Friday, February 24, 2012

120224 - Exodus 10-11 - Raised up to show God's power

Friday SOAP: Furious yet impotent, Pharaoh seals his own fate in his (he thinks) final dismissal of Moses. The Lord's hooks were in his jaws - he was helpless to do Israel any harm, and even to turn from his determined course. In all his self-importance, he still served the purposes of God in showing Israel that Egypt's gods were empty, the true God was all-powerful and Moses was His chosen leader. Though they foolishly looked back with fondness on the foods of their captivity, (16:3, Numbers 11:5), and though they remained idolatrous (Exodus 32:4), they never flirted with the gods of Egypt.

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S: And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more. (Ex 10:28-29). …And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger." (11:8b)

O: Even in his rage and his hardening by the Lord (10:27), you can just see the confusion and impotence of Pharaoh contrasted with the power of God. It sounds like the verses between Ex. 10:29 and 11:8, God speaks to Moses, to tell him what to do and say; so we have a unified dialog in Exodus 10:16-11:8. Pharaoh's stubbornness is remarkable, even awe-inspiring. But so is his helplessness. He has no power to really harm Moses, as he promised; nor can he reverse his course of action at this point, for God's plan is to show the vanity of all the gods of Egypt, (Ex. 12:12, 18:10-11), including Pharaoh himself. Although the Israelites demonstrated persistent idolatry, they didn't seem to ever return to any worship the Egyptian gods, though they had lived there 400 years.

A: How appropriately is "vanity" a synonym for "pride." We are ultimately powerless to stand up against God, and only do so to our own destruction. "Woe to the world because of offenses," as Christ said, "For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!" (Matthew 18:7) God had a clear purpose in Pharaoh's pride and stubbornness and he was helpless but to fulfill it, to his eternal shame and regret. Vanity is also a synonym for idolatry, which is appropriate, since this kind of rebellion against God is self-idolatry in any case, and literal idolatry in Egypt's case. Paul wrote, "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Corinthians 11:19) Like the minor heresies we face in our fellowships today, this giant heresy revealed Moses as a chosen leader.

P: Lord, thank you for this picture of the vanity of rebellion and idolatry. Thank you for the picture of redemption. We have many reasons to uniquely exalt you because of your work in Exodus.

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