Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exodus: Chapter 9

There is so much in this chapter that is impressing my heart, it is difficult to narrow my thoughts.  Separation, distinction, and God's mercy in judgment are all competing for my mind's attention.  The opening passage reminded me that stubbornly clinging to my purposes is costly for all around me.  Yet, I see, too, that God offers a warning that can be heeded and protection sought.  That reminder comforts me for I know there are those I sometimes harm in my willfulness.  Yet I also need that reminder when the sins of others rain judgment into my world; the Lord is a safe shelter, I can run to Him no matter what my surrounding circumstances.  While God offers protective warnings, true liberty was only in the land of Goshen.

The dust of the furnace which produced the boils is believed to have been the ashes of human sacrifices offered to an Egyptian god.  Our faulty sacrifices bring pain and suffering; they never produce the results we intended.  As this plague flows into the next, my heart marvels at the stubborn foolishness of the Pharaoh.  God is all but pleading with Pharaoh to recognize Him as Sovereign.  God warns him that more plagues will be poured out on Pharaoh's heart--on what he loves and values--poured out on the Pharaoh's servants and the Egyptian people--if the Pharaoh continues to refuse the plans and purposes of God.  Then, as now, only some people heeded the warnings of God.    We are never to be focused on the hearts that refuse God but on submitting our own hearts.  God alone can work in the depths of hearts to bring people to Himself.

Distinction--separation--is something I have seen as an on-going struggle in these passages.  God calls for His people to be separate...and He, Himself, demonstrates that there is a distinction in His dealings with mankind.  The world (Egypt) calls us to stay and serve the purposes of the world; God calls us to follow Him alone--to go into the wilderness to sacrifice to Him, to serve Him and ultimately to feast with Him. We can not fully enjoy His blessings in Egypt...and we will not draw people unto Him unless we are fully obedient.
My final thought for today relates to timing.  Early in the chapter God set a time for the plague and scripture says He did just as He planned.  We get caught up in our timing just as much as we get caught up in our own purposes.  Only God's purposes and timing are perfect.  Certainly, the untouched cattle in Goshen were important for the exodus which was to come, but the untouched crops in Goshen must have been a blessing to the land of Egypt when the Israelites were gone.  God's mercy is seen, too, in the timing of the hail storm; it left them with some potential harvest.  God never stops calling the wayward to Himself.  God did not leave the Egyptians without hope as He called and prepared for His people to leave the land and serve Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment