As I was getting ready for this sermon- My idea was to show God’s Faithfulness using the Israelites’ Years in the Desert, after God took them from the ruthless slave drivers in Egypt.
Scriptures say- God watched over their journey through the vast desert and HE was with them and they lacked nothing- And that is note-no praise- worthy since there were 600,000 men, not including women and children that came out of Egypt and traveled in the Desert 40 years .
Let’s see- there was Water flowing out from a Rock on more than one occasion- there was Bread from Heaven- called Manna- and for those of us who have never had Manna show up on the ground outside in the morning-.. the bible says, it was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.. Sweet ! And then for Meat- lovers- in the evening- Quail would come in and Cover the Camp, so much so- I am assuming you could step on one and make it a meal- no work involved there, except to cook it as you pleased. When I found this verse it amazed me… –“Neither the clothes on their back or the sandals on their feet wore out in 40 years”. As parents with growing children, that would be a huge savings/blessing, and that comment itself boggles my mind.
I’d say God showed himself Faithful and took good care of the Israelites.
As I felt lead to completely read Exodus which is where the story of the Israelites in Egypt begins and goes through the writing of the 10 commandments to writings of the Law.
It is interesting to see that the book of Exodus starts with the end of Joseph’s story-, the son of Jacob, the one with the coat of many colors- who was sold by his envious brothers and ended up in Egypt, where he became 2nd in power with the King of Egypt. God had put Joseph in that position, so that he would be able to provide for all of his family, the sons of Israel who numbered 70 in all when a 7 year famine hit the world and God was faithful to provide for all their needs and there they stayed.… THEN many years later, the Israelites were “fruitful and multiplied” greatly, becoming exceedingly numerous so that the land was filled with them.. I guess they outnumbered the Egyptians so much, that it freaked them out, thinking if Israel got it in their heads, they could fight against them and leave the country- which would devastate it. So they dealt shrewdly with them, put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, dealing harshly with them, and made their lives bitter with hard labor ruthlessly… wow- that got pretty ugly and then to top it off, the king decided they needed some serious birth control, so he made a law that said to kill all of the Israelite boy babies- Enter Moses- Mom- who believed in God and put Moses afloat down the River Nile, where the Pharaoh’s Daughter came upon him and adopted him for her own. He must have grown up knowing he was an Israelite, because when he was older, he went for a walk, down to where his people were working- He saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite, and got so upset that he killed the Egyptian. He thought no one had seen him, but when Pharaoh found out- he tried to kill Moses and Moses had to run for his life, so there you have it- Moses’s first experience with a King of Egypt, trying to help the Israelites- and it didn’t turn out so well…
Fast forward some years- Moses is married with children… He leading his sheep- he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There he saw a bush that was on fire- but it didn’t burn up.. amazed, he went over to the bush and God spoke to him from within that bush…As the story goes- God Calls to Moses- and tells him that He is GOD and what he wants him to do-
The Lord Said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, flowing with milk and honey… ??This is note-worthy- this land flowing with milk and honey was a land promised by God to Moses’ ancestors- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Again further discussions of God’s Faithfulness
Pretty cool of God- makes the first move- came down to earth, spoke to Moses- telling him he heard Israel’s cries and wants to deliver them out of Egypt and into a great place… pretty well laid out plan, with a happy ending!
Moses conversation with God starts out ok, with- Here I am! But when God says-“So I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites out of Egypt.” Moses showed some reluctance by saying … Who am I, that I should do this thing? ..Wonder if they don’t believe me?,…Wonder if they don’t know who YOU are and what YOUR name is?… You think Moses is having flashbacks to his failed attempt to help Israel and deal with a King of Egypt.. think he is scared? You know when you are scared to do something, just having someone there with you- helps give you courage… and that is what God told him- that God, himself will be with Moses and go with him. Then He encourages Moses more by sharing about Himself as the dependable and faithful God, that Moses can trust-
God even gave him a cool staff-snake “trick” so Moses could do miraculous signs, proving to the people and Pharaoh what he was saying was True and from GOD. Do you think Moses believed God? When he says – O Lord, I have never been eloquent in speech, I am slow of speech and tongue, Oh please send someone else.,, No, I think he is still scared and not trusting God… but God knows Moses and even though he is angry with him, God still looks out for Moses, and tells him, that his brother, Aaron, who he knows can speak well, is on his way to see him. God said He will help both of them speak and will teach them what to do and say. …So if you consider that God is employing these two to do this “Exodus job”-then you can see, that God is not one of those “employers” that tell you what to do, but give you not help to do it. God had a plan, was working it out and said he would be right there with them, helping and training- What a Patient Faithful God!!!
The chapter continues and is well worth reading, with Israel watching, still being slaves, while Moses and Aaron go to the Pharaoh to say everything the Lord tells them to say- mainly that God Says- TO Let My People Go! But God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and though He did multiply miraculous signs and wonder in Egypt, Pharaoh would not listen or believe that he was God the Lord.
These are the things that the Israelites saw-
The water of the River Nile- it turned to blood- so that all the fish in the river died –and then Moses outstretched his staff and all the ponds, streams, canals, buckets and jars were all turned to blood, all unsuitable to drink. Think of it- Blood everywhere- with no water to drink.
Then here were Frogs came up from the waters and were all over the place, then died and stunk everything up again
Then there were the Gnats, pesky little things all over the people and animals.
Then the swarms of flies- but with that- the Lord said he would show Pharaoh that he makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel- where the flies will be everywhere, EXCEPT in the land of Goshen where his people live, the Israelites. And it that is the way it happened until the last Plague.
Then the plague on Livestock- all of the Egyptian’s livestock died, but none of the Israelites… The plague of the Boils on Man and Beast, The Plague of Hail- God even warned Egypt ahead of time, but only some believed and put their people/possessions inside. .. With Moses stretched out staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The Worse Storm Ever Seen by Egyptians and Israelites Alike. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived.
The plague of locust – ate everything that was left after the hail- Then the plague of darkness- where the Egyptians couldn’t see anyone else or leave his place for three days- Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived… I am not sure that that would have been a plague for me- as I don’t think I would have wanted to see the devastation that was outside my house after all that had happened..
Then the last- the Plague on the Firstborn- where all the firstborn sons in Egypt will die from the Pharaoh who sits on the throne to the slave girl- there will be loud wailing –AGAIN THE worse there has ever been or ever will be again.
Right before it hits- God gets the Israelites ready to leave…He tells Moses- I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh/Egypt. After that he will let you go from here and he will drive you out completely. I will make the Egyptians favorable disposed toward you so that when you leave Egypt, you will not go empty handed, and every man and woman are to ask the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and clothing, so as to plunder the Egyptians –now God has made the Egyptians WANT to give them gold and silver and clothes – to get them out of their country- which is the opposite of how this chapter started!! ! This shows the Power of God in matters of Man.
The Plague of the Firstborn hit Egypt- All the people tell the Israelites- GET OUT NOW- So all the Israelites left and God lead them in an incredible way… ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud nor the pillar of fire left its place in front of the people. …Is it bad to say- God provided the first flashlight of sorts?
So there they are having been away from Egypt only a few days- when they see Pharaoh coming with all his chariots and army with him… and of course, they are terrified and cry out to the Lord… They say to Moses- Wa..wa..wa…. It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!! Really?? What a thing to say- after all they saw happen to Egypt to get them out! But Moses answered- do not be afraid, Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still… I would like to repeat this again for our sakes…
Do Not Be Afraid… Stand Firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still….. In Psalms it says- Be still and know that I am God… Stand Firm in the Promises of God- and in your believing that he will deliver you and fight for you! He will not leave you nor forsake you! Whatever it is = you are going through… and I know there is a lot of things we all are going through…don’t look at what you see- look at what God says.
So now the story of the parting of the Red Sea- where Moses raised his staff and stretched out his hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites could walk through the sea on DRY Ground…that’s right Dry ground
What I found Awesome is that the pillar of cloud that was traveling in front of them, now moved and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. And yes those arrogant Egyptians did pursue the Israelites into the Sea, thinking they could catch them. When it was time- the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion, He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving.. the Egyptians said- let’s get away from them, the Lord is fighting for them against us- But too late- the Lord told Moses to stretch his hand over the sea so that the waters flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen. Not one of them survived. … and then it says here- finally- when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant…
Really- just now they are putting their trust in the Lord and believing what Moses is saying??
Well I guess that is right- because the next chapter says they got all giddy and started singing … I will Sing to the Lord for his is highly exalted… majestic in power… he hurled horse and its rider into the sea….woo hoo!!
And then this- which boggles my mind- 3 Days later- just 3 days… they are in the desert of Shur and they have not found water- along the way- and when they do it was bitter… so the people GRUMBLED- What are we to drink? Does God want us to Die? And just about a month later- the whole community Grumbled against Moses and Aaron- If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death… WOW… Couldn’t they have just asked Moses to Ask God for it? God’s answer to them – Manna and Quail…
Makes me think of Matthew 7- where God says- do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink, what you will wear- as God know you have need of them… I guess it seems we are always worrying those things.. those are ME things- we can see and feel.
This next part I see as so dramatic- Please put your” sitting in a movie theatre hat” on…. This is only the Third Month after the Israelites left Egypt- when they arrived at Mount Sinai- the place where God gives Moses the 10 commandments. Just prior to that- there is some communication between God asking and Moses and the Israelites- saying that they would put their trust in God… God wants Moses to Consecrate them, “clean them up for on the Third Day- they will meet God-… I have to read this straight from the scriptures- On the morning of the Third day- there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses Spoke and the voice of God answered him.. The 10 commandments are right here- and then the bible says … When the people saw the thunder and the lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, Speak to us yourself and we will listen.. but do not have God speak to us or we will die.
Moses said to the people do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning. Then Moses stays on top of the mountain for the rest of the Lord’s law-…
Meanwhile back at the bottom of the mountain- when the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain they gathered around Aaron and said – Come make us gods who will go before us- they had him make a Golden Calf , for crying out loud- how is that a God- that can do anything- and an Animal??? And then they say– … As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt we don’t know what has happened to him…. WHAT??? I read it again- and just didn’t get it- after all they have been through, & seen? I could not understand
You can be sure- God was not Happy- he Called them Stiff-Necked- I looked that up- it said Stubborn, Haughty and I looked up Haughty- the definition says- arrogantly superior and disrespectful.. and it showed a lot of Selfish attributes related to this..
Then I found in Ps 106- “ But they did not believe his Promises.”… and then it hit me…that was the answer… those that don’t believe, don’t care about God, who He is, how He loves them, there is no respect for Him and what he has done- created us- provided for us, every breath we take- is from the Lord… It seems the way the scriptures are laid out- that after they heard the 10 commandments – they didn’t want to believe or do what was right- they thought it wasn’t
self-fulfilling?…they thought- I don’t want to or can’t begin to live up to those laws- so I will figure out another way- MY Way- with Golden Calfs to worship… I don’t get why they still have to worship something- Could that be- that God has made a place in our hearts to worship him, so without Him, we look for something else- maybe they are really worshipping their own self –centered- ness- worshipping a God who really doesn’t have any power- makes them feel safe in what a crummy life they are willing to live.???
Through all of this- I kept seeing in the scriptures, God reaching out to the Israelites- who he calls his own people, who he has chosen, he does all of these miraculous acts to show them that He is GOD, the- I am who I am, who desires the full trust of his people– His people that he created and knows them personally. He takes our imperfections, our refusing to accept Him, to Obey Him, our sin, and keeps reaching for us- Asking us to Believe Him, Trust Him, He set the Law- the Rules of the Commandments so that we would know the right way to live-“be righteous- but that Law is what condemns us .. Just knowing what all the law is- is WORK, so not breaking that law is even more Work- Our Work, our deeds- Us, alone, trying to prove we are good enough…to be called righteous- isn’t something we really have the capacity to do- Just Look at how many times the Israelites rejected God and Sinned!
Romans says- “ Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
“It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Do you See that FAITH- He Believed- the things that God promised to him- even though he could not See it then- it was a promise for His future and about the faithfulness of God- And he still Believed it! It can be done!
God has provided a Way to be right with Him, through His Son Jesus Christ, who died that we might have life.
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
Will you not Believe with Me today- The Faithfulness of God- The Love of God for Us- If you already believe in Jesus Christ- then continue to Believe God in all of His Promises and CLAIM them for yourselves- don’t look at what you ‘SEE” now, but Look to God- what His Word says, what He Promises and the Future that He holds for all of us.
If you haven’t Believed God and Faith in his Son Jesus Christ yet, then take that step today- it is easy- just say- God- I have sinned and I believe that Jesus Christ takes away the sin of the world- Show me Your Way- and He will bring Life to your Heart and give you an Eternal Life with Him in Heaven- and that is wonderful Happy Ending to Believe in! Forever!