“Who Do You Belong Too?”
II.) Vs. 1-9 The Battle Begins
III.) Vs. 10-14 Get Back Too Work
IV.) Vs. 15-21 Can’t Things Just Stay the Same?
Much of the land of Israel is in dispute as to which it belongs to. God had told Moses that Israel belonged to Him (4:22), yet Pharaoh also was claiming ownership (5:1). Now whom do you think Israel herself would claim she belonged to? Last week we saw Moses move in faith back to the greatest place of failure and when ever a person does this they can be sure of one thing, opposition! The areas of our lives, our thoughts, actions, emotions and wills, are being fought for as to whom they belong. God says they are His and wants to set you free so that you can worship Him. The devil says they belong to him, and he wants then to enslave you to himself. You have a choice in this as well; who do you say they belong to?
II.) Vs. 1-9 The Battle Begins
Vs. 1 Notice the word “Afterward”. Moses and Aaron came to request the release of the Israelites “afterward”. Look at the progression; in chapter 4:31 they told the leadership what God had told them and the people responded, “they heard, they believed and they worshiped.” Those of you who have been Christians for a time realize that this feeling of pure hope is going to face reality very soon. We will need to realize that mere enthusiasm with out action is just hype. Now notice it is right on the heals of this that they boldly go before the most powerful leader in the world to ask for the freedom of the Israelites. You talk about riding a high wave of emotion. Can you imagine how strange this all must of been for Moses? Forty years ago he walked those same halls of the palace not as a leader of the slaves but instead as the heir apparent to the throne. Moses, request was the one that God had instructed him to ask for in chapter 3:18, “three days out one day to worship then three days back.” Sounds like an unreasonable request for 400 years of forced labor, just give me a week’s vacation and we will call it even! Moses make this very simple request, “Let My people go!” Moses is going to say these same words seven times here in Exodus to Pharaoh. But in every case in Exodus they refer not to physical freedom but rather to spiritual freedom. Moses cry to set Gods people free has as it’s goal the liberation of Gods people spiritually. Oh, they were in bondage physically but the request of Moses from the Lord was concerned with their right to worship whom they choose.
Vs.2 Why wouldn’t Pharaoh allow them to go worship whom they wanted? Perhaps he was afraid that they would not return, but I think that there is a more plausible truth. Each Pharaoh was thought to be the child of Rah the sun god. So he was sat next to the idle in the temple and worshiped right along with Rah. Pharaoh was anything but a public servant all the public lived to serve him. His power and authority were supreme. There is an inscription by the Pharaoh on a temple in Egypt that reads, “I am that which was, and is, and shall always be, and no man has lifted my veil.” The freedom of any man has to do with whom they worship not where they worship. If they are free to worship the true and living God, then no matter where they are and what you do to them they shall never be enslaved to anyone. In John 8:36 Jesus said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
It is my opinion that Pharaoh realized this truth. Thus his response, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” To understand Pharaoh’s statement is to understand the plagues that God sends upon the Egyptians. Every one of these plagues goes against one of the gods of Egypt. Through the plagues God is showing Pharaoh that He is god and Pharaoh is not. Pharaoh goes on to say that even if he knew the Lord he would not let them go. It does not matter to Pharaoh Who God is it only matters to him who he is.
Vs. 3 Moses even tries to persuade Pharaoh that it is in his best economical interest to let them go to worship the true God lest He judge Pharaoh’s slave labor. But this does not convince him. You can never compromise or reason with the god of this world with the things that enslave you, it does no good.
Egypt is a symbol of the world system. This system is one that before we were Christians we all lived our lives in accordance with, Eph. 2:2-3. Then like the Israelites we here the word, believe and worship. We come to know Jesus personally, but we are still in the old world system. So we now are Christians living in a world that is worshiping a different god. when we start trying to worship the true God there is opposition, from two things.
Vs. 2 First, there is a god of this world, Pharaoh, who tells us through T.V. friends, family and other things that he does not know this God that we want to worship and even if he did he is not going to let us go.
Vs. 4 Then we have, the pressure from the flesh which was enslaved to the things of the world, to which the god of this world is (Pharaoh) is only to happy to remind us and command us to get back at our old way of life.
Vs. 5-9 The god of this world has a great fear in seeing anyone set free to worship the true God. He will do everything in his power to see that you remain enslaved by the things of this world. If the god of this world does not want, you to go this way then this mean that what he is keeping you from what will set you free!
Notice carefully how the god of this world (Pharaoh) handles the Israelites attempt to be free spiritually to worship the true God. He uses the same things today.
Vs. 5 Here it is the use of time, specifically Idle time. His complaint to Moses is this, “Look if they have enough time to worship the true God then they have enough time to be enslaved to me, the god of this world.” So that is what the god of this world does, “Look church is on Sunday, that’s enough.” “You want to worship?” “I’ll let you worship the things of your flesh all you want and you know how pleasurable they are, remember?”
Vs. 6-7 Here we see again in the realm of time, that the god of this world makes unrealistic demands on us. He will fill you with so much stuff to do that it becomes impossible to keep up. Then here comes a masterstroke, the bricks of life, aren’t holding together they are crumbling apart, yet the demand has not decreased. So we start wondering if this Christian thing is working at all. Were trying but we just keep falling behind. Before, when were not Christians we were enslaved but it was not as bad as it is now, we think. Yes, there were demands on us, but there was not the Church thing, reading the Bible and prayer. “Why, I don’t have time for those things, I’ll just let those slide and watch some T.V. instead; there is that good R rated movie I’ve been hearing about.”
Vs. 8 Now that he has you starting to compromise and fail he brings in guilt. “Your just lazy, that’s why you can’t keep one foot in the world and one in the Church and keep going.” “Why, everybody else can still play in the world and be a good Christian.” Right here we begin to wonder if this Church, God thing is all worth it. I mean it’s just not fun, something has to go.
Vs. 9 The final ploy of the god of this world is twofold:
Give them more work, that they may labor under it. Gone now is any remembrance of that time when you heard the word, believed, and worshiped. The god of this world wants you to forget that time. Because if you will remember it you will remember that what you heard, believed and worshiped set you free from what now again enslaves you. It’s important that you realize that you are already free and that the god of this world has been slowly dragging you back into bondage to the things of the world.
Lastly, once he gets you to forget the truth of being set free, he then tells you that all you heard in the past was “false words”. You see the god of this world knows that the key to keeping you enslaved has to do with hearing the word of God. So he has got you so busy, so quilted down with failure, that you start medicating yourselves with the things that enslaved you in the beginning.
Your belief poses a threat because of other enslaved people see it they will want to be free to. So the god of this world attacks you, gets you to compromise to be consumed with the things of the world to the point where you no longer hear the word of God. So the god of this world has two options:
Hinder the speaker. This can come in many ways but the most effective today is get the speaker to think that the Bible just is not applicable to the struggles of the listener. Why, you can not say the things of the Bible because it just does not fit their struggle. Give them 20-minute messages full of pithy sayings. Be full of charisma and entertaining. The effect is that the listener never hears the Word of God!
Hinder the listener. And we have already discussed how this works. Just through the use of time.
The strategy works brilliantly. Moses tells them that the Lord has come to set them free from the bondage of the world. They hear, believe and worship God because of this truth, only to find out that the god of this world makes life more difficult which makes the word of truth look like a lie. The hopeful truth of Gods word when put next to painful, constricting slavery of this life makes it look as if the Bible was nothing but a collection of false words. So the god of this world then further distracts us back into the things of the world which further makes it seen as if the Bible is what is causing our struggle. What was once hope now seems like nonsense. Through affliction, the god of this world has been telling us, don’t listen to the word. Don’t read it, don’t believe it, don’t trust it, and just get rid of it. Don’t believe God, he does not exist, He does not love you, for He only takes away the fun things in life. You belong to me!
III.) Vs. 10-14 Get Back to Work
Vs. 10-13 Here we read that Pharaoh’s taskmasters implement his plan. The result was that unrealistic demands were impossible to meet as they were now searching the land to find straw to make bricks. Now I can’t help but see the church today laboring under the god of this world running away from the Bible to all sorts of worldly straw. It does not make since to us, we have just experienced for the first time the truth of Gods love for us and the fact that God has a plan for our lives and everything we are facing screams at us the opposite. As far as we are concerned the pain of live speaks louder then Gods word.
Vs. 14 The outcome of this is the leadership is beaten down. The truth is that the greatest challenges come right before the greatest victory. It is easy to have joy when things are easy, but true maturity is when we still have joy when we are in the midst of the battle. Many Christians make this same mistake; they have some stress so they run away from the word of God right to the god of this world and he gives them more bondage.
IV.) Vs. 15-21 Can’t Things Just Stay the Same?
Vs. 15 When we are faced with such contradictions with the Word of God and our situations what do we do? Well, we get angry. And what do we do with our anger? We look for someone to blame. So that is what the Israelites do they blame Pharaoh. God was claiming that they were His children and the god of this world claimed that they were his slaves.
First, there is a big difference between being someone’s child and being someone’s slave, but apparently not from the perspective the Israelites. That is because like us they have spent more time as a slave to the god of this world then we have been a child of God.
Since this is true they are far more prone to believe the lie of the god of this world then they are to trust the trust God.
The way we see ourselves will have everything to do with how you will handle the contradiction between the truth of Gods word and the situation of the god of this world. If like these Israelites you still see yourself as a slave to the god of this world then you will react like them, a victim. But if you see yourself as a child of God then you will recognize that God created the Pharaoh. And since that is true then He has a plan that we may not fully comprehend, but we know that we are the apple of His eye therefore it will work in away that glorifies our Father.
Vs.16-18 Pharaoh’s response is that, “If you are my servants, then you serve me and if you got time to talk about worship some other god then you have to much time on your hand.”
The bottom line is, whom do you belong to? In 1 Kings 18:21 we are told of Elijah’s words to the Israelites after he defeated the prophets of Baal. Elijah said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.” Is it the Lord God, then follow Him! The god of this world has no power over you then the power you let him have! What if you say to him, “I’m worshiping the true and living God no matter what!” There is another story of three young Israelites who faced the same decision. Dan. 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Vs. 19-21 When they come out of their meeting with Moses and Aaron they are mad at them and God. They are living under the tyranny of the immediate and have lost perspective in who’s hand they belong. There is no more miserable person in all the world then a Christian who is confused as to who they belong too. Struggling with life in the world trying to live by the principals of the Bible. God allow us to go through this so we finally get fed up with sin and allow him to deliver us. Sin can become so comfortable that even as Christians we don’t want to leave its false security. So God allows the devil to put us in bondage to the pint that we will want out. So the sword that you may think is going to destroy you may very well be the one that is used to deliver you! Thank god that we have become a stench to the god of this world.