Not Hoppy

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We need to keep our promises to God.

Exodus(24) (Part of the Rescued(23) series)
by Stuart Johns(229) on December 10, 2023 ()

Prayer(19), Salvation(78), Worship(23)

Rescued

Not Hoppy

(Exodus 8:1-15)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Realize that you can't keep your promises. That may seem like a strange first step toward the goal of keeping promises, but it's true.

 

Consider this question: If we could keep our promises, wouldn't we have done it by now? How many times have we made the same promises? Let's face it, rededication to keep promises won't work. If it did, we wouldn't find it necessary to keep rededicating ourselves. Many of us have struggled with promise-keeping for one reason: We have focused on our performance more than on Jesus Christ. We have tried to keep our promises, but the Bible teaches that effective Christian living doesn't come by trying. It comes by trusting Christ to express his life through us. He is the only One who can successfully keep promises.

 

Before we can be effective promise keepers, we must become promise receivers. The Bible is clear about God's promise: the One who has given us his life will be the One who lives it for us. Only Jesus Christ can effectively live the perfect life. He lives inside believers today and wants to reveal His perfect life through us.

 

Source: Steve McVey, president of Grace Walk Ministries. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1997/may/3158.html]

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Sin

        • As a teenager and young adult, I remember promising the Lord that I would never do certain things again

        • I would have limited success with not giving in to temptation, but it seems like after a couple of months I would give in to the temptation again

        • Once again I would make a promise to the Lord, because the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin

        • Accountability was the key to finally getting a handle on the temptations that so easily entangled me

        • I am not fully sanctified yet, so that means I still struggle with temptation from time-to-time and I still give in to temptation also (accountability has lessened the times I have given in to temptation)

        • Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ​​ Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

  • WE

    • Have you ever broken a promise to someone else?

    • Have you ever broken a promise to God?

    • Perhaps we all need to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and fix our eyes on Jesus

 

Moses and Aaron were instructed to return to Pharaoh and give him another message from the Lord. ​​ When he refused to obey the message, another plague came on the Egyptians. ​​ This time Pharaoh recognized that the Lord was the One who had orchestrated the plague, so he asked Moses and Aaron to pray to the Lord to remove the plague. ​​ He promised that if the Lord would remove the plague, he would let the Israelites offer sacrifices to the Lord. ​​ Pharaoh did not keep his promise once the Lord removed the plague. ​​ What we can learn from this narrative today is that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – We need to keep our promises to God.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (Exodus 8:1-15)

    • Proclaim (vv. 1-5)

        • To Moses

          • Go to Pharaoh

            • Hamilton suggests that Moses and Aaron are supposed to go to Pharaoh’s home or palace when they are instructed to “God to Pharaoh.” [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 129]

            • There is a pattern in how Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh in the three groups of three plagues

              • Early in the morning (1 – blood; 4 – flies; 7 – hail)

              • Go to Pharaoh (2 – frogs; 5 – livestock; 8 – locusts)

              • God’s command (3 – gnats; 6 – boils; 9 – darkness)

            • He went to Pharaoh and gave him this message from the Lord

          • The Lord not only gave Moses instructions, He also gave instructions to Pharaoh

        • To Pharaoh

          • Let my people go

            • The Lord once again commands Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so they can worship Him

            • This is and will be a repeated command from the Lord to Pharaoh as the plagues progress

            • “Michelle attempts to teach her children the ‘please and thank you’ of polite society. She also helps them memorize Scripture. One day, her 4-year-old son, John, was tussling and wrestling with his mom in a good-natured contest. Losing the battle, he wanted to be released. ‘What's the magic word?’ encouraged Michelle, ready to comply with his wish.

              ‘Let my people go ... (Exodus 8:1)’ came the reply.”

              Source: Thelma Baddorf, Dillsburg, Penn. "Lite Fare," Christian Reader.

              [https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1996/july/215.html].

          • Consequence of refusing

            • Nile will teem with frogs

              • God was once again proving that He was in control of and had power over the Egyptian deities

                • The goddess Heqet (hay-ket) was portrayed as a woman with a frog’s head and was associated with fertility, childbirth, and new life and growth

                • The Egyptians viewed frogs as sacred, so they would ​​ never think of killing them

              • The Hebrew word for “teem” can also be translated “swarm”

              • It is the same Hebrew used for the Israelites in Exodus 1:7, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly [swarmed] and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them

            • No place will be exempt

              • Palace, bedroom, bed, houses, people, ovens, kneading troughs

                • The dwelling places of Pharaoh and his officials would have had multiple floors/levels with the bedrooms on the upper floors

                • The servants and other common folk would only have one story dwellings or basic shacks

                • Beds would have been on the floor and not elevated like our modern beds

                • Kneading troughs were probably on the floor, since many Egyptians used their feet to knead the dough

              • “The frogs would go everywhere—without virtually any limitation—including the interior of the palace (mentioned first to be sure Pharaoh knew he would not be immune), bedrooms, beds, and cooking utensils (mentioned as well to complete the picture of a gross manifestation of all places where humans lived).” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volumes 2, Exodus, 204]

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s wrath is complete and total.

              • I mentioned this principle last week, but it applies here too

              • There would not be a person or place that would not be affected by the plague of frogs

          • The Lord also had some instructions for Aaron

        • To Aaron

          • Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds

          • Make frogs come up on the land of Egypt

          • It seems clear that the water of the Nile had been cleared out from the plague of blood, since the frogs were coming up from the streams, canals, and ponds

        • Aaron was obedient to the Lord’s command

    • Plague (vv. 6-7)

        • God’s power caused the frogs to swarm and cover the land

          • It is not stated again by the author, but we know that the frogs went into Pharaoh’s palace and made it all the way to his bedroom and bed

          • They went into the houses of Pharaoh’s officials and the people of Egypt

          • They also were found in their ovens and kneading troughs

          • In fact, they were hopping up on everyone (Pharaoh, officials, and people)

          • While the Egyptians considered frogs sacred, I’m sure they preferred to view them from a distance and not have them hopping on them all the time

        • The magicians were able to imitate the plague of frogs

          • As I mentioned last week with the Nile turning to blood, Pharaoh probably was not looking for more of the same plague, but rather to have the plague reversed

          • The magicians were simply adding to the hardship and making it worse instead of better

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – “God’s work can be imitated but never equaled.” ​​ [Hamilton, 131]

            • Have you found that to be true in your life?

              • We can certainly imitate God’s love, but we cannot equal His love because He loves us perfectly

              • We can imitate God’s grace, but we cannot equal His grace because His grace has given us salvation which we do not deserve

              • We can imitate God’s generosity, but we cannot equal His sacrificial giving of Jesus for our sins

              • We can imitate all of God’s attributes, but we cannot equal the impact or scope of His attributes (wisdom, goodness, faithfulness, mercy, truth, justice, etc.)

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship the Lord because His _______ (attribute of God) is unequaled.

          • The magicians were able to imitate the plague of frogs, but they were not able to equal the scope and impact of God’s plague of frogs – they were everywhere!

        • We are not told how long the plague of frogs had been going on when Pharaoh finally said, “enough is enough, get Moses and Aaron and bring them here”

    • Plead (v. 8a)

        • Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from him and his people

          • What an incredible change in Pharaoh to actually acknowledge the author of the plague – the Lord!

          • If you remember when Moses and Aaron first approached Pharaoh they told him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says . . .” (Ex. 5:1)

          • Pharaoh’s response was, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go? ​​ I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” (Ex. 5:2)

          • The Lord’s purpose in bringing the plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians was so they would know Him (Ex. 7:17)

          • “This is a significant climb-down for the man who previously had said, ‘I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go’ (5:2). ​​ He is now tacitly acknowledging the existence of the Lord, that it was the Lord who had caused the plague of frogs, that he was able to remove the frogs when Egyptian resources could not, and that it was appropriate for Israel to sacrifice to him.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 158-59]

          • There is hope for Pharaoh, but he has a long way to go yet

        • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is pleased when we recognize that He is in control.

          • Where are you today?

            • What slimy situation keeps hopping up on you and getting into every area of your life?

              • Is it an addiction?

              • Does it have to do with finances?

              • Is it oppression from Satan – some spiritual battle?

              • Is it related to your job?

              • Is a relationship causing issues?

              • Are you struggling emotionally? ​​ (anxiety/depression/loneliness/sadness)

              • Are you wondering what God is doing in a certain situation, but it seems like He is not answering or speaking?

            • Have you recognized that God is in control of that situation?

            • Have you placed that burden at the foot of the cross, seeking Jesus’ help?

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize that God is in control of __________ and cry out to Him for help.

        • Pharaoh sought the Lord’s help with the slimy frogs that were everywhere and he promised to do something in return

    • Promise (v. 8b)

        • He promised the Lord that if He would remove the frogs, he would let the Israelites go to offer sacrifices to the Lord

        • As we will see in verse 15, it seems like Pharaoh made this promise lightly

        • We have to be careful not to make promises to the Lord, we do not intend to keep

          • Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. ​​ He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. ​​ It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.

          • Matthew 5:33-37, “Again, you have heard that it was said long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ ​​ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. ​​ And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. ​​ Simply let your ‘Yes’ be “Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

          • James 5:12, Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. ​​ Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.

          • Is there a promise you have made to the Lord that you need to fulfill?

          • We need to keep our promises to God.

        • Pharaoh promised to let the Israelites go so they could worship the Lord, if the Lord would remove the plague of frogs

    • Propose (vv. 9-11)

        • Moses’ allowed Pharaoh to choose the time for him to pray and ask the Lord to remove the plague of frogs from Pharaoh, his officials, people, and their houses

          • “Giving the Egyptian king this power of timing is from a human point of view apologetically brilliant on God’s part: if the king could say when the frogs would go away, he would personally know that the timing was not due to the simple consequences of natural processes or a fiat of the gods of the Egyptians but the sovereignty of the God of Israel.” ​​ [Stuart, 208]

          • The prayer to remove the frogs would not include those still living in the Nile – it would not be a prayer to remove all frogs from Egypt (imagine the bug problem they would have without any frogs)

        • Pharaoh’s choice

          • Immediately, right? ​​ Nope, tomorrow

          • Why didn’t Pharaoh ask for immediate relief?

            • Keep in mind, we are not told when Moses and Aaron were summoned to Pharaoh’s court – it could have been in the evening

            • Maybe Pharaoh was hoping that the frogs would leave of their own accord and he would not have to keep his promise to let the Israelites go [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 190]

            • He could have also been building anticipation by letting the word spread that the frogs were going to be leaving the next day and if they didn’t, Jehovah and His servants would be discredited [Wiersbe, 190]

            • We are left to speculate, because it is not stated why Pharaoh chose a time, other than immediately

          • Moses’ replied to Pharaoh’s choice

        • Moses’ told him that it would happen just as Pharaoh said, so he would know there was no one like the Lord, God

          • The frogs would leave the houses of Pharaoh, his officials, and his people

          • They would no longer being hopping up on Pharaoh, his officials, or his people

          • The only frogs left would be those living in the Nile that had not invaded the rest of the land

        • Moses did what he promised to do – he kept his promise to Pharaoh

        • We need to keep our promises to God.

    • Pray (vv. 12-14)

        • Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs

          • Moses and now Pharaoh knew who to petition about their problem

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – “God uses the prayers of His faithful servants.” ​​ [Martin, 49]

            • We see the power of prayer when the Lord’s servant prays according to His will [Stuart, 210]

              • Psalm 4:1, Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. ​​ Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

              • James 5:13-16, Is any one of you in trouble? ​​ He should pray. ​​ Is anyone happy? ​​ Let him sing songs of praise. ​​ Is any one of you sick? ​​ He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. ​​ And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. ​​ If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. ​​ Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. ​​ The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

            • Have you experienced this in your own life?

              • Who has prayed for you?

              • What did you experience? ​​ (relief from distress or trouble, healing, and/or forgiveness of sins through the power of prayer)

              • Is there something you need prayer for today?

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask for prayer for _______________.

              • If you wrote something down that you would like prayer for, I want to encourage you to take the bold next step of coming forward this morning, so we can pray for you

                • We’ll return to the message in just a moment

                • I want to ask our board members, lay ministers, and their spouses to join me at the front of the sanctuary to help in praying for those who come

                • Our leadership is here to pray a prayer of faith over you for relief from distress or any trouble you are facing, for healing, and for forgiveness of sin

                • We have anointing oil available for those who are seeking healing from sickness

                • (Logan would you come and play quietly)

                • I invite you to come for prayer now

          • Moses knew he could cry out to the Lord for help, so that’s exactly what he did

        • The Lord responded

          • The Lord did what Moses asked

          • The frogs died in the houses, courtyards, and fields

            • This is probably not how Pharaoh and the Egyptians thought the Lord would get rid of the frogs

            • They were probably hoping the frogs would hop on back to the Nile

            • I have found that specific prayers are better than general prayers

              • I used to pray, asking God to let me see deer – He did, but they were never close enough in bow season or the right gender in rifle season

              • Now I pray specifically, asking God to let me get a deer – the past couple of years His answer has been “No”

            • Instead the Egyptians had to collect all of these dead frogs and pile them up into heaps

              • Sin is messy and requires clean up

              • Sin also reeks – it stinks

          • The Lord kept His promise to Moses and Pharaoh and ended the plague of frogs

        • When Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he pulled out of his promise to the Lord and the Israelites

    • Pull out (v. 15)

        • Pharaoh did exactly what the Lord said he would do

          • He hardened his heart and would not follow through with his promise

          • “Sadhu Sundar Singh, writes in Wisdom of the Sadhu:

            Once when I was in the Himalayas, I was sitting upon the bank of a river. I drew out of the water a beautiful, round stone and smashed it. The inside was dry. The stone had been lying a long time in the water, but the water had not penetrated the stone.

            It is just like that with the ‘Christian’ people of the West. They have for centuries been surrounded by Christianity, entirely steeped in its blessings, but the Master's truth has not penetrated them. Christianity is not at fault; the reason lies rather in the hardness of their hearts. Materialism and intellectualism have made their hearts hard. So I am not surprised that many people in the West do not understand what Christianity really is.”

            Source: Sadhu Sundar Singh, excerpted from Wisdom of the Sadhu, the Bruderhof Communities website.

            [https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2003/september/14601.html]

        • PRINCIPLE #5 – God’s desire is that we repent and not just seek His deliverance.

          • Pharaoh

            • Pharaoh’s promise was not genuine, because he just wanted the frogs gone – his pleading was pointless

            • When the frogs were gone, Pharaoh’s true intentions were revealed

          • Us

            • The same can be said of us

            • “Many sinners aren’t interested in repenting and receiving God’s grace; they want only to be delivered from God’s judgment.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 190]

            • How many times have we pleaded with God to deliver us from distress, trouble, sickness, or sin when we are facing the consequences of our own actions?

            • We make promises that we have no intention of keeping once relief comes

              • I’ll go to church every week

              • I’ll read the Bible every day

              • I’ll pray before every meal

              • I’ll help a family member, friend, or neighbor whenever they ask

              • I’ll stop going to the nightclub

              • I won’t hang out with those people anymore

              • I won’t drink alcohol ever again

              • I won’t smoke marijuana again

              • I won’t pop those pills any more

              • I won’t look at pornography

              • I won’t get angry while driving or speed again

              • The list of promises we make is endless

            • True repentance is a 180 degree turn from the wrong we are doing to the right we should be doing

              • It is easier said than done, though

              • Read Romans 7:15-25

              • Read Romans 6:1-14

            • If you have been seeking deliverance and not repentance, it’s time to accept the crucifixion of your old self through the blood of Jesus

              • Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. ​​ The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

              • Jesus loves you so much that He gave His life as a ransom for you on the cross – He died in your place, taking your punishment for sin

              • 2 Corinthians 5:15, And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

              • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins and allow Christ to live in me.

 

  • YOU

    • Worship the Lord because His attributes are unequaled.

    • Recognize that God is in control of your situation and cry out to Him for help.

    • Ask for prayer from the leadership or a friend.

    • Repent of your sins and allow Christ to live in you.

 

  • WE

    • Worship the Lord because His attributes are unequaled.

    • Recognize that God is in control of our situation and cry out to Him for help.

    • Ask for prayer for the situations we are facing.

 

CONCLUSION

“How many a hardened rebel on shipboard, when the timbers are strained and creaking, when the mast is broken, and the ship is drifting before the gale, when the hungry waves are opening their mouths to swallow the ship up alive and quick as those that go into the pit—how many a hardened sailor has then bowed his knee, with tears in his eyes, and cried, ‘I have sinned!’ ​​ But of what avail and of what value was his confession? ​​ The repentance of his that was begotten amidst the thunder and the lightning, ceased so soon as all was hushed in quiet, and the man who was a pious mariner when on board ship, became the most wicked and abominable of sailors when he placed his foot on terra firma.”

 

[Spurgeon cited by Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 40]

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