Escape Room: Week 1
I was over at a friend’s house for a Super Bowl party last Sunday night. The Rams fans must have been so mad when they didn’t win their match against the Patriots! On our drive home in the dark after the Super Bowl, a guy in a Dodge Ram 1500 shot out of a parking lot and literally tried to ram me! He was trying to run us off the road! Pam and I were freaking out! My heart was racing! Pam was screaming, “He’s trying to kill us!” His lights were right on our tail end. So I sped up, but the faster I went, the faster he went. I was thinking, “I’ve got to outrun this Ram, and escape from this maniac trying to run us over and kill us.” I told Pam, “Get out your phone and get ready to call 911!” Then we reached the cars ahead of us, so he caught up to us and passed us in the middle lane. It was a narrow escape!!!
The book of Exodus is about a great escape of God’s people from slavery in Egypt who were enslaved after Joseph brought them into Egypt in Genesis. Their population increased so much that eventually, a new Pharaoh made them slaves. In Exodus, we meet one of the greatest leaders in all of history, Moses. One thing we know about Moses is that he was a great escape artist.
2 Early Escapes of Moses
Moses’ first escape was when he was just a baby.
Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Exodus 1:22
Moses’ mother, Jochebed, came up with a plan to save her baby boy, Moses.
But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Exodus 2:3
Similar to the Big Ark that protected Noah through the flood, Moses’ mom makes a very small ark that protects him on his first daring escape down the Nile River. Then Pharaoh’s daughter finds him, and he is raised in Pharaoh’s palace.
Then, when Moses is 40 years old, he escapes from death a second time when he killed an Egyptian slave master for beating a Hebrew man. He thought he got away with it, but then in Exodus 2:14, the word gets out about the murder,
The man answered, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Moses was afraid and thought, “Now everyone knows what I did.” When Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he tried to kill him. But Moses ran away from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. There he sat down near a well. Exodus 2:14
We need to know that whatever we do, even if we think we are getting away with it, it’s going to come out in the light.
What we cover, God uncovers. What we uncover, God covers with his grace and forgiveness.
When Pharaoh found out, he tried to kill Moses. Moses went on the run. He was the original Houdini. He barely escaped Pharaoh’s first attempt to killing him when he was a baby, by slipping away in a basket. Then, when he grew up, he escaped Pharaoh for the second time.
Moses knew how to run away. He bravely ran away! Because…
Moses was raised to run.
Running was in his blood. Whenever he faced a problem, he ran away.
God didn’t raise you to run!
You can’t escape what has happened in the past by running from it.
You only escape the past when you accept it, not avoid it.
If you want to escape your fears, you have to face your fears. Your past has a way of catching up with you if you don’t deal with it in the right way.
Don’t run away from your problems. When you run away, you’re getting farther from the solution to your problems.
After 40 years in the palace, and then 40 years in the wilderness, Moses is out watching his father-in law’s flocks at a place called Mt Horeb, the same place where God is going to give him the 10 Commandments later on. He sees this little bush in flames, but it didn’t burn up, it just kept on burning. When Moses goes to check it out and a voice comes from the bush: “Moses! Moses!” And God tells Moses to stop in his tracks.
Take off your running shoes
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5
Why does God tell Moses to take his shoes off?
The first reason is that he was in the very holy and awesome presence of God. We don’t want to take it lightly when we are in His presence. It was a special place he was standing because God was there. It was also because this was the place where God got Moses attention. That was the place where God called Moses to something greater in his life. Imagine that the greatest leader of all time just spent the rest of his life running in the wilderness. He would have missed out on God’s great purpose from his life.
Another reason God may have told Moses to take his shoes off is because in the desert, it’s pretty hard to run without any shoes. Moses had been running for so many years of his life because he was a prisoner of his past. Moses was a murderer. He was caught between two cultures, the Egyptians and the Hebrews. He had all these problems in his past he was running from. But no matter how far you run, you can never outrun God!
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you? Psalm 139:7
Some people run away from God because of the problems of their past.
You can’t escape your past until you face your past.
When Moses stops running, God tells him to go back to the very place he had run away from:
So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. Exodus 3:10-12
He was supposed to go back to Pharaoh, face his past, and free his people. God promises him that He will be right there with him.
TWO CLUES TO YOUR IDENTITY
The first question Moses asks God, “Who am I?” He doesn’t even know his own identity.
The second question Moses asks is “Who are you, God?”
The two most important questions you need to nail down in your life are who you are and who God is. That is the solution that unlocks the door to freedom in your life.
You aren’t who you say you are. You’re not who other people say you are. You are who God says you are!!!
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”1God said to Moses, “I am who I am
God answers with, “I AM!”
Moses asks God one more question, “What if?” Our what ifs, keep us from fully trusting God.
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5
God asked Moses a question in return: “What is in your hand?”
To Moses, it was just a staff, a stick, but when he threw it down, it became more than that. It became a rod of God!
Moses looked at that stick and thought it was pointless, but God made it powerful!
In Moses’ hand, God used that staff to change Pharaoh’s heart.
If you want a clue about how God wants to use your life, look at what God has already given you.
The best way to fulfill what God has put into your heart is to be faithful with what God put in your hand.
If you want to escape, to break free from your past, you need to ask someone who can see a bigger picture of what’s happening. Moses had a lot of questions for God, “What if this happens? What if Pharaoh says this? What if they don’t believe me?” God doesn’t say, “Stop asking me all those questions.” God answers every one of them. God says that God Himself is the answer to all of Moses’ questions and doubts and fears.
The way that Moses escapes his past is by accepting God’s plan for his future.
In Luke 15, Jesus told this powerful story of a son who ran away from home, and from his Father, and he spent everything he had on “wild living,” until he finally hit rock bottom, he came to his senses and started heading back home to his dad.
As he was heading home, he rehearsed his speech in his head: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” But as he walked up that long road to his father’s house, while he was still a long way away, His father had been watching, longing, and waiting for the day when he would see his son come back home. He saw his son a long way away, and he was filled with love and compassion for his son. Jesus said, “He Ran!” He ran to His son. He was wearing that long robe, and he must have hiked up that robe, and in a very undignified way, he took off running toward His son. Here’s what happened when the Father reached his son:
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20
That father is a picture of our Heavenly Father. Do you realize that God is running after you? He loves you, and He wants you to come back to Him!
Here is what we should do:
I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down! Psalm 31:1 (MSG)
Run to God today. Stop running away from God, and run to God into the arms of a loving father who is watching and waiting for you to come home today!