“I don’t deserve this!!” I don’t know how many times I have heard these words. God’s job rating seems to be much like that of the president. Most people seem to think, “if I am not comfortable and happy, He must not be doing His job.” This is so contrary to reality! This is not to say that trials or difficulties in life are ever easy, If they were we would call them “easies” and not “difficulties.” Yet the attitude that we bring to them will greatly affect the way we endure them, or not.
Tribulation and the People of God – SERMON AUDIO
We often begin with the attitude that God owes us happiness. This is a far stretch from the Biblical data on the subject! Every kid that has been in Sunday School knows Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. “The wages of sin is death.” That means God owes it to us. It is what we have earned as sinners. Anything less than hell is God’s mercy to us. In his goodness God does give us good things, not as a testimony to our deserving it, but as a testimony to His goodness.
Acts 14:15-17 We… preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
God’s goodness is multiplied by our sin. He does not have to do this for us. We have earned our wages and goodness is not among them! Due to the sinfulness of our hearts, we would stand in judgment over God who is good, and claim that He does not measure up to our standards. What hypocrisy! “What does all of this have to do with the Book of Exodus?” you ask. God foretold exactly how the whole situation was going to go.
Genesis 15:12-14 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
Exodus 4:19-21 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.” 20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
Yet when Moses finally gets up the courage and is ready to go and speak to him, things get more difficult.
Exodus 5:1-9 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’ ” 2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.” 3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!” 6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words.”
This led the people to run to Moses and complain while Moses ran to God and complained.
Exodus 5:20-23 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, “Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” 22 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
One of our greatest problems is that we tend to believe what we want to about God rather than what He has actually said. Faith that is not in what God says about us, Himself and our relationship, is not faith, but folly! Moses and the people had other expectations and so their faith was challenged even though God was clear about what to expect.
So, “Why did God put them through all of that?” you ask. To increase His glory and move the people away from trusting in themselves and toward trusting in Him. Not due to personal vanity, but because it is what we need as human beings. We need to trust in Him but we naturally want to trust in our own abilities. God had to prove that He is the ultimate power and that we are best off when we trust in Him. Trials do this for us.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It comes down to the question, “In whom or what do you trust?” If it is in your own goodness or ability, you will believe that God owes you. If you are trusting in God and His promise through Jesus Christ, you will understand His amazing Grace! To get the whole concept, I encourage you to listen to the audio of the sermon by clicking on the link below.
Tribulation and the People of God – SERMON AUDIO