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Preview Of The Tribulation Judgments
Let’s open to Exodus excitingly, it’s a time to go on a journey. As you turn to the 6th chapter, and that’s where we’re going to begin this evening, I want you to think about the backside of the desert, Moses. Imagine him, after 40 years of herding goats and sheep. Now I’ve never raised sheep, but I did raise goats. Goats smell terribly. They, politely speaking, they don’t take showers and they really smell awful. People that raise these animals smelled after being with them so much. The Middle Eastern shepherd, actually at the fold of the sheep at the doorway, would sleep in the doorway so that nobody could come in or no one could go out without him knowing about it. The rustling would wake him up. So, if you sleep with them in their sheepfold, you smell like them. I can imagine the backside of the desert, Moses who for 40 years was herding these animals around, and living with them, and raising a family, and wearing that garment they had to wear because it’s freezing cold there. No clouds in the desert so the heat just goes right up. It’s very cold at night, very hot in the day. Their clothes smelled like sheep and sweat because he sweated during the day and froze at night and slept with the sheep.
There he comes, walking across the desert, until he gets to the lush verdant green gardens of Pharaoh, his palaces. Here comes this 80 year old sheep herder; walking into the shaved body, shaved head, multiple baths every day, priestly leaders that ran Egypt. In his time there were thousands of them working for Pharaoh. These were the ruling class, the priests. They were in white linen, and shaved all the time, and were always taking ceremonial baths. And here comes Moses. You could smell him coming I’m sure. There he came in to meet them. If you ever felt like you weren’t prepared to share the gospel, or speak for God, or you’re out of your category, or place, or station in life, he must’ve felt like it in chapter 6.
In chapter 6, in verse 1 the Lord said to Moses, “you shall see what I’ll do to Pharaoh.” Don’t worry what you look like, what you sound like, what you smell like. Don’t worry about your past. Don’t worry about them, remember 40 years ago you had murdered an Egyptian and buried him; that you had a death warrant on you when you fled the country. Don’t worry about it, anything. It must’ve been a sight. For this man, clad only in his Shepherd’s rough and outdoor guard with that distinctive odor of sheep, in his stark contrast to those hovering over Pharaoh. Bathed priests that look like little worker bees under the queen. Moses came to town. He came to ancient Egypt at its zenith, 15 centuries before Christ’s Earthly ministry. It was an awesome place to be. Those glistening pyramids, as they were sheathed in the snowy alabaster that they used to have on them, before it was all chipped off and stolen over the centuries. They had the gold put on them so that the desert sun made them almost overpoweringly beautiful. Those pyramids had towered over the proud and hard-hearted Egyptians for over a thousand years when Moses stepped onto the stage. The god king, Pharaoh himself. Son of Nun. The descendant of Ra, so they said. A bearer of divinity worshiped by the masses, leading a country astride the mighty Nile River. Egypt knew only prosperity. It knew only fertile and productive agriculture, and great peace. To these smug, idol worshiping people, the shepherd comes walking.
What the Pharaoh didn’t know was that the nation that had grown up in the sheep herding part, Goshen, in 400 years starting with just an old man and his 12 boys, just old Jacob and his 12 sons, and his daughters, and their families, these had flourished in Goshen. They now numbered three million individuals. That’s amazing. As God had promised to grandfather Abraham, to his son Isaac, into grandson Jacob, those descendants would be as numberless as the sands of the sea. From one individual to 3 million was pretty fast multiplication.
What we find in chapter 6 verse 1, it’s the greatest empire of the ancient world, Egypt; whose monuments are still enduring, who the world’s still waits breathlessly every time they find something. Like last week, the nursemaid of King Tut was excavated. Untouched her tomb. No one had found it and everything was in it. Everybody, there were journalists from around the world, was just breathless to see what was in there. The greatest empire of the ancient world, Egypt; versus the enslaved people of God, Israel.
It’s more than that. I want you to think about that as we go into these chapters. Starting in 6, through 11. Number one, it was God’s people versus Satan’s people. Number two, it was God’s promises versus the curse that enslaved the world. It was God’s power versus the kingdom of darkness. It was two 80 year old men because one wasn’t able to do it. Moses said, I can’t talk. That’s what he said, and so two 80 year old men versus Pharaoh, his armies, the entire religion, and nation of Egypt. Quite a matchup. It was demurring, meek, and mild Moses versus proud, potentate Pharaoh. It was the whole plan of God for redemption, facing the whole plan of Satan for rebellion. But that’s not even why it’s a big meeting that we’re going to look at. The reason it was a big meeting, is that the people that were enslaved were no less than the covenant people of God. No less than the bearers of God’s promises. No less than the people who were the vehicles of God’s written revelation.
Did you catch that? This book, the word come down from God. If you have one, then you have the privilege of having tonight what was brought to us, the Oracles of God, through the Israelites and was brought to us through the apostles, brought to us through the prophets. Always in their custodian care under God’s supervision. These were the vehicles of God’s written revelation and ultimately these people were the only way that Jesus Christ could come into the Earth in God’s plan. Did you figure that out? That’s why they’re so important.
Let me ask you this. How come it is that… I think right now there are about 11 million or 20 million, at the most, Jews in the whole world. That’s after all the genocides, and exterminations, and holocausts, that didn’t just happen in 1939-1945. It’s been going on from the beginning, that they’ve been trying to be exterminated by Satan and his foes. But why is it that we know about David and Goliath, and Moses, and everybody knows where Jerusalem is in the world, but hardly anybody knows anything about the Mongol conquest of India and how they were delivered. Have you ever sat up at night and thought about that? No. Everybody knows about the Jews and the red sea splitting and everything that God did. Why? Because these people are very special. Did you know Hitler didn’t dream up exterminating them. Satan has been looking for 20 centuries, plus back 35 centuries since they came around, he’s been looking for ways to get rid of them. His whole idea is to get rid of them, because if you can get rid of the Jews you can get rid of God’s plan. You can’t stop God, but you can stop His plans Satan thought, by getting rid of these people. So that’s what the conflict was. These were the people, only through them, only through these 12 tribes and particularly only through one of the 12 tribes would Jesus come. If you could just succeed in wiping out that tribe or all 12 of them God’s plan would be stopped.
So, this was a big deal because the Jews were and still are, so important in God’s plan. In the year 1446 BC, 14 and a half centuries before Christ, God told Moses… go. I want you to go. Chapter 6 verse 1, I want you to go to Pharaoh and in lightning fast flashes we have a succession of 10 powerful plagues. One after another. Some people think it was like Desert Storm bomb runs. That God was just letting them have it sporadically, just to do something big. No. Did you know that the whole thing was orchestrated better than we could orchestrate in all of our computer technology days? It was orchestrated by God to be an absolute decimation, not of the common people of Egypt, but of the gods of Egypt. That’s what I want to show you tonight because it really should affect us in our spiritual lives.
Into this land of mystery and false worship of false gods they were brought face to face with the true God of the universe. Let me read it to you about that in chapter 6. I want you to just follow along as I read the first eight verses, and there are about eight little items I’d like you to notice in there. So, if you are of the tribe and clan of pen writers in your Bible, you might want to notice these because they’re really neat. Remember this, the Old Testament was not written to us directly. It comes to us by way of the Jews. It’s written for us, but not to us. Remember it was written to them and for the purposes of God for them, and indirectly to us. You’re not supposed to go around and start stoning witches, and burning sodomites, and stuff. That’s what God in His theocracy did, it’s not for us to do today. You have to understand the Old Testament, especially if you’re new at this. It gives eternal principles and incredible portraits of God that are very, very vital to us today.
Let me show you the first one. It says in 6, “LORD said”, verse 1, “to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.’ “ Did you catch that? This was not two octogenarians facing this potentate. This was two weak old men and God, facing the potentate. Remember what I said last week? You plus God make a majority. You without God is nothing. Just God is the majority, us tagging along is great. That’s the wonder of what we see here. We don’t want to discern what made Moses great. We don’t want to try and get some points out of his life so we can be great too and walk in and do great exploits. It is not how or what he did, it’s who he was representing when he walked into those palaces, out of the sheep folds, off the desert, and into the lush garden. He was a representative of God and that’s something all of us share. If you’re in Christ, if you know Jesus Christ personally, if you’ve been born into His family, you represent God. That’s a wonderful thought to think about.
Look at what He told him to do. You’re going to “see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go,” these 3 million, “and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” Wow, God orchestrated this whole thing so that Pharaoh would get the message that the Most High rules in Heaven. That’s the message I’d like you to get. We’re going to talk about that all the way through. Did you know that God rules in Heaven? God rules in Heaven over what kind of job you get or don’t get, what kind of life partner you get or you don’t get, what kind of diseases we get or don’t get. God rules in Heaven. Did you catch that? You didn’t get a bad break in life, God rules in Heaven. Did you know, it says in Proverbs that when you have dice and you go like this and you throw them, it says the turn of the dice God is orchestrating. It says He moves the king’s heart. God rules in Heaven. That for us is hard to comprehend, but it’s true. Let’s see a picture of it tonight.
Look at verse 2. “And God spoke to Moses and said to him: ‘I am the LORD.’ “ Now that’s repeated, you ought to read the book of Leviticus sometime, and then highlight them. Get a highlighter and highlight how many times God says, “I am the LORD.” ” I am the LORD.” It’s not because He’s having an identity crisis and He’s trying to remind Himself. It’s us that need reminding, that He is the Lord. That He is the one who is a self existent, all powerful, God. He says, “I am the LORD.” Now, watch this. What He says, and He has 10 successive revelations of Himself. Watch this and if you want to mark them, you can.
Verse 3, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty.”
Verse 4, “I have also established My covenant with them,”
Verse 5. “I have also heard the groanings of the children of Israel.”
Verse 6. “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’ ”
You catch this? He says, this is my operation. Egypt is my operation, to use Egypt as the backdrop that all the world will know who I am. We’re going to wrap up this evening, I’m going to show you that’s a big deal. God repeats that six or seven times in the Bible. That all the world may know, that all the world may know, that all the world may know that there is a God in Heaven. Did you know, He still is repeating that in our lives? Did you know that the reason that God has you just where He has you, where you live, and who you were born as, and where, or you’re working at, or where you going to school, and that you’re in Tulsa and not in Vancouver, or the mudslides of California, God has orchestrated that because He wants to through your life and my life tonight, represent to the world a picture that they’ll know that He is ruling, and alive, and powerful, and in control.
So He says, I have heard your groanings. Verse 6, “I am the LORD; I will bring you out.”
Continuing in verse 6, “I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
Verse 7, “I will take you as My people.” He doesn’t ask, He tells cause He’s the Lord. He is showing and revealing His power His character. He says in verse 7, “I’ll take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
Verse 8, the next one, “I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage.” And then as if you didn’t know it, “I am LORD,” He says.
Did you notice all those I wills? What He says He’s going to do? I appear, I established, I heard, I will bring, I will rescue, I will redeem, I will take, I will be, I will bring, I will give. God says, I can do what I promise.
Did you know what God wants to do tonight in our lives, in your life, in my life, to get us to just believe that He is who He is. And let Him come into our lives and take that wonderful combination of unique features He put into each one of us and let us be, and become, and live out all that He planned for us. It is incredible to think of living through life with the awareness that you are under the commission, direction, under the power, under the equipping, under the encircling, and under the total care of God. Just to motor through life with that supreme confidence. You know, that’s what the Bible says. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (KJV) Psalm 119:165. Isaiah 30, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” We can just motor through life quietly and assured because God is in control. God is leading in our life. We don’t have to exert all that energy to be fretting, and fuming, and worrying, and planning. Not that we aren’t supposed to plan, but I mean planning for all the things we have fears about. We’re just supposed to confidently live life, knowing and exhibiting that the Lord is the Lord. That’s what’s going on.
In chapter 6, one cannot be anything but awed at the place where God called Moses to go. I want to describe it to you because most of these places that are mentioned here tonight are still incredible. They’re still there. That’s one thing about Egypt, it’s still there. When you go through the temples, when you go through the monuments, when you go through the tombs of these men, it was frightening to think of this little old man coming in and facing the power he faced. But listen to this. We couldn’t help but be awed by the splendor of ancient Egyptian temples. Even the remains of many merely represent the fragments of their past glory. The crumbling ruins are a testimony to the splendor that Egypt once enjoyed, the multitude of shrines, the inscriptions, the religious objects, they’re all constant reminders of the massive temples and tombs. Pyramids, now in ruins, are vivid reminder of the grandeur of it all. It must’ve been marvelous.
However, the myriads of statutes that now adorn the museums of the world that have been found in excavations are grim reminders of the folly of idolatry. There are literally thousands, tens of thousands, of little statues that have been dug up from the sands of Egypt that these Egyptians worshiped. They had thousands of, probably millions of them. These little statues that are laying in the sand are a reminder of the folly of their idolatry. To think that those people feared and followed lifeless gods, gods that they had to take out of a box every morning. I remember, Bonnie and I, when we go to Egypt and lead the Holy Land tour there, one spot that’s really neat is Abu Simbel. They had to raise it up when the Nile was flooding the valley. You go in there and there is this inner room inside this massive tomb of Ramses, one of his many. They had it positioned and they moved it so it would be positioned that one day a year the rising sun, just when it came up with pierce into the very sanctuary of where the sarcophagus lied; the big box they put their bodies in when they wrapped them up. That sarcophagus was watched over by a little god. Every day the priests had to take the little god, and they had to open the lid of the box, and they picked him up, and they put him on his pedestal. They put food in front of him and they got him all ready. Then they bowed down and prayed to him. Then, they went off and did their work. Every night when it got dark they had to take him, and put him back in his box, and put his food back, and put it lid on. They worshiped that little thing. To think that those lifeless gods and the people that worshiped them, when they faced the living and true God of the universe, they picked the god in the box over the God of the universe.
You know what we all say? Oh, they’re dummies but I would never do that. Did you know, that’s what everybody’s doing around you? And that’s what we struggle with. We would rather have our god in the box. He’s much easier to work with. We put him in. When we don’t want him, we the lid on. We take him out when we want him. A lot of Christians have gotten a box. When they’re doing stuff they put God in the box, they don’t want Him to see that. Then, when everything’s good, they bring Him out. Or if when things get bad, they put it on their dash for safety while they’re driving or wear it around their neck for a good luck charm. That’s not the God we’re talking about. We’re talking about the God of the universe who can’t fit in a box.
In this second book of the word of God, that we are looking at tonight, this book is the incredible story of God’s desire for us as creatures. Now, it’s captured in the life of the Israelites, but the lessons haven’t changed and neither has God. He wants us to learn from Him. This whole section we’re looking at, the first 18 chapters of Exodus, is God showing His salvation.
We saw last week, number one. God knows the bitterness of life and how hard it is. In chapter 2 God has provided a deliverer. That’s why it’s so wonderful for you to share your testimony and faith in Christ, and tell people you’ve met the deliverer, Jesus. Then we saw how superior Christ is in every realm. Then, in chapter 3 we looked at how God sent His servant Moses and how He chose him out in the backside of the desert. How He revealed Himself through the burning bush and all of His names. We looked through all those names. But now, in chapter 6, we’re coming to God defeating His enemies. God knows our problem; God understands all that. God reveals Himself. God provides a deliverer. But He doesn’t stop there, God defeats His enemies. I don’t know what enemies you’re facing tonight but I do know this, God can conquer, defeat, and crush any form of bondage and oppression that Satan and you by your choices, and me by my choices have brought upon ourselves. He can conquer them, as we’ll see him conquering in the plagues of Egypt.
Chapter 7 is the river of blood. Chapter 8 is the finger of God. We’re going to see all of these. Chapters 9 and 10 is when the gods were silent. Chapter 11 is when God establishes an ordinance forever. In each of these 10 plagues, the Lord showed that the gods of Egypt, we’re all impotent, powerless, lifeless, duds. We’re going to examine, actually just one plague tonight. Let’s go to that. Zip ahead to chapter 7 and verse 14. We’re only going to have time to look at this first plague; the water into blood, the river Nile. It starts in verse 14, let’s read about it because it’s so beautiful. It says, “So the LORD said to Moses; ‘Pharaoh’s heart is hard’ ”
By the way, what was his heart hard about? Moses did these little signs for him. Do you remember, he had a rod and he threw it down, it became a snake. So, Pharaoh looked at his magicians and said, you do that. So, they threw down their rods and theirs became snakes. Egypt is the center of occultic worship and that stuff that Satan can do. So, Moses’ snake ate all the other snakes up, which shows God is all powerful. He didn’t like that. Do you remember Moses went in, and put his hand in, and pulled it out, and it was leprous. God showed he had the power of leprosy and all that. God did all these signs, but Moses wasn’t convinced, and he says, I want to do something, what should I do for Pharaoh’s sake? God says, okay; it’s time to start the plagues, the 10 plagues. That’s where we are in verse 14. “So the LORD said to Moses: ‘Pharaoh’s heart is hard.’ ” He doesn’t believe that your stick is a sign of God. He refuses to let the people go, good. Verse 15, “Go to Pharaoh in the morning.”
Now if you study these through you ought to make a little chart sometime. Some are in the morning, some in the afternoon, some are at different times, or no time. Some are spoken in the presence of Pharaoh, some aren’t. God had a purpose in all of them. It’s an amazing thing to see. Also, if you notice the final plagues in Revelation in many ways parallel the plagues of Egypt. That’s why in Revelation it’s called the song of Moses and the Lamb because there’s a great concert that God is establishing here. But, “Go to Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water.” Remember, they thought that the Nile, we’ll see in a moment, is holy. They thought it was the bloodstream of their greatest god, Osiris. They go out in the morning, and they bathe and do stuff out there to worship their god.
“And you shall stand by the river’s bank to meet him.” Now remember, Mr. Backside of the desert, smelly shepherd standing there by the sacred waters. This 80 year old man standing there. Here, the legions of priests, fanning and fawning over the Pharaoh. He’s walking out in his outfit, whatever he wore, I don’t know what kind of swimsuit he had, but he walked out to the river’s edge. There he comes, all being fanned, and Moses was standing there trying to see him. Pharaoh wasn’t impressed with him. He says, here’s this old man and he’s standing there.
“And the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand. And you shall say to him,” listen to verse 16. “The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’ “ Now, there’s the eternal principle. God loosed us from sin, not so we can have a happy life, but that we can serve. I know a lot of people go through all this struggle, and depression, and all these emotional problems because they’re never clicking in to serving people. Usually, it’s amazing how when someone is really discouraged and everything, if you can just get them involved in ministry they’re amazed. They say, wow, how’d you do that? How did that go away? If we are not thinking of ourselves all the time, and all ramped up, and wound up in our own lives and we start giving to others; that’s why God saved us. He says, I want my people to serve me.
I hope that you tonight, if we held you against the wall and pointed our finger, collectively at you, what ministry do you have for Christ in this place? I hope that you know something you could identify as your service. I met someone this morning and they said in my place in life the only thing I can do is pray. I say, what do you mean? The only thing I can do is pray. Anna the prophetess in Luke says that God honored her because she continually fasted and prayed. That was her ministry to God. What do you mean, only? That is a wonderful ministry. It is a powerful ministry for us to be praying. I hope you have a ministry tonight. If you haven’t got anything else, this morning’s message, second service, was a wonderful challenged to be intercessors. Let’s be involved in ministry.
I’ll keep reading. They may serve the Lord, “but indeed, until now you would not hear! Thus says the LORD: ‘By this you shall know that I am the LORD.’ “ Now, I promised you this. I want you to real quickly look at these with me. God is really interested that we do things to help people see Him. He wants people to see who He is. This phrase, look at verse 17, “By this you,” Pharaoh, “will know that I am the LORD.” That’s a big thing to God.
Just take a little journey with me to see a few verses because these are incredible. Keep your finger here, don’t lose it. Turn to Joshua chapter 4. It goes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua. Chapter 4. Do you remember Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down? Why did God do all that? He tells us. He could have done it simpler. He could have evaporated them. He could have melted them. He didn’t have to have the people involved. He did it systematically for very specific purpose. Look at Joshua 4 and verse 24. These are the verses I have marked in my Bible because they’re so important. What you’ll find is at every major event you can remember from the Old Testament, the big events, all of them have this verse nearby. Why? Because God doesn’t do things purposelessly. He does them purposefully. This is what He says in verse 24. This is why I’m going to knock down the walls of Jericho. Verse 24, “that all the peoples of the Earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty.” God says, I want everybody to know, verse 24, “the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty.” “All the peoples of the Earth may know,” God is mighty. He wants that in our lives, He wants us to show that.
Turn to 1 Samuel with me, please. It goes Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 17. This is a story everybody knows, David and what? Goliath. Look at 1 Samuel 17:46, and this is why. What’s neat about this is, every one of these sites are so important that when you go to the Holy Land, you stand at every one of these sites I’m going to mention. You stand there at Jericho and you see where God said, I want the whole world to know about me. You go down to the valley of Elah and look, this is where David and Goliath had their match up. It starts in verse 45 of chapter 17. David said to the Philistine, here’s a 13 year old, short, ruddy… ruddy means red headed. David, another smelly sheep herder, a little boy, 13 years old.
I can imagine little chubby cheek, nice suntan, outdoors man, and this big bag pagan 10 feet tall. A little boy, he’s looking up. He says, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.” Remember how long? His spear was like a weaver’s shaft. We’re talking about this major tool of death, and this gigantic sword, and a spear on top of that. “But I come to you,” look at this, “in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” Did you know that David was the only one that saw what was going on that day? The only person. Who should’ve fought Goliath? Saul. Saul was bigger than every other Jew. He was a whole head taller than everybody else, but he kept in his tent. Notice that he sent a 13 year old boy out there because the 13 year old boy was the only person in Israel that understood what was going on. It was not the Philistines hurting the Jews, the Israelites. It was Satan empowering one group of people, idol worshiping pagans, the Philistines to defy God. Little David saw that, and he says, “whom…” look at the end of 45, “…you have defied.” Not me. It isn’t that David was such a good shot. That is not the idea of this story. It’s not that you should go out and get a slingshot, and practice all day long, and wrestle with bears and lions. The message of the story is, that God can use anyone, if you will just allow Him to use you as a tool in His hand.
William Carey was not a magnificent man. He was just a tool in God’s hand. He learned all these languages and he translated the Bible into all these difficult languages. Adoniram Judson was not anybody in particular, he was just a willing man. Hudson Taylor was not a very good doctor, he didn’t know languages very well, but God’s supernaturally used him. All these people are just normal folks. What was abnormal about them was their obedience to God and their willingness for God.
“This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the Earth.” Listen, here’s what God wanted. “That all the Earth may know there’s a God in Israel.” That’s why we pray for things here that we can’t do ourselves, in this church. We should always be asking God to do what we can’t plan, what we can’t orchestrate, what we can’t figure out and package swiftly up. Because we want God to do things that we can’t so that when He does them, who will get the credit? God. Not the committee, not the board, not the task force, but God. That’s what prayer is all about, and that’s what a life of faith is all about. So, that’s the reason why David was able to kill Goliath. Not because he was a good shot, but because he’s the only one that was listening to God there, and it’s wonderful.
Keep turning to 1 Kings. Go to the right. It goes 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, chapter 18. This is another incredible, and don’t get lost. Some of you, some of these pages have never been opened, so you just need to keep going and get them open. This is the incredible confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al. Verse 30 says this, “Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him.” Look at this, “And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.” That’s another place when God has defined He wants someone to come and stand for Him, and to represent Him, and to be concerned for the honor of His name. When the altar is broken down, when worship is at a low ebb, when the church is weak, impotent, and cold, God’s looking for someone that will stand for Him.
Look at verse 37, “Hear me, O LORD.” This is his prayer, “hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” That was his prayer request. Now, look at verse 38. “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” What a climactic moment. Why? That the people may know you’re the Lord.
It would be wonderful for all of us to be praying for God to do such a mighty work, that people wouldn’t attribute it to man. Oh, they’ve got a new building. Or oh, they’re on 61st street. Or oh, they have an orchestra. People always, when they hear God’s doing something they go, oh, they’ve got that. We should pray that God would do such a wonderful thing in our hearts that when people come into this place they are smitten with the awareness of God’s presence. That we are not just taking hymn books and going through the motions. I’ve been in services where you didn’t even have to listen, you just knew exactly what to do, it was so rote. They did the same thing. You could do it with your eyes closed and in your sleep. Just up, down, all around, always said the same thing. You can do your grocery list, and do your homework, and think about the game in between, and never listen. We want God to intersect with our lives and stop us cold, and fill us full, and heat us up to a fiery passion to love Him. That’s not just once a year when you have a great group and they sing a song we like, it should be every time we meet. That’s what God wants. That is so, that all the world may know that there is a God and that the altar is not broken down, that we are worshiping Him and that He is preeminent in our lives. That things are different.
Someone stopped me last week. I was in the office getting something, that was between services. They just came to me and they said, God has done something in my life and for the last two or three months my life has radically changed. I never knew that God could do so much in my life. This person said, I’m telling everybody at work and I’m telling everybody I see. They don’t understand me anymore. My life is so changed because I’ve given up and yielded to the Lord. That should be going on, times several hundred, all over this town. Because that’s what God wants to be doing in our lives.
Just a couple more, this shows up. Look at 2 Kings 19. By the way, that was on the top of Mount Carmel. That’s another great place to have a service if you’re ever over in the Holy Land. This one is really neat, look at 2 Kings 19. In fact, praise the Lord, a bunch of American Jewish businessmen paid money to have them dig a hole in the center of Jerusalem and excavate this very spot that I’m going to read to you about. Isn’t it something how the Lord works? I think it’s to encourage Christians. What’s happening is, Sennacherib the Assyrian is attacking Jerusalem. He’s there and doing his thing. He has sent his 185,000 troops and they’ve surrounded Jerusalem. I was calculating it. I took my pencil and figured out how much space, 185,000 people laying in sleeping bags takes. It takes a lot of space. Here are all these men, in their tents and sleeping bags, sleeping around the city of Jerusalem. 185,000 troops armed to the hilt. They were besieging Jerusalem. This one spot in the wall was a spot near the King’s palace. It’s a spot where the king would come out, check out, and see if they were still out there laying siege. They’ve excavated that very wall where he stood.
What happens is, he gets all discouraged. He goes to the prophet Isaiah and throws himself down. Look at verse 15, “Hezekiah prayed,” this is 2 Kings 19:15. “Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said…” By the way, why do you think God sent 185,000 troops to besiege Jerusalem? He wanted Hezekiah to need God. Why? We have a lot of things in our lives happening, God just wants to be needed. He wants us to need Him. He wants us to pay attention to Him. He wants us to look for Him in the situation. What happens is, here comes these people. By the way, many other kings had the same thing happen and so few of them looked to God. Remember, we talked about Moses looking this way and that way last week, but never looking this way (up). God wants us to look up when things happen.
Praise the Lord Hezekiah looked up. He says, “O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the Earth. You have made Heaven and Earth.” He was a creationist, isn’t that good. Look at this, at the end of verse 16, you do you “hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the Living God.” See, he saw the situation. Verse 19, “Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand.” Why? “That all the kingdoms of the Earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.” Look at the end of the chapter, verse 35, look what God did. By the way, you can stand… it’s the most amazing thing and we’ll be there Lord willing in a few weeks… you can stand right on this wall. It’s just right there. It’s about 40 feet underground. You stand there and all around you, people are selling bread, and eating popsicles, and you hear music playing, and you stand right on this wall where they stood.
When Hezekiah got up the next morning and went as the king of the city to walk out to the edge of the wall to see where all the campers were, they were dead. 185,000. That’s why I was figuring how much room does it take for 185,000 body spread on the ground dead? Acres. There were acres of bodies. A sea of dead bodies. Look 35, “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses – all dead.” You know what the lesson is? Don’t tango with God. One angel just killed 185,000 soldiers. One.
You ever heard that song, He could have called what? 10,000 angels. That’s a good thing that Jesus didn’t say anything from the cross because God would’ve sent a legion of angels. A Legion of angels, 6,000. They could have leveled every mountain on Earth. They could have knocked down and decimated every city on the planet. They could have turned this place into the ultimate Armageddon. One killed 185,000. Amazing. Why did God do all that? Verse 19. “That all the kingdoms of the Earth may know that You are the LORD God.” God is God.
2 Chronicles 6. I’ll just show you these because they’re all very important. 2 Chronicles 6:33. Just keep going to the right. These, I always do it to the right. So, if you don’t know the books just keep flipping your pages, go to the right toward the end and you’ll get to 2 Chronicles. It goes 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles chapter 6. Verse 33 is the next time that this occurs.
It says this in 2 Chronicles 6:33, this is the wonderful prayer of dedication Solomon the son of David is praying. He says this in verse 33, “Then hear from Heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, that all peoples of the Earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.” What’s he saying? He is saying I want my people to come in here, into this place of worship. When they’re foreigners and they’re coming in to worship the true, living God, he says, when they call out to you, I want you to meet with them. I want you to do that, God because I want them to know you’re the true and living God.
That’s what’s exciting about going out and sharing the gospel. You and I have the privilege tonight, tomorrow, to talk to someone right here where we live, or on a business trip, or wherever you are, and we can talk to them. We can connect them to God right there by the power of His word, to convert their soul. They will join the multitude of people that say, I know that there is a God in Heaven. We’re part of the plan. There are people you can talk to that I never will meet in my whole life. There are people I’ll talk to that you’re never going to meet. You’re part of the plan. I’m part of the plan. It’s a wonderful thing.
Last one, turn to Daniel 4. And that’s the 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel. There it is. After Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel chapter 4. It’s after Ezekiel, which is a marvelous book. Don’t get to Heaven and bump into Ezekiel and say oh, I never read your book. You ought to read it. It would be very embarrassing if you haven’t read it. You should read all these several times. Chapter 4, and this is the last time it occurs in the Old Testament, but this is an amazing thing.
By the way, the 4th chapter of Daniel is the only chapter of the Bible written by a pagan. Luke, we’re not sure, we know he was a Gentile physician, but he probably was a proselyte to Judaism. Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan, non-Jewish, rank, idol worshiping, unredeemed person who meets God. He gets to write a chapter in the Bible, the 4th chapter of Daniel is one of the more amazing chapters in the whole Bible, written by this pagan king of Babylon. God had one thing He wanted him to know and then stated in verse 17. “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones,” look at this, “In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” What was that? That all the world may know that the Most High rules.
Now, just in case you miss it, look at verse 25 at the end. What happens is he, God gives, strikes him with this madness. Boanthropy is the technical term for it. He thought he was an ox. He crawls around on all fours and eats grass. His hair grows long. His fingernails grow long. He is in dementia. This is a judgment. He goes from being the top guy down to a cow. Look at verse 25, “They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of Heaven, and seven times,” could be seven years, “shall pass over you.” Listen to this, you’re going to be down there eating grass “till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” God is in control. In case you missed that one, look at the end of verse 32, same thing. That you, “until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.”
Now, look what happens, verse 34. “At the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to Heaven.” He’s down eating grass like an animal, and he finally does it. He finally lifts his eyes to Heaven. That’s all God wants us to do, acknowledge, believe Him, trust Him, yield to Him. He says he lifted his eyes to Heaven. “And my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever.” Now, listen to his testimony. Boy, we’d baptize him for this, here. This guy, I believe, became a believer. I think you’re going to meet this man. I think he’s going to come and sit at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and us in Heaven because I believe he became a believer. Listen to what he said.
“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, His kingdom is from generation to generation. All inhabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing;” Verse 37, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He’s able to put down.”
Let me round up this back to Exodus because that’s the lesson God wanted Pharaoh to learn. You know what? Pharaoh didn’t learn it. What was the plague of blood all about? God struck the most well-known god of Egypt. Remember I told you Osiris, the god of the underworld, his bloodstream was the Nile River. God says in Exodus chapter 7, verse 17. “I will strike the waters […] with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.” You always have believed Pharaoh, that this is a bloodstream of Osiris, would you like to see it be a bloodstream? Wham. He turned the Nile River, the longest river in the world, to blood. Amazing.
But that wasn’t the only thing he did. Look what happens. Verse 18, “And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river,” that they worshiped. So, from verse 19 on they did it. Why was God doing that? They worshiped the bloodstream, He made it blood. They worshiped Hapi, the god of the big fish. They used to worship the god of the fish, so God killed all the fish. He says, you can’t worship these impotent gods, they’re nothing. But why did he do it?
Number one, they thought that the Nile River had to do with their afterlife. Only God controls the afterlife. God is so concerned that mankind knows the true judge of their destiny. In our world why do you think we have all the science fiction stuff? Because people don’t want to believe that there’s really a God and that we have to meet Him. We’re hoping that somebody from a flying saucer is going to give us the fountain of youth, so we won’t have to die. There is no fountain of youth. There’s water of life, and only Christ gives it. He says, I’m the God of the afterlife worship me.
Secondly, He says, I am the Spirit of creation. This fish god was supposedly the creator. He says, you think that fish god created you? I am going to kill all the fish, so you know that he didn’t create you, I created you. God wants us to know that He controls our destiny. He also wants us to know that our origin comes from Him. We originated by the hand of God.
Finally, only God can watch over and protect His people securely. That’s the other god of the river. Osiris was one. Hapi this fish God was the other. The guardian of the Nile River, the gods name was Neith. You know what? Neith was supposed to be able to protect and take you safely to the other side. God says; I protect, I create, I control your destiny, I want you to know I’m in charge. Do you know why God sent the plagues? So all the world would know He’s in charge. Do you know why God brought you here tonight? So we would know, so we would live like God is in charge.
Let’s bow before our God who’s in charge tonight and just acknowledge His ownership before we go on.
Oh Father, I thank you for the privilege tonight of looking in your word. I thank you for Moses, a faithful servant. I thank you for Nebuchadnezzar who listened, and I believe we’re going to see again someday. But regrettably, the Egyptians and their leader clung to their lifeless idols, which were impotent and took them only to destruction instead of embracing the living and true God. Father, I would ask that by your grace and for your glory tonight, if there’s even one here who is still holding onto a lifeless idol, the idol of pleasure, of self, or pride, or whatever; that they would let loose of that lifeless, worthless, impotent god. That they would turn to the living and true God whose arms are outstretched to us. Thank you for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
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