Do You Know God?

ex0117When Moses had first confronted Pharaoh with God’s command to let his people go, the king of Egypt responded with, “Who is the Lord?” Now, in Exodus 7:14-18, the Lord begins to answer the question that the king had assumed was simply rhetorical.

Recognize your Lord as judge. The Lord judges rebels who harden their hearts. The Lord has Moses and Aaron perform a preliminary sign for Pharaoh, throwing down the staff, and it becomes a snake. This is a different term than used when God had Moses throw down his staff in the wilderness: although it has a broader range of meaning, it may well mean snake here. The Egyptian magicians are able to imitate this miracle, but then Aaron’s staff swallowed up the others. The Lord is indicating that he is sovereign. Pharaoh, however, refuses to listen. He hardens his heart—and the Lord hardens it to display his power as the judge of the earth. Turning the water of the Nile to blood is the first of a series of nine plagues, to escalate to the final tenth plague that judges Egypt and releases God’s people. The Nile was critical to Egypt. Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh near the river, and its water turns to blood. Efforts to explain away this and the following miracles as coincidental natural events simply don’t fit the Biblical evidence. As even Pharaoh’s servants will later come to admit, this is the hand of God. But the miracle is more than evidence to Pharaoh and judgment against him. Continue reading “Do You Know God?”

I Am the Lord

sunset_14403acTroubles and suffering seem to overwhelm you. You may be trying to serve the Lord, but life keeps getting worse. How do you respond? Do you give up? Are you filled with doubt? In Exodus 6:1-12 God tells you simply, “I am the Lord.”

Beware of practical unbelief. Pharaoh scoffs, “Who is the Lord?” Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt at God’s command and brought the Israelites the message that the Lord had heard their cries and was about to deliver them. Their initial response was to worship the Lord (Ex. 431), but Pharaoh’s response was one of scorn. His question, “Who is the Lord?” sounds remarkably modern. We live in a culture that, if it thinks about God at all, tends to dismiss him as irrelevant. Pharaoh is hardening his heart, and the Lord is hardening it as well, so that the power of God will be displayed in the redemption he is about to bring. But, when those in authority have that attitude towards God, things tend to be difficult for his people. Paul reminds you in Romans 8 that your present existence is one of suffering. Continue reading “I Am the Lord”

Signs and Sonship

free_11636cpHow strongly does the evil one attack the church today? Do you have the strength to be faithful to God in your daily life? Moses, after 40 years of caring for sheep, wrestled with similar questions as God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. In Exodus 4:21-23 God gave Moses signs to demonstrate his power. Even more importantly, he called Israel his firstborn son. Both give you hope today.

Trust your God whose signs show his power. God displays his power in human weakness. Forty years earlier Moses had tried a do it yourself plan to rescue his fellow Israelites—and failed. Now, summoned by God to the task, he is both humble and reluctant. He suggests that the Israelites will not believe him, and God gives him signs. He protests that he is not eloquent, and God reminds him that the tongue is his creation, and promises to teach him what to say. Finally Moses, out of excuses, pleads with God to send someone else—and God gives him his brother Aaron as his spokesman. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, reminds them that God has chosen the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise. The ultimate expression of strength coming out of weakness is your salvation—obtained by the Savior humbling himself and becoming weak to be your Redeemer. “When Moses in his own strength sought to deliver the people, the result was a failure. When after an interval of forty years, actually commissioned by Jehovah to guide and effect the redemption, he assumes the task in the totally opposite spirit of absolute dependence upon God, thoroughly recognizing his own unfitness, God promises that He will smite Egypt with all His wonders (Ex. 3:20). He puts His wonders into the hand of Moses (4:21).” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 128). Pharaoh’s heart would be hard, but God would use even that to display his power, as Paul reminds you in Romans 9. Continue reading “Signs and Sonship”

I Am Who I Am

ayear1140ocTime passes, and promises get forgotten. But in Exodus 3 God, identifying himself as “I Am Who I Am,” reveals his faithfulness.

Trust your God to keep his promises. Your God remembers. As Moses was in exile in Midian, the Lord heard the cries of his suffering people in Egypt and remembered them, Exodus 2:23-25. This is not recovery from a memory lapse, but the Lord preparing to act on behalf of his people. Moses may have been in exile for 40 years, but the people had been in Egypt for 400 years, as Stephen reminded his accusers. Yet God has not forgotten. Nor will he forget you, no matter how abandoned you may feel. At the heart of the covenant relationship is God’s promise to be with his people and to be their God. Continue reading “I Am Who I Am”

Making the Hard Choice

leaves_9779cWhat is the hardest choice you have made? Put yourself in Moses’ sandals as Exodus 2:11-25 describes the choice he made.

Make your choice! Beware of the pleasures of sin. Moses’ parents, Jochebed and Amram, showed their faith by disobeying the order of the Pharaoh and keeping baby Moses alive. The baby in the little ark in the reeds along the Nile ended up being adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. His was a position of great potential authority, Exodus 2:10. In the court he received a fine education, Acts 7:22. Historical records show other Semites rising to influence in Egypt. It must have been a strong temptation to stay and use power there for Israel. Moses was of age. His decision was not youthful impetuosity. Hebrews 11 commends him for avoiding the pleasures of sin. There may well have been some specific sins involved in the court life, but the point, more likely, is that to remain in Pharaoh’s court would be to abandon the people of God. Egypt had the pleasures of sin–and Moses refused it, even for a short time. Sin may appear to be a pleasure, but that is a very short term view. It is dangerous. God warns against the shortsightedness that leads to a lax Christian life. What can you learn from Moses about resisting sin? The temptation to compromise may come in the form of a desire for respectability, wanting, if not to be a mover and shaker in the world, at least to have a seat at the table. But if that seat is bought at the price of remaining silent about your Lord, it is too costly. If God had planned out the life of Moses, which he certainly did, why the seeming false start with Moses killing an Egyptian and then having to flee? God was teaching Moses and the people of Israel that they could not redeem themselves. It would not happen by human power or cunning. The Lord himself would confront the idols of Egypt, and would emerge victorious. Continue reading “Making the Hard Choice”