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Dave Dealy: Your Will Be Done, Exodus 12:1-13

June 26, 2024

Audio Recording

God’s instructions at Passover and Jesus as the sacrificial lamb show us the importance of trust and obedience in surrendering to God’s perfect will.

Westside Church Podcast
Westside Church Podcast
Dave Dealy: Your Will Be Done, Exodus 12:1-13
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Sermon Transcript:

You're listening to a live recording from Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us today. We're gonna anchor our time in the book of Exodus in this really critical moment in the story of the people of Israel. It happens in Exodus, chapter twelve.

And to this point, Israel has kind of been observers of who God is and God's story. They've watched him do and move and speak things. And in this moment, the Passover moment, they are called to put all their chips on the table and surrender and trust and get in the game. So that's where we're going to be today to unpack. We'll walk through this story of the Passover, be a little reflective, if that's okay, and it is, because I have a mic and you don't. So I'll be a little reflective today on my journey to this point. And then what I feel like is a word that God has for you. He's given me to give you to west side church. So, Exodus, chapter twelve, verses one to 13, here's what it says.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, this month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. This is a new beginning.

Tell the whole community of Israel that on the 10th day of this month, each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, which sounds ridiculous in our way of eating in America, but if a whole lamb is too much, then you must share one with your nearest neighbor. Would you mark that in your head, that statement? Your nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people that there are, you are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with each person who will eat. The animals you choose must be a year old male without defect, and you may take them from either sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the 14th day of the month, when all of the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.

Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs that same night. They are to eat the meal roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boil it, but roast it over a fire. Head, legs, all things. Do not leave anything until the morning. If some is left in the morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat. Mark this as well in your memory with your cloak tucked into your belt, sandals on your feet, staff in your hands. Eat it with haste. It is the Lord's passover. On the same night, I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals. And I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.

The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. In May was the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. 150 years of running the Kentucky Derby, this horse race. Now, listen, I am not a derby guy. I don't know anything about the derby, but I happen to be flipping through on the day. The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby was on tv.

And I am a sucker for sports documentaries. I am f one racing, know nothing about it, don't know how it works. But all of a sudden, I care about these guys and their story, and I'm, like, following them on social media, tennis, played a little tennis just for fun along the way in my life. Never watched a tennis match, watch a documentary. Now I'm watching, like, some random tournament out in the middle of nowhere to see, like, oh, how'd they do today? I feel emotionally invested. It's kind of sad.

Does anybody know how long the actual race of the Kentucky Derby is like, the running of the race?

Two minutes.

NBC covered this race for 7 hours, and I was there for it.

Oh, my gosh, I was there for it. Not all seven. Noelle would have walked out on me, but a good more than I'd like to admit. I was there for this coverage of the Kentucky Derby, and as I watched it, as always happens, I learned so much stuff. These horses, first of all, are magnificent. Oh, my goodness. They are magnificent creatures, bred and trained for one thing, to run.

To run. Run this distance on this surface as fast as possible. These horses are made to do it.

However, if you were to release the horses on their own out onto the track, it would be chaos. These horses are like alpha horses, and they bite each other and they flex on each other and they kick each other, and they run all different directions. Total chaos.

So we, as genius little humans that we are, we figured out if you put a wee little man and tie him to the back of a thoroughbred, these things will run with purpose.

They will run with purpose. And the jockey learning this in this, like, ridiculous amount of time, I watched the Kentucky dory.

Their job is to constrain this animal until the right moment, keep him on track, point him in a direction, get him to a place to do what he was made to do, to let him go and do what he was made to do.

Much of the story of Israel in all of scripture is a story of humans who have been given freedom, literally taken out of captivity, captivity into freedom, and, like our thoroughbreds, end up all over the place and in terrible trouble with God and with one another.

So God, in his wisdom and his grace and his love, he does something that feels constraining, and he gives them guardrails, instructions on how to live, how to flourish, and all of the. The story of scripture is, will humans accept these constraints to live into flourishing or not?

And that's where we find ourselves in this story. And this passage in Exodus, chapter twelve, it describes the first Passover. Passover is this massively important holiday in the jewish community with the hebrew people.

And to understand how important this moment is, this climactic moment in scripture, we have to look backwards before we look forwards and we look backwards to the story of Genesis, where we're introduced to Yahweh, this God.

And oftentimes when we read Genesis, I've said this before, when we read Genesis, we're looking for, like, how did that happen? How long did it take? What's the science behind it? And those are all good, important questions. I encourage you to explore all of that. But that's not what Genesis is trying to tell us. It's not trying to tell us how. How long, scientifically, how this happened. It's trying to tell us who.

Who is behind this story?

Who is this God? Who is this creator?

What is his character? And I think it would serve us well if we gave as much time or more to pursuing who God is and his character, and knowing him as we do, trying to figure out the how and why of how everything happens. You see this? When Moses sees the burning bush. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. Moses is shepherding. He's out in the desert, and he sees a burning bush, and he goes. And his response to seeing this weird moment is not, what's the science behind this? Can someone explain to me this is burning up? What's happening here?

Do you remember what he says?

God says, go to my people and tell them they're gonna be set free. I've heard their cries. And Moses says, who do I tell them? Sent me. Who? Who are you? That is the central question in Genesis that we are introduced to. Is the person, the character of this God, behind the whole story?

And when we get to this moment in Exodus twelve, the Passover moment, it has been building as God is showing who he is and his plan and his dominion and his love. He is pouring that out, showing these people.

And we read this moment of the ten plagues. When we watch it in movies, when we talk about it in Sunday school, we read this as, wow, that's crazy. That's a lot of crazy stuff. It's like a blockbuster movie that went way over budget, right? Like, oh, that's crazy. Like, sicknesses and boils and hail and locusts and, like, just crazy destruction. It's like a car chase with. That just explodes over and over and over ten times.

But that's not how Israel reads this story. It's not how they are processing what's happening. They see this story of the ten plagues as a showdown. This is a showdown story.

And in one corner, you have pharaoh, who claims to be divine, who claims to know and be equal with the God of fertility and the God of the weather, and the God of strength and power in the sun claims to be one of those.

And he rules with violence, with oppression, with raw power. I think there is a proclivity in us always to fall in love with those who would say, I have the power, come follow me. I have the power, come follow me by any means necessary. It then justify the means. And that is 100% anti scripture. In jesus, the means matter all the time. It is not just the ends. And pharaoh is all about ends. Justify the means, raw power.

In the other corner, you have Yahweh. Moses is kind of, like, mediating this conversation. Yahweh in the other corner, God of creation, the God who takes chaos and brings order and rhythm for life and flourishing, takes darkness and brings light, separates land and sea, all of creation, every being breathed into to reproduce life and flourishing in balance the way he has intended. You have these two in a showdown.

So the ten plague story, when we read it, is not really a story of, like, wow, isn't that crazy? There's all this chaos going on. No, this is an intentional showdown Yahweh is having with pharaoh in front of everybody. And he's flexing. Yahweh is flexing.

He takes the waters in the Nile, turns it to blood.

He takes the crops and sends the locusts, takes animals and darkness. Every element from the creation story that has gone sideways with Pharaoh and the egyptian people, he brings back into his right order. He's showing who's boss.

And it culminates in this ultimate moment of showdown where both of these two, Pharaoh, the human who claims to be God, and Yahweh, the creator of all things, have a showdown of life and death.

And in this, you guys, we see a demonstration of God's power and his plan and his will that won't be deterred, matched with his grace and mercy.

Extravagant love before every play. God invites Pharaoh through Moses, to change the direction of this story ten times, something that Pharaoh never offered to anyone he was ruling over. If you continue down this road, this is what will happen. All you have to do is surrender and let my people go.

And it says over and over and over that pharaoh, his heart grows hard, hard.

So God offers a plan in this 10th climactic moment, the Passover moment that is so central to the story of God, not just in Exodus, in all of scripture.

And we're left holding these two, what seem like conflicting ideas. God's will will be done.

He is God and we are not.

And he will not compromise on his plan to renew and restore all things unto himself as he said, that was good in the beginning. He is endlessly going to make that plan come about.

And he always offers a way out. He always offers a door to return to him. Always.

And it comes down for us, for Pharaoh, a question of surrender. Do we trust the who that is behind all of this? For us, there is a surrender that is required in following Jesus, where we must trust the who behind the how and the why. And that surrender can feel like death.

It can feel like such a constraint. It can feel like a letting go of all the things that we hold onto for our identity and our security and our hope and our future.

It can feel like a death.

But the story in all of scripture that we hear is the death is not the purpose. It is a vehicle to the flourishing. Whatever has to go down, whatever has to be shed, whatever has to be surrendered, is to move us into flourishing. And this is true for Israel and the people of Egypt. Notice what it says. It says that this was said to everyone. This was said to the community.

It wasn't. Hey, Israelites, come over here. I'm going to give you a secret plan. Everyone else is going to be destroyed. It says, it was given to everyone. And in God's instructions, he said, share your lamb with your nearest neighbor. It doesn't say, share your lamb with Israelites.

There for sure were other people, groups enslaved by Egypt besides Israel.

And we've known in the story, in the other plagues, hail, and others, that Egyptians went into the houses of the Israelites to be spared from what was happening. We know that's happening here. So God's extending this grace to anyone who will listen. Same as in this room, anyone who will listen.

There's this invitation of grace for the people of Israel and for the people of Egypt, same instructions to avoid the catastrophe.

So it's a simple proposition to us today as it was to them, but a conflicting one. Will I follow God's invitation and instruction even when I don't understand it, even when I don't agree with it, even when I don't like it? Now, if you hear that and you're like, oh, I don't like this, I really don't like this, you're in good company. If you wrestle with this as I do, we are in good company.

Jesus taught his disciples so many things in his life, shared with them every day, walking around, learning, teaching, praying, healing. And in a moment, in Matthew chapter six, the disciples asked Jesus, would you teach us how to pray? Cause when you pray, it sure seems different than when I pray. So when you pray, all of these kingdom things happen. People are healed, people are set free, eyes are open, community's drawn together. People on the outskirts are brought in. So would you teach me how to do that?

And here's what Jesus says. Pray like this. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

And we have talked about this passage before, so I'm not going to belabor the point, but this is loaded and packed with theology. These few words, our father in heaven. And heaven isn't just the good place you go to. If you got the golden ticket at the end of all of this journey, you get to go to the good place. Let's get that out of our head. Heaven is the space God is in all the time. It's his space.

And this prayer is asking for that space to come into our space, that heavenly space, that space where God resides undeterred, unbroken, completely in relationship, fully.

Let that be here on earth as it is in your space, Lord in heaven, all the time. And as that happens, would your kingdom come down here and your will be done?

It seems simple, right?

This is a dangerous prayer.

This is a dangerous prayer that Jesus gives to his disciples and to us.

Cause look where it gets Jesus.

On the night before Christ is crucified, Jesus is in a garden, and he is praying.

And he knows the cost before him.

He knows the sacrifice.

He knows the brutality of it.

He knows the loneliness of it.

He knows that this will be humiliating. He knows all of it. And he is wrestling.

He is wrestling with the Father, is there any other way we can do this? If there's any other way, would you give me a different path?

So if you have asked that in your life, you're in good company.

When Jesus is introduced to us in the book of John, do you remember what John says when Jesus walks on the scene? He doesn't say, behold the warrior that will set us free. He doesn't say, behold the politician that will take on the powers of Rome. He doesn't say, oh, behold the eloquent speaker who will captivate the imagination.

The first time we're introduced to Jesus, in the gospel of John, it says, behold the lamb, the lamb of God who comes for the salvation of all people.

Jesus knows the cost.

And just as Israel sat on that precipice that night of the Passover and is given all these weird instructions, very detailed in strange ways, and they are left, will they surrender? Will they trust? Do they believe in the character and the who behind these instructions, Jesus wrestles with God in the garden.

And the life surrendered to God will always cost us something. It costs the lamb, it costs Christ, and it will cost us. If you've been told that following Jesus is going to end all of your sad days and you're just going to walk in rainbows and sorry to burst your bubble here, not true. Not true. You will have trouble. Jesus says, but the crux of all of this is he says that, but take heart, because I've overcome it.

I've overcome it. And here's what I want you to hear today. Whatever that sacrifice is, as you sit today and you're wrestling with your job and your family and your future and your health, and you just want to know, what's the will of God? How do I follow the will of God?

I want to tell you. Jesus is our model. He petitions, he wrestles, and in the end, he trusts and he surrenders.

And what he knows that we need to know deeply in our bones, west side, is that the sacrifice is not the purpose. It's the vehicle to get to flourishing.

As I was watching the Kentucky Derby, and I was caught up in the story of these jockeys and horses from all over and everything, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Seabiscuit. Anybody remember Seabiscuit? All right, if you haven't seen it, Seabiscuit is this ragtag horse that never has quite lived up to his potential, is scrappy, but then he's matched with Tobey Maguire, who has a really weird haircut and a weird dye job.

At the final turn, the trainer, who is sitting in the stands, who has known Seabiscuit from his birth, been with him through the whole story, knows Tobey Maguire and all of his junk.

As they come around the final turn, the trainer says, turn him loose.

Turn him loose.

Let him run.

And you guys, this may be a bit of my imagination, but would you go with me for a minute? I have an idea that as God the father is watching Christ go to the cross in death, enter into the gates of hell.

He says, turn him loose.

Turn him loose.

Let him run. Watch what he's going to do.

And turns the entire story of eternity upside down.

And that story, you guys, is not just the story of Jesus and the story of Israel. It's a story for you. It's a story for west side church. You were made to run.

You were made to run.

You have been given everything you need for the race.

You have every tool you need.

You have been given the breath of God in your body, in your soul, in your mind.

You don't need anything else but to surrender and believe the who behind all of this, that he is a good God who loves you and delights in you, loves you so much that he created a whole different lamb to come and be sacrificed on our behalf.

That is the great and profound love of this whole story. The Bible is a love story, you guys.

To you, to me, to us.

And you were made to run.

This may require seasons of sacrifice, seasons of shedding, seasons of surrender.

And if you are in that, I just want to say, keep running.

Keep running.

This is not the whole story.

You are going to hit the final turn.

So for me, in my story, this season at Westside has been a lot of healing, but also a lot of dying, a lot of shedding and surrendering in things I don't understand and leaning into what I believe God's breathed in me to do and the tools he's given me to use, and being really content with those tools and not wishing for other tools, to a point of running this race where I get a call from a pastor in LA who I don't know, at a church I've never heard of, he says, I think you might be the guy.

And I'm ready to run.

I'm ready to run. It's time.

It's time to run.

And west side, you turn 70 years old. Not you.

West side turned 70 years old this year.

And this was a God breathed group of Jesus followers here in bend who God put all the tools, all the life, all the vision, everything west side needs to be a light for all of central Oregon. It's here.

It's time to run.

Shed what is not part of your story. Shed the things, let it go, that are keeping you from going into full sprint. Let it go as a church. Lean in, would you, please. There's a whole world dying to know this story.

Would you lean in? Would you run?

Trusting the who behind all of this in the night before Christ enters into this sacrifice as the lamb, he recreates Passover. He sits at a Passover table with those he loves most, that have walked this journey most intimately with him.

And he takes the bread and breaks it and says, this is my body broken for you.

I am the lamb. As the lamb was broken, I am broken for you. And he takes the cup and he says, this is the blood that was on the door that set you free into a whole promise of flourishing human life.

My plan to show the world my grace and love.

This is a new covenant. This blood now is on me, shed for you to step through the threshold into life.

So as we prepare to take communion, as you go to the table and you take the bread at these tables around the sanctuary and you dip it into the cup, would you say to yourself, his body broken for me, his blood shed for me, this promise is for you to run and be all you are made to be in the grace and love and vision of Christ.

His will be done here in bend as it is in heaven.