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Exodus 8:20 – 9:12; The Discrimination of God

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101031_exodus08_20-9_12.mp3

10/31 Exodus 8:20-9:12 The Discrimination of God (Mighty Acts of God 4-6; flies, livestock, boils)

Intro:

So far, we’ve seen God begin to judge Egypt by unleashing the first cycle of his mighty acts. He turned the waters of Egypt to blood and destroyed the Nile, he caused frogs to overrun the land and be piled in heaps; and caused gnats or lice to infest the land. Today we will look at the second cycle of God’s might acts of judgment against Egypt.

Structure of the Mighty Acts Narrative

This second cycle of three mighty acts of God following the introductory sign of the staff-turned-serpent. There will be one more cycle of three judgments leading up to the final climactic act of God in the Passover and the death of the firstborn. Like the others, this second cycle begins with a morning outdoor confrontation with Pharaoh, warning him of what is to come, followed by a confrontation in the courts of Pharaoh, again warning him of what is to come, then followed by an unannounced mighty act unleashed on unbelieving Egypt.

God is not dependent on means

This cycle is different from the others, in that there is no rod or staff used. In the first three, it is Aaron’s staff that is used to unleash God’s mighty acts. In the final cycle of three, it is Moses’ staff that is used. But in these three, there is no mention of a staff at all. This is significant, because the staff was a symbol of status and power, and the magicians of Egypt used their staffs to duplicate the signs (at least until Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs). God is demonstrating that his power doesn’t come from some magic stick. God is free to use means or no means to accomplish his ends. He can work through an instrument, or he can work independent of any instrument. He can use a shepherd’s stick, or simply the spoken word to cause the laws of nature to be altered. God spoke the whole universe into existence by his word; he can choose to violate the normal laws of nature just as easily by his word. In fact, if we understand what Hebrews (1:3) says, that Jesus ‘upholds the universe by the word of his power’, all that is necessary for creation to run a muck is for him to momentarily withdraw his sovereign power of restraint and all hell will break loose.

Swarms (Mighty Act # 4)

8:20 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.’””

The first thing we are reminded of is God’s purpose in the Exodus. Moses is to ambush Pharaoh by the river and proclaim to him ‘thus says the LORD: let my people go that they may serve (or worship) me’. The demand of the Lord was clear: Pharaoh must relinquish his claims on the Hebrew slaves so that they are at liberty to worship and serve their rightful Master. This is a battle for allegiance, for worship.

The next thing that should catch our attention in the text here is that the Pharaoh is going out to the water again. Archaeologists have excavated the remains of Egyptian palaces, and they include what appear to be bathing areas. The most likely reason the Pharaoh would go to the banks of the Nile would not be to take a bath, but to worship the gods of the Nile. This is interesting because in the first mighty act, Moses intercepted Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile, and the first mighty act of God was against the Nile, turning it to blood for seven days, causing all the fish to die, causing it to stink and be unusable. God showed his triumph over the life source of Egypt and over her gods, and now Pharaoh is back at the water again, presumably worshiping his defeated gods.

This is the second round of judgments against Egypt. God had warned Pharaoh of the judgment on the Nile, and of the judgment of the frog infestation. Pharaoh begged for relief from the frogs and promised the release of the Israelites. But when Pharaoh did not honor his word, God struck Egypt with the infestation of gnats or lice or biting insects without warning. Now again God sends Moses and Aaron to warn Pharaoh of what is coming. This is really an ultimatum. Release my people. If you refuse, this is what I will do to you. I will send swarms on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses and covering all your territory. The word is not specific – swarms of what? Our translators have added the descriptive ‘of flies’ to help clarify the situation. This was probably some swarming mixture of biting insects. We deduce that they were biting insects from the inspired commentary we find in the Psalms:

Psalms 78:45 He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them.

If you’ve ever been in the north woods of Minnesota on a calm summer evening, you have just a hint of what this might be like. Devoured is a good description. And there was no refuge. There was no place to hide. There was no relief, day or night. They were swarming in your house and in your bedroom. It says in verse 24 ‘the land was ruined because of the swarms. I can’t stand to have a single non-biting fly buzzing around my kitchen. But this was beyond mere annoyance. This was a devastating judgment.

But there is another unique thing about this mighty act. God made a distinction. God discriminated between the Pharaoh’s people and his own people. This is the first time in the sequence of God’s mighty acts that he explicitly says that he will discriminate.

22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.’””

God’s people are not always exempted from suffering. But God does promise to treat his people differently than those who do not follow him.

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

There is no mention of whether the first three mighty acts of God affected the Egyptians only, or all the people who lived in the land. But here God highlights the distinction he is making to drive home a theological point. God says I will set my people apart ‘that you may know that I am YHWH in the midst of the earth’. If there was mass swarming of creatures all over the land, it could be attributed to a freak natural occurrence of some sort, but if there was an artificial ethnic boundary where God’s people were exempted from the judgment, that would be inexplicable outside of a direct intervention of the sovereign Lord of creation. Only God could command the flies to swarm only in designated areas and leave other areas alone. Have you ever tried to train a fly not to cross an imaginary line? But this is exactly what happened. YHWH, whom the Pharaoh did not acknowledge, is indeed showing himself to be mighty and powerful, even in the middle of Pharaoh’s own playground.

24 And the LORD did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies. 25 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the LORD our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as he tells us.” 28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. Plead for me.” 29 Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you and I will plead with the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow. Only let not Pharaoh cheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.” 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. 31 And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.

The swarms are so intolerable that the Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron and concedes to their request. Actually, he attempts to bargain with them. This is customary in eastern cultures. I say my item is worth $500 and you come into my shop and say you wouldn’t pay a penny more than $75. After a bit of haggling, we will end up somewhere in the middle. We will reach a compromise. God has made his demands. The Pharaoh must release his Hebrew slaves so that they can serve YHWH in the wilderness. Pharaoh starts low and makes an offer. “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land”. You are not permitted to leave, but you can sacrifice to your God here.

Moses counters with a restatement of the original demand and a logical explanation of why that is necessary. He doesn’t come down on his price one bit. His reason is clear. What the Israelites must do would be offensive to the Egyptian culture and would cause riots and civil unrest. This would be the equivalent of killing a pig in a Muslim mosque or slaughtering a cow in a Hindu temple. But why? Was Moses bluffing? Why would it be offensive for the Hebrews to sacrifice when the Egyptians offered their own sacrifices? And why, in our own day of tolerance, is Christianity the only religion that is not tolerated? It is simply this. The Old Testament sacrificial system, as the New Testament good news message, has one aim; to decisively deal with sin. And that’s offensive. We don’t want to acknowledge sin. We don’t want to believe there is such a thing as a violation of the standards of a holy God for which we will be held accountable. We certainly don’t want to admit that we have missed the mark and fallen short. Jesus teaches us that this is the job of the Holy Spirit:

John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

In order to be forgiven of our sins, we need to know that we are sinners and confess that to God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is what Jesus means when he says:

Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

The only person who carries a cross is a condemned criminal. Bearing a cross was a public display that I am guilty and deserve the death penalty. All the religions of the world seek to be good enough to earn God’s favor. Jesus tells us we need to own our guilt and daily come face to face with how bad we really are. I truly deserve hell. That’s not a popular message. That is a message that flies in the face of our culture of positive self image and inherent goodness. That’s offensive. And that’s what Jesus is all about.

Romans 9:33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

This is what Paul refers to as the ‘offense of the cross’ (Galatians 5:11). This is what Moses is telling the Pharaoh; if we start killing animals because we believe that we are so bad that we deserve the death penalty and our only hope is if someone or something dies in our place, and blood is shed to cover our sin, that raises the issue of guilt with our neighbors. And our neighbors would rather kill us than face their own guilt before a holy God. That is why we need to travel a significant distance into the wilderness; because our God is holy and just and must punish sin. Pharaoh apparently concedes to Moses’ point, and counters that he will allow them to go into the wilderness to sacrifice to YHWH your God, but just don’t go too far away. I still want you close enough that I can control what you do and bring you back.

Pharaoh is desperate, and as with the frog infestation, again he begs Moses and Aaron to plead with their God on his behalf. Even unrepentant sinners are driven to seek prayer when things get bad enough. Moses does not counter Pharaoh’s offer, probably because he knows it is not genuine. Pharaoh still thinks it is in his power to let the people of Israel go. He will be shown that it is not in his power at all – they are completely in the hands of their YHWH. Moses calls Pharaoh on his lack of integrity, and there is a marked contrast between the words of God and the words of the Pharaoh. God promises and delivers. God speaks and it happens. Even nature itself responds to his command. Pharaoh’s words are hollow and powerless, and he repeatedly fails to deliver his promises. Moses calls him a liar and lets him know that he is on to him. You’ve lied once and proved you can’t be trusted. I will pray for you, but don’t do it again. Moses prays, God answers and relents, and as expected, Pharaoh refuses to keep his own word.

Death of the Livestock (Mighty Act #5)

9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the LORD will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4 But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.’”” 5 And the LORD set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” 6 And the next day the LORD did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

This is an escalation of God’s mighty acts. This is the first time that God’s actions result directly in death, even though it has not yet escalated to the level of human death. After the gnats, the final mighty act in the first cycle, the magicians of Egypt confessed to Pharaoh that this was the finger of God. Now God says ‘the hand of the LORD will fall’. You think his finger was bad; wait ’till you see what his hand can do! The mercy of God is amazing, warning, incrementally judging, answering prayer and relenting, warning again, giving an abundance of evidence to believe, giving time to reconsider. God is patient and slow to anger, but he is just. And judgment does fall on the stubborn hardhearted Pharaoh. But first it falls on his livestock. All kinds of livestock all over Egypt will suffer from a severe disease and die, but again a distinction will be made. Not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. Again, what will happen is told in detail in advance so that it will be evident that Pharaoh is up against the God who controls the future. But even in the face of undeniable evidence, Pharaoh’s heart remains hard.

Severe Skin Disease (Mighty Act #6)

8 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10 So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. 12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

This is poetic justice. The Hebrews were forced to make bricks, and now some of the ash from the brick kilns is used to bring judgment on the Egyptians. Moses threw handfuls of soot into the air, and God caused it to spread and settle all over Egypt and become boils breaking out in sores. The word here is emphatic – angry boils, boils which become ulcerous and leave deep, painful scars. This might act crosses lines that have not yet been crossed. Up until now, the effects on people were indirect – severe inconveniences and irritations, loss of property and possessions. This judgment is personal – it attacks personal health and well-being; it creates sores in the flesh of each Egyptian. We are reminded of Job, where God allows Satan to take all that he has but not to stretch out his hand against him personally. When Job responded to this with worship, Satan rejoined ‘Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face’ (Job 2:4-5)

The magicians of Egypt are mentioned for the last time here in this section. These powerful sorcerers who had duplicated the first of God’s mighty acts, cannot even protect themselves from these painful sores. To a lesser degree, they had replicated the staff to serpent, the Nile to blood, and they had worsened the frog infestation, but they admitted their failure to reproduce the gnats. They were up against the finger of God. Now as Moses is standing in the presence of Pharaoh, these magicians, the physicians of Egypt, are so incapacitated by these painful boils that they can’t even stand in the presence of Moses. God had decisively demonstrated his superiority over the most powerful men in Egypt, he has outdone them in their secret arts, elicited a confession from them of his awesome power, and left them totally incapacitated and unable even to stand in the presence of his servant.

James 4:6 …“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The knees of the sorcerers had buckled under the sovereign hand of God. Nothing but the sovereign hand of God himself could prevent the Pharaoh’s knees from buckling as well under this kind of overwhelming pressure, and that is exactly what we are told is going on – YHWH hardened the Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not listen, just as he had promised he would do. But in the end, at the right time, even Pharaoh’s knees will buckle and he will admit his sin and God’s superiority. He will obey the command of the Lord. In Philippians 2, it says of Jesus:

Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 7:14-8:6; The Finger of God (Mighty Acts 1-3)

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101024_exodus07_14-8_6.mp3

10/24 Exodus 7:14-8:6 The Finger of God (Mighty Acts of God 1-3)

7:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

God is about to lay his hand on Egypt. God has many purposes for striking Egypt with these mighty blows. He is keeping his promises (2:24; 6:4, 8). He is bringing his people out from under the burdens of the Egyptians (2:23; 3:10; 6:6). He is bringing judgment on Egypt (Gen.15:14; Ex.6:7; 7:4). He is executing his judgments on all the gods of the Egyptians (12:12; Num.33:4). But most importantly, he is spreading the knowledge of God to all peoples. He is answering the question of the Pharaoh:

Exodus 5:2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”

He sends Moses to Pharaoh to answer his question in this way:

Exodus 7:15 Go to Pharaoh,… 16 And you shall say to him,… 17 Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.

Exodus 8:10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.

But this answer is not for the Pharaoh alone. God says:

Exodus 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

And, most importantly, God says to his own people:

Exodus 6:6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, I am the LORD,… 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

One commentary I read summarized it this way:

Each of the first nine mighty-act accounts may be said to have the same fundamental point, expressed in much the same way. That point, concisely summarized, is that Yahweh powerfully demonstrates his Presence to a Pharaoh prevented from believing so that Israel may come to full belief.” Durham, WBC p.99

God’s purpose is to put his own character and nature on display for the watching world and for the coming generations. The book of Exodus was written to the generation whose parents witnessed God’s mighty acts but died in the wilderness because of their unbelief. These things were recorded that the generations to come would know that YHWH is God. Moses reminds this generation in Deuteronomy 4:

Deuteronomy 4:34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. … 37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, … 39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

God’s purpose of putting his own glory on display is not limited to the nation of Israel. God’s global purpose is clearly stated in:

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (cf. Isaiah 11:9)

The apostles recognized their mission was to ‘spread the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere’ (2Cor.2:14)

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

As a side note, I often hear people complain as they read the Old Testament, ‘I just can’t believe in a God who would do something like that’ or ‘How could a God of love do such harsh and horrific things?’ These often tend to be people who don’t want God to take sin seriously because they don’t take sin seriously. But when God says ‘I will make myself known both in my great acts of redemption and in my mighty acts of judgment’, we highlight one and ignore the other to our own eternal peril. God is a God of love, and God is a God of justice. God will send you to hell if you refuse his own Son whom he provided out of love as a substitute to absorb the consequences of your sin. If you reject his grace, you will know his justice.

Structure of the Mighty Acts Narrative

The nine mighty acts of God are organized in three cycles of three mighty acts, introduced by the preparatory sign of the staff-turned-serpent that swallowed up the magician’s staffs, and followed by the final climactic act of God in the Passover and the death of the firstborn. Each of these cycles begins with a morning outdoor confrontation with Pharaoh, warning him of what is to come, followed by a confrontation in the courts of Pharaoh, again warning him of what is to come, then followed by an unannounced mighty act unleashed on unbelieving Egypt.

Intro Sign: Staff-Serpent

1st Cycle: Blood -warning -by the Nile -Aaron’s Staff

Frogs -warning -palace -Aaron’s Staff

Gnats -no warning -Aaron’s Staff

2nd Cycle: Flies -warning -by the Nile

Cattle -warning -palace

Boils -no warning

3rd Cycle: Hail -warning -by the Nile

Locust -warning -palace -Moses’ Staff

Darkness -no warning -Moses’ Staff

Climax: Death of Firstborn -warning -Moses’ Staff

The Exodus: Destruction of Egyptian Army in Red Sea

Many scholars believe that this sequence of God’s mighty acts went on for six months to a year. Today we’ll look at the first cycle of three mighty acts.

Nile to Blood

14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. 16 And you shall say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness. But so far, you have not obeyed.” 17 Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.’”” 19 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’” 20 Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile. 25 Seven full days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.

This sign of God’s sovereignty begins by a statement of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. In the Egyptian belief system, when a person died, they went to judgment in the underworld. Each man’s heart, which was thought to be the very essence of the person, would be weighed in the scales of truth. If the heart was heavy or weighty with misdeeds, the person was judged unjust and condemned to be eaten by the devourers. If the heart was pure and light, the deceased would enter the afterlife. (John Currid, quoted by J.Ligon Duncan, 09aExo.htm). God is saying of the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was considered a god, that he has weighed his heart and it is heavy. He is not even qualified to enter the afterlife! God is the judge of the Pharaoh’s moral condition. God is sovereign over the so-called gods of Egypt.

In these twelve verses, the Nile is mentioned at least seven times by name and also referred to by terms like ‘water’ and ‘river’. The Nile river was central to Egypt. In fact, it was said that the Nile is Egypt and Egypt is the Nile. There would be no Egypt without the Nile river. The waters of the Nile deposit rich silt each year to nourish the land to create an oasis in the desert.

“It was appropriate that the first of the plagues should be directed against the Nile River itself, the very lifeline of Egypt and the center of many of its religious ideas. The Egyptians considered the Nile sacred. Many of their gods were associated either directly or indirectly with this river and its productivity. For example, the great Khnum was considered the guardian of the Nile sources. Hapi was believed to be the ‘spirit of the Nile’ and its ‘dynamic essence.’ One of the greatest gods revered in Egypt was the god Osiris who was the god of the underworld. The Egyptians believed that the river Nile was his bloodstream. …” (Davis, p. 102; cited by http://www.biblelandhistory.com/egypt/plagues-egypt-1.html).

The book of Exodus opens with the Pharaoh demanding that the Hebrew boys be drowned the Nile. Now the life-giving Nile threatens death to all of Egypt.

At different seasons, the Egyptians would make offerings to the gods of the Nile, coming down to its banks and casting in various images and tokens in hopes that the waters would continue to nourish their land. It is likely that this was the reason the Pharaoh was coming down to the banks of the Nile this day.

God is very clear in his warning to the Pharaoh. He is very clear that these are not the demands of Moses; these are the demands of YHWH the God of the Hebrews. He is very clear in what he demands: “let my people go that they may serve me in the wilderness.” God is clear that the reason for striking the Nile is the disobedience of the Pharaoh. God tells Pharaoh that he will teach him by experience who he is. He is clear in the mechanism he will use to bring about this great sign – the same staff that had become a great serpent in the presence of Pharaoh, the staff that swallowed up the staffs of his magicians, will now strike the waters. And God is explicitly clear in what the punishment will be – the water will turn to blood, the fish will die, and the river will stink.

This is also a foreshadowing of what is to come. This is a warning. First it was the Hebrew infants who were found floating in the waters. Now all the fish are belly-up. Soon, it will be all the men in the Egyptian army that will be washed up on the shores of the Red Sea.

God is demonstrating that he rules over the waters. Even the great Nile is under his complete control. It all happened exactly as God had predicted.

Then the sorcerers of Egypt duplicated the transformation. They take some of the precious little clean fresh water that remained in the land of Egypt, and they turned it into blood also! Never do we see them attempting to undo what God has done. Never do they attempt to restore order to the chaos. Instead they copy God’s action and exaggerate the problem. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, just as the Lord had promised. He went home and didn’t even take it to heart. His people, however, were sent scrambling to find suitable water for drinking. It appears that even the water storage they may have had was contaminated as well. They resorted to digging shallow wells along the banks of the Nile. This water crisis lasted for seven full days. Have you ever had the water shut off to your house?!

Frogs

8:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 4 The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.’”” 5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!’” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the LORD to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.” 12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

First blood, now frogs. Frogs were common in the wet Nile marshlands. In fact the Egyptian god Hequet (Hekt), a goddess of childbirth, was depicted in Egyptian art with the head of a frog. Egyptian women would carry and amulet of a frog to give them safety and protection in childbirth. Some of these amulets have the inscription ‘I am the resurrection’. Again, the warning is clear and in vivid detail. The Nile will swarm with frogs. This is the same word that described the Israelite infestation of Egypt which the previous Pharaoh responded to by slaughtering the male children.

Exodus 1:7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

The Pharaoh had tried to reverse the creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Now he would be overrun by frogs. God was bringing judgment on the fertility goddess of Egypt. Now frogs will be in your bedroom and in your kitchen. They will be hopping on the rich and the poor alike. They will even be on the Pharaoh himself. Have you ever cooked something and you find a hair in it? Imagine not being able to keep the frogs out of your dough!

Here again the magicians of Egypt make their contribution. The land of Egypt is overrun with frogs, and they by their secret arts help the situation. They cause more frogs to appear! They had made their staffs turn into great serpents, and Aaron’s staff had eaten theirs up. They had taken some of the precious clear water that remained in Egypt and turned it into blood. Now they exaggerate the frog infestation.

But this time the response of the Pharaoh is different. Pharaoh doesn’t turn to his wise men. He turns to Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh is starting to get the picture. He ignores his sorcerers and asks these two shepherds to plead with their God YHWH to take away the frogs. He is finally realizing that although his magicians have been able to replicate the miraculous, they can do nothing to counteract God’s judgments. So he makes a deal. He makes a promise. Pray to you God to take away the frogs, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to YHWH. Earlier, he said that he didn’t acknowledge YHWH. Now he is requesting that Moses and Aaron pray to YHWH on his behalf.

Moses’ reply is razor sharp with sarcasm. Pharaoh is literally crawling with frogs and reduced to begging these slave leaders for relief, and Moses gives the great Pharaoh the honor of choosing the time of his deliverance. Moses is confident in the ability of his God. He is bragging on his God. Pharaoh, you name the time, because my God is so powerful that he will show up whenever I ask. He can answer the impossible request of making this incredible infestation cease in a day. Moses says this is all a demonstration for the benefit of the Pharaoh “that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” The so-called gods of Egypt are no match for the one true God of the Hebrews. There is no one like the LORD our God.

Moses cried to the LORD about the frogs …and the LORD did according to the word of Moses. This passage highlights the awesome power of God at work in response to the prayers of his people.

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

James 5:16 …The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Moses believed that God would answer his prayer. He knew that God loves to demonstrate that there is no one like the LORD our God. Moses took prayer seriously and cried out to the LORD. Moses was doing what Jesus would command his followers to do:

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…

God answered Moses’ prayers. But God answered creatively. I’m sure Pharaoh had hoped that all the frogs would return to the Nile, or that they would magically disappear. Instead they all died. The Egyptians piled the rotting frog carcasses up in heaps and the land stank. In this case the cure was worse than the disease. But that was enough for Pharaoh. He saw that there was respite so he went back on his word and refused to honor his own promise. This, of course, was exactly what God had predicted would happen.

Biting Insects

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Because Pharaoh did not honor his own word, God did not give Pharaoh a warning this time. Gnats, or mosquitoes or lice, maybe all of the above – the word is general for small winged insects. The mention of dust is a reminder of the creation of man:

Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

It is also a reminder of God’s promise to the patriarchs of their descendants, promises that the previous Pharaoh had tried to fight:

Genesis 13:16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.

Genesis 28:14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Now God, who made man from dust, makes pesky winged insects from dust, covering the land. One of the powerful gods of Egypt was Geb, god of earth. He was thought to be so powerful that the Pharaoh’s throne was known as the seat of Geb. Here, Aaron is to strike the earth with the staff of God, and the earth would produce pests rather than plants. The Hebrew’s God is God over land and sea and over every creature. There is no limit to his awesome power.

Here again, the Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the wonder, but this time they failed. Their power was no match for the power of God. Not only could they not undo what God had done, they couldn’t even copy it. The magicians confess to Pharaoh ‘this is the finger of God’. God had promised that “the Egyptians shall know that I am YHWH” (7:5), and now the Egyptian magicians are testifying to the Pharaoh that this is indeed the finger of God. There is, indeed, no one like the LORD our God. But even in the face of overwhelming evidence and the testimony of his own people, he persists in his stubborn unbelief, again, exactly as God had promised would happen.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 7:1-13; An Evil and Adulterous Generation

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101017_exodus07_1-13.mp3

10/17 Exodus 7:1-13 an evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign

7:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Introduction/Review: God declares what he will do

Moses is God’s ambassador to Pharaoh. Moses complains that since even God’s chosen people have rejected God’s message to them, how will Pharaoh, arch-enemy of God and his people, possibly respond favorably? God declares to Moses ‘look, I have made you God to Pharaoh’. Being God to Pharaoh meant simply being a faithful messenger, obedient to God’s command and faithfully saying and doing what God told him to do and say. In this case, God clearly laid out exactly what he wanted Moses and Aaron to say and do, and he even told them what the result would be.

But most importantly, God declared what he would do. Moses, as God’s chosen messenger, felt the burden of the responsibility weighing on his shoulders. These are sweet words of comfort from the Almighty. Moses, the Exodus is my doing. Egypt is the stage on which I will display my glory in a way that all may see. God says ‘you speak all that I command you, and this is what I will do:’

7:3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”

These are the things God declares that he himself will do:

+I will harden Pharaoh’s heart

+I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt

+I will lay my hand on Egypt

+I will bring my armies, my people out by great acts of judgment

+I will cause the Egyptians to know that I am YHWH

God will escalate the engagement in Egypt to demonstrate to all involved that he alone is God. And he tells Moses and Aaron exactly what to expect. You will speak to the Pharaoh. I will harden his heart. I will multiply my signs and wonders. The Pharaoh will not listen to you. But I will be successful in bringing my people out by great acts of judgment. All this will result in the Egyptians acknowledging that I am YHWH.

The request for a sign: wicked and adulterous

God is preparing his servants for what they will encounter. God knows how every detail of this story will unfold. Throughout this story, we see God fully in control, initiating the action, and the Pharaoh responding. Even in the prayers of the people, as they cried out for deliverance from their cruel oppression, God responded by bringing out of exile his servant, whom he had been preparing for the last forty years – teaching him humility and preparing him to shepherd his people in the desert. His servant, whom eighty years earlier he had protected from the death sentence of the Pharaoh by the hand of some disobedient midwives who feared God more than the Pharaoh, and by the hand of a creatively obedient mother, who cast her son into the Nile in a little ark, and then by the hand of the Pharaoh’s own daughter, who raised Moses as her own son.

So God prepares Moses and Aaron for what awaits them in the courts of the king of Egypt. The Pharaoh will not take God by surprise. God is the one who knows exactly how events will unfold. Pharaoh will be seen to be the one scrambling to respond to God’s action.

7:8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’”

God gives his servants instructions for how to respond to the future demands of the Pharaoh. He will require you to prove yourselves. What authority do you have to march into my presence and demand the release of my slaves? This is a request for a show of power to authenticate the claims they were making. They claim to represent YHWH, the God of Israel. If their claim is true, they should be able to perform some miraculous act to authenticate their claim. This is the same kind of request that the Scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees made of Jesus. He was making claims that he was God in the flesh. In Matthew 12:38-39 (also Luke 11:16,29), Jesus was answering the controversy with the religious leaders over where his power came from. He had cast demons out of a blind and mute man and healed him. The Pharisees were accusing him of working miracles by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Jesus confronted their hypocrisy and called them a brood of vipers. On another occasion, shortly after the feeding of the multitudes, the religious leaders again demanded a sign (Matt.16:1-4; Mark 8:11-12). Jesus said it was ‘an evil and adulterous generation’ that ‘seeks for a sign’. Not that it is wrong to examine the evidence, but both of these statements came on the heels of irrefutable evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be. In the one case, the religious leaders refused to believe that Jesus could be who he claimed to be, so they sought a different explanation as the source of his supernatural powers. What Jesus had done was undeniably supernatural, and the only two possible explanations were God or the Devil. Since they had rejected the possibility that he was indeed God in the flesh, they concluded that he must be empowered by Satan. In the other instance, their demand came on the heels of the feeding of the multitudes in the desert. The text there tells us that they asked for a sign to test him – this is the same word that is used to describe the temptation of Christ by the devil in the wilderness. They were not seekers looking for what was true. Their minds were already made up and they were attempting by any means possible to trip him up and distract him from his real mission.

The Sign of the Serpent

But for Moses and Aaron, God preempted the request of the king of Egypt for a sign by instructing Moses and Aaron to perform the sign of the staff turned into a serpent. This was not a random choice of animals. God could have turned Aaron’s staff into a kangaroo or a platypus. The serpent was the power symbol of ancient Egypt, as can be seen on the headdress of the Pharaoh. The exiled shepherd with his staff, the representative of the oppressed slave people, comes into the presence of the most powerful monarch of the world and when asked for his credentials, his staff turns into the prime power symbol of Egypt, a serpent. This is the third time this particular miracle is performed. First, in the burning bush encounter (4:3), God commanded Moses to throw down his staff and he ran from it. Then Moses and Aaron performed this for the elders of Israel and they believed and worshiped. Now, in the courts of Pharaoh, Aaron is told to throw down his staff and it becomes a serpent. But the word here translated ‘serpent’ is different than the word translated ‘serpent’ in chapter 4. The word in chapter 4 is the word commonly used for a snake. This word we have here is often translated ‘dragon’ or ‘great sea creature’ (Gen.1:21). This word is used to describe leviathan in Isaiah 27:1. It is possible that the author is using different words just to vary the style and avoid repetition, but it appears that this may be an entirely different creature. Remember how afraid Moses was when he threw down his staff and it became a snake? He was probably just getting over these fears. Imagine this time in the presence of Pharaoh he throws down his staff expecting a snake and instead it turns in to a great sea creature or dragon. Some scholars conjecture that this could be a monstrous snake or even a crocodile. Whatever it was, it was surely an impressive demonstration of supernatural power, and an affront to the power of Pharaoh.

10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The working of the wise men and the superiority of God; lying signs that lead astray I

This is amazing! Pharaoh has requested a supernatural sign of the credentials of Moses and Aaron, and they have produced in magnificent style. We have a monstrous reptile writhing about in the courts of Pharaoh and he calls for his magicians. They all by their secret arts turn their staffs into monstrous creatures. Now we have the whole room writhing with giant sea-serpents. Don’t miss the humor of this situation! I would think that this would have unnerved the Pharaoh. I wonder what the room looked like after this show! I could imagine the Pharaoh, seeing all this take place and his room filled with great creatures, tries to regain his composure and say to his magicians ‘Uh, thanks, that’s great. Now can you please make them all go away?’ But about that time, Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

What are we to think of this? Is this some kind of parlor trick, where the magicians use slight of hand and illusions to deceive? Did they compress a nerve in the neck of the snake, making it become rigid, and then release it and it became active again? There is no indication in the text that what they did was any less real or supernatural than what Moses and Aaron did. God prepared Moses and Aaron for Pharaoh’s demand for a sign, but were they prepared to see the sorcerers of Egypt duplicate their miraculous sign? In Deuteronomy 13:1-2, God warns his people of false prophets that will bring lying signs or wonders (same word) and lead the people to follow other Gods.

Deuteronomy 13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The warning is that even if the sign happens we are to evaluate on other criteria. We are not to blindly follow someone just because a supernatural sign took place. We are called to evaluate the message in light of scripture; specifically in light of the character and nature of God. Jesus warned:

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (cf. Mark 13:22)

The apostle John says:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

We are not to insist on or put our trust in any supernatural event or experience. God is God and he can do whatever he pleases. But there are also the spiritual forces of evil at work in the heavenly places. We are not to be dependent on the supernatural authentication, but on the very words of God himself.

The blindness of Pharaoh

The magicians of Pharaoh had a tangible reminder of the power of God – they left empty-handed. They didn’t get their staffs back. Aaron left with staff in hand. It is interesting that it doesn’t say ‘Aaron’s dragon swallowed up their dragons.’ Instead it says that Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. The simple shepherd’s staff swallowed up the magicians’ staffs. This word ‘swallow’ is only used two places in Exodus; here and in 15:12

15:12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.

…celebrating how the armies of Egypt were swallowed by the sea. This sign to Pharaoh is a foretaste of what is to come. Although the power of the Pharaoh and his sorcerers is real, it is no match for the power of YHWH. The power of God’s enemies will be swallowed up by a much greater power.

What I think is the most startling thing in this story is not the great serpents fighting in the courts of Pharaoh, but the response of Pharaoh himself.

13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

What is staggering in this narrative is the foolishness of Pharaoh. How could he not get the message? All his magicians were stripped of their magician’s staffs by the staff of the simple shepherd from the wilderness. But rather than recognize the implications of the event, he selectively chooses the one thing that helps his case and ignores the rest. His magicians were able to duplicate the sign, so he need not heed the warning. This reminds me of the foolishness described in Romans 1:

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

How foolish! And yet how often do we ignore the clear commands of God and only see what we want to see?

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 7:1-7; See, I Have Made You God

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101010_exodus07_1-7.mp3

10/10 Exodus 7:1-7 God to Pharaoh

Introduction

We are at the climax of the exodus story. God is about to unleash his mighty acts of judgment against the gods of Egypt. And just before this most intense action sequence unfolds, we have a genealogy outlining who Aaron was, where he came from, and where his descendants were going. He was from the tribe of Levi, the tribe who would serve as priests of God, and his grandson Phinehas would be zealous for the honor of the Lord and take action when others were standing idly by.

6:26 These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said: “Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts.” 27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron. 28 On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” 30 But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”

7:1 And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

See I have made you God to Pharaoh

Moses is sniveling again, questioning God, complaining that the plan won’t work, that he is inadequate for the task. So far he’s been a failure. God’s own people won’t even listen to him. Pharaoh will have no reason to pay any attention to what he says. Moses confesses that he is morally unqualified to speak God’s words. This is when God announces: ‘look, I have made you God to Pharaoh’. This is an amazing declaration. You have asked ‘who am I that I should go?’ You feel inadequate and incompetent and unqualified? God says ‘I will grant you to be God to Pharaoh’. Our translators have softened this by inserting the word ‘like’. But there is no ‘like’ or ‘as’ in the original. Our translators are afraid we might run with a passage like this and use it to argue that men can become gods.

Only One God

The bible is clear as can be that there is only one God, one uncreated Creator, independent and sovereign over all that is.

Deuteronomy 4:35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. …39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:21 …And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

Isaiah 46:9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

These are just a few of the very clear statements in scripture plainly stating that there is only one God. The bible is monotheistic from cover to cover. There is and can be only one supreme being. Then what do we do with a passage like this, where God says ‘I will make you God to Pharaoh’? Certainly we can’t make the leap to say that Moses suddenly became an eternal sinless independent supreme being. That is nonsense. To understand this passage correctly we need to put it in the context of the whole bible. We need to look backward and forward.

God’s Purpose in Creation

We need to look all the way back to God’s purpose in creation.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Man is unique in creation. Of no other created being is it said that they were created in his image and likeness. We were created to be a reflection of the invisible God, to put the unseen creator on display to his creation. Man was created in the God-like image of ruling – having dominion over every other created thing. We are designed to display God’s character and nature to the rest of creation.

Psalm 8: 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

This is the reason given for the severe consequence for killing a man as opposed to killing a plant or an animal or a bird or a fish.

Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

Murder (and James 3:9 says even slander) defaces God’s image. We have been crowned with glory and honor and given dominion. And from the garden on we have done a stupendous job of botching our purpose as image-bearers. Rather than being content with reflecting God to others, we wanted to be out from under the sovereign thumb of our Creator and be the master of our own destiny. We wanted to be autonomous like God. We wanted to create our own reality and take up the right to decide for ourselves what was good and what was evil, rather than submitting to God’s right to rule and reflecting his good and wise and loving care for his creation.

We look back to God’s purpose in creating us as image-bearers of his character and nature, ruling everything entrusted to us with wisdom and love and care, and we see how we have distorted this image by our rebellion against him.

Man’s Purpose Fulfilled in Jesus

Now we need to look forward to Jesus, to see how our purpose is perfectly fulfilled and ultimately restored in the one God-man.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

2 Corinthians 4:4 … seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. …6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, has put the nature and character of his own essence as God on display in a visible tangible way that is the crowning pinnacle of God’s revelation to us.

Jesus Restores Image-bearing role to Fallen Humanity

But not only did Jesus perfectly fulfill the role of man as image-bearer of God, but he restores that role to fallen humanity.

1 Corinthians 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Colossians 3:10 …put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

In Jesus we become a new creation and are restored to our original image-bearing purpose.

How does this all relate to Moses? God said “see, I have made you God to Pharaoh”. God has placed Moses in a role as his image-bearer to this pagan king. Moses is to represent God to Pharaoh. Indeed, Moses is the voice of God to Pharaoh. Moses speaks with the authority of God. Moses will bring God’s mighty acts of judgment crashing down on Pharaoh’s head, and through this interaction, Pharaoh will get a taste of what God is like. Ironically, Pharaoh believed himself to be the incarnation of some of the most powerful gods of Egypt. Moses, the shepherd from the wilderness, and leader of the slave-people, armed with nothing but his shepherd’s staff, would beat the Pharaoh at his own game. The humble shepherd shows himself a more powerful god than the most powerful monarch in the world.

In this way, Moses foreshadowed Jesus, the true God-man, who faithfully represented God to man. Moses also foreshadows our role as Christians, restored by Jesus’ work on the cross to our created role as image-bearers of God. We are to put God on display to those around us.

Our Image-bearing Role

Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 5:17 to see this role spelled out for the believer:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

We all are new creations in Christ. God has restored in us the creation mandate to be his representatives to the watching world. God has reconciled us to himself through the cross of Christ, and has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. We have been commissioned as ambassadors for Christ. You and I are to be God to the world around us. We are to be living reflections of God’s holy character and nature. We are to speak with God’s absolute authority. We are to warn of the dangers of neglecting God’s grace. We are to remove any obstacles out of the way and by our own character put the glory of God on display.

The exodus was a lesson to Moses that he could not accomplish anything in his own strength. God did not expect him to accomplish anything. God is the main actor – God will harden Pharaoh’s heart. God will multiply his signs and wonders. God will lay his hand on Egypt and bring his people out by great acts of judgment. God will stretch out his hand against Egypt. What God required of Moses was simply to ‘speak all that I command you’.

7:1 And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

You shall speak all that I command you. Moses and Aaron did so. They did just as the LORD commanded them. Simple trust. Simple obedience. It was God’s promise that through this the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. This is what Jesus demanded of his followers. Do not act in your own strength. Wait for the promise of the Father.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Apostle John sums up our role as ambassadors this way:

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By our love, and we love because he first loved us, we put the unseen God of love on display. God is making his appeal through us to the world – be reconciled to God.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

October 10, 2010 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 6:9-30; …we’ll be right back after these messages…

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101003_exodus06_9-30.mp3

10/3 Exodus 6:9-30 …we’ll be right back after these important messages…

Introduction:

So far everything has gone terribly wrong in the exodus. Moses is reluctant to go in the first place, and when he finally goes, things go from bad to worse. Pharaoh doesn’t budge and turns up the heat on the Israelite foremen. The Israelites feel that Moses must have flubbed up in his role as deliverer and so they call down God’s curse on him. Moses, more concerned about how he is doing in the popularity polls than with what God has said he would do, turns to God and hurls accusations his way. ‘Why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? I spoke to Pharaoh in your name, but you have not delivered your people at all.’ God patiently and mercifully responds with a fresh revelation of who he is. He sends Moses to the people with a fresh message of hope; a message of who God is and what God will do. I am YHWH. I will bring you out; I will deliver you; I will redeem you; I will take you to be my own and I will be yours; I will bring you into; I will give it to you. I am YHWH.

6:6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”’

Moses Speaks to the People

So Moses, renewed with this fresh revelation, goes to the people and gives them the message. This should cheer their weary souls.

9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.

Is there ever a time in your own life where you can’t see past the end of your own nose? You allow what is possible to be determined by your circumstances, and you can’t see anything but more problems. The difficulties loom so large that you can’t imagine that God cares or is involved at all. Remember, Jesus said:

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

But things are clearly not going the way they should go, and God’s encouragements to you fall on deaf ears. That is what is happening here. According to outward appearances everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong. God has a word for you and is speaking into the situation, but your problems drown out his still small voice. God is about to show up like never before in history and demonstrate his absolute supremacy over every created thing, to show his unfailing passionate commitment and love toward his people and triumph over their enemies, and his people don’t even have ears to hear him. They don’t listen because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. This could be better translated ‘because of their impatience and harsh slavery’. Do you ever have a schedule and God doesn’t seem to be the least concerned with what you have written in your day planner? God had promised deliverance and instead things got worse. ‘You said you’d rescue me and I want you to do it right now!’

God’s Commission and Moses’ Complaint

10 So the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.”

This seems contrary to all semblances of common sense. Moses spoke to the people – God’s people – the people who should be on his side – and they did not listen. So the Lord sends him off to the enemy who has no motivation to listen or care and has in the past been stubbornly resistant. God sends you off to do the easy thing, the thing that you could reasonably expect to be successful at, the thing that seems like there is great probability of success, and you fail miserably. You meet resistance and apathy where there should be hope and joy and excitement. You go away with your tail between your legs feeling like a pathetic excuse of a failure and God says ‘good, now that you’ve totally failed at the easy thing, I’m going to send you off to do the hard thing – the impossible thing. Now that our people won’t even listen to you, go tell our enemy the king of Egypt to let all his slaves go. This is Moses’ objection:

12 But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?”

Moses ties his objection back to the incident in chapter 4 at the lodging place on the way. God met him and threatened to kill him for his failure to keep the covenant of circumcision in his own family. How can you be God’s representative when you don’t even have your own family in order? Moses is reminding God of his own past moral failure. I’ve failed to keep your commandments. You can’t send a man who is a moral failure on mission for you. Maybe Moses is feeling guilt over his recent outburst toward God. He accused God of evil, of foolishness, and of failure to come through in the moment of greatest need. Now Moses asks ‘how can someone who said those things to you be fit to carry your message to the king?’ Moses, too, cannot see past the end of his own nose. He is so consumed with his own failures and rejection, that he cannot see the patient, forgiving, redeeming, loving, passionate covenant keeping character of the great God he is supposed to be representing.

13 But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

God responds to the objections with a command. This is not a discussion. I am not looking for your advice on how to handle the exodus problem. There is a time for patient encouragement and gentle reminders. And there comes a time for command. God is God. I am in authority here and you will do this. I am giving you a charge. I demand obedience. Bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

The Genealogy

And now for a message from our sponsors. We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a genealogy. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, blah blah blah. Names, names, names. We have an interruption in the story of 12 verses of some 44 names. Our eyes glaze over and our brain disengages as we think ‘why is this here?’ and ‘I can’t pronounce these anyway’ and ‘who really cares who begat who?’ and ‘why would anyone ever name their son that!?’

So why is this here? Why should we care? Who are these guys? This genealogy is inserted carefully at this point in the narrative, not only to give a dramatic suspenseful pause just preceding the climax of the story, but also to give us some important details and answer some pressing questions.

God commanded Moses and Aaron to be the leaders who would bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Who are these guys anyway? Who do they think they are taking it upon themselves to march into the presence of the king and speak on behalf of the people? We didn’t vote for them! We don’t like how things are going. We don’t like how they are handling the situation. We certainly don’t like the results they are getting. This genealogy gives us a historical anchor for the story. The exodus is not the result of some ancient creative writing class, a theological fiction that begins ‘once upon a time in a land far far away…’ It doesn’t end with ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’ This is a real historical narrative. The events described really happened. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

This genealogy connects the narrative all the way back to Israel, the patriarch we know better as Jacob, (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) from whom come the twelve tribes. This also connects the narrative forward all the way to Aaron’s grandson, who lived at the time of the book of Judges, and gives future generations a way to identify with the story.

It helps me to see this laid out visually, so I’ve attempted to diagram it in a way that we can see the connections and trace the paths of the genealogy. I’d invite you to try to follow along on the screen as I read from the text:

14 These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the clans of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the clans of Simeon. 16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, the years of the life of Levi being 137 years.

Up to this point in the genealogy it follows what we would expect of a typical list of the descendants of Israel. It starts with the firstborn Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi. But rather than going on with Judah and the rest of the 12, it breaks off here and the focus is all on the descendants of Levi with Aaron right in the middle of it.

17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their clans. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, the years of the life of Kohath being 133 years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites according to their generations. 20 Amram took as his wife Jochebed his father’s sister, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, the years of the life of Amram being 137 years. 21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 Aaron took as his wife Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the clans of the Korahites. 25 Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took as his wife one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites by their clans.

A few things we can learn from this listing of names:

Aaron is shown to be in the priestly tribe of Levi, but not from the branch of the tree that produced the rebellion of Korah in the wilderness (Numbers 16). Phinehas his grandson had a prominent role in ending the cultic prostitution scandal at Baal-Peor in Numbers 25 and was rewarded with the “covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel” (Numbers 25:12-13). There are four women mentioned in the genealogy, the first highlighting the fact that the Israelite nation was not ethnically pure, by including Simeon’s Canaanite wife. The next three women center around Aaron, demonstrating that the focus of the genealogy is the legitimacy of Aaron as a leader. His mother, his wife and his daughter-in-law are named. Aaron’s father married his aunt, which at the time was prior to the giving of the law abolishing this practice. This makes Moses and Aaron’s parentage on both sides from the tribe of Levi. Aaron married a woman from the tribe of Judah, who if we trace her family connections, we find both her father and brother in the lineage of Jesus the Christ (Matthew 1:4)

The Conclusion:

The genealogy is concluded by this statement:

26 These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said: “Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts.” 27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron. 28 On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” 30 But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”

This is a restatement of the main concepts from verses 10-13, which provides a frame for the genealogy. This is the family background and historical anchor of the Aaron and Moses whom God called to lead his people out of Egypt. They were the human instruments. But the focus is again on the Lord. The Lord said to Moses ‘I am YHWH’; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you. We have this contrast between the Lord who is the true hero of the story, and Moses, who lacked confidence in his own character and doubted his ability to carry out God’s orders. Moses needed God’s constant reassurance and strength throughout the process. YHWH was the one who called him to do the impossible, and YHWH was the one who sustained him from beginning to end.

God says I am YHWH. I will bring you out, like a captive out of prison. I will deliver you out of the hands of your enemy. I will redeem you – as a close relative who fights for the honor of the family. I will take you to be my own with deep covenant commitment; you will be mine and I will be yours. I will bring you into a relationship with me. I will give to you exceeding, abundantly, beyond what you could ask or imagine. And I will sustain you from beginning to end.

1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, …8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Jude :24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

This is the message of the cross, where God showed up like never before in history bringing us out of captivity, delivering us out of the hand of the enemy, redeeming us with his own blood, taking us to be his own, bringing us to himself and giving us graciously what we do not deserve. At the cross, God demonstrated his absolute supremacy over every created thing, showing his unfailing passionate commitment and love toward his people and triumph over their enemies. God will sustain us guiltless to the end. He is faithful, he will do it. He will finish his work and bring us to completion and present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment