Declaration of Ownership

“God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them” Exodus 2:25

As in child birth, pain often precedes pleasure and joy. The birth of the nation of Israel would be no different and it has similarities with the nation’s rebirth at the end of the Great Tribulation.

In the last three verses of Exodus two we find Israel groaning under the weight of bondage as slaves in Egypt. In their pain and suffering they cried out to the Lord. God had been with them all along but now that the people were crying out for deliverance He would act.

First we note that He heard the cries of Israel for deliverance to the point of acting (v 24). But on what basis would He act? In the same verse we are given the answer; “God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” It isn’t that God had forgotten His covenant. This and the preceding chapter are evidence of that but He is now going to act in a special way with regard to that covenant.

When we read that “God looked upon the children of Israel,” it isn’t that He had been distracted elsewhere but that He was taking into account their present situation and their crying out for deliverance. He would now act.

Finally, in these verses, we note that God acknowledged Israel and was concerned for them. The idea here is that of a relationship, that of a father for his son (4:22). God is declaring His ownership of Israel. As such He will act to deliver Israel. He affirms this again in 3:7 where He refers to Israel as “My people.”

This is a beautiful picture of Israel’s future. The closing days of the Great Tribulation will see Israel again crying out to God for deliverance. On that occasion the Lord Jesus Himself will appear for the same reason that He gave attention to Israel as recorded in Exodus two, “God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” He will then deliver believing Israel and believing Gentiles and establish His earthly kingdom.

These circumstances have a parallel with salvation now. When a person is sick and tired of the corruption of this world, bondage to sin and death, they will cry out to God for deliverance. Jesus promises to respond. He said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine [teaching], whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). When a person desires to hear the truth Jesus will ensure they hear it and know that it is true but it is up to the person as to whether they will receive it and trust Jesus and His word.

It is the delight of the child of God to know that Jesus Christ declares His ownership of them and in due course will do so publicly. Of greatest importance is that He will declare His redeemed to the Father.

Choosing a Master

“When you were slaves of sin …” “and having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:20, 18)

In Romans chapter 6 Paul gives his readers some choices though he only considers one of the options as being that of a true Christian.

In verses 1 and 15 he asks questions that we should never have to consciously answer because one of the options is unthinkable for a Christian. If we have to think about how we would respond there is concern as to whether we really are a Christian.

A person without Christ always sins all of the time and has no choice in the matter. Just because an act appears moral doesn’t mean it is not sin. We have such a wrong idea of sin. Sin is not wrong doing, it is wrong being. Sin is any moment when Jesus Christ is not allowed to function as our sovereign master from a glad and willing heart.

To ensure we have Christ as Master and not sin as master, Paul gives us some do’s and do nots in verses 12 and 13.

Do not let sin be sovereign over your body. The evidence that you are is that you let your body dictate to your mind to satiate its own pleasure and lusts. Do not surrender your body to satiate its sinful lusts and desires.

Do present your whole being in surrender to God for His will and purpose and do give your body to serve His righteousness and not its sinful desires.

Paul says that we have a choice to whom we present ourselves (v 16) but one of the options is absolutely absurd to a Christian.

Since we have chosen righteousness in Christ for eternity why would we want to live under sin’s power in the present since we have seen its fruit (v 21)?

In verse 16 Paul also writes that if we allow sin to have its way in us then it will lead to sin having a greater hold over us. On the other hand if we surrender ourselves to God for His righteousness it will lead to God having greater rule and power in and through us for righteousness To continue to remain under sin’s rule is absurd since we have been voluntarily set free from it (v 18, 22) Notice Paul writes this twice to make sure we don’t miss it.