Summary: God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. He has also delivered us. The Israelites complained and grumbled all the way, and so do we, that is the power of God, his presence and change can truly be felt.
This sermon was delivered to the congregation in Holy Trinity, in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 18th June 2017: by Gordon McCulloch. (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Please join me in my prayer. Let the words on my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable to you O Lord. Amen.
Good morning … and may I that this opportunity to wish all you fathers, a happy father’s day. … As normal, I did not know it was fathers day until very recently … and neither did I know I was to do today’s sermon. … So please forgive me as I don’t have a good Father’s day sermon for you. … Instead, I was instructed to preach from the Old Testament reading which I am not comfortable with, as it has taken me many years to get into the New, however, I was very pleased to write this sermon, I hope that you like it too.
So we will start this morning by quoting Romans 8:16 from my last sermon, the verse I regularly quote as I find it difficult to believe or accept and hopefully that one day I will: verse 16 reads, “… that we are the children of God: … and if children, then heirs; … heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; … if so that we suffer with him … that we may be also glorified together”. …
And from today’s Old Testament we read in verse 5, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant … you will be my treasured possession.”
I also find this verse difficult to accept; it is easy to read, and it is easy to be convincing, but to let it sink down or sink into our hearts … I find it most difficult, … because if we all believed it, … our lives would be so different, and so to would our outlook on life. I think we would be more jovial, and we should be happier, because we would know there is a God watching over us ever second of the day, guiding and directing us, letting us not fall into harm.
That is what the bible says, in the Old Testament, that we are his treasured possessions, and in the New, we are heirs with Christ. …
The apostle Paul also reminds us in Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; … and whether we die, … we die unto the Lord: .. whether we live therefore, or die, we belong to the Lord's”. And I like that verse as it is full of hope, and that therefore is my theme for today that we are God’s treasured possessions; it is the Lord God Himself who draws us to him, and we remain close to the Lord as we continue in His Word.
I. OUR LORD DRAWS US TO HIMSELF
Our reading this morning is from the book of Exodus, the second book in the Bible, where the children of Israel fled from rule of Egypt to the Promised Land in Canaan.
Verse 2, “After they set out from Rephidim, (Refidim), they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain”, ... the original translation tells us they broke camp there, travelled a distance, and they made camp again, to stay there in front of the mountain which is fair enough, however these Israelites did not know it yet, but this would become their routine for the next 40 years, as they would wander in the wilderness. They routinely would break camp, gather up all of their belongings and march for a day or so, then they would camp there a short time, and then move on, … time after time for 40 years.
Now this may sound simple, but if you consider that there were over 600,000 men in this camp, that is according to Numbers 1:46, and so add the women and children, we have well over 1 million people, in fact the population of a city, say of Glasgow for example. That is a large camp to break up in the morning … then move … then settle down again … and then as they settle, they would jockey for the best place, probably beside water, if there was water, … anyway, we read today that the Israelites have come to a mountain and camped in front of it, and we know from later verses that this is Mount Sinai where Moses was later given the Ten Commandments. Ok.
Verse 3 goes on to say, ”Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: