Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Mosaic Address:
    606 West 3rd Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday:  8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am
  • Infant through 5th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Sep 27, 2015

Ingredients of Deliverance

Passage: Exodus 1:1-17:16

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: The Story

Category: Old Testament

Keywords: challenges, deliverance, journey, trials


Deliverance in this life means that we will be taking a journey with God, often through trials.


Ingredients of Deliverance

Exodus 1-17

September 27, 2015


INTRO:  By now most of us are probably aware that there is a refugee crisis in Europe.  The level of human suffering and the degree of international tension it is producing is staggering.

  • 8,000 refugees/day are flooding into Europe
  • 5,000/day are coming into Greece alone.
  • The number of refugees worldwide is growing by 42,500/day according to some estimates.
  • ½ million refugees have arrived this year already in Europe
  • There are some 19 million refugees world-wide
  • Most of the refugees to Europe presently come from Syria (4 million), Afghanistan (2.6 mill.), Somalia (1.1 mill.), Eritrea and other Middle East and North African war torn areas.

The people of God have often been scattered, persecuted and despised refugees throughout human history.  So it is no wonder that a major chapter in the development and deliverance of God’s people involved the displacement and resettlement of some 1.5 million people of God.

            Think of how absolutely overwhelming it would be to be put in charge of all those refugees. 

  • Imagine telling 1-2 million people to pack their bags for departure within 24 hours from a land where they had lived for 430 years.
  • Imagine seeing the most powerful nation in the world buckle under devastating natural disasters that your God had inflicted on them.
  • Imagine being responsible to lead those 1-2 million refugees who had been the slave-labor backbone of one of the largest economies in the world into a massive desert with no fields, stores, rest stops or secure sources of water.
  • Imagine seeing the most powerful army in the world, all of whom had suffered the death of someone in their family just days before because of you, bearing down on your refugee camp that had no weapons, no military and nowhere to go but be driven into the sea and annihilated.

This was the reality of the refugee crisis we’re looking at in today’s passage from Exodus 1-17.  On the darker side of things, it was a refugee crisis of historic proportions.  On the brighter side, it was probably THE world’s most dramatic emancipation of slaves in the history of humanity. 

But we’re getting ahead of the story.  Today’s text is a study in deliverance—deliverance of a man from the sins and failures that had bound him for 40 years…and deliverance of a nation from the slavery and abuse that had defined them for generations. 

            In that sense, these chapters have much to say to us as individuals and to us as the combined people of God.  Every one of us needs deliverance from sins and failures that constantly threaten to define us.  And the church of Jesus Christ both here in America and in many parts of the world needs ongoing deliverance from so much weakness that has defined us of late.

Here’s the bottom line about deliverance:  Real deliverance means a journey with God through trials.

In a world where WE are all sinners, every one of us will be needing continual deliverance from both our sins and the sins of others.  Just as the Israelites some 3,500 years ago were slaves in Egypt because of the sinful hearts and lives of those who had the power, so today so many people in the world find themselves held captive, deeply influenced if not actually controlled by the sins and sinful treatment of others. 

Then there is our own individual sinfulness and sin that so often holds on to us and enslaves us. 

Just HOW we get free from all that is a journey…a journey with God…through the ongoing tests and trials God brings our way.

So first let’s start with Moses, the man.  That’s where the book of Exodus starts.  Actually, he’s a boy…a baby.  His parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and anybody else he’s remotely related to are slaves.  They’re being ruthlessly ruled by another race, the Egyptians.  Their slavery is building an empire in Egypt.  Their enslavement is building desperation in their hearts. 

            The first 4 chapters of Exodus cover the first 80 years of Moses’ life.  He’s born in a period when infanticide of Jewish boys was the law.  He was the exception…in so many ways. 

  • Born to Jews, he was taken in by an Egyptian princess.
  • Nursed by his own Jewish mother, he was educated in Egyptian universities.
  • Free to roam in a nation of enslaved kinsmen, he kills an abusive Egyptian and incurs the wrath of Pharaoh.
  • He flees from the center of political power in the then-known world to the back side of a desert known for…nothing.
  • He marries a woman, has two children, tends his father-in-law’s sheep herd and learns how to live alone in the isolation and emptiness of the desert.

And then, when he is truly convinced that he wants nothing to do with the place or people where he spent the first 40 years of his life, God taps him for one of the most important jobs in human history. 

Chapters 2-4 of Exodus are the story of God calling Moses to be His mouthpiece of deliverance to His people.  The previous 80 years had been the deliverance journey God took Moses on to enable him to actually BE the right kind of man for the hour.  Because real deliverance means a journey with God through trials.  Moses needed to be “delivered” from some of his own baggage so that God would get the glory, not Moses and not the Jewish people. 

            The man we encounter in Exodus 2-4 is not the same man of Exodus 1 who thought deliverance would come through his own anger, his own energy and his own murderous hands.  No, the man of Exodus 2-4 has had the stuffing kicked out of him by life. 

  • He’s not in the prime of life; he’s 80!
  • He’s not a known entity by the most powerful ruler of the most powerful nation; he’s a nobody shuffling stinky sheep around in the backside of an unremarkable desert.
  • He’s no longer a type-A, successful leader and driven extrovert; he’s truly grown used to the solitude of shepherding and has lost all desire to lead anything but a flock of sheep.
  • All his elite education, all his former connections, all his designs of delivering his people have become like so much dust in the desert wind.

I think Moses at this point really is a broken man.  He really feels like he has nothing to offer.  He truly believes his dreams of being a deliverer are done.  And he may not be feeling very close to God or like any kind of spiritual leader at the time.

Q:  Doesn’t it surprise you just a little that God would tap this kind of man to play a key role in delivering a nation of over a million people?  A murderer, a fugitive, a ranch hand working for his father-in-law, a father of two, a man who only has enough drive to be driving sheep? 

            But the history of God’s Story in this world is truly one of over and over again choosing to use the timid, the tired, the fearful and uncertain people instead of the self-assured and self-confident.  That doesn’t mean every one of us is going to become a world leader or historical figure.  But it does mean that God wants to make unlikely people like us into people who He will use to deliver others from slavery to sin. 

            2 Corinthians 4—Paul confirms that when he says, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

            It is people who know themselves to be powerless, flawed, broken and unimpressive who God comes to and says, “I want YOU…and I want to use YOU to do things in this world that will deliver other people from their slavery to sin and self.” 

APP:  God probably won’t use a burning bush to issue His call to you to be his mouthpiece and messenger in this world.  But He is calling every one of us to be his instrument to bring the message of deliverance to the people we know.  He wants to use every one of us to be modern-day “deliverers” in a world of people hopelessly enslaved by sin.  He’s calling to every one of us to “go, make disciples” of every kind of person, every type of person we may think is too different from us. 

  • To whom is God calling you to go and give the message of freedom in Christ? Someone you just don’t want to go to?  Some group of people you’d prefer to ignore?
  • What excuses are you trying to give God as to why you’re not the right person to call others people out of spiritual darkness and into the light of Christ?

One of the more interesting things to do with Exodus 2-4 is to do a side-by-side comparison of what Moses says and what God says.  In short, Moses gets fixated on who he is and how unfit he is for the job.  God, on the other hand, keeps reminding Moses of who HE is, what He has promised and what He will do. 

Look at Exodus 3:11-- 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  He’s essentially saying, “I’m a nobody particularly in comparison to Pharaoh.”

God’s response?  Verse 12-- “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” 

Zero plus God is always a majority. 

Didn’t Jesus tell us exactly the same thing when he called us to go and make disciples of all peoples?  “And certainly, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20)  God’s call to be that deliverer who leads people out of slavery to sin still echoes across the millennium of time.  God IS with us…and His presence is what makes His call possible. 

We need to stop looking at ourselves and start looking at the God who is with us…forever. 

Next Moses throws up the argument that he doesn’t know God well enough himself.  Here’s how he states it in Exodus 3:13-- 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

Ever tell God you don’t know enough about witnessing or the Bible or how to share your faith to tell people Jesus wants to set them free from their sin?  Sure, we all feel inadequate.  We all know we don’t really know God as much as we should. 

            To which God answers just as he did Moses:  14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, I am has sent me to you.’”

            At first brush that seems like a funny name, “I AM.”  I AM what?  Well, what is it you’re going to need to become God’s voice and presence into the lives of others to deliver them from sin and self?  Whatever it is you’ll need, God IS!  The Bible is full of what God has been in this world for thousands of years.  He still is that.  But he wants us to know that He really is that in the present…NOW! 

            Jesus used this title for himself in John 8:58 when he was talking with the skeptics about how He both existed before Abraham did and was more powerful than Abraham.  John records, “57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”   Jesus uses the exact same words translated into Greek that God used for His name to Moses. 

            What is it that you need God to be to you today so you can help other people out of their bondage to sin?  He is saying to every one of us today, “I am that…whatever you’re going to need to simply walk in humble obedience to my call on your life. I AM all that you have ever needed, need right now and will ever need.” 

Moses throws up two more excuses why he’s not the right man for the job.  His third excuse is basically, “What if they don’t believe me? What if they don’t believe you are really with me in this?” to which God shows him two miracles and tells him he can repeat those miracles for His people.  Just point to what God has already done in your life to show his miraculous power and deliverance.  People want to know God is real with us before they will be willing to entertain whether or not they want Him to be real to them.  Just sharing where God has genuinely impacted our own life and experience will do more to convince people about Jesus Christ than a ton of logical or theological arguments.   

But it is the last excuse that most of us can probably identify with most directly is found in Exodus 4:10--

10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

            How many of us get tongue-tied when we try to tell unbelievers about God?  How many of us can talk about the last Seahawk game or the weather or political issues and world news with just about anyone BUT talk to people about how to be delivered from sin and we get all tongue-tied and “slow of speech” as Moses said? 

            God’s response to Moses on this one is really quite amazing. 

Exodus 4:11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

            God has no reservation taking responsibility for the specific abilities or disabilities you and I have. Where we, all imperfect and with various “disabilities”, want to limit our disabilities and even do away with babies who have certain kinds of disabilities, God seems to want to show His power and greatness through those disabilities. 

            Just ask any God-loving parent who has raised a handicapped child.  They have seen something of God in those children that they never would have seen in a “normal” child.  God is not ashamed to identify and be present with us IN our handicaps and disabilities.  In fact, that may be just what He wants to use to glorify himself more powerfully in this world.

            Can you imagine what a testimony of God’s power a stammering, slow of speech, back country, “hick-from-the-sticks” guy like Moses could have been to Pharaoh rather than a smooth-talking brother-in-law Aaron? 

            Whatever the disability or weakness we see in ourselves, God responds, “I will be with that weakness…that disability…that handicap you think disqualifies you from being used greatly by Me.  I made it.  I’ll use it…in the moment you need it.”

APP:  You ready to take that journey into fruitfulness that will require you surrender your feelings of inadequacy and embrace the adequacy of God who is with you always? 

You ready to hear God say, “I want to use that very thing that you think makes you unfit for the task to make you a powerful deliverer in the present.”

God is in the business of delivering us, the very people He wants to use as deliverers, in a world of slavery to sin.  He wants to give each of us our own story of deliverance while at the same time using us to bring deliverance to others. 

So let’s turn the corner just a bit here and look at some of the ingredients God uses to bring deliverance to people in bondage. 

First, back in chapter 2 of Exodus, Moses (the author of Exodus) tells us that we must reach a place of brokenness about our bondage before there can be deliverance. 

Chapter 2 ends with these words:

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

We’re not told just how long the people of God were content to live as slaves in Egypt.  Somewhere along their 430 year sojourn in Egypt, they were willing to trade their freedoms for something. 

  • They probably kept some semblance of worshipping
  • They probably felt that they were still in charge of their families. After all, they still married only other Jews.
  • And then there was all the wonderful food Egypt had to offer. That was worth a little accommodation along the way.  According to Numbers 11:4, the day would come in the desert when they wanted to trade the trials of growing strong under God’s preparation for the Promised Land for fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.

This is precisely the process that is leading our nation into its own slavery.  Little by little we are surrendering our freedoms for things like the promise of security.  We even call it “Social Security Administration”, the TSA or “Transportation Security Administration.”   And then there is the “National Security Administration” (NSA) that scans and stores every phone conversation, every email, basically every bit of electronic info there is.  And don’t forget about the EPA or “Environmental Protection Administration.”  We’re so “protected” and “secure” pretty soon we won’t even need God to watch out for us! We of all people should see how this happens to a whole nation.

Until a nation…or a church…or a family…or an individual realizes they are in deep weeds without God’s intervention, there will not be divine deliverance.  But when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired, that is when we will become a people who groan over our slavery, cry out in our distress and ask God to rescue us.  God must bring us to the place where we are willing to let go of what led us into bondage in order to embrace what will take us out of bondage.

APP:  What do we need to let go of in order to find freedom from bondage?  What thing or person or habit do we need to walk away from in order to walk into the promised life God wants to give us?

Are we praying those kinds of heart-felt prayers yet?  Are we feeling that kind of desperation yet? 

That is when God “sees” and “knows” and has compassion on us by beginning to move the wheels of deliverance. 

Secondly, deliverance demands perseverance. 

When God told Moses to go lead his people out of Egypt, he gave him a couple of miraculous signs to prove God was the one behind all this.  Moses had his staff that God would turn into a snake and he had his hand that God would make leprous and then heal again.  Moses probably thought that would pretty much settle the matter of his leadership among the people of God. 

            Did it?  Hardly.  No sooner had Moses made the request of Pharaoh to “let my people go” than Pharaoh let them go alright—go find their own straw for bricks and the additional time needed to do that and their regular brick-making. And just as soon as the new edict kicked in, so did the grumbling and complaining and questioning of Moses’ leadership and of a God who would let that happen to His people. 

            Do you think Moses would have accepted God’s call to leadership if he had known how much the people would grumble?  I seriously doubt it.  He barely responded to God’s call to deliver His people when he had no idea of how they would buckle under increased hardship. 

            And while the people wanted freedom from slavery, would they have still asked for deliverance if God had told them it would take 10 plagues, a lot more time and the virtual destruction of the nation they inhabited before they would be delivered?  I doubt it.

            Once on the road to the Promised Land, do you think they would have been so eager to leave if they had known there would be days without fresh water, food shortages, mile after mile of chocking dust and exhausting heat? 

            Deliverance takes a lot more perseverance than many people are willing to invest.  We all want an instant deliverance.  God wants children who have that quality that leads to success—perseverance.  That’s why deliverance takes time…and trails…to develop endurance and perseverance that changes character. 

APP: Are we willing to seek a deliverance that may take a LONG time…or a lifetime?  Are we willing to endure unforeseen trials, events that will test our metal, challenge after challenge that seems to have no easy answer or simple solution? 

  • God occasionally brings instantaneous deliverance from some besetting sin or bad habit…but not usually. Normally his plan calls for developed character, Christ-likeness that includes, even requires, suffering alongside miracles. 

Real deliverance usually means a journey with God through trials, not without trials.

Those 40 years for Moses of seeming meaninglessness herding sheep had just the right kinds of difficulties and trials needed to prepare Moses for leading a bunch of untried, unprepared and untested people of God.  Had he not spent 40 years in the desert with sheep and God, I doubt he would have lasted 4 weeks leading God’s people or 4 days confronting Pharaoh. 

And, sadly, as the story would play out, the people of God were not ready for the rigors of deliverance.  Longing for deliverance isn’t the same as working for it.  The Israelites were willing enough to get out from under Egyptian slavery.  But they were unwilling to put themselves under the discipline of God needed for the deliverance of God.

APP:  What trials is God taking you through that He might see as necessary for the deliverance you are longing for?

            Has the road to deliverance been marked by more obstacles and challenges than you ever imagined would be involved in something God was doing? 

            God didn’t promise Moses an easy job of leadership.  He didn’t promise His people Pharaoh would let them go without a fight.  He didn’t tell them how long their training in the desert would take.  Nor did he tell them a whole generation would have to die in the desert in order for a generation with the right kind of character and faith to rise up and accept the challenge. 

This applies to us as a church. 

This applies to you and me wherever we are called to lead.

This applies to whatever challenge or trial or opposition you are facing right now. 

Deliverance usually requires a journey with God.

And a journey with God usually requires times of testing and trials. 

Real deliverance usually means a journey with God through trials.