Key verse: Exodus 7:5
Big idea: God showed who He is when He brought the Israelites out.
There are different ways to find out the kind of person someone is. You can talk to their friends or listen to what they say and get some kind of an idea, but there is really no substitute for watching what they do. Words may lie, people may be deceived, but sooner or later the fundamental character of a person is revealed in their actions. As we saw yesterday, Pharaoh asked who the LORD was, and why He should be obeyed. God answered through the plagues, demonstrating His superiority over all of the idols of Egypt. He told Moses that Pharaoh would not respond to the plagues, but God would confirm the hardening of his heart and bring out the Israelites from among them. When He brought the Israelites out, they would know who the LORD is.
What did He reveal? That He is a delivering God. One who rescues the humble and weak, and overwhelms the pride and strength of the mighty. The Egyptians thought that their idols were their strength, and so in some sense the Israelites were enslaved by the idols. That is not so different from our lives today, where many people are enslaved to the gods of money, popularity, comfort, or romance. These gods are dead idols, no gods at all, but their influence and control is still very real. But God is over all. He is the Maker of all that is good which we might pursue, and the Source of all of the things which evil cheaply imitates. What the idols cannot provide, He can and will.
Discussion idea: How does God's rescue of us through Christ show us who He is?
Prayer focus: Lord, thank you for your deliverance and your provision. Thank you for breaking all of the things that enslaved me and bringing me into Your light.
Key verse: Hebrews 2:14
Big Idea: The Son of God became the Son of Man so the sons of men could become sons of God.
We live in between God’s promise and its fulfillment. We know that we are joint-heirs of Jesus and that we will reign with Him forever. But that is a far cry from the world we experience every day. I almost wrote: “The world we see when we walk out our front door,” but we know that sin affects our families and marriages too. So how do we reconcile these two ideas? We have been adopted by the King of Kings into His household and have been born again by the blood of the Son of God but we still feel more like a mess than a message. Hebrews 2:8-9 makes it incredibly clear: “But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus...because he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.”
We do not see all of the fulfillment yet, but we see Jesus. We see the trailblazer of our destiny, who humbled Himself to become a Man so that He could taste death for humanity. We see the Risen Savior, who conquered death to break its hold over us. We see the sinless life and perfect obedience of the Son, who gives us the power to follow Him. We do not see everything as we wish it would be, but we see the One who will make it so. In the middle of such a stressful ministry season, I think there is good advice here. My life, my family, my church, my community, and my world are not what I wish they were. But if I keep my eyes on Jesus, everything else is okay. Helen Howarth Lemmel probably only wrote one song that you have ever heard, but it is a good one: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus/Look full in His wonderful face/And the things of earth will grow strangely dim/In the light of his glory and grace.”
I understand what she meant, and it is a powerful thought. But I think I might quibble with the details. When we look at Jesus, the things of this life do not grow dim, but infinitely more clear. We do not just see things as they are, but as they will be - as they must be. We realize that what He has started, He will finish. Since He became like us, if we place our faith in Him, we can become like Him. He died in our place, rose on the third day, and ascended up to Heaven from whence He came. But He did not go there to be alone, but so that we could follow Him as His brothers and sisters. We don’t see it yet, but we see Him.
Discussion Idea: Jesus humbled Himself by becoming like us, so that we could become like Him. What are some lesser ways that we can come to people on their level, to show them God's love through us?
Prayer Focus: Pray for opportunities to follow Jesus' example of humility and compassion, whether sharing the gospel, meeting a physical need or just being there for someone.