Sermon #1 from "Take Off Your Sandals" series on Exodus for Today
There are dark times in life when we ask, "Where's God?"
Based on Exodus 1:1-14
1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 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.”
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
1. The book of Exodus begins with the suffering of God's people. Often, our suffering is unexpected an unplanned. Why might suffering have been a surprise to the people of Israel?
2. Can you share a time when the "dark clouds of suffering" came into your life unexpectedly?
3. How bad did it get for God's people (Ex 1:9-14)?
4. Talk about Pharaoh. What things might have made him oppress the people of God?
5. "Earth is threatening and heaven is silent." Have you ever felt this way?
6. Suffering has a "mysterious purpose." What might be some of the reasons that Christians suffer?
7. Read 1 Peter 1:1-9. What might be the biblical answer to suffering?
8. "Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." (C.S. Lewis) How does this shed light on our earthly journey?
9. Though there are no easy answers, Christians are not alone in suffering. Take some time to pray for each other.