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Seeing Life as a Pilgrimage - Life of Moses Part 3

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2024 7:00 am

Seeing Life as a Pilgrimage - Life of Moses Part 3

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Well, as we all know, Thanksgiving is approaching, and at Thanksgiving time, there are just certain things that we think about here in America.

We think about turkey, we think about stuffing, we think about cranberry sauce, we think about pumpkin pie, and of course, we think about the pilgrims. Now today, as followers of Jesus Christ this morning, we want to talk about being spiritual pilgrims, because when it comes to our life here on earth, this is exactly how God tells us in the Bible we should see ourselves. All of this grows out of a new series that we're beginning on the life of Moses. We're going back into the Old Testament books of Exodus and Numbers and Deuteronomy, and we're going to study the life of this great man of God from the time that he leads the Israelites out of Egypt until the time that he drops them off at the border of the Promised Land. And we said several weeks ago that before we can pick up the story in Exodus Chapter 1, there are a few preliminary questions we need to answer, like number one, how did the Jewish people come into being in the first place? Number two, how did the land of Israel become their unique inheritance, the Promised Land, if you will? Number three, how did the Jewish people end up in Egypt so that they even needed Moses to lead them out?

Now, we've covered these three questions already, and if you missed any of this, you can get the tape or the CD in the bookstore. And while you're in there, make sure you pick up a copy of the workbook called Scripture Mapping so you can study right along with us, chapter by chapter, as we do the book of Exodus. Today, we want to answer the last preliminary question, and that is number four, how did the Israelites grow from the few people we read about in the book of Genesis to becoming the massive nation that we read about in Exodus Chapter 1? And in the process of answering that question, God is also going to speak to you and me about being spiritual pilgrims here on this earth. So if you brought a Bible today, I want you to open it with me to Genesis Chapter 47, first book in the Bible, Chapter 47. And if you're here in our main auditorium and you did not bring a Bible today, reach right under the armrest in the chair next to you. You'll find a copy of the Bible, and we are going to be on page 37. Page 37 in our copy of the Bible, Genesis 47 in your copy.

And while you're turning, let me give you a little bit of background. Here in Genesis 47, Joseph has become prime minister of Egypt. Because of the great famine that was sweeping the Middle East at the time, Joseph's father, Jacob, and his brothers have all emigrated to Egypt looking for food. And after a tear-filled reunion with his brothers and his father, the next order of business is to introduce them to Pharaoh. And that's where we pick up the story, Genesis 47, verse 1. Now Joseph went and told Pharaoh, my father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen. Goshen was a region in northeastern Egypt on the east side of the delta.

We'll show you a map so you can get a sense of where Goshen was. Verse 2, and Joseph chose five of his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked the brothers, what is your occupation? Your servants are shepherds, they replied to Pharaoh, just as our fathers were. They also said to him, we have come here to live because the famine is severe in Canaan and our flocks have no pasture.

So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen. Friends, the answer to this fourth preliminary question, namely, how did the Israelites manage to grow into such a massive nation, is found right here in this verse. Because you see, when Pharaoh asks the brothers, what do you do for a living, they give Pharaoh a carefully rehearsed answer. One that Joseph has gone over with them in advance. Look back with you, if you would with me, to chapter 46, verse 33. Joseph said to his brothers before they went in, when Pharaoh calls you in and asks, what is your occupation?

You should answer, your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did. Then Joseph says to them, you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians. The Egyptians will not want you as part of their society. They will not want to intermingle with you.

They'll be very happy to cordon you off and put you over there in Goshen, because doing what you do is a detestable job in their sight. Now that was the answer that Joseph had his brothers give, because you see, even though he was excited about meeting his dad and his brothers again, Joseph was also very concerned about his brothers and his family becoming assimilated into Egyptian society. He was worried that over the years, his family would intermarry with Egyptians, that his family would adopt Egyptian customs, that his family would learn to worship Egyptian gods, and that the Israelites would lose their unique character as the people of God. Joseph knew the only way to prevent this from happening was to create a situation where the Israelites were separated off from the rest of Egyptian society, where they were cordoned off in a place where, number one, they could benefit from the food and the safety of Egypt, but number two, they could still maintain their unique relationship with God. This is what Joseph was out to achieve, and he succeeded.

Look. Chapter 47, verse 5. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land.

Let them live in Goshen. And so, my friends, living here in Goshen for the next 430 years, isolated from the mainstream of Egyptian society, the Israelites were able to preserve their unique culture, they were able to preserve their unique relationship with God, and they were able to grow into the massive nation that we read about when we begin Exodus chapter 1. Does everybody understand that? But there's more, and I want to go on with the story, because after the brothers come in to meet Pharaoh, the next order of business that Joseph takes up is bringing his dad in. Look down with me at verse 7. Then Joseph brought his father, Jacob, in and presented him before Pharaoh. And after Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, How old are you?

Now, that's a very simple question, and really, it requires a very simple answer. But I want you to see the answer that Jacob gave, verse 9. And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The years of my pilgrimage are 130. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers. Notice here that Jacob refers to his life here on earth with a very unique word. He calls it a pilgrimage. In fact, he uses the very same word, pilgrimage, to describe the life of his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. The only difference, Jacob says, is that their pilgrimage was longer than mine.

Isaac lived to be 180 years old, Abraham his grandfather 175. But here we have a seasoned man of God, Jacob, who has a definite perspective on what life on this earth is like for a believer in God. He calls it a pilgrimage. Now, friends, let's stop for a moment and define what exactly is a pilgrimage. Well, the essence of a pilgrimage is that we are on our way somewhere, but we're not there yet.

You see, pilgrims are people who are in transit. And this is exactly what Jacob meant when he referred to his life here on earth as a pilgrimage. He meant that he was simply moving through this earthly life, that he was merely in transit here on this earth.

Rather, he was on his way to his final destination, which was in eternity. Now, as followers of Christ today, I want to remind you that this is the view of life that the entire Bible calls you and me to have. The Bible calls us to seeing life not as squatters, but rather to seeing our life here on earth as pilgrims who are just a passing through. Job 14, verse 1, man who is born of woman is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower, he comes forth and then withers. James 4, verse 14, the Bible says, what is your life?

You are a vapor that appears for a little while here on this earth and then vanish away. This is why David prayed. Psalm 39, verse 4, oh Lord, show me how fleeting my life really is here on this earth. And what this means is that just like Jacob, every one of us here today as followers of Christ are on a pilgrimage. Every one of us here today are in transit when it comes to life here on this earth. The world is not our final destination. We're just passing through on our way to our real final destination, which is in eternity. And may I add that in eternity, the Bible tells us there are only two landing pads available in eternity. One of them is called heaven and the other one is called hell. Moreover, the Bible says that which one of these places we land in depends exclusively on what we did with Jesus Christ while we were on our pilgrimage here on earth going through this life. If we embrace Jesus Christ as our personal savior, if we trust what he did on the cross to pay for our sins, the Bible says our landing pad will be heaven. And conversely, the Bible says if we reject Jesus Christ, if we are not willing to trust what he did on the cross to be our total payment for sin, well, then the opposite is true. Our landing pad will be hell for all of eternity. Friends, the Bible says it's just that simple.

It's just that simple. Now, if you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus Christ in a real impersonal way, I want to challenge you to think about this. Friends, you're going into eternity one way or the other.

That's not open for debate. The only thing that's open for debate, the only variable right now is which landing pad you're going to land on. And we want you to land on the right landing pad. God wants you to land on the right landing pad. And the way you do that is by embracing Christ while you're here on your earthly pilgrimage. God says you do that and I promise you, you will land on the landing pad called heaven when you get into eternity. Isn't that what he said to the thief on the cross who trusted him right there and then? Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise, in heaven. That's the promise of God. If you haven't availed yourself of that promise, I urge you to do it because you're just a pilgrim, friends. You're just in transit.

You're leaving this world one day. That is a surety. Now that's as far as we want to go in the passage because it's time for us to stop and ask our most important question.

And we all know what that is. So are you ready? All right. Here we go. Nice and loud.

One, two, three. Yeah. You say long. So what? Say all right. I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. I know that. I know that I'm a pilgrim here on earth.

I know that my final destination is heaven. So like what difference does any of this make for my life on a Monday morning when I walk out of my house? Well, friends, listen. It's one thing to know you're a pilgrim. It's quite another thing to live like it.

Let me repeat that. It's one thing to know you're a pilgrim. It's another thing to live like it here on earth. And I want to talk to you in the rest of the time I have today as a follower of Christ about four ways that we as pilgrims should live differently. In light of the fact that we're just passing through four ways that our lives should be distinct from the life of people around us who really act like they're squatters and are going to be here forever.

Let me tell you what those ways are. Number one, if you and I are interested in being pilgrims and living that way, then it will affect, number one, the way we use our time. Ephesians 5 verse 16 says, make the most out of every opportunity. Psalm 90 verse 12, Moses prayed, Lord, teach us to number our days properly so that we might act wisely. You know, most people in our world, friends, live as though they have an absolutely unlimited supply of time. They live like this world is really their final destination.

They live like they're going to be here forever and they've got all the time in the world to do anything they need to do. Well, that's not what the Bible says. The Bible says, number your days properly.

Realize you're a pilgrim and that you're leaving here so that you might act wisely. You know, I raised three boys, my wife and I did. They're all grown now. But when they were younger, they would often come to me and say, Daddy, will you lay down with us as we're falling asleep and listen to an Odyssey tape or something at night? Will you come to our ball game? Will you ride bikes with us? Will you go fishing with us? Will you go to the movies with us?

Will you watch television with us? And, you know, folks, I had other things to do. You know, you can always find something else to do. But, you know, I made it my goal to be a father different than the father I had because my father never did any of those things with me. And then he died and never got the chance to do them with me. And I learned something.

I learned that as a father, I don't have an unlimited amount of time with my children. And so whenever my children would do that, and sometimes it was my initiative to say we're going to be there together. I'm going to be at everything you do. I'm going to be there.

I'm going to drop everything else that is even a possible conflict. And even today as grown men, my boys still come to me and say, Dad, could you do this? Or would you go here with me? I drop everything I'm doing and I go because I understand something. I'm just a pilgrim, friends. I don't have unlimited time here on this earth.

And you don't have unlimited time here on this earth either. Both of us, you, me, we need to do what Ephesians 5 says. We need to make the most out of every opportunity while we've got it. And so whether it's time with your family or whether it's sharing Jesus Christ with somebody you've been meaning to share with. Or whether it's serving the Lord in some way or whether it's caring for the needs of some other person or whatever it is. Friends, be a good pilgrim. Be a smart pilgrim. Live like a pilgrim. Pilgrims never put off important things.

They make the most of every opportunity because they know their time is limited. Number two, the second way that you and I ought to be living if we're really pilgrims is that being a pilgrim ought to make a difference. Second of all, in the way that we approach future planning in our life. I love what James says, James chapter 4. He says, now listen, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that city and carry on business and make money.

Why, you don't even know what will happen to you tomorrow. Instead, you ought to say if it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this and do that. Friends, in light of the uncertainty of the pilgrimage that you and I are on, it is utter presumption for us to say to anybody, I will do this, I will do that, I will be here, I will go there. Because we don't have final say over what we do. We're just pilgrims.

Instead, we should say I'm going to plan to do that if the Lord's willing. I think of John Candy, one of my favorite actors, one of the most hysterical people I've ever seen. I really enjoyed watching his movies. And you know, John Candy on March the 4th, 1994, was in Mexico filming a movie and I'm sure he had made plans for dinner. Looking at John Candy, I'm sure he had made plans for dinner. And right there on the set, he dropped over with a heart attack and was gone.

John Candy never got a chance to keep his dinner plans. And I'm sure he had said, well, tonight we're going here and I'm going to do this and I'm going to order this. But you know what?

He didn't. Because friends, ultimately, you and I are not the captains of our faith. We're just pilgrims. And every time you and I stand up to our world and we declare to our world, Lord willing, in everything we say, what we are declaring to our world is that we understand we are not the captains of our faith, that the captain of our faith is Almighty God who in His omnipotence controls everything that happens to us on this earth. We're just pilgrims. And that's a wonderful thing to tell the world that we understand because it honors the Lord Jesus Christ to be put in that position in our lives.

Number three, being a pilgrim should make a difference. Third, in how we use our material wealth here on earth. 1 Timothy, chapter 6, verse 7.

For we brought nothing into this world, Paul writes, and it is certain that we will take nothing out of it. You know, there was an incredible discovery made in Egypt in 1922. Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tutankhamun.

You know him better as King Tut. It was the only pharaoh's tomb or pyramid that had not been found and raided by tomb robbers. And, you know, the pharaohs put all of their great treasures in there to take to them into the afterworld. Well, when Howard Carter discovered King Tut's tomb, you know what he found? He found the gold mask. He found this incredibly beautiful chair. He found a 243-pound sarcophagus, you see it on the right there, of solid gold, 243 pounds.

And guess what? Every bit of that was lying where it had been for the 3,500 years since King Tut died. How much did King Tut take with him? Well, nothing.

If you don't believe me, go to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and you can see it all. He didn't take any of it with him. And that's what Paul's trying to say. What Paul's trying to say, friends, he goes on in 1 Timothy chapter 6. He says, in light of the fact that you can't take it with you, that you're just a pilgrim, he says, Command those who are rich in this world. May I stop for a moment and say, if you live in America, this is you.

Compared to the rest of the world, this is you and me. Command those who are rich in this world not to put their trust in uncertain riches, instead, command them to do good with their money, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share, for by doing this, they will lay up for themselves true treasure in heaven. Folks, as followers of Jesus Christ, if we were permanent residents down here on earth, God in 1 Timothy 6 would be challenging us to hoard everything we could possibly get our hands on.

But we're not permanent residents. We're pilgrims and as pilgrims, God advises us here in the Bible to send our wealth on to heaven ahead of us by using it on earth to advance the work of God. That's how we do that. And that's why, here at McLean Bible Church, I'm not the slightest bit ashamed to ask you to give to the work of God sacrificially. I'm not ashamed to ask you to give to the work of God liberally and generously, whether it's turkey outreach, whether it's finishing the wall, our program to retire the dead on this building, whether it's our general fund. I'm not ashamed to ask you to do that.

And let me tell you why. It's because I know that I'm doing you a huge favor by asking you to do that. I'm helping you live like a pilgrim. I'm helping you to lay up treasure at your true final destination instead of squandering it down here on earth. Pilgrims understand that the only money they can take with them to heaven is the money they transferred by giving it to the work of God down here on earth.

And they live that way. Number four, and finally, if you want to live like a pilgrim, then it'll make a difference in the way we make choices in our lives. 1 Peter 2, verse 11. I urge you as foreigners and pilgrims in this world, Peter says, to stay away from sinful desires that wage war against your souls. Instead, he says, as a pilgrim, live holy and Godlike lives as you look forward to the day when you and God will meet. See, that's an important thing for pilgrims to understand.

We're going to a final destination where we and God will meet. You know, two of my favorite game shows are Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, both created, by the way, by Merv Griffin. And I saw Merv on a talk show a while back, and he said this, and I quote. He said, a hundred years from now, who in the world is ever going to know what any of us did, so why worry?

End of quote. Well, the Bible tells us that poor Merv is misinformed. The Bible tells us that as followers of Jesus Christ, when we get to heaven, that God is going to meet with us eyeball to eyeball and conduct a performance review of our lives, not to decide whether we stay in heaven or not. Friends, that was decided the day you trusted Jesus Christ in what he did for you on the cross, but a performance review to decide what rewards you and I get or don't get in heaven. Second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 10, for we as followers of Christ must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ that each of us may receive what is due us for the things we did while we were in our human body. Romans chapter 14 verse 12, so then each of us, the Bible says, will give an account of himself or herself to God.

Now, this is an important thing for pilgrims to know. And friends, you know, as I look at my life, let me tell you, why is it that I try not to ever cheat? Why is it that I try hard not to ever lie? Why is it that I try not to ever steal or to defy authority?

Why is it that I try to never break my word even sometimes when I'm sorry I gave it? Why is it that I try hard never to flirt with women? You say, flirt with women? You're an old man.

Well, I know, but I'm still a hunk. But I don't do this. I never do it. And let me tell you why. I don't hug people out in the lobby. And when I shake their hands, if a woman wants to keep it longer than a couple of seconds, I say, please give me my hand back.

And let me tell you why. I don't do this because I'm afraid I'm going to lose my place in heaven if I do any of these things. I do these things because I'm afraid when I stand face to face, eyeball to eyeball with Jesus Christ, when I get to heaven, I'm going to have to explain to him every single word I've ever spoken, every single thing I've ever did, every single thought I've ever had.

And then I'm going to have to accept the consequences for all of those things. Now, pilgrims know that and pilgrims live in light of that. Pilgrims are always asking themselves a very important question. Here's the question. Am I prepared to look the risen Lord Jesus square in the eye and explain to him what I'm about to do and then accept the consequences that follow?

You know, it's amazing how many things suddenly lose their appeal when you ask that question before you do them. Smart pilgrims learn to ask that question before they act. Stupid pilgrims just go right out and do whatever they feel like it. Smart pilgrims say, wait, hold on a second here. I need to live like a pilgrim.

Merv Griffin is wrong. There is somebody who knows what's going on here. And I am going to have to give an account of this because this world is not my final resting place.

I better be careful what I do. And if you're living like a pilgrim, my friend, you are going to be much more circumspect in the things you do in this world. That's how pilgrims live.

So let's summarize. What have we learned today? Well, I'd like to suggest to you, as I said earlier, that knowing you're a pilgrim and living like one is completely different. And friends, we need to live like pilgrims if we're going to make an impact on this city for Jesus Christ. You know, the biggest obstacle we face here in Washington when it comes to bringing people to faith here in this town is that the people in Washington don't see any real difference between the way followers of Jesus Christ live in this town and the way everybody else lives in this town.

That's the problem. And if you and I would just go out every day living like a pilgrim, if we would go out every day using our time like a pilgrim, if we would go out every day approaching future planning with Lord willing like a pilgrim, if we would go out and spend our money and manage our resources like a pilgrim, if we would make choices in our life circumspectly like a pilgrim, we would live differently than the rest of the people in this town and they would notice. So that's what I want to challenge you to be as you leave here today. I want to challenge you to walk out of here and be able to say with Jacob, I'm on a pilgrimage.

I'm just not 50 years old or 20 years old. That's how long my pilgrimage is. And I'm going to live like a pilgrim, not just know that I'm a pilgrim. I love the old hymn.

It says this. The world is not my home. I'm just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. Angels beckon me from heaven's open door and I can't feel at home in this world anymore. Friends, that's how God wants you to live. That's how we want you to live. That's how we're going to live if we're going to make a difference in this town. So be a pilgrim. Live like a pilgrim. And let's make an impact on this town when people say, why are you living like this?

Really? I'll be happy to tell you. Sit down for a moment.

Let's get a cup of pure vita and I'll be happy to tell you. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thank you so much for reminding us today that we're pilgrims, that this world is not our home. And, Lord, as pilgrims, it's one thing to know that intellectually. It's a completely different thing to live it every day.

In the way we use our time, in the way we plan the future, in the way we manage our resources, in the way we make choices about our behavior and our words. And so, Lord Jesus, I pray that you would grip our hearts today with the compelling need, not just to know we're pilgrims, but to act like pilgrims, to live like pilgrims, so that we can be used by the Lord Jesus here on this earth to show people there's a better way to live, a different way to live that comes from walking with Jesus Christ. Lord, use us in this town because our behavior is so distinctive that it causes people to notice and wonder what's going on in our lives. Change our lives in the way we live every day because we were here and we learned from your word today. And we pray this in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-26 09:05:31 / 2024-04-26 09:17:05 / 12

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