“REMEMBER THE DAY YOU CAME OUT OF EGYPT!”
TEXT: Exodus 13:3-14:31
INTRO: What would life be like without memory? To find out you only have to find someone with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a hideous disease that robs a person of their memory, eventually their memory of literally everything disappears, even their memory of how to swallow food, and finally death.
Memory plays one of the most important functions in order for us to be truly human! The inability to remember the past invites chaos into the present and means an uncertain future without meaning. It is for this reason that we find many of the commands and stories in the Bible prefaced with: “Remember …” “Recital” of the past is often a prelude to “revival” in the present with the goal of “renewal” in the future.
The whole purpose for repeating “communion” as a Church body according to Jesus’ own instructions was to “REMEMBER!” Jesus told his disciples, “As often as you do this, you do it in REMEMBERANCE of me.” We are to remember what God has done and where we have come from … lest we become tempted to return back to our old way of life. Those who fail to remember the slavery of sin are destined to return to that way of life. Every time Israel forgot what Egypt was REALLY like they got the itch to go back! For this reason God asked them to have an annual event to “remember the day they came out of Egypt!” They must not forget or they will return and miss the Promise Land!
PROP SENT: It is important that we remember where we have come from, how God has delivered us from this world, or we will return to our old ways. It was easier getting Israel out of Egypt than it was getting Egypt out of Israel!
I. REMEMBER THE DAY! Ex. 13:3-22
A. Purity 13:3-10
1. “Remember this day,” (KJV) the day they came out of Egypt. 13:3a
a. If they forgot how horrible slavery was, they might be tempted to return to it when times get tough, how true this temptation proved itself, over and over again in the wilderness trials they complained and wanted to return when things got tough!
b. To remember how rotten life was and how quickly they had to leave Egypt God has them eat unleavened bread as a constant part of the practice of commemorating this day.
2. The bread was to be without YEAST! For two reasons:
a. The speed at which they were to leave left no time for raising bread dough with yeast, thanks to God!
b. To avoid the corrupting effects of Egypt, the symbol of yeast even in Jesus’ day.
3. They were being asked to give up yeast for “Milk and Honey” – not a bad exchange unless of course they forget where they came from!
a. This yeast was not even suppose to be seen anywhere in Israel during the seven day festival.
b. This observance would be like a sign to each generation to help them remember the realities of being slaves and the deliverance only God could give them!
4. The whole purpose of this special annual observance was to drive home the need for purity and not to pine around for the “good old days of Egypt!” 13:8-10
ILLUS: ON MARCH 11, 1830 A LITTLE ENGLISH GIRL WAS DOING HER LESSONS WITH HER TUTOR AND THE LESSON THAT DAY HAD TO DO WITH THE ROYAL FAMILY. AS SHE STUDIED THE GENEALOGICAL CHART IN THE BOOK SHE BECAME AWARE OF THE ASTOUNDING FACT THAT SHE WAS NEXT IN LINE FOR THE THRONE OF ENGLAND. AT FIRST SHE WEPT, AND THEN SHE LOOKED AT HER TUTOR AND SAID, “I WILL BE GOOD!” THE FACT THAT LITTLE VICTORIA WOULD ONE DAY BE QUEEN MOTIVATED HER TO LIVE ON A HIGHER LEVEL. ONCE SHE DISCOVERED HER HISTORY, SHE WAS MOTIVATED TO LIVE PURE IN THE PRESENT AND FUTURE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Price-tag 13:11-16
1. As a reminder that their salvation was costly they were to annually REDEEM every first born donkey and child and offer every firstborn lamb to God.
a. The idea of “redeem” means to “obtain release by means of payment.”
b. Thus to keep their children meant to offer something else as payment for their lives, the very principle God used to save us all in sending Jesus as payment for our sins so we might be saved!
c. Interestingly enough, donkeys could be saved by sacrificing a lamb or goat though donkeys were not considered “clean” animals per se. They were the ordinary work horses of that day but considered worthy enough to be redeemed just like a son! The idea of course is that God through Christ redeems the best and the common!
2. The constant visual experience of watching lambs slaughtered in order to redeem the children of Israel would serve as a powerful reminder of the price-tag for their salvation and also the horrible reminder of what happened to those who rejected the blood of the lamb, remember the Egyptians who ignored applying the blood of the lamb to their homes – they all lost their firstborns sons to the death angel!
a. This is the whole point of communion and the use of bread and grape juice!
b. They provide a more powerful reminder of the price paid for our salvation by what Christ did!
3. The Passover ceremony thus became a powerful force in the community of Israel as communion does in the Church!
ILLUS: REMEMBER THE EXPRESSION FROM YOUR HISTORY LESSONS: “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”? WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A CALL IN OUR HISTORY? IT WAS THE SHOUT FOR ALL AMERICANS TO REMEMBER THE PRICE-TAG OF OUR FREEDOM. THE IDEA WAS FOR US TO REMEMBER THAT OUR FREEDOM CAME AT A PRICE AND THAT WE WOULD NEVER AGAIN ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE TAKEN, SO IT SERVED AS A WARNING TO THE ENEMY AS WELL; AND REMINDS US OF THE NEED TO ALWAYS BE ON GUARD SO WE ARE NOT CAUGHT OFF GUARD LIKE WE WERE THEN! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
C. Promises 13:17-22
1. God promises to not force them to face trials they are not ready to handle yet, He leads them the long way around lest they collapse under the threat of constant warfare too early in their journey out of Egypt!
a. The New Testament has this same promise: “He will not give us temptation too great for us to handle.”
b. Ironically however, the people of Israel went up out of Egypt “armed for battle.” 13:18b God knew better than they did however and He took them by another route!
2. They were also reminded to take Joseph’s bones with them, almost 400 years earlier Joseph predicted this day of deliverance would come and he wanted to go with them even if it meant that they would only take a “skeleton crew” along!
a. This would then visually remind them that God only intended all along that they would be in slavery for a period of time; salvation was always on God’s mind!
b. God never intended for His people to live in slavery!
3. God also grants two other visual reminders of His promise to guide them all the way through the wilderness to the promise land, not only was He interested in getting them out of slavery He was also concerned about the trip before they arrive in the promise land! (He still does this today too!)
a. God provides a pillar of fire by night. (gives light in darkness)
b. God provides a pillar of smoke by day. (a covering against the hot sun)
c. This stayed always in front of them and didn’t move unless they were supposed to move with it!
d. Thus, they weren’t left to try and figure out how to get there, God would lead them through the wilderness and abide with them in their midst dispelling the darkness by the fire and sheltering them from the searing sun by a cloud by day – how could they get lost!?
4. What is so weird is that even with all these promises made through the constant visual realities Israel so often forgot all about God’s promises thus missing the whole point at times!
ILLUS: LIKE THE WEALTHY TEXAN WHO WAS IN THE HABIT OF GIVING HIS DAD UNIQUE GIFTS ON FATHER’S DAY EACH YEAR. ONE YEAR IT WAS LESSONS ON HANG-GLIDING. THE YEAR BEFORE IT WAS THE ENTIRE COLLECTION OF SLIM WHITMAN’S HITS. BUT THIS ONE YEAR HE THOUGHT HE REALLY HAD OUTDONE HIMSELF, HE PURCHASED FOR HIS DAD A RARE KIND OF TALKING BIRD THAT COULD SPEAK 5 LANGUAGES AND SING WHILE STANDING ON ONE FOOT THE SONG “THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS.” THE TALENTED BIRD COST HIM $10,000 BUT HE FELT IT WAS WORTH IT! HE FIGURED THIS WOULD BE A FATHER’S DAY GIFT HIS DAD WOULD NEVER FORGET! A WEEK AFTER FATHER’S DAY HE CALLED HIS DAD AND ASKED, “DAD, HOW DID YOU LIKE THE BIRD?” HIS DAD RESPONDED, “IT WAS DELICIOUS!” HE OBVIOUSLY MISSED THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BIRD! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
a. Tragically, Israel too often forgot about God’s presence and promises even though they could see the fire and cloud with them all the time!
b. The result is FEAR! Panic really set in as perspective was lost!
c. How about us? We see God’s grace in our lives and others daily, yet we forget too easily and so complain and fret about God’s guidance and presence in our lives!
5. It was time to remember!!!
II. REMEMBER THE DELIVERANCE Ex. 14:1-31
A. Panic! 14:1-12
1. God has Moses take Israel and have them camp right against the Red Sea, thus no escape route if Egypt comes after them!
a. WHY? The reason is given in 14:3,5 “The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion…” “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” This was to entice the Egyptians to come after them so God could show both Israel His power to save them, and Egypt His power over their false gods and their pride.
b. The real point was to let God destroy their enemy right before their eyes, to get rid of the Egyptians!
c. In their panic however Israel does not see this!
2. Sure enough, Israel sees the Egyptian army coming after them and after taking note that their backs were against the Sea with no escape they cry out in panic!
a. How many times has God allowed your back against the wall?
b. How like Israel have you found yourself crying out in fear and panic?
3. It’s too bad that Israel forgot so quickly the lessons of the TEN plagues!!!
a. Hadn’t God just shown how He can attack the enemy without hurting God’s own people?
b. What was wrong with their recent memory???
c. God had given them TEN good reasons why they should not panic and trust Him, and Egypt had those same TEN good reason why they should be afraid!
B. Perspective! 14:13-20
1. God’s plan here was interesting, to do something so dramatic that it would live on forever in man’s memory so we never forget God’s power and promises, thus to keep our perspective healthy all the time!
a. God was making a point both to Egypt and Israel: see 14:18
b. Israel would experience a dramatic salvation and Egypt would experience a dramatic loss for challenging the real God!
2. God always has a purpose in mind for everything that happens to His children!
a. For Israel this plan meant getting rid of the threat of Egyptian captivity again in their lifetime!
b. For Egypt it meant understanding who the real God is!
c. In this sense it was meant for GOOD to both sides: Israel and Egypt will come to know God, and so will everyone eventually; although for some it will mean eternal death and damnation while for others it will mean eternal life!
d. The question is which side you will choose to be on?
3. With their eyes off of God and on the Egyptians they panic, just like Peter who took his eyes off Jesus and noticed the stormy waters and so began to sink!
4. It is quite interesting to note in 14:19-20 that God would be a barrier between the enemy and His people all night long.
a. God’s presence brought darkness to the side of Egypt … 14:20a
b. But it brought light to Israel’s side all night! 14:20b
c. This major difference in what each side experienced with the same God is present today; to the saved God is light, to the lost they only experience darkness!
5. It’s too bad Israel was so quick to forget the recent deliverance from Egypt through the plagues, how quickly they forgot God’s work and thus lost their perspective!
a. They assumed the worse from God instead of the best, though God had proved Himself faithful to them over and over again!
b. How quick we are to jump to conclusions about God not loving us when we are in a trial!
ILLUS: LIKE THE BOY WHO WAS SAILING HIS BOAT ON A POND ONE DAY. SUDDENLY A LITTLE WIND CAUGHT HIS BOAT AND IT BEGAN TO DRIFT AWAY FROM HIM, WELL BEYOND HIS REACH AND ABILITY TO SAVE IT. THE LITTLE BOY DID THE ONLY THING HE KNEW TO SAVE IT, HE CRIED FOR HELP FROM A NEARBY MAN. TO THE LITTLE BOY’S HORROR HE WATCHED THE OLDER MAN REACH DOWN AND PICK UP SEVERAL LARGE STONES AND BEGIN THROWING THEM AT THE BOY’S FRAGILE BOAT! THE BOY THOUGHT, “HOW CAN THIS MAN BE SO CRUEL TO A LITTLE BOY LIKE ME?” TO THE LITTLE BOY’S DELIGHT HOWEVER, HE NOTICED THE MAN WAS A BAD SHOT, EVERY ROCK HE THREW WENT OVER THE BOAT AND HIT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF IT, SUDDENLY THE BOY GOT THE PICTURE, THIS WAS BEING DONE DELIBERATELY BY THE MAN. THE RIPPLES PRODUCED BY THE OVERTHROWN ROCKS FORCED THE BOAT BACK TOWARD SHORE AND THE ARMS OF THE LITTLE BOY THAT OWNED IT! THE MAN WASN’T TRYING TO SINK HIS SHIP AFTER ALL, HE WAS SAVING IT! HE JUST DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS AT FIRST! HAVE YOU CRIED OUT TO GOD FOR HELP AND FELT ALL HE WAS DOING WAS THROWING STONES? PERHAPS HE IS SAVING YOU! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. This is precisely why God gave us His WRITTEN WORD – THE BIBLE, SO WE don’t forget the past workings of God for His people and SO WE DO keep the right perspective!
a. The only thing God was planning on destroying here was the enemy, not his people!!!
b. Proof of this will be the path through the sea for them!
c. The same God that had gotten them OUT of Egypt was capable of KEEPING them safe from Egypt!
7. If only Israel wasn’t so quick to forget, yet how quickly we forget too!
C. Power! 14:21-31
1. Moses stretches out his hand over the sea and all night long a strong wind from God comes and builds a dry path right through the sea for them to cross over!!!
a. Israel was about to go where no man had gone before!!!
b. This wind did its work all night long, dividing the waters and then drying the path – God didn’t want them bogged down in mud!
c. Was this any harder for God to do than the plagues? – OF COURSE NOT! BUT ISRAEL HAD FORGOTTEN SO QUICKLY THE PLAGUES!
2. This was not the first demonstration by God of His power on behalf of His people and it wasn’t to be the last either!
a. How true this is for us!
b. We get so easily discouraged, yet God is always so faithful and He will continue to be!
3. No matter how impressive a show the enemy demonstrates with their power there is no power greater than God’s!
a. How easily we forget His power!
b. Or how great it still is, we can be amazed at other powers and fail to remember God’s!
ILLUS: LIKE THE SCIENTISTS ON MARCH 5, 1979. THE MOST POWERFUL BURST OF ENERGY EVER RECORDED BY MAN HAPPENED ON THIS DAY. FROM SOMEWHERE OUT IN SPACE A BURST OF GAMMA RADIATION WAS DETECTED HITTING THE EARTH. FORTUNATELY IT LASTED ONLY 1/10 OF A SECOND AND CAME FROM SO FAR AWAY THAT WE ALL LIVED THROUGH IT. IT WAS SO POWERFUL IN THAT 1/10 OF A SECOND THAT IT PRODUCED THE POWER THAT OUR OWN SUN WOULD PRODUCE IN 3,000 YEARS! HAD OUR OWN SUN BELCHED OUT THIS MUCH ENERGY IN THAT 1/10 OF A SECOND OUR PLANET EARTH WOULD HAVE BEEN VAPORIZED INSTANTLY INTO NOTHINGNESS! THEY WERE AMAZED THAT THIS KIND OF ENERGY AND POWER CAN BE GENERATED SOMEWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE, YET SCIENCE SO OFTEN FAILS TO REALIZE THE POWER OF GOD WHICH IS SO MUCH GREATER! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
4. Israel marched through the sea on dry ground, they should not easily forget this incident!
a. And sure enough, when they are safely over the Egyptians attempted to follow but without honoring God they were simply going to their grave!
b. God threw the Egyptians into confusion, much the same way the world today is confused!
c. Their great chariots fell apart, their wheels fell off! Just like this world is going to fall apart if it continues to fail to honor God!
d. Finally, even the Egyptians realized God was against them, but it was too late; how tragically true this will be one day for this world also!
e. As the Egyptians attempted to get free and return to Egypt the waters came back together and they were all destroyed, what a powerful visual lesson to Israel about trying to return to Egypt!
(1. Yet, how many Christians attempt to return to their old sinful ways after they get saved, they might continue to live in sin, return to old values and lifestyles that God saved them out of, they go back to old sinful habits!
(2. The return to Egypt is filled with death! For Israel and Egypt!
f. There was not one survivor except those who trusted God!
5. God made His power known and the results were good for Israel! 14:31
a. They greatly respected God (the literal meaning of the word “fear” here)
b. They also respected God’s leader over them, Moses. (At least for the moment, until later when they forgot again the work God had done for them!)
6. They were instructed NOT TO FORGET THE DAY GOD BROUGHT THEM OUT EGYPT! (13:3)
a. Why, because reminders help keep us on track!
b. Why, because we need to remember the past in order to get to the future!
c. THOSE WHO FAIL TO REMEMBER THE PAST ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!
7. How about you? REMEMBER THE DAY GOD SAVED YOU? ARE YOU TRYING TO GO BACK TO EGYPT OR ARE YOU HEADING TOWARD THE PROMISE LAND?
a. Stay out of Egypt!
b. Remember what it was like back there so you don’t desire to return!
CONCLUSION: Without remembering the past we have no future, and the present becomes meaningless. The whole idea of communion is about remembering, “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME!” It is to not only remember Christ’s sacrifice and our salvation but also to restore our perspective so we can stay on track. Past victories give us hope for the future when we need it in the present! REMEMBER!