Thursday, September 17, 2015

Exodus: A Great Salvation -- Preparation

About two weeks ago, I began a blog series on the story of the exodus from a summer sermon series, and in last week's sermon, we saw God beginning to set up His great salvation in ch. 1 and first part of ch. 2. One of the things we saw is that God is hardly mentioned at all in the first two chapters, even though things are bad. In fact, even with our passage for today—Ex. 2:11ff—He doesn’t come into the story until the last verse of ch. 2. Things get worse and worse throughout these first two chapters, and if we were reading this for the first time, even knowing that God’s working as we saw last week, we might ask, “What’s going on? What are you doing, God?”

Have you ever asked that question of God before? Maybe you feel like God has called you to do something—a job, marriage, children, reconciliation, etc.—and you’re almost certain of it, but then roadblock after roadblock keeps getting thrown up in your path? Have you ever cried out to God like Habakkuk does in the second verse of his book: “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” About two and half years ago, I was driving through the city of Atlanta on my way to a presbytery meeting of our denomination south of the city. I lived north of the city and with traffic, it was going to take me a couple of hours, so I had some time to kill. Yet, I was not really interested in listening to music or a podcast. I was feeling really discouraged, and I wasn’t really in the mood to listen to anything. Instead, I was mulling over the past year and a half in my mind. You see, I had been a graduate for seminary for almost year at that point, and I had been searching for a pastoral call for about six months longer than that. As I thought it over in my mind, I realized that only two churches had really shown much interested in me at all and that had been a year earlier. I realized that I had gone to a General Assembly of the PCA and two presbytery meetings as a seminary graduate without a call, and I was on my way to the third in that same state. And, about a week earlier, the last member of my graduating class from RTS to be without a ministry job found one… the last member except for me, that is. When I finally made it to the church at which our presbytery meeting was being held, I sat in my car for a little while, not wanting to go in because I was too embarrassed. Everyone there knew my situation: I was an interim pastor for a small congregation at the time, yes, but that would end soon, and still no one was even remotely interested in me for a permanent position, so I felt like a failure. Add to that the fact that Gabriel was a few months old and Erika was having to work full time because my position didn’t pay much, so I felt like a failure as a father and a husband, and everyone in that meeting knew what was going on. I was trying to pray to get up enough courage to walk in, but all I could think was, “What are You doing, God? Am I not called to be a pastor?”

Well, by the end of our passage, it would not surprise me at all if Moses and the Hebrew people were thinking the same thing: “What are you doing, God?” Up until the last verse of ch. 2, things seem even bleaker than at the end of ch. 1—the savior is exiled and the oppression is getting worse for God’s people. Moses was probably wondering what God was doing, and the people were probably wondering that too. And, just looking at the passage on the surface, we might wonder the same thing: “What is God doing? What doesn’t He just act?”

If you want to hear the rest, you can listen to the sermon here or read the transcript here. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use it to magnify Christ in your heart and mind to the glory of God.

By His Grace,

No comments: