Exodus: Everything Changes
23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
The people cry out and God hears. This changes everything.
My dad lead worship for 50 years….I was amazed at the fact that he could always sing on key. He served in a church where there were no instruments, all the singing was a’Capella. I was amazed at the fact that he always was on key.
His replacement….used a pitch pipe.
That’s how I am, I know when i’m off key, but I don’t know how to find the right key…it’s like being in a different hotel, waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and looking for the light switch.
Stumbling around….feeling the walls and everything. I have to think that looks pretty silly.
My dad explained it like this. He had been leading worship a’Capella for 50 years. HE had sung those songs over and over, he knew them. He knew their sound. Not what they sounded like, but he knew their sound.
But over time, he would tell me, I can learn to sing on key…it takes time to hear it before we sing it.
This is how I believe most of us what our relationship with God to be.
We want to do the right thing, we want to live “good” lives whatever that is. We wan tour lives to lign up with God’s purposes for us. But sadly, we often don’t hear God’s voice. His call. What is God thinking? I can’t hear him for all the noise in my life.
Sadly, other times I just tune out. I turn up the volume of other voices and ultimately I fail to hear God’s still small voice.
Today I’m going to share with you. Because I don’t know how many times I get into my week and Thursday comes around and I have this long list of people I was going to call.
This passage is the transition for the book.
We have seen Moses’ mom
We have seen Pharaoh’s daughter
We have seen Pharaoh himself
We have seen Moses and even his Father in law
For the first time we see God at work.
Here we find a description of the Character of God.
But first, let’s remember what’s happened.
Pharaoh turned up the pressure.
Moses interfered but was rejected.
Exodus 2:23 NIV84
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
You can imagine this right.
Now Pharaoh dies…hoping for relief…but no.
Change comes, and you are anticipating one sort of change…but then it’s not what you expected.
New Pastor…New knees…new job…new child…new school…new year
For the Hebrews, when they heard of Pharaoh’s death, many I’m sure had hopes that relief to their suffering would come…but then. It didn’t.
But it did pave the way for Moses to return.
Silence, but God was at work in what seemed like silence.
What’s God doing in your waiting? In your impatience? In your perseverance?
WE can cry out but for some the cries are hope filled cries.
Their cry became a prayer.
Now it seemed that God was didn’t care but here we see the character of God.
Exodus 2:24 NIV84
God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
Often times our pain and grief aren’t expressed in words
Examples of when we cry out
Tears have a voice
Genesis 12:1–3 NIV84
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The story is always that God remembers…He never forgets us.
The common theme through scripture isn’t that the people
Moses, Noah, Adam and Eve, Joseph, David. It wasn’t that they pleased or displeased God. The story is always that God is faithful to his promise.
We see it here. that God heard the people’s cry and he acted on his promise.
Exodus 2:25 NIV84
So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
Turned his attention to them
Ra’ah…more than seeing with the eyes…a deeper sense of understanding…God understood them and their pain.
Even though would not be considered righteous, God had made a covenant with their fathers. That would be enough to cause God to
Often times, we may get in a painful moment and say things like, But I love you Lord, why do I have to suffer like this” as though because God has blessed us with faith in Jesus, he must not be aware of my situation. I would remind us that God sees all
Acknowledge them all.
It is as though God shares their pain and suffering
Here we see that God enters in to our pain.
So far this is a story of Compassion.
Compassion of Moses’s mom
Compassion of Pharaoh’s daughter
Compassion of Moses
Compassion of Jethro (Reuel)
Compassion of God
Deuteronomy 26:7 NIV84
Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression.
This tells us a lot about the character of God. He heard the cries of the suffering and he responded.
How do we respond to the compassion of God?
This is good to know, that God is a compassionate God. He didn’t just create this world, but he is engaged in it.
That’s good to know, but what do we do with it?
We were created in God’s image. We were created to represent him.
It’s not like we can fake it. We try that sometimes and faking it usually becomes a burden.
It’s not a burden for God though, it just comes natural for God to hear the cries of those in need. The question is for us today, how do we become more like God?
Remember that song about being the hands and feet of Jesus, what good is it to be the hands and feet unless we hear what He is hearing?
Before we can act with the character of God, we have to hear the voices that God hears.
The reality is,
The nearer we get, the clearer we hear.
This is what Jesus put before us.
Matthew 25:34–41 NIV84
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
This may not mean that we all hear alike…So what you want me to care about, I may never hear. I stand up here every week and ask you about tithing…about getting involved in …about serving …all great things. But some of you hear a different cry.
In fact I am pretty sure that God uses each of us to hear different cries.
This week, we got to talking in our small group. Someone shared of their travels to work over the years. How over time they had found that they were numb to the problems of people they came into contact with in their day to day job.
But then things changed.
David Olsen is a firefighter in Baltimore City. He can tell yo the story better because I’ll probably leave out some facts. But he has been sharing how he reads the bible more now, even at work. He has shared how his relationship with Jesus has begun to change the way he sees things and people. This is exactly what happens when we get close to Jesus.
A couple of weeks ago, David went out on a call for a person in cardiac arrest. When he arrived he found a woman had died and her husband trying to do CPR. HE had to tell the husband that his wife was gone. HE broke down right then and there. But instead of just packing up his stuff and getting back in his bus. David spent the next hour talking and praying with this man who’s world had just been turned upside down.
Why did David do such a thing? Because he heard the cry.
But think of the power of our witness for Christ when we as a church get so close to God that we all hear the same cries.
Rev Maxie Dunham’s story of Bishop Leontine Kelly.
She was elected a bishop of the church in 1984—the first black woman, and only the third woman, to be elected a bishop in the United Methodist Church. She’s a powerful preacher.
Bishop Kelly grew up in a parsonage. Her father was a Methodist preacher. When she was a little girl he was assigned to a church in Cincinnati. It had been all white, but the neighborhood had changed and it had become a black congregation. It was the most magnificent church she had ever seen—an awe-inspiring Gothic structure. There was beautiful polished wood and a huge crystal chandelier. The church had been a prestigious and wealthy one in which presidents had worshiped.
Just as impressive as the church was the parsonage. Bishop Kelly says it was so big that each of the children had his or her own room—and that was something new for them. There was a cellar too, a dingy, dark place with a couple of dim light bulbs. There were cobwebs and shadows down there, and she was frightened by it.
One day, when her brothers were down in the cellar, they found a hole behind the furnace which seemed to lead to a tunnel. They asked her to go with them to explore it, but she went to her father and told him about it instead. They all went down to investigate. Her father became very excited. “I think you’ve found something; let’s go over to the church and look.” They went over to the church which was next door, down into the cellar, and there behind the furnace they found some old boards, and behind those boards they discovered other tunnels.
That night around the dinner table at the Calvary Church parsonage in Cincinnati, five blocks from the Ohio River, her father told them the story of the underground railroad, a railroad that didn’t have tracks or trains, but was a network for helping slaves escape to freedom. The slaves were hunted down like animals, and brutally punished when caught. It was against the law to help them, but the members of the underground railroad accepted risk to themselves in order to help the slaves get to freedom in Canada.
Bishop Kelly says she has never forgotten what her father said that night. “Children, I want you to remember this day as long as you live. We’ve found a station on the underground railroad. The greatness of this church is not its Gothic architecture, its beautiful furniture, its crystal chandelier. The greatness of this church is below us. We are on hallowed ground. These people dared to risk their lives to become involved and care about the poor, the frightened runaway slaves, and that was the mark of their greatness.”
This is a story of the power of the church when we hear the same cry. We can’t even begin to imagine what God might do through us when we move toward him and his purpose together.
The nearer we get to God, the clearer we hear what we need to hear.
How can we begin to hear the cry of our community?
Do they need worship services? yes
Do they need bible studies? yes
But they aren’t crying for it. What is their cry? Can we hear it.
Perhaps we need to get close.
Perhaps we need to listen to those of us who are already close.
Perhaps we need to sit in the presence of the Lord and hear as he hears.
My prayer for you this week is to grow deeper in love with God’s Word and more dependent on God’s Spirit.
Cry; Hear; Prayer; Suffering; Deliverance; Safety / Exodus 2:23–25; Genesis 12:1–3; Psalm 34:15; Matthew 25:34–41; Deuteronomy 26:7; Hebrews 4:16