Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Life Of A Believer - The Exodus

Have you ever tried to teach someone what not to do by telling them your mistakes? Your hope is that by telling them where it went wrong for you, you could help them avoid the same problems. We would be more likely to avoid major problems in life if we would just listen to how other people got into those problems. I believe this is why - speaking of the nation of Israel - Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.” Everything that happened to the Israelites in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua were recorded and given to us as a pattern for our spiritual life. Some of the examples in those books are for us to follow, some of them are there to avoid.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea...” Did you know that the Israelite exodus is a type of salvation? It’s a picture of what everyone of us goes through in our spiritual life. And this story begins with Pharaoh.

Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He was a wicked man; a brutal tyrant that feared and hated the Hebrews. He tried everything he could to oppress and destroy the Hebrews. But even when these people were a part of his kingdom, he simply couldn’t wipe them out - God was watching over them!

Egypt is a picture of this world’s system. In the same way that Pharaoh was king over Egypt, Satan is king over this world’s system. Before we were saved, we were bound as slaves under his control. While we were in His kingdom, Satan tried everything he could to destroy us. But even though we legally belonged to Satan, God was still watching over us! Most of us could tell stories of times we should have died before we got saved. God’s mercy was stretched out to us long before we gave our lives to Jesus!

Enter Moses. Moses was by nature a Hebrew, but raised as an Egyptian. His name means “to draw out” - describing the way he escaped Pharaoh’s infanticide. This proved to be a play on words, since God used Moses to “draw out” His people from Egypt. Moses was the savior that God sent to rescue His people.

Moses is a picture to us of Jesus. Although He was God by nature, Jesus was raised in this world as a man. Just like he did with Moses, Satan tried his hardest to kill Jesus as a child - and failed! God sent Jesus into this world to draw us out; to be our Savior.

Fast forward to the final plague on Egypt, the death of the firstborn. This was the first Passover for the Israelites. Each family was to take a perfect lamb, kill it, and put its blood over their doorposts. The blood of that lamb did two things: it separated the Hebrews from the Egyptians and it exempted them from the punishment that was poured out on the Egyptians. In a very real sense, the blood from those lambs saved the Hebrews from Egypt - that very night they were set free.

The Passover is yet another picture of Jesus. In the same way that the lamb was killed, Jesus was sacrificed for us. His blood was poured out for our separation and salvation. Jesus’ sacrifice broke Satan’s hold on our life and set us free to serve God. But remember, the Passover sacrifice had to be applied to each person - if they didn’t, they would face the same judgement as Egypt. In the same way, the salvation that Jesus purchased for us only applies if we receive it!

Finally, Pharaoh let the Hebrews leave. He really didn’t have a choice, his own people came to him and said, “How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the Lord their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?” Egypt was never the same after God delivered His people!

The Hebrews left Egypt and walked right into their first obstacle - do you remember what it was? The Red Sea! Now they were trapped between an enormous body of water and the army of an enraged king. Because Pharaoh still viewed the Israelites as his property, he was completely unwilling to release his hold on them. He mustered his entire military and set out after them. The Israelites were sure that they were going to be killed. But once again, God showed His power for deliverance. With a breath from His nose, God split the sea in two - drying out a path through the center. The Israelites passed through safely, the Egyptian army - led by Pharaoh himself - drowned.

According to what Paul has already said, the Red Sea crossing is a picture of Baptism. Even though the people were free, their freedom had to be openly confirmed. You see, even after salvation, Satan is convinced that he still owns us. Water baptism is an open confession of our salvation. We’re publicly confirming the freedom that Jesus gave us. We’re also making a statement to our former ruler that he has no place in us any longer! This is the beginning of our spiritual life!

The story of the exodus is important to us - it walks us through our own salvation. It’s also important because, as we’ll see later, everything from the Red Sea until Joshua happened after salvation...

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