Tag Archives: Moses

It Helps To Know The God of The Universe When You Need To Walk Through The Red Sea

In Exodus 14, God’s solution for the Israelites became the problem for the army of Pharaoh:

By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. Hebrews 11:29

Moses stretched out his hand and the waters parted miraculously and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea area on dry land. It was a miracle. It was communication between God and his man that pulled this off.

Obviously God and Pharaoh had no such communication. In fact what was driving them at the time was summed up in Exodus 15:9:

9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.

After all the miracles and signs, Pharaoh refused God and continued on his own vendetta. It was his undoing for himself and those that followed him.

For Moses, his charge from God was to “go forward” and God took care of them. Can you imagine all of them walking on the bed of the Red Sea, side-glancing up at the walls of water standing on either side of them. Do you think that maybe some of them if not most of them thought: ‘When is all this going to come crashing down on us?’ It is a very human thought! (How about Peter walking on water incident?) The walls of water didn’t come crashing down on them, they got through to the other side! Good lesson for us today! Moses and the Red Sea was a big event, as was Peter walking on water, but the principle still applies to even life’s littlest pressures. (How many ‘Red Sea trips’ do we rack up in a day?)

It is not surprising that Moses had a song to sing when they got to the other side.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2

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Thinking Soberly

The more I read about Moses, the more I see about his life and appreciate him as a leader of Israel. His turning away from his early background and relocating to the Sinai Desert shows the commitment he had. His contentment to stay with Jethro and become a sheep herder shows his humility and rejection of the things of the systems of the world.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2:15-16

It is easy to comprehend what ‘lust of the flesh’, and ‘lust of the eyes’, but ‘pride of life’ which is used once in the Word of God was something to think about.  The word ‘pride’ in Greek is ‘alazoneia’ which is the word for arrogant boasting. This is what Eve succumbed to when the Devil promised “ye shall be as gods” when he tempted her to disobey God and eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The desire for world wisdom, power and elevation overcame her heart. Ambition and dominance are strong motivating factors in human nature. We can find it everywhere. Even in the 1st century church, John warned about a man in III John who was a leader and loved preeminence in the church (Diostrephes).

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

The world’s definition of a leader is to be the top positional ruler; however, in true Biblical standards, a leader is a servant in the sense that he was looking out for others by helping them obtain the promises of God. He is a great example for us today.

 

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Moses’s Relationship With God

bible_moses_bushIn Exodus Chapter 3, God appeared to Moses through a burning bush.  Imagine turning aside to see why a plant on fire is not burning up and God starts talking to you. This might be a tad bit startling! Then imagine that God commissions you for a huge project. You might be asking yourself “Is this for real?”, “Is this too big for me?”, “How the heck can I do this?” These were all questions on Moses’s mind.  Imagine saying to God:

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all. Exodus 5:23-23 (NIV)

Moses was not some superhero in a red cape. He wasn’t sure God’s plan was working. He was a man but when he had doubts he didn’t call up a therapist, counselor, priest, psychiatrist, best buddy or even talk to himself. He didn’t crank out tweets and Facebook rants on the injustice of Pharaoh. He didn’t depend on the cable news media to keep in up on the Goshen news from Sinai. He talked to God. That is where he knew he got the best answers and the best solutions. That is meekness.

If God gives someone an assignment, he will certainly provide the grace to carry it out. God spent a lot of time working with Moses.  God had heard the cry of the Israelites who were complaining about the oppression bearing down on their lives. He was aware of what was going on and he enlisted Moses to help get them out of Goshen and back to the promised land. He warned Moses that Pharaoh was not going to cooperate with them but he told Moses he would provide him with miraculous displays of power.

In Genesis 6:1-8 God explained his relationship with the Israelites to Moses:

Then the LORD (Yahweh) said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God (Elohim) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Yahweh): 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yahweh) was I not known to them (could be a self-evident rhetorical question mark here). 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD(Yahweh), and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God (Elohim): and ye shall know that I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohim), which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD (Yahweh).*

God is ‘Yahweh’ to us today. He is relational. Yes, He is an almighty God, a creator God, but His ultimate desire is a Father to His people. He has done so much for us in the new covenant. He has and will continue to bring us up and out from under any burden and free us from any bondage. God has and will actively retrieve us with his long arm. He has and will continue to think of us as His people and He is and will continue to be our God.  As to the land and heritage we have now, He says it best:

Ephesians 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance (heritage) in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (the promised land of spiritual blessings).

Ephesians 2:5-7 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

  *Yahweh is God’s personal name. He has a relationship with His people. Elohim is His creation name as he created all that we see. El Shaddai represents His strength, the strongest in the universe

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Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?

The same sun that melts wax, hardens clay (Origen On First Principles 3.1.11)

Have you ever dealt with a difficult person and have had to finally come to the realization that no matter what you did or said to them, they would always be difficult? Some hearts are like big boulders, impossible to move. They would sooner roll over you than listen to something contrary to their way of thinking.

This morning I got up and read some posts from some of my blogging friends. I am so thankful to have met some wonderful people who ask God questions when they read the Word. It seems that Moses was always asking God questions. This could not be said about Pharaoh, even after he saw miracle after miracle in his interactions with Moses when Israel needed to leave Egypt.bible_plagues

In front of Pharaoh, Moses threw down his rod and it became a serpent. What was Pharaoh’s response? He called the magicians and they threw down their rods and they became serpents. Then Moses’ rod gobbled up their rods! Moses then turned their precious Nile into blood and the magicians did their enchantments in response. Several days later Moses multiplied frogs and so did the magicians. The next day Moses removed the frogs:

Exodus 8:9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?10 And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.

Pharaoh got quite an education, was he thankful for it? Several times in Exodus, the text reads that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart against letting the children of Israel go back to the country that God had promised them. In other places, it reads that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It seems to me that God was giving Pharaoh and all who looked on an opportunity to see God, but Pharaoh was having none of it. Instead he decided for himself how he reacted. That is his problem, not God’s.

In the next episode, when lice poured in all over the land of Israel, even the magicians threw up their hands:

Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

The magicians recognized that God was involved. God is love. God doesn’t cause men to reject Him. People reject Him. Pharaoh was responsible for his own heart. There are three Hebrew words used for ‘to harden’ in this record. Putting them together it can be seen that he allowed his heart to tighten up and become severe and heavy (Link).

By our own choice, the sinews of our heart can remain tender to God because we are strengthened by the work of Jesus Christ and the presence of the holy spirit and the knowledge of His Word that has been provided.  With thankfulness, we can ask God questions and expect answers knowing that with all that we have today he loves us and certainly does not cause hardening of the heart. In today’s world, this is a great aerobic-like lesson of grace when we allow the fresh air of God to bless our lives.

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