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Exodus: Halftime Speech

Exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Trust God's tomorrow, not the doubts of today.

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1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV84
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I love coaching high school sports. Every game has the opportunity to turn out different from what you might expect.
No matter how good a team might be, there is always the very good chance that things can go bad. Always the opportunity for things to play flat…make mistakes…and if the other team is doing well…then. It’s very possible to lose every week.
One of the most pivotal moments in a game I think is the halftime. Even when you are winning it is important; but even more important if you are behind.
Come in feeling like a loser…like you have already lost. Doubting that you can ever come back.
Everyone hanging their head…blaming everyone, even the guys on the bench are blaming the guys who were playing. The guys playing are blaming the coaches…the assistant coaches are blaming the refs. But the head coach…he calls everybody together.
The coach has to remind the team of the game plan. Make corrections as to where the plan has broken down. Give them clear steps as to how to get back in the game…then send them out with a sense passion…even when they are down by 30
When we left moses in Chapter 5, he was defeated.
when we left moses in Chapter 5, he was defeated.
he had come back to Egypt fired up, ready to set the people free
He went to the people, they said YES they probably had a cheer for him…2 bits 4 bits 6 bits a dollar…all for moses stand up and holler....
But then Pharaoh said…oh yea…this is what I think of your plan Moses…let me just turn the heat up a little bit.
Things definitely didn’t work out the way Moses had anticipated.
I can see this. I’ve been there.
5 years ago I finished seminary. I was ready to go to work serving God and His church. I knew I was called to revitalize the ministry of the church. To see the church be what God had created and called it for. We were invited to move to Florida to help a church plant restart. The members there wanted their church to finally take off. They loved Jesus, they loved one another. I thought that their commitment combined with God’s calling on my life would be all it would take. We were a match made in heaven.
Things didn’t work out. IN fact things got worse than we could have ever imagined. We both probably spent quite a bit of time blaming others, but since the church is God’s idea, His passion and plan, I suppose God had more to teach both the church and me.
But God had more to teach both the church and me.
We needed to be reminded that we can’t do everything....we needed to be reminded that Following Jesus was the only way to BE the church, we needed to remember that Loving and obeying God was the point of the church that God had created us to have. We needed to understand that God was responsible for the church, so we better listen to what he tells us to do…no matter the outcomes.
For several weeks we all were a bit depressed. It was then that I began to notice my tendency to put more trust in the outcomes I thought I deserved than in Jesus as the one who made those outcomes possible. That was the source of my doubts.
It also explains why it’s hard to DOUBT OUR DOUBTS.
Moses wondering not just why things didn't’ work out, but whey they got worse so he prays to God …what am I doing here…did i misunderstand?

Trusting in outcomes more than Jesus.

I have been there. Have you? Have you ever done what you thought God was calling you to only for it to not work out as it was supposed to?
You felt God telling you that he would be healed…but then he wasn’t.
You knew the relationship could be restored, but then they gave up and left.
Pain
Financial Loss
It’s true that doubts in our abilities can cause us to work more deliberately, you know...study more, pray harder, listen more intently. Self doubt at it’s best can help us, but usually it only makes us hesitant to give our best.
Self doubt at it’s best can actually help us.
Self doubt gets worse when leads to doubting God?
Think about it…if we can’t…and God can’t, then what hope do we have?
That’s exactly what we see here in the text today.
You see, it wasn’t just that Moses desired outcomes didn’t pan out…but actually things got worse. People probably died because of Moses conversation with Pharaoh, so he prays to God …what am I doing here…did i misunderstand?
wondering not just why things didn't work out, but why they got worse so he prays to God …what am I doing here…did i misunderstand?
Moses had gone from doubting himself to doubting God. For Moses, he knew he couldn’t convince Pharaoh, and now it looked like God couldn’t either.
For Moses, he knew he couldn’t convince Pharaoh, and now it looked like God couldn’t either.
Hardship can do that. Sometimes in hard times, we might
Hear how the word of the Lord:
Exodus 6:1–13 NIV84
1 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.” 2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the 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. 7 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. 8 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.’ ” 9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage. 10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.” 12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” 13 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
Did you hear that. Not only did Moses doubt God, but so did the people. Because of the hardship that Pharaoh had put on the people, they didn’t believe God or Moses were going to deliver them.
Hardship can do that. Some people, in hard times, realize that God was the only thing they have left; hardship actually moves them toward God.
for many others though, hardship does just the opposite. It sends them away from God.
Perhaps you know someone who’s loved one died way too early. Or were the victim of crime or some tragic act of nature.
This is what happens to the Israelites, after years and years of hardship, and now, even more oppressive slavery, the people just gave up. They don’t want anything more to do with Moses and his God.
They don’t want anything more to do with Moses and his God.
So, either you have been in a place where God didn’t seem to show up as expected…or maybe you are just tired of trying to do the right thing. Tired of the fight.
It’s understandable that folks in these situations might doubt that they matter to God - leading to their losing faith. Because their hope was resting in their desired outcomes more than in God.
We may not get the outcomes we are expecting, but our faith is in God not the outcomes we seek. So how do we trust God when things look ripe for doubt?
Something that you probably didn’t notice. I didn’t the first few times I read it. God referred to himself in two very different ways in his response to Moses.

How are we to respond when we sense doubts rising up in us?

ReallySomething that you probably didn’t notice. I didn’t the first few times I read it. God referred to himself in two very different ways in his response to Moses.
That’s where God’s halftime speech to Moses came into play.
Something that you probably didn’t notice. I didn’t the first few times I read it. God referred to himself in two very different ways in his response to Moses.
First, God calls himself
First reiterated his promise, verse 2 through 8, God begins and ends by using his name. This is the first time he had told Moses this. Yahweh

LORD - Yahweh

Yahweh was the name God had given himself in the covenant. This was God’s way of saying…you can trust that I will deliver because I keep my promises. Beginning in vs 2 and in ending vs 8, God refers to himself as Yahweh…and all in between God tells Moses exactly what he is going to do. You hear this? I am the God of the covenant…and I will be faithful to it… I will…I will, I will. Over and over again, God says I will; then ends it with I am Yahweh, God who keeps his promises.
The other name he reminds Moses of is

El Shaddai

…God almighty. It’s God saying I can do anything I chose to do. I am El Shaddai, God almighty.
Moses asks…what are we doing here?
God answers…You are doing exactly what I asked you to do. I will deliver them because it is my plan to deliver them. I am the God of creation.

I can and I will.

God tells Moses to go and tell the people, he does but they don’t listen, then God tells him…now go to Pharaoh.
Moses is like…seriously? They didn't listen, He won’t either.
But God sends he and Aaron anyway. It’s as if God has complete confidence in how things are going to work out; even while it makes absolutely no sense to Moses and the Israelites.
Because God is sovereign, he knows.
Paul explained it in:
1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Now I…but then
Now I see like ME…But then I will see like HIM
don’t understand …will understand
am enslaved…will be free
am unemployed…be free to follow
cry my child is lost…praise God that they are in His arms.
Mourn that he died…will rejoice when we gather in heaven together
Mourn that he died…will rejoice when we gather in heaven together
am angry when one opportunity closes out…but then…it will make sense.
But we are on this side of seeing and knowing fully. Doubts are a real part of our lives.

Doubting isn’t really a surprise to God.

Jesus was questioned and doubted many times, one time...
Look at how Jesus dealt with it when he was doubted one time.
Matthew 11:2–3 NIV84
2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Did Jesus get mad?
Matthew 11:4–6 NIV84
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
No…he simply reminded him of the truth. and called him to live faithfully. He wasn’t angry with John for doubting. Just a few verses later in fact he praised his faithfulness.
Matt 11:4-6
Matthew 11:2–6 NIV84
2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Matthew 11:11 NIV84
I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Jesus knows we are prone to doubting. Probably what saddens God most about our doubts is that he knows that in our doubts, Satan and his angels can attack us. This is exactly what Jesus experienced it when he fasted in the desert for 40 days you remember.
Jesus knows how the Satan and his angels can attack us in our doubts. He experienced it when he fasted in the desert for 40 days you remember.
Whispering to us to doubt our salvation…to doubt God’s love for us....to doubt God’s call on our lives…to doubt the power of God available to us.
These doubts God does not want us to share.
We look back in order to look forward in faith.
These doubts God does not want us to share.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV84
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I may not understand right now, but I can trust God's goodness.
of  a  loved  one,  Door
This is where God wants us to trust.
Sure we may not get the outcomes we are expecting, but as I heard another pastor say "our faith is in God not the outcomes we want.”
Instead of trusting the doubts we have today, God calls us to trust in His promises for tomorrow.
Instead of trusting the doubts we have today, God calls us to trust in His promises for tomorrow.

Trust God's tomorrow, not the doubts of today.

Trust God's tomorrow, not the doubts of today.

Isaiah 55:8–9 NIV84
“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.
That’s the key to defeating doubts. We saw it in God’s charge to Moses and Aaron. Go to Pharaoh. Faithful obedience is the remedy to doubt.
How was able to obey? He knew who God was, what he was going to do, and how he was doing it. He had had an encounter with God.
For us, we too have had an encounter with God, when we surrendered our lives to Jesus. When we did, we were filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
This sort of obedience was difficult foJesus died and rose again to prove that we can trust
Lord Jesus, I want to experience your mercy today. I no longer want to live my life doubting. I want to live in faithful obedience. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins. I admit I’m a sinner in need of a Savior, and I’m inviting you to be mine right now. Come into my life. Live in me as my Leader from now on. I believe you are a God who is rich in mercy. Thank you for saving my life. I live it for you.
Prayer of Confession
Forgiving God, we confess how we have rebelled against you.  We have allowed doubts and fears to hold us back from the freedom to which you have called us in Christ Jesus our Lord.   We have been quick to blame others for our weakness and slow to accept responsibility for ourselves.  Forgive us, and grant us your peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Hear the good news:      Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;      that proves God's love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
People to leader:
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Leader and people:
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are all forgiven
Glory to God, Amen!
********************
-­9
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
The pastor may lift hands and keep them raised.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing,      always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
Father Almighty (almighty God ), creator of heaven and earth.
You brought all things into being and called them good.
From the dust of the earth you formed us into your image      and breathed into us the breath of life.
When we turned away, and our love failed, your love remained steadfast.
When rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights,      you bore up the ark on the waters, saved Noah and his family,      and made covenant with every living creature on earth.
When you led your people to Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights,      you gave us your commandments and made us your covenant people.
When your people forsook your covenant,      your prophet Elijah fasted for forty days and forty nights;      and on your holy mountain, he heard your still small voice.
And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven,      we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
The pastor may lower hands.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,      heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The pastor may raise hands.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
When you gave him to save us from our sin,      your Spirit led him into the wilderness,      where he fasted forty days and forty nights to prepare for his ministry.
When he suffered and died on a cross for our sin, you raised him to life,      presented him alive to the apostles during forty days,      and exalted him at your right hand.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection      you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death,      and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
Now, when we your people prepare for the yearly feast of Easter,      you lead us to repentance for sin and the cleansing of our hearts,      that during these forty days of Lent we may be gifted and graced      to reaffirm the covenant you made with us through Christ.
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the bread, or touch the bread, or lift the bread.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread,      gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the cup, or touch the cup, or lift the cup.
When the supper was over he took the cup,      gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,      poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
The pastor may raise hands.
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,      we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving,      as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the bread and cup.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,      and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,      that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.
The pastor may raise hands.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ,      one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world,      until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,      all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father (God ), now and for ever.
Amen.
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