Psalm 124

Exodus 1:8-2:10


“God is greater.”


There is evil in the world.


But ---- God is greater.


There is oppression in the world.


But ---- God is greater.


There are tyrants in the world.


But alas ---- God is greater.


There is pain and suffering.


There are people in the world ---- and groups of people in the world who sometimes do inhuman and cruel things.


There is prejudice ---- hatred --- racism ----- sexism in the world --- and there always will be until Jesus comes again.


But thankfully ----- God is greater than all of these.


Think of the worst things that you can think of ------ take a moment and think of the most horrific thing you could ever imagine.


Maybe it’s oppression ---- physical beating --- spiritual beating ----- abandonment ---- deteriorating health --- and so on.


Think of that which you detest most ---- or fear most in this world.


Your child getting hurt --- or worst killed ---- your money and house being taken away forever.


Your house burning down --- all your precious possessions gone.


Whatever it is that you dread the most in this world ------ whatever it is ------ God is more important --- and ------ AND especially for today --- God is greater.


Nothing out runs.


Nothing out performs.


Nothing overpowers --- or slips by God.


Nothing is out of God’s hands.


There is nothing that God cannot replace ---- overcome --- return --- bring back ----- supplant in importance and meaning and value.


Nothing is more powerful ---- more influential ---- nothing is beyond or greater than God.


That is just the truth ---- the only truth that lasts forever and cannot be corrupted --- bought off or manipulated.


God is greater.


In the book of Exodus today Pharaoh --- the King of Egypt does everything within his power to contain --- and oppress --- and control the Israelites.


Picking it up at verse 9 --- “Look he said --- to his people ---- the Israelites have become far too numerous for us.

Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and --- if war breaks out will join our enemies --- fight against us and leave the country.


So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labour.

But the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied --- and spread --- so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites --- and worked them ruthlessly.

They made their lives bitter with harsh labour --- the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”



And as if this wasn’t enough --- picking it up in verse 16 Pharaoh says this to the women who were there to help when Israelite babies were born ---

“When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth --- if you see that the baby is a boy --- kill him.”


And then when that didn’t work and Hebrew boys were still being born --- Pharaoh says ----- picking it up in verse 22 ---

“Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people ------ “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile.”


Pharaoh does everything within his power to control and contain the Israelites ------ working them harder and harder --- ruthlessly as verses 13 and 14 say.


And so even after working them ruthlessly doesn’t work ----- and even after asking the midwives to kill new born boys doesn’t work ---- Pharaoh expands his killing commands to include every single Egyptian.


Verse 22 reads ---- “Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.””


He does whatever he can try to contain and control ---- the Israelites --- controlling who is born and who dies.


And as we well know --- he fails miserably --- as the Israelites grow huge in number and God frees them delivering them to the Promised Land.


God is greater.


Greater than the most powerful person alive at that time --- the king of Egypt --- Pharaoh.


And so it was in the time of Christ --- God is greater than the most powerful leader --- the Roman emperor and Roman government.


What Pharaoh failed to realize is that an effort to contain the Israelites was also an effort to contain God ---- and that was never going to happen.




The book of Exodus as a whole makes it abundantly clear that the events starting here with Israel and Egypt and Moses are moving towards a redemptive climax that unfolds intentionally and in accordance with God’s will.


The oppressive hand of Pharaoh may be strong --- very strong in fact ----- but the redemptive hand of God is stronger still.


The oppressive hand of the world may be strong and influential but stronger still is the redemptive and saving hand of God.


At its heart this is not a story about Pharaoh --- and this is not a story about Moses --- and this is not a story about the Israelites --- this is a story all about God.


It is a revelation to Pharaoh to Israel ---- to Moses ----- and a reminder to us --- that God is greater.


The movement in Exodus --- the movement in the Bible ---- the movement of God in this world ------ is from oppression to hope.


From despair to hope ------ from being run by sin and darkness to salvation ---- redemption ---- and reconciliation.


And the Exodus of the people of Israel is a concrete historical --- in the flesh example of this.


Just as Jesus Christ is also the concrete --- historical ---- in the flesh example of the divine movement in creation from darkness and oppression to freedom and redemption.


And just as there was much suffering for the Israelites --- ruthless dealings at the hands Pharaoh before redemption.


And just as there was much suffering for Christ --- ruthless dealings at the hands of the Roman Empire before redemption.


So there is often suffering for us before redemption and salvation.




Think of Jesus Christ and His suffering for a minute.


If ever we’re having a bad day --- or a bad weak ---- or a bad year --- or a bad decade even --- if ever we’re down in life --- think of Jesus Christ ---- His suffering was so great and so profound ----- and far more painful than we will ever endure ---- it’s not even close at all.


And that is all because of God’s grace.


The birth of Moses --- this opening passage in Exodus ----- unambiguously and definitively ------- signals that God is at work in the life of Israel ----- and that all evil schemes will fail.


This opening passage in Exodus ----- unambiguously and definitively ------- signals that God is greater.


And there are constant reminders ----- there is evidence ever around us that God is unambiguously and definitively greater than anything else in all of His creation.


God is greater that oppressive regimes --- greater than Donald Trump ---- greater than any warheads ---- tyrants ------ despots --- and so on.


Moses’ life is a study in unmitigated divine authority ---- and direction.


Many people’s lives in fact --- if we take a second to notice --- many people’s lives give evidence of unmitigated divine authority --- and direction.


The Bible reminds us that God is making all things new.


Israel ----- by God --- through Moses and others ----- but chiefly through Moses is made new ---- freed --- returned home --- hopes fulfilled ---- dreams actualized --- redemption --- reconciliation ------ triumph even.



Even amidst --- especially amidst oppressive regimes ---- Egypt --- Babylon --- Assyria --- Roman --- even amidst oppressive regimes and circumstances --- God’s transforming work flourishes --- and there is new life.


God is greater.


These passages that have been preserved for century after century --- millennia after millennia ----- passages like that of the birth of Moses are not just tales about remarkable people.


They are first and foremost about God.


God acting.


God moving ---- God making new.


God redeeming ---- saving --- reconciling.


It is our greatest joy --- or at least ought to be ---- to delight and to allow ourselves to be drawn into this great ongoing narrative of God interacting and moving and changing lives and revealing Himself still today.


Our great joy comes in seeing how God is using us today --- just as He used Moses thousands of years ago.


Unfortunately instead ---- we too often approach God asking for more ----- more money ---- more breaks ----- more something or other --- instead of approaching Him wanting to give Him something --- more of our time ---- or more of our money ---- or more of our energy.


Take worship for example ---- the heartbeat of the Christian community.


It’s not about what we get out of it --- or advice that maybe the scripture offers up to us when we’re gathered here.


It’s not even about us being fed --- it’s about God being glorified.


Worship is thank you God.


It isn’t about ----- “Wasn’t it good when so and so did this or that during worship?”


The story of Exodus isn’t about --- wasn’t it great when Moses did this or that either.


The story of Exodus is ------ God is amazing --- and God is good ------ and God is wonderful --- God --- God --- God.


The story of Exodus is ---- God is greater --- and God is good and nothing can thwart God’s will and direction ---- God --- God ---- God --- not Moses not the Israelites --- not us --- but God.


There is still way too much us in our walks of faith and not enough Him.


Our walk in faith is never about seeing God in our lives ---- it is forever about seeing our lives in the context of God’s life --- and will ---- and way.


We make changes in our lives --- we make changes in the church ---- we make changes not so that we can do this or that better ------ we make changes so that God is seen and glorified and made known clearer and easier and better --- and more abundantly.


It’s not about us --- it’s about God.


The point of the Bible is God not us.


It’s all about God for us.


Not us for God --- but God for us.


And living this out is the greatest challenge and joy that we have as Christians.


Most of what we do day in day out is centered around us ----- eating --- sleeping ---- washing --- earning a living --- providing for those we love.


Unfortunately these things begin to be our biggest focus ---- instead of simply necessary steps for the real focus --- praising and worshipping and sharing God’s redemptive --- saving --- always making new love.




Most of us spend more time tending to the details of life than the point of life.


Most of us spend more time tending to the details of life than the point of life.


The point of life is glorifying and enjoying God forever.


The details are making sure we’re fed --- rested --- clothed and so on --- so that we can indeed glorify Him.


God is greater.


And God is more important than all the rest.


It doesn’t mean we don’t do all the rest --- tend to the necessities of life --- food ----- shelter ---- a wee bit of entertainment and fun even.


God and the necessities of life are not mutually exclusive.


What it does mean is that we tend to the necessities of life with their chief aim and goal as things that enable us to truly and further enjoy the point of life ----- God and His enduring and ever present goodness and love.


God is greater --- as in God is more powerful --- more powerful than anything else in all of creation.


And God is greater --- as in God is more important than anything else in all of creation as well.


Pharaoh thought his directions and his concerns would dictate the pace for the life of Egypt and for the Israelites.


He quickly and rather abruptly ------ learned that God was greater and had plans of His own.



Whenever we think that our concerns and our directives will dictate the pace for our lives we ought to prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that God might interrupt our little plans and open our eyes up to a far bigger and greater --- and ultimately more beautiful and true horizon.


Our way of being much of the time in North America is consumed with self expression and wanting to be heard by others.


We often incessantly scratch the itch of our own opinions and desires --- instead of looking to God.


Thankfully ------ God is still forever making things new --- including each and every one of us here today ---- damaged and scarred and marred as we all are.


God through Moses took impossible circumstances --- “Kill all Hebrew baby boys --- work the Israelites harder and harder ---- drive these slaves ruthlessly.”


God through Moses took these impossible circumstances and made them new --- freedom --- homeland ---- hope --- redemption --- came out of these circumstances.


God is forever making things new.


God in Christ took impossible circumstances --- ruled by sin --- and Roman oppression --- and changed things ---- made them new.


God is greater.


It’s all too easy to focus too much on the circumstances of life and not its author.


It’s all too easy to focus too much on the circumstances of life and not God.


The Exodus reminds God’s people not to focus so much on the circumstances and instead to focus on the great love and compassion of God.


The desire ---- and the ability of God ---- to save.


To free His people ----- from anything that hinders them.


When we are sickened or disappointed ----- frustrated by what is happening in the world.


Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and remember ----- God is greater.


Take a deep breath and remember ------ God’s got this.


It may seem bleak ------ as bleak as slavery in Egypt was for the Israelites.


But God has a timeline all His own.


A way of doing things that only He knows and understands.


And the days on our calendars are not the only days God has to work with.


God is greater.


The next time we read a disturbing heading --- or see a disturbing image --- or hear a disappointing sound bite.


Maybe our response is simply --- “O.K. --- but God is greater.”


“O.K. --- but God is greater.”


God didn’t shield the Israelites from being treated ruthlessly ---- they suffered and they suffered hard --- for a time.


But it didn’t last forever.


Jews know intimately that Moses is a member of their very family --- he is one of their ancestors --- related to their parents and grandparents ---- related to them by blood --- so these stories are family history --- not just at arms length kind of history --- but family history --- stories about their relatives.


Well it’s the very same for us as Christians ---- these are things --- slavery in Israel --- that happened to our very family members as Christians --- they are real and we are connected to them --- and as we know they are ultimately not just stories about slavery and killing.


They are stories of redemption --- and freedom ---- reconciliation --- salvation.


They are stories about God --- and how God is greater.


There is nothing in the news today --- in our world today --- that doesn’t matter to God.


The refrain is ------ God is greater.


Not despair --- but hope.


Aggressive militants --- O.K. ----- but God is greater.


Insecure people ----- bullies ----- in our neighbourhoods and when world leaders gather------ O.K. ----- but God is greater.


Greedy people --- selfish people ----- true ----- but God is greater.


He is on His throne --- and everyone and everything ------ rests at His feet --- are under His feet.


Look around ------ God is greater than all of these --- and His day will come once again.