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March 21, 2021 1:00 am
Very few people have an easy road through life. Most of us will face trials we never expected. When calamities come, merely human resources are not enough to sustain us. Can God be trusted to see us through life’s tough times? Yes! And often, it’s only after the storm passes that we can see God’s hand in the trials we’ve been called to endure.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Very few people have an easy road through life. Most if not all of us will face calamities. We never expected.
When these times come our normal resources are not enough to sustain us.
We are tempted to ask whether God can be trusted to see us through life's tough times. Often it's only after the storm passes that we can see God's hand in the trials we've been called to endure from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer today, you'll hear the second of two messages on what happens when life is hard later in our program. Erwin Blitzer will turn again to Exodus chapter 5 with more of the story of Moses, a man finding God in a tight place. Pastor Blitzer comes now to open today's service were so glad that you are here today to worship along with us and we have been praying that God would lead us in such a way that our lives might be transformed in his presence for his glory. So would you join me as we pray and first a moment of silence our father, we want to thank you today for your presence. We rejoice that you are here among your people to instruct us to guide us to open our hearts to glorify your name we give this service to you with great anticipation, and we ask that those who have come with burdens may indeed cast them on the Lord, knowing that they will be sustained and helped we are yours and we are here for you in Jesus name, amen and he and and and and going out you-and you and me behind before me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me to lofty for me to attain and having if I make my bed. I even your hand will guide me your right. Surely the darkness and light become night around me even the darkness will not be dark to you to sign my foot to write to you for you and you want your my frame was not hidden from you I need a place when I was woven together in the depth of the earth. I all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be known as the me in the way I will and life is hard going to begin with the story of a friend of mine who does not attend Moody Church and you gave me permission to share his story just so that you know what he is currently going through.
He's had two employment opportunities in the past.
In the business world and in each instance promises that were made to him were not fulfilled. He tried to recoup what belongs to him in court, but he was ruled against recouping any of what he deserved.
He's been without a job for about a year and 1/2 or two, I suspect, and so his houses in foreclosure is going through a divorce.
In fact, this past week he was in court over the divorce, which he hopes will be finalized is life is divorcing him in the middle of this.
One of his children has a serious addiction problem. Life is hard, you're probably wondering how he's doing and I'll tell you how he's doing at the end of the message, but first of all of want to remind you that no matter what you are going through. You could stay here tonight and you could tell me your story and I would know this, that somebody else somewhere has a worse story to tell. Number one and number two somebody with through your trial and was totally successful. You are not alone and what you endure.
This morning on my computer. There was an email regarding a student in one of our universities here in the United States who committed suicide because of sexual abuse that occurred in his youth. The darkness and the depression.
If you are going through that. Let me tell you that there is help, there are people who care whatever you do don't choose the suicide route but continue to believe and to connect with others who can pull you through those dark times because somebody somewhere went through what you've gone through and they've made it successfully well today.
In the second of this message series entitled, when life is hard want you to take your Bibles and turn to Exodus chapter 2 and were going to be looking at a few passages in Exodus, but you can certainly turn to Exodus chapter 2 but I'm going to begin in Exodus chapter 1 Exodus chapter 1, and I want us to see how life was hard in those days for the children of Israel. I'm going to just pick it up simply in the middle of verse 14 of chapter 1. Speaking of the Egyptians. It says and they made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and all kinds of work in the field and all their work. They ruthlessly made them work as slave. So first of all, you have slavery you also go have attempted genocide because you'll notice that the king of Egypt said that the midwives were to kill all male infants were born. They were to be thrown into the Nile River. Surely some of the midwives carried this out.
Some didn't, because that's the way Moses escape you can see this and by the way, the word genocide was coined to explain and describe what happened to the Armenians when the Turks invaded their country in 1915. You know that things were so bad that I was reading that when women were on their way to a death camp. Some of them took their babies on the train and as they were crossing a river, a bridge on the river. They took their babies and threw them out into the water, wanting them to drown rather than go through what they knew, awaited them at the other and life is hard.
So here you have slavery you have genocide and then as if that wasn't enough. Moses eventually goes to the king, and says please let my people go, and the king of Egypt is angry about it and you know what he does now. He says in chapter 5 verse five Pharaoh said, behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foreman. You shall no longer give the people strive to make bricks as in the past.
Let them go and gather straw for themselves, but the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose upon them. You shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle now just think slavery working morning till night being beaten. The text says that they were sometimes beaten and now suddenly you're told that you have to even gather your own straw and make the same quota of bricks and one burden is light upon another tragedies oftentimes come in pairs and may I ask you today. What is the straw that you are asked to gather what is that last straw that seems to break your back. The last thing in a series of hard times. Whatever it is the children of Israel were forced to endure it.
They had no opportunity for unions no opportunity to redress the wrongs no opportunity to argue that they should be paid more. They were locked into a terrible system and there they were times were hard last time I mentioned to you that James McDonald has a book entitled, when life is hard. I've not read it.
I understand that it is very good but there is a booklet that I did read it is entitled at red sea rules. The idea is that there are rules that you follow when you cross the Red Sea by a man by the name of Robert Morgan.
The little booklet and I found it helpful and I have to say that some of the ideas that I'll share with you today are actually inspired at least by that book. But what I like to do now is to give you a five point program that you and I must follow when times are hard to so that we can get through life and the hard times successfully.
If life isn't hard now. Believe me, it will eventually become hard because all of us go through those deserts that we spoke about last time. Worst of all number one them. You are where you are by divine appointment. You are where you are by divine appointment. Let me ask you the question. Who was it that led the Israelites into Egypt. It was God who kept them there. It was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he might impose more laws and more strictures upon the people landed demand from them more work.
It was God. God told Moses in advance I'm been a hard Pharaoh's heart is not gonna let you go.
He's going to make things worse with all of God, you are where you are today by God's will and purpose you think a pastor looks or it's my fault. I mean I did things that I should not have done and so they were there because they had no choice.
I had a choice and I made a series of bad choices.
Couple of things.
First of all if you deeply repent and turn from those bad choices. Not only will God forgive you, but then you're going to have to experience what could be called self forgiveness and you need to realize that it that moment God has you eggs that lay where he wants you.
You are where you are by divine appointment, and God knows exactly where you will. He knows the speed of the wind and the height of the waves. He knows the longer chewed, and the latitude of your little boat. He knows every single slats on that boat.
Every frame of it and he knows exactly and sees you and today you are where you are by divine appointment.
Andrew Murray, man from another era was going through a very excruciating time and he wrote these words.
First of all, he brought me here it is by his will that I am in this great place in that I will rest. Next, he will keep me here in his love and give me grace to behave as his child, then he will make the trial a blessing. Teach me some lessons. He intends me to learn working in me the grace that he intends to bestow Andy and his good time he can bring me out again how and when he knows so in summary, I'm hereby God's appointment in his keeping under his training for his time, you are where you are exactly where God wants you. Second, I think it's important for us to realize that you must believe a divine promise. Now is the time that you cleave to the promises of God.
Now let's see how this works out in chapter 6 God reveals to Moses that he's going to deliver his people. Your Bibles are open to chapter 6 and it says in verse six, say. Therefore, to the people of Israel.
I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will deliver you from slavery and redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment so Moses is supposed to tell the people about the promise that God made so that's what Moses does in verse nine he spoke thus to the people of Israel but you know what I should read it this way. Moses spoke to the people of Israel and they said all that's wonderful. Now we can go to work tomorrow with a great deal of encouragement and hope because we know that God is on our side.
We know that he's going to deliver us and were going to accept this gladly is God's will. Verse nine Moses spoke to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. They were cynical about this and I believe that probably listening to me today there is some of you who fit that category. Exact you're going through a time that is so hard, God seems so far away.
The miracle that you have been expecting has not come year after year after year, something like Moses in the desert for 40 years and you say to yourself, what good are the promises where are they when I need them all as this message progresses. It is my intention to help you to believe and to trust again, but what you really need is to is to remind yourself of the promises you say well what are some of the promises. How do you like this one. Keep your life free of money, be content with what you have, for he has said I will never leave you nor forsake you. Therefore God is my helper, I will not fear what man on to me.
Did you know that in that verse, I will not leave you and forsake you. There are five negatives in the Greek text.
I don't know how to say it exactly, but it would be something like this I will know not leave you, I will known never not forsake you five times God says never, never, never, never, never, I'm going to be with you through your experience. Now there's a verse that you should put onto your refrigerator. Did I already give you the reference. Of course everybody who's been saved six months knows the reference for that verse don't they just in case you don't, it is the 13th chapter of Hebrews chapter 5 verses five and six, God says I'm going to be with you.
There is the divine presence.
What about the divine intention all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.
God has some good that he wants to bring out of your situation, God would never have you in the place where you are unless he intends that for your good God can be believed. Ideas with you. There's 1/3 point that we must do during those times when times are hard and that is you must cry out for divine help.
You must cry out for divine help notice in chapter 2. Already we have the phrase that the children of Israel cried up to the Lord. I'm in chapter 2 and I'm looking at verse 23, because of their slavery. They cried out for help and their cries for rescue from slavery came up to God and God.
That expression is especially found in the Psalms, David repeatedly says and I cry unto the Lord. In my desperation I cried to the Lord.
He says listen to his words in the book of second Samuel in my distress I called upon God to my God. I called from his temple he heard my voice and my cry came to his years. See, this isn't just a regular kind of prayer and other times a resale God blessed me, keep me safe.
Give me a good day. I mean there are times when you can't pray like that. There are times when life is so hard and everything is against you and you have to say. Like Peter, who began to go down in the water, Lord, save me one of the shortest prayers in the Bible there times for short prayers for the prayer of desperation. See most people don't pray unless they're desperate and so God leads us into desperate situations. The Greek text, and the Hebrew text. But talk about crying up to the Lord, are very intense. You are absolutely desperate and you cry up to God, then pour out your soul before him. It's a sign of desperation, but it is also a sign of yielded if you cry to God. You not only are desperate, but you're saying God anything I surrender. I give up the weapons of a rebel you see in the book of Joshua we have a very interesting story, this is Joshua chapter 7, you member the Israelites go up against AI and their defeated 3000 men are dead, and the Bible says and Joshua fell on his face and cry to the Lord and you know God told him get up goddesses. The only time I know in the Bible when God interrupted somebody's prayer and says stop praying because he says there's sin in Israel's camp take care of the sin and then will will talk if you're sleeping with your boyfriend. There's really no use. You know, crying up to God for blessing you can cry up to God as to how to get out of the destructive relationship, but when you cried in God.
It is a cry saying God what ever you demand I am willing to submit it to desperation and yield goodness. Well, there's another step that we must take and that is we must wait for divine timing wait for divine timing. Now the Israelites had to wait God says in chapter 6, I'm going to deliver you, but the deliverance doesn't come and God has to go through a series of plagues he has to prepare the people he has to work in the heart of the Egyptians, so that the Egyptians actually gave the children of Israel money gave them all of their jewelry. All of their silver all of their trinkets.
They gave them all to Israel and then so God needed time. By the way, why did God do that and I'm sure that when the Israelites finally left. They thought to themselves when a windfall you know they were going into the homes there in the Egyptians were saying oh there's a gold necklace you want to take that will take this one to and they thought to themselves, while just to think were getting all of this gold and silver. God had in mind. He had the tabernacle in mind. That's why the people were getting it.
They thought it was for themselves. They didn't understand that any windfall is for the purpose of the kingdom.
It is never for us but anyway God had to take them through that teach them the Passover, they had to go through the Red Sea, all in God's timetable Bible says in Psalm 37 My Soul Way to dial on God, he says, my expectation comes from him. That does not mean passivity doesn't mean that you don't do anything, but you are submitted to God's timetable will you say, what if what about those Israelites who died, who never got to go. They were older they never experienced deliverance that is true, but as we shall see in a moment.
Even they could've walked with confidence before God. If they had only believed yes there are some trials will never be taken from us. There's some things that you can pray for it may be a health issue. It may be a relational issue, no matter how long you call on God. I think that Paul's thorn in the flesh dogged him until the day he died, but God is doing something deep even when the trial stays but we wait for his timing and not ours. Finally – this is really the most important and that is that we realize that the purpose of all this. Why were the people there in Egypt going through such hard times why a slavery why a genocide why a straw that you have to collect. I mean what's going on in the text know the whole thing funnels to it all funnels to this in chapter 14 when they are finally leaving and they're finally saying goodbye to Egypt and they are on their way. We read these interesting words chapter 14 verse 15 the Lord said to Moses, why do you cry to me. Now there's another instance in which God says you know there's a time to cry to me and then there's a time to act. Tell the people of Israel to go forward, lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divided that the people of Israel. They go through the sea on dry ground and I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them and there is folks underline it in your Bible. It is underlined in mind I will get the glory over Pharaoh verse 18. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I have gotten Lori over Pharaoh. The whole purpose whether the Israelites sought or not with a person who was a slave understood it or didn't understand it.
God was after one thing and that is going you say are you telling me that God is willing to put people through slavery. God is willing to put people through excruciating circumstances, even to the point of death, just for his glory and the answer to that question is, it depends on how much you value God. If God is ultimately of ultimate value in the end, the answer is yes, because nothing else really matters except his glory and this morning before I got out of bed. I prayed what I hope you pray every morning before you get out of bed. Oh God, to today glorify yourself in me at my expense because there's nothing else that matters best illustration in the Bible, you have to turn to this. If you have your Bible with you. It's in the 12th chapter of John. John chapter 12.
It is Jesus himself who gives us an illustration and a powerful model to follow when you're going through pain and excruciating difficulty. Jesus knows that he's about to die in John chapter 12 and he prays to his father in verse 27 now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say father, save me from this hour.
I pray that for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name. Shall I pray that all get out of this difficult situation.
This type place shall I pray for deliverance, not if it's not the father's will. Because there's something more important than our happiness.
Something even more important than our health something more important than all the things that we strive for and that is ultimately we bow in submission and say in my life, Lord, be glorified at my expense.
Let's nail this down for ourselves even more specifically, as we think about our own lives. I want to give you some implications in the first one is quite long so I'm gonna repeat it maybe two or three times because I want you to write it down first implication is simply this, that it is not necessary to see the big picture in order to believe that God has one not necessary to see the big picture. As long as we can believe that God has one word. Sometimes we don't see the purpose of it all, but we don't have to. If we believe God has a purpose that is sufficient. Rebecca and I have seven beautiful grandchildren, but actually we have eight our first granddaughter Sarah would've been our oldest grandchild was stillborn.
She to been a teenager. Now, as we held her in our arms. My daughter, weeping, said dad why did this happen to us while I gave an answer.
I want you to write down because somebody may ask you a question like that sometime was perhaps the most profound theological answer I have ever given in my life. My answer was I don't know we don't know all of God's hidden purposes, we can read the fine print of his diary.
We can see all of the purposes that God has in the death of a little girl that would've been so well taken care of. We we don't we don't understand that.
Don't have to understand in order to believe that there are purposes that God's way is best and so often in life. During hard times we don't see the purposes we don't know the outcome. We don't know all of the hidden things that God is up to, but is God's way. Best, blessed is the person who says yes his way is best don't have to know we live not by explanations but by promises and there's a big difference.
Second, I'd like to say that Tim during a hard time and actually during anytime we should spend more time we should spend more time looking up.
Then we do.
Looking around at all that you do during a trial is to see the wind and the waves and all that you see is on ending boredom with no answers. It can certainly lead to despair and hopelessness. But if, in the midst of this, we are committed to the word of God.
We are committed to his promises.
We are we are deeply embedded in our pursuit of God and we use all of the trials of life to get to know him even if it means a demotion, even if it means that our ministries are curtailed because we believe that God is bigger than all this when we begin to do that, even in the midst of our trials, we discover God is there. When God really wants to prune us. He uses a knife and it hurts. Have you ever seen a gardener vine grower that is pruned the vine in the middle of the floor in the middle of the patch there. There is all kinds of twigs that are deeply cut but he knows what he's after more fruit.
Cut back. I'm after something more important than what you can see I quoted it before, but I love the words of Spurgeon old blessed acts of sorrow that cuts a pathway to my God.
By chopping down the tall trees of human comfort. It's a pathway to God.
Finally, if you don't submit to God in your trial trial might be wasted. Not everybody passes a trial successfully. There are those you know who go into unbelief.
There are those who go into rebellion. There are those who go into all kinds of sins because they figure. Where is God anyway. I might as well forget about him, and so the trial does them no good. You see in every trial, Satan's intention is to ruin you. God's intention is to grow you and that's why preaching this message because I want you to make the right decision in the midst of it. I began this message by talking about a friend of mine out of work stiff if we can put it that way by two different employers not getting what was due him child struggling with an addiction. His wife is divorcing him had a lot of physical problems hospitalized week or two ago because of mysterious issues that are going on within him reduced to food stamps. Let me read you an email he sent just this week. First of all, he says that as a kid. He watched his father very closely because his father was a pastor and he said I wanted to see whether my father really believed God, whether or not he had the real deal. He says them he was at a meeting where that is.
This this guy, this friend of mine was at a meeting where his father was voted out of the church. He said I saw such anger in people's faces. I couldn't understand the reaction so my father was out of the pulpit for a long time. He struggled, he says that we had very little money, and he goes on to show and to illustrate what that little money meant, but then he goes on to say, I noticed that my father's faith remained firm and I knew it was for real. His father wasn't bitter. His father worked in other venues and then he said, I noticed even when my dad was in his final days in his mind was not fully there all the time when he prayed.
It was like he was connecting to a power source different than any other time, and he prayed with gusto, vigor and faith as he had done in his healthier times. I was amazed at the transformation that would occur whenever my dad would pray. When I was a kid I prayed that God would give me a double portion of my father's spirit. Maybe these difficulties I'm going through our leading me to a double portion of his spirit and maybe my kids will see in me.
What I saw on my father, someone totally committed to the Lord and not wavering in his faith no matter what the difficulty is in these difficult times. I too have been humbled. In fact, I have been humbled many times for periods in my adult life. I've had to accept the fact that I failed made bad decisions succeeded in some things failed in others but I believe I have remained faithful and honest and now he describes what life is like now more than ever I feel empathy for other people's struggles as never before. I'd been taken into areas of society that I've tried to avoid manual labor is always been something I wanted to avoid but I've done it recently in odd jobs I've been directed by God. In recent months to do some of this. I've met men in different Stratus of the economy and social ladder. I found people to love everywhere in every place I've been I've been living with great reliance on a food pantry and food stamps. I get to feel what others feel when they are waiting to check out a grocery store and the clerk says with a loud voice. Oh, food stamps, I get to feel what it is like to take cans of food and milk from the food pantry and have people see you carrying them out the door in the midst of this, God is working in my life greatly humbled before him, no matter what you're going through. Remember this somebody somewhere someplace has gone through something worse than you are experiencing and they held to their faith and they made it on the other side. You know the illustration that I gave earlier about the children of Israel being in slavery actually in the Bible, the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt is really a picture of our redemption the Bible pictures us as slaves to sin if you will base and your slave. Jesus said how many of you whenever sin tells you to do something you do it doesn't have to be an addiction. But you and I are slaves of sin and it's not Moses.
Now that we believe that we believe all that Moses said but our deliverer is Jesus. The Bible says who came to save his people from their sins. I don't want to end this message without giving an opportunity to those of you who don't know God personally because you've never received Christ, and though you would not admit it likely maybe the Holy Spirit has shown you that you're a slave to sin and you need to be purchased, redeemed by Christ when you need to do is to open your life to him and say Lord Jesus. I receive you as my Savior my deliverer, my Redeemer, because that's why he came so in this message.
There's something for everybody. Is there for those of you who haven't gone through a trial. I hope you took notes because one is on the way for those of you are going through a trial. You have the five-point program and for those of you who don't know Christ personally. You have the opportunity to believe. Would you join me as we pray and would you pray please because God is watching and listening. Father we pray, help us to cleave to your promises to believe that we are where we are. By divine appointment. Help us Lord, we pray to wait for your timing and to realize that at the end of the day. Nothing else matters except that you get glory through us for your honor.
All God do that in us.
Whatever work you desire to do now is your people pray to you. We ask that you shall hear them all on today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin lutes spoke again about the experience of Moses.
In part two of this series when life is hard. The church is under attack like never before. Rights we once assumed we had our being torn away. Erwin lutes has written an explosive new book.
We will not be silenced to help us respond courageously to our culture's assault on Christianity. This book will be sent with our thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our just call us at 1-800-215-5001. Ask about. We will not be silenced when you call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moody offeror.com that's moody offeror.com.
Join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church