So, what we are going to look at today is a brief section that is after the Pharaoh lets the people go, but before his heart is hardened once again and he comes after the Israelites.
As I usually do, before I get into the message, I want to ask you a question. Think for a minute. How often do you seek God’s guidance for your decisions? Now, when you do, do you think that the “answers” you receive are just for that moment, or do you think they may be tied to something greater than you?
What we are going to find in this text today is this: God’s plans span generations, and His leading is step by step.
What we are seeing in this short little snippet between the release of the israelites, and the parting of the Red Sea is something that ai think we all need to understand about our lives and how God leads us. The first thing is that God’s plans are way bigger than you! I know that is really hard for us to hear, and it is honestly a little tough to say. When we think about God’s plan for our life, we most often buy into the American dream style of God’s plan. That God’s plans for you are wonderful, and they will play out in the way we hope during our lifetime. Well, as we see in this story, and really all over history, is that God’s plans for our lives are good, and they are great, but they play out in a way that Will make Him look great, and sometimes that means after we are dead. Let me show you what I mean. Did anyone notice the verse in here about Joseph’s bones? Look at verse 19. Did that verse peak anyone’s interest? It did mine, and so I looked into it, and what I found was a reference back to Genesis 50:24. Lets read that real quickly… What we have here essentially is Joseph’s will, and that is to be buried in the promised land. He was foretelling this exodus and asking that his body be brought along, so he could be buried in that land of promise. Joseph recognized that he was just a part of God’s grand story, a minor actor in God’s grand Epic. This act of fair was later commended by the Author of Hebrews along with Abraham offering Issac and Israel crossing the Red Sea. Lets look at it; Hebrews 11:22 “By faith Joseph , at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.”
Now, this type of statement really makes me stop and think, why is this an act of faith such that it is mentioned? Fortunately, the answer to most questions in scripture can be found in the context surrounding it. If you look at verses 13-16, you will see why these people were commended for heir acts of faith. You see, what their acts of faith were meant to reveal was not that god would save them from peril and hardship in this life, but their acts of faith revealed that they trusted in a plan that went beyond their own lifetime. It says, “they died in faith not having received the things promised.” You see, what I have found is that if I think of the promises of God, it is very tempting to hope in them coming true in this life, but I dont often think, “Lord, I don’t care if I live to see this plan come to fruition, I trust that you will see it through in your own way, in your own time.” So, in many ways the israelites carrying Josephs bones should have been aware of the reality, that this story is bigger than us, and indeed it was because they all perished in the wilderness didn’t they. Not even Moses got to enter into the promised land, but God’s people did.
So, what should this reality produce in me?
First off, it should produce a humility in me. When we realize that we are not the main character in God’s story, it should bring us to a place of humility, before God and before other people. We don’t have to be the main attraction, we don’t have to steal the spotlight, we are freed to orient our lives in such a way that we can make others look good, especially God. Few people do this as well as my wife…
Honestly, this is something I wrestle with, but it should produce in me a contentment with whatever role God has called me to play. This is something that I believe is very hard…
Thirdly, a true grasp of the reality that God’s story is bigger than us should lead us into a greater lifestyle of self sacrifice, and possibly into something that looks very crazy to the world around us…
Finally, it should cause us to seek the Lord for His guidance for the things we do.
That leads us to the next point.
God Leads us daily: Now, you may think that because we are only a small part of God’s plan that we then are less significant, and maybe we can chill out in the background. The reality is that when we let go of our own grand desires, we are more willing and open to submit to God’s leading for our lives. He led His people in the wilderness with a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. God led his people in a detailed and precise way, and he led them day and night.
He led them in a way that was harder at face value, but was better in the long run. He led them with His presence.
So, when you evaluate God’s leading in your life. Let me offer some council.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you address decisions you may be making in your life.
Is God’s plan to make me Happy, or Holy? How might this decision make me more Holy?
Am I choosing based on a short term view of God’s plan, or a long range view of God’s plan?
How might this decision build a foundation for those who come after me?