It’s Not Right

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Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 8:20-32 [2]

During the first three plagues God answered Pharaoh’s question, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go?” Pharaoh is without excuse. What may be known of god is manifest in him for God has shown it to him.[3] Pharaoh knows the Hebrew’s God is real and had that knowledge confirmed by his own religious leaders when they announced “this is the finger of God.”[4] Pharaoh has called him Lord and asked for his help to solve the frog problem. Pharaoh knows there is no one like the Hebrew’s God.

In the next three plagues God made a difference between his people and Pharaoh’s people. Moses rose early to meet Pharaoh at the Nile with the same message. Let my people go into the wilderness to worship me. If Pharaoh refuses God will sent swarms of flies upon everyone except for the Hebrews. God had a reason for sending the flies on the Egyptians but not the Hebrews. He wanted Pharaoh to know that he is Lord in Egypt.

Flies filled the land. Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. If the Hebrews God is Lord in Egypt, they could worship their God in Egypt. At this point, Aaron slips into the background as Moses takes the lead. Moses declined saying, “It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?”[5] Pharaoh knew Moses spoke the truth and relented. They could leave but not very far, just out of sight.

God came to Egypt to help his people and teach everyone who he is. He is Lord and there is no one like him. He is Lord in the cities we live in. But it is not right to force our worship on people who want nothing to do with us and our God. What was true then is true today. Jesus warned us not to cast our peals before swine “lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”[6]

Moses accepted Pharaoh’s offer and promised to pray. God removed the flies. Once again, Pharaoh reneged on the agreement.

_____________________________

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Romans 1:18-19

[4] Exodus 8:19

[5] Exodus 8:26-27

[6] Matthew 7:6

Game Changer

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 8:1-15[2]

Eleven days had elapsed since Pharaoh declined Moses and Aaron’s request to worship their God in the wilderness saying, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him…?” He now knows the Hebrew’s God is Lord. He also knows that he needs God’s help.

Moses asked an odd question and received an odd answer. When do you want me to pray the frogs will be removed? Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow.” Pharaoh’s request left himself and all of his people in misery one more day. Why? Why wait until tomorrow for relief when we can have relief today?[3]

The plague of frogs added to the knowledge God is giving to Pharaoh. God deals with us according to our word, that we may know “there is no one like the Lord our God.” Pharaoh wanted relief tomorrow and that is what he got, but tomorrow’s deliverance will stink! The heaps of decaying dead frogs left a stench in the land of Egypt.

When Pharaoh saw his frog problem was resolved, he reneged on his promise to let the Hebrews worship their God. God responded by giving Pharaoh one more reason to believe that the Hebrews God is Lord and there is no one like him. The next day, at God’s command, Aaron strikes the dust of the land with his rod and it becomes lice on man and beast.

The religious leaders are called for an emergency meeting. They could make more blood and more frogs but failed to make more lice. At this point both the water and food supplies have been tainted, there is no way to escape the stench of dead frogs and they are covered with lice. The religious leaders march into Pharaoh’s throne room and confirm what Pharaoh already knows. “This is the finger of God.”

This is also a game changer. Pharaoh’s question, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him?” has been answered. When a person knows to do good and does not do it, it becomes sin.[4] “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”[5]

Again Pharaoh denied the request to let the Hebrews worship their God. His actions are without excuse. He knows God and he knows there is no one like him, yet he does not glorify him as God or give thanks to him. Pharaoh thinks he is wise but he is just another fool.[6]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] 2 Corinthians 6:2

[4] James 4:17

[5] Romans 1:18-19

[6] Romans 8:21-22

Message Received

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 8:1-8 [2]

Pharaoh had a week to ponder God’s object lessons and their message. Pharaoh had snakes/wisdom but God had one snake/wisdom able to swallow up Pharaoh’s snakes/wisdom. Turning water to blood throughout the land of Egypt had a specific intent. When the waters turned to blood Pharaoh would “know, recognize and understand that I am the Lord…”[3]

Eight days after the water turned to blood God sent his messengers with another warning. Allow my people to worship me in the wilderness or the land would be filled with frogs. The people were digging around the Nile for drinking water. Now they would have to remove frogs from their ovens and kneading bowls. Water and food are necessities of life. God did not remove what they needed to live, but he is making it hard to obtain.

God told Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his rod over the rivers, streams, canals and pools of water. Pharaoh may not have been affected by the Nile turning to blood. He had servants to dig around the Nile and bring him water. He would not escape being affected by the frogs. Frogs covered the land, entered Pharaoh’s house and covered his bed.

Pharaoh’s people could produce more frogs, but they could not remove the frogs. Pharaoh made his bed and now he will sleep in it. When misery touched Pharaoh his armor cracked. “Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people,…”.”[4]

Message received. The first time Moses and Aaron petitioned Pharaoh for a leave of absence to worship their God, Pharaoh called Moses a liar. He accused Moses of using tricks to deceived people into believing his authority came from a God. Pharaoh had a change of heart. He now knows Moses’ God is Lord and he knows he needs the Lord’s help.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 7:17 Amplified Bible

[4] Exodus 8:8

I Am Lord

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus7:14-24 [2]

Studying what God did when he delivered his people from Egypt’s oppression is not as beneficial as understanding why. We know God appeared to Moses because he heard the Hebrews groaning in misery and remembered his covenant to give Abraham and his seed an eternal city of justice and equality. God cannot give the Hebrews what he promised Abraham. The “seed” the promises were made to would not be born during Moses lifetime. God’s intent in delivering the Hebrews is to teach all humanity for generations who he is by teaching Pharaoh who is Lord.

Pharaoh denied God’s request for religious liberty. God told his messengers to return and do the first sign God gave Moses that people would believe God sent him. God’s serpent, a symbol of wisdom which should be in every shepherd’s staff, swallowed up the serpents Pharaoh produced. God acknowledged Pharaoh is wise and proved that he is wiser than Pharaoh.

Before the sun rose the next day, God instructed Moses to meet Pharaoh by the river with the rod that turned into a serpent in his hand. If Pharaoh forgot what happened yesterday, the rod reminded him. In sum, God said I have asked you to let my people worship me but you refuse, so I will give you another reason to believe I am Lord.

God turned the waters of the Nile River as well as all the streams, canals, ponds, reservoirs and water in vessels of wood and stone to blood. The Nile would have been sufficient to get his point across. The Egyptians were dependent on the Nile to live. If God had only turned the Nile to blood, a reasonable explanation could have discredited Moses. Someone working with Moses could have contaminated the waters. But how do you explain water turning to blood in vessels of wood and stone?

God left some water for the Egyptians, but they had to dig along the Nile for drinking water. If Pharaoh was greater than Moses’ God he should have changed the blood back to water. Instead he produced more blood.

God remained silent for seven days after turning the waters of Egypt to blood. Allowing plenty of time for messengers from around the nation to report the catastrophe and petition their God, Pharaoh, for help.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

God’s Foolishness

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Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 7:8-14[2]

The Bible omits the details of the conversation between Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron in their second meeting. We do know the result. God told Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh would ask for a miracle. Before Pharaoh asked for a miracle, God chose one of the three miracles given to Moses to relieve his fear that no one would believe him. When Pharaoh asked for a miracle, Aaron would throw his rod on the ground and it would turn into a serpent giving Pharaoh a reason to believe.

Jesus said “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…” [3] The Jewish historian, Josephus, shed some like on the wickedness of Pharaoh’s government. According to Josephus,

“Yet was the king very angry with him [Moses] and called him an ill man, who had formerly run away from his Egyptian slavery, and came now back with deceitful tricks, and wonders, and magical arts, to astonish him. And when he had said this, he commanded the priests to let him see the same wonderful sights; as knowing that the Egyptians were skillful in this kind of learning, and that he was not the only person who knew them, and pretended them to be divine; as also he told him, that when he brought such wonderful sights before him, he would only be believed by the unlearned.[4]

Pharaoh knew the power of religion to manipulate people. Moses and Aaron were a threat because Pharaoh thought they were doing the same thing he did. Enslaving a nation with tricks and claiming God as the source of his authority. Only the unlearned, the ignorant would believe these sleight of hand tricks were from God. Pharaoh considered himself wise and the people he ruled stupid. Pharaoh was a wise man but he was also an arrogant man.

He summoned his wise men, sorcerers and Egyptian magicians.[5] Each one of them threw down his rod and it became a snake. Each group is plural meaning more than one wise man, sorcerer and magician. At minimum Pharaoh’s servants produced six more snakes. An arrogant man would want a big show. My guess is they were ankle deep in Egyptian snakes.

Moses and Aaron had one snake. At this point, they may have felt foolish. I doubt anyone including God’s messengers anticipated what happened next. God’s one snake devoured all of the Egyptians snakes.

The serpent is a symbol of wisdom. The serpent is also associated with the devil, but God is a serpent too. Jesus is depicted as a serpent. In the wilderness, God sent fiery serpents among the Hebrews to destroy the people creating problems. He also told Moses to put a serpent on a pole. Anyone who looked at the serpent would be healed. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[6]

Everyone wants to be the head who dictates the way things will be. Pharaoh had achieved that position in Egypt. It takes wisdom to thwart the challenges to one’s authority. God’s message to Pharaoh was clear. You might be wise, but I am wiser. The Apostle Paul would later write “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom…”[7]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Matthew 16:4 NKJ

[4] Antiquities of the Jews Book 2 Chapter 13

[5] Exodus 7:11

[6] John 3:14

[7] 1 Corinthians 1:25

Egypt Will Know

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Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus Chapters 6-7[2]

It appears God’s plan to rescue his people failed. Pharaoh turned down the request to let the Hebrews leave town to worship their God. Then he made the lives of the Hebrews, his servants by their own admission, harder by refusing to supply the straw they needed to make bricks. The Hebrews leaders were beaten for failing to fulfill an impossible quota. Now the Hebrews’ don’t want to hear about God’s promises and blamed Moses and Aaron for making their circumstances worse. Moses comes before God and tells him there is no reason to continue. If his own people will not listen to him, Pharaoh won’t listen either.

God is undeterred by these apparent setbacks because they are not setbacks. God cared that the Hebrews’ were miserable in Egypt, but the misery they brought upon themselves by forgetting their God to worship Egypt’s gods did not move God to act on their behalf. When God heard their groaning he searched his memory for a justified reason to act. He found justification in the oath he swore to their father Abraham. The father of the only kind of faith that pleases God.

God came to Egypt to take one more step in fulfilling the promises he made to Abraham and to one seed of Abraham – Jesus.[3] Those promises were never exclusive to Abraham and his flesh descendants.[4] Through Jesus everyone including Abraham has access to the things God promised. God wanted the Egyptians to have access too, but they needed to know who is Lord as much as the Hebrews who bowed to them needed to know who is Lord.

According to Romans Chapter 9 God raised up Pharaoh to make his power known and God’s name would be proclaimed in all the earth. God wanted more than the Egyptians and Hebrews to know who is Lord. He wanted everyone in “all the earth” to know who is Lord. He wanted everyone to know his great power to patiently endure people he is angry with giving them time to repent.

God knew Pharaoh would never fear him. He did not harden his Pharaoh’s heart so he could destroy him,[5] he was trying to heal him. God knew he could give an abundance of irrefutable evidence and do miraculous things no one else could do and Pharaoh would never fear him. But the people who served Pharaoh did not know what God already knew. God did not have to endure Pharaoh, so everyone else could know the truth about Pharaoh, but he did. Humanity will never be free from tyranny and injustice until we know God is the only one capable of giving us the equality we seek.

Exodus Chapter 7 opens with God repeating the things God told Moses at the burning bush. Aaron will speak to Pharaoh everything I command you to speak. I will do signs and wonders as evidence of my reality. Pharaoh will not listen. I will bring my people out of Egypt, and “the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.”[6]

 

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Galatians 3:16

[4] Romans 9:6-8

[5] Exodus 4:21 Ex 4:21 “So that introduces a purpose clause (RSV), while “and” seems to introduce a result clause (TEV). Either interpretation is possible, since the common Hebrew conjunction Waw must often be translated according to the context. The result is still that the king will not let the people go; it is a matter of interpretation whether this is also the Lord’s purpose in hardening his heart. People in the phrase not let the people go may also be rendered as “the people of Israel” or “the Israelites.” (from UBS Old Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1978-2004 by United Bible Societies. All rights reserved.)

[6] Exodus 7:5

Answering Unlearned Questions

follow Follow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 6 [2]

“Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”[3]

In response to Moses unlearned questions God looked to the future. There was no point in rehashing what was done in the past that cannot be undone. The only people beaten were the leaders who led God’s people astray when they entered a business deal to build Pharaoh’s treasure cities instead of wait for the city God is building.

God knows how to deal with evil leaders like Pharaoh and the lackeys who serve him. God told Moses when he is finished Pharaoh would do more than let them leave to worship their God. He would drive them out of Egypt. But if you think God is gloating about the way he will destroy Pharaoh you are wrong. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.[4] He is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance[5], and that includes Pharaoh. If God is gloating about anything, it is the patience and kindness he will extend to man who thinks he is God’s equal. When God is finished both Egypt and the Hebrews who serve Egypt will know who is Lord.

Once again, God defines who he is and why he is present. He is the God who swore an oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Every time God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he is preaching the gospel to Moses. He is reminding Moses that he will give the land Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived on to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through one seed who will sacrifice himself that God might redeem us from death and grant us eternal life. God swore the oath that established his covenant as irrevocable when Abraham and Isaac proved they believed God raises the dead with more than words on Mt. Moriah.

Once again, God reminds Moses he is acting on behalf of the Hebrews because he heard the Hebrews groaning in misery and remembered his covenant with a man who proved his faith with actions. The Hebrews slavery did not move God to act. Their misery did not move God to act. God’s integrity moved God to action. The Hebrews faith did not move God to act. The remembrance of Abraham’s faith moved God to action. He will remove the burdens Egypt laid upon them that made their lives miserable. He will redeem them with great judgments. He will accept them as his people and be their God.

Moses brought the good news to the Hebrews, but they refused to listen. They did not care about the things God planned to do tomorrow. Their lives were miserable today. God did not let their unbelief stop him. He came to deliver them and they were delivered from Egypt but they will never make it out of the desert because they did not believe the gospel.

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them [the Hebrews]; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”[6]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 5:22-23

[4] Ezekiel 33:11

[5] 2 Peter 3:9

[6] Hebrews 4:2