Category Archives: forgiveness

“A Great Deliverer!”

In the grand narrative of the history of God’s people…as we see it unfolding in Exodus…the power of God is on display! If there is anything God’s people need to know is the fact that God is able to deliver them! When circumstances are too great and out of our own control…and back is against the proverbial wall…God is in control! Though His people have been in captivity in Egypt for 430 years…God has not forgotten them…nor has He forgotten His promises. In fact, since the beginning of the book God has been moving to fulfill His promise to make them a great nation. In order to do that…He would have to DELIVER them from the slavery in Egypt and take them toward the land of promise! LIFE IS A JOURNEY and God knows where it is going! The parallel for you and I is to see that we too are…ON A JOURNEY. Just as God had been faithfully working out the fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is doing and has done the same for you and me.

REMEMBER…In Exodus…the people of Israel had become so great in number that a new Pharaoh, one that did not know Joseph, had committed them to forced labor and ordered the killing of all the Hebrew baby boys. God protected one of those boys, Moses, allowed him to be raised for 40 years in Pharaoh’s house, and then sent him to the wilderness for another 40 years to prepare him for his God-assigned task of leading God’s people out of the land of Egypt. God called Moses…He commissioned Moses out of the burning bush to lead His people. From Exodus 5-11 there have been signs & plagues…God orchestrated events to get Pharaoh’s attention. To ultimately demonstrate to Pharaoh, and Egypt and all of God’s people for every generation…that He is the One in control. He is the One who is orchestrating these events. The One to deliver! We come to Exodus 12. A point of new beginning…the dawning of a new day…the beginning of a new life!

When we look at the signs and plagues in the preceding chapters…Aaron’s rod turning into a serpent then devouring the rods of Egypt’s sorcerers, the water turning to blood, the lice and the flies, then the livestock dying, boils, hail and locusts and then darkness…all significant displays of God’s power. But now there is evidence that He is going to do something even bigger…momentous…look at v.1-2.

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:1

God changes the calendar year for them to remember what He has done! This is a starting point! It is interesting to note that the different cultures of the day had varying starts to the New Year. Some began the year in the fall others began in the spring…the Canaanite cultures typically had fall starts to the year. So it could be that God really wanted to set His people apart from who they would

The Jewish people in OT would have two calendars…a CIVIL calendar beginning in our September and a RELIGIOUS calendar beginning in our March-April…
All of worship would come from this point of deliverance! Your worship too!
This is a pivotal moment in their history…it is the beginning of their religious calendar…they would look back to this event that God is going to do…it would be an important marker in their history! In other words, God is saying to His people…YOU ARE NEVER TO FORGET THIS!

How God’s people first became a people…begins with a lamb. Abraham and his son were journeying up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice to God. Abraham thought it was to be Isaac and Isaac wondered where the lamb to be sacrificed was.  Isaac asked “Where is the Lamb?” to which his father replied “God will provide a lamb.” And then centuries later, John the Baptist would point to Jesus and say: “Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

We can be so forgetful of the Lamb. God is the source of everything about our lives. Every thing He has done for us points us back to Himself. The lamb is the centre-point of this chapter. No lamb, no Passover, no lamb means death. No lamb means no freedom, no lamb means no Promised Land. Never are we to forget what He has done to bring us freedom from sins bondage!

“No lamb means no passover, no lamb means death, no lamb means no freedom, no freedom means no Promised Land.

NOTE: the details of God’s plan…He gave them instructions on HOW He would deliver them. They were to follow the plan…they were not delivering themselves…they could not do whatever they wanted to deliver themselves…they had to follow the plan God set out for them. God was delivering them, and they were to follow/obey Him completely.

When we find ourselves in a difficult situation are we willing to follow God’s will rather than your own will? Will you trust His plan for your deliverance!  Will we trust Him to do what is right? Even if we do not understand His ways and His timing?

Here is the PLAN (Exodus 12:3-11) : A lamb would be chosen. That lamb would be without blemish…no spots, defects, or disease, just a perfect little lamb. This lamb will be kept till the 14th day of the month and then it will be killed at twilight. The blood of the lamb was then put on the the doorposts and the lintel of the house. This would be known as the Feast of Passover. “The Lord’s Passover” celebrated every year as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance from bondage and slavery. NEVER FORGETTING!

In Exodus 12:12-13 God tells them exactly how this sacrificial lamb would deliver the people. Note: no one is exempt…all are to be judged. “All the firstborn” = every Egyptian, Hebrew, man and animal. Yahweh, the one true God, the God of Israel, was bringing judgment upon the land of Egypt. Everyone in Egypt, Israelites and Egyptians alike, was guilty of sin against the true God. Romans 3:23 His coming judgment would be swift and severe. ALL HAVE SINNED! Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.

Want to be delivered? The only way to avoid God’s judgment was faith in Yahweh that resulted in obedience to His substitutionary plan. THEY HAD TO TRUST GOD’S SUBSTITUTIONARY PLAN! The Israelites had to follow God’s directions completely, the key step being the application of the blood to the doorposts of their houses. It was not the blood of the animal that saved the Israelites  (See: Hebrews 9:12-13; 10:4The blood on the doorposts showed that the people had accepted God’s plan for rescue and trust in His word. After all, the sight of dried blood by itself had no power to deter death. It was only as the dried blood painted on the top and sides of the door was a testimony to the faith of the inhabitants in Yahweh that it had its efficacy. Thus the statement, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over you‘ i.e. God was saying: “I will spare all those who show that they have placed their faith in me.”

The thing that brought deliverance to the children of Israel was FAITH in their one, true, covenant-keeping God, and obedience to His command to apply the blood of the substitute (goat/lamb) to the doorposts of their houses. As we also see in these verses, God was distinguishing Himself from the false gods of the Egyptians. Israel’s faith was in the true God.

NOTE: This was not the people saving themselves…this was God’s plan. The power to execute the plan was God’s power. The result of God’s deliverance could only take place as He would bring it about. The people had simply to obey Him from a heart of faith.

This day would be memorialized! God delivered His people out of Egypt…word travelled! The Red Sea deliverance ….all of this is a testimony of God’s mighty power went throughout the lands.  Just read about what Rahab would later have to testify in Jericho (Joshua 2:10). God gets the glory!

We are just like the Hebrew people in bondage in Egypt…we are in bondage to sin and death…all of us, there is none righteous no not one. We are stuck in our trespasses and sins.  We all have a natural inclination to sin. And it it that sin that separates us from God…and as a result we face His wrath!

But then God did something momentous…something that we will never forget! Jesus is the perfect sinless spotless Lamb of God 2 Cor. 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Being the Lamb of God…His blood was shed to cover your sin! To deliver you from God’s wrath! Ephesians 2:3 “…by nature were children of wrath”
God receives glory through our lives as evidence of His salvation is seen and declared to others.

Have you received God’s deliverance…salvation…through the blood of His Son, the spotless Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ? Do others see evidence of the power of the one, true God in your life as you walk in faith, surrender and obedience to Him?


Why “The People of the Cross”?

Why “The People of the Cross”?

Why are “the people of the cross” so offensive? Why is there so much hatred toward Christians? Really. What is the distinguishing mark that makes them so offensive that fellow human beings would want to destroy them? Why is it that those who follow a message of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness are the target of such malicious hatred?
With the world watching in mid February…twenty one men, clad in the unmistakeable orange jump suits were marched on to a Libyan beach somewhere along the Mediterranean and were brutally slaughtered before a watching world…simply because they followed Jesus, and they were willing to die for their belief. The gruesome caption over the screen warned “…the people of the cross and the hostile Egyptian Church.”

I have read with sadness the stories of some of these men which were published in the days after the slaying. Young men in their prime, some had just married and some were about to be married. Some left behind a young wife and young children, whom they would never see again. According to WORLD Magazine many of them had already been suffering for their faith, they had already faced severe persecution in their home villages simply for what they believed. They experienced harassment, threats, difficulty finding jobs so much so that they could not support their families. And what I find personally emotionally staggering is that 13 of the 21 men came from the same village, the same church family. What a heartbreaking loss for a local church and a local community to experience.

Now we know that it is more than just Christians who are being brutally murdered by ISIS. There are even fellow Muslims who do not subscribe to the extremist ideology of ISIS who do not capitulate and they end up dying for their faith as well.

But the question remains…Why? What did these men do to deserve such a horrific end? Jesus, Himself, had warned His original followers and every generation that followed (even to the current generation)…that the world will, in fact, hate them. The world will hate Christians because they first hated Him, Jesus. And they will do so …without cause. Jesus went on to say that there will be some who will honestly believe that they are doing God’s holy work by killing Christians. And yes that is the prevailing ideology of the terrorist group ISIS. Go figure! You can read about it for yourself in John 15:18-16:4. But just imagine that for a moment…Jesus, the Son of God, a man known for His love for mankind, His grace, His mercy and His kindness…and His followers…okay albeit not perfect representations of Him, but for the most part they do their best to act, love and live like Him…and they are hated with such monstrous viciousness! This is very difficult to explain, and yet it is the reality in so many parts of the world.

So how should we respond? In Matthew 5:43 Jesus clearly said to His followers “But I say to you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”Jesus said this. I recently heard an interview with a brother of one of the men who was murdered on that beach. Speaking Arabic, thankfully, it was translated into English… the brother was asked what he would do if he met the man who killed his brother…to which he replied “I would take him home and feed him a meal.” Then the same brother was asked if he would be willing to pray for the one who killed his brother? And he said “yes”. And he even did it on live satellite television, transmitted through out the mid eastern world. Of course this interview would never make the headlines on CNN or CBC yet “the people of the cross” are showing grace, mercy and forgiveness for the ones who hate them so much without cause.

The Christ of the cross and “…the people of the cross” would want you to know today, that the way of the cross leads to Jesus. You do not have to jump through religious hoops, or even change your behaviour, that is merely religion. The people of the cross do not have religion. They have a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. You too can have that relationship with God by simply trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of all your sins. To personally know that your sins are forgiven, provides you with hope, joy and peace not just in this life, but for all of eternity.

Respectfully submitted,
David Virr
Pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church, Burford.