“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)
God just said he would free the Israelites from their oppressive work conditions in Egypt, which undoubtedly brought Moses great joy. After all, he once killed a guy for the way he treated an Israelite worker (see Exodus 2:11-12).
But what God said next broke Moses’s grin: “I am sending you,” Moses, to do this work. Exodus 3:11 - 4:10 records four excuses Moses makes for why he’s not the right person for this job. Today, I want to look at two of those excuses we borrow all the time to avoid doing the hard things God calls us to do.
Excuse #1: I’m not qualified! Immediately after hearing God’s words in today’s passage, Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) to which God replies, “I will be with you” (see Exodus 3:11-12). In other...
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians. (Exodus 3:7-8a)
We’re in a seven-week series extracting wisdom for our work from the exodus, and in today’s passage, we find the impetus and trigger for this monumental event: Work! Or to be more specific, the horrible working conditions of God’s people.
The Egyptians had “made [the Israelites’] lives bitter with harsh labor…[and] worked them ruthlessly” (Exodus 1:14), screaming “Get back to your work!” (Exodus 5:4), and, “Make the work harder” (Exodus 5:9). So God’s people “groaned in their slavery....and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God” (Exodus 2:23).
And as today’s passage shows us, God heard the cry of his people and acted...
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. (Exodus 1:15-17)
The midwives in today’s passage play a starring role in Exodus 1. What can Shiphrah and Puah teach us about our work today? At least two things.
First, that God uses the nobodies of this world to do his work. To fully appreciate this truth, we must understand the context of today’s passage. The King of Egypt (AKA Pharaoh) had a problem. In Exodus 1:9-10 he’s quoted as saying, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us….we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave...
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6a)
We’re in a four-week series exploring the vocations of some of the characters of Christmas. This morning, we come to the principal of the nativity scene: Jesus himself.
Now, you may be thinking, Hold up a minute, Jordan, this is a series on “Christmas Vocations” and Jesus didn’t yet have a vocation lying there in the manger. That is precisely what I want you and I to focus on today.
While Jesus would one day hold vocations as a carpenter, preacher, and king, for the first years of his life he had no work. Instead, the Creator chose to be entirely dependent on the work of his creatures. Theologian J.I. Packer marveled at this truth saying that “the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.”
Do you see the absurdity...
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16)
Since our first date 16 years ago, my wife Kara and I go to the historic Tampa Theatre every December to see It’s a Wonderful Life. And even though the film is more than 75 years old, the theater is packed every year. Why? Because the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey, encapsulates a timeless desire of the human heart to do work that matters.
If you haven’t seen the film, here’s the gist. George Bailey was raised in the small town of Bedford Falls, but he dreamed of doing “something big, something important.” But life got in the way and George remained stuck in his hometown working an obscure job he saw little purpose in. It took a literal miracle for him to see just how impactful his life and work had been.
Scripture tells us nothing about who made the manger Jesus slept in his first night on earth. But I’m willing to...
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed. (Matthew 2:1-3)
Those last words are one of the great understatements in all of Scripture. Herod was more than “disturbed” by the news of Jesus. He was apoplectic because this new “king of the Jews” represented a direct threat to his throne.
Herod knew there can only be one king in a kingdom. Either you are on the throne or someone else is. There is no in-between—no compromise whatsoever. Which is why, after hearing of this threat to his career, Herod unleashed one of the most grotesque campaigns of violence in history (see Matthew 2:16).
But Herod isn’t the only king we see in today’s passage. We’re also introduced to the Magi—the...
[Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7 KJV)
It may surprise you to learn that the infamous “innkeeper” of the nativity is never explicitly mentioned in Scripture. But clearly, someone had to deliver the news to Mary and Joseph that there was “no room for them in the inn.”
What can we learn from this nameless hotelier? At least two things.
First, God often chooses to reveal himself to us at work. Whoever this innkeeper was, they were undoubtedly swamped that first Christmas Eve as a census brought an influx of travelers to Bethlehem (see Luke 2:1-3). You can imagine the innkeeper rushing to check people in and clean out rooms, just trying to keep his or her head above water.
That’s when God literally showed up on the innkeeper’s doorstep. God didn’t meet the innkeeper in the temple but at their place of...
For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)
The parallels between C.S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy are eerie, to say the least. Both men were Irish. Both went by the nickname Jack. Both were war veterans but ultimately gained fame through their writing and speaking. And both men died on November 22, 1963, within one hour of each other.
From that point forward, their paths diverged considerably. Kennedy’s death dominated the front page of every major newspaper on earth. In most papers, Lewis’s death wasn’t even mentioned. While more than 800,000 people lined the streets to watch Kennedy’s funeral procession, there was no procession at all...
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We’re in a four-week series exploring how God’s Word shaped the work of C.S. Lewis—the author of Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia, and other beloved works. One of the most obvious ways the Word shaped Lewis’s work is found in today’s passage: For most of his life post-salvation, Lewis was in intentional community with other Christians.
During the 1930s and 40s, Lewis met on a near-weekly basis with a group called the Inklings, which was marked by three distinct characteristics.
First, the core members of the Inklings were all serious Christians, including Lewis, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams, and Lord of the Rings creator, J.R.R. Tolkien. Notes from their meetings make...
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
Before heading off to WWI, C.S. Lewis made a pact with his friend, Paddy Moore: If either were to die on their respective battlefields, the survivor would look after the deceased’s families.
Shortly thereafter, Paddy died; and after being discharged on account of a war injury of his own, Lewis made good on his promise and moved in with Paddy’s sister and mother.
At first, the Lewis/Moore household was a happy one. But over time, Mrs. Moore became a thorn in Lewis’s side. According to one Lewis biographer, “He would be writing or studying in his room when he would suddenly hear a terrible crash from somewhere downstairs and a plaintive cry from Mrs. Moore. In great anxiety, he would run down to find that she had tripped over something and was not in the least...