Tension: Who will deliver Israel from their oppression in Egypt?
Resolution: God alone.
Exegetical Idea: God alone will deliver Israel from their oppression in Egypt.
Theological Idea: Salvation comes through Christ alone.
Homiletical Idea: Christ alone delivers.
I want to ask you a question today to start off. How much of salvation depends on you? When you and God meet, what do you bring to the table? Do you feel the need to polish your spiritual resume? Do you feel the need to puff up your chest? Do you feel the need to make much of yourself?
The 4th century monk Pelagius thought that we needed to do a great bit. That yes, God gives us grace, but we have to show that we’re worth it. We have to show that we have something to offer. We have to show God that we’re not taking advantage of God. Yes, God forgives, but God’s forgiveness is like student loan repayment. You have to do your part in order to get God to do his part.
Of course the early father, Augustine, was not tolerant of this at all. Augustine who was a bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa, wrote a withering 13 books that just slammed Pelagius. HE believed that God’s grace was the only reason that any of us are saved. That is has absolutely nothing to do with anything at all that we do. That God’s grace comes prior and before there is antyhing good in us.
SO the question before us is, who is right? What does Exodus say? How can we be saved? Do we save us? Or does God save us? Is Pelagius right, or Augustine? Do we trust in our own good works, or do we trust in his?
God Promises Deliverance
God Promises Deliverance
“I am the Lord” (vs2): So this story starts out with God declaring his name. Now, we have already seen this name earlier in the book of Exodus. There, in chapter 3, Moses asked who God was that he was sending him, and God says, “i am that I am.” Well, now, after Moses has been through his initial trials, after Moses has come up against the persecutions and strifes and trifles of this world, and Moses has just been utterly broken, God reminds Moses of that encoutner. And God says “I am the Lord.” You see, when Moses thought that he would provide deliverance, then he was utterly downcast. You see, God was showing Moses that there was nothing he could do to deliver Israel. So when Moses is at his lowest point, he is forced to almost ask, who can possibly deliver Israel now, to which God speaks and says, “I am the lord.” God, the Lord, the Almighty, alone will deliver. Not Moses. Not Aaron. Not Miriam. Nobody can deliver but God alone. And in these verses, God demonstrates the different ways that he will deliver. Now here is what I want to show you as we’re going on in this. That every single action that God takes in this chapter, is fulfilled in christ. So we are going to keep drawing these connections so that you and I will see that all of God’s promises ifnd their yes in Christ.
God reveals (vs 3): First, God will deliver by revealing. Look here in vs. 3. He says, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and To Jacob, as God Almighty. But my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them.” So here God says, I spoke and appeared to and revealed myself to your forefathers Moses. Now, a lot of people have really taken on this verse and gone back and tried to figure out how this could be. But here’s the point of this. That when God delivers his people, he shows more of who he is. God’s delvierance, God’s salvation, God’s rescue always gives us a deeper insight into who he is. When God saves us, it is always so that we might see and glorify him more.
God reveals in Christ: So if God revealed himself in a greater way to Moses than he did to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then God reveals himself in a greater way still in Christ. After all says.... God’s revelation reached their climax, their perfection, their utter and perfect revelation in Christ and in Christ alone.
God covenants (vs4) So not only does God reveal, God covenants. Now, we have been using the language of covenant to talk about GOd’s relationship with us. God’s covenant is simply the relationship that he makes wiht us that he promises to keep. God’s covenant is not a contrat. A contract is a business agreement. Those have their place. But God’s covenant is more like a marriage vow. It is when God says, “I am going to keep up my end of hte deal, no matter what. THat I will not abandon you.” YOu see, when God saves his people, it is never dispassionate, it is never disinterested, it is never apathetic. No, when God saves his people, it is through relationship with them.
God covenants in Christ: Of course, while this covenant God made with them was amazing, God’s covenant that he makes with us is far greater still. After, all says that.... You see, God’s covenant in Christ is eternal. Never without end nor without beginning. It is. And that is why God does not leave us or forsake us, God just is.
God hears (vs 5): When means, not only does God reveal, not only does God covenant, God hears. Look at this next verse in vs. 5. God says, “moreover I have heard the groaning of hte people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves.” God says I have heard. I think sometimes we don’t realize that God cares about our suffering. God cares and hears and understands. When we are suffering, when the trials of the world weigh us down, when nothing really makes sense, God does not forget about his people. He hears.
God hears through Christ: Of course, God hears us in a greater way through Christ. Because if we have faith in Christ, then we have been adopted by God. And God has not forgotten us. And we can pray at any time as …
God remembers (vs. 5) But not only does God reveal, not only does God covenant, not only does God hear, God also remembers. Look at the end of vs. 5. God says, “I have remembered my covenant.” You and I have a tendency to get excited about somethign for about five minutes. Myabe if you have a lot of focus and a lot of discipline, yhou can stay focused on something for longer. Then we have to start to forget somethign so that we can think about the next thing. But God always remembers. Have you ever thought about that? That God does not have an attention span. No, God can give all his attention to every little detail of every little thing that has ever been and that includes his covenant. God remembers.
God remembers in Christ: God always remembers us in Christ. After all, remember the two thieves who hung beside Jesus on the cross. We hear this story in LUke 24:39-43....
God brings out (vs 6): But, not only does GOd reveal, covenant, hear, and remember, God also brings out. Look right here what God says in vs. 6. He tells Moses to speak to the people of Israel and tell them that he will bring them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. You see, God will not allow his people to suffer forever. God will not allow Egypt to triumph over his people forever. God will not leave their cruelyty, their evil, their wickedness unattended forever. The 430 years that Israel suffered under the Egyptians seemed like an eternity to them. But to God, it was no longer than teh snap of his finger. No, as says, a thousand years are as one day in his sight and one day is as a thousand years. God is nto slow to fulfill his promises. Though the sufffeirngs of our lives seem intense now, in eternity, we will realize they were but a trifle ni the eye of God, and that he has surely brought Israel out of hteir affliction.
God brings out in Christ… And if God brings them out of Egypt, God brings us out in Christ. In fact, the Bible says that Christ brings us out like the good shepherd. This is after all what God says in ...
God delivers (vs 6): God also “delivers”. I love this word for deliver, it basically means to “snatch away” or to “take up.” God says, I will take up, I will deliver, I will pick up Israel and I will move them to safety. A few months ago, my wife and I were walking on the river walk here in town which is just absolutely beautiful. And slowly crawling across the pavement was this little tiny tortoise. Our dogs were very interested in it, but we picked up the tortoise and we delivered it to safety. This is what God will do with Israel, he will pick them up and he will deliver them to safety.
And in a far greater way, God delivers us in Christ. After all, the Bible says that God alone can deliver us from the sin that so entangles us. Just as says....
God redeems (vs 6): So God reveals, God covenants, God hears, God remembers, God brings out, God delivers, and God also “redeems.” This word for redeem is a financial word, it means to “buy.” And often it means to buy back something which was incapable of being used. To redeem something is to reclaim it or recycle it when it was unusable. So often, God’s salvation of Israel is redemption. He will take them out of their slavery and he will make them free. He will take their brokenness, and he will maek them whole. He will take their uncleanness and make them pure. He will take their sin and make them saints.
Of course, the way that God does this in Christ is far greater. Because the redemption God gives in Christ comes through the curse. As says....
God takes (7): So God reveals, covenants, hears, remembers, brings out, delivers, redeems, and he also “takes.” Look what God says in vs. 7… This is so tender, so compassionate. God says, I will take you as my own. I will be yours and you will be mine, I will not forget about you. I will not neglect you. I will not leave you alone. God says, you will be my people, and you will know who I am. God’s taking is not cruel or heavy handed, God’s taking is tender and kind and compassionate. It is loving. God takes Israel like a husband takes a bride. God takes Israel like a father takes up his child. God takes Israel like a savior takes up the saved.
And Christ takes up his church in much the same way. Look at what says...
God gives (8): God reveals, covenants, hears, remembers, brings out, delivers, redeems, takes, and he also “gives.” You see, it is not enough for God to take his people away from slavery. It is not enough for God to redeem his people, to deliver them. NO, God wants to give to them. God’s salvation is always a fruit of his generosity to his people. You see, God never is stingy, or scrooge like, or cold towards his people. He is always generous. ANd even when God withholds something from us, it is always to give us something better.
God’s generosity, of course, reaches its highest level in Jesus Christ. As says...
God defies (9-13, 28-30): Now, God reveals, covenants, hears, remembers, brings out, delivers, redeems, takes, and gives. But there is one other action that the great I am takes in this passage. Look here… so here it seems like we have run into a problem. Because, Israel has a broken spirit and they cannot see hope or light. They have no hope in Moses. They don’t think anything will come out of this. And Moses and Aaron are resistant. They are afraid to go back to Pharaoh. After all, didn’t it go really poorly last time they went and confronted Pharaoh? So why would they do this again. And in fact, Pharoah himself as we will see next week is resistant to all of these things. Pharaoh will not let the people go. His heart is hardened. Yet, God is not afraid of these hard hearts. Instead, God defies them. God is not afraid of these obstacles. He thinks they’re funny. In fact, God often accomplishes his will inspite of the things that stand up to him. says… you see, God not only does God reveal, not only does God covenant, not only does he hear, remember, bring out, deliver, redeem, take, and give, but God also defies.
And God’s defiance is no greater than in Christ. Because in Christ, God will not allow himself to be thwarted in his good and gracious plans for his people. After all, look at what God says in ...
God is not constrainted by the things that constrain us. GOd is not limited by the things that limit us. He is not held back by the things that hold us back, hemmed in by the things that hem us in, or stopped by the thigns that stop us. Rather, God says, take your highest wall, take your widest river, take your deepest sea, take your tallest mountain, take your loftiest argument, take your strongest men, take your richest kings, take your poorest poverty, take your most addicted drugee, take your most pwoerful businessman, take everything that you have and still mroe,a nd still it will not stop me from saving my people.
Salvation is from God alone: You see, if there is one thing that we can learn from this it is that salvaiton si from God alone. It is not from man. Moses cannot save. Israel cannot save. not even Pharaoh can save. No God alone can save his people, God alone can defeat their enemies, God alone can conquer and show his power and his might. Nobody can stop the loyal, steadfast, covenant love of God for his people. Salvation, deliverance, hope, victory, is from God alone. Here is what I want you to see in this chapter. There is not an inch, not an ounce, not a single watt of salvation that comes from you. Everything is from Christ, and to him be the glory alone.
Now, we come to a part of the chapter that seems totally strange. It just seems like it is juust dropped in here from nowhere, and we don’t really understand why God puts this here. And yet, I think that when we look at the genealogy closely, it actually is a good illustration of this. So, I’m going to read this, and then I am going to point out a few things about it....
Not about Moses: Now, we might be tempted to think that the reason the Genealogy is listed is to show where Moses came from. But that doesn’t really make any sense. Becasue Moses seems to be kind of an afterthought. He’s only mentioned once here and none of his children are mentioned. Moses doesn’t really seem to be the focus of this.
Aaron’s line: But, the person who does seem to be the focus of htis is Aaron, Moses’ older brother. Look right here in vs. 20. Now, Moses and Aaron occur here, except Aaron’s name ceomes first. ANd that is true down here in vs. 26. Now, what’s interesting is that Moses and Aaron go together something like 65 different times in the Bible. But what’s different about this is that almost everywhere Moses’ name goes before Aaron’s. But not here. Aaron’s name comes first, whihc tells us that Aaron is being emphasized. Additionally, we learn about Aaron’s sons, and grandson. Aaron’s name is being emphasized.
Korah’s line: But there’s also another name which is being emphasized here. It is the name of a man named Korah. Look in vs. 21, 24. So here is this random guy Korah, who is apparently a distant cousin of Moses and Aaron’s, and his name is emphasized when Moses’ is not. And it seems to be focused along here with Aaron. So what is going on here? Why are Aaron and Korah mentioend here together?
: Well, there is actually a story later in the Bible about Aaron and Korah. You see, when God was giving instructions through Moses about Aaron’s sons, Korah got upset. Korah felt like it was wrong of Moses to pick out Aaron as a high priest, so he led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron in the desert. And the 250 leaders that he has each light their own incense before the Lord, trying to do what only God had given Aaron to do. And so we see here that there is this conflict between Aaron, the Lord’s chosen priest, and Korah. And God says to Korah and his followers, alright, let me see you. So Korah and his followers present themselves before the Lord, and God opens up the ground so that the whole earth opens up and consumes them. Then he turns and he sends fire from heeaven and it consumes all 250 leaders of Korah’s. Well, then Moses turns to Eleazar, the son of Aaron, who is also mentioned in this genealogy, to go and to take the 250 censers because they have been purified by the fire.
God saves: Now here is the point of including this genealogy here. It is to show htat God saves. Not only does God save Israel from Pharaoh by revealing, covenant, hearing, remembering, bringing out, delivering, redeeming, taking, giving, and defying, but God will do that to every enemy who sets themselves up against his chosen ones. God will never ever turn away from his love for his children. And he will always save them from every trouble, every persecution, and every difficulty. There is not an ounce of anything that I can do or you can do which contributes to our salvation. It is all of God, from God, by God, to God, for God. To him be the glory.
Augustine said rightly: “That Physician, then, who is not needed by the sound, but by the sick, knows how to heal us, and by healing to perfect us unto eternal life...” - Augustine
God’s Deliverance in Christ
God’s Deliverance in Christ
“That Physician, then, who is not needed by the sound, but by the sick, knows how to heal us, and by healing to perfect us unto eternal life...” - Augustine
So how does this apply to us? Let me give four ways that this applies.
God reveals in Christ: So look at …
We should have every confidence that God saves: We can and should have every confidence that by the blood of Christ we have been redeemed from the power of sin and death. This applies to us because we can say with utter and outright confidence, I am saved. Not because of anything that I can do, not because of anything great in me, God was not lucky to get me on his team, but rather, I am saved because of who he is and what he has done.
Augustine of Hippo. (1887). A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants. In P. Schaff (Ed.), P. Holmes (Trans.), Saint Augustin: Anti-Pelagian Writings (Vol. 5, p. 78). New York: Christian Literature Company.
God reveals in Christ: So look at …
We should be very humble: We should also be very humble. Because our salvation does not come from us. It was given so that no man may boast. God alone saved. The only thing that I have brought to my salvation is the sin that makes it necessary. No every single bit of salvation speaks to my weakness, my frailty, my sin, my inability. And it speaks to his great glory.
God covenants in Christ
We should share the gospel: Last of all, we should share the gospel. Because this same salvation that God has given me in Christ is available to everyone else. God can save those who are farthest, God can save those who are the most stubborn, God can save those who are the most apathetic. There is nobody that I will ever meet that God is not able to save.
God hears in Christ
We should believe: Finally, we should believe. ANd maybe you’re here today and you have enver ever put your faiht in Christ, you have never tursted in him. you have never ever asked him to forgive your sins, to rescue you you from death. Do you think it is a mistake that you are here today? Do you think it is a coincidence? Do you think that it is just happenstance that you are here in Church while we are talking about God’ radical God-shaped salvation and deliverance? Dear friend, you are here today so that God will bring you out of your sins, out of death, to a new day and a new land and a new life overflowing with his love and freed by his mercy. Will you follow him? Will you trust him? Weill you believe him? Let’s pray
God remembers in Christ
God takes out in Christ
God delivers in Christ
God redeems in Christ
God takes in Christ
God gives in Christ
God defies in Christ