Friday, February 25, 2011

Exodus: Chapter 5

Things are not always what they seem and the unfolding of God's purposes is complex.  The reception of the Israelites to God was a joy-filled time of worship and praise.  The Pharaoh, however, responded as many do:  'Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?"  Though the Israelites saw God, worshipped Him and longed to worship Him more, their vision was not Pharaoh's.  He had other things occupying his eyes--the glory of his kingdom, the work of the slaves and his own power.  The idea of letting the people go stepped on far too many of his own idols:  idols he could not see.  In fact, even the Israelites had some 'eye issues' that needed to be clarified.  Their response was colored by their own desires to be free of burdens.  God desires eyes fully centered on Him--not on what we want.

Beyond the earthly perspective of both the Israelites and the Egyptians, though, is the greater battle.  The truth of Ephesians is applicable here.  just as we fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, so, too, was this battle much larger than either side recognized.  The gods of Egypt were many--and they were empowered by Satan and his dominions.  God had a systematic plan for unveiling the inadequacy of these gods, and we will be exploring that in the days to come.  God also wanted to purify His own people and would use the same process.  God's purpose is stated again and again throughout Exodus (throughout the scriptures, in fact):  that they may know that I am God.   Those who do not know God need to see Him; those who do know God, need to see Him more clearly!

The final truth I saw in this chapter is that knowing God is a priceless eternal treasure which has earthly costs.  The Israelites were not impressed with bearing that cost; neither are we when we start paying the price that sometimes accompanies worship and submission to Christ.  Moses was a bit frustrated with the cost, too, and asks a question we all have uttered:  "What is going on, Lord?!"  Even when we try our best, even when we obey the Lord, there are times the results are not what we were intending.  Those are the times faith must truly be exercised.  God is always with us, always at work and He is victorious!

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