Rescued

Give Me Five

(Exodus 3:1-10)

 

INTRODUCTION

Judy uses the phrase “Give Me Five” when she needs to get the attention of her students. ​​ Each student is supposed to raise their hand, focus by not talking or working, and signal others.

 

There are multiple examples of this in use to help students listen and pay attention to what is about to be said. ​​ On the screen, you will see an example of the five things each student is supposed to do while raising their hand. ​​ [show graphic]

  • Eyes are watching.

  • Ears are listening.

  • Mouth is closed.

  • Body is upright.

  • Hands are still.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Attention getter

        • My fifth grade teacher was a man, which I really enjoyed

        • One of the ways he would get the attention of a student that wasn’t paying attention was to smack his yard stick on their desk

        • One day I was writing at my desk to complete an assignment when he smacked the yard stick on my desk and scared me to death

        • I was confused, because I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing

        • Fortunately, he was not trying to get my attention

        • He was trying to get the attention of the student sitting behind me

        • Whether he intended to get my attention or not, he had it from that point on

 

  • WE

    • What are some ways our parents tried to get our attention?

    • What are some ways our teachers have tried to get our attention?

    • Maybe as parents, we have used certain things to get our children’s attention.

 

Moses had been shepherding his father-in-laws flock for 40 years. ​​ God had been training and preparing him to accomplish His plan even though Moses was not aware it. ​​ God used something that went against the laws of nature to get Moses’ attention. ​​ He had something very important to tell him and needed His full attention. ​​ When Moses saw this supernatural event, he stopped what he was doing and went to see what was going on. ​​ We will learn today that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 3:1-10)

    • Called (vv. 1-6)

        • Daily routine (v. 1)

          • Moses was doing his daily routine with his father-in-law, Jethro’s, flock

            • Moses had been doing this for 40 years as Stephen tells us in Acts 7:30, “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

            • This was just going to be another ordinary day for Moses, or at least that’s perhaps what he thought

            • “It’s significant that God calls people who are busy: ​​ Gideon was threshing grain (Jud. 6), Samuel was serving in the tabernacle (1 Sam. 3), David was caring for sheep (17:20), Elisha was plowing (1 Kings 19:19-21), four of the apostles were managing their fishing business (Mark 1:16-20), and Matthew was collecting taxes (Matt. 9:9).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 183]

            • God calls us when we are busy doing all kinds of jobs from farming, to serving in ministry, to shepherding, to fishing, and collecting taxes, to so much more – God calls all kinds of people to serve Him

          • We are not told why Moses led the flock to the far side of the desert

            • Perhaps he was looking for more pasturelands to feed the flock

            • Maybe he needed a change of scenery after 40 years

            • I believe it was the Spirit of God prompting him to go, because the time had come for God to rescue His people

            • Moses traveled all the way to Horeb (kho-rabe’/hore-rave’), the mountain of God [show map]

              • Horeb means “desert”

              • The place where Moses took the flock can also be translated as the back side of the desert or the west side of the wilderness

              • When Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt, he brought them to this same place, but it was referred to as Mt. Sinai at that point – Horeb may be the mountain range or region and Mt. Sinai may be a specific peak in that range or region

              • Referring to it as the mountain of God is the author’s way of remembering what happened there with the burning bush and the Ten Commandments – it had not yet been established as such

          • Now that God had Moses right where He wanted him, He needed to get his attention

        • Attention arrested (vv. 2-3)

          • The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire from within a bush

            • Moses had seen fire before and he had probably used this kind of bush to start a fire while he was tending the flock

            • The only difference is that when he used this kind of bush to build a fire, the bush was consumed completely and turned to ash

            • Moses saw that this bush was not turning to ash, but remained a complete bush – that was something new he had never seen before

            • Something supernatural was taking place with this burning bush

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is in control of His creation.

                • God was the One who was temporarily suspending the fire’s natural property to burn wood [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 97]

                • As we will see, God was in control of His creation during the plagues in Egypt and the parting of the waters at the Red Sea

                • Nothing is impossible for God, because He is all-powerful

                • He is in control of His creation, even today

                • Take time today to worship God for being in control of His creation

              • God made sure that the bush was not burning up

            • Moses needed to have a closer look at this amazing phenomenon

          • Moses decided to go over and see this strange sight, which is exactly what God needed him to do

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God will arrest our attention when He wants to speak to us.

              • God showed up in unexpected ways in the lives of several people in the Bible

                • He showed up for Moses in a burning bush

                • He wrestled with Jacob by the Jabbok River (Gen. 32:22-32)

                • He appeared to Ezekiel in a vision by the Kebar River (Ezek. 1:1)

                • He sent His angels to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem

                • He arrested Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus with a bright light (Acts 9)

              • “[God] often uses various sorts of circumstances, to begin to bring someone closer to himself.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 110]

                • God may use a lay off at work to get our attention

                • God may use an illness to slow us down, so we will listen to His voice

                • God may use visions and dreams to speak to us

                • God may simply speak so clearly to our spirit that it seems like we have heard an audible voice

                • God may speak through family and friends, confirming His plan and purpose for our lives

                • God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible

                • God is so creative and in control of His creation that He may use some supernatural phenomenon to get our attention

              • Has the Lord been trying to get your attention?

                • What is He asking you to do?

                • Have you been obedient to His calling?

                • God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking me to do.

            • What is God doing to get your attention?

          • As Moses started moving towards the burning bush, God spoke to him

        • God’s call (vv. 4-6a)

          • God called to Moses from the burning bush

            • He used Moses’ name twice

            • “In ancient Semitic culture, addressing someone by saying his or her name twice was a way of expressing endearment, that is, affection and friendship. ​​ Thus Moses would have understood immediately that he was being addressed by someone who loved him and was concerned about him.” ​​ [Stuart, 113-14]

            • God used this same pattern throughout the Old and New Testaments

              • Abraham (Gen. 22:11)

              • Jacob (Gen. 46:2)

              • Samuel (1 Sam. 3:10)

              • Martha (Luke 10:41)

              • Simon (Luke 22:31)

              • Saul (Acts 9:4)

            • Moses responded with “Here I am”

              • He knew that someone who loved him had addressed him

              • He was ready to listen to what this person had to say

              • Are you ready to listen to what God has to say to you?

              • Will you respond the same way as Moses, when God uses your name twice? – “Here I am”

          • God gave Moses two commands

            • “Do not come any closer”

              • Moses had to stop approaching the burning bush

              • However close he was, was all the closer he was going to get

            • “Take off your sandals”

              • “In the ANE the removal of footwear was a sign of respect, signifying an attitude of humility.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 84]

              • Joshua was commanded to do the same thing in Joshua 5:15

              • But in both of these instances, it was more than just respect and humility

            • Reason for the two commands

              • God explains that the reason Moses has to stop approaching and take off his sandals is that the ground around the bush is holy ground

              • It was sacred ground, because of the presence of God

              • “. . . if God can transform unholy ground into holy ground by the glow of his presence, might he not also be able to transform an unholy life? ​​ What God can do with the ʾădāmâ (ad-aw-maw’), might he not also do with the ʾădām? (aw-dam’)” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 49]

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is able to transform an unholy life.

                • The normal, ordinary ground on Mt. Horeb (kho-rabe’/hore-rave’) was transformed into holy, sacred ground by God’s presence

                • God can do the same thing with normal, ordinary human beings, when we allow Him to come into our lives

                • His presence in us transforms us

                • Gospel

                  • Every human being is unholy from birth (Rom. 3:10-12, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”)

                  • God had an incredible “love plan” before He even created the world or sent Jesus from heaven to earth (Rom. 5:8)

                  • This plan was foretold hundreds of years before He sent Jesus to fulfill it (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

                  • God has already placed His Word in our mouths and hearts and when we accept it, we will be saved (Rom. 10:8-10, But what does it say? ​​ “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: ​​ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

                • God does not require you to “clean your life up” before you invite Him in

                  • It is His presence in you that transforms you

                  • His Holy Spirit living in you changes your attitudes and desires

                  • Evidence of a transformed life is a life that is “cleaned up” and pursuing the things of God instead of the things of this world

                • Today is the day of salvation

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Invite God into my life, so He can transform it.

              • God transformed the ground around the bush into holy, sacred ground

            • Moses obeyed the Lord’s commands by stopping and removing his sandals

            • God is pleased when we pay attention to His calling.

          • The voice from the burning bush identified itself

            • The person who had commanded Moses to stop and take off his sandals was the true and living God, the God of his ancestors

            • He was not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also Amram’s God

          • Moses understood who God was, which is why he reacted the way he did

        • Moses’ reaction (v. 6b)

          • Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God

          • “Confronted by this burning display of God’s holiness, he is profoundly aware of his own sinfulness and insufficiency (Isa. 6:1-5; Rev. 1:17).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 73]

          • Read Isaiah 6:1-5

          • Revelation 1:17, When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. ​​ Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. ​​ I am the First and the Last.”

        • God got Moses attention and told him who He was, now it was time to explain why He needed Moses’ attention

    • Concerned (vv. 7-10)

        • Seen and heard (v. 7)

          • God tells Moses that He saw the misery of His people in Egypt

          • He also heard them crying out because of their slave drivers

          • God is concerned about His people’s suffering

            • Our faith is challenged just like Moses “to trust that God has always and continues to be concerned about their suffering since in the present fallen world, God allows suffering.” ​​ [Stuart, 116]

            • It is not that He was not concerned up to this point

            • As we talked about last week, it was now God’s timing to act

            • Read Genesis 15:13-16 – the Amorites sin must have finally reached its full measure after 400 years

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is concerned about His people’s suffering.

              • God is concerned about your suffering

                • Whether it involves relationships, employment, health, finances, or spiritual matters, God is concerned

                • He has seen what you are going through and has heard your cries for help

                • He has not forgotten about you or neglected you

              • Truths from God’s Word

                • 2 Peter 3:8-9, But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: ​​ With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ​​ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (salvation for a loved one)

                • Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ​​ “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (not understanding God’s answer to my prayers; He is sovereign and in control of everything)

                • 1 John 5:14-15, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: ​​ that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. ​​ And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. (God answers our prayers with Yes, No, or Wait)

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust that God is concerned about my suffering and will come to my aid.

          • God saw, heard, and was concerned about the Israelites suffering and He came down from heaven to rescue them

        • Come (v. 8)

          • Rescue from Egypt

            • God had come down from heaven to rescue the Israelites

            • He was in the flames of the fire within the bush

            • He was not far away and distant from them

            • They were no longer going to suffer at the hands of the Egyptians

            • We know that God is with us too through His Spirit

              • John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. ​​ And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. ​​ The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. ​​ But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

              • Ephesian 1:13-14, And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. ​​ Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

              • Romans 8:9-11, You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. ​​ And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. ​​ But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. ​​ And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

            • God was going to bring them up to a good and spacious land

          • Return to Canaan

            • We know that the good and spacious land was referring to Canaan

            • It is described here as flowing with milk and honey

              • This reference was letting Moses know that the land was plentiful

              • There would be plenty of grasslands for their flocks and plenty of fruit and produce (grapes, dates, figs, and carob fruit)

              • “Since explicit references to honey produced by bees are rare in the OT (e.g. Judg. 14:8-9 and possibly 1 Sam. 14:26-27), the Hebr. Word dĕbāš (deb-ash’/de-vash’), often translated ‘honey’ in this context, is more likely to refer to the ‘sweet syrup produced from grapes, date, figs, and fruit of the carob tree, called dibs in [Arabic]’ (Olivier 1996:916; cf. Sarna 1991: 13-14; Larsson 199: 273, n. 7).” ​​ [Alexander, 86]

            • God forewarned Moses that the Promised Land was already inhabited

          • Residence of Canaan

            • God mentioned six nations that called Canaan home

              • Canaanites (coastal plain in the Valley of Jezreel)

              • Hittites (probably immigrants from Asia Minor)

              • Amorites (in the hill country east of the Jordan)

              • Perizzites (perhaps peasantry in central Palestine)

              • Hivites (in the north in Shechem and Gibeon)

              • Jebusites (people of Jerusalem)

            • “By mentioning the six (or seven) Canaanite-Amorite groups, God both clarified for Moses exactly which territories he planned to give his people and proleptically identified the future enemies in the war of conquest fought by Joshua.” ​​ [Stuart, 117-18]

          • God mentions again that He is aware of what is going on

        • Heard and seen (v. 9)

          • In verse 7 the order was that God saw the misery of His people and heard their cries

          • Now in verse 9 it is in the reverse order—God heard their cries and He saw the way the Egyptians were oppressing them

        • Go (v. 10)

          • God reveals His plan to Moses

          • He is sending Moses to Pharaoh as His advocate and deliverer

          • Moses will lead the Israelites out of Egypt

        • Application

          • God deliverance was a long time coming, 400 plus years

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – “God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials.” [Hamilton]

            • I’m sure that the Israelites felt that God’s silence meant He had denied their cries for help

              • That was not the case

              • There were circumstances at play that the Israelites were not aware of

              • God was waiting for the sin of Amorites to reach its full measure

              • God’s delay had nothing to do with the suffering of the Israelites

            • Perhaps you’re feeling the same way as the Israelites did

              • Don’t be discouraged or frustrated by God’s delay

              • He hasn’t forgotten about you and your suffering

              • There may be some circumstance at play that you are not aware of

              • The delay may have nothing to do with you and your suffering

              • God has seen your suffering and heard your cries for help and will come to you and rescue you

              • Wait patiently for His timing

 

  • YOU

    • Do you need to be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking you to do?

    • Are you ready to invite God into your life, so He can transform it?

    • Can you trust that God is concerned about your suffering and will come to your aid?

 

  • WE

    • We need to be attentive to God’s calling and listen to what He is asking us to do.

    • We can trust that God is concerned about our suffering and will come to our aid.

 

CONCLUSION

“Before going into the ministry, I taught junior high school science for ten years. ​​ I thoroughly enjoyed those years, but I remember vividly a restlessness developing in my heart over the final two years. ​​ I began offering Bible studies for the students who were interested during the lunch hours. ​​ God confirmed in my spirit that there would soon be a transition in my life. ​​ Then came what I would consider to be my “burning bush” encounter.

 

Driving home, I had to pass the Forest Home Mortuary and Cemetery every day just off the Interstate 10 freeway in southern California. ​​ This day, however, was going to be a little different. ​​ I found myself taking the off ramp toward the cemetery, just wanting a little solitude before I went home. ​​ At the end of the main drive, I came directly in front of a massive mosaic of the Lord’s Supper. ​​ I climbed out of my car, walked to one of the wire chairs in front of the biblical portrait, and began to pray. ​​ It was at this moment God said to me about as clearly as anyone will ever hear the voice of God speaking in the depths of their soul, ‘It’s time! ​​ I want you to leave teaching and preach my word.’ ​​ With tears on my face, I received the call of God into the ministry, a call that I have at times doubted and struggled with, but nonetheless a call to serve him.”

 

[Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 17].

12

 

Rescued

Deliverer in Training

(Exodus 2:11-25)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Japanese Marathon Runner Shizo Kanakuri competed in the domestic qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Kanakuri set a marathon world record and was selected as one of the only two athletes that Japan could afford to send to the event that year.

 

However, Kanakuri shockingly disappeared during the 1912 Olympic marathon race. He had had a rough 18-day-long trip to Stockholm, first by ship and then by train all through the Trans-Siberian Railway, and needed five days to recover for the race. Kanakuri, weakened by the long journey from Japan, lost consciousness midway through the race, and was cared for by a local family. Being embarrassed from his ‘failure’, he returned to Japan without notifying race officials.

 

Swedish authorities considered him missing for 50 years before discovering that he was living in Japan. In 1967, he was offered the opportunity to complete his run. He accepted and completed the marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, remarking, ‘It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.’”

 

Possible Preaching Angle:

 

The Bible is full of stories of people who quit, but later, with God’s help, finished the race. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before God renewed his call. Peter denied Christ, went back to fishing, but Jesus restored him. The list continues with John Mark, Sampson, and many others who eventually finished the race.

 

Source: “Shizo Kanakuri,” Wikipedia (Accessed 6/19/21).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2021/july/olympic-marathon-runner-took-fifty-years-to-finish-race.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Combating injustice

        • As a high school student in PA, I worked with Special Olympics one summer and really enjoyed it

        • When I was in college, one of the three jobs I had my senior year was working at the check-in desk in the gym

          • Every week, there was a group of individuals that came in the evening to use the college gym facilities

          • They all had down syndrome, but I really enjoyed developing relationships with them and I would protect them at all costs

        • God has given me a compassion and love for individuals with special needs and for those who are dealing with injustice

        • I can get pretty defensive and bold when faced with injustice towards those who are weak and vulnerable – I get really upset!

 

  • WE

    • Is there an injustice you are especially passionate about?

 

Time flew for Moses from being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter to being a 40-year-old man. ​​ In the Bible, it happened between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11. ​​ We are not told about his adolescent and young adult years. ​​ He goes from being perhaps a ten-year-old to a forty-year-old like that (snap fingers). ​​ Moses never forgot where he came from. ​​ God gave him a compassionate heart for the Hebrews, his people. ​​ His first attempts at delivering the Hebrews seemed to fail. ​​ His focus needed to be adjusted, so that eventually he would be able to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. ​​ It was going to take some time. ​​ Moses’ was well intentioned, because he wanted to combat injustice. ​​ But he needed some God training in a rural setting before he would be ready. ​​ We will learn today that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – God calls us to combat injustice.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 2:11-25)

    • Rescue (vv. 11-15)

        • Time lapse

          • As I mentioned just a moment ago, there was about a thirty year jump in time from Moses’ adoption to adulthood

            • We see it between Exodus 2:10 and 2:11

            • Stephen gives us Moses’ age, at this point, when he speaks before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7

            • “When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.” (Acts 7:23)

          • Moses identified with the Hebrews even though he had been raised and educated in the Egyptian king’s household

            • Acts 7:22, Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

              • Moses had to weed through the superstitious wisdom he had been taught growing up to discern what was good and what was not

              • He was taught some things that would be universal in nature and would actually benefit him was he led the Israelites (law, administration, military) [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 55]

              • I believe that his parents did an incredible job of teaching Moses about the true and living God and about his heritage

              • Moses and his parents were living out what Solomon would later put to words, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6)

              • The writer of Hebrews says it this way

            • Hebrews 11:24-26, By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. ​​ He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. ​​ He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

            • The fact that the writer of Exodus mentions “his own people” twice in verse 11 shows that Moses had not forgotten his upbringing and who he really was

          • We don’t know what motivated Moses to go out to where his own people were to watch them do their work

            • I believe it was the Spirit of God prompting him

            • How many of us have experienced the same thing?

            • We just know we are supposed to do a certain thing or contact a certain person

            • There is an awareness, an urgency to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is asking us to do

            • We may not always obey the prompting even though we should

            • It is always a blessing to see how God uses those promptings for His glory and our encouragement

          • As he watched his people labor under the difficult working environment he noticed something that stirred him up

        • Attempts at rescue

          • Egyptian vs. Hebrew

            • Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew

              • It is very likely that the Egyptian was one of the slave masters

              • Moses recognized the injustice that was taking place, and took measures into his own hands

              • Notice that Moses did not look up for God’s help and guidance, but rather he looked this way and that

              • “Moses made a mistake that I often make. ​​ That is, he ministered according to need rather than according to obedience. ​​ What’s the Lord telling you to do? ​​ It’s not a matter of looking this way and that way. ​​ It’s a matter of looking up. ​​ On any given day, in any given situation, it’s a matter of saying, ‘Lord what would You have me do?’” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis-Job, 231]

            • Moses killed the Egyptian slave master and hid his body in the sand

              • The same Hebrew word is used for both “beating” (what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew) and “killed/struck down” (what Moses did to the Egyptian)

              • “In one sense Moses mirrors what the Egyptian was doing to the Hebrew: he strikes. ​​ Yet the outcome of Moses’ action is different, for v. 11 does not indicate that the Egyptian struck dead the Hebrew slave. ​​ Moses, however, kills.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, 2, Exodus, 67]

            • Moses knew what he was about to do was wrong, which is why he looked around to make sure no one was watching and then hid the body after the fact

            • Application

              • Scripture does not record Moses’ actions as a model for us to follow when we see injustice – murder is wrong (including premeditated murder)

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can redeem and use us despite our failures.

                • The failure of Moses did not disqualify him from being used by God to accomplish His plan and purpose

                  • It can be assumed that Moses repented of his sins of murder, anger, and hatred, because God still called him to deliver His people while he was in the desert through the burning bush

                  • God transformed Moses during the 40 years he was in the desert of Midian watching sheep

                • God can redeem and use you despite your failures

                  • I think it’s safe to say that none of us has committed murder

                  • But, I would guess that everyone of us has dealt with anger and hatred

                  • We each have weaknesses that Satan exploits

                  • 1 John 4:4, You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

                  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ​​ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ​​ That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. ​​ For when I am weak, then I am strong.

                  • When we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

                  • We are never too far gone or have done too many bad things that God will not forgive us when we repent and turn to Him

                  • When we do that, He will redeem us and use us for His glory

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins, so God can use me for His glory!

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

                • Moses saw what was happening to a fellow Hebrew and he knew it was wrong

                  • He didn’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to step up

                  • He was moved by compassion and love for the one who was being mistreated

                  • He recognized oppression and injustice and got involved

                • As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to recognize when something is wrong and get involved

                  • When we see someone at school being singled out and ridiculed we need to go get an adult

                  • When we see a fellow employee being mistreated by another employee we need to step up and address the issue

                  • When we see injustice and oppression in our community we need to get involved with ways to address and end the injustice and oppression

                  • God’s Word is clear throughout the Old and New Testaments that we are to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphan

                  • God may be calling some of us to volunteer for organizations that address abortion, child trafficking, sex trafficking, orphans, poor, widows, abuse of Constitutional rights and religious freedoms

                  • God may be calling some of us to start organizations that address injustice

                  • All of us need to look up for God’s guidance and wisdom to know what He is calling us to do

“John Mark Hicks's son Joshua was born with Sanfilippo Syndrome A, a genetic disorder that causes slow mental and physical degeneration. In his book, Yet Will I Trust Him, Hicks tells the following story about his son's experience on a school bus:

 

From the first day Joshua saw a school bus, he wanted to ride one. He wanted to be like his older sister. She rode the bus, and so would he! Whenever a bus came into view, he would shout, ‘I wanna ride!’ Finally, his day came. Every morning I would take him out to wait for the bus at a place near my office. When he saw it coming, he would jump and scream for joy ….

 

But one day, for some reason, he did not want to get on. I took him by the hand and gently led him up the steps of the bus, and he got on. But he was whining, hesitant, and reluctant. I thought perhaps he was just having a bad day, but as the bus drove away I learned why he was hesitant, and I heard words that tore my heart. It was as if a knife had been stuck into my gut and twisted.

 

His schoolmates were ridiculing him. The older children were calling him names. They ridiculed his need for diapers and mocked his use of them the previous day. As the bus drove off, I could hear the mockery, and I could see my son stumble down the aisle as he looked for a seat.

 

Anger grew inside me. All morning I wanted to take some of those older kids aside and heap some abuse of my own on them. Let them see how it feels! Let them know what it's like to be hurt, ridiculed, and mocked. Maybe I should talk to the bus driver, or to the school principal, to the teachers, or to the parents! My helplessness increased my frustration.

 

Finally, I took my anger and hurt to God. I went to my office and poured my heart before him. I held nothing back. I complained bitterly, and then I complained some more. … Why was my son born with this condition? Why are others permitted to inflict pain upon the innocent? Why hadn't God answered our prayers for a healthy son? Why couldn't Joshua ever fulfill the dreams we had for him and honor the name which we gave him as a leader among God's people? Why hadn't the sovereign God of the universe blessed him with health?

 

[In the midst of my complaint], it was as if God had said to me, ‘I understand—they treated my Son that way, too.’ In that moment God provided a comfort that I cannot yet explain but one that I still experience in my heart.

 

Now, only now, do I have some sense of the pain that a father has when his son is ridiculed. Only now can I begin to appreciate the pain of my heavenly Father as he watched his Son be ridiculed.”

 

Source: John Mark Hicks, Yet Will I Trust Him (College Press Publishing Company, 1999), pp. 183-184.

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/march/2032811.html]

                  • Notice what this father did, he went to the Lord in prayer, but that wasn’t his first desire

                  • His first desire was to heap some abuse on the older kids

                  • Dealing with oppression and injustice takes discernment that can only come from the Lord

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord how He wants me to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

            • Moses witnessed another act of injustice the next day

            • How would he handle it this time?

          • Hebrew vs. Hebrew

            • The injustice he witnessed the next day was between two Hebrew men

            • They were fighting about something

              • It was a physical altercation, not just with words

              • Moses stepped in, determined who was at fault and then asked him why he was hitting his fellow Hebrew

              • The Hebrew word for “hitting” is the same word used in verse 11 for “beating” and in verse 12 for “killed”

              • Moses was concerned about justice

              • God calls us to combat injustice.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

            • The guilty man’s response is significant

              • First, he questioned Moses authority

                • The man wanted to know who made Moses ruler and judge over them

                • Moses desire was to help his own people, but they did not see it that way

                • Acts 7:25-27, Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. ​​ The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. ​​ He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ ​​ But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?’

                • Moses’ leadership was already in jeopardy, seemingly before it ever started

              • Second, he confronted Moses about his method of dealing with injustice

                • The man wanted to know if Moses was going to deal with him in the same way he had dealt with the Egyptian slave master – kill him!

                • “From Moses’ point of view, he had tried to act in secret to help one of his people, and he thought he had succeeded. ​​ Now that in the process of his further intervention to try to help another of his people he had learned that his deed of the day before was known, the whole course he had set himself on was suddenly leading in the wrong direction.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 97]

              • Secret revealed

                • What Moses thought he had done in secret was not a secret anymore

                • Potentially the only person who knew that he had killed the Egyptian was the Hebrew slave that was being beaten

                • He must had shared what happened with those who had seen him being beaten

          • “His [Moses] initial attempts at being a deliverer, worked out in his own strength and by his own wisdom, had failed.” ​​ [Mackay, 59]

        • Consequences of his failure

          • Fear

          • Separation

            • When Pharaoh heard what he had done, he tried to kill Moses

            • Moses left Egypt and fled to Midian [show map]

            • Hebrews 11:27a, By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.

            • In Midian, he sat down by a well

          • Midian

            • The Midianites were descended from Abraham through his wife Keturah (Gen. 25:2, 4)

            • They lived in the central and northern parts of the Sinai Peninsula, but also on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf (Rea Sea) [Stuart, 98; Keil & Delitzsch, 280]

        • God needed Moses to get out of Egypt before He used him to get Israel out of Egypt [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition; Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 15]

        • Moses was going to find refuge in Midian

    • Refuge (vv. 16-22)

        • Confronting injustice again

          • While Moses was sitting by the well he watched seven women (all daughters of a Midianite priest) come, draw water, and fill the troughs to water their flock

          • There were some other shepherds (presumably men) who came and drove the seven women and their flock away

          • Moses could not sit idly by and watch even strangers be mistreated and abused, so he got up, confronted the other shepherds, probably chased them away or told them to wait their turn, and then watered the women’s flock for them

            • God calls us to combat injustice.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we help those who are being oppressed and mistreated.

          • Notice what is missing when Moses came to the women’s rescue

            • There is nothing recorded about any beating, hitting, or killing of those who were mistreating the women

            • Perhaps Moses had learned his lesson in Egypt about how to correctly handle confronting injustice

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God uses our past experiences to prepare us for His future purposes.

              • How many of us can look back over our lives and see growth in how we deal with certain situations?

              • When we were younger, we may have been impulsive and brash in how we dealt with other drivers, fellow students, certain colleagues, neighbors, family, and friends

              • As we have grown and matured, we deal with those same individuals and circumstances with more grace, compassion, love, and patience

              • We can use our failures and successes to teach others what to do and not do in confronting injustice, oppression, and abuse

          • Moses handled the shepherds in a much better way than he did the Egyptian slave master and the seven women noticed

        • Early return

          • The mistreatment by the other shepherds must have been going on for some time, because the girl’s father asked why they had returned so early on that day

            • Another name is finally revealed in Exodus

            • The father’s name is Reuel (reh-oo-ale’), which means “friend of God”

            • He will be referred to as Jethro (yith-ro’) in Exodus 3:1, 8:12, 27, which can mean “excellence” (it may have been a title as opposed to his actual name)

          • They explained to their father that an Egyptian rescued them from the shepherds and then watered the flock

            • They did not have to wait in line like every other day

            • They identified Moses as an Egyptian, probably because of what he was wearing, his hairstyle, and perhaps his accent

            • He wanted to know where this Egyptian was and then told his daughters to go and invite him to a meal

          • Moses stayed with them

            • My guess is that Moses explained his situation to Reuel and his daughters during the meal

            • They offered to have him stay with them

            • Eventually, Reuel gave his daughter, Zipporah (tsip-po-raw’, meaning “bird”), to Moses in marriage

            • We are not told how much time passed between the beginning of verse 21 and the end of verse 21

            • We do know, from Stephen’s speech, that Moses was in Midian for 40 years

            • Acts 7:30, “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”

          • Moses family began

            • We are not given any time stamps to help us know how long Moses and Zipporah were married before they had their son

            • We know that eventually they have another son, Eliezer

            • Moses named his son, Gershom (gay-resh-ome’/geresh-ome’), which means “foreigner”

            • Moses gave him this name, because he had become an alien in a foreign land

        • Verses 23-25 are really transition verses that prepare us for the remainder of the book

    • Remember (vv. 23-25)

        • Death of the king of Egypt

          • It is obviously near the end of the forty year period that Moses was in Midian that the king died

          • This was the same king that wanted to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian guard

        • Cry for help

          • It is not stated directly, but indirectly we know that the new king continued the oppression and slavery of the Hebrews

          • The Israelites groaned and cried out for help, and God heard

          • He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

            • God remembering His covenant did not mean that He had forgotten

            • God is never early or late, but always right on time

            • The Israelites had been in captivity for 430 years

            • “The average Israelite likely knew at least something about the Abrahamic covenant, and it may be useful for the modern reader to realize that the term zākar (zaw-kar’/zaw-hair’), ‘remember,’ is idiomatic for covenant application rather than recollection. … In other words, to say ‘God remembered his covenant’ is to say ‘God decided to honor the terms of his covenant at this time.’” ​​ [Stuart, 103]

          • God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God hears, sees, and is concerned about His people.

            • Just like God heard, saw, and was concerned about the Israelites in their slavery and oppression, He hears, sees, and is concerned about you in your oppression, abuse, and mistreatment

            • Turn to Him today and know that at just the right time He will act to redeem and rescue you

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about me and will rescue me at just the right time.

 

  • YOU

    • Do you need to repent of your sins, so God can use you for His glory!

    • Do you need to ask the Lord how He wants you to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated?

    • Do you need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about you and will rescue you at just the right time.

 

  • WE

    • What sins do we need to repent of, so God can use us for His glory

    • How does God want us to help those who are being oppressed and mistreated

    • We need to hold on to the truth that God hears, sees, and is concerned about us and will rescue us at just the right time

 

CONCLUSION

“This is a story of 30-year-old friends who had a reunion and were discussing where they should go for dinner. Somebody suggested that they meet at the Glowing Embers Restaurant because the waiters and waitresses there are young and beautiful. They all agreed. Fifteen years later, at 45 years of age, they met and discussed again where they should have dinner. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because the food and wine selection there are very good. They all agreed. Another 15 years later at 60 years of age, they once again discussed where to meet. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because you can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free. They all agreed.

 

Another fifteen years later, at the age of 75, the group discussed again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because the restaurant is physically accessible and they even have an elevator. They all agreed. Finally, 15 years later at the age of 90, the same group of friends discussed one more time where they should meet for dinner. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because they had never been there before. And they all agreed.

 

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Old Age—Obviously in a gently humorous way this story highlights the reality of growing older. (2) Spiritual Forgetfulness or Unfaithfulness—This story also illustrates our tendency to forget the bedrock truths of our spiritual lives. (3) God's Covenant of Love for Us—The Lord does not forget us; he remembers to bless and redeem us (see Gen. 8:1).

 

Source: P. J. Alindogan, "Communicate and Relate," The Potter's Jar blog, (3-25-12).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2012/october/3101512.html].

12

 

Rescued

The Paper-thin Plan

(Exodus 2:1-10)

 

INTRODUCTION

“An Oklahoma man went to extreme measures to impress his wife in 2004. Trent Spencer, a 27-year-old high school teacher, paid two teenagers $100 each to break into his house and tie up his wife. After she was bound with duct tape, Spencer raced in and ‘fought off’ the ‘intruders.’ He even pre-cut a board so it would break when he hit one of them with it.

 

The police were called and began an investigation. The plan might have worked—except that one of the teenagers blabbed to his parents. Surprisingly, when the police found out, they didn't arrest Spencer. Instead, they slapped him with the bill for the investigation.

 

Source: MontrealMirror.com (Vol. 20, No. 17).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/december/8121106.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Paper-thin plan

        • While in high school, some of us from work decided to decorate a friend’s house with toilet paper

        • The neighbor dog starting barking through the screen door, which drew the attention of the neighbor who started hollering at us

        • We all ran down the street and left

 

  • WE

    • Paper-thin plans

        • How many of us have gone ahead with plans that we didn’t really have great confidence in – we knew they were paper-thin

        • We just hoped that everything would work out fine

 

We learned last week that Pharaoh had ordered all of the Egyptians to be watching the Israelites to see when they had children. ​​ If the baby was a boy, they were to throw it into the Nile River. ​​ If it was a girl that could let the baby live. ​​ This was Pharaoh’s desperate attempt to thwart God’s plan of explosive population growth for the Israelites. ​​ We are not told how many Israelite families tried various ways to save their baby boys, but we will see one family’s plan, today, that involved papyrus (also used as paper in the Ancient Near East). ​​ Even though God is not mentioned in this narrative, we know He was working out His perfect will for His people. ​​ He did it in an amazing way! ​​ We will learn today that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 2:1-10)

    • Riding the River (vv. 1-4)

        • Nameless parents

          • This is a continuation of the narrative from chapter 1

            • Pharaoh’s population control order was still in effect

            • Every Egyptian was to spy on the Israelites to see whether their new born babies were boys or girls

            • If they were boys, they were to be taken to the Nile River and thrown in

            • If they were girls, they were allowed to live

            • In the middle of this horrible order we find a young couple with a dilemma

          • Amram (am-rawm’) and Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red)

            • A man married a woman

            • While the man and woman are not named here, we know their names from later in Exodus

              • Exodus 6:20, Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. ​​ Amram lived 137 years.

              • Both Amram and Jochebed descended from Levi’s line

              • In Exodus 6:20 we learned that Amram married his aunt, his father Kohath’s sister

              • This kind of marriage was not a problem at this point, but would later be prohibited

          • Their heritage

            • They were both from the line of Levi

            • The reason for specifying his parents heritage instead of their names emphasized that they were both Israelites/Hebrews

            • Being from the tribe of Levi would be significant as Moses’ role was eventually revealed as the religious and spiritual leader of the Israelites

            • The tribe of Levi would be the tribe that served the Lord as priests and most of the court judges (Deut. 21:5)

          • After getting married the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son

        • Birth of Moses

          • The way it is written here, it sounds like this son was their first born child

          • But we know they had a daughter (Miriam) and another son (Aaron) before this son (Moses)

        • Obeying the letter of the law

          • Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) saw that her baby boy was a fine, good, and beautiful child

            • I can’t think of any parent who would look at their child and say they were poor, bad, and ugly

            • Most parents are partial to their children and think they are smarter, better, more talented, and more attractive than anyone else’s children

            • I think God has placed that partiality in the heart and mind of every parent – we love our children!

            • For Moses parents, I think it was more than that

            • In Hebrews 11:23 we read these words, By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

              • The NLT says he was an unusual child

              • Most other translations have it as beautiful, comely, fair, goodly, or proper

              • Perhaps God had put something in their hearts that let them know their baby boy was destined for something great

              • It had to be something more than just his looks

              • Notice that they hid him by faith

                • “Moses’ parents trusted God to protect their son’s life. ​​ They were not merely proud parents; they were believers who had faith that God would care for him.” [NIV Application Bible, footnote for Hebrews 11:23, 2237]

                • As parents or grandparents, have you trusted God to protect and take care of your children and/or grandchildren

                • This is not always easy, especially as they grow up and start making their own choices and decisions

                • Some of us understand and know the heartache of having a wayward child and/or grandchild

                • We have to constantly pray for and entrust our children and/or grandchildren to God’s care and protection

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

                • This includes parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc.

                • God has important work for each of us to do

                • It may not be leading an entire nation out of slavery, like He called Moses to do

                • But, we all have gifts and abilities that God wants to use for His glory and to build His kingdom

                • God’s protection on us is so His plan and will can be accomplished through us

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to protect and care for _____________.

            • Because Moses’ parents recognized that God had a special plan for His life, they hid him for three months

              • This probably was not too difficult to do with a toddler (Aaron) in the house

              • Aaron would have been three years old when Moses was born, so any crying and such would probably not have raised any suspicions

              • I’m sure all Israelite couples, during this time, were cautious about revealing a pregnancy to neighbors

              • If they did, I’m sure their Egyptian neighbors were watching to see when the baby was born and whether it was a boy or a girl

            • After three months, Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red), realized that she would not be able to hide him much longer, so she devised a plan

          • Paper-thin plan

            • I call it a paper-thin plan, because the reed-like plant she used had many uses in the Ancient Near East, but mainly for paper to write on

              • “Papyrus was a reed that grew abundantly on the banks of the Nile. ​​ Its inner pith was split and pasted together to provide a surface for writing, but the Egyptians used it for many other purposes as well: ​​ shoes, baskets, containers of various sorts and boats (Isa. 18:2).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 50]

              • “It had a triangular stalk about the thickness of a finger, which grew to the height of ten feet; and from this the lighter Nile boats were made, while the peeling of the plant was used for sails, mattresses, mats, sandals, and other articles, but chiefly for the preparation of paper.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 277]

            • She took a papyrus basket and covered it with tar and pitch to make it watertight

              • The Hebrew word used for basket is tēḇâ (tay-baw’/tay-vaw’)

              • The Hebrew word literally means “ark”

              • The only other place in the Bible where we find this Hebrew word, other than in Exodus 2:5, is in the flood narrative found in Genesis 6-9 where Noah builds an ark

              • That ark protected Noah and his family, so they could save humanity by repopulating the earth

              • This tiny ark was going to protect Moses, who would save and deliver God’s people from slavery

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

            • When the “ark” was finished, she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile, which would have kept it from floating away

            • “Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) obeyed the letter of the law when she put Moses in the waters of the Nile, but certainly she was defying Pharaoh’s order in the way she did it. ​​ She was trusting the providence of God and God didn’t fail her.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 181]

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s providence is mysterious and amazing.

              • God’s providence is His guidance and care for us

              • I don’t know about you, but sometimes God’s guidance and care for me is mysterious

                • There have been times in my life when I knew the direction God was leading, but I did not understand His leading – it was mysterious and confusing to me

                • Eventually I understood his guidance and care for me and realized how amazing it was

              • Have you experienced the mysterious and amazing providence of God in your life?

                • Did you find it mysterious and confusing at times?

                • Were you amazed after you obeyed His guidance?

                • Remember that God will not fail you

                • You can trust in God’s providence in your life even if you don’t understand

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s mysterious and amazing providence in my life.

            • That is what Jochebed did when she placed her son in the basket and put him in the Nile – she didn’t know what God would do, but she trusted Him nonetheless

          • God was going to use Moses sister to work out His perfect will in an amazing way

          • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

        • Sister spy

          • We know from later in Exodus that Moses’ sister’s name was Miriam

          • We are not told if her parents instructed her to watch from a distance or not

          • She was probably young enough that she did not have work to do around the house with her mother or in the brick yard and farm fields for the Egyptians

          • She was a another key woman in God’s perfect plan

        • As she is watching over her baby brother in the “ark” a group of women came to the river

    • Rescued by Royalty (vv. 5-10)

        • Ark encounter (not the one in Kentucky)

          • Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to take a bath

            • We are not given her name, probably for the same reason the parent’s names are not given in verse 1and the sister’s name is not given in verse 4 – the focus needs to be on the child who will deliver the Israelites from slavery

            • Her bath may have been for hygiene purposes or religious ritual purposes, but probably both

            • Her attendants were walking along the river bank to ensure her privacy – they would alert her to any intruders

          • Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket nestled among the reeds

            • She was able to see it, because of being in the water which gave her the perfect angle

            • Her attendants probably did not see it, because of the reeds growing up along the bank

            • So, she sent her slave girl (personal assistant) to get it

          • Pharaoh’s daughter’s attitude

            • After opening the basket she saw and heard the baby crying

            • Her maternal instincts override every other emotion

              • She felt sorry for him

              • Most English translations say that she had “pity” or “compassion” for him

              • “One could translate ‘she took pity on him,’ but I prefer ‘had compassion.’ ​​ One difference between ‘pity’ and ‘compassion’ is that pity means ‘to feel for,’ while compassion means ‘to feel with.’ ​​ In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), the priest and the Levite have pity, but no compassion. ​​ They feel sorry for the victim, but it stops there. ​​ Not so with the Samaritan. ​​ And not so with this princess. ​​ She does not simply feel a brief tinge of sorrow, and then get on with her bathing.” [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 21]

              • She did not feel the same way towards the Hebrews as her father did

              • Her attitude should have been callous disregard for human life, but it was compassion instead

              • While she was probably not a follower of the true and living God, He in His providence, sovereignty, and will filled her heart with compassion for this crying baby boy

            • Even after identifying him as a Hebrew baby, she does not just chuck him in the river

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God can be trusted to protect His people.

          • As the princess is holding the baby, his sister springs into action

        • Aid offered

          • She offers to go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse him

          • The princess agrees to this plan and tells the girl to go, so the girl goes and gets her mother

            • “The turning point of the story is contained in a one-word command, that of the princess: “Go!” ​​ With that decision of the king’s daughter Moses’ protection was assured.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 92]

            • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

          • When Jochebed (yo-keh’-bed/yo-hair-red) returned with her daughter, the princess instructed her to take the baby and nurse him for her and she would pay her

            • What an amazing turn of events

            • This mother who had trusted in God’s providence was rewarded in two ways

              • She would be able to raise her son without fear of him being killed by the Egyptian authorities

              • She would be paid by the princess to nurse and raise her own child

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is our provider!

              • Jochebed knew that God had provided for her

                • He had provided life and safety for her son

                • He had provided income for her family

              • God provides for us too when we trust in His providence (guidance and care for us)

                • He will provide guidance for our future (school, job, children, finances, housing, retirement, etc.)

                • He will provide care for us in our weakness (healing in our sickness, strength for surgeries and procedures, comfort in our loss, etc.)

                • Even though His guidance and care may be mysterious, we can trust that it will be amazing in the end

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank God for providing ________________ for me.

            • “God works out His perfect will in amazing ways.” [Merida, 13]

          • She obeyed the princess’s instructions

        • Adoption completed

          • “When the child grew older” or “and the child grew”

            • We are not told how long Jochebed had with her son

            • Stuart says that, during this time, children were nursed for 3-4 years before they were weaned [Stuart, 93]

            • Mackay mentions that the training for a young Egyptian prince may have started around nine to ten years old [Mackay, 54]

            • We don’t know the exact age when the official adoption took place, but Moses was older than an infant

            • When the time came, Jochebed took her son to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son

          • Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses

            • We know from the Scriptures that she named him Moses, because she had drawn him out of the water

            • Moses sounds like the Hebrew for “draw out”

            • The naming of Moses shows that the princess is officially claiming him as her own

            • “What a perfect name, given the fact that God would use Moses to draw His people out of Egypt!” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 13]

        • Moses and Jesus, deliverers have come

          • Moses and Jesus’ have some similarities in their lives

            • They both survived the desperate attempt of evil rulers (Pharaoh & Herod) to eliminate Hebrew boys

            • They both were sovereignly chosen by God to save His people

              • Moses saved God’s people from Egyptian slavery

              • Jesus saved God’s people from sin

          • Gospel

            • We are all sinners (Rom. 3:23; 6:23a)

            • We are all loved by God (Rom. 5:8)

            • We are all able to be forgiven (Rom. 6:23b; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)

            • We can all become a part of God’s family (John 1:12-13)

            • Back of the Communication Card, Send Me Info About: ​​ Becoming a follower of Jesus

 

  • YOU

    • Who do you need to trust God to protect and care for today?

    • Do you need to trust in God’s mysterious and amazing providence in your life?

    • What has God provided for you that you need to thank Him for today?

 

  • WE

    • Who do we need to trust God to protect and cared for today?

    • What/Who do we need to trust God’s mysterious and amazing guidance and care for?

    • What provision do we need to thank God for?

 

CONCLUSION

“Sandra McCracken writes in CT magazine:

 

A few years ago, I sat on the front porch of an old farmhouse in Vermont … with two friends. Above us, at the corner of the house, hung a hummingbird feeder. Tiny winged visitors stopped by intermittently to eavesdrop while sipping nectar from the glass globe.

 

Hummingbird wings move at about 50 beats per second. But when they (hover), hummingbirds can appear completely motionless. A miracle of fitness and form, God made these creatures to be a delicate display of paradox: They are still and active at the same time.

 

These birds are a moving metaphor for the kind of trust that God outlines in Isaiah 30:15: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence’ (CSB). When I think of God’s grace at play in my own life, my most successful moments happen when I hold steady at the center. Confidence is not found in productivity, but in quietness of heart.

 

Our plans are not like his plans. As the hummingbird moves, his wings are invisible to us. So too the work of God is often hard to see in the moment, but nevertheless something remarkable is happening. This is what the Lord says: ‘Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?’ (Isa. 43:19).”

 

Source: Sandra McCracken, “When God’s Hand Is Invisible,” CT Magazine (April, 2021), p. 24.

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2021/may/when-gods-hand-is-invisible.html].

11

 

Rescued

Thriving Through Affliction

(Exodus 1:1-22)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Have you ever wondered why British sailors are called ‘limeys’? ​​ Well, hundreds of years ago, modern medicine was still in its infancy. ​​ Sailors would drop like flies from scurvy on long sea voyages. ​​ But British sailors accidentally discovered a truth that was to impact the health and lives of thousands. ​​ They found that the dreaded scurvy could be stopped with the addition of limes to the sailors’ diet. ​​ This fruit, unknown to them, contained vitamin C. ​​ Who would have thought that the difference between life and death could be a humble lime! ​​ So, because British sailors sucked on limes, they became known as ‘limeys.’

 

Life is delicately balanced. ​​ It can be negatively affected, and even ended, by the smallest deficiency or addition. ​​ Add an extra carbon molecule to oxygen, and you get carbon dioxide, which can be fatal if too much is inhaled. ​​ This substance, much like vitamin C, is unseen, yet potent.

 

What is true in the physical realm has similar parallels in the spiritual realm. ​​ You are about to make a journey that will demonstrate the fine balance of deliverance, direction, and dedication. ​​ The Book of Exodus paints three pictures for the careful student. ​​ First is the picture of God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage. ​​ The second picture will be a beautiful portrayal of God’s faithful guidance of these same people through the wilderness to the promised land. ​​ The third painting will show us the glory of God as the Israelites trusted his leading and dedicated a dwelling place for his holy habitation.”

 

[Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 9]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Potassium and Magnesium

        • I take a pill that has medicine for my blood pressure combined with a water pill

        • When my doctor increased the dosage of the water pill, I started having muscle pain in my hips and knees that eventually settled in my shoulders

        • After struggling with muscle pain in my neck and shoulders for months, I mentioned something to my chiropractor about my blood pressure medication

        • He recommended taking potassium and magnesium supplements

        • I started taking both and the constant muscle pain in my neck and shoulders has stopped

        • I continued to do everything I had done in the past, but I had to do it a little differently because of the pain in my shoulders

    • Change in my schedule

        • For many years I would work almost 7 days a week, because I wanted to make sure everything was just right for Sunday morning

        • Several years ago, I made a small change to my weekly schedule that transformed by work week

        • Now I am able to take Saturdays off and be with Judy

        • That little change made a huge difference in our lives

 

  • WE

    • A small change

        • Many of us probably have a story about how a small change made all the difference in our lives

        • Perhaps it was something in our diet or something in our spiritual walk

        • That little change transformed our physical or spiritual health

 

God allowed the Israelites to thrive in Egypt, which created some angst with the new king. ​​ As a result, the new king tried three ways to stunt the growth of the Israelites. ​​ He was frustrated because all three plans appeared to fail. ​​ The king’s plan was in direct opposition to God’s plan. ​​ Through this narrative today, we will learn that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 1:1-22)

    • Overview

        • Meaning of Exodus

          • “Going out”

          • “Departure”

        • Author is Moses

        • Structure

          • Scholars have divided the entire book either into to two or three main parts

          • The two-part structure has Israel in Egypt and Israel in Sinai

          • The three-part structure is varied, but I prefer Wiersbe’s breakdown

            • “God delivered them from bondage (1-18), but freedom should lead to obedience (19-24), and obedience results in worship to the glory of God (25-40).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 179]

            • His three main points are:

              • Redemption: The Lord delivers His people (1-18)

              • Covenant: The Lord claims His people (19-24)

              • Worship: The Lord dwells with His people (25-40)

        • Theme

          • “God sets us free that we might serve Him.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 179]

          • Exodus 6:6-8 summarizes the entire book of Exodus

          • “Exodus may thus be divided into two main broad topics: (1) deliverance of a group of people from submission to their oppressors to submission to God and (2) the constitution of that group as a people of God. ​​ Put another way, Exodus is about rescue from human bondage and rescue from sin’s bondage.” ​​ [Douglas K. Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 20]

          • I have chosen “Rescued” as the theme for the entire book of Exodus

        • Now that we have some of the background covered, let’s dive in to the text for today

    • Abundance (vv. 1-7)

        • Continuation of Genesis

          • First word of Exodus in Hebrew

            • It is not reflected in the NIV, but the first word in the Hebrew is actually “and”

            • Many of the modern translations translate it as “now”

            • Most scholars agree that the first word connects Exodus to Genesis

            • In fact, Exodus could be considered the second chapter in the book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament)

            • It is not to be considered a stand-alone book

            • As we will see, having the foundation of Genesis behind us will benefit us in the study of Exodus

              • Exodus does not answer the question of why Jacob is referred to as Israel

              • It does not answer the question of how the Israelites got to Egypt initially

              • It does not answer the question of why Joseph was already in Egypt

              • There are probably many other questions that we have that Exodus will not answer, but fortunately we already know the answers to those questions because we just finished studying the book of Genesis

              • If you don’t know the answers to the questions, you can read Genesis and/or listen to the messages from Genesis on our website

            • There is another element that connects Genesis and Exodus, found in this first verse

          • Connection to Genesis

            • If we compare the first half of verse 1 in Exodus to Genesis 46:8 we find that the first 13 words are identical if we omit the parenthesis in Genesis 46:8

            • The first five verses in Exodus go back in time just a little bit to tell us who migrated with Jacob to Egypt

            • Then beginning in verse 6 it jumps ahead of where Genesis left off

          • There is an order to the names listed

        • Order of names

          • Leah’s sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun)

          • Rachel’s son (Benjamin)

          • Rachel’s handmaiden’s (Bilhah) sons (Dan, Naphtali)

          • Leah’s handmaiden’s (Zilpah) sons (Gad, Asher)

          • Rachel’s first son, Joseph, is listed separately because he was already in Egypt

          • We are reminded again that 70 descendants went to Egypt with Jacob (Genesis 46:26-27)

        • Fulfillment of God’s command

          • All of Jacob’s sons that were part of the generation that migrated to Egypt had died

          • God blessed the Israelites with many descendants

            • This blessing was evidence of God’s presence with the Israelites, even though He had been silent for many years

              • Are you grateful for God’s presence in your life?

              • Are you thankful for His blessings in your life?

              • When was the last time you expressed your gratitude and thanksgiving to Him? ​​ (you can do that right now)

            • “The Hebrew of Exodus 1:7 is even more explicit than the NIV: ‘The Israelites became fruitful and swarmed, they increased in number and became exceedingly strong’,” ​​ [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 41]

              • The word “swarmed” brings to mind insects, which perhaps helps us visualize the explosive population growth of the Israelites

              • “More than normal conceived. ​​ Fewer than normal miscarried. ​​ More than normal survived to adulthood.” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 5]

              • That was God’s blessing on the Israelites

            • God’s blessing was a fulfillment of His command to humanity to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:7) and His promise to the patriarchs of many descendants (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:5; 17:2, 6; 22:17)

          • The Israelites were making good use of the northern Delta region (Goshen) – they were filling it up

        • Blessing and curse

          • Have you ever felt like something in your life is a blessing and a curse?

          • I’ve felt that way about how young I look

            • It is a blessing to not look as old as I am

            • It has also caused me some problems, because some people don’t think I know as much as I do or have not experienced as much as I have – they marginalize my wisdom and abilities

        • The Israelites came to realize that God’s blessing of population growth was a blessing to them, but would bring about affliction also

    • Affliction (vv. 8-22)

        • New king (vv. 8-10)

          • Who was this new king and how did he not know about Joseph?

            • His name is not given, but some believe it could have been Ahmose I

            • It may not be that the king did not know about Joseph, but he did not want to acknowledge the incredible benefits that he had provided for the Egyptians in the past

            • This would have been a common practice when there was a change of dynasty

            • The new king wanted to establish his own processes and procedures and did not want to be bound by the previous dynasty’s promises and practices

          • Motivated by fear (garner support)

            • The king used fear tactics to convince his people to go along with his plans

            • He was creating an “us-them” mentality in his own people, so they would rally around his idea and join him in opposing the Israelites [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 44]

            • “To portray his own people as somehow a minority, potentially dominated by the outsider majority, was a clever way to engender popular support for his plan. ​​ All oppressive regimes use the threat of some great danger, real or imagined, to justify violations of human rights . . . If a regime wishes to be given freedom to oppress a given group within a nation, it defines that group as an undermining force, a real danger, and potentially the agent of overthrow of the established order.” ​​ [Stuart, 64]

              • Don’t be naïve to the fact that this is what is currently happening in our political landscape today

              • As Christians, we have to be aware that we are being included in a group defined as an undermining force, a real danger, and potentially the agents of overthrow of the established order – a threat to democracy

              • We have to stand up and defend the Constitution of the United States and not allow our rights to be taken away

          • After establishing that the Israelites were a threat, the new king implemented his first plan

        • Forced labor (vv. 11-14)

          • The Israelites were forced in to slave labor for the Egyptians

            • They made the bricks and mortar used to build two store cities (Pithom and Rameses)

              • Pithom (pee-thome’/peh-thome’) and Rameses (rah-mes-ace’/rah-may-sace’) were probably in the northern Delta region, close to where they lived in Goshen

              • Show map

              • These would have been strategic store cities that probably housed grain for that region, but also military supplies and personnel, since the Egyptians were fearful of an attack from the Asiatic nations to the northeast

            • They also had them working the fields, which could have been with animals, and probably grain

            • The idea behind working them ruthlessly was probably two-fold

              • Those who were weak would die

              • Those who were strong would be too tired or too far away from their wives to procreate

            • Foretold

              • What began with the new king should not have come as a surprise to the Israelites

              • Genesis 15:13-14, Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. ​​ But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

              • “Knowing that the oppression was as much part of God’s plan as their own growth in numbers had been should have given them strength to wait for the divine resolution of their destiny.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 35]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – “Suffering is a necessary part of God’s plan.” ​​ (Martin, 12)

              • The Israelites could trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering

              • We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.

              • Maybe this is how you are feeling right now, “Have you lived life long enough to feel a little like the story of a cowboy on the western frontier who came across an Indian lying flat with his ear to the ground? ​​ The Indian looked up at the cowboy sitting on his horse and said, ‘Wagon; four horses; two passengers; woman wearing calico gown; heavy man driving; thirty minutes away.’ ​​ The cowboy’s jaw dropped as he said, ‘That is so amazing! ​​ You can tell all of that just by putting your ear to the ground?’ ​​ ‘No,’ the Indian replied, ‘they ran over me half an hour ago!’” ​​ [Martin, 12-13]

              • What has you feeling like you have been run over?

                • Is it people in your life who have deliberately run over you (friend, spouse, coworker, employee, etc.)

                • Is it circumstances that have let you feeling flat (broken health, bills stacking up, unexpected expenses, increasing debt, etc.)

                • “Know this, whatever place of bondage you are in right now, God knows. ​​ And whatever place of suffering you feel trapped within, God cares. ​​ And when you labor to remain faithful to God’s leading and remain patient through the adversity, God will do something about it.” ​​ [Martin, 13]

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Remember that God knows and cares about the bondage and suffering I am currently experiencing, so I can trust Him by faith to bring me through it.

            • The Israelites had to trust God by faith as they experienced oppression at the hands of the Egyptians

            • They watched Him do the miraculous through the hard and ruthless work

          • The king’s plan did not work

            • The harder they worked the Israelites and the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread

            • I can only imagine what the new king thought after years of oppressing the Israelites – “How is it that these slaves are not decreasing in number, but increasing instead?”

            • The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites, which caused them to work them even harder

            • They made the Israelites lives bitter by using them ruthlessly

          • The king had to regroup and look for another way to decrease the population of the Israelites

        • Infanticide (vv. 15-22)

          • Secretly (vv. 15-21)

            • Request

              • The king called in the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah

                • Shiphrah (shif-raw’) means “fair, brightness, beauty”

                • Puah (poo-aw’) means “splendid”

              • He asked them to kill the Hebrew boys right after they were born, but to let the Hebrew girls live

                • The king knew that killing the baby boys would eventually reduce the fighting force of the Israelites

                • The girls could be absorbed into Egyptian culture through marriage

                • The hope was that if the midwives killed the boys before they made a noise (cried) that it would be considered a stillbirth allowing his plan to remain a secret

              • He was banking on the fact that most people viewed the king (Pharaoh) as a god and would therefore not defy his request/command

            • Refusal (civil disobedience)

              • The midwives feared God, who was higher and more powerful than the king

                • They stood up for what was right according to God’s law instead of the king’s command

                • Their civil disobedience was prompted by their fear of God more than a humanitarian concern for the Hebrew boys [Alexander, 56]

                • Scripture is clear that, as Christians, we are to obey those in authority over us, whether they are Christians or not (Matt. 20:21-25; Rom. 13; 1 Pet. 2:11)

                • Scripture also teaches that our obedience must not violate our conscience or the laws of God

                  • Romans 13:5, Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

                  • Acts 5:27-29, Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ​​ “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. ​​ “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” ​​ Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”

              • These two midwives risked their lives to be faithful to God, instead of the king – they probably knew that the consequences of disobeying the king could mean death

              • Perhaps it didn’t take too long for the king to realize that his command was being ignored, so he called the two women in again

            • Reprimand

              • He wanted to know why they let the Hebrew boys live?

              • The midwives defense was that the Hebrew women were more vigorous that the Egyptian women and gave birth before the midwives arrived

                • “The final part of the verse, ‘they . . . give birth before the midwives arrive,’ could thus be perfectly true, perhaps in part because of a purposely slow arrival of the midwives as part of a quiet, widespread plot among Israelites to fool the Egyptians.” [Stuart, 81-82]

                • The king must have accepted their defense, because he does not punish them

              • The command from the king must have been hard for the midwives to deal with, but they trusted God to accomplish His plan even through that hardship and suffering.

              • Their faithfulness to God was rewarded

            • Reward

              • The Israelites were rewarded with even more descendants

              • God was kind to the midwives and gave them families of their own

                • It is probable that midwives in the Ancient Near East were women who were unable to have children of their own – they were barren

                • The demands of a midwife to be available at a moment’s notice, day or night, would not have been something a mother with children of her own could do

                • The midwives were now part of the increase of the Israelite community

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – “God demands faithfulness of those who want His blessing.” (Martin, 12).

                • We have to be faithful to God and His commands given to us through His Word, the Bible

                • Fear keeps many of us Christians from actively addressing sin in our culture

                  • We are afraid to stand up for unborn children

                  • We shy away from confronting false teaching in the Church

                  • We would never think of participating in civil disobedience for fear of being “canceled

                  • We don’t speak up when prayer and the Bible are removed from our educational institutions and government facilities

                  • The “See You At The Pole” events are scarcely attended by our children, probably because parents are not encouraging them to participate

                  • The examples could go on and on

                • We fear man instead of God!

                  • When Jesus was preparing his disciples for persecution, he told them, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. ​​ Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

                  • Luke 9:23-26, Then he said the them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ​​ For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. ​​ What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? ​​ If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

                • It’s time for us to stand up as Christians and be faithful to God instead of fretting over the things He may ask us to sacrifice

                • What blessings have we missed because we have not been faithful to the Lord and His Word?

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Stop fretting over the things God has asked me to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him.

                • We can trust God to accomplish His plan even through hardship and suffering.

              • The midwives were faithful to the Lord and were blessed with children of their own

            • Out of desperation, the king made his secret plan public

          • Openly (v. 22)

            • He ordered all of the Egyptian people to take every Hebrew boy born and throw them in the Nile

            • He also ordered that every Hebrew girl be allowed to live

            • “If this policy had been kept up for any length of time, it is impossible to explain the number of Israelite males at the Exodus. ​​ It may only have been sporadically enforced, and that in limited areas of the land.” ​​ [Mackay, 46]

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God’s plan cannot be thwarted!

            • We know that God is all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), sovereign, and eternal, so no matter what plan the king tried to dream up, God knew about it and had the power and right to override it, because He had a long-term plan that needed to be accomplished

            • His long-term plan was to have the Israelites return to the land of Canaan, so that in the future His Son, Jesus, could be born in Bethlehem, live in Nazareth, teach people about Him in the region of Galilee, and then give His life on the cross for the sin of all humanity

            • An Egyptian king was not going to thwart His plan

            • God’s plan for your life cannot be thwarted

            • God’s plan for our church cannot be thwarted

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s perfect plan for me and/or the church.

 

  • YOU

    • Do you need to remember that God knows and cares about the bondage and suffering you are currently experiencing, so you can trust Him by faith to bring you through it?

    • Is it time to stop fretting over the things God has asked you to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him?

    • Do you need to trust in God’s perfect plan for you?

 

  • WE

    • We need to remember that God knows and cares about the suffering we are currently experiencing as a church, so we can trust Him by faith to bring us through it.

    • We do not need to fret over the things God is asking us to sacrifice in order to be faithful to Him.

    • We can trust in God’s perfect plan for us.

 

CONCLUSION

“In the fall of 1943 German soldiers began rounding up Jews in Italy and deporting them by the thousands to concentration camps. Simultaneously a mysterious and deadly disease called “Syndrome K” swept through the city of Rome causing dozens of patients to be admitted to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. The details of the disease are sketchy, but the symptoms include persistent coughing, paralysis, and death. The disease was said to be highly contagious.

But “Syndrome K” was different. There was no mention of it in medical textbooks, and outside of the hospital staff, nobody had heard of it before. It sounded similar to tuberculosis, a terribly frightening disease at that time. When the German soldiers went to raid the hospital, the doctors explained the disease to the soldiers and what lay behind the closed doors. None of them dared to go in. And that’s how at least a hundred Jews who were taking refuge at the hospital escaped death. “Syndrome K” was a made-up disease.

 

The disease was created by Giovanni Borromeo, the hospital’s head physician, to save Jews and anti-fascists who sought refuge there. Borromeo began providing Jews a safe haven in the hospital from 1938, the year Italy introduced antisemitic laws. In October 1943, the Nazis raided a Jewish ghetto in Rome. Many Jews fled to Fatebenefratelli, where Borromeo admitted them as “patients.” The refugees were diagnosed with a new fatal disease—“Syndrome K”—in order to identify them from the actual patients.

 

When the Nazis came to visit, patients were instructed to cough a lot whenever soldiers passed by their door. The ruse worked. “The Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits,” said Dr. Vittorio Sacerdoti during an interview with BBC in 2004, sixty years after the event.

 

How many lives “Syndrome K” actually saved is hard to tell, but accounts vary from two dozen to over a hundred. After the war, Borromeo was honored by the Italian government by awarding the Order of Merit and the Silver Medal of Valor. He died in 1961 at his own hospital. He was posthumously recognized as a “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Israeli government.

 

Possible Preaching Angles: Lying; Protection; Racism; Rescue – In the tradition of Rahab (Josh. 2:1-24) and the Egyptian midwives (Exodus 1:10-22) lives were protected from an attempt to murder God’s people. Concealing the truth by telling a lie to protect innocent lives appears to be accepted by God during persecution and extreme situations.

 

Source: Kaushik, “Syndrome K: The Fake Disease That Saved Lives,” Amusing Planet (3-20-19).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2020/february/syndrome-k-fake-disease-that-saved-lives.html].

12

 

Origins

Geometric Faith

(Genesis 50:22-26)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In Chase the Lion, Mark Batterson writes that in 1983 Lorne Whitehead published an article about the domino chain reaction. You can picture it in your mind, can't you? You knock over a domino, and it sets off a chain reaction that can knock down hundreds of dominoes in a matter of seconds. But the unique significance of Whitehead's research was discovering that a domino is capable of knocking over a domino that is one-and-a-half times its size. So a two-inch domino can topple a three-inch domino. A three-inch domino can topple a four-and-a-half-inch domino. And a four-and-a-half-inch domino can topple a … well, you get the point.

 

By the time you get to the eighteenth domino, you could knock over the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Of course, it's leaning so that's not fair. The twenty-third domino could knock over the Eiffel Tower. And by the time you get to the twenty-ninth domino, you could take down the Empire State Building.

 

In the realm of mathematics, there are two types of progression: linear and geometric. Linear progression is two plus two equals four. Geometric progression is compound doubling. Two times two equals four. If you take thirty linear steps, you're ninety feet from where you started. But if you take thirty geometric steps, you've circled the earth twenty-six times!

 

Faith isn't linear. Faith is geometric. Every decision we make, every step of faith we take, has a chain reaction. And those chain reactions set off a thousand chain reactions we aren't even aware of. They won't be revealed until we reach the other side of the space-time continuum.”

 

Source: Adapted from Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion (Multnomah, 2016), pages 169-170.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2017/november/6111317.html]

 

We are going to see how Joseph’s faith was geometric and not linear. ​​ It was going to have an incredible impact on the future of the nation of Israel.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Trusting God by faith for our future

        • Moving

          • Judy and I have done that couple of times as most of you probably know

          • We moved from Florida to Ohio after our oldest son was born without having a job already lined up

          • We did the same thing when we left California, but we didn’t know where we would be moving to next

        • Children

          • We trusted the Lord with our future when it came to having children

          • We especially had to trust the Lord with our last two children, because of complications

 

  • WE

    • Trusting the Lord with our future

        • Every one of us probably has a story of how we had to trust the Lord with our future, whether with jobs, children, health, finances, etc.

        • We can continue to trust Lord with our future from here on out as individuals and as a church

 

Joseph had been faithful to the Lord throughout his entire life from the time he was sold into slavery at 17 years old until 110 years old, when this narrative takes place. ​​ Joseph experienced the blessings of the Lord in every stage of life and especially now with having lived a long life. ​​ Joseph had faith concerning the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so he was able to trust God to fulfill those promises. ​​ His final words express an incredible faith in the God who had sustained, protected, and provided for him. ​​ We learn through Joseph’s example that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We can trust God by faith for our future.

 

Let’s pray

 

We are coming to the end of about a two and a half year journey through the book of Genesis. ​​ We began our journey on January 24, 2021. ​​ It has been a wonderful journey as we looked at the ten instances of the Hebrew word toledot that we translated as “the history of/the generations of/the account of/the origins of. ​​ We have traveled through the following accounts of:

        • The heavens and earth (2:4-4:26)

        • Adam’s line (5:1-6:8)

        • Noah’s line (6:9-9:29)

        • Noah’s sons line (10:1-11:9)

        • Shem’s line (11:10-26)

        • Terah’s line (11:27-25:11)

        • Ishmael’s line (25:12-18)

        • Isaac’s line (25:19-35:29)

        • Esau’s line (36:1-37:1)

        • Jacob’s line (37:2-50:26)

 

Let’s look at the final verses of this foundational book of the Bible.

 

  • GOD (Genesis 50:22-26)

    • Family (vv. 22-23)

        • Joseph’s age

          • Joseph stayed in Egypt with all his father’s family after his father, Jacob had died

          • He lived to 110 years old

            • Joseph lived 17 years in Canaan before being sold into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37:2)

            • He was 39 years old when his father, Jacob, moved to Egypt

            • He was 56 years old when his father, Jacob, died

            • He lived another 54 years in Egypt following his father’s death

          • The age of 110 was considered to be the ideal life span by Egyptian culture, which signified God’s completed blessings on his life [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 625-26]

        • Joseph’s generations

          • Because of his long life, Joseph was able to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren

            • The third generation of Ephraim’s children would have been his great grandchildren

            • He also got to see his great grandchildren through Manasseh’s son, Makir

            • I know how excited our parents have been to see their great grandchildren – it brings them great joy

            • Being able to see our great grandchildren is a sign of God’s blessing

              • Psalm 128:5-6, May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. ​​ Peace be upon Israel.

              • Proverbs 17:6, Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

              • Isaiah 53:10, Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper his hand.

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God blesses those who are faithful to Him.

              • Joseph’s life

                • He was blessed as a youth with dreams from the Lord about his future

                • He did not hold a grudge or waver in his faith after being mistreated by his brothers and sold into slavery

                • He did not allow a false accusation to deter him from working hard and remaining faithful to the Lord in prison

                • God blessed him with the ability to interpret dreams while in prison

                • He remained faithful to the Lord after being forgotten by the chief cupbearer for two years

                • Joseph remained faithful to the Lord after being promoted to second in command in Egypt and having everything he could have imagined

                • He remained faithful to his heritage by giving his sons Hebrew names

                • Joseph experienced God’s blessings throughout his life

                • Finally, God’s blessing on Joseph meant long life and the ability to see his great grandchildren

              • God’s blessings on those who are faithful to Him can be varied, so the blessing of long life is not necessarily an universal principle – it may come in other ways throughout our lives

              • How many of us can say that it has been a blessing from God to see and hold our great grandchildren?

              • For those of us who have not reached that blessing in our lives, how have you seen God’s blessings in other ways?

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Praise the Lord for His many blessings, as I have been faithful to Him.

            • It’s never too late to choose to be faithful to the Lord – He can and will bless you for making that decision

          • Joseph followed in his father’s footsteps by adopting some of his great grandchildren as his own

            • That is what is meant by Makir placing his children on Joseph’s knees when they were born

            • This was a common practice in the ancient Near East

              • Joseph’s mother, Rachel, did it with her handmaiden, Bilhah’s children, Dan and Naphtali (Genesis 30:3-8)

              • Jacob took Joseph’s two sons and adopted them as his own (Genesis 48:5-12)

              • Naomi took Ruth’s newborn son, Obed, and laid him in her lap and the women living there said, “Naomi has a son.” (Ruth 4:16-17)

          • Joseph experienced the joy and blessing of being able to see his great grandchildren

        • Joseph’s faith extended beyond his past experiences to a future he would never see

        • He knew that he could trust God by faith for his future and we can do the same

    • Faith (vv. 24-25)

        • Joseph’s faith about the future

          • As Joseph neared death, he wanted his brothers and their relatives to have the same faith in God and confidence in His promises that he had

            • Joseph was the second youngest son, so Benjamin surely outlived him and maybe some of his older brothers did too

            • Joseph probably viewed his surviving brothers and their children as one and the same [Mathews, New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 929]

          • Joseph mentioned the Exodus from Egypt 360 years before it ever happened

            • At this particular time, Joseph and his family were still regarded highly by Pharaoh and the people of Egypt

            • A time came when the new Pharaoh did not know about Joseph, and he forced the Israelites into slavery

            • The writer of Hebrews mentioned this passage when he wrote, By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones (Hebrews 11:22)

              • “Faith isn’t a shallow emotion that we work up by ourselves, or an optimistic ‘hope-so’ attitude of ‘faith in faith.’ ​​ True faith is grounded on the infallible Word of God, and because God said it, we believe it and act upon it. ​​ True faith leads to obedient action (James 2:14-26).” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 173]

              • Read James 2:14-26

            • I wonder if Joseph’s brothers and their children even understood what he was saying at this point

              • Why would God need to come to their aid, they were living a really good life, at this point?

              • Why would they want or need to return to the land God has promised them on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? (Goshen had the best pasture land that Egypt had to offer)

              • Fortunately they listened to, and passed down, Joseph’s instructions from generation to generation

              • Perhaps some of them were not caught off guard by the change in their status before the new Pharaoh

              • They remembered Joseph’s instructions from hundreds of years before

          • Joseph mentions God’s oath about Canaan

            • It was an oath God had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

            • God’s original promise to Abraham is found in Genesis 15:13-16, Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. ​​ But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. ​​ You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. ​​ In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

            • This promise to Abraham was passed down to his son, Isaac, who in turn passed it down to his son, Jacob

            • Jacob then shared the promise with Joseph as we saw in Genesis 48:21, Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers.

            • It is a testimony about God that this promise was accepted by each generation, by faith

          • Joseph, like his father, grandfather, and great grandfather trusted God by faith for their future – a future none of them would see or experience

          • With an incredible faith in God’s promise about the future, Joseph makes a request

        • Joseph’s request for the future

          • Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath

            • Jacob had done the same thing with Joseph in Genesis 47:31

            • He was putting them under oath, because he did not want his bones to remain in Egypt

          • He made them swear, that when God came to their aid, they would carry his bones up from Egypt to the Promised Land

            • They obviously swore to do what Joseph was asking, because we see the fulfillment of this oath by Moses and Joshua

            • Exodus 13:19, Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. ​​ He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

            • Joshua 24:32, And Joseph’s bones which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. ​​ This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

            • What a testimony to the faith and influence of Joseph, that his request was remembered and fulfilled after 360 years

              • How many of us are even aware of a request made by a relative over 300 years ago?

              • How many of us can even remember a request made by our grandparents?

              • How many of us men can even remember a request our wives made last week or yesterday?

              • How many of us children even heard the request our parents made this morning?

            • Joseph had faith in God who was able to fulfill his request even after several centuries

          • We can trust God by faith for our future.

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – We can trust God by faith for our future.

            • What are you struggling to trust God with concerning your future?

              • Education (which college or university to attend)

              • Occupation (what trade or industry should I work in)

              • Family (future spouse, future children, current children or grandchildren, etc.)

              • Health (will I ever feel normal again)

              • Finances (will I ever get out of this deep whole)

              • Economy (will I ever be able to buy a house, will I have enough money to retire)

              • Our country or the world

              • Environment (global warming, clean energy, etc.)

              • Spiritual (is God calling me into ministry or missions, will my family member ever turn to Jesus)

            • God is loving, just, all-knowing, sovereign, and eternal

              • It means that you are precious to Him

              • It means that he wants what’s best for you

              • It means that He knows everything about you

              • It means that He has the right to rule and rules rightly in your life

              • It means that He knows the beginning from the end – your whole story

            • You can trust Him by faith for your future.

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God by faith for the future of _______________.

        • Joseph trusted God by faith for the future fulfillment of his request

    • Future (v. 26)

        • We are not told how soon Joseph died after asking his brothers and their children to swear the oath

          • We knew with Jacob that right after he gave his final instructions to his sons that he drew his feet up into bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people

          • For Joseph, it was while he was still 110 years old, so it could have been a few days later, a week later, or a month later (we are not told the time frame)

        • Coffin

          • “The word for coffin is ʾārôn (aw-rone’), the word used for the “ark” (i.e. chest) of the covenant.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 711-12]

          • “All this time in the desert Israel carried two shrines with them, the one the coffin containing the bones of the dead man Joseph, the other the Ark containing the covenant of the Living God. ​​ The wayfarers who saw the two receptacles wondered, and they would ask, ‘How doth the ark of the dead come next to the ark of the Ever-living?’ ​​ The answer was, ‘The dead man enshrined in the one fulfilled the commandments enshrined in the other.’” ​​ [Ginzberg cited by Hamilton, 712]

  • YOU

    • What blessings do you need to praise the Lord for, as you have been faithful to Him?

    • What future items do you need to trust God for by faith?

 

  • WE

    • As a body of believers, what blessings do we need to praise the Lord for, as we have been faithful to Him?

    • What future items do we need to trust God for by faith?

 

CONCLUSION

“In December of 2016, a ride at Knott's Berry Farm in California became stuck 148 feet in the air. There were 20 people on board, including seven children. Firefighters tried to reach the stranded passengers by using a massive ladder, but it was too short. Fire crews had no choice. They would have to lower each passenger from 148 feet in the air, harnessed to a single rope.

 

Fire Captain Larry Kurtz said, ‘It sounds scary, but … we have very, very strong ropes that have 9,000 pounds of breaking strength on them.’ He was building the faith of those who were trapped. He was giving them information that if believed would dissipate their fears. It was up to each person to believe what he said and place their trust in the firefighter.

 

Let's zero in on one of the youngsters, and say his name was Luke. He's seven years old—old enough to feel terror as he looks at the ground 148 feet below. The firefighter looks Luke in his eyes, and with a steadying voice says, ‘Trust me, Luke. I won't let you go. Your life is very precious to me, and I will have you down before you know it.’

 

Luke listens to him and thinks about the ‘very, very strong rope.’ He believes the firefighter's reassuring words and trusts him completely. This is his only hope of getting to safety. If he doesn’t have faith, then he doesn't believe that the firefighter cares for him. He would then lose his only hope of reaching the ground. Faith, hope, and love are bound together.

 

Luke and all 20 passengers were lowered safely to the ground just before 10 p.m. that night.”

 

Source:

Ray Comfort, The Final Curtain (New Leaf Press, 2018), pg. 199-200.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2019/february/firemans-promise-built-faith-in-those-he-rescued.html].

 

As we face the future, we have to have faith in an all-powerful God who created us and thinks we are very precious.

 

As we move into the book of Exodus, we will see that the Israelites had to have faith in an all-powerful God who would rescue them from human bondage and sin’s bondage.

10

 

Origins

A Fathers Blessing

(Genesis 49:1-28)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In the movie Toy Story 3, Andy, the owner of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other toys, is preparing to leave for college. At the end of the movie, he decides to give his toys to a young girl named Bonnie.

 

The scene starts with Andy entering the front gate of Bonnie's home and showing her the box of toys. Andy tells her, ‘I'm Andy. Someone told me you're really good with toys. These are mine, but I'm going away now, so I need someone really special to play with them.’ Then as Andy proceeds to hand the toys to Bonnie, he introduces them by saying something special about each one.

 

He begins with his toy cowgirl Jessie: ‘This is Jessie—the roughest, toughest cowgirl in the whole West. She loves critters, but none more'n her best pal, Bullseye.’

 

Andy then hands Bonnie his toy Tyrannosaurus, Rex, ‘the meanest, most terrifying dinosaur who ever lived’

 

For the Potato Heads, Andy says, ‘The Potato Heads—Mister and Missus. You gotta keep em together cause they're madly in love.’

 

Slinky the Dog ‘is as loyal as any dog you could want.’

 

Andy blesses Hamm, the Pig, by saying, ‘He'll keep your money safe, but he's also one of the most dastardly villains of all time, Evil Dr. Pork Chop!’

 

Buzz Lightyear is ‘the coolest toy ever. Look, he can fly, and shoot lasers. He's sworn to protect the galaxy from the evil Emperor Zurg!’

Finally, for his pal Woody, Andy says, ‘He's been my pal as long as I can remember. He's brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special? Is he'll never give up on you—ever. He'll be there for you, no matter what.’”

 

Source: Toy Story 3, Scene 33, "Goodbye Andy," 1:28:55 to 1:32:05.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2010/december/2120610.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Encouraging others

        • Family

          • Judy and I try to encourage each other when we notice something the other person has done

          • We also try to encourage our children and their spouses/girlfriend when they do something incredible or caring for others

          • We look for ways to encourage our grandchildren as they develop and grow

        • Friends

          • We look for ways to point out how our friends are being caring and thoughtful

          • We try to thank our friends for how they have supported and cared for us

        • Staff and Volunteers

          • I strive to encourage the staff and volunteers here at Idaville Church

 

  • WE

    • Whom do you need to encourage this week?

        • Family (spouse, children, grandchildren, parent, sibling)

        • Friends

        • Staff or volunteers

 

Jacob is nearing death and wants to have his sons together for one final family gathering. ​​ This gathering was important, because Jacob had some important words to share about his sons’ futures. ​​ While some of his blessings seem like anti-blessings, they are important nonetheless. ​​ He has something to share about each son. ​​ For some of his sons, he will reflect on their pasts and how that will affect their futures. ​​ We will learn from this passage that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Our past can affect our future.

 

It can be either positive or negative, depending on what we did in the past. ​​ It may affect us, but it may also affect our descendants.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 49:1-28)

    • Jacob’s call (vv. 1-2)

        • Jacob wanted to share some final instructions with his sons as he prepared to die

        • As we see in verse 1, Jacob looked beyond his present life and the lives of his sons, to a time when their descendants were back in the Promised Land [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Genesis, 696]

          • He was looking beyond the individual to the clan/tribe

          • “It would not have been viewed as prediction as much as a determination of individual and tribal destiny.” ​​ [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 712]

        • We know the content was important, because Jacob told his sons to listen

          • He wanted them to pay attention

          • While it may not affect them personally, it would affect the generations to come

        • Jacob blessed the six sons he had with Leah, first

    • Leah’s children (vv. 3-15)

        • Reuben [1st] (vv. 3-4)

          • Privilege

            • As the firstborn son of Jacob, Reuben should have inherited a double portion, been the priestly tribe, and the kingly tribe

            • Jacob had hopes and aspirations for Reuben

            • He should have excelled in honor and power, but his moral failure caused him to forfeit those privileges

          • Accountability

            • Reuben’s attitude and actions were like turbulent waters

              • Water is very unstable in its liquid form

              • Other than Jesus and Peter (kind of) no one has walked on water – when we try, we simply sink – water is unstable or weak

              • Turbulent water is a whole different animal

                • When a levee or dam breaks, the force of the rushing water causes great damage

                • When a tsunami or tidal wave reach land, the destruction that follows is devastating

              • Reuben’s lust for power created a devastating sexual tsunami

                • After Jacob’s wife, Rachel, died, Israel moved on to Migdal Eder (Gen. 35:21)

                • While he was living there, Reuben went in and slept with Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaiden and Jacob’s concubine (Gen. 35:22)

                • When he did this it defiled his father’s marriage bed

                • Perhaps Reuben thought that in doing so, he would somehow gain power or authority over his father

                • The opposite happened, he was stripped of his honor and power

                • When this incident happened, the narrator simply mentioned that Israel heard about it, but we are not told that he did anything about it

                • Now 40 years later, Reuben is hearing about the consequences of his sin

                  • The status of firstborn and the double portion went to Joseph and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh

                  • The priestly duties were given to the tribe of Levi

                  • The royal/kingly honor went to the tribe of Judah

                • “Sin’s consequences can plague us long after the sin is committed.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Genesis 35:22]

              • Reuben’s sin affected the status of his clan/tribe forever

              • Our past can affect our future.

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Our behavior affects the destiny of our descendants.

                • Substance abuse can affect the destiny of our descendants, because it can begin a long line of alcoholism and drug abuse (in some cases children will avoid those substances when they have been exposed to the consequences of them, through their parents)

                • Children are watching and listening to us, as parents, for clues concerning how they should behave and talk

                  • If we use foul language, they will use foul language

                  • If we mistreat other people, they will mistreat other people

                  • If we are abusive to our spouse, they will be abusive to their spouse

                  • If we prioritize other things above God, they will prioritize other things above God

                  • The opposite of all of these are true too (use our speech to build others up; treat others with kindness and respect; are loving and supportive of our spouse; put our relationship with God first above everything else)

                  • There are exceptions to the rule

                  • Certainly there are cases when our children do not follow in our footsteps (good or bad)

                • Our behavior and speech can affect the destiny of our descendants

                • Deuteronomy 5:8-9, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. ​​ You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (2nd Commandment)

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Seek the Lord’s help in behaving and speaking in a way that will honor God and benefit my descendants.

            • Perhaps Reuben thought he had gotten away with his little indiscretion, but that was not the case

            • His actions affected his descendants

          • The same was true for Simeon and Levi

        • Simeon and Levi [2nd & 3rd] (vv. 5-7)

          • Uncontrolled anger

            • While Reuben dealt with lust, Simeon and Levi dealt with anger and fury

              • When the narrator says that Simeon and Levi are brothers, he means that they both struggled with the same issue – anger and fury

              • Swords

                • The meaning of the Hebrew word for swords is uncertain

                • It is only found here in all of Scripture

                • It is a noun form from the verb, “to cut,” which could be referring to circumcision

                • This would make sense since the narrator is probably referring to the slaughter of the Shechemites in retaliation of the rape of their sister Dinah

                • Simeon and Levi tricked the Shechemites into being circumcised and when they vulnerable they went to Shechem and killed the inhabitants

                • The knives used for circumcision would have been weapons of violence

              • Separation encouraged

                • If you recall, Jacob was not pleased with Simeon and Levi’s actions

                • Here we see that Jacob did not want to ask them for council (he probably did not trust them)

                • He also did not want to join their assembly (he wanted to separate himself from them)

                • When the incident occurred, Jacob was concerned that the Canaanites and Perizzites would join forces, attack them, and destroy them (Gen. 34:30)

                • The reason that he wanted to remain separate from them was because they killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen whenever they wanted to

              • Cursed

                • Jacob cursed their anger that was so fierce

                • He also cursed their fury that was so cruel

                • Their actions showed that they were controlled by anger and not controlled by the Lord

            • Their actions in the past affected their descendants also

            • Our past can affect our future.

          • Consequences

            • Jacob shared that their descendants would be scattered and dispersed

              • When we look at a map of the land that each of the twelve tribes inherited, we see that Simeon was absorbed into the land of Judah – his clan was scattered [show the map]

              • Notice that the tribe of Levi did not inherit any land

                • As the priestly tribe, the Levites were given 48 cities and the surrounding fields, dispersed throughout all of Israel

                • Their anti-blessing turns into a blessing when they are chosen as the priestly tribe [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 252]

              • “Regarding Simeon and Levi, division and dispersal is as much preemptive as judgmental—it is designed to stop them from indulging further in their angry violence. ​​ In the event, Levi as the ministerial clan will have towns spread around the promised land; Simeon will be enclosed within Judah (Num. 35; Josh. 19:1-9).” ​​ [Goldingay, 698]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Our behavior affects the destiny of our descendants.

          • The same would be true of Judah, but on a positive note

        • Judah [4th] (vv. 8-12)

          • Honor (v. 8)

            • As the ruling tribe, Judah will be praised by his brothers

            • It will not just be his five other brothers born to Leah, but all of Jacob’s sons

            • They will praise and bow down to the tribe of Judah, because of their ability to subdue their enemies (that is the imagery of Judah having their hand on the neck of their enemies – it represents victory over their enemies)

            • We see the fulfillment of this blessing in King David and his ability to conquer his enemies

            • During Solomon’s reign there was peace on all sides

          • Strength (v. 9)

            • The metaphor of a lion represents strength – the lion is the king of the jungle

            • “What is pictured here is a lion that has grown into adulthood. ​​ Grown . . . on prey is the equivalent of ‘your hand is on the neck of your enemies’ in v. 8. ​​ The lion, having recently eaten, has retired to its sleeping quarters to digest its meal. ​​ Even while it is reposing, nothing else tries to invade its territory, so powerful is the lion.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 658]

          • Ruling tribe (v. 10)

            • This blessing was fulfilled through King David

              • The Lord promised David that he would always have a descendant on the throne

              • Read 2 Samuel 7:11b-16

            • The blessing of the scepter and the ruler’s staff remaining with the line of Judah until he comes to whom it belongs is perhaps a foreshadowing of the Messiah

              • We know that the Messiah would come through the line of Judah

              • The Hebrew can also read until Shiloh comes or until he comes to whom tribute belongs

              • “The obedience of the nations is his,” would seem to be referencing Jesus’ eternal reign

              • Philippians 2:9-11, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

          • Prosperity (vv. 11-12)

            • Tethering a donkey to a vine, the choicest branch

              • A regular vineyard farmer would not tether his donkey to any of his vines or branches, because the donkey would eat the grapes and the vines

              • A prosperous ruler would not worry about having one of his vines or branches eaten by his donkey

              • They would have plenty more to harvest from

            • Washing garments and robes in wine and the blood of grapes

              • Using wine and the blood of grapes as wash water again shows the wealth of a prosperous ruler

              • The common person would not waste wine by using it to “clean” their clothes

            • Dark eyes and white teeth

              • Dark eyes could be referring to dull eyes as a result of drinking too much wine

              • “His country will flow with milk . . . its pasturage will be so good that there are countless sheep and thus rivers of milk.” ​​ [Goldingay, 700]

              • “The soil of Judah produced the best wine in Canaan, near Hebron and Engedi (Num. 13:23, 24; Song of Sol. 1:14; 2 Chron. 26:10 cf. Joel 1:7ff.), and had excellent pasture land in the desert by Tekoah and Carmel, to the south of Hebron (1 Sam. 25:2; Amos 1:1; 2 Chron. 26:10).” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, 258-59]

          • Judah’s past

            • Judah also had some problems in his past

              • He was the one who suggested they sell Joseph into slavery

              • He also withheld his youngest son from Tamar, his daughter-in-law, which caused her to trick him into providing offspring by sleeping with him

            • Why is Jacob not harsh with his blessing of Judah?

              • I believe it has to do with how he responded after sinning

              • There was a change in Judah when Jacob was hesitant to send Benjamin to Egypt

                • He guaranteed his safety and said that he would be personally responsible (Gen. 43:9)

                • Reuben offered the life of his two sons and not himself (Gen. 42:37)

                • There is the difference

              • The change continued when Joseph threatened to keep Benjamin in Egypt

                • Judah explained to Joseph that he had guaranteed Benjamin’s life to his father

                • Judah then offers his own life for Benjamin’s life (Gen. 44:33)

              • The change perhaps began when Judah was confronted about his sin with Tamar

                • He had withheld his third son from Tamar out of fear that he would die

                • When he unknowingly sleeps with his daughter-in-law and is then confronted about breaking his promise to her he responds with humility and repentance

                • “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” (Gen. 38:26)

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God can use us for great things when we repent and seek forgiveness.

              • God used Judah and his line as the kingly tribe, through whom the Messiah would come – God recognized the change that had taken place in his life

              • God can and will use us, even after all our failures, for His glory and purposes, but He requires that we repent of our sins and seek to live a holy life

              • Do you want to be used by God for great things?

                • What do you need to stop doing and repent of?

                • What do you need to ask the Lord to forgive you for?

                • It is never too late to be used by God

                • You have not done too many bad things to be used by God

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins and seek the Lord’s forgiveness, so He can use me for great things.

          • Our past can affect our future.

          • Jacob switches the order of his next two sons by Leah by addressing Zebulun before Issachar

        • Zebulun [6th] (v. 13)

          • [show the map]

          • If you notice from the map, Zebulun is landlocked and is not by the seashore

          • They were not on the Mediterranean Sea or the Sea of Galilee

          • “The Hebrew preposition [for “by”] means ‘with reference to’ or even ‘near.’” [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 609]

          • “Zebulun was located on an important route that carried merchandise from the coast to the Sea of Galilee and to Damascus.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 167]

        • Issachar [5th] (v. 14-15)

          • Jacob recognized Issachar’s strength and hard work

          • Lying down between two saddlebags is probably referencing where the tribe of Issachar would settle in the Promised Land [show map]

          • They lived in the valley of Jezreel that was between the Mt. Tabor and Mt. Gilboa ranges [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 373 and Walton, 716]

          • “‘Ease at the cost of liberty will be the characteristic of the tribe of Issachar’ (Delitzsch). ​​ The simile of a bony, i.e., strongly-built ass, particularly adapted for carrying burdens, pointed to the fact that this tribe would content itself with material good, devote itself to the labour and burden of agriculture, and not strive after political power and rule.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, 259]

        • Jacob turns to his sons born the Bilhah and Zilpah

    • Handmaiden’s children (vv. 16-21)

        • There is a little chiastic structure here in that Jacob started with Bilhah’s first son Dan, then blessed Zilpah’s two sons Gad and Asher, before returning to Bilhah’s second son, Naphtali

        • Dan [Bilhah’s 1st] (vv. 16-17)

          • The name Dan means “to judge”

          • The only Biblical account of a judge coming from the tribe of Dan is Samson

          • Perhaps the tribe of Dan provided justice in other ways

          • “Though small, Dan will be aggressive, dangerous, and strike unexpectedly to overthrow nations (see Judg. 18). ​​ Samson, from this tribe, single-handedly wounds the Philistines (see Judg. 14-16).” ​​ [Waltke, 611]

          • Dan’s attack, providing justice, will be stealthy

        • Gad [Zilpah’s 1st] (v. 19)

          • Gad settled on the eastern side of the Jordan River with Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh [show map]

          • The King’s Highway, which was a major trade route that went north to south, went through the territory of Gad [Gangel & Bramer, 374]

          • Because of their location they experienced attacks from bands of raiders wanting to obtain the items being traded

          • The attacks came from the Ammonites (Judg. 10-12; Jer. 49:1-6), Moabites, Arameans (1 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 10:32-33), and Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29) [Waltke, 611]

          • Since they were a small tribe they were not able to advance against their enemies head on, but would attack from the rear

          • “Mobility rather than number is Gad’s major asset.” ​​ [Hamilton, 673]

        • Asher [Zilpah’s 2nd] (v. 20)

          • As the map shows, Asher’s inheritance was along the Mediterranean Sea on the western slopes of the Galilean highlands

          • The land was incredibly rich and fertile and provided wheat and oil abundantly

          • During King Solomon’s reign he provided wheat and olive oil for King Hiram (1 Kings 5:11) [Keil & Delitzsch, 261]

        • Naphtali [Bilhah’s 2nd] (v. 21)

          • The territory that Naphtali inherited was rugged, isolated and fertile – just northwest of the Sea of Galilee [Gangel & Bramer, 374]

          • Perhaps the rugged isolated land would require this tribe to be like a hind or gazelle that is swift and skillful in its movements [Keil & Delitzsch, 261]

          • “Possessing the abilities to run like does and speak beautiful words, the people of Naphtali would make ideal messengers.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 168]

        • Need for deliverance (v. 18)

          • Jacob looks to the Lord for deliverance

          • As he is “blessing” his sons, he knows what some of them will be going through in the future

          • The statement “suggests that Jacob was in communion with the Lord while he was speaking to his sons.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 167]

          • Application

            • How many of us would agree today that we need the deliverance of the Lord for ourselves or some of our family members

            • We can cry out to the Lord, just like Jacob and declare, “Lord, I look to You for deliverance!”

            • Take time to cry out to the Lord right now, in the quietness of your heart and mind

        • Finally, Jacob blessed Rachel’s children

    • Rachel’s children (vv. 22-27)

        • Joseph [1st] (vv. 22-26)

          • Prosperity (v. 22)

            • Joseph’s name means “may he add” while his son Ephraim’s name means “twice fruitful”

            • Joseph’s clan through Ephraim and Manasseh would be fruitful

            • When I think of the metaphor used here of a fruitful vine and branch that climbs over a wall, I am reminded of the kudzu I saw in Alabama that would grow so quickly and plentifully that it covered everything

            • That is how prosperous Joseph’s clan would be

          • Protection (vv. 23-24)

            • The arrows are an image in Scripture of telling lies and using hateful words toward someone else [Wiersbe, 168]

              • We know that Joseph’s brothers could not say a kind word about him

              • His brothers also lied to their father about him

              • Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph’s actions, which got him thrown in prison

            • Joseph’s bow remained steady and his strong arms stayed limber

              • Joseph was able to remain steadfast and strong under these attacks and lies, because he put his trust in the Lord

              • He did not blame his brothers for what happened to him, but recognized that God allowed it to happen for His purposes

              • He did not let imprisonment stop him from working hard and doing his best for the Lord

            • God’s was with him

              • God’s mighty hand was with Joseph, caring for him like a Shepherd, and providing stability for him while everything around him was crumbling

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is the One who strengthens us, cares for us, and provides stability for us when we are being attacked.

                • Where are your attacks coming from today? (family, employer, health, finances, Satan, your own mind)

                • Do you feel like everything is crumbling around you?

                • As children of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we can be confident that He is there to strengthen us, care for us, and provide stability as we face the attacks that come our way

                • He promises to never leave us for forsake us, so we can say with confidence that He is our helper (Heb. 13:5-6)

                • Take a moment to express to the Lord the attacks you have been experiencing

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s strength, care, and stability for me as I experience attacks in my life.

              • That is the only way that Joseph was able to survive all that he went through

            • With God’s help, Joseph also experienced blessings

          • Blessings (vv. 25-26)

            • Fertility of land

              • Joseph’s land would experience fertility from rain above and fountains and streams of water from below

              • When we left for national conference, our tomato plants were still kind of small, but when we returned they were huge and bushy (my guess is that we got some rain while we were gone)

            • Fertility of body

              • Joseph’s family would be blessed with children

              • Joseph’s animals would be blessed with offspring

            • Greater blessing

              • Jacob’s blessing on Joseph is greater than the blessing received by Abraham and Isaac

              • Jacob’s hope is that this blessing will rest on Joseph’s head

              • Joseph was certainly a prince that was separated from his brothers (perhaps a better translation than among his brothers)

          • Joseph’s descendant’s would experience prosperity, protection, and blessing because of how he handled the attacks in his life

            • His past affected his descendants future

            • Our past can affect our future.

          • Jacob has one final blessing for his youngest son

        • Benjamin [2nd] (v. 27)

          • Morning and evening

            • This reference means that Benjamin was continually on the prowl

            • In battle they were continually victorious and shared the booty they obtained

          • Descendants of Benjamin that fulfilled this blessing

            • Ehud the judge (Judg. 3:15-30)

            • Saul, the first king of Israel

            • Jonathan, Saul’s son

            • Abner (2 Sam. 2:23)

            • Sheba (2 Sam. 20:1-26)

            • Shimei (2 Sam. 16:5-14)

            • Saul of Tarsus (Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5), who ruthlessly pursued Christians to imprison them

        • As this section of Scripture ends, the narrator provides the conclusion

    • Narrator’s conclusion (v. 28)

        • The narrator makes three points [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 910]

          • All of Jacob’s sons were recognized

          • The blessings had the authority of the father (Jacob)

          • Each blessing was appropriate for each tribe and their part in the nation of Israel

        • Jacob has one final request of his sons before he dies, which we will see next week

 

  • YOU

    • Are you ready to seek the Lord’s help in behaving and speaking in a way that will honor Him and benefit your descendants?

    • Are you ready to repent of your sins and seek the Lord’s forgiveness, so He can use you for great things?

    • Are you ready to trust in God’s strength, care, and stability for you as you experience attacks in your life.

 

  • WE

    • We can seek the Lord’s help in behaving and speaking in a way that will honor Him and benefit those who come after us.

    • We need to repent of our sins and seek the Lord’s forgiveness, so He can use us for great things in our community.

    • We can trust in God’s strength, care, and stability for us as we experience attacks as a body of believers.

 

CONCLUSION

“Business researchers call it ‘the missing ingredient’ or ‘the hidden accelerator.’ Most managers could transform their workplaces with this missing ingredient: showing appreciation. That's the focus of a recent book entitled The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Based on a ten-year study that interviewed 200,000 people, Gostick and Elton conclude that appreciation tops the list of things employees say they want from their bosses. Some of the statistics to back up this claim include:

 

  • Of the people who report high morale at work, 94.4 percent agree that their managers show appreciation.

  • 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as the key reason for leaving.

  • 56 percent of employees who report low morale also give their managers low marks for showing appreciation.

 

Of course these statistics tap into a fundamental need in all of our relationships: the need to give and receive affirmation and blessing. The authors of The Carrot Principle conclude, ‘The simple … act of a leader [or a spouse, parent, coach, mentor, or friend] expressing appreciation to a person in a meaningful … way is the missing accelerator that can do so much but is used so sparingly.’”

 

Source: Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, The Carrot Principle (Free Press, 2007), pp. 7-14.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/may/3050911.html].

16

 

Origins

Generational Blessing

(Genesis 48:1-22)

 

INTRODUCTION

Did You Ever Wonder Why?

 

“Most of us wonder about the oddities of life at one time or another. ​​ Well, did you ever wonder . . .

 

  • Why people spend so much for those little bottles of Evian water? ​​ Try spelling Evian backwards: ​​ NAÏVE.

  • Why we say something is out of whack? ​​ What’s a whack?

  • Why the man who invests your money is called a broker?

  • If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen are defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

  • If Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?

  • What hair color they put on the driver’s licenses of bald men?

 

In Scripture there are many things that cause the reader to wonder why. ​​ In this passage there are a number of whys, some of which are answered while we are left to wonder about others.”

 

[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 369]

 

We may wonder why Jacob elevated Ephraim and Manasseh to the status of sons and why he crossed his arms and put his right hand on Ephraim’s head when he was the younger son of Joseph.

 

We may wonder at the blessing Jacob speaks over Ephraim, Manasseh, and Joseph.

 

One thing we can be sure of is the blessing Jacob bestowed on Ephraim is a generational blessing – it had come down the line from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and now Ephraim.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Generational blessings

        • One generational blessing that Judy and I have experienced has been money from an estate

        • The greater generational blessing we have received is a spiritual heritage that has been passed on from our parents, grandparents, and even generations further back

 

  • WE

    • What kind of generational blessings can we all reflect on this morning (spiritual, financial, occupational, and/or physical, etc.)

 

Jacob reflected on the blessings God Almighty had promised him when he met Him at Luz (Bethel). ​​ In his blessing of Joseph, he reflected on the blessing of a spiritual heritage that his father and grandfather had left him. ​​ Finally, he blessed Joseph with a piece of land in Canaan that had been his. ​​ What we will learn from this passage of Scripture today is that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We can experience the blessings of God from generation to generation.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 48:1-22)

    • Beneficiaries (vv. 1-12)

        • What we see happening in these twelve verses is that Jacob adopted Ephraim and Manasseh as his sons – they are elevated from grandsons to sons

        • Joseph’s visit

          • The exact amount of time that passed from Joseph’s solemn vow to bury Jacob in Canaan (Gen. 47:31) and this current visit is vague

            • Some time later. ​​ The Hebrew is literally, ‘after these things’ (i.e., after the oath ceremony).” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 595]

            • It was certainly a short time and not months or years later

            • It all unfolded in Jacob’s 17th year in Egypt

          • Jacob is ill

            • What prompted Joseph’s visit was news that his father was ill

            • Perhaps his brothers saw a drastic decline in their father

              • He was sleeping all the time

              • He stopped eating and drinking

              • So they sent an anonymous messenger to Joseph to encourage him to come

          • Joseph came to Goshen with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Joseph lists them in birth order, remember that)

            • That means he had not moved to Goshen to live with his family, but was still living where Pharaoh lived

            • He probably brought his two sons with him in anticipation of a patriarchal blessing

            • Little did he know what was about to happen

          • Jacob rallied his strength

            • When Jacob was told that Joseph had come, he rallied his strength and sat up on the bed

            • “Jacob has deteriorated from ‘dwelling’ in Goshen to ‘dwelling’ in bed.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 628]

            • The fact that Jacob musters up the strength to sit up in bed shows how important this visit is to him

          • Jacob shared the terms of his adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh

        • Terms of adoption

          • Jacob repeated the covenant given to him many years before at Bethel that had initially been given to Abraham

            • Luz was the ancient name for Bethel

            • Genesis 28:13-15, There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. ​​ I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. ​​ Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. ​​ All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. ​​ I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. ​​ I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

            • The blessing of Jacob was a continuation of the blessing given to Abraham and Isaac

            • He was experiencing the generational blessing

            • We can experience the blessings of God from generation to generation, too.

          • Only Ephraim and Manasseh

            • Notice that Jacob refers to Joseph’s two sons in reverse birth order – Ephraim and Manasseh (that is significant)

            • Ephraim and Manasseh will be to Jacob just like Reuben and Simeon were

            • Any children born to Joseph after Ephraim and Manasseh will be Joseph’s

              • They will not inherit a portion of the Promised Land like Ephraim and Manasseh will, but will be part of the inheritance they gain as two of the twelve tribes of Israel

              • Only Ephraim and Manasseh were elevated

              • “Since Joseph is the recipient of Reuben’s right of inheritance as the firstborn, according to the Chronicler, the sons of Joseph also receive firstborn rights as the adopted sons of Joseph (1 Chr 5:1-2).” ​​ [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 875]

              • 1 Chronicles 5:1-2, The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – “God is in control of circumstances, and He works providentially to accomplish His purposes.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer]

              • God’s purpose was to have twelve tribes of Israel that would inherit the Promised Land

                • He knew about Reuben’s sin of defiling his father’s marriage bed, which forfeited his status as firstborn

                • He knew His plans involved having one of Israel’s sons, Levi, become a tribe of priests that would not need an inheritance, but would live in forty-four cities scattered throughout Israel (Num. 18:20; Deut. 18:2; Josh. 13:33; 14:4; 21:1ff) [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Pentateuch, 164]

                • God was working providentially to accomplish His purposes

                • He does the same thing in our lives

              • Application

                • How has God done that in the past?

                • Take a moment to reflect on how He has worked providentially in your life in the past

                  • Individually, I have had several instances when I knew that God was working out His plan and purpose in my life (leaving CEF; leaving EGM; becoming a pastor)

                  • As a body of believers we have experienced the providential hand of God using circumstances to work out His plan for us (live streaming before the pandemic started; having the payroll protection plan loan forgiven and using the money we saved to pay off the PA Department of Revenue tax debt; even how God orchestrates certain songs being sung that fit together so well with the message)

                • We do not always recognize it when we are going through it, but God is in control of the circumstances of our lives

                  • What are you going through right now that has you wondering what God is doing?

                  • Do you truly believe that God is in control of every circumstance, including your current circumstance?

                  • Can you trust His providential work in your life, because of His faithful work in your life previously?

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to accomplish His purpose in my life, since He is in control of the circumstances.

              • God was in control of the circumstances of Jacob’s life and through His providential work, Jacob elevated Ephraim and Manasseh to the status of sons so His purposes would be accomplished

          • Rationale for the adoption of Joseph’s two sons

            • Jacob revisits the premature death of his favorite wife, Rachel

              • When Jacob was returning from Paddan-Aram (Northwestern Mesopotamia), Rachel died near Bethlehem

              • We know that she died giving birth to Benjamin, her second child

              • Jacob buried her beside the road to Bethlehem

              • Had she not died prematurely, she would have probably had additional children including more sons

              • “Since Rachel had no more children, Jacob counted the sons born to Joseph as his own by proxy, immediately multiplying her tribes.” ​​ [Mathews, 875]

            • Joseph’s sons, who were now Jacob’s sons, would also be counted as Rachel’s sons

          • Official ceremony

            • When Jacob asked Joseph, “Who are these?” it was not because he did not know who they were

              • He had already used their names when talking about adopting them

              • The question was to signify the beginning of the official adoption ceremony

              • “. . . the question to identify the beneficiaries is part of the legal ritual of adoption and/or blessing (cf. 27:18).” ​​ [Waltke, 597]

              • “One thinks of the question at a baptism, ‘What name is given to this child?’ or the question at a wedding, ‘Who gives this woman to this man?’ – neither of which is prompted by the ignorance of the clergyperson.” [Hamilton, 634]

              • “We have here the second stage of the legal adoptive process, namely, the establishment of the true identity of the candidates for adoption by formal interrogation of the natural father.” ​​ [Sarna cited by Hamilton in footnote 24, 634]

            • Joseph’s response

              • He credits God for giving him these two sons

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – Children are a gift from God.

                • Whether they are biological, adopted, or spiritual children, all children are a gift from God!

                • Whether they are expected or unexpected, all children are a gift from God!

                • Whether they have special needs or are “normal,” all children are a gift from God!

                • Whether they are in the womb or outside the womb, all children are a gift from God!

            • Jacob requested that Joseph bring them to him so he could bless them

              • We learn that Jacob’s eyes were failing because of old age

              • Joseph brought his sons close to Jacob

              • Jacob embraced them and kissed them

              • Jacob never thought he would see Joseph again and now he has not only seen Joseph, but his two sons also

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is the One who numbers our days.

                • When our first grandchild was just an infant, we had the privilege of going to a family reunion on my father’s side

                  • We were able to take a couple of pictures that featured five generations [show the two pictures]

                  • Our granddaughter was the very first great, great grandchild for my Grandma Johns

                  • I do not know if my grandma ever imagined or thought that she would see a great, great grandchild

                  • I do not know if my parents ever thought they would see any great grandchildren, but now they have seen and held all three

                • Is there anything you never imagined you would see or experience in your lifetime?

                  • Think about the people who saw the first toaster, automobile, telephone, television, microwave, computer, etc.

                  • They probably never thought they would see or experience those things

                • Is there anything you are hoping to see before you die?

                  • Maybe it is grandchildren, great grandchildren, or great, great grandchildren (keep praying!)

                  • Maybe it is the salvation of a loved one (keep praying!)

                  • Maybe it is a spiritual revival in our nation (keep praying!)

                  • Perhaps it is the cure for some disease (keep praying!)

                • God knows our heart and the number of our days, so we can trust Him to accomplish His plan and purpose for us

            • Joseph removed his sons from Israel’s knees

              • It is unlikely that Ephraim and Manasseh were sitting on Israel’s lap, one on each knee

              • They would have been around 18 to 20 years old

              • If you remember, Israel is weak and frail and had to rally his strength to just sit up in bed

              • It is more likely that Joseph’s two sons were kneeling in front of Israel’s knees

          • With the adoption complete, Joseph bows down with his face to ground in respect of his father

        • Ephraim and Manasseh are now the beneficiaries of being adopted into Jacob’s family, but Jacob still has a blessing for them

    • Blessed (vv. 13-20)

        • Joseph orchestrated his approach to his father, Israel (v. 13)

          • He put Ephraim on his right side toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left side toward Israel’s right hand

          • He probably did this to help his father who was struggling to see

          • Joseph understood the culture and traditions of the day

            • He knew that the right hand was the “the position of strength, honor, power, and glory (cf. Ex. 15:6; Ps. 89:13; Prov. 3:16; Eccl. 10:2; Matt. 25:33; Acts 2:33).” ​​ [Waltke, 598]

              • Exodus 15:6, “Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. ​​ Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.”

              • Psalm 89:13, Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

              • Matthew 25:33, He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

            • He wanted Manasseh his firstborn son to receive the greater blessing

          • Israel shook it up (v. 14)

            • As Ephraim and Manasseh approached Israel, he reached out his right hand and placed it on Ephraim’s head, then he crossed his arms and placed his left hand on Manasseh’s head

              • “Jacob may be losing his sight, but he is not losing his insight.” ​​ [Hamilton, 636]

              • Israel followed the leading of the Lord in his crisscrossed gesture

              • It was God who was acting to accomplish His purpose

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – “God acts according to His own purpose, not necessarily in line with human tradition or custom.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer]

              • God is all knowing and eternal, which means he knows the beginning from the end

                • He sees the totality of history and is able to act according to His own purpose

                • There are times when His actions do not line up with our traditions, customs, or human logic, but His ways are perfect

                • Isaiah 55:8-11, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ​​ “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ​​ As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: ​​ It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

                • Read Psalm 18:30-36

              • Application

                • Where are you at?

                  • Is there something you are going through right now that has you questioning God?

                  • Are you looking at it through the eyes of human tradition, custom, or logic?

                  • Do you believe that God’s way is perfect and His word is flawless?

                • What changes do you need to make?

                  • Do you need to submit to God’s ways instead of your own?

                  • Do you need to think with the mind of Christ instead of with the mind of humanity?

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Submit my issue to God’s perfect way, even if it does not line up with human tradition, custom, or logic.

            • God’s way is perfect (vv. 17-20)

              • When Joseph saw what his father had done, he tried to correct him, but Israel refused

              • Israel explained that he knew what he was doing and it was not an accident because of his poor eyesight

                • Israel intentionally gave the greater blessing to Ephraim

                • Isaac had unintentionally blessed Jacob/Israel due to deception, but that was not the case here

                • God knew exactly what He was doing through this entire situation

              • Manasseh became a people and became great also, but Ephraim was greater

              • Ephraim would be greater and his descendants became a group of nations and not just a people

              • “This blessing began to be fulfilled from the time of the Judges, when the tribe of Ephraim so increased in extent and power, that it took the lead of the northern tribes and became the head of the ten tribes, and its name acquired equal importance with the name Israel . . .” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary of the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 248]

          • Let’s look back in verses 15 and 16 at the blessing

        • The blessing (vv. 15-16)

          • Israel/Jacob’s testimony covered three generations (vv. 15-16a)

            • Israel recalled how his grandfather and father walked before God

            • Next he highlighted how God had shepherded him all his life and delivered him from all harm

            • Finally, he prayed that this ever present, guiding, and delivering God would bless Ephraim and Manasseh

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – God walks with, guides, and delivers His people.

            • Whatever circumstances you are facing right now, God is with you in it, will guide you through it, and will deliver you from all harm

            • What do you need to experience from Him right now?

              • Do you need to experience His presence with you?

              • Do you need Him to guide your thoughts and actions?

              • Do you need Him to deliver you from something?

            • Cry out to Him right now!

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to be with me, to guide me, and/or deliver me.

          • The result of the blessing

            • That Ephraim and Manasseh would be called by Israel’s, Abraham’s, and Isaac’s names

            • That they would increase greatly upon the earth

          • Ephraim and Manasseh experienced and received the generational blessing from Israel/Jacob

          • We can experience the blessings of God from generation to generation.

        • Israel/Jacob had one final blessing for Joseph

    • Bequeathed (vv. 21-22)

        • Israel encouraged Joseph that God would be with him and would take him back to the Promised Land

          • We do not know if Israel believed that Joseph would return to the Promised Land in his lifetime

          • We do know that when Joseph was about to die, he made the Israelites promise to take his bones back to the Promised Land when they returned, which they did

        • Israel gave a double portion of land to Joseph as the “firstborn”

          • It is not recorded what ridge of land Jacob had taken with his sword and bow

            • Some scholars believe it was the city of Shechem where Simeon and Levi had taken revenge for Dinah their sister by slaughtering all of the male inhabitants of Shechem

            • Jacob did not approve of their actions, but perhaps occupied the land after everyone was destroyed

            • Joshua 24:32, And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. ​​ This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

          • For now, we may just have to wonder

 

  • YOU

    • Do you need to trust God to accomplish His purpose in your life, since He is in control of the circumstances?

    • Perhaps you need to submit your issue to God’s perfect way, even if it does not line up with human tradition, custom, or logic.

    • Maybe you need to ask the Lord to be with you, to guide you, and/or deliver you.

 

  • WE

    • As a body of believers, we need to trust God to accomplish His purpose in the life of our church.

    • We may need to submit our issue to God’s perfect way.

    • We may need to ask the Lord to be with us, guide, and/or deliver us.

 

CONCLUSION

“It is sometimes difficult to understand why things happen as they do. ​​ Even as believers we find it difficult to understand why God chooses certain purposes and brings them about a certain way. ​​ But God is sovereign. ​​ He acts in keeping with his character but not always in harmony with human custom and tradition. ​​ Both Jacob and Joseph demonstrated they understood that their responsibility was to exercise faith—faith to the very end of life.

 

[Gangel & Bramer, 376].

11

 

Origins

The Mercy of God

(Genesis 47:13-31)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In the early 1950s teenage Lyle Dorsett and his family moved to Birmingham from Kansas City, Missouri. They were outsiders, often labeled Yankees by peers. But one summer evening in 1953, Dorsett was walking to his house after work and decided to take a shortcut through the campus of then-Howard College (now Samford University).

 

He was immediately intrigued by the sight he saw: a large tent on the football field featuring a magnetic preacher. As Dorsett drew near, he could hear evangelist Eddie Martin preaching on the parable of the prodigal son, calling other prodigals to come home. Dorsett said, ‘I knew I was the prodigal and … needed to come home.’

 

Martin asked those in attendance to return the next evening. Dorsett came early, and this time was seated near the front. When the call came, ‘the evangelist led me through a sinner’s prayer. I confessed my need for forgiveness. While being led in prayer, I strongly felt the presence of Jesus Christ. I sensed his love and forgiveness as well as his call to preach the gospel.’

 

Shortly thereafter, Dorsett and his parents joined a local Baptist church. However, 18 months later, Dorsett’s family moved back to Kansas City. On his return, gradually he drifted. During his time in college, he embraced a materialistic worldview. He received a Ph.D. in history but despite professional success, he began to drink heavily and became an alcoholic. His wife, Mary, who became a Christian after their marriage, began to pray.

 

One evening, he stormed out of the house after Mary asked him not to drink around the children. He found a bar and drank until closing. While driving up a winding mountain road, he stopped at an overlook and blacked out. The next morning, he woke up on a dirt road at the bottom of a mountain next to a cemetery not having any memory of the drive.

 

Dorsett cried out to God, ‘Lord, if you are there, please help me.’ At that moment, he recognized that the same presence he had met in Birmingham was with him in the car and loved him. The prodigal son had finally, truly come home. He said, ‘Although I made countless mistakes, the Lord never gave up on me.’

 

God then called Dorsett to full-time ministry, ordination in the Anglican Church, and eventually to the Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, where he had first heard God’s call to preach.

 

He concludes,

Over the years God has proved to be a gentle Comforter—like when Mary underwent massive surgery for cancer, and when our 10-year-old daughter died unexpectedly. Certainly, the most humbling and reassuring lesson is his persistence in drawing me to himself. And it was he who pursued me and sustained the relationship when I strayed in ignorant sheeplike fashion, doubted his existence, and then like the Prodigal Son deliberately moved to the far country. And it is all grace—unearned, undeserved, unrepayable grace.

 

Source: Lyle Dorsett, “A Sobering Mercy,” CT magazine (September, 2014), pp. 87-88; Kristen Padilla, “A Fulfilling Ministry,” Beeson Divinity (4-12-18).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2023/february/sobering-mercy.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • I have experienced the mercy of God throughout my life

        • I experienced the mercy of God when I lost both of my grandfathers a year apart (I was around 12 years old at the time)

        • I experienced the mercy of God when we moved to Birmingham, AL after my sophomore year of high school. ​​ I left behind a steady girlfriend, but the ending of that relationship, while it was difficult, was God’s mercy at work (now I have a beautiful wife of 32 years as of Thursday of this past week)

        • I experienced the mercy of God through several job transitions

    • I know that I can trust God to extend His mercy as I continue to live my life

 

  • WE

    • Perhaps every one of us can remember a time when we experienced the mercy of God

    • For many of us we can recall God’s mercy in various stages of life

 

We will see today that the Egyptians experienced the mercy of God through Joseph’s administration of grain, and Jacob experienced the mercy of God through Joseph’s promise to him. ​​ The author of Genesis wants us to understand that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – The mercy of God is for all stages of life.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 47:13-31)

    • Procuring (vv. 13-26)

        • Contrast (v. 13)

          • As we saw last week, Pharaoh provided Jacob and his family with property and Joseph provided them with food (Genesis 47:11-12)

          • Now, in contrast to that, we see in verse 13 that there was no food available in Egypt or Canaan, because of the severity of the famine – Egypt and Canaan wasted away

        • Joseph’s administration

          • Because of Joseph’s recommendation to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance, Egypt was not actually out of food

          • All of the food was owned by Pharaoh and had been stored in the various cities throughout the country (Gen. 41:33-36)

          • They had not used any of the reserves up to this point

        • Progression of procurement (vv. 14-22)

          • Money

            • When it was time to begin distributing the grain, Joseph started with the money in Egypt and Canaan

            • He collected all of the money that was found in both countries

              • “The sense is that the people fervently rummage for money, ‘bringing every last penny.’” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 857]

              • How many of us have experienced that feeling?

              • We have to rummage through our couch cushions or our car to find enough money to buy something

              • Judy and I experienced that when we moved back from California. ​​ We stopped at the Tropical Treat on our way back from Hanover to get ice cream with the boys and did not realize they did not take credit/debit cards until after we ordered. ​​ I started rummaging through our car and found a film canister that I had filled up with quarters. ​​ I canceled what I had order, but was able to pay for the rest with the money I had found in our car

              • When Judy and I were first married and still in college, she had a pair of jeans that would produce paper money at just the right time. ​​ It was amazing how we were able to go on a cheap date with the money her jeans produced. ​​ I do not think she has those jeans anymore. ​​ Of course, we realized it was God providing for us out of His incredible grace and mercy

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is merciful!

              • The mercy of God is for all stages of life.

            • Notice that Joseph did not keep any of the money for himself – he brought it all to Pharaoh’s palace

            • Notice the switch here from Egypt and Canaan to only Egypt

              • Only the Egyptians would forfeit their livestock, land, and lives

              • The Canaanites would not

              • I believe this is significant, especially as it pertains to The Promised Land

              • The Promised Land was reserved for God’s chosen people, therefore, it would not be owned by Pharaoh and Egypt

            • The Egyptians came to Joseph when their money was used up and asked him for food

          • Livestock

            • Joseph barters with the Egyptians

            • He will sell them food in exchange for their livestock

            • Their livestock included

              • Horses –

              • Sheep

              • Goats

              • Cattle

              • Donkeys

            • Joseph brought them through that year with food in exchange for their livestock

              • The various translations say it differently

                • Brought them through (NIV)

                • Fed them (KJV, NKJV, NASB20, NASB95, LSB, ASV, DBY, HNV)

                • Supplied them (ESV, RSV)

                • Provided them (CSB, NLT)

                • Got them through (NET)

                • Led them as a shepherd (literal translation NASB95, NASB20, LSB)

                  • “He is said to have ‘brought them through’ (piel, from nāhal), a term that can indicate a gentle leading of the weak to a place of respite (e.g., 33:14; Ps 23:2; Isa 40:11; 51:18).” ​​ [Mathews, 857]

                  • Psalm 23:1-3a, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. ​​ He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. ​​ He restores my soul.

                • Joseph mercifully leads the Egyptians through a difficult time in their lives

                • God does the same for us

                • The mercy of God is for all stages of life.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God, in His mercy, will lead us through any difficulty.

                • Scripture support

                  • Deuteronomy 31:8, The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will ​​ never leave you nor forsake you. ​​ Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

                  • Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. ​​ I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

                  • Philippians 4:19, And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

                • What difficulty are you facing today?

                  • Like the Egyptians, lack of food?

                  • Difficult relationship? (family, friend)

                  • Health issues? (feel normal again, do the things I used to do)

                  • Emotional struggles? (anxiety, depression, fear)

                  • Spiritual battle? (temptation, addiction)

                  • Financial shortage? (debt, medical bills, foreclosure)

                • Just as Joseph mercifully led the Egyptians through their lack of food, God will mercifully lead us through our difficulties to a place of peace and rest

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in the mercy of God to lead me through the difficulty I am currently facing.

            • Joseph bartered with the Egyptians for their livestock, but they were going to have to surrender more in order to survive the severe famine

          • Land and lives

            • Nothing left

              • The livestock lasted for just a year and now the Egyptians do not have anything else to use to buy or barter for food

              • They openly admit this to Joseph – they cannot hide the fact from him

              • I am certain that Joseph already knew where they were

              • The Egyptians actually make the offer of their land and lives to Joseph and he accepts

              • Seed is the third word used for what they are receiving from Joseph

                • In verse 14 they receive rations (šeḇer) [sheh’ber/shay’-ver] (this was threshed grain, corn, or cereal) in exchange for money

                • In verse 17 they receive food (leḥem) [lekh’-em/lekh’-hem] in exchange for livestock

                • In verses 19 and 23 they receive seed (zeraʿ) [zeh’-rah] in exchange for their land and lives

              • The reason they are bartering their land and lives was two-fold

                • They did not want to die

                • They did not want the land to become desolate or ruined

            • No one exempt except the priests

              • Every Egyptian sold his field to Pharaoh

                • They were now land tenants

                • They no longer owned the land, but farmed it for Pharaoh

                • The NIV says that Joseph reduced them to servitude

                  • Other translations and the footnote in the NIV reference the Masoretic Text that says, Joseph moved the people into the cities

                  • “To make food distribution easier, many of the farm workers were moved into the cities until such time as seed would be available for planting.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 163]

                  • This was also a way of reinforcing the fact that Pharaoh now owned their land [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, 671]

              • Joseph did not buy the land of the priests

                • The priests did not need to sell their land, because Pharaoh gave them a regular allotment of food

                • They were not starving and about to die, like the regular Egyptians were

                • Just a reminder that Jacob and his family were also taken care of by Pharaoh and Joseph – they were not in need

            • The procuring is done – Pharaoh has all of the Egyptians money, livestock, land, and lives

            • Joseph takes it one step further

          • Futures (vv. 23-26)

            • Joseph established a law that was still in existence when the author of Genesis was writing (around 400 plus years later)

            • This was probably to ensure the success of all future Pharaohs who had priests and other groups to provide for

            • Joseph gave the Egyptians seed so they could plant the ground

              • When it came time to harvest the crop, they had to give one fifth (20%) of it to Pharaoh

              • They were allowed to use the other four-fifths (80%) as seed and food for themselves

                • This was a generous offer from Pharaoh

                • This was actually below average for the Middle East in ancient times

                • “First Maccabees 10:30 refers to a one-third tax on grain and one-half on fruit.” ​​ [Goldingay, 672]

              • Joseph was entrusting the seed that he had gathered during the seven years of abundance to the Egyptians, so that lives would be preserved and that God’s purposes would be fulfilled [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 245]

              • God does the same thing with us

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God entrusts us with the good things of this earth for His purposes.

              • Biblical support

                • Psalm 24:1-2, The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

                • 1 Timothy 6:17, Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain., but to put their hope in God, who richly provides for us with everything for our enjoyment.

                • 1 Timothy 5:8, If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

                • Proverbs 3:5-10, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ​​ Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. ​​ This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. ​​ Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

              • God has been generous with us

                • From the Old Testament we see the principle of tithing, giving 10% to the Lord of all that He has given to us

                • We also see the principle of offerings, which is anything extra that we give above our regular tithe

                • Giving is an act of worship, acknowledging God’s provision and care for us

                • It is also a way for God’s purposes to be accomplished here on earth (taking care of the orphan, widow, and poor; spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, etc.)

                • 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. ​​ Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ​​ And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Give to the Lord a portion of all that He has given to me, so His plans and purposes can be accomplished.

            • Reaction of the Egyptians

              • The Egyptians were grateful to Joseph for saving their lives

              • They did not see Joseph as a tyrant that was treating them unfairly, but as a savior [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 591]

        • Joseph mercifully led the Egyptians through the seven years of severe famine

        • Next we will see that Joseph was merciful to his father at the end of his life by showing him kindness and faithfulness

        • The mercy of God is for all stages of life, whether we are going through difficulties in the middle of our lives or as we near death

    • Promising (vv. 27-31)

        • Prosperous

          • We know that the Israelites settled in Goshen during the time of the famine and acquired property there

          • We also know that Joseph provided for them until the famine ended

          • God was blessing the wombs of the women during this time and the Israelites produced a lot of offspring

            • This was the fulfillment of the promise given to Jacob in Genesis 46:3

            • They were becoming a great nation in Egypt

        • Time stamp

          • We learn that Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years before he died

          • He was 147 years old when he died

        • Nearing death

          • Jacob realized that his time was short, so he called for Joseph to come

            • Joseph has the power and authority to make Jacob’s last wish come true

            • Joseph is also the oldest son of Jacob’s favorite wife

          • Jacob asked Joseph to make a solemn vow by placing his hand under his thigh (this was a common practice in the ancient near east)

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is pleased when we show mercy to our loved ones.

            • Joseph was showing mercy to his father by being kind to him and faithful to his vow

            • We too can show mercy to our loved ones as they near death by being kind to them and faithful to our vows

              • I have had the privilege of being with individuals and their families as they have neared death

              • It is such a sweet time of sharing memories, love, and kindness

              • I remember one person, who had their entire family with them in the hospital room

              • The family members were loving on them and perhaps making final promises to care for one another and treat each other with kindness

            • Maybe you made a promise to a parent or spouse

              • How have you been doing with that promise?

              • Have you been faithful to that promise?

              • Is there anything you need to do to keep that promise?

            • Perhaps you have a loved one who is nearing death

              • With dementia and Alzheimer’s being more prevalent today, it can be difficult to show kindness to that loved one, especially when they constantly repeat the same thing over and over again

              • You can show God’s mercy to them by being kind and compassionate during those times

            • I want to challenge you today to ask the Lord to help you be kind and faithful to a loved one who is nearing death

            • He will give you the strength to succeed!

        • Joseph promised and swore to bury his father in Canaan at Machpelah (Gen. 50:12-14)

        • Israel/Jacob worshiped the Lord

          • He was grateful to the Lord that his last wish would be fulfilled

          • He was also grateful to the Lord that clan leadership had been successfully passed on to Joseph [Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Genesis, 710]

          • Since, Jacob was too feeble to get out of bed and bow down in worship, he turned towards the head of the bed as a symbolic way of bowing [Kiel & Delitzsch, 245]

          • “Jacob’s desire was that his funeral would be a clear witness that he was not an idol-worshiping Egyptian but a believer in the true and living God.” [Wiersbe, 164]

          • Jacob did not want his ailing and feeble body stop him from worshiping the Lord

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – We should never neglect to worship the Lord.

 

  • YOU

    • Do you need to trust in the mercy of God to lead you through the difficulty you are currently facing?

    • Are you ready to give to the Lord a portion of all that He has given to you, so His plans and purposes can be accomplished?

    • Is there a loved one that you need to show mercy to?

    • Have you neglected to worship the Lord for something?

 

  • WE

    • We can trust in the mercy of God to lead us through difficult times

    • We can show mercy to those in our congregation

    • We can worship the Lord for all He has done for us

 

CONCLUSION

“I recently read a story by a woman who said that as a girl she was poor. She said, ‘I grew up in a cold water flat, but I married a man who had money. And he took me up to a place where I had flowers, and I had gardens, and I had grass. It was wonderful. And we had children.’

 

‘Then suddenly I became physically sick. I went to the hospital, and the doctors ran all sorts of tests. One night the doctor came into my room, and with a long look on his face, said, ‘I'm sorry to tell you this. Your liver has stopped working.’

 

‘I said, ‘Doctor, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Are you telling me that I am dying?’ And he said, ‘I, I can't tell you any more than that. Your liver has stopped working. We've done everything we can to start it.’ And he walked out.

 

‘I knew I was dying. I was so weak, I had to feel my way along the corridor down to the chapel of the hospital. I wanted to tell God off. I wanted to tell God, ‘You are a shyster! You've been passing yourself off as a loving God for two thousand years, but every time anyone begins to get happy you pull the rug out from under them.’ I wanted this to be a face-to-face telling off of God.

 

‘And just as I got into the center aisle of the chapel, I tripped, I swooned, I fainted. And I looked up, and there stenciled along the step into the sanctuary, where the altar is, I saw these words: LORD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER. I know God spoke to me that night. I know he did.’

 

She didn't say how God communicated this to her, but what God said was, ‘You know what this is all about. It's about the moment of surrender; it's about bringing you to that moment when you will surrender everything to me. These doctors, they do the best they can. but they only treat. I'm the only one who can cure you.’

 

And she said, ‘There with my head down on my folded arms in the center of the chapel, repeating, ‘Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,’ I surrendered to God. I found my way back to my hospital bed, weak as I was.

 

‘The next morning, after the doctor ran the blood tests and the urinalysis and so forth, he said, ‘Your liver has started working again. We don't know why. We don't know why it stopped, and we don't know why it started up again.’ And I said in my heart, But I know. Oh but I know. God has brought me to the brink of disaster, just to get me to turn my life over to him.’”

 

Source: John Powell, "Prayer as Surrender," Preaching Today, Tape No. 108.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1997/november/2717.html].

12

 

Origins

The Guidance of God

(Genesis 46:1-27)

 

INTRODUCTION

“‘Pastor, could I talk to you for a minute?’

 

Her voice was low; she wasn't sure of herself. She looked to be in her early 20s, a girl I'd never seen at our church before.

 

It was my first year as senior pastor at Full Gospel Tabernacle in downtown Fresno, California. I was greeting people after the Wednesday night Bible study.

 

‘What can I do for you?’

 

‘Would you please talk with my husband? He moved out from our home and into an apartment with two women. I don't know what to do.’

 

‘Is he a Christian?’

 

‘He's the one who led me to a relationship with Christ.’

 

‘I'll be glad to talk with him. How can I get in touch with him?’

‘That's the problem. I can't reach him. If he wants to talk, he calls me.’

 

There was little I could do. I asked her to have him call me if he talked with her again.

 

I remember the look of despair in her eyes as she walked away.

 

Friday was my day off. I got up early. We were landscaping our front yard, and I wanted it finished. By late morning the end was in sight. It was hot. I was muddy, aching, and thoroughly tired of the whole project. To add to my woes, I ran out of ornamental plants. I drove to the store for more.

 

The first store had the right kind, but the price had gone up. A store a mile down the road had them, and the price was right. I loaded my cart and headed to the checkout.

 

As I waited in line, I glanced at the cashier's nametag. It looked familiar.

 

As he began to ring up the plants, I motioned to his nametag.

 

‘Is that your name?’ (Dumb question, but I wanted to be sure.)

 

He looked at me blankly, going on full ‘village idiot’ alert. ‘Yes.’

 

‘Are you married to ________?’ and I named the woman who had talked with me on Wednesday night.

 

He looked wary. ‘Yes?’

 

I drew myself up to my full 6 feet 5 inches—unshaven, messy, sweaty, and muddy. I gave him my happiest smile.

 

‘God has sent me here to talk to you about your marriage.’

 

Some 300,000 people lived in the Fresno area then. Out of all of them, the first person I had talked to—other than family and staff—since Wednesday night was this husband.

 

In a lifetime of seeking to be led by the Lord, that is the most powerful example I have experienced. I had heard many stories of people led by the Spirit to go to unusual places or to say unusual things. I always wondered what that would be like. At times I've really needed guidance and have prayed earnestly for it. God has helped me. But my unerring, no-wasted-step trip to that husband remains my most remarkable example. Not only was I not trying to be led, I wasn't conscious of God's leading. I just wanted the yard finished.”

 

Used by permission of author

 

Source: C. David Gable, "He Leadeth Me," Pentecostal Evangel (5-30-10), p. 15.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2010/august/1080210.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • God’s guidance

        • On Wednesday I was at a follow up meeting for Revival on the Farm

        • The meeting wasn’t over and they were planning to spend some time in prayer

        • I didn’t want to leave before the prayer time, but I was sensing that I needed to leave

        • So, I excused myself and drove back to the church

        • As I was walking from the garage to the church, I noticed that someone I recognized was entering the church

        • It was the person I have been working with to organize the Romanian Orphan’s Choir

        • She asked me if I had gotten her message about coming to the church at that time

        • I told her that I hadn’t gotten her message, because she had called after hours and I had stepped in to my office just to pick up a file before leaving for the follow up meeting

        • God had prompted me to leave the meeting, because he knew that this individual was coming and I wasn’t aware of it

        • God’s guidance is incredible!

 

  • WE

    • Perhaps all of us can remember a time when we knew that God was guiding us – especially after we were obedient to His prompting

 

Jacob was getting ready to leave the Promised Land for Egypt, but as he approached the border, he took time to offer sacrifices to God and seek His will. ​​ He received assurance that God was guiding him to Egypt and had His blessing to continue. ​​ Jacob sought the will of God and was able to trust Him to guide them as they traveled to Egypt. ​​ We can do the same thing, which brings us to our Big Idea, that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We can trust God to guide us when we seek His will.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Genesis 46:1-27)

    • God’s guidance (vv. 1-4)

        • Last week

          • Jacob was convinced that Joseph was alive

          • He is willing to go to Egypt and see him before he dies

        • Israel leaves for Egypt

          • We can assume that Israel/Jacob is still living in Hebron (Gen. 35:27; 37:14) [show map]

          • He leaves there and travels several days before reaching Beersheba (be-ayr’ sheh’-vah)

            • He stopped there momentarily

            • It was about 20 miles southwest of Hebron

            • This was the southernmost town in Canaan

            • It was a significant town for Jacob’s family

              • His grandfather, Abraham, had planted a tamarisk tree there and called on the Lord (Gen. 21:33)

              • His father, Isaac, had also called on the Lord there and built an altar (Gen. 26:23-25)

              • Jacob stopped there and sacrificed to the God of his father Isaac

          • Before leaving Canaan/The Promised Land, Israel/Jacob wanted to make sure that he was following God’s plan and not his own wishes or desires

        • Seeking guidance

          • The purpose of offering sacrifices to God was perhaps to seek the guidance and wisdom of God

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – “Don’t be afraid to confirm God’s leading in the midst of puzzling circumstances.” ​​ [Gangel & Bramer, 364]

            • If you remember, Jacob was living under the assumption, for the last twenty-two years, that Joseph had been devoured by a wild animal and was no longer alive

              • His sons had confessed that Joseph was still alive, second in command of Egypt, and wanted them all to come live with him there

              • Jacob grew numb at hearing the news

              • He probably never expected to see Joseph again

            • Israel/Jacob wanted to know the will of God for him

            • “It’s good to ask for God’s special help and blessing when we’re about to enter a new phase in life.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 161]

            • Application

              • Are you currently facing a change in your life – a new phase in your life?

                • Perhaps it’s a new relationship

                • Maybe it has to do with your occupation (needing a job, wanting a different job, etc.)

                • The change could be concerning your education

                • Others may be dealing with a change, financially

              • Have you already made the move or are you still considering it?

              • You may be on the border, about to make the change

              • Now is the time to stop momentarily and confirm God’s leading

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to confirm His leading, about a change in my life, so I can experience His help and blessing.

          • We can trust God to guide us when we seek His will.

          • When we seek God’s will, He will answer

        • God’s promise

          • God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and used his given name, Jacob

          • “This last recorded speech of God to the patriarchs forms a preview of Israel’s sacred history in the land of Egypt. ​​ The next recorded special revelation will be to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-4:17), about 430 years later (Ex. 12:40).” ​​ [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 573]

          • Jacob is attentive to the voice of God – he is listening

          • We need to be attentive to the voice of God also, especially if we are seeking His will

          • After identifying Himself, God encourages Jacob

            • Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt, because I will fulfill the promise there that I made to you, your father and grandfather

              • Perhaps Jacob was fearful about going to Egypt because of the difficulties his grandfather, Abraham had experienced (Gen. 12:10-13:1)

              • “Keep close to God, and then you need fear nothing.” ​​ [Joseph Eliot cited by Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 826]

              • He may have recalled God’s prohibition for his father, Isaac concerning Egypt (Gen. 26:2)

              • ​​ “What God denied Isaac he permits for Jacob. ​​ For Isaac Egypt was off-limits. ​​ For Jacob Egypt is the land in which God will bless Jacob and his progeny, and form them into a nation. ​​ Thus the sojourn of Jacob and his family to Egypt is not in fundamental opposition to God’s purposes. ​​ Rather, the sojourn is part of the development of God’s plan for this chosen family, first articulated to Abraham in 12:1ff.” ​​ [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18-50, 590-91]

            • God had promised to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation

              • Genesis 12:2, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

              • Genesis 17:6, I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

              • Genesis 18:18, Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

              • Jacob is given the same promise when is fleeing Esau

              • Genesis 28:14, Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. ​​ All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.

            • “The promise of Jacob recalls the ominous prediction given to Abraham, also in a night vision: ‘Your descendants will be strangers [gēr] in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years’ (15:13).” ​​ [Mathews, 821]

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God keeps His promises!

            • God had kept His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob up to this point

            • Jacob could trust that He would keep His promise again

            • We can trust that God will keep His promises to us also

        • God’s presence

          • God promises His presence with Jacob as he enters Egypt

            • He not only promised his presence going to Egypt, but also in bringing him back from Egypt

            • Jacob knew that God would keep this promise, because He had already done it once before

            • At Bethel, God met with Jacob and promised to watch over him wherever he went

            • Genesis 28:15, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. ​​ I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

              • God had made this promise to Jacob as he was fleeing to Haran

              • Twenty-two years later He was still with him and had brought him back to the Promised Land

              • Genesis 31:3, Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

            • Jacob had confidence that God would once again go with him to a foreign land and bring him back to the Promised Land

            • He knew from experience that God is not limited by geography – He is omnipresent

          • We know from the last half of verse 4 that Jacob would be returning to Canaan in a coffin or sarcophagus, because Joseph would be there to close his eyes after he had died

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God promises to go with us wherever we go, when we go according to His will.

              • If you have asked the Lord about that new relationship you are interested in pursuing and He has confirmed His leading, then He will go with you into that relationship

              • If you have consulted the Lord about that new job and He has confirmed His leading, then He will go with you as you start that new job

              • If you have sought the Lord’s leading about your schooling and He has confirmed it, then know that He will be going with you to that school

              • If you have asked the Lord about that financial decision and He has confirmed His leading, then trust that He will be with you as you move forward

              • In whatever decisions you need to make, when you consult the Lord and receive His leading, then you can be confident that He will go with you

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s presence with me after I have consulted Him and received His leading.

            • We can trust God to guide us when we seek His will.

        • After a momentary stop at Beersheba (be-ayr’ sheh’-vah), Jacob continues his journey to Egypt

    • God’s grace (vv. 5-27)

        • Jacob’s sons used the carts that Pharaoh had provided to transport their father, wives, and children

        • They took with them two things (goods/group; clutter/clan; possessions/people; holdings/household)

          • Their goods

            • Livestock

            • Possessions

              • Last week I asked you if you had ever had the privilege of living in a fully furnish apartment or house

              • While that can be exciting, short-term, most of us find comfort in our own things

              • Perhaps that is what Jacob and his household were thinking

              • Jacob realized this was not going to be a short-term visit when the Lord told him that He would make him into a great nation there