Sermon:  God Hears       

Summary:  Our own efforts may often fall 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.

Text:  Exodus 2

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 107:1-3

1.  Sad tragedies
	a.  Korean war, my mothers little brother died.  
	b.  Sherry in Searcy with 2 children had to live in a barn
2.  Where was God?  Some have experienced situation raising same question.
	a.  People struggled with question since Biblical times and even before
	b.  Theologians have explored this question and given us some answers:
		-  God is omnipotent
		-  God is omnibenevolent
		-  God is omnipresent
	c.  Romans 8:28 - It was God's will, works all things together for Good
		- ILL:  Stacey's parents.  Preacher said their death was God's will
		- Heb 12 - God disciplines.  Maybe need strengthened and trained.
		- Where is the comfort in that?!
	d.  People continue to struggle with this question as we will this morning

I.  (Ex 2:1-20) - This favorite story is filled with Irony
	A.  Here are some of the ironies
		1.  Basket = Ark (Tavah), same word in Genesis for Noahs' Ark
		2.  Mother both defies & obeys Pharaoh, put Moses in the Nile
		3.  Of all people, Pharaoh's daughter finds baby!  What will she do?
			a.  Moses' mother becomes his nurse for wages
			b.  Chain of events Pharaoh started led to Moses living in his 
		4.  His name:  Moshe
			a.  In Egyptian, means "to be born".  eg:  Rameses - "Ra has 
 			     birthed him"
			b.  Text explanation - Because she drew him out of the water
			c.  But form is a participle, meaning "One who draws out".  
			d.  What will he draw out?
	B.  What to make of this Irony?
		1.  You expect this kind of Irony in Hollywood
		2.  The good guy survives against all odds
		3.  You don't expect it in real life.
		4.  Irony builds suspense
	C.  The story has narrowed it's focus on "the child" 
		1.  Not just any ordinary child - we anticipate he will do something
		2.  The text doesn't say anything about Moses' upbringing
			a.  One exception - adopted by Pharoah's daughter.  
			b.  What was that like?
			c.  Would have been contempt for manual labor
			d.  Quotations from Egyptian sources:
				- "Studies lead to a life far away from dust, dirt, and 
				   toil under harsh taskmasters"
				- "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."
				- "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."
				-"The tradesman who must work till the sun sets is 
 				  dead while he yet lives."
	D.  (v.11-12)  Moses goes out to his people and rescues a Hebrew slave.  
		1.  This is remarkable in light of his background!
		2.  The stage is set.  Revolution is afoot!!
		3.  (v.13-22)  What a disappointment!
		4.  But wait!  Are we not missing the big picture here?

II.  God knows what he is doing right?  
	A.  Many preachers have pointed out that God knew what he was doing!
		1.  He rescues Moses, prepares him for the job ahead in two stages
			a.  First, he gives Moses a top-notch education.
				- Moses becomes an "insider" in Egypt
				- He had the best Egypt had to offer
			b.  Second, he bring Moses out into the desert
				- Moses has to take desert survival 101
	      			- This way he can lead the people through the desert
		2.  After all, God is sovereign.  Nothing happens unless he will it!
		3.  Makes a great sermon, one that I have heard & even preached
	B.  However, the Text does not mention God's intervention at all
		1.  In contrast, God is mentioned very much so in the Joseph 
 		    stories (Gen 39:5,21; 45:7-8)
		2.  God becomes center character in the rest of the Exodus story
		3.  But here, God is conspicuously silent
	C.  It does an injustice to the literary features of the text to say God was 
 	     directly responsible
		1.  It is much neater and simple to say "It was God's will"
			a.  So it was God's will that all those babies be drowned in 
 			    the Nile?
			b.  It was God's will that - 
				- That Sherry's family become homeless?
				- My mother's brother died
				- That Stacey's parents died when she a child?
		2.  For those who have suffered injustice, these answers often 
 		    times do not suffice
		3.  Those who have grown in wisdom know that pat answers like 
  		    these are too presumptuous and at times arrogant.
	D.  The story attributes nothing to God, and everything to humans
		1. By human effort, midwives temporarily saved some of the babies
		2. By human effort, Moses was ironically spared 
		3. By human effort, Moses saves a single Hebrew slave
		4. By human effort, Moses wound up living as a stranger in the 
			- What do we make of all this?

III.  Human effort fails.  So where is God?
	A.  The last few verses of this chapter marks a transition in the story
	B.  Finally the text comes out and calls their oppression "slavery"
		1.  Things have gotten only worse, even under a new Pharaoh.
		2.  What can Israel do?  Their would be deliverer is a nomad now
		3.  80 years go by, and all they can do is cry out
	C.  Guess what?  God has good ears.  He hears their cry
		1.  God heard the cry of Hagar and Ishmael
		2.  God heard the cry of Job
		3.  God heard the cry of Lazarus' loved ones, and cried as well.
		4.  In each case, God responds, but in his own time.
			a.  Why does God wait for sooooo long?  
			b.  The text doesn't give an answer
	D.  Where was God?  He was there.
		1.  Why doesn't he do something?  I don't know.
		2.  Will he ever do something?  Yes, but in his own time.
		3.  His track record has been pretty good
		4.  Don't despair, when you cry out as Israel did, as Job did, and 
 		    others, God will do something.
			a.  Sometimes, not sure what to do, except groan
			b.  What do you ask God?  
			c.  God will help (Rom 8:26) 
				- Spirit intercedes for us, speaks to God for us
				- Even when we don't know what to ask for

1.  God knows what we need and will act in his own time
2.  Gal 4:4 - When right time came, God sent his son
	a.  Jesus took care of greatest problem, sin and death
	b.  Defeated sin at the cross, death at the grave
	c.  Victory can be ours (inv)
3.  Have faith, when the time is right, God will act - His lovingkindess is everlasting