|Messages By Ovid Need|
I would like to depart from Matt 4 a little this morning although what we are going to cover will fit within the second temptation of Christ.
I would like to start by saying to you all that I love you. I realize that none of you agree totally with me; some more some less. It would be impossible for us to find any person that we can agree with 100%, but, you have stuck with me. You have seen fit to remain and support what I believe the Lord would have us do here in and through this ministry. You have been faithful in your support in your presence and in your giving. Without that support, we would be unable to continue on in the areas which the Lord has seen fit to open.
My heart has been burdened for the last few weeks over a couple of events which I have mentioned several times. I will not mention them in our opening remarks but we will get to them in the second point of this message. There are two points to this message and I do not want to hurry through either. I would rather have each too short and cover it well than to long and not cover either good.
Exodus 2:23 ff, gives two immutable laws of God which the fallen nature resists with all its might:
I. The first which we want to look at is the false hope of Israel in Egypt and the second is faithless prayer.
In v. 23, the king that sought Moses' life dies, and, strangely enough, we now have the first record in the Book of Exodus of the people of God crying out to their God. Up to this point we have the record of their extremely bitter bondage (1:14; 2:11) in Egypt, including the command to kill all of the Hebrew's male babies from which Moses was spared by Divine Providence. The minimum amount of time between the command to kill the babies and Moses' efforts to free Israel (2:11) is 40 years. The striking point which we want to look at is that Israel did not cry out to God during this 40 year period. We would think that, at the least, the murder of their babies by Egypt would cause them to groan and cry out to God, but it did not.
V. 23 tells us why that, in spite of all the oppression which Egypt placed upon Israel, "Their cry came up to God" only after the king of Egypt
In other words, the oppressed people of Israel had hoped that a change of government would ease their lot. They had hoped that a new king would change the circumstances in which they were suffering. It was probably something like this: "All we need is a new king [president]. He will see the difficult situation in which we are. He will change it." Down in their inner being they saw no need to turn to God. They had the hope that the new king would do better than the old one. It was not until they saw that this political hope was useless that they turned to the Lord and God was reminded of His covenant with their fathers.
This gives us three points about this political hope:
1.) Although we see a dim spark of the true faith in the Sovereign God of the covenant in the midwives and in Moses' parents, as a whole, Israel had lost his faith, and he was Egyptian in almost every way except birth. This fact that this generation of Israel was thoroughly Egyptianized is seen in the speed with which they built the golden calf under Aaron, and their constant stand against Moses.
Aaron! Aaron had been in Egypt for the 40 years while Moses had been in the wilderness. Therefore, Moses had a 40 year head start on having Egypt removed from him than what his older brother had. Israel's faith was paganized; Israel had now the same basic faith as Egypt had: faith in the state. "If we can only get the king and the state to change, every thing will be all right." Israel's faith was a political faith. Israel's faith was in the state, not in his God.
Faithlessness says, "If we can only get the state to return to godly principles [the Constitution!], we will be saved." The pagans spell relief, P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L. Fallen man will grasp at any hope for a workable social structure apart from a total commitment to the law-word of God; he desires to be responsible to any authority except God's. Man, the sinner especially enjoys being his own authority.
Because of their faithlessness; and because of their faith in the state (which said a new king will solve our problems), Israel tolerated a great deal of oppression from its god, Egypt.
2.) The faithless people, Israel, foolishly looked to the state for relief from their oppression; they expected impossible reform from the top down.
Biblical faith demands that reform must be theological. By THEOLOGICAL REFORM we mean a reform that takes place within the individual's heart; a reform which is accomplished by the Spirit of God in response to and in accord with the law-word of God. Not every person must be saved for such a reform to take place, but the Christian influence must be so strong that most folks desire Christian laws as the bases for society.
In contrast to this THEOLOGICAL REFORM by the Spirit of God from within would be OUTSIDE REFORM: social, political, or circumstantial reform. This type of reform seeks to change the individual through outside means. If we can only get better laws; If we can only get the civil government to do right; If we can only get the pastor to do right.. There are numerous 'DO RIGHT scams, all centered around getting someone else to DO RIGHT.
Israel in Egypt dreamed of the day that they would be released from the bondage and oppression. But their dream was not God releasing them, rather their dream was in a new king would release them.
Any child of God looking for relief from oppression through any means other than a theological shift in the people will be sadly disappointed, 2 Chronicles 7:14. In other words, godly civil government, no matter what form it takes (constitutional republic, democracy, theocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, &c.), requires Biblical faith in the subject people. Without this Biblical faith, every form of civil government, even a constitutional republic, will simply be another means of oppression. In our situation in the US, the Constitution is no more than another man-made document of oppression without a Biblical faith in the people of the US.
Do not misunderstand me when I make this statement. I am not against the antiabortion movement. I only use it as an example because Bible Believing Christians should be able to identify with it.
Observe that the antiabortion movement, as a whole, is not crying out for a theological shift in the people; rather, it is crying out for a political shift. They are not crying out for God's laws and against Fornication and Adultery; rather they are crying out for change in laws. Let me ask: "Was it a political hope in God's people that prevented them from crying out to God when Egypt started killing the Hebrew babies?"
Thus, it is readily apparent that any kind of political hope which replaces a theological hope is service to the false gods of Egypt. It denies God.
3.) Only when Israel realized that his hope in a change of circumstances to ease their burdens was groundless did they cry out to their Lord. When their faith in the pagan gods of Egypt failed, then their faith in the God of the covenant was renewed; they cried out to the living God to deliver them. Notice 2:25; it was after they lost their faith in the pagan gods of Egypt and cried out to the God of the covenant that He knew them (marg.).
In conclusion to this first point.
I am fearful that a great many professed Christians are seeking relief in our time from the top down or from the outside in. "If only we can get the civil government to change and return to the constitution, all will be OK." The situation with the Children of Israel in Egypt shows us that this is an impossible dream. Even more sever, it is worshiping the false gods of the Egyptian's and begs for God's judgment on both God's faithless people and on the Egyptians.
Any change other than a theological change in the people will only make matters worse, because the cry must be to and all hope in the Lord, Deuteronomy 24:15; James 5:4. Any attempted change in any area other than a genuine theological change in the hearts of the people, will only bring more oppression; the godly purpose of oppression is to bring about theological change in the people.
Furthermore, though we must work for a change in every area, our primary effort must be for the theological change in the covenant people. Release from bondage came when the covenant people cried out to the Lord, not when the king of Egypt got right with God.
Who do we look to for release from bondage and oppression? The kings and rulers of this world, or to the Lord of the saboth Who alone can give rest (James 4)? Do we see our hope in the king getting right with God or is our hope in His people getting right with God? Which option is according to the Word of God?
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