Summary: This sermon was preached the Sunday after hurricane Katrina. It discusses the subject of ultimate safety and security.
Introduction- Show pictures of New Orleans (from hurricane Katrina) and ask the question: where is safety and security to be found? This past week many people along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans have been asking this question. Even though we may not have been in their shoes we are asking the same questions.
I want to read a text that shows a group of people who were struggling to find the answer to this question. Let me explain the context before reading the text. The Israelite people had been delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. They had been in slavery 430 years. God sent them a special leader named Moses who lead them to freedom. Can you imagine how they must have felt, to be free for the first time in 430 years? Most of them did not know the meaning of freedom. Not long after leaving Egypt their new freedom faced a test. They were standing at the edge of the Red Sea. They were blocked! The Red Sea, a seemingly impassable body of water, stood before them. Pharoah, the vicious commander of Egypt, was breathing down their necks from behind. They were, as the saying goes, between the rock and the hard place. Would their new-found freedom and faith pass the test?
Read text: "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, `Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness." Exodus 14:12 This passage represents a failure in the school of faith. These people did not have faith in God. Except for Moses they would have perished in that place. Moses would not let them be defeated.
1. Let’s consider some of the lies we tell ourselves in our search for safety and security.
A. We tell ourselves the lie that safety and security may be found in people. The Israelites thought there was more safety and security in serving the Egyptians than wandering in the desert.
Ill- A Litttle girl once said to her mother, “Mommy, if Santa Claus brings our presents, and God gives us our daily bread, and Uncle Sam gives us Social Security, why do we keep daddy around?” (Contributed to Sermon Central by: Bruce Howell)
Ill-Sometimes we become convinced that a President, politician or certain political party will bring better days and security to us.
B. We tell ourselves the lie that safety and security can be found in a place.
Ill- A free-lance reporter from the New York Times was interviewing Marilyn Monroe years ago. She was aware of Marilyn’s past and the fact that during her early years Marilyn had been shuffled from one foster home to another. The reporter asked Marilyn, “Did you ever feel loved by any of those foster families with whom you lived?”
“Once,” Marilyn replied, “when I was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on makeup, and I was watching her. She was in a happy mood, so she reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge puff … For that moment, I felt love by her.”
Marilyn Monroe had tears in her eyes when she remembered this event. Why? The touch lasted only a few seconds, and it happened years before. It was even done in a casual, playful way, not in an attempt to communicate great warmth or meaning. But as small as the act was, it was like pouring a bucket of love and security on the parched life of a little girl starved for affection. (Gary Smalley and John Trent, The Blessing (New York: Pocket Books, 1986), 48.
Ill- In the cartoon "Peanuts" Linus says of his security blanket "Only one yard of outing flannel stands between me and a nervous breakdown"
C. We tell ourselves the lie that safety can be found in power.
Ill- Several years ago I saw a television program about survivalists. These survivalist groups store up food, ammunition and other supplies in anticipation of some catastrophic event they foresee. I once met a survivalist in a store in New Orleans. He was purchasing all sorts of survival gear. He told me if it came down to him or other people, he would survive. He thought power was the answer.
2. Let’s consider the price we are willing to pay for safety and security.
A. Our answers are often foolish.
Ill- This past week there was much talk about gas shortages. Many people were rushing to buy gas in case there was a shortage. The concept of hoarding is somewhat foolish. Why? What are we going to do once the hoarded product is gone? If there is a shortage, there is a shortage! There is nothing we can do about it.