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When Following God Leads Us to Strange Places

Exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Parenting is hard...
But its worth it...
Parents, in many ways get to experience some of the greatest “peaks” that life offers…
we get to watch our kids grow up and mature…
we get to watch them make good decisions…
build friendships…and blossom into adulthood.
However, parents sometimes have to face some of the hardest realities of life as well..
We watch our children struggle...
We watch our kids fail… (Sometimes the failures are insignificant…like striking out at the plate…and sometimes the failures are significant…like making a bad decision late at night)
Here is one thing that helps me in those times…God understands the reality of parenting.
And he doesnt just understand it from a theoretical level…he understands it in the realiest of ways...
He understands the highs of parenting…and the joy of seeing children succeed...
And he understands the heart break of walking with His children as they hurt...
How does God understand the reality of Parenting? Its because he is a Father...
And as a matter of fact, in this passage this morning we see the very first time in the Bible where God alludes to the reality that He is a Father…and that His people is His first born Son.

God…is Good Father…

That is the big idea that I hope we will see from this text...

God Loves His Children

In these verses, we get to peer into the life of Moses as he gets ready to make the long journey back to his birthplace, the land of Egypt. God had clearly called Moses to go to the land of Egypt and deliver his people out of Egyptian captivity…and in this passage, Moses begins that journey…but the beginning of the journey doesn't start out how we might expect. Instead of Moses moving toward Egypt, the text actually begins by telling us that Moses “went back...” He goes back to the land of Midian…the place where he had been living for the last 40 years…he goes back there because he wants the blessing and approval of his Father-in-Law and employeer, Jethro.
We know this is true because of what the text tells us about the conversation between Moses and Jethro; look at verse 18.
Exodus 4:18 (ESV)
18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
Moses had great respect for Jethro.
Jethro had given him a second chance when Moses hit rock bottom after he had fled Egypt.
Jethro had entrusted Moses.
He had entrust him with his daughter in marriage,
and he had entrusted him with his flock as a shepherd.
And Moses, because he respected and loved his father in law, goes back to Midian to ensure that Jethro knows what is about to happen and to make sure that he has Jethro’s blessing.
Moses acts how every father in law hopes their son in law will one day act.
If my baby girl decides to marry in the future...
I pray that she marries a man that is chasing hard after the heart of God…
And i pray that together they are willing to go where-ever the Lord directs him…and do whatever the Lord calls them to do… Whether that is Columbia, MS or Cameroon.
But as they follow God’s direction…I hope he will at least respect me and honor me enough to let me know their plans.
And this is what Moses does here…he is the epitome of a good son-in-law...
So Jethro gives Moses his blessing…he tells him in verse 18, “Go in peace”
v19“And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.’”
v.20 “So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.”
Moses sets out for Egypt.
And notice what we are told he takes with him. First, he takes his family…He sets his wife and his sons on a donkey and off they go to the land of Egypt...
And then I love this passage...
“And Moses took the staff of God in his hand...”
Moses with the staff of God...
This is the staff that God had commanded him to take along with him. This was the means by which God was going to empower Moses to do all that He had called him to do.
Two things Moses was unwilling to leave behind on this journey…first, he was unwilling to leave his family…
Second, he was unwilling to leave without the empowering presence of God represented in the staff...
And then in verses 21-23…we see the Love that God has for His Children...
Exodus 4:21–23 (ESV)
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”
The story of Exodus…is a story of a Father’s love for a Son...
Exodus for You (My Firstborn Son)
In verses 21–23 we have a summary of God’s words to Moses in Midian. In 3:19 we are told that the king of Egypt will not let Israel go so God will have to compel him, and 4:21 adds that this is because God will harden his heart. We’ll return to this theme in chapters 7–11.But next, we get a statement that has significance for the whole Bible story: “Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so that he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son’ ” (4:22–23). This is the first time God’s people are described as God’s son—but it will not be the last, and it is fundamental to our appreciation of who God is and our understanding of who we are.
God loves His children...
We also see this in God’s dealing with Moses in verses 24-26
Exodus 4:24–26 ESV
24 At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.
This is a tough passage...
There is a lot we dont know about it...
But here is what we do know...
We know that God demanded his people to be circumcised...
And we know that Moses’ Sons were not...
So here is Moses…refusing to obey the clear commands of God...
God can put up with Moses’ questioning…He isnt afraid of our doubts..
But one thing that God wont put up with is half hearted obedience...
AGAIN...
One thing that God wont put up with is half hearted obedience...
Why…because he is a good Father…who loves his children...
We see it in Hosea 11:1-4
Hosea 11:1–4 (ESV)
1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more they were called, the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Israel is God’s firstborn…because they were the nation that God first chose as His people…
Today..the People of God are made up Gentiles!…and that group includes you and me.
God as a Good Father…loves us...
Do you know that this morning…that God loves you as a good Father?
God is not mildly disappointed…or frustrated toward you…He is a father that loves you…He desires relationship with you...
And how do I know that? Because God fights for his children

God Fights For His Children:

Look back at verse 22:
Exodus 4:22–23 ESV
22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”
God tells Moses to tell Pharoah that he is to let His firstborn son go...
So He offers Pharoah an opportunity to obey...
If Pharoah obeys God’s command…given through Moses…nothing will happen.
However, if Pharoah does not…God says this...
“If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.”
God tells Pharoah that if he continues to enslave Israel…He is going to go to war against Pharoah…why?
Because He is a good father who loves His son…and because he loves His son…He fights for Him...
God as a good father doesnt leave his son...
He doesnt abandon his son in his time of need...
He doesnt neglect his son...
He fights for His son...
And God is still a Father...
He still doesnt abandon or leave his children...
He still doesnt neglect his children in their time of need...
He fights for His kids...
Fathers…This is what it looks like to be a good Dad.
Good Dads love their children...
Good Dads dont abandon their children...
Good Dads dont leave their children to figure things out on their own...
Good Dads dont neglect their children.
Good Dads arent indifferent toward their children.
Good Dads, Rather…Fight for for their kids...
This is what God has done for us…this is what God does for us...
And this is what we should do for our children...

God Saves His Children...

Jesus is the truer and greater Moses...
And we like the People of Israel are people who are lost…held captive…enslaved…by a much greater tyrant than Pharoah....
We are enslvaed by the tyrannry of Sin and death...
Psalm 14:1–3 ESV
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
We are bankrupt by sin...
We are held captive by our unrighteousness...
Our hearts are imprisoned...
BUT...
We have a Good Father...
He loves us...
He fights for us...
And He saves us...
This is what God has done for us in the truer and greater Moses...
Christ is our deliverer...
Christ is our warrior...
He has made war against the enemy of God..sin and death…and He is victorious...
And He offers you this salvation this morning...
Romans 10:5–13 ESV
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Have you called upon the name of the LORD this morning?
Have you repented of sin…and trusted in the finished work of Christ?
You can this morning....
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