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I love the stories in Exodus. I love how God can take a socially inadequate murderer like Moses and turn him into the rescuer of an entire nation. I love how He never condemns Moses… yes, He gets frustrated with the man, but He never condemns him. There are cause-and-effect, actions and consequences… but no condemnation. Moses doesn’t get to party in the Promised Land, but he does enjoy his Salvation.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or rather, the Story. You see, my church is reading through the Bible this year. Start to Finish. All 66 books. Pastor Tom calls it Route 66. Kind of a take on the Mother Road that winds its way through our not-so-little town. In the beginning of the year, I wasn’t too good at keeping on track. So as I (try to) do my daily readings, I also try to catch up on one or two of the Missing Days.
I also listen to the Bible online at night. It helps me sleep. It helps me process what I’ve read, and what I’m going to read. As you’ve probably guessed by now, this week I’m concentrating on the Book of Exodus.
Tonight I read Chapters 7 – 9. The start of the Plagues. And this is what I’ve learned:
Moses and Aaron were old. Old. Great-grandparent Old. Really, God? You’re going to save the nation through two old men? Whatever… and not just old men, either. Moses was a murderer! Remember way back in Chapter 2 when Moses killed the Egyptian who was beating an Hebrew? And then he ran away. Poor Moses! Hebrew by birth, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. No wonder he couldn’t talk straight!
And then there’s Aaron. The older brother. The one who became lesser. The one who had to speak for God’s chosen one. Do you think that may have caused some sibling rivalry? I’m thinking maybe just a tad.
But don’t worry. It gets better. Because this was a Real Band of Brothers. They joined forces and together approached Pharaoh in the Name of God and asked to be set free to worship God properly. God told them. They asked. Pharaoh refused. You could prob’ly set your sundial by it.
Pharaohs were usually succeeded by their first son through the Queen [Pharaoh's wife]. If Pharaoh’s first wife didn’t have a son, then the next wife’s son was chosen, and so on. It’s quite possible that the Pharaoh Moses went to confront was known to him through his early upbringing. That alone could be a huge part of the strife. “Hey, you know me, but there’s this God I’m listening to now. And, well, basically, as a ruler, you stink. Lemme go.” I’m just thinkin’…
Here’s what else I learned tonight: God never promised them freedom at the onset. He only instructed them to ask for it, and expected their obedience. He told them from the get-go what Pharaoh’s response would be. And guess what? Yup. It happened. Just.Like.That.
Every time Moses and Aaron performed a “trick” like bringing frogs out of the Nile or turning water into blood, Pharaoh’s sorcerers did the same thing. Now, I’m not a real theologian or anything, but I gotta wonder… how is doubling a curse on your land proving your point? I mean, if God brought gnats into your house, and a sorcerer doubled them, would you be all “Oh, thank you for the gnats, Great Pharaoh!”? Yeah. Me, neither.
But with each test, each Plague, something was happening in Egypt. God was getting their attention. At first, all of Egypt was against the Hebrews. After a few Plagues, even the sorcerers admitted God was greater than their own powers. And by the Seventh Plague (hail storms), the Bible says, “Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.” [Exodus 9:20, NIV.] Even Pharaoh’s own officials recognized the power of God!
Now, my reading for today stops after the Plague of Hail… but not the story. And I know how it ends. Wanna know?
Simple, right?! I think so. I find peace in knowing the ending. In knowing that all God required of Moses and Aaron and the rest of the Hebrews was persistent obedience and faith. And in knowing that God kept His word in their lifetime. And more than that, told them ahead of time what to expect.
I think that’s a pretty well thought-out battle plan, don’t you? Of course there’s a few more Plagues to deal with and the whole Red Sea parting. And let’s not forget that even with these great signs and miracles Moses lost his temper. When he struck that rock in frustration, he directed the Hebrews’ attention away from God and onto himself and therefore was not allowed into the Land of Milk and Honey [Numbers 20:12].
How many times do I lose out on earthly blessings because I’m too stubborn and frustrated and afraid? How often has God instructed me just to follow Him and obey, and I embellish? How often do I try to claim the glory and the credit for His good works?
How often do I stop in my tracks, afraid to move on? How often am I worn down with the weight of my world, wondering when my help will arrive?
Take note from Moses and Aaron: You’re never too old. You’re never worthless or unable to be redeemed. You’re never alone. You always have direction.
And always, always, always
Keep On Keepin’ On.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
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