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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Promised Land – Part 4

Following the story of Moses and the Israelites to their Promised Land.

God gave Moses and Aaron a favor with Pharaoh, yet not favor that meant immediate gratification (v1). He had chosen and prepared Moses and Aaron for their roles in his deliverance of Israel. He is preparing me. I may be the Aaron rather than the Moses; the assistant, not the leader. I can rest in whatever role he calls me to because I know he is the one doing the work through me and it’s all for my good (Phil 1:6 and Romans 8:28)

Exodus 7
(1)  And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

God tells Moses again that Pharaoh will not cooperate. God has bigger plans than getting his people out of Egypt (v3-5). Egypt will know there is a God more powerful than all of their gods. They could choose to follow him. He has bigger plans than getting me out of my uncomfortable places as well. I pray people can come to know him because of how I come out of hard places, how I behave in hard places, too.

 (3)  And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
(4)  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
(5)  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

Here is another place I get a glimpse of an idealistic, rosy, wrong spot in my worldview. If God tells me to do a miracle and I do and it works – that would be the end of it. “See how great my God is! Now do what he says!” The heathens would be impressed, my job would be over. Oh not so. God gives Moses and Aaron very clear instructions (v9). He knows what Pharaoh is going to say. He prepares them to deal with the challenge. Pharaoh will ask for a miracle. God will provide. Pharaoh’s magicians do the same “trick”! By Satan’s power and God’s allowance they turn their sticks into snakes as well (v12). This would be quite disheartening I think. However God’s miracle eats Satan’s trick. This I like. I haven’t studied it but I imagine the sorcerer’s staffs were quite important in their divination and now they were gone. They were showing off and lost their sticks!

 (9)  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
(10)  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
(11)  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
(12)  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

Pharaoh hardens his heart and Moses and Aaron are instructed to do another miracle, this one a judgment on Egypt. All the water in Egypt is turned to blood (v20-21). All the water had turned to blood, killed the fish and made a huge mess. Apparently it had cleared up and is back to water. Or they had found water that could have been used for people and animals to drink. However, Pharaoh calls the sorcerers again and they do the same thing (v22)! This is craziness. Even if they could why would they turn the water into blood? People will do foolish things, even to their own hurt to try to keep God’s plan from happening. People will do foolish things because of their pride. They may be trying to prove it could happen without God hoping to discourage you from believing the promises and calling he has given you.

 (20)  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
(21)  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
(22)  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

Knowing God’s plan, even following God directions does not mean smooth sailing. In the past I would have said I knew that to be true. However as I was studying the journey to the Promised Land, and am now living a hard time I see I didn’t truly believe it. If I did I wouldn’t be surprised when things don’t work the way I hope they will, or when someone comes against my plans, plans I thought were God’s. I would not be so shaken and the time would not be so hard. I am thankful though. Now I will know my God better and be more prepared for the future. He is what I hold to, not His plans. The plans I thoughts were everything were just preparation for my future.

What is your view of God in hard times?

Do you know him well enough to run to him?

Do you know him well enough to rest in hard times? 

Promised Land – Part 1

Promised Land – Part 2

Promised Land - Part 3

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