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The Origin of the Jewish People - Life of Moses Part 1

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2024 10:00 pm

The Origin of the Jewish People - Life of Moses Part 1

So What? / Lon Solomon

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What's Right What's Left
Pastor Ernie Sanders
Sound of Faith
Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

Hey, you know, maybe you heard the story about the fourth grade teacher who offered twenty dollars to any one of her students who could correctly answer the following question.

The question was, who was the greatest man to ever live? Well, one student said George Washington and another one said Martin Luther King Jr. and another one said Moses. And finally, this little Jewish boy in class named Stuart spoke up and he said, the answer is Jesus Christ. And the teacher said, you're right. And she took the twenty dollars and she gave it to him. She said, but Stuart, she said of all the people in this class, I would have expected you to say Moses more than any of them. And he looked at her and he said, ma'am, he said the truth is I really do believe the answer is Moses, but he said business is business. What do you think?

That's kind of cute, huh? All right. Well, you know, when we look back over all the people who have ever lived on this earth, I think we'd all agree that the greatest man to have ever lived was indeed the Lord Jesus. But when we move on to the next ten men on the list, I would certainly consider Moses to be one of the people who deserves to be there. And today we're going to begin a new series entitled The Life of Moses. We're going to go all the way back to the beginning and look at the life of this great man of God, beginning when he leads the children out of slavery in Egypt, all the way to leading them to the border of the promised land.

And you might say, well, Lon, you know, that's all right, but I mean, we're followers of Jesus Christ. I mean, we ought to be studying the New Testament. Why are we studying the Old Testament?

Well, the answer is given to us by the apostle Paul. Romans 15, verse 4, Paul said, For whatever was written down in the Old Testament was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. You see, God deliberately chose certain historical events that happened in the lives of the great Old Testament saints, people like Moses, and God purposely recorded those events in the Bible because those events contain huge spiritual lessons for us as followers of Christ today. And so for the next few months we're going to allow the life of Moses to become our living classroom.

We're going to allow God to teach us these spiritual lessons that are illustrated in the life of this great man. But before we actually go to the book of Exodus and dig into the life of Moses, we need to do just a little bit of background work. You see, the story, of course, is all about how Moses led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land.

So there are some questions that this begs before we get into it. Like, number one, how did the Jewish people come into being in the first place? Like, number two, how did the promised land become their personal inheritance? Like, number three, how did the Jewish people end up in Egypt to start with, so Moses had to lead them out? And finally, question number four, why would God have sent his people into Egypt if the promised land were really their personal land?

Well, we're going to answer all those questions leading up to actually digging in to the life of Moses. And today we want to cover the first two, namely, how the Jewish people came into being, their origin. And second of all, how the promised land, the land of Israel, became their unique possession. Now friends, the origin of the Jewish people starts with a man named Abraham. Around 2000 B.C., God decided to prepare a special race of people to become a special nation in order to carry out a special purpose for him.

This is the Jewish people. And the special purpose that God had was three-fold. Number one, through them to give the true knowledge of God to the world. Number two, through them to give the written Word of God, the Bible, to the world.

And finally, number three, through them to give the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, to mankind. Now let's go back and see how this people really began. If you brought a Bible today, I want you to open it with me to Genesis chapter 12. First book in the Bible, Genesis 12. If you didn't bring a Bible, reach under the armrest there in your chair. And we've got a copy of the Bible for you. We're going to be on page 8. Page 8, Genesis chapter 12.

And here's what we read. Genesis chapter 12, verse 1. Now the Lord said to Abraham, leave your country and your relatives and your father's household and go to the land that I will show you. God called Abraham to leave Ur in the land of Mesopotamia, one of the most prosperous and comfortable areas in the world of his day, and to follow God out into parts unknown. Now I'm sure Abraham had a lot of questions for God. I'm sure he said, well God, where am I going, Lord? And the Lord said to him, well I'll tell you when you get there. And I'm sure Abraham said, well Lord, how long will it take me to get there? And God said, a while. And Abraham said, well Lord, how many people am I going to know when I arrive there? And God said, nobody. But God said, I'll tell you what I'm going to do, Abraham. I'm going to give you six promises that if you agree to follow me, these six promises belong to you, uniquely to you.

And I'm giving them to you to sustain you as you walk out into uncharted territory. To put it another way, friends, God asked Abraham to step out by faith and to walk into completely unknown territory with only the promises of God to sustain him. What did Abraham do?

Well look at verse four. So Abraham went forth just as the Lord had spoken to him. And by going forth, he ratified these six promises as belonging uniquely to him for all of eternity. And these six promises make up what we call today the Abrahamic covenant, the Abrahamic contract or agreement that God made with Abraham if Abraham would obey God. Let me show you what these six promises were. Number one, verse two. God says, obey me Abraham, go out, and here's what I'm going to do. Number one, I'm going to make you into a great nation.

Now did this happen? Well, there are thirteen million Jews in the world today, but they wield an influence in our world that far exceeds their actual population. Why is that? Because that's exactly what God promised Abraham he was going to do. Number two, obey me Abraham, and I will bless you as an individual, Abraham.

This happened as well. Look over in chapter thirteen, verse two, the Bible says now Abraham was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. Abraham became one of the wealthiest men in the entire ancient near east of his day.

Why? Because God says you obey me Abraham and this is what I'm going to do for you. Number three, verse two continues, obey me Abraham and I will make your name great.

Did this happen? Well, yes it did. The world's three great religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, all trace their lineage back to Abraham as their forefather. Abraham's name has become a household word in our world today and that's exactly what God said was going to happen. He said Abraham, I'll make your name great. Number four, verse three, all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you Abraham if you'll obey me. Some interpreters consider this to mean that the Jewish people have brought the human race so many blessings in the areas of medicine and arts and science and technology and philanthropy that this was what God was talking about.

But friends, the New Testament, Galatians three, verse eight makes it clear that what God was really talking about here was not philanthropy or medicine and the arts. God was talking about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah who would be a blessing to every group of people on the face of the earth and who came into the world through Abraham and the Jewish people. Promise number five, verse seven, when Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan, the modern day land of Israel, God said to him, and to your offspring I will give this land. The claim of the Jewish people to the land of Israel goes all the way back to Abraham and God's promise as part of the Abrahamic covenant. And let's be honest and admit that for the 1900 years, the first 1900 years since Christ, it didn't look real good. It looked like God had reneged on his promise. The Jewish people were spread all over the world and dispersed and didn't look like they had a snowbird's chance of ever getting Israel back. But oh guess what?

They're there now. And let me tell you why they're there now, because God made a promise to Abraham that this was their land. And finally number six, God says you obey me Abraham and I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. If somebody treats you and your descendants badly, God says they'll have me to deal with Abraham. And if somebody treats you and your descendants kindly, I will treat those people kindly in return. Now has this happened down through history?

Well if we look down the corridors of time, we'll see that it has. Let me give you a few examples. How about Pharaoh in the book of Exodus? He cursed the Jews and he lost his son. And then there were the Philistines and the Hittites and all the other peoples of the ancient Near East who cursed the Jews and none of them exist anymore.

The Jews do. On the positive side, there were the Persians who under Cyrus the Great and his succeeding rulers were incredibly kind to the Jewish people. They allowed them to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. They allowed them to return and rebuild their temple. In fact, Cyrus even paid for the rebuilding of the temple.

And what happened? God blessed the Persian Empire. It became one of the most stable and long-lived empires in the history of the world. Back on the negative side, how about our friend Haman, who set out to exterminate all the Jews. Read about it in the book of Esther. And God ended up having Haman hung on the very gallows he built to hang Jewish people on. And then there's Alexander the Great on the positive side, who when he marched through the land of Israel, refused to destroy Jerusalem and the temple, left the Jewish people alone and went on to conquer the world. On the negative side, we could put the nation of Spain. Spain in 1492 was the most powerful nation on the face of the earth when they began the inquisition against Jewish people. And immediately after beginning that, Spain began to decline and they have never to this day regained the position of power and authority that they had when they began the inquisition and began killing and persecuting Jewish people. Moving into modern times, we could look at the czars of Russia on the negative side who persecuted Jews and were overthrown. We could look at communist Russia who did the same and it doesn't exist anymore. We could look at Hitler and we all know what he did and how Germany suffered for decades because of that. And finally, on the positive side, we can put the United States of America. In 1948, President Harry Truman became the first leader in the world to recognize the modern state of Israel. No one else was willing to.

He stepped out and did it first. Since then, America has been Israel's number one friend and number one ally in the world. And you know with all the ungodly things that are going on here in the United States of America, I've often heard people question why God has not judged America. In fact, maybe you've heard the quote, if God doesn't judge America, he's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, why does God keep blessing America in spite of all of the sinfulness that we have in our land today? I'll tell you one reason.

I may not know them all, but I know one reason. One reason is Genesis 12, 3, those who bless you Abraham and your descendants, I will bless. And I believe one of the reasons America today is still enjoying the blessing of God is because we're enjoying the fulfillment of one of the promises God made to Abraham 44,000 years ago. Well, let's summarize. God asked Abraham to leave his homeland and follow God to a new land so God could start a new people that he could use in a new way, the Jewish people.

And these are the people that we find 400 years later, 600 years later, living in Egypt when Moses appears to lead them out of slavery and back to the land that God has promised them. Now this is as far as we want to go today because it's time for us to ask our most important question. And I know since I've been back since summer break, we haven't had a chance to ask this and I know how frustrating that has been for some of you.

Some of you have had to go home and take cold showers after services on Sunday morning. So here you go. This is your moment. So make it worthwhile. Now here we go.

Ready? One, two, three. So what? Yeah, so what? I mean as followers of Jesus Christ, what practical lessons do we see in everything that we've talked about today? Now you might say, Lon, I know one practical lesson I see in here and that is never be mean to a Jew.

That's what I see in here. Well, okay, that may not be far from the truth, but alright. But that's not the lesson that we're going to talk about today. We're going to talk about Abraham because Abraham's life was a life that was all about faith. Here was a man who knew how to walk by faith.

Here was a man who knew how to live by faith. Listen to what Hebrews chapter 11 says about him in the New Testament. It says, By faith Abraham, when he was called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, the land of Israel, he obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going. I mean when the male man said to him in Ur in Mesopotamia, hey Abraham, where do I forward your tablets to? Abraham said, I don't know. Just stack them up and one of these days I'll send back and tell you where to send them.

I don't even know where I'm going. Look at verse 9. Hebrews 11, 9 says, By faith Abraham. Hebrews 11, 11 says, By faith Abraham. This was a man who knew how to live and walk by faith. And let me show you something very important.

Don't miss this. Abraham's faith was not based on some kind of ethereal feeling. Biblical faith is not based on some kind of ethereal feeling. Abraham's faith was based on the promises of God.

The six of them that God made to him. Friends, biblical faith is based on the promises of God. All Abraham did, listen, all Abraham did was know the promises of God, believe the promises of God, and act on the promises of God.

That's all he did. That's what biblical faith is all about. You know when I was first in the process of coming to Christ 35 years ago, the man that led me to Christ said, you need to show faith in Jesus. And I said, I'm not exactly sure what that means.

I came from a non-Christian background. I said, what does that really mean? He said, well it's real simple. Jesus promised you that if you would trust what he did on the cross, he would forgive your sins and give you eternal life. Now what you have to decide is whether you believe that and whether you're willing to act on it. That's all faith is. I said, really?

That sounds pretty simple. He said, it is. Friend, if you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus in a real impersonal way, that's all biblical saving faith is. Believing Jesus' promise, you trust him, he'll give you eternal life.

And then acting on it by actually abandoning every other remedy you've ever trusted to get you into heaven and relying on Jesus alone. That's all faith is. And that's all Abraham did. Abraham didn't need to know everything. Abraham didn't need to understand everything.

Abraham didn't need God to explain everything about everything to him in advance. The issue for Abraham was, what has God promised me? And whatever God has promised me, I'm going to believe it, I'm going to act on it, whether I understand everything or not. This is biblical faith, friends.

It consists of three things. Number one, knowing the promises of God right here out of the book. Number two, biblical faith means knowing the character of God. That he always keeps his promises and biblical faith number three means, in light of these two facts, following God everywhere and anywhere he leads us because we know God always keeps his word. In fact, the whole reason God sent Moses, which we're going to look at later, to Egypt to rescue the Jewish people and liberate them from slavery is because God keeps his promises.

Listen to what Moses said. Deuteronomy 7, verse 8, he said to the Jewish people, But the reason the Lord brought you out of Egypt with a mighty hand, the reason the Lord redeemed you from the land of slavery and from the hand of Pharaoh is because the Lord loves you, yes, but watch this, but also because he kept the oath, he swore to your forefathers. Those promises he made Abraham, that's why he did this. He goes on in the next verse to say, Moses does, Know therefore that the Lord your God is a faithful God who keeps his covenants.

He keeps his promises. Friends, God is a promise keeping God and this is the whole basis upon which walking by faith as followers of Christ depends. And that's what we're called to do. The Bible tells us, 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 6, that we walk by faith, not by sight. Now you know, as followers of Jesus Christ in the 35 years that I've been a believer, I've learned that as followers of Jesus Christ, God sometimes leads us the way he led Abraham. God often leads us the way he led Abraham. By this I mean, God often leads us into uncharted waters, like he did Abraham, where we don't have all the answers, like Abraham didn't have, and where things look scary and risky and dangerous, like they look for Abraham.

I mean, maybe it's a disabled child that God gives us. Or sometimes he leads us into financial problems. Maybe sometimes it's cancer. Or sometimes it's trouble at our job. Sometimes God leads us to make the decision to resign from our career and go into full-time Christian service. Or maybe we're at school or we're at work or we're in our neighborhood and being attacked by people who don't like us and we didn't do anything wrong. Maybe it's the death of a loved one or fertility problems or unwanted singleness. Maybe it's divorce in the life of our mom and our dad.

Or one of a thousand other curveballs that this world can throw at us. And friends, when God leads us into this kind of uncharted territory, what he wants from us is for us to live the way Abraham lived. What he wants from us is for us to respond the way Abraham responded.

To trust the promises of God and to follow God and walk by faith. And you know, God's given us some wonderful promises, just like he gave Abraham. Romans 8, 28. For all things work together for good to those who love God. What a wonderful promise. Jeremiah 29, verse 11. For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope and if you'll just trust me and give me time, I'll show you how I'm going to work all this out.

To give you a future and a hope and for your good. And just as with Abraham, friends, the issue in life for you and me as followers of Christ, the issue in life for us today is not whether you and I can explain everything that's happening to us in every circumstance of life. The issue is, are you and I going to believe what God promises us, like Abraham did? Are you and I going to rely on God's promises as being totally and absolutely trustworthy, like Abraham did? So trustworthy that we are willing to step out, like Abraham did. That we are willing to take risk, like Abraham did. That we are willing to let God lead us into uncharted waters with only God's promises to sustain us, like Abraham did. That's the issue. And remember, there are really only two choices in life, my friends. We can trust God, we can doubt God.

That's it. There's nothing in between. We can trust God or we can doubt God. Abraham was a man who said, I don't understand everything, I don't have all the answers, but I got some promises from God and I'm going to trust Him. And you want to know why God called Abraham the friend of God? You know why He loved Abraham?

Because God loves people who live this way. You know, a few years ago we had a man coming to this church, and he was in the Navy, was a captain in the Navy. And he was on the fast track to becoming an admiral. In fact, he was sent out from here to go command a ship, his last sea duty, before he was promoted. And he had already been selected while he was out at sea for his first star. And it was just a matter of coming back from sea duty and getting your star. Well, while he was out there towards the end of the tour, one day his ship was refueling at sea.

The tanker was up alongside and they had the refueling hoses stretched between the two ships. And he was on the bridge and he had to go to the restroom. And so he ran to the restroom quickly and left his executive officer in command. And while he was in the restroom, the executive officer made a mistake and the two ships collided at sea. Well, there went his star, there went his command, and there went his career right out the window.

And it wasn't even his fault. I called him up after I heard about this and I said, Dennis, I said, man, I don't even know what to say. I said, you know, I feel so terrible for you.

You know, all those years you put in, all of the late nights and the early mornings and the time away from your family at sea, and for 20 years you've dedicated your life to getting that star. And now to lose it like that, I said, man, I don't even know what to say to you. And I'll never forget what he said to me. He said, Lon, he said, it's really okay. He said, I have God's promise, Romans 8.28, that all things work together for good, even ships colliding.

All things work together for good. And so he said, really? You know, you don't need to say anything to me. He said, I'm really okay.

I'm getting out of the Navy. I know God's leading me someplace else. I'm not upset about it. I'm not fretting about it. I got Romans 8.28.

I'm good. And I felt like saying to him, is your first name really Abraham? Because that's the way Abraham lived. And friends, I'm here today to ask you as followers of Christ in the 21st century, is your first name Abraham? I mean, do you know what it really means to walk by faith like Abraham did, like this man did? Do you know how to view every circumstance in life through the lens of the Word of God, through the lens of the promises of God, and then to trust God in light of those promises? Remember what I told you. There's only two options in life. We can trust God's promises. We can doubt God's promises.

That's it. And every day, you and I have to make a choice as to what we're going to do. You know, when we were in the worst days of my daughter's disabilities, in the first 10 years of her life, she's 13 today, we were in and out of hospitals all the time. We were sleeping in chairs in the intensive care unit overnight. I mean, we were so exhausted that it hurt.

Some of you know what I mean when I say that. We weren't able to give our other boys the things we should have been giving them. Our whole family, friends, was hanging on by a thread.

By a thread. And I remember what it was like to come home and get on my knees, feeling like I had just been pummeled all night at the hospital or whatever, and say, God, what are you doing to me? Why are you letting this happen? You know what is really happening here, God? And the Holy Spirit would whisper to me, He'd say, Lon, you got two choices today, son. You can trust me or you can doubt me. Those are your two choices. Now you need to make a choice what you're going to do.

Well, you know what? I said, Lord, if those are the only two choices I got, I'm not going to doubt you. I know your character too well.

I know who you are too well. That I just can't do that. So if those are the only two choices I got, then, Lord, I guess today I'm going to trust you. Now, friends, I don't want to imply to you that was easy. That was really hard.

But if those are the only two choices you got, you've got to pick one of them. And by default, if you don't pick trusting God, you will pick doubting God. I'm telling you, looking back now 13 years, I'm so glad in those days that God gave me the strength and the wisdom to choose trusting God. And some of you today are going through some really dark times in your life. Some of you today are walking down some dark roads in your life like Abraham walked and you don't know where you're going and you don't understand why things are going on. It's all right. Remember what I said. God often leads us like he led Abraham.

That's okay. As long as you and I respond the way Abraham responded, it's okay. And what did Abraham do? Abraham walked by faith. He said, Lord, I got your promises, the six of them, and I'm going to walk on faith just trusting you that you're going to keep your word to me.

Friend, that's what you and I have to do every day. Remember what Hebrews 11 says, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Don't doubt God.

There's no reason to. God always tells the truth. God always keeps his word. If he has to send Moses to bring plagues and open the Red Sea to keep his word to you, he will keep his word to you. If he has to suspend the natural laws of the universe to keep his word to you, he will keep his word to you.

Don't doubt him. Don't disgrace him. Don't dishonor him.

That's an affront to him. You want God to bless your life even in the midst of a dark road, you trust him. Just like Abraham did. And I promise you, when the dust settles, God will have kept his word to you, and you'll be glad you trusted him.

Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thanks for reminding us today how we are to live as followers of Christ in our world. We are to live like Abraham did. We are to walk by faith like Abraham did. We are to step out and follow you wherever you lead us, even if it looks dark and scary. Because we have the promises of God to sustain us just like Abraham did. And Father, I pray today that you would encourage the hearts of people who are going through really tough times with the knowledge that you are a promise-keeping God, and that we can trust you. Lord, change our lives.

Change the very way we see life and the way we live. Because we were here today, and we learned from the example of that great man of God, Abraham. We learned biblical truth today. Change our lives, Father, and help us live in a way that honors Christ like Abraham did. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-21 00:38:53 / 2024-04-21 00:50:32 / 12

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