Title: Mastering the Roller Coaster

Focus: The life of faith is not a predictable one is which everything works out

Function: To challenge the hearers to remain faithful when things do not work out the way they should

Text: Exodus 4:18 - 5:23

I.  Introduction
	A.  It's Getting Warmer - Kids looking forward to winning tickets to six flags
	B.  Jeremy loves big roller coasters
	C.  Although you may like roller coaster in amusement park, not like it in life

II.  The Roller Coaster in Exodus
	A.  Exodus has been a roller coaster ride so far:
		1.  Up - People multiply
		2.  Down - Oppression by Pharoah & task masters
		3.  Up - Hebrews become more mighty and fill the land, Egyptians in dread 
		4.  Down - Pharoah orders Hebrew midwives to kill first born sons
		5.  Up - Midwives secretly spare the lives of the sons
		6.  Down - Pharoah orders ALL Egyptians to kill the first born in the Nile
		7.  Up - Moses is spared & goes out to his people, delivering a Hebrew slave
		8.  Down - Moses runs away to Midian
	B.  If you stay on a roller coaster to long, you get sick, and want off!
	C.  When Israel cried out to God to let them off, he calls Moses 40 years later
	D.  God gives Moses all he needs
		1.  Promise to be with him
		2.  His name
		3.  3 signs
		4.  A spokesperson - Aaron (as plan B when Moses turned God down)
	E.  So, what happens next?

III.  The plan goes well
	A.  Step One - Exodus 4:18-23
		1.  Moses does not tell Jethro what happened, why?
		2.  Moses is still reluctant, so he only gives part of the details
		3.  What is your reaction to this “hardening of Pharoah’s heart?”
			a.  What about 3:19?
			b.  Does this mean God is not fair?
			c.  First plagues say Pharoah’s heart was hardened, no mention of God 
			     doing it until later
			d.  Have to remember that the Egyptians are guilty and they have 
			     already been tried and convicted.  Not talking about innocent people
			e.  Pharoah’s heart was already hard.
	B.  Step Two - (v.24-28) Moses & Aaron get together and synchronize
	C.  Step Three (v.29-31) - They easily convince Israel.  Imagine the excitement
		1.  Last time Moses went out to his people -- failure
		2.  This time he has God and that changes everything!
	D.  One more step left
		1.  In 3:19 - God said that Pharoah would not be willing
		2.  So now there will be some resistance
		3.  Who is the real God?  Pharoah, or Yahweh????
		4.  God said that he would kill Pharoah’s firstborn if he didn’t let them go!
	E.  SO here we go with the final step!  Liberation is at hand!!!!

IV.  The plan backfires 
	A.  The final step, confronting Pharoah (5:1-4)
		1.  Notice the request - Just asking for 3 days!
			a.  Why this request?
			b.  It’s just a small thing, does Pharoah do it?
			c.  Would the story have turned out different if Pharoah consented?
		2.  Pharoahs response
			a.  Who is Yahweh?  (mockingly)
			b.  I will not let Israel go
			c.  Get back to work!
		3.  Okay, I can live with this, God said this would happen.
	B.  An unexpected turn (v.5-21)
		1.  Pharoah is a master at oppression
			a.  Instead of even entertaining the request, he tightens his grip
			b.  Pharoah accuses them of being lazy, of just wanting a vacation
			c.  Pharoah sets “taskmasters” over them (lit: oppressors, different than word in chap 1)
			d.  Pharoah orders that now they have to get their own straw but still 
			     meet their quota
			e.  They could not meet their quota -- wow they were lazy!!
			f.  They were beaten, and turned against Moses and Aaron, because 
			    now Pharoah thinks we are lazy! (made them odious)
		2.  Pharoah not only divided the people, but also made Yahweh and Moses out 
		     to be the bad guy
			a.  They did not blame it on Pharoah
			b.  The people realized they are completely in the hands of and 
			      dependent on Pharoah, the man/god of Egypt.
	C.  So what does Moses do at this point?

V.  Moses’ reaction
	A.  Ex 5:22-23
		1.  Moses turns the blame on God
		2.  What happened?  I thought you were taking us off this roller coaster!
		3.  Why are we still on it?
	B.  God does not get angry, but instead reassures Moses (Ex 6:1-8)
		1.  (v.1-5) - All part of the plan
		2.  (v.6-8) - 4 specific, emphatic promises to Israel
	C.  Wow!  How exciting, this is part of the plan after all.
		1.  He is Yahweh - The one who causes to be
		2.  He is the one in control
	D.  Moses goes out to tell the people (v.9)
		1.  They did not argue or resist because now their spirit is broken
		2.  They just ignore him, they have lost all hope
		3.  They are at the bottom of the roller coast as low as it can get
	E.  What should you do when you are at the bottom of the roller coaster?

VI.  There is one thing you can latch on to
	A.  Readers reading this would have latched on to 4:22-23
	B.  Israel is God’s son and firstborn
		1.  Hosea 11:1 - When Israel was a youth, I loved him, and out of Egypt I have 
		     called my son
		2.  But that was Israel, what about us?
		3.  This passage is used again in Mt 2:14 of Jesus
		4.  Jesus is God’s son, but what about us?
			a.  Heb 12:22-23 - We are the church of the first born ones)
			b.  I Jn 3:1 - See how great a love the Father has lavished on us that we 
			     should be called “children of God”
	C.  But how is that something you can latch onto when you are at the bottom?
		1.  Especially if it is because of your physical father you are at the bottom?
			- Know someone who struggled with God as “father” - abusive
			- He projected earthly Father on God
			- Should see father in light of the Heavenly Father, not measure up
		2.  Hebrews 5:5-8 - Jesus, as a son learned obedience through suffering
		3.  Hebrews 12:5-8 - Ideal father “disciplines” the son whom he loves
			- Not regard lightly or be faint
			- No discipline = illegitimate sons
	D.  Does an ideal Father make everything easy?   Kids don’t always understand 

VII.  Conclusion
	A.  Where are you on that roller coaster?
	B.  If you are down, remember, there will always be an up.
	C.  When life ends on this earth, will you be up or down?
	D.  JEsus promises UP for us.