Watch the following video:
Hunger Games – When you challenge or threaten the status quo, when you threaten power (which includes: self-sovereignty) your disturbance and your effort to cut things down will be like cutting down a hornet’s nest.
Everybody was peaceful – until Katniss disturbed the nest, then all Hell broke loose. This is essentially what happens when Moses confronts Pharaoh in Exodus 5 -14.
My Question: As a Leader – when you are called to take a stand, to challenge the prevailing worldview (family, business, culture),to speak an unpopular truth in love – and all hell breaks loose , what happens & can you remain standing? Let’s read Exodus 5:1-23
First thing you need to see is the collision of Worldviews (vs. 1 & 2) –
This is a collision of Theistic and Polytheistic Worldviews.
- Theistic: Moses– (vs. 1) “This is what the LORD (Yahweh) says”
- Polytheistic: Pharoah – There were multiple gods in Egypt **In Egypt – guess who’s at the top of the Polytheistic food chain? – Yep, Pharaoh. He was the incarnation of God – Pharaoh had absolute power.
Moses stepped back into his hometown culture and threatened Pharaoh’s sovereignty. What an incredibly courageous and tense moment, a moment of mixed emotions- God told Moses that God would (3:8) “deliver them out of the hand of Egypt.” Moses was fairly certain Pharoah would not comply….Moses’ anticipation had to be very high.
Pharaoh’s response (vs. 2) – Who is the LORD (I am) — I don’t obey him, I don’t know him, I will not do what he says.” — Essentially telling Moses: “I don’t plan to obey and I do not want anyone telling me how to run my world!”
When you step into a life, a family, culture, nation and say: “There is Truth – which is exclusive: There is a God, you are not him. Instead, you were created by him, you will ultimately answer to him, and he alone establishes boundaries for how you live your life” -No matter how kindly or coldly you state it…if a person or culture isn’t receptive to someone telling them how to run their individual worlds – then….explosion!!! (WAVE) — Which is exactly how Pharaoh reacted….he exploded in anger!
Application: Today – our culture is not so far away from Egypt. Very few people actually think of themselves as the incarnation of a god– yet we do live in a very Autonomous culture.
Autonomous: “Auto” – Self – “nomous” – Rule: Self-rulers
- “I hate to be told what to do, I don’t like to be told how to do things, and I am not good at reading instructions” – Sound familiar?
Theonomous: “Theos” – God – “nomous” – Rule: God rules
- Prov 3:5-8 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord…This will bring health to your body.
When a Theonomous person intersects an Autonomous culture threatening personal sovereignty……….Explosion!
- Funny Parallel – (Parent & Teenager) The parent still exercises rule yet what does every teenager want – Autonomy! “Don’t tell me what to do!” **Sometimes it gets explosive!
Parent: “I don’t want you to go to that party tonight. (Rule)
Teen: Decides he needs to run some errands around 10pm
Parent: Drives by party house and sees teen car. — (Conversation) Parent – “Didn’t I tell you not to go to that party?
Teen Response: Oh – I’m so sorry, the evil desires in my own heart demanded that I seek the popularity of my friends over obedience to my parents…….these desires in me seem unconquerable……please forgive me and help me!”.. (Is that how it goes…..Uh – NO!)
More typical response: “You don’t trust me” & “Every other parent is OK with the party” Translation: “DAD – YOU’RE NOT NORMAL! You are messed up! You are the problem not ME! Aren’t you the one responsible for training up your children in the way they should go – well, you aren’t doing a very good job – you should go to your room and think about what you have done & how to improve going forward!“
- We live in a culture which prefers autonomy – If you step into our culture on an issue like “Sexual Identity & Practices” — and say: This is what the Bible says…… Their response is an Explosion! (WAVE) “We don’t want anyone telling us what to do!” – “We want autonomy”. We want autonomy but you don’t get autonomy – NO, you must affirm our way of life or you are quickly cancelled (Irony).
Now whether you agree with my cultural analysis or not – when you step into an individual relationship (parent/church/business/culture/nation), as a follower of Jesus, you will at some point, have a clash of worldviews – My Question: When you are called to take a stand – will you & can you remain standing? – This IS LEADERSHIP!
“In my experience, churches or Christian institutions do not go bad because of coups by liberals. They go bad because orthodox people sit on their hands – hands which are clean because others have dirtied theirs by taking the tough decisions and putting their careers and reputations on the line.” – Carl Trueman
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt
“No one ever erected a statue to a critic” – FedEx Chairman, Fred Smith
God is looking for leaders who will not sit on their hands – instead will get into the arena…(not with pride, not looking down, not with bluster or volume) but people who will speak the truth in love…and remain steadfast.
❖ Three things designed to get Moses to give up:
1. Pharaoh turns up the heat: (vs. 6-8) & (vs. 10-14) – the slaves must get their own straw for brick making yet keep up the same work load. They are beaten when they don’t perform.
- Moses – I am going to make your position untenable – Hardship!
2. Pharaoh scorns: (vs. 9) – Pharaoh tells the slaves – “pay no attention to Moses’ lies” After 430 years of slavery, powerful Pharaoh, who is the incarnation of god, tells the Israelites that Moses is a liar- this emotional and physical abuse produces Pharaoh’s desired effect.
- Moses – I am going to make you untrustworthy- loss of reputation!
3. Moses has to take arrows from those he is trying to save: (vs. 20-21)
“Thanks Moses – your rescue plan is actually getting us killed”
- Moses – I am going to make sure no one follows you – arrows from friends!
NOTE: This pattern is relentless……..through all the plagues right up to chapter 14 when the Israelites are trapped at the Red Sea (14:10-12).
Results – Disillusionment: (READ vs. 22-23) – If you have ever thought about giving up… If you ever thought – God tricked me into this situation or God is not coming through like I thought He would – Moses understands! — This was an extremely fragile moment for Moses.
Application: You have had some of these moments….if not – YOU WILL!
My Question: As a Leader – when you are called to take a stand, to challenge the prevailing worldview (family, business, culture) – When you are called to speak an unpopular truth in love – and all hell breaks loose – what happens & can you remain standing?
1. Name a few places in our current environment where Christian Truth clashes with popular/autonomous culture.
2. As a leader, engaging the autonomous culture (friends, family, co-workers) could be costly – all hell might break loose: increased hardship, loss of reputation or friends. Which one of these is the most difficult for you to face?
3. Have you ever felt disillusioned? (like Moses in 5:22-23) – Did you/how did you move through it?
4. “It’s not the critic who counts but the man in the arena” – T. Roosevelt. How do you get the courage to step into the arena of our self-centered culture and take a stand for Jesus?