Talk 4

AUDEE VILLARAZA: How are you guys? You blessed? I see so many good people in the house of God this morning. Let me give you our big message for today:

We are in Talk 4-we’re talking about the book of Exodus, the story of Moses. But I’ve got a question: How many of you actually saw the original movie of The Ten Commandments?

 You remember that movie the original one with Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh. That was a Classic. I mean, it took you almost a week to finish that movie but it was good.

How about this one? The cult Disney classic, The Prince of Egypt? That was also a good one with the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston song: There can be miracles…

How about this one—the latest one? It came out, I think some two years ago, called Exodus: Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton.

Did you catch that one? I really liked that one.

Why am I sharing this? I’ve got a point. You know how Hollywood likes to take bestselling books and then turn them into movies? Then you’d read the book, you loved it.

And then you watch the movie, and you’re like, “Hmm, the book is so much better.”

You know, it’s like they cut off some stuff from the book, and the acting was not good, and you feel like you’re short-changed because the book was so much better than the movie.

That’s how I feel when it comes to the story of Moses. Because I’d seen the movies—I’d seen all three movies. And you know, now that we’re studying the book of Exodus, I feel like the book is so much better. And there’s so much stuff in the book that the movies were not able to depict.

For instance, this was the first time that I realized that Moses was actually this insecure person. He was Hebrew, adopted into Egyptian royalty, and now he didn’t really like who he was– he was running away from his identity. The movies did not really show that to me.

And the other thing that I love, appreciate, so much that I’m reading now the story of Exodus, in the book, is that I see now how different Hollywood

and the directors would portray scenes—like Egypt was portrayed in one movie as this evil nation, like the bad guy. But when I was reading the actual book, I felt like Egypt was more than that– that Egypt was actually a representation of everything that goes wrong in any society, whether it’s in the past or in the present, or even in the future.

Think about it: What does Egypt represent? Opulence, lavishness, having too much, much excess, right? That’s what Egypt was all about. Slavery, corruption, greed. If you think about it, Egypt represented everything that God wasn’t. So, you could say Egypt was like the anti-Heaven.

God was all about serving others, being selfless—while Egypt was all about serving yourself… God was all about freedom. Egypt was all about slavery, subjugation. God was all about humility. Egypt was all about pride.

We studied Babel a few months ago and

I remember the Tower of Babel—when the Israelites erected a monument so high. Why? They wanted to reach Heaven. They wanted to actually be God. Not reach God but be God.

And. you know, Egypt is like the next version of Babel. The people erected monuments. But here’s the difference between Egypt and Babel: In Babel, they erected monuments in honor of their name—to make a name for themselves.

But in Egypt, yes, they erected monuments, but it wasn’t in honor of their name. It was in the honor of one man, and they called him Pharaoh.

Let me explain a little context about the Pharaoh. You see, the Pharaoh, he’s not like your regular ruler. Like, you know, we’ve had presidents, and prime ministers whom we call public servants, right? They live to serve the public.

The Pharaoh was a bit different. He lived so that the public would serve him.

Anyway, why did the people worship the Pharaoh? The Egyptians believed that Pharaohs came from the lineage of the god Ra, the sun god. So, the Pharaohs were children of the sun god. And so, anything that the people would pray for, would be answered. Their prayer to Ra would be granted. It would happen.

So, they worshipped Ra.

And you know, this actually put Moses in a very unique position. Because remember: Moses was Hebrew but he grew up with the Egyptians. So, he was rubbing elbows with the Pharaoh, he knew the officers. He knew the people believed that they should worship the man called Pharaoh.

But then when Moses encountered the Living God, that’s when he realized that, hey, this man, this Pharaoh, was really just a man.

Do you have anybody in your life that you look up to so much, that you idolize? Let me use that term: idolize. And that person doesn’t meet your expectations. Like, you put him on a pedestal and you realize he’s just like you.

Nowadays, we don’t use the term idol anymore.

There’s a new term. You don’t say, “Who’s your idol? “

You know what they say today? This: “Who is your bias?” Ha-ha. That’s lingo from my wife.

You know, how they say, “Never meet your idol?” You know what I say? Meet your idol. Why?

Because when you meet your idol, you realize that really, idols are just like you.

They are really just like you. They are imperfect.

They’re impatient. They’re inconsiderate. They re just like you.

So, meet your idol. Because then you realize your idol is so imperfect that the only idol you should have is God. Because God will never disappoint you. God will never discourage you. God will never leave you. God should be your only idol.

Right now, I’m going to give a quick recap for those of you who were not here last week. We’re in this part in our study of Exodus where Moses had just encountered God through the burning bush. And if you watched the movie, you read the book, you know this part:

Remember that Moses had just fled from Egypt—he was running away from the Egyptians.

Then God came in the form of a burning bush. And God said to Moses, “I want you to go back to Egypt, where you came from. And I want you to tell the Pharaoh ‘Let my people go.’”

And you know the reaction of Moses: “Lord, who am I?”

Moses represented all of us who are so insecure. One thing I love about Moses is in spite of his insecurity, he was so obedient. I wonder how many of you here feel that you’re so insecure at times but you still show up. You’re so unqualified for what you need to do but you still show up every single time.

That’s what Moses did.

Now Moses, along with his big brother Aaron, has an audience with the Pharaoh and they have a conversation.

Let me read the passage to you. Moses is now in front of the Pharaoh

The Problem of the Egyptians

You know, the main problem of the Egyptians, and namely, the Pharaoh, is that line where he says, “I don’t know the Lord.”

He didn’t know who God was. The Egyptians didn’t know who God was – the One true God. And so they worshipped this man-god that they name Pharaoh.

Did you know that you can do the same thing in your life? You think that you’re worshipping God – but actually, you’re not. You’re worshipping a false idol.

May I show you some evidence that this is true?

This is the story of a woman in the Philippines who was a Buddhist. She spent four years praying to a green “Buddha” – until a friend of hers said, “That’s not Buddha. That’s Shrek.”

Here’s another one:

A grandma who was praying to this image for so long. She thought she was praying to Jesus, to the Master.

Apparently, it was a different master— it’s a Jedi master.

If you don’t know who this guy is—that’s Ewan McGregor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the movie Star Wars.

But this one is my favorite:

There was another elderly woman who thought she was praying to Jesus, the Lord of all—until she realized the image was actually the Lord of the Rings. That’s Lord Elrond, you know, the lord of the elves.

So these are proofs, my friend, that sometimes, we think we’re worshipping God when actually we’re worshipping false idols.


False idols have names: Power. Position. Possessions. Even People.

You know you can be worshipping the very people whom you look up to.

And the danger there is that you leave no space for God to be in your life when you start worshipping people. You know, no wonder sometimes we feel so chaotic.

We feel so terrible because we’ve been worshipping the wrong god.

And you know what? The scariest part about this is that even when you do that, God is not going to stop you. God is going to allow you.

What scares me so much is this: God will even allow you to make a wrong decision. He will allow it. He’s not going to stop you. I’ll tell you more about this later.

Right now, how did the Pharoah respond? Verse 6 in that same Chapter says:

I want to give you four lessons—four messages from this story. Here’s the first message: God is fighting for you.

So, Moses tells Pharaoh, “Let God’s people go.”

And Pharaoh—how does he respond? Instead of letting the people go, he makes it even harder for the Israelites. He punishes them even more.

Think about it: Egypt represents evil. Yes? Egypt represents sin. If there’s one thing you can learn from this, it’s this: That the more you try to get rid of evil in your life, isn’t it true that evil punishes you more? Evil latches on to you even more.

Because the truth is sin will not give you up easily. It’s going to try and grasp, and grab, and latch on to you.

That’s why, sometimes, you ever had a sin so bad, that you try to get rid of it and you think you’re taking one step, but meantime, the following day you take two steps back. You’re always backsliding. Why? It’s because sin loves to do that. The Devil wants to present sin as something pleasant, approachable, attractive.

It starts out as a seed. But then it gets planted in your life. And before you know it, you start watering that seed until such time that it becomes a big tree and you’re unable to chop it down just like that.

We always say this at The Feast: That the way to fight sin is to fight it when it’s still young, when it’s still early. When you recognize it as a bad habit, chop it down, uproot it from its source. Because that’s the tactic of the enemy.

And I want to tell you this: Just in case you’re not acknowledging it yet, there is a battle between good and evil. It’s spiritual warfare out there, my friends. There’s a battle going on between good and evil.

I’m going to share this with you:

Just last week, we had an online program for our pastoral heads. It was via Zoom. It was called the. Art of Deception: Spiritual Warfare for Catholics.

And I’m telling you—true story: Before it even ended midway through the whole program, you know what happened? The speaker’s computer got cut off. Couldn’t connect it back. He tried using different laptops from his friends, but he could not get back to his presentation. So, they just ended the program.

The Devil is trying to make sure that you stay in that place of sin.

This is the story of Exodus. You leave the place of sin, sin will follow you.

Remember what happened that day? The Israelites wanted out of Egypt, Pharaoh finally said, “Okay, go. Get out of my place. Get out of here.”

And then they are out in the desert. Little did they know, eventually the Egyptians were chasing after them.

Sin will always try to chase you down. That’s the bad news: The Devil is fighting for you.

The Good News is that God is also fighting for you. And the truth is, who wins in the end? God does. God is fighting for you, my friend.

This is the part that I love so much.

Message No. 2: God allows problems to change us.

And I’ll tell you how. This is how Moses reacts. He goes back to God and starts complaining…

I wonder how many here can actually relate to Moses. Anybody here can feel, sometimes, it’s hard when you’re with God? Like, you ever feel that as you get closer to God, you get more problems? You’re doing good, you want to be good, you’re trying to be the best husband, the best wife, the best employer—and yet baggage after baggage just keeps on piling on you. You ever feel like that?

May I share this analogy from a perspective of a parent? Parents who have kids who go to online school. You know, the number one complaint of every kid who goes to online-school…

This happened many times to my son Ethan when he is in a Zoom class led by the teacher:

“Dad, Teacher is not calling me.”

You know what, I could do two things:

First, I could tell the teacher, “Teacher, please call my son.”

But, the second, my wife and I do this:

We believe that it’s much better to just talk to our son—instead of telling the teacher.

So, we tell our son: There are 25 people in the Zoom class. Teacher will not be able to see everybody. You have to wait for your turn.”

And the reason we do this is we realize we can definitely avoid discouragement for our son—but we don’t. Because we believe that hey, in the real world, sometimes, you have to wait, right? In the real world, sometimes, you are not first in line. In the real world, sometimes, you’re not the one who gets promoted first.

In the real world, sometimes, hindi ka crush ng crush mo.—You’re not the crush of your crush.

I don’t know who that message was for– but God bless you. Sometimes, when you complain to the Lord, “Lord, I need a new crush.

This one doesn’t like me back.”– That’s what happens. That’s reality.

And you know what? God is a parent. Sometimes, God will allow you to go through discouragement. Because He knows that He’s going to strengthen you. He’s going to make you better. He’s going to make you more patient. He’s going to make you more compassionate. He’s going to make you more loving and more generous towards people.

That’s why God allows trouble in your life. So, what do you do?

Trust God in the trouble. Praise Him for every pruning that you went through this year. Praise Him for all the problems that kept you standing in your life. Praise Him for the problem that did not break you. Praise Him for every beating that did not put you down.

Trust God in the trouble. Because it’s in trouble where He tests you. Where He makes you stronger and better.

Here’s Message No. 3:God can hasten the bad consequences of your choices.

You see, there is a line in the book of Exodus… that’s repeated and repeated and repeated… If you watched The Ten Commandments movie, you’ll hear the line– it says, God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart.

Remember that? Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

When I was reading this, I was like, “Can that be true?”

God manipulates our heart? I mean, doesn’t God give us free will?

And then it becomes an excuse: “No wonder, kaya pala yung katabi ko pusong bato—that’s why my seatmate has a heart of stone.”

You have this excuse: God hardened the heart of my friend. But does God really do that? No.

Before we explain this, I want you to know that this text is very ancient. It’s not from our time. It comes from an ancient place and from an ancient situation. And the first thing you have to know is that the author is not saying that God will manipulate you from becoming an innocent man into evil man. Or an innocent woman into an evil woman. God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t mess with that.

What is the author trying to say? That sometimes when God already sees you headed toward the wrong decision, He will hasten the consequences of that bad decision that you made. So that in return, God is also accelerating the mercy that will meet you in that place.

Let me put this analogy:

Imagine Door No. 1. Door No.1 is a door to life, a door to joy, a door to happiness, a door to abundance.

But there is Door No. 2. Door No. 2 leads to evil, to destruction, to corruption—to everything that is not so good. If God sees, and God knows that you’ve been choosing Door No. 2—there’s a pattern, you’ve been choosing Door No. 2 every time—you know what God is going to do? He’s going to go ahead and already give you the consequences of your choosing Door No. 2. So that in the end, He can offer His mercy to you already.

You see, God’s mercy is so good that He’s going to continue to give it to you, to give it to you, until one day, you will accept that mercy.

That’s what He did to the Pharaoh. Before he gave the plagues—10 plagues— in the first five plagues— 1 to 5– the repeated line and the repeated statement was Pharaoh hardened his heart.

So, you see, even before God inserted Himself, the Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. God never influenced his heart. He was already bitter. He was already angry.

But then in the next five verses, what happened? The repeated statement now was Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh.

So, it was that time when God knew that because Pharaoh was choosing this, and choosing down this road, God was like, “What I’m going to do is I’m going to hasten the bad consequences—send plagues—so that I hope, I hope, afterward, he will receive my mercy.”

I wonder, how many here need the mercy of God. And He has been sending it to you. He has been sending it to you but you haven’t been receiving it. I want you to know that there will be a point of no return. That’s what happened to the Pharaoh. There was a point of no return where he completely rejected God. And that’s why he encountered the plagues.

Don’t make the same mistake, my friend. While you’re still breathing, while you’re still here, while you still feel the Presence of God, receive His mercy.

What is the significance of the plague? The plague is not just a random bad thing– but an act of de-creation. What does that mean?

Remember that God created the world out of nothing. There was chaos.

There was noise. There was nothing.

Then God spoke, and the world was created.

When you reject God, what happens is that chaos re-enters your life.

That’s why sometimes, you feel like God is not there. You feel like everything is broken. Everything is in disarray. You get disoriented because chaos is re- entering into your life.

Receive God’s mercy today—so you don’t have to go through what Pharaoh did. You don’t ever have to go through the plagues that he went through.

The plagues: water turning to blood; frogs; lice; flies; livestock pestilence; boils; hail; locusts; darkness; and the killing of firstborn

Message No. 4: God will always provide mercy.

The story of the Exodus started with Chapter 1 when the Pharaoh was so insecure about the Israelites growing in number. So, what did he do? He commanded that every male Hebrew child should be drowned in the Nile River.

Question: Was that an act of mercy from the Pharaoh? No. That was an act of violence. And some of you might say, wasn’t God also doing acts of violence through the plagues?

For instance, what was Plague No. 10? Every firstborn son of Egypt would die. Wait a minute, where is God’s mercy there? That’s also an act of violence—killing people. Would you like to see God’s mercy in the flesh?

In the book of Exodus, Chapter 12, Moses gives an instruction to the. people and he says:

Where is God’s mercy in all that? An act of violence – just like the Pharaoh’s command: kill every Hebrew child, drown them in the Nile River.

And then God says, “I’m going to kill every firstborn child in Egypt.”

Who was He giving the instruction to—to put the blood on the doorpost? Was it just to the Israelites? Was it just to the Egyptians? No.

He said it to everybody there. Whether you’re Egyptian, whether you’re Hebrew, whether you’re Gentile, whether you’re a Jew, whether you’re male, whether you’re female, whether you’re old, whether you’re young, whether you’re healthy, whether you’re sick—God’s mercy is available to everybody. It’s available to anybody who receives Him.

Some of us think, “Lord, it’s only for those who are righteous. It’s only for those who are saints.”

But you know Jesus did not come for the saints. He came for those who are sinners. Those who are far away from God.

And I want to preach this to somebody here today that if you’ve been far from Christ and if you feel like sin has taken a grip on you. I want you to know that there is a God who will save you from that—no matter how far you are.

There is no one who is too broken for Jesus to save you and to mend you.

There is nobody too far for God to reach you and pluck you out of that pit. Because God’s mercy is available to those who will receive it.

Would you like to receive the mercy of God? May I ask you to stand up as I close…

The story of the Exodus was in the Old Testament of the Bible. This was archaic. But the way the author wrote it, this was just a prophecy– to point to an event that would happen much, much later on. This was Old Testament.

God said:

And then you go all to the end:

You need to choose a lamb that was perfect, flawless, without blemish, without sin. What lamb are we talking about? The Lamb Who would come to take away every sin in this world.

You see, this was pointing to something: Choose a Lamb. A Lamb that has no defect. And what do you do? You take the Blood of the Lamb and then you smear it on your doorpost. And the promise is this:

When you’ve got the Blood of the Lamb covering your heart, resting on the doorpost of your heart, covering your life… my friends, it’s going to protect you.

Who is in your heart right now? Or what’s in your heart? Is it anything but Jesus? Because if it’s not Jesus, plague will touch you. Death will touch you. But the promise is that if it’s Jesus in your heart, it will pass over you. God will protect you. He will make you His home.

Give Jesus a place in your heart, my friend.

It doesn’t matter who you are—you can be of a different nationality, you can come from a different background, you can have different challenges going on in your life—but God says this is available to everybody.

Let the Blood of Jesus rest on the doorpost of your heart. Put it there.

Smear your life with the Blood of the Lamb, the Perfect Lamb.

He’s the only one who can save you.

Father, in Your Presence right now, we are here in Your midst. If there is anything or anyone that is taking a position on the throne of your daughter and your son, Father, I ask that you remove that. Help them get rid of the sin and the evil that has taken root in their life. There is nothing too great that Your Grace cannot overcome.

Father, You are a chain-breaker. You are a way-maker. And right now I declare that in the mighty Name of Jesus of Nazareth, chains are breaking in this place. Shackles are becoming loose in. this place Prison doors are wide open in this place. And your child is walking out.

And we are here to have Life with You, Jesus. We receive Your Spirit. We receive Your Life. We receive Your Name. We receive Your Love. Fill us with Your Love to the overflowing, oh God. Walk in and take Your Place.

In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Let Jesus occupy your heart. Give Him that space where once upon a time there might be other things there, other priorities, other idols. Now, put Jesus there. Make Him King over your life. Make Jesus your everything because when you make Jesus your everything, the Devil cannot take anything from you. So, make Jesus your everything. Make Him the center of your life.

Make everything revolve around Him.



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