You Asked for It 2008
of the Bible
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
August 17, 2008
me give you a quiz. Let’s see if you can identify these princesses.
There are some blanks in your notes where you can put in your answers.
I’ll give you a few minutes. Good luck.
The Pacific Princess
is the first week of our You Asked for It message series. And as you
may know, we’ve done this every year since Sunrise began. Every year I
collect requests from you on different passages or topics you would
like addressed on a Sunday morning, and in August we do a message
series based on those requests.
We’ve done it every year, so
we’ve had a pretty good variety of topics. But I’ve never had one quite
like the one we’re looking at this morning.
Now, when I get the
requests, there aren’t always names attached. And that was the case
with this one. But I think I have a pretty good idea who submitted this
request, and I don’t believe they are in this room this morning. I
think the person who requested that I speak on “Princesses of the
Bible” is actually downstairs in Sunrise Express today. But I was
intrigued by the topic, so we’re going to look at it anyway.
the truth is, there aren’t all that many princesses that we’re told
about in the Bible. There are plenty of queens, plenty of honourable
and powerful women, but not that many princesses. So what we’re going
to do is look at just three princesses that the Bible identifies.
Starting with the one Derek read about earlier… Pharaoh’s daughter.
#1: Pharaoh’s Daughter (Exodus 2:1-10)
the Bible doesn’t even give this princess a name. But the Rabbis did.
In their Jewish tradition, they’ve named her Bithiah. So that’s the
name we’re going to use for her.
If you’re familiar with the
story, you know that centuries earlier, in the time of Jacob (also
known by the name Israel), there was a great famine that all across the
land, and the only place that had any food was Egypt. That’s a
fascinating story in and of itself that we don’t have time to get into
today, but result was that Jacob and all his family ended up moving and
living in Egypt.
Well, at first they were respected and welcomed
to the country. But over time, the children of Israel, the Israelites,
started having “what we know today as babies.” And they had plenty of
them. So many that the Pharaoh’s eventually became intimidated by the
sheer number of them. They thought they might actually tack over the
country. So they came up with a solution. They enslaved the Israelites.
a strange thing happened. The more the Egyptians oppressed the
Israelites, the more the Israelite population exploded. Until finally
Pharaoh issued an order that any newborn Israelite boy be thrown into
the Nile River in order to let them drown.
That’s where our
story picked up this morning. One particular Israelite couple had a
child. And understandably, they didn’t want to throw him into the
river. So they kept him out of sight for three months.
have a six month old. So I’ve recently been through this. There’s a
point where a newborn child loses that cute newborn cry. And after
that, you can try to keep your child hidden, but they’re going to make
their presence known. And there ain’t nuttin’ you can do about it.
this child born to this Israelite couple reached that point. And they
knew they weren’t going to be able to keep him hidden any longer. So
they did the only thing they could do: they obeyed Pharaoh… kind of.
You see, they did put their son in the Nile. But they put him into a
waterproofed basket first. So the basket floated and the boy didn’t
Well, this infant had an older sister named Miriam. And
she watched from a distance to see what would happen to this basket
carrying her brother. So Miriam watched as Pharaoh’s daughter (Bithiah)
along with her attendants came down to the river to take a bath.
as Bithiah was preparing to enter the water, she saw the basket nestled
in among the reeds. So she sent one of her attendants to retrieve it.
Then Bithiah opened the basket, saw the boy, realized that it must be
one of the Israelite children, and decided that she would adopt him as
her own. And she would name him Moses.
That’s the account of the
birth of Moses and how God used this Egyptian princess to rescue Moses
from a watery finale to a short life. And we know the rest, don’t we?
We know that God was positioning Moses and was preparing him to
eventually become the leader of God’s people and to lead them out of
slavery and take them to the Promised Land.
But we’re not
talking about Moses this morning. We’re talking about this princess.
And what I want you to understand is that this princess as far as we
know was not a servant of God. Hey, in all likelihood, she probably
worshiped her own father as her god. That was the Egyptian belief. And
as far as we know, Bithiah shared that belief. So Bithiah would not
have been a follower of who we understand to be the one true God.
what amazes me is that this fact does not prohibit God from using her.
And what that tells me is that God can use anything and anyone at
anytime to accomplish His purposes. He has a way of using unfavourable
people and unfavourable situations, turning them around and using them
for His glory. He creates hope out of hopelessness.
That’s the faith lesson that we learn from this princess:
Lesson: God can create hope out of hopelessness.
about Miriam, the sister who was watching form a distance. What was she
expecting to see? Did she know the princess was coming to take a bath?
Or did she have no idea and just wanted to know the fate of her baby
brother? I don’t really know what Miriam was expecting. But I doubt she
was holding out much hope. I mean, even if she knew the princess was
coming… well, we’re talking about Pharaoh’s daughter. Surely she wasn’t
expecting the princess to ignore the Pharaoh’s order.
has a way of rescuing us when all seems lost, doesn’t He? He creates
life out of death. He bring hope out of despair. In Psalm 40, David
Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and
heard my cry.
lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He
set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has
given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
not sure when David wrote those words. But just from reading them, I
suspect he wrote them when he was on the run for his life. King Saul
felt threatened by David, so he made it his mission to kill David. So
David was literally forced to run for his life, hiding in caves, forced
into foreign lands… so that’s where I picture David when he wrote those
words. “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the
mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.”
know, we all have times in our lives when all seems lost. When we find
ourselves in a hole so deep we don’t know how we’re going to get out.
Maybe you find yourself right now in a storm of life… maybe it’s a
health problem, maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s relational, whatever…
you need to know that no problem is too big for God.
Isaiah 43:2-3,15-16,18-19 (NLT)
you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through
rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the
fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King. I am the Lord,
who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea…
forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I
am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see
it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers
in the dry wasteland.”
He’s saying that when all seems lost, you
can look to Him. You can trust Him. He can provide answers when there
doesn’t seem to be any. He can sustain you when you’re ready to give
up. When all seems lost, He can save you.
Don Moen wrote a song that was popular in church circles a few years,
inspired by these verses. Listen to this…
PLAY VIDEO OF DON MOEN SINGING “GOD WILL MAKE A WAY”
you’ve been going through a particularly rough time in your life.
Perhaps you haven’t even told anyone about it. You need to know that
you’re not alone. As your church family, we’re here for you. But more
importantly, God is right there with you, He knows the entire
situation, and He is offering you Hope as an anchor that will help you
weather the storm. Grab hold of that hope and don’t let it go.
Let’s go on to Princess #2. To do that, we need to look a few centuries
Genesis 17:15-16 (NLT)
God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no
longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless
her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she
will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among
Now, Abraham is a towering figure in the
history of the Jewish people and in the pages of the Bible. So he tends
to get most of the press. But right alongside him was his wife, Sarah.
And you see in this passage how God intentionally draws attention to
her name. Maybe you already know this, maybe you don’t. But the name
“Sarah” means “princess”.
So no, Sarah wasn’t the daughter of
royalty. There wasn’t a kingdom that her family ruled over. She
probably didn’t own a tiara. But in God’s eyes, she was a princess.
#2: Sarah (Genesis 17-21)
what we just read was from Genesis chapter 17. Several chapters and 25
years earlier, God had called Abraham (then known as Abram) to take
Sarai, to leave their homeland, and go to the land God would lead them
to. And they obeyed. But here’s what you need to understand. Abraham
and Sarai were no spring chickens. Abraham was 75 years old at the
time. Sarai was 65. Yet here they are, trusting God and following Him
wherever He leads them.
And a lot of things happen over the next 25 years. Including a
recurring promise that God gives to them.
see, Abraham and Sarai didn’t have any children. And when was the last
time you heard of someone 65 years old giving birth to a child? Yet God
on several occasions promises to them that their descendents would be
too many to count. They’d be like the stars in the sky or the sands on
Quite a promise to give to senior citizen parents of none.
fact, as the years go by and nothing happens, Sarai and Abraham come up
with their own plan to start a family. You see, Sarai has a servant
named Hagar, and she… arranges… for Abraham to have a son with her.
Now, when I hear the name “Hagar”, this is what I usually picture…
POWERPOINT – IMAGE OF HAGAR THE HORRIBLE
But I don’t think that’s who Sarai set Abraham up with. (Unless she
just forgot to shave that day.)
their plan works, sort of. Hagar does have a son, and he’s named
Ishmael. But their plan wasn’t God’s plan. And their method wasn’t
God’s method. God intended to give Abraham and Sarai a son, and that
promise was still to be fulfilled.
Let’s jump forward to Genesis 18…
Genesis 18:1-15 (NLT)
Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre.
One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the
hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing
nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing
low to the ground.
Here you see Abraham showing some
middle eastern hospitality. It would be customary for a host to rise to
great visitors. Unless, of course, those visitors were also superiors.
In which case, the custom would be to not only rise but to go to greet
them. Which is what Abraham is doing here.
Now, how did Abraham
know that these visitors were his superiors? Could he tell by the way
they were dressed? Maybe. Or perhaps he recognized one of them. We’ll
get to that. Let’s go on…
lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the
shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since
you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food
to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”
So Abraham is continuing to show great hospitality.
Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large
measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.”
Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to
his servant, who quickly prepared it. When the food was ready, Abraham
took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the
men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.
is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked.
Ah, so they know who Sarah is.
inside the tent,” Abraham replied.
one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and
your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”
there’s quite a thing for a visitor to say, isn’t it? Just out of the
blue, “Ah, your 89 year old wife will have a son within the next year.”
Who could say something like that? It’s becoming clear, isn’t it? These
are divine visitors. Were they angels? Were they more than that? Many
people believe that this is one of the pre-incarnation (pre-Christmas)
appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament. And remember, the Lord had
met with Abraham on several previous occasions. So maybe Abraham did
recognize immediately who the visitors were. Well, let’s go on.
was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah
were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of
I thought Shera and I waited a long time. But here Abraham and Sarah
are, more than twice our age.
she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman
like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is
also so old?”
the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can
an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I
will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”
Busted. But you know what happened, right?
Genesis 21:1-7 (NLT)
Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She
became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old
age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham
named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham
circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when
Isaac was born.
And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter.
All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to
Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son
in his old age!”
Now, that’s quite a story. And what I want you
to realize from all this is that God does keep His promises. Always.
There are no barriers that can prevent Him from coming through. Age
isn’t a factor, wealth isn’t a factor, social status isn’t a factor,
your past isn’t a factor, your health isn’t a factor… Any limitation
that you might think will keep God from coming through on His promises
is no limitation. You can go to the bank on His promises.
Lesson: God always comes through on His promises.
So what are some of His promises. Listen to just a few…
[Arrange beforehand for three people to alternate reading these verse
from their seats]
Philippians 4:5-7 (NLT)
worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you
need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s
peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
Matthew 11:29 (NLT)
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle
at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Romans 8:1 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
John 5:24 (NLT)
tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God
who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their
sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my
victorious right hand.
1 John 5:4 (NLT)
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this
victory through our faith.
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my
Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the
windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you
won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
1 John 1:9 (NLT)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Romans 10:9 (NLT)
you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your
heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts
are fixed on you!
John 14:1-3 (NIV)
not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my
Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told
you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and
prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am.”
Those are just a dozen of the
promises of God found in the Bible. Read it for yourself and you’ll
discover hundreds, maybe thousands of them. And every one of the
promises of God are true. He does not fail in keeping his promises.
Book (the Bible) is packed full of promises that God has made, and
perhaps He has made some to you personally. Believe Him. He will not go
back on His promises. You can trust Him.
Alright. Let’s just take a quick look at Princess #3. The third
princess we’re going to talk about this morning is… you.
there may be a gender issue here. So if there is, then you’re a prince.
You’re a “prince of a guy” or you’re a “princess of a girl”. If you’re
a child of God, that is what you are. If you a child of the King of
Kings, you are a prince or a princess.
So just to clarify things in your notes, because I know it would drive
me nuts, write this in…
Any child of God is a prince or a princess. We are in His
Read these verses aloud with me…
Romans 8:16-17 (NLT)
his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with
Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory,
we must also share his suffering.
Let me ask you, how do you
think of yourself? Because in God’s eyes, you are His dearly loved
child. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have been
welcomed into His family… the Family of God.
Have you ever
wondered why often in churches you’ll hear people refer to each other
as “brother” or “sister”? It’s because we are. We are members of God’s
royal family, and that makes each of us a prince or a princess.
So ladies, if you wanted to be a princess when you grew up,
congratulations! You made it.
Guys, if you wanted to be Prince Charming… well, you got half of it.
So what’s the faith lesson here?
Lesson: As a child of THE King, I must aim to become more like His Son.
I came across this picture online this week…
is the cover of a magazine from 1928, that if you read the magazine it
would tell you how to build your own television receiver. And if you
followed the instructions you would end up with a television looking
like that. You would view the image through that cone, and the image
would measure 4 cm by 4 cm. 48 line scans an 7.5 frames per second.
Talk about your high def large screen TV.
In the image, you see
the guy using a tuning fork to calibrate it just right. When he gets it
just right, the component will vibrate in resonance with the tuning
You know what? We need to calibrate our hearts to vibrate
in resonance with the heartbeat of God. We need to calibrate our
character to His character. We need to calibrate our conduct to His
conduct. That needs to be our aim.
And that really requires two
things. First, it requires that you do everything you can do to honour
God in word, thought and deed. And second, it means that you make
yourself available for the Holy Spirit to perform His transforming work
in your life. It means you trust Him and cooperate with what He’s doing
in you, shaping you to become more and more like Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)
the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there
is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and
reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us
more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
how do you cooperate with what He’s doing? You trust Him, you read His
Word, you pray and allow Him to speak to you, you obey Him. And
understand, it’s a process. But He can be trusted to finish the job.
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
And I am certain that God,
who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is
finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
So it’s a lifelong process. But if you are a child of the King, that’s
an everlasting position.