Faithlife Sermons

Hep! I’m Stuck in my House and People are Dying!

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Interesting Times

There is a quote, widely believed to be an ancient Chinese curse—(the irony!)—”May you live in interesting times! **In reality it is probably apocryphal. A “curse” because people would by and large prefer life to be boring. Interesting is too often code speak for dangerous!
Like it or not these are certainlky interesting times:
A “curse” because people would by and large prefer life to be boring. Interesting is too often code speak for dangerous!
Pandemic—(as of 4/4) over 1.1-milion cases with more than 60k deaths.
At the same time in December 2019 the locust population in Eastern Africa bagan to grow out of control, currently having spread to ten countries. (See https://www.space.com/nasa-satellites-fight-locust-swarms-in-africa.html .)
Possibly heading towards another Great Depression (See https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2020/03/19/kevin-hassett-depression-coronavirus.cnn-business . )
Considering history and current events together it is easy to imagine this leading to global war.
Headlines in Today’s World
Another generation which lived in interesting times is referred to in with the ominous headline (NIV): “Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.”
This generation endured great difficulty, in that they:
became slaves ()
due to increasing xenophobia were treated harshly (, cf. )
were subjected to a systematic, partial genocide ( & )
Not only so, but they also lived in a time of devastating plague
Not only so, but they also lived in a time of devastating plagues ()

An Interesting Rx

Throughout these events Isrel found herself quarantined.
First: In the land of Goshen (cf. ). This quarantine which must have seemed grevious meant that Israel could be spared at least some of the plagues (cf. , , )
In the final plague, the death of the firstborn, the quarantine became even more egregious.
Exodus 12:21–23 (NIV): “[21]Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. [22] Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. [23] When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. “
(NIV, emphasis adde): “[21]Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. [22] Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. [23] When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. “
- - - > Now they are confined to their houses with a shelter-in-place order straight from heaven!
It is not hard to imagine the horror they must have felt. The night is dark and quiet as they hurredly eat their dinner of lamb, flatbread, and bitter salad which probably tasted like gravel in their mouths. Perhaps they hear the faint sound of wind blowing against the eves and rattling the roof. Then suddenly the candle lighting their table is snuffed out. And afterward, from the distance, begins the faint sound of heartbroken screams.
We can imagine the terror they felt along with their own internal screams: ‘Help! I’m stuck in my house and people are dying!’
Indeed across Egypt people are dying. There is a deathly epidemic from which the Egyptians can find no place to hide. God’s people however have been prescribed the perfect hiding place: IN THEIR HOUSE, UNDER THE BLOOD!
Perspective: In the House vs. Over the House
Even though life in Christ is to be lived in community (cf. ), it can only be received in isolation. Ultimately each of us must come to Christ alone. The blood is applied individsually to the doorway of our hearts. Later we walk as His disciples together, but we receive his saving work individually.
Sometimes the safest place to be is alone under the blood.

A Higher Perspective and a Higher Interest

Their perspective, like ours, was far too limited.. They saw the events from the world of cause-and-effect, of mortal dangers and natural consequences, cf. the people’s response to Pharoah making their lives harder () after Moses’ initial appeal to let the people go.
Pharoah was making their lives harder ()
What they needed was the blood’s-eye-view, heaven’s top down perspective on these events.
In the House vs. Over the House:
In the house it was a time for restless terror, but over the house a time of redeeming triumph
-(Over the house) A time of redemption
In the house a time of death, but over the house a time of revival and new life
-(In the house) A time of death
In the house a fearful time of judgement against God’s enemies, but over the house a time of justice for God’s people
-(Over the house) A time of revival and new life
-(In the house) A time of judgement
-(Over the house) A time of justice
Especially
In the house all is chaos, but over the house God is sovereign.
Furthermore look at who occupies these houses. Don’t make the mistake of thinking for a moment that these are saints and paragons of virtue. They are human beings, which of course means:
Some of them are rebellious
-They could not leave their houses; they were isolated from one another.
Some are thieves
Some are murderers
Some are ornery and just plain mean
Nevertheless, when heaven makes it’s decision about who lives and dies, who suffers judgement and who receives vindication there is exactly one and only one criterion:
(NIV, emphasis added): “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
(NIV): When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
Those who belong to Heaven are marked with the blood of Christ, and for those so marked there is no judgement (cf. Romans 8:1-4)
-Even though life in God is to lived in community, it can only be received in isolation. We all come to Christ alone, then follow after him together!
-Because
-Sometimes the safest place to be is alone, under the blood.

Some takeaways in 2020:

-God is sovereign, not only over the good times
God is sovereign, even during times of plague. His reign extends much further than only the good, pleasants times. (NIV): “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” Job expressly did not sin when he acknowledged God’s sovereignty in difficulty while maintaining an attitude of worship ( & ). We must come to the worshipful conclusion that in everything that happens, good or “bad,” God either did it or allowed it. In God is the one who allows or disallows the destroyer to do his work. Every uncertain headline remains under the sovereign control of God who knows exactly what He is doing.
-Do I create light and not bring darkness?
God will sovereignly use this time of plague and quarantine to advance his program of redeeming the world. Just look at the way he used the interesting times of the Exodus generation to permanently shape Scripture’s redemtion narrative. See Exodus 12:24–27a (NIV): “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” He remains the same God, and therefore we should expect the same type of end-result!
-We must come to the conclusion that in everything that happens, good or “bad” God either did it or allowed it.
Who knows but that all this trouble, all this death and quarantine and whatever else lies yet ahead, may result in a great sovereign revival. See (NIV): “Then the people bowed down and worshiped.” Easter reminds us that in God’s economy death is not the end, for we should expect something wonderul to be resurrected. Whenever people are forced to realize that they are not in control of their lives, they are more likely to turn to the God who is in control!
-In v. 23 God is the one who allows or disallows the destroyer to do his work.
He remains the same God, and therefore we should expect the same result!
-Every uncertain headline is under the sovereign control of God who knows exactly what He is doing.
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