A People in Training
David Peterson / General
Trial; Testing; Trust / Exodus 16:2–15
Sermon Type: Textual-Topical
Proposition: Being human means the freedom to shape our destinies. We are the creatures with such freedom. God calls on us to trust his purpose for us.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deut 8:3
I. It was a test (Exodus 16:4)
a. The capacity to respond
b. The capacity to form
four steps, often referred to as the “Four Rs” (Relabel, Reframe, Refocus, and Revalue), are integral components of Dr. Schwartz’s mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for OCD.
II. To See If They Would Follow (Exodus 16:4)
a. An exercise in teaching them who knows best
b. Building a habit of trust for when the pressure is on
Violating God’s Law Is Like Putting Our Hand in Fire
Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer, was also a devoted Christian. Dorothy Sayers was attempting to explain the moral law of God. She pointed out that in our society there are two kinds of laws. There is the law of the stop sign, and there’s the law of the fire. The law of the stop sign is a law that says the traffic is heavy on a certain street, and as a result the police department or the city council decides to erect a stop sign. They also decide that if you run that stop sign, it will cost you $25 or $30 or $35. If the traffic changes, they can up the ante. That is if too many people are running the stop sign, they can make the fine $50 or $75, or if they build a highway around the city, they can take the stop sign down, or reduce the penalty, making it only $10 if you go through. The police department or city council controls the law of the stop sign.
But then she said there is also the law of the fire. And the law of the fire says if you put your hand in the fire, you’ll get burned. Now imagine that all of the legislatures of all the nations of the entire world gathered in one great assembly, and they voted unanimously that here on out that fire would no longer burn. The first man or woman who left that assembly and put his or her hand in the fire would discover that the law of the fire is different than the law of the stop sign. Bound up in the nature of fire itself is the penalty for abusing it. So, Dorothy Sayers says, the moral law of God is like the law of the fire. You never break God’s laws; you just break yourself on them. God can’t reduce the penalty, because the penalty for breaking the law is bound up in the law itself.
Source: Haddon Robinson, “Crafting Illustrations,” PreachingToday.com
III. Of the People (Exodus 16:4)
a. Strength in community
Greater Than the Sum of It’s Parts
Did you know that a rope has greater strength than the combined individual strength of the strands that make it up? Why is this? The answer is quite simple. Individual strands have weak spots along them, points at which they easily break. But in a rope, the weak spots are randomly distributed along the length of the rope and the twist in the rope allows the surrounding strands to cancel out the weak spots of the individual fibres.
It’s the same with people. We all have strengths and weaknesses. On our own our weaknesses can break us, but together we work to achieve strength for all.
Source: Scientific information from New Scientist magazine
Social Benefits of Church
Do Christianity and other religions make any difference in American society? Consider these findings from Harvard University researcher Robert D. Putnam:
“Faith communities in which people worship together are arguably the single most important repository of social capital in America.…
“Churchgoers are substantially more likely to be involved in secular organizations, to vote and participate politically in other ways, and to have deeper informal social connections.”
“Regular worshipers and people who say that religion is very important to them are much more likely than other people to visit friends, to entertain at home, to attend club meetings, and to belong to sports groups; professional and academic societies; school service groups; youth groups; service clubs; hobby or garden clubs; literary, art, discussion, and study groups; school fraternities and sororities; farm organizations; political clubs; nationality groups; and other miscellaneous groups.”
Source: Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Simon & Schuster, 2000), pp. 66-68