The Story | Ch 5 - His Nation
Topic: Gospel Passage: Exodus 1:1–40:38
Introduction | Catch up with the story
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series, The Story looking at the narrative of the Bible taking us from now until after Easter. When you skip a chapter or hit a story in the middle you miss out on some references used later in The Story. Last week we saw God made a promise to Abraham, continued through Isaac and Jacob that all the nations of the world would be blessed. Jacob had a son Joseph who end up in Egypt, rose to power, and saved this family of God from the harsh realities of a fallen creation. Exodus opens 400 years after Joseph kept Egypt from famine and His family joined him as favored refugees. In Exodus 1 it says the people of Israel (God’s Family) were fruitful and multiplied. That’s good news! But they are not subduing the earth and creating a flourishing culture, instead they are subject an oppressed minority of the preeminent economic, military, and cultural super power of the world. They are a nation but they are not free. While powerless in slavery, the Egyptian regime systematically increases Israel’s suffering by placing heavier burdens and even killing their male children. Through Egyptian civil disobedience and divine providence, a young Israelite boy (Moses) finds himself in Pharaoh’s care. He grows up, sees the oppression of His people and goes one man vigilante and murders an Egyptian slave driver. Word spreads and Moses flees ending up in Midian (Part of the promised land) Moses is free to flourish but is disconnected from God’s Family. In Egypt, one Pharaoh gives way to the next as oppression and suffering of God’s people grows. The promise to bless the nations, have victory, and enjoy abundant life seem to be forgotten by God, is He listening? Hope is dwindling. The Story looks bad. This next chapter is foundational to see the pattern of redemption, the character of God, and what it means to be His people seen throughout the rest of The Story.
PART I | People Cry, God Hears, God Arrives | Exodus 2-3
Exodus 2:23-25 | 23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24and God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
The people cry out! They see their slavery and are reminded THIS IS NOT RIGHT! They assess their condition, they experience pain, groaning, and crying comes out. Not just “this is terrible”, but “someone come and help us.” We are slaves, we cannot save ourselves we are not powerful and the one who oppresses us is so powerful we cannot overcome. They don’t cry out for a better plan or strategy, they cry out like one who knows how dire their situation is. The cry out for rescue! We know these cries don’t go out it to an empty void. Verse 24 says “God heard”. We see God hears their groaning, He remembers the promise with Abraham (not that it was ever forgotten, God is acting on it). Sees their pain, knows these people and it says and God knew. What a comfort in the midst of slavery to not be forgotten to not be unseen, unheard or unknown. God knows His people, the situation they are in, He hears their groaning. They are in political and social slavery. We are in spiritual slavery of sin. The Israelites were not made for Egypt and we were not made to live in slavery of sin. Where do you need to actually cry out to God? What slavery or sin have you been living in that you need deliverance from? What have you just assumed as a normal condition that God says you are not built for? It’s not enough to merely see and hear, God arrives.
Exodus 3:7-15 | 7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
God has seen affliction, heard the cry. He knows their suffering (these are His image bearers being enslaved) and His response is to come down from Heaven to earth to deliver them from Egypt to a Promised Land of abundant joy. God is sending Moses to Pharaoh not as a general leading an army; but as a mailman delivering a message. Moses is rightly skeptical. It looks likes he is bring self-deprecating but he is actually just being faithless and self-centered. How am I going to do this? God gets it, “Moses you aren’t sufficient, but I will be with you.” You’ll know I did it and you will go and people will be set free to worship. That is the purpose of God redemption of His people, to worship. But who are you? Tell them I AM and tell them I am the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By saying I AM, God is saying He exists where all the gods and idols of Egypt do not. Where they are made by men, don’t listen, see, hear, or act God made mankind is living and active. By saying He is the God of their fathers He is saying I was faithful to them, I am faithful to you, and I will be faithful for eternity. God always keeps His promises.
Moses goes back to Egypt, meets with Israel, goes before Pharaoh to tell them God says “Let my people go, so they can worship.” Pharaoh laughs in his face “I don’t know Yahweh/I AM/God” and I sure as heck am not going to give up my slaves who serve me. Furthermore, I am going to make things worse. Sin and oppression can’t be negotiated with. Sin is more than content for you to be slaves and compliant but try to resist and you will have greater pain so just say in slavery and avoid pain, but never experience joy. Moses believes this is the end of The Story. End of Ch 5 “God why have you done this? Things are worse!”
PART II | God Begins to Act | Exodus 6
Exodus 6:6-8 | 6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’”
Because I AM, I will: Deliver you from slavery and oppression (Bring you out from under burden, free you from slavery, redeem you with my mighty hand and bring justice to your oppressors.) Gospel Truth. God declares His saving acts. This creates a Gospel Community (Take you to be not a people but MY people.) Have a personal relationship (I will be your God you will know the God who saved you, relationship will be restored. You will be saved for a purpose of flourishing. You will be brought to the promised land of blessing, it will be given to you to worship an display God’s glory to the world. Gospel Living
God doesn’t tell his people to rise up and save themselves. He doesn’t give them a battle plan. God begins to display His awesome might over the seemingly all powerful Egyptian super power. The Creator whose power spoke the universe into existence is about to establish dominance over a force that has oppressed God’s people for countless generations. Pharaoh (representing Egypt/slavery/sin) has picked a fight with God who is a mighty warrior for His people and purposes. First the Nile River, apparent sources of life and economics prosperity who Egypt worshipped (and used to drown Israel’s sons) is turned from fresh water to blood. Then other Egyptian idols are systematically brought low as frog, knats, hail, boils, devour crops, kill livestock, bring pain and suffering, even the sun god Re could not overcome the plague of darkness. Defeat after defeat are not enough to cause Pharaoh to release his grip as sin is not rational. Finally God, through Moses announces one final plague. “If you do not release God’s people, all the first born sons of Egypt will die (Justice indeed for a nation that had attempted to kill first born Israelite sons a generation earlier). For God’s people to show their allegiance to I AM and be distinguished from idolaters they will sacrifice a lamb, cover their door posts with lambs blood, enjoy a special meal, and prepare for freedom. When the angel of death comes to Egypt it will PASSOVER the homes covered by the blood of the Lamb. Redemption is not only being released from slavery. The shed blood also covers the judgment of God. The plague comes, Egypt wails in agony and Israel is released fully equipped for their journey!
A nation of slaves is not easily given up. Pharaoh mounts the Egyptian army pursues Israel to recapture them. There is fear in God’s people, they begin to wonder if walking out of slavery is worth it or if God will let them be defeated and destroyed by an enraged enemy. Why didn’t we just maintain the status quo? Sin won’t let you go easily and it will pursue you even after you are set free. Just as you are not powerful to secure your own freedom you cannot overcome sin on your own strength. You are to trust the God who saved you will also continue to fight for you! He will not save you to then wither or be overcome by sin.
Exodus 14:10-14 | 10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
The God who took you from slavery Egypt did not do so you could die, He will continue to fight for you. Trapped between the Red Sea and a closing army, God parts the sea, saving His nation, and swallowing the Egyptian force in total victory. You see the response of God’s people in seeing victory over a defeated enemy in Chapter 15. They stand on the shore looking over the drowned army no longer powerful, no longer having the potential to enslave them again and they SING! The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war; the LORD (I AM) is his name. Victory over sin and slavery is a cause for greater worship of the God who fights for your freedom. But we are not saved to stand at the sea shore and look back over defeated sin. We are never to forget what God has saved us from but we are to continue to journey toward what God has promised for us and where He has called us to.
PART III | God Saves and God Legislates | Exodus 19-20
Ex 19:4-6| 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Exodus is the end of slavery but it is also the beginning of freedom. Freedom to worship the God who saves the way He prescribes. No longer under threat of recapture, Israel is now free to journey to their Promised Land. The God who saves His nation is also the God who legislates. The law to love God and people is given to freed slaves to restrain evil and promote life. In the Garden without sin had one you shall not. As sin multiples so does the law. God gives ten commandments. They are given to bless and not restrict.
Exodus 20:1-20 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The first 4 are about relationship with God: #1 No other God’s (God is exclusive) God didn’t save them to be enslaved by other sins or idols. #2 Don’t make an image of God (God is transcendent) God is not small enough to have his essence or nature captured in an image (Octavia Spencer ain’t God the Father) you will always make God to small and too incomplete to actually have effective understanding and right worship. #3 Do not misuse God’s name (God is important and holy) worthy of reverence. We don’t say “Jesus Christ!” in derision or even in flippancy as it is belittling to the God who saves us, we are grateful people. #4 Keep Sabbath – God has saved you from being a slave so you can enter into rest. Egypt and sin are not your unrelenting slave master. You serve your savior now and I prescribe work and rest, not slave labor.
Next 6 are our relationship to other people. #5 You’ll honor your parents: family will be valued joy will be experienced. #6 Do not murder, life created by God is sacred. #7 Do not commit adultery (your sexuality is free from slavery of sin so you will honor your marriage) #8 You shall not steal (others property will be honored you will be able to work a produce and enjoy without thieve taking. #9 Don’t lie about others. Honor other image bearers enough represent them accurately. #10 Don’t covet. Be content with what your blessing is and what you have and don’t worry about others. God’s provision for you is sufficient.
God’s law is given to freed people, not given to set them free. Order matters. God has saved them now He giving them the law He didn’t say back in Egypt try this law out see if it works and if you can perfectly follow it I’ll owe you some freedom. NO! They’ve been set free to have the freedom to obey and flourish again. Where freedom should lead to joy and worship; a generation responds with grumbling and wandering. Instead of remaining faithful God’s people begin to make up their own story rather than remember The Story. They break half the law in one party. Let’s say a Gold cow saved us!! #1 let’s make it out of our own jewelry #2 Let’s have a huge drunken frat part with and knock out #7 and the whole premise Moses has lied to us about God #9 now we have a God like the Egyptians did # 10. Great idea! Just as Adam and Eve wanted the garden without the God, they want salvation without serving the savior.
Exodus 33:13-16 | 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
There is no point of being saved from slavery if you don’t get be in greater communion with God. Our relationship with God is what makes us distinct. Don’t wander without God dwell in His presence. God still guides, His presence is still with us in the Holy Spirit. We’ve been set free to enjoy God. Not get the promised land without God. God says “I will be with you and you will have rest” Now go and be distinct in the world as a saved people who live different than those around them and point others to the God who saves. We are now part of a new nation, no longer slaves but saved to proclaim the God who saves.
PART IV | Nation Saved by Jesus to worship Jesus
Where is Jesus in this Story? God hears the cries of His people desiring freedom. God comes down in Jesus with a message of freedom and the mighty act of salvation. Jesus arrives as a helpless baby under the threat of state sponsored infanticide as a type of Moses who takes flight to Egypt and returns to Israel to “set the captives free”. Jesus say in John 8 Before Abraham was I AM. Wow.
We say saved by Jesus work because Jesus is the Passover lamb and the mighty God who tells us to watch and be still as he saves. I Cor 7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. His work that saves is not a display of overwhelming power but of unfathomable humility and weakness taking our defeat on the cross so we can have His victory in the resurrection. WE don’t celebrate Passover but we look the cross where it’s not lambs blood covering a door protecting us from death, but Jesus blood covering us to keep us from wrath. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! His body broken for us. We take communion. Communion is our new covenant where we remember how we were set free from sin, and whose sacrifice covers our sin.
We say changed by Jesus grace because redemption is incomplete if it only removes us from slavery but doesn’t change us as a new people. Where God speaks to Moses on Sinai and gives the Law. Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount and says “I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it perfectly.” He tells His people all of the law drills down to simply and comprehensively Love God and love people. We live new lives in obedience to Jesus commandments, serving the one who saves us from sin and death.
We say living on Jesus mission because we have been saved for a purpose, not to die in the wilderness but to be a people with the purpose of display the saving redeeming God to the nations. To proclaim freedom to captives who don’t know anything but the resigned slavery of Egypt who don’t even have an idea of the promised land and life of flourishing, who don’t know freedom is costly but paid; available and secured.
We practice Baptism is where we see the God who lead us through the waters of the Red Sea still saves and brings us into His people, His community. Like the Israelites on the shore we sing song of deliverance.
Jesus is your warrior who saves with a might hand, He is the sacrificial the lamb, He is the one who secures redemption and defeats the enemy. He is the one who provides in the wilderness and leads us to a promised land where there is no more sin, slavery and toil, but joy forevermore.
This is your time to respond to the story of His Nation. We know The Story radically changes the life stories of individuals. We must respond either by receiving it as true and glorious or rejecting it favor of a lesser story. Are you in slavery to sin? Then respond to freedom life with God in Christ. If you know Jesus we take Communion each week as we do we are acknowledging we are the villain of our own story so we can’t be our own hero, Jesus is our hero on the cross in our place. We sing remembering His victory and hope in His return. We give financially remembering he has given us everything we are not slaves but stewards. Exodus shows us our God has called us to leave slavery, walk in freedom, Trust Jesus.
More in THE STORY
February 10, 2019The Story: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration
April 30, 2017The Story | Ch 12 - His Return
April 23, 2017The Story | Ch. 11 - His Church