Sermon for Lenten Midweek 1 – Feb. 24, 2021

+ Lenten Midweek 1 – February 24, 2021 +

Genesis 12:10-20

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Abram’s Exodus before the Exodus”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

There goes Abram, heading down to the land of the pyramids. But isn’t that the wrong way? Didn’t the Lord tell him to settle in the land of the Jordan? Indeed, He did. But Abram had hungry mouths to feed and there was a famine in the land. So, he headed down to Egypt.

 

There goes Abram, revealing his plan to his beautiful wife, Sarai. “Tell these foreigners you’re my sister,” he says, “or they might try and kill me.” How romantic. Such chivalry! Once again, it appears that Abram is going the wrong way, trying to pull one over on the Egyptians.

 

And there goes Pharaoh, whisking away this beautiful woman – another man’s wife – into his harem. Pharaoh’s going the wrong way too, isn’t he? He most certainly is, as he’ll soon find out. For this woman is no Jane Doe, but the patriarch’s wife – she from whose womb is to come forth the promised seed Isaac. Unbeknownst to him, Egypt’s king just stirred up a heavenly hornet’s nest.

 

So there comes the plagues, crashing in on Pharaoh’s house causing all kinds of chaos. Unlike a much later Pharaoh, however, this king doesn’t need ten plagues to get the message God is sending. He escorts Sarai to her home, though quite incensed at Abram for hiding the fact that Miss Sarai was actually a Mrs. “Why did you say,‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!”

 

And Abram goes. He leaves Egypt for good. But he doesn’t leave empty handed. For Sarai’s sake, the king opened his wallet, giving Abram sheep, oxen, donkeys, servants, and camels. Protected by grace, enriched by Egypt, and blessed by God, Abram heads home to the Promised Land, where God has left the light on for him.

 

Rather amazing, isn’t it? And perhaps what’s most amazing of all is that all these things happened, Paul says, and were written down for our sake, upon whom the end of the ages has come. For the story of Abram – later renamed Abraham – is Israel’s story, and Israel’s story is the story of Jesus, and the story of Jesus is your story. The narrative of your exile and return to the God of salvation.

 

What happened to father Abraham happened because of his sons, yet to be born. Not three generations would pass before  grandson Jacob and great-grandsons Joseph and his eleven brothers would all wind up in Egypt because of a famine. In time, they too would get in hot water with Pharaoh. God would send plagues – ten of them. Finally, the king would knuckle under divine pressure and let God’s people go, but not before Egypt emptied their wallets again as Israel left Egypt freed from slavery. So there go the Israelites – protected by grace, enriched by Egypt, and blessed by God – finally homeward bound, where God had left the light on for them as well. Second verse same as the first.

 

But still the song goes on. For who is Abraham and who are the Israelites but those who blazed the path we now tread? For no matter what city and state are inscribed on your birth certificate, the truth is, we are all conceived and born in Egypt – a far worse Egypt than Abraham entered, ruled by a far worse tyrant than Pharaoh, under a slavery far, far worse than that suffered by Israel.

 

For what is Egypt but a picture of the land of the shadow of death, the country called sin? And who is Pharaoh but the devil’s puppet? He is like the serpent in Eden, the outward mask of the inward demon, who rules the land of sin with a rod of iron forged in the flames of Hades. And what is the slavery suffered in Egypt of old but the image of the shackles that bind man and woman, infants and elderly-the servitude to sin that leads to the grave and plunges into the lake of fire?

 

God calls us sons and daughters of Abraham to repentance. Far worse than being born in the land of sin, we keep returning to it. Worse than the fact that we were enslaved to sin, we have so often preferred the chains and shackles, enjoying our servitude to lust, greed, power, wealth, and whatever other poisonous weeds that grow so well in Egypt’s soil. God calls us to leave the devil’s harem and flee into the arms of our heavenly Bridegroom. To wash Pharaoh’s stench from our flesh in the holy waters of repentance and forgiveness. Come to your true home; to Zion, the city of the living God, to the promised land of Jesus. Come home, for God has left the light of his grace shine on for you, shining in the face of him who is Light of light.

 

Abraham’s story is Israel’s story, and Israel’s story is the story of Jesus, and the story of Jesus is the story of your salvation. In his wonderous grace, God protected Sarah from Pharaoh, that Jesus might be born for you. From Abraham’s seed came Isaac through the womb of Sarah; from Isaac’s seed came Jacob through the womb of Rebekah; from Jacob’s seed came Judah through the womb of Leah; and finally, from no man’s seed, but conceived by the Holy Spirit, the promised Seed himself came through the womb of the Virgin Mary. He for you, to make you sons and daughters of Abraham by faith.

 

And there goes Jesus, coming down out of heaven to the Egypt of sin and death, all to redeem you and make you his own. And not only you but Abraham and Sarah, and yes, Pharaoh and all his concubines, Mary and Joseph – all of them and all of us. For Jesus goes head to head with the Egypt of sin and death, the pharaoh of hell itself, and he wins by losing, lives by dying, saves by letting himself be condemned in our place.

 

For one and for all, the bad and the worse, Jesus is born into our Egypt, suffers the plague of divine wrath to fall upon him, and in doing so smashes the chains that bind you.

 

Dear Christian, rejoice! You are free! You are redeemed! You are no longer an exile from God’s promised land. You are a citizen by grace, by the One who bought your citizenship with the gold of his body and the silver of his blood. He has led you forth from the place of captivity and death, washed clean in the Red Sea waters of the font, and filled your body and soul with the riches of the kingdom of heaven. The light is on for you, for you stand in the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

For by his grace, Jesus leads you from captivity and death to stand in the light of his glory.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com