The Deliverance of God.
Exodus 3-4, Matthew 27
Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” – Exodus 3:7-8 ESV
Slavery, abuse, hopelessness, powerlessness. Sound familiar? It should if you are a believer in Christ. The state of the people of Israel living in the land of Egypt was similar to that of every individual prior to their salvation experience. Living in slavery to sin and under the control of the enemy, they were helpless and hopeless to do anything about their condition. But God saw the plight of man and provided a deliverer. He recognized their hopeless condition and determined to do something about it. God did what man could not do. He provided a way of escape and a means of deliverance that was beyond the realm of human imagination, and not bound by the limits of human power.
What does this passage reveal about God?
God is in the delivery business. He delivered Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees. He delivered Jacob back from Paddan-aram where he had fled to escape the anger of his brother, Esau. He delivered Joseph from the confines of the prison and placed him in the palace. He delivered Jacob and his family from the famine and relocated them into the land of Egypt. He delivered Moses from living as a fugitive in Midian to becoming the divinely-appointed leader who would deliver the people of Israel from the oppressive conditions in Egypt, and lead them to the land God had promised to Abraham generations earlier. God delivers because man can’t. Without God’s call, Abraham would have remained right where he was. Without God’s assurances and blessing, Jacob would never have risked a reunion with his brother. Without God’s supernatural, providential leading, Joseph would have never ended up a slave in Egypt, let alone that nation’s second-most-powerful leader. Without God’s intervention, Moses would have remained content to live out his days as a shepherd of sheep, rather than a shepherd of the people of God. And without God’s clearly articulated plan of salvation, the people of Israel would have found themselves living as slaves in a foreign land rather than free men enjoying the blessings of the Promised Land.
Ultimately, the story of Exodus is simply a picture of a much greater story of redemption and freedom. It foreshadows a much more important and long-lasting deliverance to come – the one we find recorded in the gospel of Matthew. Here we have the story of yet another shepherd who came to provide release and rest for the sheep of God. But this shepherd happened to be the very Son of God. He was delivered up so that we might be delivered out of our slavery to sin and death. He died so that we might have life. He made our freedom possible by paying the ransom required. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NLT). Jesus described Himself by saying, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11 ESV). He willingly sacrificed His life in order to deliver us from slavery to sin and provide us with a freedom that includes the rights and privileges of sons and daughters of God Himself. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 ESV). God has provided deliverance through His Son, Jesus Christ. He has provided freedom from sin and death. He has provided a restored relationship with Himself. And He will one day deliver us into His very presence where we will enjoy freedom from sin and the pleasure of His company forever.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Man needs a deliverer, and human beings – apart from God’s help – always make lousy deliverers. If left to our own devices, we have a tendency to screw up even the basic freedoms we enjoy. The Jews of Jesus day, while living under the heavy hand of Rome, still viewed themselves as free men. They refused to acknowledge the Roman government or submit to their authority over their lives. And while they still longed for a deliver, they had become content with their lot in life and grown complacent about the reality of their circumstances. Like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water, they were oblivious to the danger of their predicament and refused to see God’s hand-picked solution to their problem. The Messiah was standing right in front of them and all they could say was, “Let him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:23 ESV). And ever since, countless men and women have continued to refuse God’s chosen deliverer and perfect plan of salvation.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
God’s plan didn’t make a whole lot of sense to Moses. He even argued with God about it, coming up with all kinds of excuses why it wouldn’t work. But God’s plan didn’t need Moses’ approval. Moses didn’t have to like it or agree with it. He simply had to obey it and trust that God knew what He was doing. That God would choose Moses as His designated deliverer made was as ridiculous to Moses as it would prove to be to the people of Israel. That God could make one of the most powerful men on the face of the earth to willingly set free his substantial, non-paid workforce was a lot for anyone to swallow. None of this was logical. Because it was supernatural. It was going to be a God-thing. The ways of God rarely make sense to us as human beings. Reason has to take a back seat at times when God is at work. Common sense rarely fares well when attempting to explain the uncommon and inexplicable activities of God. That God’s plan for Jesus included His death made no sense to Peter. That a suffering Savior was just as important to God’s plan of redemption as a conquering Christ was difficult for the disciples to comprehend. But God always delivers on His terms, not ours. His salvation is of divine origin, not earthly. The words on the sign that hung above Jesus’ head on the cross, while meant to note His crime, were actually a statement of fact. “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37 ESV). That is exactly who Jesus was and still is. He was their deliver and He was also their sin substitute, taking on the punishment they deserved and offering them a means by which they might enjoy freedom from sin, a right relationship with God, and an eternity in His presence. The freedom Moses provided for the people of Israel would prove to be short lived. It would only be a matter of generations before they found themselves in slavery again, living in a distant land and serving a foreign people. But the freedom Christ offers is of a permanent nature. “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36 NLT).
Father, You have provided a means by which I can enjoy freedom from sin and the condemnation of death. It is hard to explain, difficult to understand, but completely free for the taking. Thank You for sending Your Son as my deliverer. Thank You for setting me free and transforming me from a slave to Your son. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men