|Messages By Ovid Need|
Faithless Prayer - Exodus 2:23
We saw last week that Egypt had made Israel's bondage terrible; Egypt had ordered Israel's babies killed. How many years had these terrible events lasted? we do not know. We do know that after the former king died who had sought Moses' life, a new king came to power. Then we have the first record of Israel crying out to God.
Therefore, we can safely say that Israel had a false hope that a change in the political leadership of Egypt would ease their burdens.
Israel had lost all but a spark of the true faith in the God of their fathers. They had absorbed the Egyptian faith, a faith which surfaced regularly for the next 40 years, a faith that could only die when the faithless generation died.
We must conclude that this generation of Israel had a false faith; they expected reform from the top down. "When the leaders start doing right, all our problems will be solved." Israel hoped that a new, kinder, gentler king would come to the throne in Egypt, and that he would ease their burden. Their hope was that a POLITICAL REFORM would ease their burdens. Whereas the word of God demands a THEOLOGICAL REFORM, a return to Bible based thinking and faith in the living God.
I was listening to the WLS talk radio for a few minuets yesterday afternoon, and the host of that particular show was out of NY. It was a secular program, and I have yet to hear any program on that station which will allow a Christian view point to be presented. I only heard this man long enough to hear him say that only when the people start demanding honest leadership will there be any change in leadership in this country. He hit the nail right on the head. Leaders only reflect the heart of the people.
Until the people return to a Bible based manner of life, we will continue to get what we have.
V. 23, it is obvious from this verse that only when Israel abandon its faith in the state did the Lord hear its prayers.
V. 23b, This brings us to the second half of this verse, faithless prayer. Again we have three points.
1. The people prayed in Exodus 2:23 & 3:7-9. Apparently Israel's prayer request centered around their suffering and desire to be released from that suffering, not necessarily deliverance from Egypt itself.
We say this because of the way the people acted toward both God and Moses after they were delivered. When they get into the wilderness, it is apparent that their desire was to be released from suffering, trials, and difficulties in general. They expected a supernatural God to supply all their needs apart from self-discipline, obedience to the law of God, and hard work. It took a new generation to actually desire true freedom under God and to have the courage and ability to claim that freedom.
Thus, we can safely conclude that Israel in Egypt only wanted relief from their burdens, not release from Egypt.
It was the terror of the taskmasters, not the desire to separate from Egypt (and sad to say, not particularly the killing of their babies), that caused Israel to cry out to God. In response to their cry, the Lord sent Moses to deliver them.
Two points here for us:
1. Prayer that seeks to influence God to our way of thinking or to do what we desire Him to do, is presumption to say the least. There are more than a few Scriptures which would seem to indicate that man can have great influence over God through prayer, but such thinking is little more than witchcraft.
2. I am afraid that most of our praying seeks to be released from the results of being in bondage to the gods of the world, flesh, and the devil, not from the service to the gods themselves.
Am example here is a situation I confronted when I first went to LA. A man was in the hospital for liver problems which came about from drunkenness. His prayer was to be delivered from the liver problems not from the gods of the flesh which led to the liver problems.
Examples are all around us: People desire to be released from the results of serving the gods of sex, not from that god of the flesh himself. People desire to be freed from the results of covetousness, not from the covetousness itself.
We see that the people prayed but their prayer was centered around release from their oppressive conditions, not necessarily for the release from Egypt itself.
2. Most assuredly, proper prayer reminds God of His promises, but it must also include the request for His Spirit to enable one to meet His conditions and separate to God and from Egypt. In the case of Israel in Egypt, prayer moved God to fulfill His promises to their father, but Israel was still corrupted in their theology and the older generation had to die.
3. Proper prayer emphises God's will being done around, in, and through us. If God moves in response to prayer to preform His will, then proper prayer must be in response to Gods spirit moving in the heart of the ones praying, Rom 8:26, 27.
Evidently up until this time Israel was content in Egypt because we have no complaint from Israel to God up until 2:23. Now God's training of the nation and of Moses is complete, the wickedness of the Canaanites is full, and it is time for Israel to go. What method does God use to get things moving? Prayer!
In other words, God's people in Egypt prayed because of their harsh bondage, not because they desired to get out of Egypt. God moved in response to their prayer. This means that God is the One Who raised up the harsh taskmasters which caused Israel to pray. The purpose of prayer is not to change the plan, purpose, and/or will of God. Rather the purpose of prayer must be for God to fulfill His plan and to supply man with all that is needed for man to fulfill the purpose of God.
Let's not underestimate the fact that Israel had been in Egypt for several hundreds of years. They were close to being Egyptian in every way except by birth. Therefore, it would have required unbelievable harshness from the taskmasters to cause enough sorrows to separate Egypt from Israel and the heart of Israel from Egypt. Israel loved Egypt and all it had to offer. The sorrow had to be enough to more than counter that love.
We did a mailing some time ago (Needed, Bitter Bondage) in which we presented the basic thought that God's people need bitter bondage and hard taskmasters to separate them from Egypt; the more Egyptianized they were, the more harsh treatment was needed.
The glorious and encouraging thing about Israel is that the sorrows which they had to endure for a season finally forced them to cry out to their God for deliverance. The result of their cry was the destruction of the world power (Egypt), their release from and spoiling of Egypt, and their inheritance of the promised land.
To illustrate where Christianity is in relationship with the world powers to day, let me give you a Personal observation:
In the November '91's mailing we included a teaching on Coverture Marriage vs. Covenant and/or State licensed marriage. The Indians Law Encyclopedia defines Marriage as a civil contract under the authority of the state:
"The purpose of the statutory characterization of marriage as a civil contract is to place the subject of marriage under the control of the civil authorities to the exclusion of the ecclesiastical. Under this statute marriage is a status founded on contract and is an institution regulated and controlled by law [comment - not God's] upon principles of public policy. Marriage has been further described as a contract in which the public is interested, and to which the State is a party. (pg. 328)"
In other words, a state licensed marriage is actually a three party contract (the state, the bride, and the groom), which, by their own definition, specifically excludes God and His law; the terms of this contract are determined by public policy. On the other hand, Coverture Marriage specifically makes God and His law the standard; it specifically makes the Lord the Third Party of the marriage at the exclusion of the state.
The reason we mention the position of the state on marriage is this: Within the last two months we have had three couples contact us to preform a non-state licensed marriage for them (one couple was over 150 miles away). All three couples attended professed Bible believing churches (one independent Baptist, two Reformed Presbyterian).
When these couples went to their respective pastors to ask him to marry them without a state license, the pastors refused. Not only did the pastors refuse to preform a non-state licensed marriage, but they refused to let the couples use their church buildings. Furthermore, two of the pastors (one Baptist, one Presbyterian) said they would excommunicate the couples if they married without the state's approval (state license) because the couples would be living in fornication.
When those involved met with their respective pastors to explain their Scriptural reasons for marrying without a state license (the Baptist included the church board), all three pastors gave the same message either openly or covertly: they feared greatly of offending the state; they were not going to do anything which might disturb the king of Egypt.
What is our point? I am not condemning pastors who desire to represent the state in the marriage ceremony, nor am I condemning pastors who do not feel they should do a ceremony which excludes the state, nor am I condemning couples who desire that the state be the third party of their marriage. The point which has struck my heart like an arrow is the total terror of the state by so called "Bible Believing" churches and pastors.
It is obvious to even a casual observer that the god of these churches and pastors is the king of Egypt regardless of what they say with their mouth. (Mt 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.)
I am still in shock over the denial of professed men of God of the Lord Who bought them. They and those with them will not be spared the judgment of God, 1 Peter 2:1-4. Furthermore, they should open all of their public and private prayers with, "Our father which art in Washington DC [or the name of their state capital]..." God help us!
The attachment to the king of Egypt assures God's covenant people of coming bitter bondage, affliction, oppression, persecution, and sorrow. God will permit no other gods before Him especially in His church which are committed to serving the king of Egypt. God's judgment against Egypt's false gods must begin in the house of the Lord, so God's people had better flee from the wrath to come, 1 Peter 4:17; Matthew 3:7.
But the result of the bitter bondage and of the resulting prayer will be the fulfilling of the Lord's promise: And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts (Mal 4:3), & Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Mat 5:5). The separation of Israel from Egypt and their claiming of Canaan outlines for all generations to follow how the inheritance spoken of by the Lord will be accomplished.
I feel sorry for the professed Christians who have not this hope in the God of the covenant. They serve a god who is unable to overcome the gods and powers of this world; gods which can only leave them in bitter bondage and sorrows. But, the coming bondage, taskmasters, and sorrows will strip them of all political hope and self-help programs; it will force them to cry out to the Lord Who will move to fulfill His promises made to the saints of old in Malachi and in Matthew.
Exodus 3:10. The Lord heard the cry of His people; He remembers His covenant to their father and now He speaks to Moses. Note; I will send thee back..., the Lord is not asking Moses to go back on his own. The Lord also sends Moses to do a job, ie., bring forth my people. Furthermore, they were God's people, not Moses'. The Lord did not speak to send Moses back until God was ready to deliver them and they were striped of all hope outside of the faith of Abraham.
In conclusion: I am fearful that the fear of the state expressed by the pastors in their refusal to do anything which might offend the state, even at the expense of refusing to obey the clear plain teaching of the word of God, is a warning of what lies ahead for Christianity.
How long will the Lord God tolerate the worship of the gods of Egypt by His people?
What will He do to separate His people from the gods of Egypt and Egypt from His people?
Has the God that changes not (Mal 3:6) changed? Will He deal with His people today differently than He did in Egypt?
Will the Lord spare those who knowingly remain connected and supportive of the church which have other gods before the Lord God and who worship the gods of Egypt?
How long will God's full wrath against American Faithless Christianity be put off?
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.
Faithless prayer which seeks to change God's mind and seeks to find an answer apart from a change in the people, is presumption. It took hard bitter bondage to force God's people to pray. Then when they prayed they only sought relief from the bondage. "Lord, make things easier for us." But the Lord would not have such a thing.
Ex 2:23, the people only cried unto the Lord when all else failed. What will have to fail today before the people will turn from the king of Egypt and genuinely cry out unto the Lord?
Looming over us daily is the prospect of a total collapse of the false gods of Egypt which are all around us; sadly, only then will God's people turn to their God.
But the good part about that judgment in every area is what we see with Israel in Egypt. The collapse of the false gods of this world will cause the people of God to turn to Him and He will deliver in a mighty way.
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