Monday, January 28, 2019

God in the Torah #3: God Revealed

God Revealed

Text: Exodus 7-8

Preview: Why should we believe in the existence of God? How is God revealed?

The 5 great philosophical arguments for the existence of God are very famous. They are….

The Cosmological Argument
Everything which began must have had a creator.
Hebrews 3:4  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

The Teleological Argument
Order and useful arrangement imply intelligence and purpose.
Psalm 94:9  He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

The Moral Argument
There are fundamental moral laws in every culture. 
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Romans 2:14-15  For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

The Ontological Argument
The idea of God is Proof of His Existence.

The Argument from Congruity
The belief in the existence of God best explains the facts of mental, moral and religious nature, as well as the fact of the material universe.
Today we are not going to try and prove the existence of God from philosophy but instead show the existence of God by His own revelation. We will let God show Himself.

A man was walking along a cliff admiring the view when the edge suddenly gave way and he fell. As he slid down toward certain death he desperately clutched at anything to stop his fall and suddenly his hand latched onto a small scraggly bush growing on the side of the cliff. He was to far down to climb up and to fall was to die, so he began to call out, “Help, Is anybody up there?” After several cries he heard a voice coming from above that said, “This is God. I will help you.” The man was so relieved but a little skeptical. “Oh thank you for answering me. I need rescuing.” God said, “I will save you from falling if you will have faith.” The man said, “Oh I have faith. No problem.” Then God said, “Let go of the bush and I will save you.” The man thought for a moment, looked down to the rocks a hundred feet below him and then called out, “Is there anybody else up there.”

Often when you meet people who don’t believe in God or aren’t sure of His existence, they will tell you, If God would just reveal Himself. If he would just prove His existence then I would believe in Him.  Yet the truth is that God has revealed Himself many times to mankind and yet many still don’t believe.

In the Garden, as we saw last week, God would come in the cool of the evening and walk with Adam and Eve. God revealed himself everyday, like a welcome guest to your home. But when Adam sinned that revelation stopped because sin that was not in man separated him from His God. Since that time God has chosen to reveal himself at different time and in different ways.

The Revelation of God is a separate part of Theology. Let me give you another definition you probably won’t remember very long but it will help set the stage for we are going to look at today.

Historically, the two avenues through which God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself have been labeled general and special revelation. General revelation includes all that God has revealed in the world around us, including man, while special revelation includes various means He used to communicate His message in what was codified in the Bible. General revelation is sometimes called natural theology, and special revelation is called revealed theology. But, of course, what is revealed in nature is also revealed in theology. Some writers use the labels prelapsarian for general revelation and postlapsarian or soteric for special revelation. However, both general and special revelation are (a) from God and (b) about God. – Ryrie, Basic Theology.
Whoa, prelapsarian and postlapsarin, yeow! Now there are some real 10-dollar words. If you didn’t put at least ten dollars in the offering plate today you may want to write another check before you leave. All we are saying is that just as our lost and atheistic friends are saying, God has revealed himself, many time and in many ways throughout history and continues to reveal Himself today. The problem is not with God’s revelation but like the man hanging from on the side of the cliff with certain death waiting for us, we continue to call out for someone else, someone, anyone but just not God.

God Revealed Against the False Gods of Egypt.

Exodus 7:1-5  And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt,

God Reveals Himself through Moses and Aaron by destroying the Gods of Egypt in the Ten plagues. 

1st Plague: The water turned to blood. The was God’s judgment upon “Hapi” – the God of the Nile.
Egypt worshipped the Nile god as their daily source of life and sustenance since it was the waters of the Nile that watered their crops and gave them water that was necessary for drinking, cleaning, and bathing. Now that life-giving water carried nothing but death.
It was the Nile that had taken the life of thousands of Hebrew baby boys and now the waters of the Nile turned to blood showing the reality of the murder and death of innocent children. 

2nd Plague, the frogs. The frogs were a judgement against “Heqt” – a frog headed goddess that represented the resurrection of the dead of Egypt.
The Egyptians viewed the frogs as a blessing that kept the insect population down, but God turned that “blessing” into a curse when the frogs erupted from the Nile and filled their houses and then died their making the land stink.

3rd and 4th were the plagues of lice and of flies. These were judgments against “Kheper” – the god of beetles and flies.
God’s plague was to prove to Egypt that he had power over the power of their idol to control the population of flies and lice that brought disease to the land. The lice may have been any small, biting, stinging insect from lice, to sand fleas, to gnats or mosquitoes.  It drove the people to distraction, all they could think of was the incessant, buzzing, biting and stinging of these monsters they could not escape from.
Where was their god? Why did he not intervene? Why had something that was his symbol been turned into such misery to those who worshipped Him. With the plague of flies, God put a difference between his people and the people of Egypt. The plague would strike in Egypt but not in Goshen where the Hebrews were forced to live.

5th was the murrain or sickness (anthrax) upon all the cattle. This was God’s judgment against “Apis”, the sacred bull of Egypt.
This was God’s way of letting Egypt know that the blood of bulls was not sufficient to cleanse their sin and to show that their animal god was no god at all. This was the same animal that later at Mt Sinai the people would once again sacrifice their gold for and build the golden calf and worship it at the very foot of the mountain where God was given the Law to Moses.

6th The plague of boils (huge running sores). This was God’s judgment against the Egyptian gods “Imhotep” the physician god, and “Thoth”, the god of magic and healing.
No medicine could relieve the pain and suffering, no magic potion could remove God’s wrath. No god could heal them, their gods were powerless to teach them how they could overcome the power of the God of the Hebrews.

7th The plague of hail was directed against “Nut”, the Egyptian sky goddess.
God rained fire and brimstone, mixed with hail; upon the Egyptians to show that he had all power in earth and sky.

8th was the plague of locusts. It was directed against “Seth”, the god of crops.
God’s judgment destroyed those very crops that Seth was supposed to protect and keep from harm. The Egyptians looked on helplessly as the insects devoured their very life.

9th was the plague of darkness was God’s judgment against “Ra”, the Egyptian sun god.
Ra was the Egyptian idol that represented creation for they knew that all life depended upon the heat and light of the sun. God’s judgment against the power of the sun to give light was to prove to the Egyptians that he was the Creator of all things and that no other god could stand before him.

10th was the death of the firstborn. This most terrible judgment was against Pharaoh and the bloodline to the throne of Egypt.

Pharaoh was also worshipped as a god among the Egyptians. He was a man-god and the omnipotent God of Heaven judged him as unholy and impotent.

The Danger of Denying God

From the river to the ruler Pharaoh, God judged the idolatry of Egypt and showed it as powerless. In pouring out His judgment through Moses and Aaron He revealed Himself as the one true God, the creator of all peoples, not just the God of the Hebrews but also the God of Egyptians. 

Nor was not it only the Egyptians that God was revealing Himself to. The Children of Israle, His own people, had begun to worship the Egyptian Gods after 400 years in captivity. They also needed to see that there was only one God and that He was greater than all the idols of Egypt.

Finally, after the death of the firstborn Pharaoh agreed to let God’s people go.
It took the death of his own son, the loss of his family before Pharaoh would finally relent and finally admit defeat. He finally understood that he could not stand against God, but oh the price of that lesson. Oh the loss and suffering for so many people for so many years to come, all because one man had dared to stand and defy the true God.

When you look around us today you see another nation that is denying the true God of creation. 

When you hear a political party erupt in boos and jeers at the mention of God’s name during their nominating convention, you hear the denial of God.

When you read about a state controlled by men and women who celebrate the murder of the unborn in the womb of their own mothers, you hear the people denying God.

When you see people marching in support of the worst forms of debauchery, sexual confusion and sexual immorality you see people denying the existence of God.

Today many in our nation don’t believe that God exists and like the Egyptians they have put their faith in their own gods but let me stand before you today and tell you without a shadow of doubt, that just as God judged the gods of Egypt, and in that judgment revealed Himself, he is also showing Himself in judgment against the gods of today.

God Revealed against the Gods of Today.

The gods of Today

God struck the idols of Egypt and we say, “Amen, Praise the Lord. How could anyone be so stupid as to worship statues of wood and stone? They deserve red to be judged and they did, but our perspective of idolatry may need to be updated, for I’m afraid we are still worshipping idols in our society today. Perhaps on a scale ever greater than the pagans of ancient times.

The Idol of Sexual Promiscuity
We worship sex as much as the Greek and the Romans. They did it the name of a god or goddess we do it without any such pretense. We worship for its own sake.

God’s judgment is sure and easily seen in the pain, suffering and heartache of promiscuous sex but still we worship. Married couples are close to being a minority in our country because people think living together makes more sense than marriage. Do you realize that according the  most recent studies, we as Americans are not even having enough children to sustain ourselves. We are literally dying as a people.

Do you understand that the vast majority of violence in the home, the murder of children by adults and the murder of partners is done by people who are living together without being married. 

Judgment is upon them and us and they do not even realize or care. We continue to harden their hearts.

The Idol of Recreation/Hedonism

We worship at the altar of escape. We run to the lakes to rivers and the mountains. We gather round the computers, televisions and entertainment centers. We go anywhere or anyplace to try and find pleasure and recreation.

In ancient Greece this was called Hedonism and it has not changed much since. People who are willing to do anything and try anything in order to avoid pain and find pleasure.

God’s judgment falls in the form of mindless minds and empty souls. People who cannot live their own lives because they have avoided anything painful or difficult and thus have never learned to grow up.

They bring suffering to all those around them because they must be carried as children even when they should be adults. They cannot function in an adult world and continue to look to someone else to bring them their food, raise their children and even make their decisions.
The Idol of Greed

The belief that the most important this is the getting of wealth and the power it brings. People sacrifice their lives and families for it and suffer that loss for the rest of their days.

The Idol of Human Government
The worship of government which believes that Uncle Sam or some other government is that which will save us and make our lives better.

It is this belief which made thousands of people wait for their government to save them from Katrina only to realize too late that their god had failed them as such gods always will fail them.

The Idol of Nature
There are those who worship nature, believing that only in nature is there perfection and peace.
What do they do with their peace of nature when hurricanes batter their homes and earthquake kill by the thousands? How do you turn to Gaia or Mother Nature when she can’t even hear your cries?

The Idol of False Gods

Others look to Buddha, Mohammed or any thousands of gods of the Hindu religion, believing that devotion to idols or to men can bring happiness in this life and life after death.
God’s judgment on them in this life is poverty and pain. It is the sacrifice of their children to be bound into a caste system, locked into poverty or formed into suicide bombers and their future to filled with hopelessness and violence.

The Idol of Science/ Technology

Some believe that Science will lift mankind to greater heights and greater height of evolution and enlightenment. That it will finally bring him past the ignorance and suffering of this present time and those things that have held man back like God, churches and religion. Especially the religion called Christianity.

Instead of a savior of humanity we find a mass killer. First we see our homes and minds polluted by sin that would never have been allowed in except through our TVs or our computers. 

Then after our minds have been conditioned by what has entered our eyes and ears, we then begin to believe it is best for science to determine the worth of human life and the very right even to existence.  Instead of God determining if human life is sacred we allow technology and science to make that decision. Who lives and how dies is now under the authority of the elite and educated. 

But the outcome of denying God is that our babies are killed in the womb, our children are drugged and brainwashed until they no longer know that a man is a man or a woman is a woman. They no longer believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. We worship at the altar of science and soon our sick and ill are disposed of instead of treated and our aged are euthanasied. Clinic and hospitals that used to save lives, now become places of clean, human scientific death.

We have Idols of Drugs/ Alcoholism

It is now legal in 14 states to smoke marijuana and in 3 states you don’t even need the pretense of a pseudo-prescription. Can you imagine the judgment we will be reaping in the years to come from such worship of drugs. The major cause of car accidents, health problems, broken families and job loss today is cause by alcohol. How many times should we multiply that once we add other mind and mood altering drugs into our societal mix?

The Idol of Sports
We worship the sports heroes at the stadiums of our cities and the televisions of our homes. No church no matter how large comes close to matching the attendance or the finances of these idol factories.

The Idol of Humanism
The god we worship most of all though is the god of man. We can call it humanism but all it really is the elevation of man to godhood. It even has its own creed, “Man is the measure of all things.”

God’s Judgment Today

This the same practice condemned by Paul to the Romans 2000 years ago.
Paul says that man is without excuse because God has revealed himself. Scripture: Romans 1:20-23  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

And God is judging us in the same way today that Paul says he was the nations then.
Romans 1:24-32 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Do you wonder why God is not pouring out plagues on us as he did on Egypt. Or as some have said, “One day American will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomora.” Why hasn’t God judged our nation and this world? Well the truth is that He has. According to what we read in Romans 1 and 2.

We are experience God’s judgment right now, today
When you see the children of our nation turning to homosexuality and lesbianism or trying to deny their biological gender, that is God’s judgment.  When you see the increasing cruelty, anger and violence of people against one another, that is God’s judgment. When you see immorality, debauchery and perversion increasing everyday around us, that is God’s judgment.

This is not is not the calm before the storm, it is the storm of God’s judgment right now! We are reaping as a nation what we have sown back in 1962 when schools were told they couldn’t pray or have the 10 commandments posted. We are reaping what we have sown in 1973 when abortion was legalized. We are reaping what we have sown in 2003 when homosexuality was made legal in all states. We are reaping what we have sown when in 2015 same sex marriage was declared legal by the supreme court. We will reap what we sow when all the laws and commandments of God upon which our society was built, have been thrown out of our congress, out of the white house and out of our court system. Oh the terrible harvest that will be.

God’s word says, that He gave them up to uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies. God gave them up to vile affects, woman and men against the natural uses of their body into what is unnatural. God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not fitting. To be reprobate is to have the mind of an animal, a mind that is no longer human.
When you look at what is happening in our world today and you wonder how can people act this way? How can people believe such things? The answer is that they and our society are under the judgment of God.

But before we leave here thinking that all we can foresee is judgement and doom never forget that even in the midst of the plagues of Egypt, God did not forgotten mercy. Just as he allowed the Egyptians to dig down along the river and find clean water so he still has wells of mercy for those who seek Him. Just as he warned all the nation of Egypt that hail was coming and those who believe could bring their cattle and livestock into shelter, so still today God warns us and we can find mercy in the midst of judgment.

God Revealed Through His Mercy

Exodus 9:13-21
And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.  And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.  As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?  Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.  Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.  He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:  And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

God Revealed In His Mercy

God gave his warning of judgment to all the people and the Bible tells us that “He that feared the world of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses”

On the terrible night of the death of the firstborn anyone of Egypt or of Israel who believed God’s word from Moses could put the blood on the doorposts and the lintel of their home.
Exodus 12:12-13  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

God was willing to show mercy to any who would believe His word.

God’s Revelation Continues today
To those who would say, If God would just reveal Himself, if he would just show Himself, I’d believe. Let tell you that God has never stopped revealing himself to a lost and dying world. He continues to this very day to show Himself to us. Very quickly let me give you just a few of the ways God reveals himself today. Ways He uses to reach out to us and show Himself in love and mercy.
His People
His Church
His Creation
His Law written in our hearts
He especially reveals himself through His Word, the Bible. Divinely inspired, miraculously kept from error and preserved by God’s promise until the Lord returns.
Psalm 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Psalm 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
But the greatest revelation of God is His Son, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

John 3:13-17
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Dr. Mackay and the Pawned Bible
William Patton MacKay left his home in Scotland to attend college at the age of 17. His mother gave him a Bible, writing her name, his name, and a verse of Scripture on the fly leaf. He graduated with high honours and became the head of a large hospital. Very shortly he left the way of his youth and began drinking and living the life of a man with no thought for anything but himself and having a good time. He also became the head of a club of infidels where they practiced everything that was licentious and vile. He was open in his ridicule of God and the Bible and even pawned the Bible his mother had given him when he left home.
One day the ambulance brought in a man who had been horribly crushed. On his face, however, was a look of calm and peace so pronounced that it amazed Dr. MacKay, who was accustomed to seeing people suffer. With a smile the patient asked what the verdict was.
“Oh, I guess we will pull you through and fix you up.” replied the doctor.
“No, Doctor, I don’t want any guess,” said the man. “I want to know if it is life or death. Just lay me down easy anywhere, Doctor, I am ready. I am saved and am not afraid to die. But I want the truth. Just what is my condition?”

The doctor replied: “You have at the most three hours to live.” The doctor was touched, and thinking there might be relatives to notify asked, “Is there anything you would like to have us do for you?”

Thanking him, the injured man replied: “In one of my pockets is a two weeks’ pay cheque. If you can get it, I wish you would send it at once to my landlady, and ask her to send me the Book.”

“What book?” inquired the doctor. “Oh, just the Book,” the man answered. “She will know.”
Dr. MacKay arranged for the man’s request to be cared for, and then started on his rounds through the hospital. He returned to the ward where the man had been placed, and seeing the nurse whom he had assigned to the case, inquired as to his condition.
“He died just a few minutes ago,” the nurse informed him.
“Did the Book get here?” asked the doctor.
“Yes it arrived shortly before he died,” the nurse answered.
“What was it? asked Dr. MacKay, “his bank-book?”
“No, it wasn’t his bank-book,” replied the nurse. “It is still there, though, If you care to look at it. He died with it under his pillow.”
Dr. MacKay went to the bedside, reached under the sheet and drew a Bible from under the pillow. As he did so the Bible opened and the pages turned over to the flyleaf. There in his mother’s handwriting was Dr. Mackay’s name, his mother’s name and a verse of Scripture.
Dr. Mackay rushed upstairs to his office. He asked God to have mercy upon him and in repentance accepted Christ as his Saviour.  God had revealed himself to Dr. MacKay through the calm assurance of a dying man, the love of his mother and the Bible he had so long rejected.

God is revealing himself to us even today.

With each sunrise and sunset, with each scene of nature, with each act of love from our parents, each kindness and concern show from Christians and most fully in the pages of His Word where when we read the Holy Spirit can touch our hearts and turn our eyes to Jesus Christ, God greatest revelation of love, mercy and hope.

Will we harden our hearts or turn to God?

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