Jump Start # 2809
Exodus 5:1 “And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”
Fifty-five years ago, which seems like a lifetime ago, Time Magazine posed a question on the cover of their magazine. The year was 1966. There was a war on in Vietnam. The public was tired of the war. Young people were told to “tune in, turn on and drop out.” Hippies were protesting. Rock ‘n roll was king. Civil Rights movement was growing. Old and out of touch politicians had no clue as to how to reach a growing dissatisfaction among the young people. Tensions were high. And, Time Magazine, in bold letters across the cover, asked, “Is God dead?” Some wondered. Others saw a decline in mainstream religion. Theologians across the country were wondering how to make God relevant in an increasingly secular society. Is God dead?
Now, all these years later, here we are. And, God remains. Modern church has given up on the simplistic pattern of the N.T. To draw crowds in, church leaders have turned preachers into entertainers and worship into a sideshow. Giving the people what they want may keep the doors open, but it never provides what the people need. Feeding our appetites cannot solve the war within our hearts.
Moses was sent by the Lord to face Pharaoh, the greatest world leader in those times. The message was not based upon a bargain. ‘Here’s what God will do for you, if you will do this for the Lord.’ No promises of blessings and good times if he would do what God wanted. None of that. ‘Thus says the Lord,’ is how our verse reads. God is not asking you for your permission. God is not saying ‘please.’ God is not meeting you half way. There is no compromising here. God says, ‘Let My people go.’ Do what I say.
What has been missing for the past generation is an understanding of “Thus saith the Lord.” An understanding that God is in charge. God has all authority. There is no meeting half way, bargaining, or cutting a deal with the Lord. Our times has lost the reverence and the respect for the Lord. Job learned, the hard way, that we are not in the position to argue, question or debate God. We cannot say anything we want to God. We cannot throw every emotion we feel at Him. One famous writer encouraged his readers to scream, shout and point your finger at God. That writer missed it. He missed the meaning of Job. He missed understanding God.
Some thoughts for us:
First, God does not answer to us. He is not accountable to us. He does not have to tell us why He does what He does. He does not have to get our approval. God is the Lord of Heaven and Earth. The earth is the Lord’s not ours. When God declares, it comes from His position, His authority and His right. Yet, down on earth, people are crying out, “What about our rights?” Equality on earth is not the same as equality in Heaven. God is the potter and we are the clay. The church is not a democracy or run by the will of the people.
Second, Pharaoh learned tragically that he could not stand eye to eye and toe to toe with the Lord. Plague after plague crippled and humiliated Pharaoh. His gods were shown to be worthless and powerless. Pharaoh was at the hand of God and could not escape. And, in the end, when the walls of the Red Sea came crashing in upon his powerful army, they all died.
Third, the theologians of the 1960’s and even today are missing it when they even raise the question, “Is God dead?” A much better question to ponder would be, “Is man alive?” And, in many ways the answer is no. So many live like animals. Most live day to day with no thought of the eternal. Most live as if there was no God, even though He blesses them, shows His existence and is willing to forgive them, every single day. The troubles in life are not a question about God’s existence. They are a reflection of man’s sinfulness and lack of interest in God.
Fourth, the way to connect hearts back to God is not by changing God and worship, but rather by presenting God has He truly is. Holy. Powerful. Magnificent. Mighty. Merciful. Relevant. It’s not God that needs to change, it’s us. It’s not making God practical, it’s making us useful in His kingdom.
These are the times for pure, solid Bible teaching. These are the times for hope through the Scriptures. These are the times for God’s people to step up and be lights into the world. These are the times…