Summary: We, like the Israelites on their exodus, are like a camel, led and controlled by the Master.
Dr. Tom Doubt
July 16, 1995
TO BE LIKE A CAMEL
BACKGROUND: As you are opening you Bibles to the 17th chapter of Exodus, allow me to provide you with some background for the passage.
1. God had delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt; once they had been slaves, but now they were free.
2. The Lord was using Moses to guide them through their wilderness journey. But it was a journey with some hardships that caused the Israelites to rebel against both Moses and God.
3. In chapter 16 they complained bitterly about the lack of food after 45 days in the Wilderness of Sin. God provided them meat in the evening (16:13) and bread in the morning (16:14-15).
4. Now we pick up the story as the Israelites continued their journey and ran out of water.
Scriptural Passage: EXODUS 17: 1-6
A. CAMELS ARE THE KIND OF ANIMAL IDEALLY SUITED TO LONG, HARD JOURNEYS. The life they lead is a bit like that faced by the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, or of the life of this church.
1. Unknown exactly when camels introduced into the Middle East. Perhaps it was when the Midianites invaded the land of Israel around 2000 BC. Certainly the type of camel was the dromedary, or one-humped variety.
2. Genesis 24 mentions the use of camels when Abraham sent his servant to Nahor in Mesopotamia in search for a wife for his son Isaac.
3. There are four characteristics of a camel that bear a remarkable similarity to what is required of a believer. These traits will be the focus of our message this morning.
a. They rely on a master to lead them, and to keep them from wandering aimlessly.
b. They also rely on the master to provide them with their daily food & water.
c. Their eyes are always turned upward as they travel.
d. The knobby knees of a camel are ideally suited for kneeling on a frequent basis.
4. You might, at this point, begin to wonder if this sermon is going to be some kind of parable. Yes, it is; we are the camels.
5. As we examine the four traits of a camel it is important for us to reflect on how these same characteristics are important in our own lives.
6. Today, as you begin a new & exciting journey in the life of the church it is imperative that everyone, leaders and followers, grasp the significance of how these four characteristics contribute to a successful journey.
THESIS: When we turn our lives over to the Great Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, we can successfully endure and complete any journey, no matter how rough the road may appear.
A. WHY DOES A CAMEL NEED TO BE LED? I imagine that this question is probably not high on your daily list. You may have never even thought about it before, unless of course, you have taken some philosophy course!!!
1. Each day when the camel gets up, it does not know where it will be going, what kind of road lies ahead, or how much of a burden will be placed on its back. Its plight is not all that different from what we humans face each day.
a. The camel relies on a master to guide it in the proper direction. Without such guidance it would wander aimlessly and get lost.
b. A group of camels in a caravan may be following each other in a straight line, but each is under the guidance of to master. Obedience to the master’s commands ensures that they all move in the same direction.
2. Like us, every camel begins life as a wild, untamed creature. It must be domesticated and trained before it can be of service to the master.
a. Intrinsic rebellion is brought under control. The camel is taught understanding and obedience. Understanding that the master is in charge, and obedience to his commands.
b. The bridle and harness may initially be uncomfortable, but as the animal begins to understand and obey, there is no longer any discomfort, but rather, acceptance. The harness becomes a gentle reminder of where the master intends the camel to go.
3. ILLUSTRATION: Crossing of Red Sea (Exodus 14)
a. The Lord spoke through Moses to lead this rag-tag people out of the land of Egypt. They gained an understanding of God and obeyed his command to leave at night (Ex. 12:31).
b. Pharaoh and his army pursued the Israelites and caught up with them at Pi Hahiroth on the shore of the Red Sea (14:9). The people were afraid.
c. It was at this point that they became mutinous and said to Moses: “.. Have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (14:11).