An Amazing Couple of Weeks
The past several weeks have been some of the most dynamic I've seen in years of mobilizing prayer.
All of a sudden, we have 50 locations registered for 10 Days this fall. At this point last year, that number was around 25. Many of these have been connecting in ways that are truly miraculous or have clear signs of God's involvement surrounding them.
One Story: A pastor's network in New York felt led by the Lord to "go deep (in prayer) before they go wide (with evangelism)". In prayer, God highlighted the date "September 29th" for them to start. Not knowing the significance of the date, they discovered this was the first day of the "10 Days of Awe".
Was that why God had led them to a very specific date (September 29th?). As they shared this vision for city-wide prayer on the 10 Days of Awe in Colorado, Father Phil Eberhardt (10 Days Together Denver) was able to share with them that many other cities were hearing the same message. Now, we're working together having been connected by the ultimate networker, Holy Spirit.
We are Going to Seek the Lord: Won't You Join us? Are you feeling drawn to join in 10 Days this year? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have resources and coaches available to help serve you in uniting believers for city-wide worship, fasting, and repentance.
This is the second in a series exploring the role of “The Cry” in how God brings deliverance.
Last time, we discussed the pattern of the Cry both in Scripture, and History, where God’s people cry out to Him because of oppression and He brings about a great deliverance.
Today, we’ll take a deep dive into the Exodus as one example of “The Cry”. By understanding this Biblical pattern, we gain insight into how God governs the earth, and also how concerted times of prayer are essential to God’s plans and purposes. Because the Exodus is a pattern for God’s ultimate deliverance of His people in the second coming, we’ll be laying a foundation for understanding our role as the people of God in the Lord’s Return.
The Cry: A Deep Dive into the Exodus
Exodus 2:23-25: Now it came about in the course of many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned [sighed, moaned] because of their bondage [labor], and they cried out, and their cry for help ascended to God. So God heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and God saw the sons of Israel and God knew them.
The “Cry” of the sons of Israel brings a response from God that has four aspects (v24-25):
So God heard their groaning
And God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
God saw the sons of Israel
And God knew them (Yada)
God has clearly been aware of what’s happening to Israel the entire time. However, the ascension of the cry produces a “Covenant Response” where He begins to act in accordance with His covenant promises.
In Response to the Cry, God first appoints Moses as a deliverer
Exodus 3: “I have seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrow [pain]. So I have…
Come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians
To bring them up to a land flowing with milk and honey”
The Cry is caused by oppression, but God has more in mind than just deliverance from oppression: While the Cry goes up because of affliction, with the mention of the promised land, and the revelation of God’s name “I AM” we begin to see that God’s purpose is greater than simply freeing Israel from oppression, but also includes God taking the Abrahamic covenant to the “next step” by giving Israel the blessings of the promised land.
Exodus 3:18: Freedom to Worship God is the “pretext” that God uses to establish his quarrel with Pharaoh…but it’s more than a pretext as this is God’s ultimate goal—to find a way to dwell with His people (Exodus 40:34-35)
The Deliverer Confronts Pharoah
As God begins to move, things get worse before they get better:
Moses’ initial approach to Pharoah makes the oppression worse for the Israelites
Pharaoh does more evil to God’s people
Israel’s cry to God and Moses becomes greater!
God Reveals More of His Heart: Israel and Moses are discouraged by the set-back, causing them to Cry out all the more, which in turn causes God to reveal more of His plan and purposes through Pharaoh.
God is planning to bring Reciprocal Judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt, Fuller Revelation of who He is (His Glory), and a Wedding so that He can dwell with His people.
Exodus 6 v. 1 Just as Pharaoh has put God’s people under a “strong hand” (forced labor, compulsion), so God will put Pharaoh under a “strong hand” and drive out His people by force. (In general, God’s judgments of Pharaoh/Egypt will be symmetrical to the injustice of Pharaoh/Egypt).
v.2-3 God emphasizes that He is revealing “His Name” at this time in an unprecedented way to Moses and Israel (revelation of the glory of God)—this has never happened before
v. 5-8 In response to the cry of Israel God has heard and remembered His Covenant. He promises these four actions:
1. He will bring Israel out from under the burdens of Egypt
2. He will rescue Israel from bondage (slavery)
3. He will redeem [kinsman redeemer/marriage and covenant language] Israel with great judgments
4. He will take Israel as His own people and He will be their God (Marriage language)
Once again, Israel is Crying out because of oppression, but God has more on mind than simple deliverance. Their “Cry” triggers a divine response with 3 major goals.
Judgment on the oppressors of His people and Deliverance for His people
Greater Revelation of who God is (His glory) both to His people and to His enemies. God repeatedly makes known His intention to glorify His name and is revealing Himself by His name “YHWH” for the first time
Taking Israel as His people and becoming their God (Covenant Marriage between God and His people) so that he can dwell with them (Exodus 40)
The Cry of God’s people is God’s strategy to advance His own “Covenant Agenda”.
In summary, the progression looks like this: Oppression leads to The Cry leads to Covenant Advancement. Covenant Advancement includes the following elements: Promises Fulfilled, Greater Revelation of God’s Nature, Greater Worship, and the Marriage of God and His People.
God’s Judgements: Egypt’s Cry
As the plagues of Egypt increase, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened first by himself and then by God. But Pharaoh refuses to “cry out” even as the plagues increase—instead he requests “prayer” from Moses. Prayer can have the same sense of “cry” but here, the contrast shows us that the plagues have not yet penetrated Pharaoh’s hard heart. He is still able to escape an "involuntary" crying out.
However, God intends to make Pharaoh and Egypt “Cry Out” just as they have made Israel “Cry out”. As the drama escalates, we see God’s heart to pay back Egypt in full for what they have done to the sons of Israel.
Exodus 11:6 God promises His final judgment will release an unprecedented “cry” from Egypt.
Exodus 12:29-30: Egypt as a nation suffers a “great cry” as the first born in each family are killed.
Exodus 14: Israel passes through the waters in an unlikely escape (like Moses) but the Egyptian sons are drowned (as Pharaoh drowned the Israelite boys in Exodus 1:22).
Here's a list of some of the ways God brought reciprocal (proportionate and corresponding) judgment on Egypt
Pharaoh put Israel under bondage--forced labor, no freedom all for the glory of his name; God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (lack of freedom) and laid affliction on him and his people for the glory of HIS name
Egypt afflicted Israel, causing them to “Cry out”. Now God’s judgment has brought that back on their own head, causing a “Great Cry” from all Egypt.
Egypt plundered Israel through forced labor; Israel plunders Egypt as they leave, taking the treasures of the Egyptians.
Egypt afflicted Israel, God’s “Firstborn” Israel. God has afflicted the firstborn of Egypt
Pharaoh threw the Israelite sons into the Nile river. Now God has thrown the Egyptian sons into the Sea
Just as Moses was saved through the water as a forerunner, so now the entire nation has been rescued through the water
Song and Sovereignty: The Aftermath
Sovereignty: Exodus 12:40-41: We learn that the departure of the children of Israel is taking place in exact accordance to God’s prophetic plan: Exactly 430 years to the day after they arrived in Egypt. God’s Sovereignty and foreknowledge are in full view, however, that does not remove the importance of “the Cry” in moving God to action. Our voice matters to God’s purposes and human history. God’s sovereignty works through His people; we are His appointed means to act in the earth!
Song: Exodus 14:31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt. So the people feared the LORD and believed the LORD and His servant Moses. The Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD…
Because of God’s deliverance, God’s people move from an involuntary cry of oppression to an involuntary Cry of victory and celebration. The Cry has become The Song!