Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ready For Change

Ready For Change

Intro.:I don't know if any of you were able to see the movie Amazing Grace.

  1. It was the story of John Newton, a former slave trader and author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, who was converted to Christ and spent his final years fighting slavery in England.
  2. We grew up hearing the story of how America ended slavery with the fighting of a civil war and the death of what could arguably be called America's favorite President. During our childhood, our teen years, and even now, we watched the descendents of those former slaves still fight for equality – occasionally even in our own communities.
  3. But the fight for freedom from the constraints of slavery predates our civil war and the fight to end slavery in England nearly a century earlier. One of the earliest fights is recorded in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament.
Read: Exodus 1:1-22
Trans: I like a good story.
  1. And so did the author of Exodus.
  2. And like any good story, it has an introduction
  3. Exodus 1 serves as the introduction the rest of the story:
  4. It introduces us to some of the people and situations which the people of Israel with need to deal with as we move through the book of Exodus.

T.S. In the next few minutes I want to look at the circumstances that defined Israel as God began to prepare them for freedom from slavery.

  1. God did bless the people in Egypt. (Exodus 1:1-7)
    1. When I think of Israel in Egypt, I think of slavery, I think of abuse, I think of mistreatment.
    2. But that was not always so.
    3. Joseph had led 70 people (his father and brothers and their families) into Egypt. They fit well in the Egyptian culture. They were blessed -
    4. But blessing came not only in how they did, but they began to grow, they became not just a family – in the 400 years between when Joseph brought his family into Egypt and when Moses would appear on the scene – they became a people. They became a nation within a nation.

(Appl.) It was not home, it was not where they wanted to be, it was not what felt comfortable, at least at first – but God blessed them. Just as God blessed the Israelites in a strange land, he can bless us when we find ourselves in places we do not want to be, he can bless us when we do not feel comfortable.

(Ill.) Let me give you an illustration. How many of you like to be out in a rain storm. I don't – I get wet, I get cold. But you know something, unless there is a rain storm, I cannot see a rainbow. God can, God does, bless us when things seem most out of hand. I was reminded of a picture I received of some relatives this week with the kids dancing in a Texas rain. Why? Because it had not rained for months - God can bring blessing even in the midst of difficult times.

    1. The Israelites began their journey to Egypt – both to receive a blessing and be a blessing.
  1. People can change (Exodus 1:8-14)
    1. But thing change –

(Ill.) Someone has said, “The only constant is change.”#

    1. it started with the people, specifically it was a new King or Pharoah.
    2. Scripture says it was a King “who did not know Joseph” - that is only half the story – this same King also did not know God.
    3. And that is the real problem that the Israelites will be facing.
    4. The King begins to restructure society – he begins to impose slavery – and descendents of Jacob become his slaves. The build cities Pithom and Raamses are mentioned in particular. Raamses is Pharaoh Northern home – located on one of braches that form the Nile River delta as it pours into the Mediterranean Sea.
    5. And it was hard work – making the mortar and bricks.
    6. They still were a part of the community – but they now were outcasts from the culture. They were now given the brunt work of the community. They were forced to the jobs that nobody else wanted to do.

(Ill.) I think it interesting, as the Jews begin to prepare to move to the promised land they are forced into SLAVERY. 1500 years later, there would again be a new King and they would again be required to become slaves. But not with human masters this time – listen to Paul, “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God's good news --” Or James, the brother of Jesus Christ, “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ ...” When we give our lives to Christ, we too become slaves of Jesus Christ. As believers we are slaves of Jesus – we are expected to obey. Jesus is our Lord

    1. A new King brought the Israelites into slavery.
    2. But slavery was not the worse of their problems.
  1. Situations can change (Exodus 1:15-22)
    1. This same King put new rules in place – the midwives who were helping the Jewish women have children were now expected to kill every male child.
    2. But they refused to do so -
      1. They just couldn't do it – the life of a child was too precious, too important. They let the male children live
      2. But they went one step further, they also told the Egyptians that the Hebrews women gave birth faster – after all they were hard working slaves, they were in good shape, and when it came time to give birth – well they did. (Hey, I didn't make that up – it's right there in scripture.)

(Appl.) Over the last few weeks, I have heard you discuss the changing situations you find yourself in here at Royal Gardens:

  1. New fire alarms
  2. New roofs
  3. New bathrooms
  4. New windows
And for some the transitions have gone smoothly, for some it has been a challenge. Changing situations are a part of life.

Conclusion: God was preparing to meet the challenges that were facing this young Jewish nation.

  1. He would deal with the people that did not know Joseph, that did not know God.
  2. He would deal with the changing situations that faced this young nation.
  3. And he will step into our lives and meet our needs as well.

No comments: