The Israelites had to be wondering what God was up to as He sent plague after plague upon the Egyptians. After all, they were still clinging to His promise to deliver them while their situation kept growing worse! We find that a lot was going on alongside the unfolding plan of God to deliver His people in Exodus (7-11). Let these three realities be a help and encouragement to you as you walk through your life transition.
- There are evil forces at work in your life. We are surprised to read that the magicians of Egypt are able to match Moses and Aaron by also turning a staff into a snake and even turning the Nile water into blood (7:11, 7:21). We must accept this for what it is. There are evil and sinister forces at work in this world capable of great acts. The magicians, however, would not be able to keep matching the miracles that the God of Israel was going to put on display. The takeaway here is that although the evil one can do great acts he is still limited compared to God. To put it more precisely, Satan can only operate within the realm that God has allotted him for the time that he has given him to rule on this earth. The magicians eventually discover they are no longer able to match the miracles of God and so they declare to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God” (8:19). We must be discerning to what we see and hear around us. Although it is true that we live in an ever-increasing secular culture, it is not true to say that we do not live in a religious or spiritual age. There are evil forces at work around us. We must remember that God will be victorious. The staff of Moses swallowed up the staff of the magicians. The Word of God will always prevail. Trust and obey God.
- God faithfully keeps His people. God spared His people from the plagues. “I will make a distinction between my people and your people” (8:23). The same plagues that were instruments of judgment for Egypt were instruments for salvation for Israel. We must remember this when we cannot understand the hardship that has befallen us. Faith and trust in Christ is always the difference between living under condemnation and living in victory. God’s faithfulness to spare us from judgment is not the same as God’s sparing us from His hand of discipline (Hebrews 12:4-13). Even in times of discipline and hardship we can always find God’s faithfulness. He will keep you. He loves you. If you belong to Christ it is His desire for you to persevere and not to perish.
- God loves all peoples of the earth. There is a unique phrase found throughout Exodus. God told Moses, “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed” (3:21). The Egyptians would be “favorably disposed” towards the Israelites. The Israelites would even plunder the Egyptians before they leave Egypt! No battle. No argument. The Egyptians simply hand over their possessions! The Egyptians become favorably disposed towards the Hebrews (3:21,11:3, 12:36). There are officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord (9:20). The culmination of God’s favor is seen when Pharaoh himself asks Moses for a blessing before he lets him go (12:32). It is clear that the Egyptians ask the Israelites to leave because they were tired of suffering from the plagues (12:33), but they also saw something of God’s power displayed in the mighty plagues.
The battle confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh was not a confrontation between a shepherd and a pagan king. It was the clash of two kingdoms unfolding in grand fashion before the eyes of the world.
In what ways are you letting others see the love of God in your life transition? The way in which you and I behave before others lets them see God’s love for them.
© 2015, Phillip L. Dunn