Sermon Summary (10/5/19) “Moses: The Exodus: (Ex 5 thru 12 selected)
The Exodus is the defining story of the children of Israel. For them it means salvation, freedom, emancipation. It means the leadership of Moses and the Providence of God. Nothing in the story happens without God. Not the plagues, not the Passover, not their passage through the Red Sea. Nothing happens without God. It is their story of grace.
As Christians, our salvation comes through grace, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And nothing in that story happens without the Providence of God. Grace, God’s involvement in human affairs through the power of the Holy Spirit even though it is unmerited and undeserved.
The Exodus: God implies through the story that he is going to build up his signs and wonders before Pharaoh so that Pharaoh not only lets the children of Israel go, he essentially throws them out of Egypt!
So here are the plagues: The river turned to blood; frogs everywhere; gnats; flies; death of livestock, boils; hail and fire; grasshoppers; darkness; and death of the first born.
They can be thought of in three ways or maybe a combination, all the Providence of God. First, the Sunday School stories; God acted. A second way of looking at them is that God directed natural causes such as red algae to turn the water red, killing the fish and driving out the frogs, etc. A third way, also biblical is that the plagues were a battle between the Egyptian pantheon of gods and YHWH. Hapi was the god of the nile. Heket was depicted as a frog. Hathor often depicted by a cow. And maybe the plague of darkness the most telling of all. Ra was the sun god, Rameses II the divine son of Ra. Defeated by YHWH.
That brings us to Passover. This story affects my sense of God. How could he be responsible for the deaths of all the first born? A different time, facing the most powerful man in the world. Maybe it was the only way to get his attention. But even today, the descendants of the Jews believe that God wept at his action. Part of the Passover meal is a saltwater dip recognizing God’s tears. In Dreamworks’ “Prince of Egypt,” they are unable to show a crying God, but Moses is depicted sobbing and going to his knees in heartache at the tragedy.
For Christians, we remember the Passover as the night Jesus gathered his disciples and transformed the meal into the institution of the Last Supper. “Eat this bread, drink this wine in remembrance of me.” In the meal, we meet Jesus and remember all he has done for us and the promises he has given us.
Let us also create family traditions around Christmas, Good Friday and Easter, in which we can tell the stories, teaching them to our families, and remembering. Amen.