Title: When God's is Absent

Focus: Our own human efforts may often fall grossly short as in the case of Moses, but even though it seems as if God is absent, God will finally come through for us in his own time as he did for the children of Israel in Egypt.

Function: To encourage the hearers to seek God and not despair when he seems absent.

Text: Exodus 2

Move 1
1.  Korean war, my mothers little brother died.  
2.  Sherry with 2 children had to live in a barn.  
3.  Where was God?
4.  Some of you may have experienced a tragic situation that raises the same question.

1.  People have struggled with this question since Biblical times and even before that
2.  Theologians have explored this question and have given us some answers:
	a.  God is omnipotent
	b.  God is omnibenevolent
	c.  God is omnipresent
3.  Romans 8:28 - It was God’s will, he works all these things together for Good
	ILL:  Stacey’s parents.  Preacher said their death was God’s will
4.  Hebrews 12 - God disciplines.  Maybe you need to be strengthened and trained.
5.  Where is the comfort in that?!
6.  People continue to struggle with this question as we will this morning from our text

Move 3 - Exodus 2:1-20
1.  This favorite story is filled with Irony
	a.  Basket = Ark (Tavah), same word in Genesis for Noahs’ Ark
	b.  Mother both defies and obeys Pharaoh bu putting Noah into the Nile, the river of life
	c.  Of all people, Pharaoh’s daughter happens on the baby!  WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
	d.  Moses’ mother becomes his nurse for wages
	e.  The chain of events Pharaoh started led to Moses living in his household!
	f.  His name:  Moshe
		- Egyptian, it means “to be born”.  eg:  Rameses - “Ra has birthed him”
		- Explanation given - Because she drew him out of the water
		- But the form is a participle, meaning “One who draws out”.  
			What will he draw out?
2.  What to make of this Irony?
	a.  You expect this kind of Irony in Hollywood, the good guy survives against all odds
	b.  You don’t expect it in real life.
	c.  Irony builds suspense
3.  The story has narrowed it’s focus on “the child” who we anticipate is going to do something
4.  The text doesn’t say anything about Moses’ upbringing, except that he was adopted by
Pharoah’s daughter.  What was that like?
	a.  Contempt for manual labor
	b.  Studies lead to a life far away from dust, dirt, and toil under harsh taskmasters
	c.  “Behold, there is no profession which is not govered, it is only the learned man who
rules himself.  The poor ignorant man, whose name is unknown, is like a heavily ladened
donkey, he is driven by the scribe.”
	d.  “Set your sight to be a scribe, a fine profession that suits you.  You call for one, a
thousand answer you.  You stride freely on the road.  You will not be like a hired ox.  You are
in front of others.
	e.  The tradesman who must work till the sun sets is dead while he yet lives.
5.  (v.11-12)  Moses goes out to his people and rescues a Hebrew slave.  Remarkable in light
of his background!
6.  The stage is set.  Revolution is afoot!!
7.  (v.13-22)  What a dissappointment!

Move 4
1.  But wait!  Are we not missing the big picture here?
2.  Many preachers have pointed out that God knew what he was doing!
3.  He rescues Moses, and prepares him for the job ahead in two stages
	a.  First, he gives Moses a top-notch education.  He becomes an “insider” in Egypt
	b.  Second, he bring Moses out into the desert.  He has to take desert survival 101 in 
	      order to lead the people through the desert and survive!
4.  After all, God is sovereign.  Nothing happens unless he will it!
5.  Makes a great sermon, one that I have heard and even preached before.
6.  However, the Text does not mention God’s intervention at all
	a.  In contrast, God is mentioned very much so in the Joseph stories (Gen 39:5,21;
	b.  God becomes the center character in the rest of the Exodus story
	c.  But here, God is conspicuoulsy silent
7.  It does an injustice to the literary features of the text to say God was directly responsible
	a.  It is much neater and simple to say “It was God’s will”
		- So it was God’s will that all those babies be drowned in the Nile?
		- It was God’s will that Stacey’s parents die?
		- It was God’s will that my Mom’s brother die?
	b.  For those who have suffered injustice, these answers do not suffice
	c.  Those who have grown in wisdom know that answers like these are too 
	     presumptouous and at times arrogant.
	d.  The story attributes nothing to God, and everything to humans
		- By human effort, midwives temporarily saved some of the babies
		- By human effort, Moses was ironically spared 
		- By human effort, Moses saves a single Hebrew slave
		- By human effort, Moses wound up living as a stranger in the desert!!!!
8.  What do we make of all this?

Move 5
1.  Human effort fails.  So where is God?
2.  The last few verses of this chapter marks a transition in the story
3.  Finally the text comes out and calls their oppression “slavery”
4.  Things have gotten only worse, even under a new Pharaoh.
5.  What can Israel do?  Their would be deliverer is a nomad now
6.  80 years go by, and all they can do is cry out
7.  Guess what?  God has good ears.  He hears their cry
	- God heard the cry of Hagar and Ishmael
	- God heard the cry of Job
	- God heard the cry of Lazarus’ loved ones, and cried as well.
8.  In each case, God responds, but in his own time.
9.  Why does God wait for sooooo long?  The text doesn’t give an answer

Move 6
1.  Where was God?  He was there.
2.  Why doesn’t he do something?  I don’t know.
3.  Will he ever do something?  Yes, but in his own time.
4.  His track record has been pretty good
5.  Don’t despair, when you cry out as Israel did, as Job did, and others, God will do