Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Story 4: What Do You See?

I was thinking about starting off this morning with an illusion. They are popular though more as a dirty little secret than anything else. But then I thought of the precedent that would set because if I change the color of this stick than one might come back next time to see what else I plan to do.  I say that we enjoy this because of the popularity of those like Penn and Teller. They are psychologist who like to trick people. Teller is especially interesting because when in public, he refuses to speak. He wants to see how many lies he can sell without uttering a single word. Why? Because people see only what they want to see.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3.15 that there is nothing new under the sun. What has been will be again. What will come has already been. It is definitely true of human behavior. Nothing is new in the past 3,000 years and therefore attitudes of the heart were probably the same 4,000 years ago when we come to this morning’s passage.

What do you see, Pharaoh? A staff to snake? Sure your magicians can do the same, but Aaron’s staff became hungry.

The Water has turned to blood? Oh nice! Your wise men found some untainted water for you to drink. Oops, they turned what Moses had missed into blood as well.

If after a week of bloody water and the critters dying, belief is still problematic. Moses summons frogs from the water, frogs that would take weeks to go from tadpole. But in case there’s not enough the wise men made more. 

Then there were gnats, pesky wee flies that drive one insane. But now the magicians and wise men were labeled frauds. They couldn’t reproduce the them or the next plagues. The gnats became flies, then disease landed on the livestock, then boils followed by hail, followed by locusts. 

Pharaoh, what do you see? Nothing? Darkness has settled into the hearts and land of Egypt. Still this wasn’t enough. Goshen, the home of Israel, spared from the plagues. Yet not that wasn’t wondrous enough. The ultimate plague would come. The firstborn will die, including Pharaoh’s son. 

Israel, what do you see? You are being driven out by your neighbors. Of course to make your dislocation tolerable, you are given the finest of material possessions. You see a cloud shading your daytime exit. You see a fire leading you at night. 

What do you see? Do you see the army chasing you or do you see the tomb that God has prepared for the army of Egypt? You must pass through the Valley of Death, fear nothing for the Lord of Heaven is leading you. See His might love.

What do you see? Moses, we were comfortable in our oppression back in Egypt. Let us return. We weren’t without food back there. What did you see Hebrews? Have you forgotten? 

Read Text Exodus 16.1-15

Now behold, Israel. The Lord Almighty cares for you. Look how He’s provided.

What do you see, Christian? God doesn’t move like He did in the days of the Bible. If that is true, why? What has happened that we don’t see God’s moving today? 

It comes down to the level of faith. We have been protected as a Christian nation. Yet we’ve stopped looking for God to bring the miraculous. How many holes had Washington’s coat suffered yet not a single ball landed on his body. I know a man who was an unwanted pregnancy and grew up an unwanted child. Death was near, but God was nearer. Despite his own sinfulness, that God should still loves him humbles him deeply, he says. Even today my friend sees God moving and working in ways beyond comprehension. 

Perhaps we’ve forgotten what God has done in our own lives today. We have become comfortable and stopped looking to the Lord to provide for us. We think He’s the God of the big picture, but not of the details. 

We are afraid to follow because if we recognize that God does move in our lives, then how awesome and how Holy He must be, and how filthy we are in his sight. How can God love us so?

And still despite our desperate blindness and stubbornness, God still loves us. He still declares us pure, sin free if we come to Him. Look back at the last plague. All the blessings that the Hebrews had was because who they were and where they lived, in the land of Goshen. But with the Passover, that changed. Being Hebrew wasn’t enough. Being in Goshen wasn’t enough. They had to now submit to God’s call. They took the blood of the lamb and put it upon the posts and lentil of the homes. The Sign of the Cross two thousand years before Jesus would fulfill that prophesy.

God calls us to turn to Him and submit. He is gracious and accepts you where you are. God will allow us to see His moving if we allow him. Have you turned to Him? If not, come, let’s talk after the service. Let’s get your life together with the Lord’s. He loves us still and works if we but open our eyes.

Now is our time for the song of prayer.  

Benediction: Romans 15.13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him  so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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