ In this book, we will see how God rescues the Hebrew nation from their captors, and we will see how He rescues Moses from certain death – several times. And woven into this entire story, we will see how God, in His infinite love, continues to show great mercy for us, even though we continue to sin against Him.
Our nature is to complain loudly, and often, about the situations we find ourselves in, but even while we are busy complaining, we choose to do nothing to get out of those situations. Why is that? We do that because no matter how much we might hate where we are, something that is “known” to us is always more comfortable than something that is “unknown” to us. And when we do something different, that takes us from what we know, into an area we do not know.
The Israelites went from being honored guests in Egypt in the days of Joseph, to being held in severe captivity, brutalized if they could not meet production quotas on making bricks. So, God set them free in the most miraculous of ways, and as soon as the going got just a little bit rough, they started griping, and wanted to GO BACK TO SLAVERY IN EGYPT!
Joseph and all of his brothers and father had long since died by this time. Remember that 70 people had gone to Egypt to be with Joseph, but God let them multiply over a 400-year period to over a million. In fact, the Pharaoh was faced with much the same problem as we are here in America today.
Let’s talk about …
1. THE INFLUX OF ALIENS INTO A NATION
One of the biggest political problems facing our nation today is how to handle all of the immigrants in our land. There are millions, and there is no doubt that they do take a toll of some sort on both our national and local budgets. Do we just bundle them all up and kick them out? We are a loving nation, and there is no way we can do that, so the only solution left is to find a way to incorporate them into our society and help them to help themselves.
But that is not how Pharaoh chose to deal with the same problem.
‘Look,’ he said to his people, ‘the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.’
‘So they put slave masters over them, to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses, as store cities, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar, and with all kinds of work in the fields – in all their hard labor, the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.’