PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Exodus 14:1-31; God Gets Glory

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20110306_exodus14_1-31.mp3

03/06 Exodus 14:1-31 God Gets Glory

Intro:

We’ve seen that God has good and wise purposes in everything he does. He is a God who keeps his promises. In his providence, he leads his people in the best path, and he gives to us the greatest blessing of his presence with us.

God is wise, his ways are perfect, he is always in complete control and he does all that he pleases. What he does is right and his plans for us are best. Sometimes we have difficulty seeing his design in our difficult circumstances. In this passage, which places the Israelites in an extremely difficult and desperate, dangerous, hopeless and helpless circumstance, God tells us his primary purpose for guiding the way he does. Here we are given a rare glimpse into the ‘why’ behind many of God’s mysterious workings.

13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” 18 But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. … 20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

14:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi–hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal–zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. 5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, 7 and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. 9 The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi–hahiroth, in front of Baal–zephon.

God’s Purpose: Getting Glory

God is leading his people, unmistakably, visibly. And the way he is leading seems to make no sense. At least from a human perspective it makes no sense. He leads them into a corner where there is no way out, and stirs the heart of Pharaoh to pursue them. The special forces of Egypt overtake them as they are camped by the sea. We would have no idea why he is leading the way he is leading if he hadn’t declared his purposes to us.

3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.

The Knowledge of YHWH

God’s stated purpose for his seemingly illogical plan is “I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD”. Throughout the book of Exodus, we have seen the self-revelation of God. God is making himself known. When God confronts Moses in the wilderness he declares:

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”’ 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

I AM. YHWH. The self-existent one. He is the one who is. He is the essence of being. God wants to be known. God will be known. He will be remembered. He wants us to know his name, his character. Pharaoh offers an affront to the knowledge of God. Moses is sent to him in the name of YHWH.

Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

And thus begins the challenge. Pharaoh refuses to acknowledge this YHWH God of the Hebrews. He defies God’s authority over his people. He refuses to bow. But the one true God will be known. He will be recognized for who he is. He will be acknowledged. Exodus is about God making himself known. This theme appears over and over again in Exodus, both with the people of God and with the Egyptians.

Exodus 6:7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Exodus 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

Exodus 7:17 Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.

Exodus 8:22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.

Exodus 9:29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.

Exodus 10:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”

God means to be known. YHWH intends for all to recognize him for who he is, to know him by name, to stand in awe of his character. In chapter 14, what it means to know that he is YHWH is clarified and defined.

Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.

Exodus 14:18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

To know the LORD is to know his glory. He says twice in this chapter ‘I will get glory’. God is setting the stage and acting in such a way as to get glory for himself. God means to be known by getting glory over the Egyptians. What is glory? A definition may be helpful.

Glory: a definition

Glo´ry Pronunciation: glō´rŷ;

n. 1. Praise, honor, admiration, or distinction, accorded by common consent to a person or thing; high reputation; honorable fame; renown.

2. That quality in a person or thing which secures general praise or honor; that which brings or gives renown; an object of pride or boast; the occasion of praise; excellency; brilliancy; splendor. [Webster’s 1913 Dictionary]

The Hebrew word here translated ‘glory’ is dbk kabad kaw-bad’

It literally means ‘to be made heavy’. This is the exact opposite of Pharaoh’s prideful words ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice? I do not know the LORD’. Pharaoh trifles with God, blows him off as if he were nothing. He does not take him seriously. God is weighty, there is mass to his personality, he is not to be taken lightly, there is gravity to what he says. His character is substantial. He is a force to be reckoned with. In Leviticus 10, two of Aaron’s sons got caught up in the moment. They didn’t take God’s commands seriously and approached God in worship their own way, not the way God had instructed them, and fire from the LORD came out and consumed them.

Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”’ And Aaron held his peace.

God is heavy. God is weighty. God is not to be taken lightly. He is to be honored, he is to be respected. God is not to be taken casually.

Casual Church?

Let me make an aside here. Our style in this church is fairly casual and informal. We invite anyone and everyone to come as they are. That could be good and that could be very bad. If we are casual in our attitude and approach to God, thinking that anything goes, if we have no healthy respect for God, no fear of God, then something is terribly wrong. We are invited to come as we are, but we are not invited to treat God casually. Why are we casual in our appearance? Part of it is practical – I don’t find a suit and tie particularly comfortable. But the main reason is theological. God sees right through what I’m wearing and he sees my heart. God is not impressed or distracted by outward appearances. Jesus pronounced a woe on the blind fools who clean the outside of the cup and dish but inside are full of greed and self-indulgence (Mt.23:25-26; Lk.11:39-40). I know that God is absolutely holy and does not tolerate sin. As a sinner, I know my only hope for standing in his holy presence is the inward transformation that God does in my life as a result of my relationship with his own Son, crucified in my place. It is a weighty matter to come into the presence of Almighty God. We must take God seriously. We must fear. We must tremble. So we will approach him on no other foundation than the blood-bought righteousness of Jesus Christ who died on the cross bearing the guilt of our sin and giving to us as a gift his perfect righteousness.

Getting Glory

God says ‘I will get glory’. I will be known and feared and admired. I will act in such a way as to inspire awe and holy respect. I will get fame and honor and renown. That is God’s purpose in the world.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Let’s watch how God gets glory in the text before us:

14:10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” 19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.

Does God need the help of his people? They don’t even seem to be on his side. They are eager to defect back to their old slave master. One purpose of the pillar of cloud/fire was to protect his people from the sword of the Egyptians. I wonder if one of the purposes was to keep his people from one by one defecting back to the camp of the enemy. It says ‘it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night’. God here is acting alone for his glory.

14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.” 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. 29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

The Egyptians Shall Know

We see in these verses a fulfillment of God’s promise at the outset.

Exodus 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

Pharaoh has gone from ‘Who is YHWH that I should obey his voice? I do not know YHWH (5:2), to ‘plead with YHWH to take away the frogs and I will let the people go to sacrifice to YHWH’ (8:8). Pharaoh’s magicians acknowledge ‘this is the finger of God’ (8:19) and Pharaoh concedes ‘I will let you go sacrifice to YHWH your God’ but he continually tries to negotiate the terms of the exodus (8:28; 10:8-11, 24 ). In chapter 9, we saw among Pharaoh’s own servants:

Exodus 9:20 Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21 but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field.

Then in 9:27 Pharaoh confesses ‘this time I have sinned; YHWH is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong …plead with YHWH to stop God’s thunder and hail’ (9:28). Pharaoh’s own servants counsel him ‘let the men go, that they may serve YHWH their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?’ (10:7). Again Pharaoh confesses ‘I have sinned against YHWH your God and against you’ (10:16) and asks them to forgive his sin and ‘plead with YHWH your God to remove this death from me’ (10:17). In 11:3, YHWH gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and Moses was great in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and the people. In 12:31 Pharaoh finally concedes to the demands of a total exodus ‘go, serve YHWH as you have said’. YHWH gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so they let them have what they asked, and the people plundered the Egyptians. But Pharaoh’s heart was again hardened and he with his army pursued and overtook the Hebrews. They even pursued them into the divided Red Sea. Now, finally, as they sense the supernatural hand of God fighting against them, they cry out:

14:25 …And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”

‘Who is YHWH that I should obey his voice? I do not know YHWH (5:2). The Egyptians shall know that I am YHWH (7:5).

Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.

Exodus 14:18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

The Gospel

God defends his glory zealously.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

In Acts 12, when Herod dressed in royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered an oration, the people shouted ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ and it says:

Acts 12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

In Revelation 16, when God pours out his wrath on rebellious mankind, their sin is described as:

Revelation 16:9 …they cursed the name of God … They did not repent and give him glory.

In Romans, we are told:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We fall so far short of giving God the glory that is his due. But there is hope! Hope for us in Jesus:

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So the knowledge of the glory of God comes to us in Jesus Christ. When God opens our eyes that we are sinners in need of a substitute to pay our debt of dishonor to God, and when we see that substitute is his own son Jesus, and we run to his cross for help, our debt is covered and we are set free to live our lives now to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19 …You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:11 …serves by the strength that God supplies––in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

Advertisements

March 6, 2011 - Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: