IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: WITH A STRONG HAND PHARAOH WILL LET MY PEOPLE GO!
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
We’ve seen in Exodus 1 how God’s people multiplied in Egypt, and Pharaoh feared their growing strength and began to oppress them as slaves, even killing their newborn sons. Then in Exodus 2 came the birth of Moses, and the ironic, miraculous story of how Pharaoh’s own daughter “drew him up,” rescued him, from the waters of the river that otherwise would have killed him. Then, when Moses grew up and aspired to deliver his people, he acted out of turn. His own people rejected him, and Pharaoh sought to kill him, but God drew him up out of Egypt and brought him safely to the wilderness in Midian, where he married and lived for 40 years.
We find the children of Israel under the cruel hand of Pharaoh being held in a land of captivity,
Egypt represents the land of slavery that each of us has come from.
Many different pharaohs have ruled over the children of God.
God’s children which were created to live in freedom and victory found themselves trapped under the wight of a cruel taskmaster!
But there was a man whose heart was broken over the condition of God’s people, Moses!
But as Moses went and confronted Pharaoh the situation only got worse and he began to lose hope!
“For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
There are times when we think deliverance will never come.
So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
It’s hard to miss Moses’s jaded, dejected, accursatory tone: he asks why God had “done evil” and “why [in the world!] did you ever send me?” It’s classic over-speak: “since I came to Pharaoh” — it was just one encounter — “you have [certainly!] not delivered your people at all.” But despite his edge and deep discouragement, Moses does one vital thing right. Verse 22: “Moses turned to the Lord.” It is not a sign of strength that he is so quickly shaken, but it is a sign of health that he goes to God. He didn’t turn elsewhere. He didn’t quit and walk away. Moses turned to the Lord.
Moses was discouraged because he was too impressed by Pharaoh and not impressed enough by God.
Many Christians find themselves in the same place. They find it hard to trust God and believe that He is for them. This is why Paul says we must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2). The children of Israel needed their minds renewed, and we do also.
Ezekiel 20:5-9 shows why God was so small and Pharaoh was so big in Israel’s heart during this time. Ezekiel explained that they trusted the gods of their oppressors, worshipping the gods of the Egyptians. This is why they didn’t trust God, and His messenger Moses.
God says “Now” in verse 1 because Pharaoh’s refusal and increase of the people’s burdens are part of God’s plan. Not only will God deliver his people from Egypt, but God will so utterly overwhelm and defeat Pharaoh that he will send, even drive, them out. “Now,” God says — because Pharaoh has refused (according to plan!), and because he has acted wickedly to increase the peoples’ oppression — “Now the deliverance will be even more drastic.” Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people go will not only flip to eventual permission, but he will send them out — he will even drive them. “Now,” God says, “because it’s gotten worse, it will, in the end, be even better.”
For us, God wants to be more than God Almighty – He wants us also to know Him as a personal, promise making and promise keeping God, whom we can trust in everything.
“The supreme need in every hour of difficulty and depression is a vision of God. To see Him is to see all else in proper proportion and perspective.”
“When all human help has failed, and the soul, exhausted and despairing, has given up hope from man, God draws near, and says, I AM.”
I am the LORD: In reminding Moses of the great name of God (Yahweh), He confirmed that he remained the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God, who would absolutely fulfill His promise to Moses.
This is such an important lesson for us to learn along with Moses about God’s surprising way of doing things. God is not afraid to have things get worse before he makes them better. In fact, he delights to do it just this way. This is just like God. In the seeming setbacks of his people, God is producing for us a greater glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). He takes longer than we would have chosen, and in the end, he effects an even greater victory than we could have hoped. When we pray with Paul in Ephesians 3:20, for God “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,” he doesn’t usually take the path of least resistance. He leads down a path more difficult than we would have chosen for ourselves to give us an even greater deliverance than we could have asked or thought.
For us today, this is what we’re doing every time we open the Bible, and secondarily, every time we remember the various specific manifestations in our lives of God’s past goodness to us. We’re fighting discouragement and hopeless by remembering God’s past faithfulness which most certainly will continue in his perfect timing, not our preferred timing.
At this point in history, the past acts of God to remember were his appearing to the patriarchs and establishing his covenant with them. Then, after the exodus, that would be the main past action for God’s people to remember. Now, for us as Christians, we have not only the whole biblical history of God’s actions for his people, but we have the single most significant act, when God himself, in the person of his Son, gave himself for us at the cross to rescues us from our sins.
Into Moses’s dejection and discouragement, God speaks sevenfold hope in the form of what he will do for his people: bring them out, deliver them, redeem them, take them to be his, be their God, bring them into the promised land, and give it to them to possess. God doesn’t only remind Moses of the past, but paints for him a vision of the future — and not just a possible or likely vision but a reality as certain as he is God. When God makes promises about the future, it’s only a matter of time. None can thwart his plans. Not even the mightiest nation on earth. None can stay his hand. Not even the world’s most powerful ruler.
And so it was with Jesus. When he came to his defining and most intimidating work, his disciples fell asleep while he prayed, and scattered when he was arrested. Yet he continued on. God continued on to save his people, despite them not listening to his prophet. And Jesus continued on to secure this Table for us, and the salvation it represents, despite his people’s sleeping and scattering and denying him. And the heart of his salvation is his coming to us, in the present, right now, as the great “I am” made flesh, who not only promises to be with us, but says, in this very moment, “I am with you.”
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