lesson from the
WITHIN THE BOOK OF EXODUS we
find many pictured truths. Often, the
book is preached as a lesson in trusting God. Sometimes, it is taught as picturing the relationship between a local congregation and its Pastor.
Some have even described the Exodus account as portraying the sinner's deliverance from the bondage of sin, with the parting of the Red Sea representing his/her subsequent baptism. There is, however, one particular object lesson seldom preached. For within the book of Exodus, we also find an on-going representation of two types of Christians.
We will begin with an overview.
The book of Exodus is . . .
the story of deliverance. The children of Israel, having been in Egyptian bondage for the better part of four hundred and thirty years, are delivered from their harsh taskmasters by the true and living God, the very God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
Their freedom came as the result of ten plagues God poured upon the Egyptians. God had promised Moses: "And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: AND AFTER THAT HE WILL LET YOU GO." Exodus 3:20
Moses, chosen and led by God, is the human instrument of their freedom. Moses also becomes their intercessor as God interacts with the children of Israel during their subsequent wandering through the desert--a wandering that eventually takes 40 years to complete.
They didn't know God . . .
Born again Christians tend to have a good idea
of what God is like. For one thing, the fact that they got saved shows that God is one who reaches out and tries to establish a relationship with His creation--even to the extent of personally dying for our sins.
Christians know that God is personable and not some faraway, impersonal force. However, unlike born-again Christians, the Israelites, having spent centuries in Egypt, had little idea of what God was really like. God had not interacted with them during that time.
Plus, when you consider the dumb idols they were exposed to--gods, made by hands, that neither spoke, heard, nor saw--it is no surprise that the average Israelite had an "unscriptural" view of God.
Thus, during their wanderings . . .
the Israelites received a two-fold lesson. God not only taught them His laws, but, through constant interaction, He revealed Himself--showing them that He was person- able, unlike the gods of Egypt.
However, the interaction was often one-sided.
God reached out to them, but they didn't reach out to Him in return . . . except for Moses.
Thus, it is during their wandering that we find the two types of Christians we alluded to earlier.
One type is pictured by the interaction between Moses and God, while the other is represented by the interaction between the Israelites and God. As we examine the two in detail, ask yourself:
Which type am I?
Which of these two interactions best
describes my relationship with God?
LET'S SEE how the two types in the
wilderness each view the importance of
God's presence. In Exodus 15:22-24 we
find the Israelites complaining because THEY LACKED WATER: "So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, ....and they went three days in the wilderness, and FOUND NO WATER....
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, WHAT SHALL WE DRINK?"
In Exodus 16:1-3, we find them LACKING FOOD: "And the whole congregation of the children of Israel MURMURED against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly WITH HUNGER." Exodus 16:1-3
The book of Numbers sheds further light on their wanderings. In Numbers 11:5-6, their complaint is a LACK OF VARIETY: "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL, BESIDE THIS MANNA, before our eyes." In Numbers 21:5, we find a similar complaint, NO VARIETY: "For there is NO BREAD, NEITHER IS THERE ANY WATER; and our soul LOATHETH this light bread [manna]."
The Israelites often complained of their LACK OF THINGS. And yet, in spite of the things they lacked, THEY STILL HAD GOD. By complaining, they exposed themselves, revealing what ultimately mattered to them. After four-hundred and thirty years, they had found God, but when push came to shove, "things" were still more important. By comparison, we never find Moses complaining about the lack of things. In fact, with Moses, food and water took second place
to God, as exemplified in Exodus 34:27-28:
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: ....And he was there WITH THE LORD FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS; HE DID NEITHER EAT BREAD, NOR DRINK WATER.
And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."
With Moses, God was the primary "thing." God was the reason for being in the desert. And when God told a thirsty and hungry Moses to "Write thou these words[,]" Moses enacted a principle that would be taught by the Lord Jesus Christ thousands of years later: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD THAT PROCEEDETH out of the mouth of God." Mat. 4:4
Now, ask yourself:
■ Which type am I?
■ Do I come to church expecting to find things or God?
■ Is my primary pursuit God Himself, or personal satisfaction?
■ If "things" within the church body were to change for the worse, would I leave?
■ When push comes to shove, which is more important: my job, the climate, the personal attention, the recognition, the parking space, the music, the members, the pastor, or God?
■ Or, am I more like Moses--not caring what things I lack, as long as I have God?
■ Can I say, like the Psalmist, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower"? (Psalm 18:2). To the Psalmist, God was everything he needed, and more!
Another difference between . . .
the two types is found in Exodus chapter 17:
"And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after
their journeys, ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, WHY CHIDE [complain] YE WITH ME? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses." Exodus 17:1-3
Notice that their journey was "according to the commandment of the LORD[.]" They were there according to God's instruction, and yet the Bible says that upon finding no water, "the people did chide with Moses[.]"
They sought out Moses. Their complaint was directed at him. No doubt, they wanted Moses to solve the problem. They apparently viewed him as a potential deliverer from their plight.
However, Moses responds: "Why chide ye with me?" As if saying, "Why take it up with me? I'm not the one who brought you here!" Now, whether Moses actually meant that or not, his response still brings up an important question: Why didn't the Israelites seek out God as the deliverer of their problems? Nowhere in Exodus does one find an explicit command from God prohibiting any Israelite from seeking God's face DIRECTLY. So why didn't they cry out to the Lord? Why didn't they "chide" with Him?
By contrast, Moses had the right perspective.
Moses knew that their wandering was according to God's command. Thus, God was the true "supplier" of their needs; it was the Lord Himself one needed to seek in times of trouble. Moses did just that--in Exodus 17:4, he goes straight to God: "And Moses CRIED UNTO THE LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me."
Moses represents those Christians who, upon encountering a problem, turn straight to God.
The Bible says: "Be careful [worrisome] for nothing; but IN EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD" (Phil. 4:6). The Psalmist said it best: "UNTO THEE WILL I CRY, O LORD my rock....Hear the voice of my supplications..." Psalm 28:1-2
"In the day of my trouble I WILL CALL UPON THEE: for thou wilt answer me." Psalm 86:7
By contrast, the Israelites are a picture of those Christians who rarely, if ever, turn directly to God; and instead, normally turn to someone else for everything! My friend, God knew exactly what He was doing by leading the Israelites to a place with no visible signs of water.
The Lord was training them to turn to Him. The Bible says: "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, TRUSTETH IN GOD, and continueth IN SUPPLICATIONS AND PRAYERS NIGHT AND DAY. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." 1 Tim. 5:5-6
The Israelites found themselves in a desolate spot. They should have "trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers[.]" Had their wandering been a pleasurable experience, they would have been dead while they liveth.
Now ask yourself:
■ Which type best describes you?
■ Do you readily turn to God in times of trouble? Or do you exclusively turn to someone visible, the bank, the government, a friend, Dr. Laura, Dear Abby, etc.
■ Who do you normally "chide" with?
■ Who is the real problem-solver in your life, man or God? Christian, with the previous examples in mind, take the time to examine where you stand in your relationship with the Lord. Which type are you?
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
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