Exodus Before Exodus (Genesis 31:17-35) by Ptr Xley Miguel

There was a young man whose name was Amenhotep II. He was a ruler, he became a king, he reigned for 30 years. He was a competent King, a competent ruler, a young one, athletic, arrogant, ambitious. He was a warrior. In fact the people regarded him as a god, and he accepted such treatment, and at the same time he also led the worship of a river. They were worshiping a river during that time, and they worship many animals, some of the animals who they worship were frogs and many more. Now this king — young king —   his pride, his prideful heart, was hurt when a shepherd came sa kanyang ka-harian. And this shepherd talked to him, together with many witnesses, and shouted, “Let my people go.”

So this Amenhotep II was the Pharaoh in the time of Moses and the Israelites. We see that request of Moses to let the Israelites go from their slavery. We see the same request of Jacob to his uncle, his father-in-law, who was Laban, to let himself and his family go. And then afterwards nag trabaho pa siya ng another six years. And so in a sense we can connect the two stories: the story of Moses, which we famously call ‘The Exodus.’ Pwede na rin natin sabihin na yung story ni Jacob, Leia, ni Rachel, at Laban was also an exodus before Exodus. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 31 verses 17 to 35:

“So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead. When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?” Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods.”

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever. Jacob became so rich after God has given him all the riches of Laban. He just talked to his two wives and agreed to get away from Laban, he initially wanted to go, but he couldn’t due to Jacob’s lack of resources to feed his family. So he had to spend six more years to work. Add to that the cunning ways of Laban. It always prolonged the the days and the years of Jacob serving his father-in-law, Uncle Laban. Tumagal na tumagal si Jacob doon. Sinasabi sa Scripture na umabot ng 20 years. Now that Jacob became wealthy and now that Laban is out to shear the sheep, tinatangal niya ang mga wool ng sheep, malayo siya doon sa lugar nila. Jacob saw it as an opportunity to escape — to get out of this 20-year bondage in Paddan-aram.

And so they left. In verse 17 it says Jacob arose. Sa original language it tells us of how it was done hastily; nag-mamadali si Jacob. They were grabbing everything, grabbing everything that’s theirs. But also being noted specifically, Rachel grabbing her father’s household gods. It could be that the gods were made of gold. Siguro planong i-benta. So Jacob fled and he didn’t tell his uncle — his father-in-law — but Laban knew after three days, and so he pursued Jacob and his family. But as he followed close, God intervened supernaturally and talked to Laban in a dream. God said to Laban, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob either good or bad.” God was warning Laban not to make any rash judgment toward Jacob. God was saying, “Go easy on Jacob,” yun ang sinasabi niya.

So we see here in the story a picture of Jacob, who will later be renamed as Israel, as you know. Jacob making his Exodus out of Paddan-aram, prefiguring his future people Israel making an exodus also out of Egypt. In the beginning of this chapter we see Jacob talking to his family persuading his wives to follow his leadership and leave. Same thing happened with Moses and the Israelites. And in this chapter Jacob also confronted Laban his oppressive master in the beginning of Genesis chapter 31: “I want to leave.” Now Moses confronting also Pharaoh: “Let my people go.”

Jacob and his family responded to the call of God to leave. Moses and the Israelites responded to God’s call to leave as well. Jacob’s destination coming from Paddan-aram going to the land of promise, Canaan; Israel’s destination coming from Egypt going to the land of promise, Canaan. Jacob was in a hurry grabbing all of his stuff. Rachel even plundered the gods of her father. Israel was also in a hurry, grabbing everything including the silver and the gold jewelries of Egypt. And then Jacob’s escaped he was pursued by Laban. Israel, too, was pursued by Pharaoh and his chariots. And in both instances Jacob in Genesis chapter 31 and Israel in the book of Exodus, God delivered them by special divine interventions. As you know God judged Egypt with the ten plagues, and as they were pursued, God parted the Red Sea so that Israel can pass through and at the same time punished Pharaoh. Now you see the intervention of God by appearing and talking to Laban in a dream.

This is the picture of The Exodus of the ancestor of the Israelites, who was Jacob. We can see a pattern also when we read the book of Exodus. This is basically what God does to his people, right? Jacob and then Israel; both were in in a sense in a bondage. Jacob was there for 20 years, hindi siya magkalaya, hindi siya magkaalis. Israel also for hundreds of years, hindi magkalaya, hindi magkaalis; they were slaves, Jacob was also a slave to Laban. They couldn’t get out of that bondage and the only way to get out is through the divine intervention of God. But these events in the Old Testament prefigures a better kind of divine intervention. The Exodus was not the end of that. Yes, when we read such stories in Genesis chapter 31 it reminds us of the great story of The Exodus. But when you read The Exodus, it should remind you as well of a greater story, a greater Exodus that happens. Everyone is a slave of sin, all of us are in bondage to sin, and the only way that we can get out of that bondage as well is through the special divine intervention of God.

These events in the Old Testament prefigures a better kind of Exodus that liberates God’s people from enemies greater than Laban and even Egypt and Pharaoh. God frees his people from their bondage of sin. God sends the promise deliverer better than Jacob and better than Moses and He indeed lets His people free, He lets his people go from the bondage of the enemy. He delivers His people — Jesus Christ delivers his people — by doing a greater work, greater than the parting of the Red Sea and that is His death on the cross. And because of His death, the sin of His people has been judged. Because of his resurrection the sting of death is gone.

So when you read these narratives it should point you to the better liberation of the people of God, and that points to the liberation that Christ alone can provide. That is my message this afternoon: It is only Christ who can deliver sinners from the bondage of sin. Now in the passage today we can see what happened to Jacob after this deliverance from Paddan-aram. I have two points to better understand this: First point is the enemy’s pursuit, and second is the enemy’s gods.

Let us consider the first point, the enemy’s pursuit. And so three days after Jacob got out of Paddan-aram, Laban and his men pursued Jacob. But before Laban reached Jacob, God intervened as we’ve said God warned Laban not to harm Jacob. But see, there was intention to harm, coming from Laban. Sabi sa verse 29, “It is in my power to do you harm.” But because God intervened here’s what happened: he still tried to deceive. Verse 26 to 28 sabi roon Laban kay Jacob, “What have you done that you have tricked me?” So hindi na niya sinaktan kasi nagpakita sa kanya ang Panginoon so natigil si Laban, right? Sabi niya, “I have the power to do your harm, pero nag pakita ang iyong Diyos.” So ano nalang ginawa ni Laban? Verse 26 to 28, sabi ni Laban, “what have you done Jacob that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword?” Laban was acting like his daughters were still under his authority and that Jacob kidnapped them. “Bakit mo naman kinidnap ang aking mga anak?” So siya pa yung nag pa-victim, parang ganun, in our language today. Sabi pa ni Laban, “Why did you flee secretly and trick me and did not tell me so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs with tambourine and lyre and why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly…” “Nag pa-feast sana ako kung nag paalam ka lang! Nag pa-despidida sana ako sayo, Jacob!” Obviously Laban was trying to shift the blame to Jacob. So in a sense he was trying to pursue Jacob and nag ttry parin siya mag decive kay Jacob, right?

So, even when Jacob got delivered out of Paddan-aram, he was still pursued. And this Laban who was pursuing him was tricking him pa! There was a subtle blame that it was Jacob who captured his daughters: “kinidnap mo!” And there was deceit. Nag mumukhang-bait si Laban na, “sana nagpa concert muna ako doon, may sayawan, may proper exit sana tayo. Hindi ka nag sabi! Niloko mo ko!” Parang naman gagawin yan ni Laban. And we read in the beginning of Genesis chapter 31, nag paalam na nga si Jacob: “Aalis na ako, para mabuhay ko naman ng pamilya ‘ko.” And ngyari ba? Hindi naman ngayri! Ngyari ba yung despidida? Hindi ngyari yung despidida. And so even after Jacob got delivered from the bondage he had in Paddan-aram, he was still pursued by his oppressive uncle. This oppressive enemy of the people of God, Laban. While Jacob was on his way to the Land of Promise, pursued by the enemy. And the enemy was trying to trick him, the enemy was trying to blame him, accuse him: “You are a kidnapper! Bumalik ka nalang kasi sana naging maayos sana ang exit mo and niloko mo ‘ko.” Shifting the blame. Well, ganun din tayo mga kapatid. If we’re saying that the Exodus stories are pointing to the better Exodus which included us who were freed by Christ, it just means that who — tayo — who have been delivered as well from the bondage of our sins, while we are on our way to the Heavenly City, on our way to glory in the heavens with God, while we are here on Earth, there is still pursuit that is going on.

An enemy greater than Laban, and that is sin. Not only that, even the devil pursues us with temptation so that you and I will fail. “Kasalanan mo yun, eh.” Accusing us, tempting us, blaming us — and that’s the Christian life, brethren. It is a life of pursuing holiness, awaiting our arrival in the Heavenly City while being pursued by the enemy.

And we need to be aware the kind of deception that Laban is doing here because that’s the kind of deception that sin does to everyone. Sin deceives us into thinking that “it is fine, it is pleasurable, you should have had this, dapat ito makukuha mo kung sana nag usap lang tayo.”

But we know that’s not the case! “May party sana kung sana nag paalam ka lang saakin.” But we all know kung nag paalam si Jacob, walang party. Walang invited sa party. That’s the kind of deception sin does to us. And the kind of deception usually tingin natin “pleasureable ito.” Tingin natin “magbebenifit tayo dito.” “Masarap ito.” “Masaya ito.” “It would benefit us.” While we are living here on earth awaiting the return of Our Lord, we must face the reality that the enemy pursues us; tempts us to sin, accuses his accuses God’s people to the point that sometimes sin will indeed overcome us in a way that we would feel defeated. Egypt: inabot ni Pharaoh, Jacob inabot ni Laban.

But brethren do not fret, kasi at the same time we can see in the story the protection of God for Jacob. God protects Jacob, God protects his people, God protects us. Do not fret because we will not finally be overcome by the enemy. They will not be able to kill the soul! Marahil kil the physical, but not the soul! We will not finally be overcome by the enemy! The enemy that is sin, even death does not have its sting! Even Satan cannot finally fully overcome a true believer’s life. They will not be able to put us back into bondage! Hahabulin tayo — the temptation is: “Bumalik ka sa buhay nito! Sa buhay ng bondage! Bumalik ka! Bumalik ka sa Paddan-aram, bumalik ka sa Ehipto!” Pero kung ikaw ay kay Christo, we have been fully delivered from it. Wala nang balikan! Ayun ang meron tayo kung ikaw ay kay Christo.

Because of Christ you are now enabled by the spirit to escape from the devil’s snare. When the devil pursues with his temptations that are really tempting, he appears as something “good.” There is always a way out sa lahat ng temptation ng kalaban. Yan ang sinasabi ni Paul sa 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13. Hindi ba ito encouraging sa bawat Christiano mga kapatid? 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13, Paul tells, “No temptation…” — it doesn’t say no persecution! Kasi kung ma-persecute ka marahil pwede kang mamatay. At wala kang kawala doon. Pwedeng ikamatay mo ang persecution. Pero kontexto itong 1 Corinthians chapter

10 verse 13, “No temptation” — temptation, ha! Temptation to sin. “Walang temptation” — “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” Hindi aabot, hindi magkakarating saatin ang temptation — isang temptation na hindi natin kayang umalis. Ang sabi pa ni Paul, “but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” As the enemy pursues, there will always be a way out. The parting of the Red Sea was a way out. God appearing in a dream was a way out. There’s always a door for a Christian whenever you are tempted. There are always two choices: either you give in to the temptation or you flee from it. Walang temptation na darating satin that the only option you have is to sin. That is what Paul is saying here, there’s always a choice not to sin brethren!

For us who are in Christ there is always an escape whenever we are pursued by the enemy. This simply means that when we are tempted there’s always a door presented to us to get out. You can’t say, “hindi mo pwedeng bumalik sa Diyos!” “Lord walang pinto!” May pinto mga kapatid! “I am tempted to watch pornography.” There’s the door! “I’m tempted to be angry sa spouse ko.” There’s the door! “I’m tempted to show unforgiveness sa aking kapatid sa panalang palataya.” There’s the door! There’s always the door. Flee!

There’s always an option not to sin. Isn’t this encouraging for a brother or a sister in Christ? Isn’t this encouraging sa ating mga i-niligtas ng Panginoong Jesu Christo? Babalik tayo sa kanyang ginawa! Ganun ang finality, ganun ang assurance ng kanyang deliverance! That we are truly outside, delivered, from the bondage of sin! Kasi kung walang escape, then that would mean we are still in that bondage. But the fact that there’s a door, it is Christ who provided for you that door. Wag po muna kayong aalis, di pa po tapos ang sermon. There’s a door, pero later pa po.

Ang problemo dito mga kapatid, is thinking that there’s no escape. If we think that we’re hopeless. The sin, this is a repeating sin, paulit ulit, there is that temptation of the enemy — paulit ulit ang kanyang temptation tapos alam niya na ito ang weakness mong sin, and so bibigay at bumibigay mo muli. And then he adds another temptation to you, accuses you: “Baka nga hindi ka ligtas kasi hindi ka nakakaalis!” There is that temptation, kapatid. But remember, for a Christian there’s always an escape. Yun ang ating assurance kapatid, ganun ang ginawa ni Christo sa krus! Christ has delivered you from the bondage of sin. It’s because of his death on the cross and his resurrection. Ikaw ay pinalaya ng ating Panginoon. Kaya ang challenge ko sa lahat: Is to be secured — maging secured tayo. There will be temptations, remember be secured by Christ’s deliverance even if God’s enemies burden us. And God’s enemies, sin, the devil will indeed burden us to the point of oppression. To the point of depression. To the point of maaring umabot tayo sa lowest of lows because of what sin can do to us. But remember what Christ has done for us. The greatness of what Christ has done on the cross is that he has provided for us a way out and he provides for us his Spirit to enable us to go. To come to him.

But if you are not in Christ, it’s a room without a door. You can’t get out. In fact the worst thing is that you don’t even want to get out! Because your heart has not been changed. Your heart wills to be entertained by such temptations or you would want to entertain such sins and so there’s no way out and you don’t want to get out. But you will forever be in that bondage, kaibigan. And there’s a way out that is only through Christ. That is if you repent of your sins and come to faith in him. Na maniwala ka na si Christo ang prinovide sayo ng Panginoon na siyang namatay sa krus para sa kasalanan! Para mag bayaran ng kasalanan hindi niya ginawa. Pag maniwala ka doon, maniwala ka at Siya ay hindi natiling patay, Siya ay nabuhay muli, Siya ang ating pagasa — kung ikaw ay maniwala doon ikaw ay ligtas. At ikaw ay patuloy na i-liligtas dahil patuloy din ang paghabol sayo. So patuloy din ang pagligtas in a sense tinatawag nating sanctification. Patuloy ang habol, patuloy din ang pag labas mo ng pag labas ng pinto. Hanggang sa tayo’y magkarating sa Heavenly City na kasama na natin ang Panginoon at wala nang presensya ng kalaban. Wala nang humahabol, kung ‘di puno ng puno nalang ng ligaya dahil kasama natin ang Panginoon. Pero kung ikaw ay kay Christo, be secured by His deliverance even at times when sin wearies you, even when at times when you think you have been defeated by your sin. The truth is we are in such a battle that has already been won! That’s the reason why there’s a door! And that victory enables you, brethren, to escape.

When you’re tempted minsan nararamdam namin parang pa-urong ka. Minsan nararamdaman natin na pa-urong buhay Christianong natin, pero kung kay Christo ka talaga na fefeel mo hindi ka umuusad, kasinuwaling yan! Kung kay Christ ka, hindi yun totoo! Merong pinto, kapatid. Remember also that the enemy is cunning, he will present Paddan-aram as something that you need to go back to. He will present Egypt as a place where you need; “kailangan mo,” “mas okay doon.” Naalala niyo Israel when they were pursued by Pharaoh at nung nakita nila na malapit na yung kalaban, anong sinabi ng mga Israelites? “Bakit mo pa kami dinala dito? Balik mo nalang kami sa Egypt!” Dadating tayo sa panahon na kapag ang kasalanan ang kalaban ay pinurpurse tayo in a way na sobrang burdened na tayo, may mga temptations to go back to that old life. If you are in Christ, walang old life. It is a continuous life of repentance and getting out of that door and coming to Christ.

Also, dahil cunning ang kalaban, ang nag pupursueng kalaban sa atin, the enemy sometimes tempts us with familiar sins. Sins that we are so familiar with. A sin that we held dearly before, a sin that we so struggled with before, and then when we became Christians God has truly helped us in our sanctification, and here comes the devil presenting you the same sin. And he may present it differently this time, with added colors, but it’s the same sin! And he presents it to you at a time when you are most vulnerable. Stand firm! Stand firm, brethren! There is a way out. Flee! Do not believe the lies of the enemy. Sin is an abomination in the eyes of God, flee from such temptations. You’re probably familiar with Thomas Brooks, a Puritan who wrote “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.” So he wrote that book because the Bible presents to us that Satan has many devices! He has many temptations tailored fit for everyone, in every situation trained po si Satanas since Garden of Eden. Hence the title of the book, “Satan’s Devices.” But also in that book he says that there are precious remedies. In every satanic device, any satanic temptation, he presented that there are four things that we must remember or else we will be thrown off course: the first thing (hindi ko na [basahin] ang tatlo, basahin niyo nalang), is we must study Christ. We start with Christ and who Christ is. We remember Christ’s journey going to the cross, Christ’s deliverance of His people through that cross in His death and in His resurrection. Sabi ni Thomas Brooks, “the precious remedy is to look to Christ — remember His deliverance for us in his death and Resurrection.” Do the same, brethren, do the same. Remember God’s deliverance in Christ be secured by it! That is, in the words of Thomas Brooks, the precious remedy against Satan’s devices. Do you feel hopeless when the enemy pursues you? Do you feel like you’re defeated by sin, kapatid? May it be pride, lust, anger, unforgiveness, greed, envy… There is a way out because Christ has delivered you.

My last point is the enemy’s gods. In the previous chapter before Jacob added another six years of labor, remember Laban said in Genesis chapter 30 verse 27, sabi ni Laban doon, “I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you,” sabi ni Laban. And then now when Jacob, left Rachel stole the household gods of Laban. I mean, that shows us that Laban was a religious pagan. Sabi niya, “by divination,” natutunan niya by consulting his household gods that Yahweh was the one blessing him. Nakakatawa yun ah, noh? Nagconsult siya sa diyos-diyosan at ang sagot daw ng diyos-diyosan, yung totoong Diyos, Yahweh, ay nag-bless sa kanya. Of course hindi talaga sumagot ang diyos-diyosan. He consults his gods! And so when he was looking for his gods — alam natin Rachel stole them. At ginawa ni Rachel? Nilagay niya sa saddle, sa camel, at inupuan niya ang diyos-diyosan. She sat on the gods. Now any reader in the ancient near East, yung time na yun, pag basahin nila ‘to, they will chuckle. Matatawa sila dito, nakakatawa ‘to. Nakakatwang sinulat ni Moses because this is God poking fun of the household gods. Showing us that they’re nothing! They’re inanimate, and if we read the entire Scripture, I mean, ilang beses nangyayari ‘to. God is poking fun of enemies. We can see the irony in Scripture. For example in Exodus, we heard of the of the Pharaoh who worships the Nile River. And yet the first plague, the river which they worshiped, became blood. They worship frogs, they come to the frogs for rescue, and yet the frogs were used by God to attack the worshipers. God was poking fun dito sa mga pagan worshipers na ito, using their own household gods to actually attack them that’s the iron na meyroon dito. Ito ay ngyayari dito kay Laban.

We hear in the time of Jacob and Laban, Laban, too, who consults his gods are under the mercy of Laban’s daughter. Ganyan ang mga idols, diyos-diyosan, wala silang magawa. In fact sa sobrang walang magawa ng mga diyos-diyosan ni Laban, siya ay inuupaan. See, the writer also gives us a comparison here. Yahweh, who is alive, totoo, nangungusap, who can speak, who protects Jacob, who intervenes in the life of Jacob, who appeared to Jacob in a dream… Contrasting the household gods who’s just probably sitting on a cabinet in the room of Laban — hindi yun nakalagay sa [Scripture] pero, I’m assuming — ninakaw ni Rachel, ay ngayon ay under her buttocks. Contrasting the God who talks who speaks who protects. There is a comparison here. Kagaya ng comparison ng psalmist sa Psalm chapter 135, verse 5. In the beginning of the chapter it shows us the comparison from verses five to seven. Let me read, it says, “For I know that the Lord is great and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” That is what God can do.

That is who God is. And then contrasted by the next verses, Psalm 135 verse 15 to 18, let me read: “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths” — ito yung sinasabi, verse 18 — “those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.” Those who make them it is also the same as those who worship them in Psalm 135. So just like Laban’s household gods have no life, Laban, too, has no real life in him. He is controlled by his idolatry. Kita natin yung heart ni Laban! Imagine niyo, after magpakita sa kanya ng totoong Diyos sa kanyang dream, nanguusap na sa kanya ang Diyos! Anong after? Sinong hinanap niya? Yung household gods pa din niya! Kita natin yung heart niya! Anong sinabi niya kay Jacob? “Why did you steal my gods?” Again, that is after the true God revealed himself to him! Even though it was an inanimate object which he thinks is a god we can see Laban’s uncontrollable pursuit of it. He looked for gods in their tents, diba?

Now, we can say that we may not worship the actual idols figurines or statues now, but I agree with what Martin Lloyd Jones said, and I quote, “An idol is anything that takes the place of God in your life,” end quote. We can be like Laban. We can have uncontrollable desires, caused by our idolatries. And maybe hindi nating idol yung katulad ng mga household gods ni Laban, but whatever idol you have, let me tell you that is nothing compared to the one true God! Yung idol na meron ka ay kayang upuan ng kahit sino-man! Walang power yan, marahil tao yan idol mo, may bibig, nakamagpasalita — but that person is nothing compared to the one true God! Marahil yan ay trabaho mo, position mo, o something na pinahahalagahan mo — that is nothing compared to the one true God! Yun ang mga pinapakita natin sa mga passages nito. Whatever idols you have, walang wala yan! It may be yourself, maybe your status, your possession, any object, any person — these things can replace our devotions to God. And the more we do not acquaint ourselves to the Word of God, the tighter our grip becomes — the tighter our grip becomes to the idols of this world. And we may be like Laban, na mayroong such uncontrollable pursuit.

So see the absence of the Word in a sinner’s life would result to such uncontrollable pursuit of idols in this world. So mga kapatid yung challenge ko sa inyo, keep yourselves pure from any idolatry that may be growing in your hearts. Kung tingin natin hindi ‘to nangyayari sa isang Christiano, balikan natin si John sa kanyang sulat sa 1 John chapter 5 verse 21. Ang sabi niya sa huli, “Little children” — addressed to his fellow believers — “keep yourselves from idols.” Not just referring to the actual idol, figurine statue. We can have our own idols as well. And yes, we can say, “I’m not worshiping any statues!” But if we evaluate our lives our minds, ano ba nag mas mabibigyan natin ngayon ng importansiya sa buhay natin?

It starts with the cravings in our hearts; what consumes our lives now? And do you recognize that the more you are consumed by these things, the farther you are from the Word of God? From the church? Do we have such cravings for such things? Do we worship a god who gives us material things? Yun ba ang diyos mo? The god that makes you rich? The god that makes you beautiful? Do you worship fame? Remember, sabi doon sa Psalm 135, we become like what we worship. And so the more you don’t worship God the lesser — yun ang implication yun. We’re not saying that you will become God. Oh, you will be like Christ in his purity, righteousness, holiness, in that sense. We become like what we worship. And so, may sense din pag sinasabi na “alam mo, muhka ka na ng pera.” Parang ganun ah ‘no? Baka nga idol mo na yun! “Kamukha mo na yung computer mo,” ang mga ganun nagsasabi, ‘no? In a sense, may katutuhanan, magiging kamuhka na natin, whatever that is. “Alam mo mukha ka ng fame, gustong gusto mo yung mga likes ng tao — kitang kita sa mukha mo. Yung ang winoworship mo ngayon.”

Mga kapatid, naway ipakita ay tayo’y i-kawangis ng ating Panginoong Jesu Christo. May we image, not idols, but Christ Himself. May we resemble who we truly revere, and may we truly Revere Christ. Mga kapatid, look back to Christ, look to him, remember his deliverance, remember that as you have been delivered, you will be pursued by the enemy sin, Satan, and soon, death. And know that these enemies will not finally overcome you because you have been delivered from the bondage of these enemies. And remember to keep yourselves pure from idolatry — from any growing idolatry. Kung nakikita mo na mas nagiging idol mo na ang mga bagay, bumalik ka kay Christo. There’s always the door to get out of that. Christ delivers us, remember, not only from our bondage when we got converted, He delivered us not only from the penalty of sin, but also now from its power, and soon from the presence of sin. That is what we have in the Lord, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ganyan po ang ating Panginoon. And so trust him, worship God with joyful hearts. Sambahin natin siya together, every Lord’s Day. Ito ang response natin sa kabutihan ng ating Panginoon. Na tayo’y malaya! Malaya tayong nakaka-worship sa kanya, malaya tayong makaka-flee from temptation at nakaka-mortify ng ating sins, as enabled by the spirit all because of Christ.

So brethren, may God alone be glorified while He sanctifies you. May God Alone be glorified as you continue to keep yourselves from any growing idolatry. May Him be alone glorified in your life and in the church. May the Word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in light of these truths. Let us pray: Great God and gracious Father, salamat Panginoon sa inyong kabutihan sa amin. Lord, we praise you for what you have done for us. Without you, Lord, we would remain bound to sin. We won’t even know, Lord, na kami ay slaves to sin. But Lord, salamat sa inyong divine intervention, that you’ve changed our hearts. You have made us alive together with Christ. So kaming mga patay noon, ay iyong binuhay katulad ng pagkabuhay ng inyong Anak. We died to sin and we are now alive to Christ. Salamat po Panginoon, because of us living in Christ, Lord, you are enabling us to flee from temptations. You’re enabling us to mortify sins and cultivate graces. And, Lord, as we pursue such, I pray, Lord, that whenever we are pursued by the enemy, when where there are temptations, Lord, for us to make idols of anything, Lord, we pray that we would be faithful in imaging our Lord instead of such idols. May we, Lord, itapun namin, Panginoon, whatever idol that is na humihila sa atin. Make us aware, O Lord. So salamat po sa inyong grasya sa amin boong araw, sa inyong mensahe mula kaninang umaga at ngayong hapon, ngaway napalakas ng tunay ay iyong iglesia. Sangalan ni Jesus, amen.

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