Sermons

Summary: Allowing unsaved individuals to provide guidance for the church invites destruction of the Faith.

“A mixed multitude also went up with them” [EXODUS 12:38a]. [1]

The world is attending our services. That is the good news! The bad news is that the world is attending our services. Churches of this day tend to order services of worship of the Living God with a view of accommodating the desires of the world. Church leaders convince themselves that they will draw more outsiders to attend the services of the churches. We tell ourselves, “If we don’t get them in the building, we can’t tell them the Good News.” However, I have observed that though our intentions were noble in the beginning, the presence of the crowd soon becomes the reason for the service. Rather than meeting the Risen Son of God, we seek a crowd. Before we know what happened, the Faith has been infiltrated and we become hesitant to declare the truth of the Gospel lest we offend those in attendance.

When Israel was delivered from bondage to the Egyptians, they began a journey of discovery. Shortly after leaving Egypt, the people discovered that they would need to depend on God. They were accompanied by a large number of non-Jews, identified as “a mixed multitude.” The non-Jews that went with them out of Egypt were less than enthusiastic to discover they would have to depend on the Lord. The Word of God addresses this problem when Moses writes, “Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at’” [NUMBERS 11:4-6].

Bible translators have struggled to capture the concept that the Hebrew conveys concerning those who accompanied the Israelites. The rabble is variously described as “many other people,” [2] “a crowd of mixed ancestry,” [3] “a large company of every kind,” [4] “a mixed crowd,” [5] “a rabble of non-Israelites,” [6] “a mixed crowd,” [7] “a large company of others.” [8] Eventually, we get the point that these people wanted the benefits of being associated with Israel, despite not sharing their cultural heritage.

Do you suppose that only Hebrews were slaves in Egypt? It is impossible to imagine that slaves from many countries were not included among the enslaved in Egypt. The Midianite traders that marketed Joseph don’t appear to have restricted their trade in slaves to young Hebrew men. Slaves were undoubtedly gathered from wherever they could be found. Perhaps some were taken captive during wars fought by the Egyptians against their neighbours. Therefore, in the same way a jailbreak might free all the prisoners, many of the Pharaoh’s “inmates” decided they had had enough, that anything was better than the slavery of Egypt, and they threw their lot in with the Hebrews and the fellow named Moses.

Don’t forget that these people were outsiders—they had no idea who Abraham was. They had never heard of Isaac or of Jacob. Though they had witnessed the mighty plagues that had devastated the Egyptians, they didn’t know the Lord GOD—they had never worshipped Him nor even heard of Him. The Hebrews themselves barely trusted Moses, and these assorted hangers-on definitely had no loyalty to Moses. Their focus was on themselves and their wants. The Israelite exodus was a convenience to gain the immediate desires of the “mixed multitude.” These hangers on did not share the Jew’s faith, weak though it may have been. Their association with Israel was casual, at best. The presence of this crowd is best defined as self-seeking.

The mixed multitude proved to be a drag on the spiritual health of Israel. Their desires constantly caused them to think only of what they once had rather than where they were headed. Among the churches of this day is found a mixed multitude. They seem at times to truly be a multitude! They outnumber the saints, or so it seems on many occasions. Their presence, coupled with the contemporary infatuation with democracy combines to lead the faithful into spiritual dead-ends that leave the people of God confused and at the mercy of the moment.

IDENTIFYING THE MIXED MULTITUDE AMONG US — I’m under no illusion, and you should not be deluded into believing, that everyone who says he is a Christian, or that she is a Christian, is one. I remember when I first came to grips with this shortly after I had become a follower of the Christ. I had spoken to a neighbour, asking if he was a follower of the Son of God. This man immediately smiled and said, “Oh, yes, I’m a Christian. In fact, I’m a Baptist just like you! I was baptised at the First Baptist Church of Tulsa on August the 4th 1968.”

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