Recorded on November 11th, 2018
Having a hard heart prevents you from experiencing God’s best for you. Pastor Rothschild takes us through Pharaoh and his hard heart, and how that impacts us.
Transcript of Sermon:
[Music] this is Exodus 6 1 through 8 then the Lord said to Moses now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh because of my mighty hand he will let them go because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country God also said to Moses I am the Lord I appeared to Abraham to Isaac to Jacob his God Almighty but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan where they resided as foreigners moreover I have heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are enslaving and I have remembered my covenant covenant therefore say to the Israelites I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the yoke of Egyptians I will free you from being slaves to them and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment I will take you as my own people and I will be your God then you will know that I am the Lord your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians and I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob I will give it to you as a possession I am the Lord the Word of God for the people of God Thank You Janet I love being able to have scripture being read and to allow it just to wash over me it’s not something you get to do a lot at home because when you’re reading scripture at home you’re either reading it to yourself and it’s nice to have somebody else read it because as it’s being read you get to engage it in a different way and today’s scripture is really quite profound we are in the middle of a series on Exodus last week we talked about the same general area that we’re going to get into the plague series of Exodus and we talked about Pharaoh’s portion of the and what happened with his hard heart last week this week we’re going to be talking about what God is trying to show us in Exodus what God is doing through the book of Exodus and I think that you’ll be incredibly blessed by what we learn here today maybe not something that you’ve heard for the first time but maybe a reminder that you need exactly at this time in your life today before we get into it I thought we’d talk a little bit about empty promises because I think empty promises are what God’s talking about here or trying to counteract in this world that we live in it’s full of empty promises we talk with people every day and we say things we don’t necessarily fully mean mate you know we should have lunch next week or I’ll call you later in the week or you turn on the TV and you see a political ad thank God those are over is anybody else gonna say amen to that one yes but they’re full of empty promises and you don’t know what to trust I myself I’m so frustrated when it comes to election time because and unless you take it upon yourself to really dig into what is true about a candidate you can’t know from commercials they’re all telling us things that they want us to hear but they’re all just empty with truth right I remember watching Super Bowl ads and see the Super Bowl ads are the most fabulous that are filled with empty promises I remember this last year I remember there being Super Bowl baby ads and the ad was about how many how many kids were born nine months after the Super Bowl saying that the Super Bowl was a marriage aid basically is what they were saying and with most marriages the truth is that football is not a marriage aid am I wrong it’s a whole bunch of empty promises and we’re to blame sometimes too we say things that we think we want to live in to you that we think we’re gonna follow through on but we don’t always follow through on the things that we say we’re going to do I know that’s one of the hardest things for me is to make time for all of the things that I’ve said yes to because for most of us we don’t have nearly enough time to do all of the things that we’ve said we were going to do it’s a hard world to live in when the people around us the society around us tells us that they want us to do things that are going to change our lives but rarely if ever does that happen I think that this time of the year we don’t have political ads now we’re getting into the close to the end of the year and close to the end of the year we have all of the ads for exercise equipment and gym memberships and diet pills that will change your life forever if you buy them right they make so many promises but if it was true then there wouldn’t be any overweight people on the face of the planet because there are a lot of them that claim to be the answer to all of your problems and what we’re talking about here is exactly what was happening when God was talking to the Egyptians in this scripture to the Israelites in this scripture the Israelites in the Egyptian nation that whole world the context of that world was very much like the context of our world there were a whole bunch of people and of God’s little G gods that claimed to be able to do a lot for you but never followed through with those promises and so as we talked about the plagues today I want to we’re not going to go into detail about the plagues so much you can read about them there in Exodus starting in chapter 7 but these plagues in Exodus seemed hard to swallow sometimes as a Christian believer to understand why God would choose to save the Israelites from the Egyptians by doing things that weren’t very nice it seemed by doing things that made life hard for people and then when we get to the Passover next week and all that that implies when God took the firstborn child of every Egyptian it seems harsh and it seems of a God who might not be loving as we know God to be but what we’re going to learn today is God is who he says he is and God can do what he says he will do God is a loving and kind and generous God God did choose to save this people so why did choose to save the people in the way that he did save them is what we’re going to look at today and what we need to understand is the context of the world in which the Egyptians in the Israelites lived in like we said it was a context full of empty promises like we live in today but Israel we have to remember that Israel was far removed from any real contact with God for a very very long time the last time you see Israel and God interacting was when Joseph was still a part of that clan when Joseph was still alive and where we find the Israelites today it’s generations past Joseph so much so that the Israelite nation has grown into a huge force of people instead of just being a clan of 12 families that came to Egypt to escape a famine so they’ve been long removed from the reality of God in their life they remember the Covenant abran that God made with Abraham they know that they are an Israelite nation and an Israelite people but they don’t know much about who this God is that they have been promised by or that that is promised to them a specific future they also are seriously oppressed and this time the Egyptians lived lives that you and I would never be able to understand maybe ancestors hundreds of years ago could understand parts of what the Israelites are going through but their oppression their slavery is a really hard fact of life and also the Israelites have lived among the Egyptians for so long that part of their world part of the way that they act and behave is much like the way that the Egyptians act and behave it’s kind of like having a friend group or the people that you surround yourself with maybe you’re a really devout Christian before you go to college and then you go to the biggest party school in the state and because you’ve surrounded yourself with all these party school people you change a little bit and that’s what’s happened to the Israelites there’s still who they were but some of their practices and some of the things that they believe have changed have become more nuanced because they’ve adapted some of the Egyptian culture into their everyday life and then if we look on the other side of things the culture of the Egyptians the one thing we really need to understand is that the empty promises that were made in this time were made by many many little G gods the Egyptians worshiped so many gods there was the god of fertility and the god of rain and thunder and then there’s the God of the Sun and then there’s the God of the water whose name was yam which i think is really funny I’ll never forget that I don’t know what yam and water have to do with each other but the god of water yam was the one the god of the Seas was the one that they would pray to when they would be going fishing or when they’d be going out on water and every day they had to decide which God they were going to try and please which God they were gonna try and pray to or to appease to get the thing that they thought they needed that day but rarely if ever did that God who was the god of something provide what it was they were actually looking for and so when God says to them makes the seven I will promises if you notice in your handout I highlighted I will seven times so God says you are my people I’m going to show you who you are I’ve heard the groaning of the Israelites and I’m gonna come to these people of Israel and I say I am the Lord so he’s telling them in these seven I will statements he’s explaining to them what being their Lord looks like and he’s making seven promises now in order for us to understand that these promises are real and that God can do these things not only that he can do these things but that he will do these things the plagues happen so God says I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians I will deliver you from slavery I will redeem you with an outstretched arm with great acts of judgment I will take you to be my people I will be your God I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham Isaac and Jacob and I will give it to you for your possession I am the Lord God has just made a very very big statement about who God is and what God can do but how is that any different than what the other gods little ji have promised for all these years that big G God really hasn’t been as active in the lives of the Israelites and how are the Egyptians to understand who this God is because they don’t know God they don’t know of the god of the Israelites God the one true and only God see the purpose of Exodus big picture is that God is going to show Israel and the whole all of the nations who God is so that Israel the chosen people can be a light on the hill for those who are not a part of that nation so that they may know who God is and they may want to be a part of that group and so when we look to the plagues I’m going to show you a pattern and this pattern is going to teach us what God is trying to act against in the Egyptian world so the plagues there’s nine plagues plus one the plus one is the Passover and we’ll talk about that next week but the nine plagues really happen in three chunks of three where each set of three addresses one specific thing that God wants the Egyptians and the Israelites to know so the first three are the plague of blood where the water is turned to blood in Egypt where the plague of the frogs where the frogs come up out of the water there’s frogs everywhere there’s frogs just beyond the I can see and then the plague of gnats were gnats to send upon the entire land of Egypt and really do a lot of damage to the livestock into the houses and here what God we can call this one God versus the magicians because in the first two plagues the blood the blood and the frogs there were magicians in Egypt who could produce the same miracle so to say there were magicians who said oh yeah well we can do that to trying to prove that God is not who God was saying God was but the last one the Nags the magicians could not produce same plague they can replicate what God had done and in this God is showing that he is more than just a magician amongst them that there’s something more to this God than what the magicians and what the Egyptians have seen from time to come and it says in 717 in this section God says by this you will know that I am Lord I am Lord over you all and then in verses 8:20 through 9 12 we see God making a distinction between Israel and Egypt the next three plagues the Flies the livestock and the boils those were all done only to the Egyptians none of those plagues touched the Israelites or there’s livestock or their family members none of that was happened to them and God is showing his ability to distinguish between people on earth that what happens to this one particular group of people may not happen to the rest of the people he was showing Israel that they were a chosen people and he was showing Pharaoh that they were a particularly blessed group of people that he should pay attention to and it says but on that day I will deal God was saying I will deal differently with the land of Goshen where my people live no swarm of flies will be there so that you will know that I the Lord and in this land because he can pick and choose where the blessing happens and then the last set of plagues you can say God as omnipotent of God this set of three the hail and the locusts and the darkness show that God is sovereign not only over people but over nature itself over the Sun and the moon and the stars not just the created frogs and gnats and God is showing but says here in 916 God is using Israel the set apart group it says I have raised you up for this very purpose that I may show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all of the earth the Israelites and the Egyptians for so long have followed gods that have had nothing but real empty promises sure they may get it sometimes but that doesn’t mean that they are actually God and God is trying to say all of these promises that I’m speaking over you all of these things that I’m asking of you means something because I actually can do what I say I can do and I am who I say that I am I am God and this is hard because the highest God in this time was Pharaoh himself the king of Egypt believed that he was the one true God among all of the gods the mightiest but God is showing them through these plagues exactly who God is so yes you and I may think there must have been a different way this could have been done there had to have been some nicer way to make these things happen but in the context of this group of people and these nations this was the way that it had to be done and in doing so God was proving himself to be trustworthy God was proving himself to be able of doing these seven promises that he lays out to the Israelites so what does that mean for all of us what’s the so what we’re not Israelites we’re not under impression we don’t live in Egypt but the thing is because we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters of Christ through Jesus these promises these seven iwill statements are promises that God is also speaking over your life today and so I wanted to look closer at those seven promises I wanted to talk about what they mean and I wanted to talk about how you and I can step into what God is sharing with us here in this passage because God is teaching us who God is right here so if you open your bulletins I have underneath the scripture I have this seven promises laid out and then I have blank lines next to it if you can find a pen or pencil you can write next to it what I think this translates for us to today there should be one in the seats in front of you one second because here’s what I know the terrible happenings in California with that shooting and then just weeks before with the shooting in Pennsylvania at the synagogue and then whatever shooting happened before that and then the one before that those things happen because of somebody who was broken somebody who was far from God who was hurting who needed to know that they were loved that they mattered that they had a place on this earth from somebody who maybe needed some help from a doctor but more than anything they needed help from you and I and what I believe is that these things would happen less often if you and I children of God did a better job being the light on the hilltop if you and I did a better job taking our faith seriously and the call to share our faith by blessing others around us there would be fewer broken people in this world and the world would begin to heal in a way that is possible only if we participate because we saw when we started this this journey that God decided to work through human beings God did not himself go to Pharaoh and say let my people free God chose to work through Moses and told Moses to go to Pharaoh and say Moses let my people free God is choosing today to work through you and I to go for the people of this world who were broken and hurting and to tell them that they are loved to tell them that they matter and to tell them that there’s better something for them in this life but it’s not gonna happen on accident it’s only gonna happen if you and I take seriously our our job our call our mission as believers in Christ and sometimes that can only happen if you learn to believe it for yourself first because I think a lot of us don’t believe it enough for ourselves not even enough to share it with somebody else because we haven’t stepped into the power of Christ ourselves and so we’re going to look at these promises and the beginning of these promises are all about you stepping into what God has promised to be for you and then the second part is about how we can take that out into the nation so the first promise that God makes is to bring them out under the burden of Egypt what God is saying here to us in our context is that there is relief the word you want to write down is relief for your burdens there is relief for your burdens and the Sun of Christ there is relief for your burdens whatever they are for you to experience Christ for you to experience a lifting of the hardness of your life there is relief for you and if there’s relief for you then there’s relief for your neighbor because God didn’t just come for you God came for all of mankind and the person of Jesus Christ on this earth that we all may be able to experience relief relief from the burdens of our life there’s also deliverance available to us number two deliverance from slavery for us is deliverance from slavery to sin we may not be enslaved to the Egyptian leaders but we sure are enslaved people and I know that from personal experience I know that from working with you all that no matter who you are there is something in your life that you are and slaved to and what God offers us if we choose to allow God to truly be God in our life if we choose to accept Christ in our life what we are offered is deliverance from that sin deliverance from slavery to that sin but we have to choose that for ourselves day by day each morning we have to wake up and choose deliverance from that slavery sometimes 17,000 times that day you’re going to have to choose deliverance from slavery to that particular sin in your life but it’s available to you number three is that God has redeemed you and that’s exactly the same for us we are redeemed people we are redeemed children of God God sent his son that you and I might be a redeemed people not just for ourselves though see we’re not supposed to hold that Redemption as our own we’re supposed to take the redemption live into the redemption and share that redemption with the world God promises number four to take you as his people you are adopted children of God you are loved more than you could ever believe by your father in heaven nothing you can do can shake that love nothing you can do can change how much you are loved or know her vast or widely you are loved because as soon as you accept Christ into your life you are redeemed child of God and nothing can stand between you and the love of God God has promised to be your God what does it mean that he’s going to be your God God is going to protect and provide for you those are the words you put down there you have a protector and a provider not just one time not just in one instance but in every moment of every day of your life you have a loving father who is protecting you and providing for you and every moment of your life and don’t you want your neighbors to have that – don’t you want people around this world to experience having a provider walk with them every moment of their lives and as we step into allowing God to be our God number five as God is your God 6 says that God’s going to bring you to the land that he swore God fulfills his promises God has a plan for you and God is going to see that you get to the end of the road as long as you stay on that path with him so here I had put God has a plan and God’s gonna walk with you and the last one is that he’s going to give the land as a blessing the promise to us is that we will be blessed as we walk with God through the troubles of this world we will be a blessed people and the blessing is not really for us who’s the blessing for the blessing is for those who don’t know Christ because as our lives are blessed others see that blessing in us they see something different about us that was that’s why God set the Israelites apart so that they would be an example of who God is in this world as the Israelites were blessed that is the Egyptian nation and the nations around were to see who this God is you and I are living examples of the power of God in our lives and if you and I aren’t living into that power if we are not accepting that power of God into our lives we can’t shine nearly as brightly as we need to because this world needs a lot of bright lights not dim ones so my call for us this week is to go home and to pray to ask God where do I still need relief from burden and where am I not trusting you about that god what sin do I need to be delivered from and how do I participate in that God helped me to understand what it means that you have redeemed my life and that I’m an adopted child of God and this is where I struggle personally I don’t know that I know how to fully accept God’s love in my life I don’t know how to step into that completely and I need help with that but if I just know that in the back of my head and I don’t ask God for help and I don’t step into that every single day nothing is going to change when you accepted Christ into your life it was a once and for all but that journey doesn’t end there it continues we need to be asking God how we’re not trusting his provision for us some of us are holding back in our faith because we don’t put we don’t trust that he’s going to protect and provide for us and then some of us need to trust his promises and then some of us need to know that there’s a blessing even though life is hard but we need to think about this for our lives because we need to step into this more deeply we need to step into our identity as Christ as Christ children so that those people in the world who don’t know Christ yet can know him and that maybe maybe by asking somebody in the parking lot if they need help with their groceries by offering to help somebody fix a tire by saying thank you to the person who gave you your food today instead of just looking at them maybe by these small gestures and then bigger ones that come from it maybe our world will begin to change because we actually truly believe that God is as powerful and as potent as God says that God is and that God can do what he says he’s going to do but we’re a part of that plan my friends you and me we can make a difference in this world we can make a difference this afternoon we can make a difference the moment we leave these doors but it’s a choice we have to make but I believe is we make that choice the world will change and lives will be saved because we choose to live into our identity as children of God let’s pray God it can be overwhelming to understand what you have called us to you in this world it can be overwhelming to understand that we truly can have an impact on the horrible things that happen in this world because of the power you’ve given us to be your light bearers God so many of us have a dim light because we are hurting in our own lives and we don’t know how to connect to the power and the promises that you have spoken into our lives God in this week I prayed deeply and desperately that each one of us would take some time to ask you to seek you where it is that we need to step more closely to you so that those around us can see you more clearly through us we are so lucky to have the blessings and the provision that you have promised to give us god help us to enable others to step into that freedom we love you so much father we are so thankful to be your children may we do a better job of shepherding the gift that you have given us that’s in your name we pray amen