Files for student pastors:
How many of y’all out there had the pleasure of having hamsters for pets when you were growing up? I see that show of hands. I remember loving to watch those little fur balls run around their cage, exercise in their wheel, and maneuver through all their tubes. I always dreamed of having a play-land that cool! Actually, I finally found something very similar to a hamster cage for adults…The St. Louis City Museum is amazing! But that’s beside the point. From what I remember, we had to get rid of our hamsters because we just couldn’t control them as they were popping new little hamster babies out at the rate of a salad shooter. If we didn’t act fast enough, they’d take over our home and eventually the world! Okay, that was a tad extreme.
Something strangely similar is playing out in Exodus 1. Remember, through a series of God-ordained events, Joseph was taken to Egypt and rose to power under the Pharaoh, so Jacob with his family moved to Egypt to avoid starving from the famine. In Exodus 1, we see how God is faithful to both His commands and His covenant (1:1-7). In Genesis 1, God commands Adam to be fruitful and multiply, and as early as Genesis 12 God makes a covenant with Abraham promising to make him into a great nation with a great land and bless him. Exodus 1 is a fulfillment of God being faithful to accomplish His command and fulfill His covenant promises. We must remember this: whatever God commands, we can accomplish through Him (Phil 2:13). Whatever God promises, He will be faithful to accomplish it!
Also strangely similar to the hamsters, the Israelites are getting so numerous from their fruitful multiplication that the Egyptians fear their strength. The new Pharaoh in power didn’t have the same relationship with Joseph as the last, so he decides to make all of Israel slaves to Egypt since he felt they were a threat if war came (1:8-14). Exodus is an accurate historical book with true stories. I believe that God ordained all of these events to bring about Christ through His people and to give us physical pictures of spiritual realities. Such as: just as Pharaoh enslaves Israel, Satan seeks to enslave God’s people in sin because he feels threatened. He is the evil power behind all of this. The Pharaoh then commands the Egyptian midwives to murder all the sons born to the Hebrew children, but out of their fear of God the midwives don’t obey the Pharaoh. So the Pharaoh steps it up a notch and commands all his people to cast every born Hebrew son into the Nile river (1:15-22). Isn’t this strangely familiar to the time of Christ’s birth when Herod ordered a similar command? Why? Behind the scenes you have Satan ultimately wanting to destroy Jesus, his greatest threat. Because we as Christians are in Christ, we must be prepared and expect Satan to seek to enslave and ultimately try to destroy our lives through sin because he desperately desires to steal the glory of Jesus Christ for himself.
This is a very special message in a special service for our student ministry because we are unveiling our new website (www.cbsm.net) which explains why we do what we do. In all of Exodus we will see God using Moses to lead and teach the Israelites, forming the Israelites into a covenant-community with each other, and charging them to be on a mission…His mission. Likewise, our new pastor has given our church a focused direction of coaching, community, and commission which our student ministry has also adopted. These three essential elements of every Christian’s involvement in church protect him from the slavery and destruction of sin. “Coaching”: Our Wednesday night worship service is designed to coach students to worship Christ through our student-led praise band and preaching through the stories of the Bible. “Community”: Our Sunday school is designed to grow students in their faith of Jesus Christ through the teaching of biblical truths and small group discussions with other students. “Commission”: Our Sunday night ministry teams are designed to give opportunities and train students to better serve their church, their community, and the world just as Jesus has called us to do. I pray that our churches will grow like the unstoppable and fruitful force of… hamsters!