It is hard to listen to the news most days: murders, assaults, gas attacks, knife attacks, bombings, accidents ... and it goes on and on. One bad to horrible item after another. Mixed in amidst all the death are stories of corruption, theft, unfaithfulness, social media disparaging of one another ... and it too goes on and on. Endless drama.
How does one keep his head above the fray?
Since you are like me, you'd probably love to put a stop to it. Or dream of having the perfect answer to just shut some people up. Or to see justice happen swiftly. Instead of taking the latest school shooter to trial, speed up his execution. We all know he is guilty. There is no doubt. Why wait?
I imagine as one reads about the Israelites being enslaved by Pharaoh, that they wanted God to punish the Egyptian nation for their brutal enslavement. Not tomorrow ... but today. Why wait? Destroy them now. Especially when Moses came and said God would rescue them. Why wait to punish them, do it now!
The thoughts of revolting and enacting vengeance might have been whispered in the mud pits, construction sites, and late meals at home by the fire. Dreams of crushing the oppressors may have filled their hearts and minds as time slowly marched on.
Hope seemed real, when Moses came and confronted Pharaoh, telling him to let the people go. But the only result was that the work conditions got even worse for Israel. And when this happened, they were angry with Moses and wished God would judge him! (Exodus 5:19-21).
Afterward the ten plagues began to fall upon Egypt, one at a time, and only after a warning was given: blood, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and then finally the first born. This was probably not the way the Israelite people wanted to judge Egypt, but it was God's way. A way that revealed Himself to Egypt. No one could possibly do what the plagues did. They were only possibly by divine supernatural power originating from the One true Living God: "I AM" (YAHWEH).
In one final act of judgement, God destroyed Pharaoh's army by drowning them in the Red Sea, as they tried to follow the people of Israel. The Lord's purpose was so "the Egyptians would know that I am the Lord, when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen (Ex 14:18)."
God is our Judge, but He wants people to know that He is LORD, so they can come to know Him, and turn from the error or their rebellious sin-filled ways. He is our sovereign Judge, but also our Loving Father who desires that all would be saved and that none would perish.
Did the plan work? Yes.
Exodus 9:20 tells us that officials of Pharaoh that feared the word of the Lord went out and brought their livestock and servants inside to protect them from the coming plague of hail. And Exodus 12:38 tells us that many other people left Egypt with Israel. Many other people would include a large number of Egyptians, perhaps even some of those officials who feared the word of the Lord.
Whenever we are tempted to wish for swift revenge, or judgment, maybe we should hesitate and let God take care of it (directly by his hand or through people). He'll do it in a fair and equitable way, but also in a way that gives the opportunity for one to turn away from their old life of sin and embrace a new life by receiving and believing on the name of Jesus as LORD and Savior.
Pastor Terry, his wife and family came to Suedberg in 2003. There have great times, good times, and well, not so good times. But through it all God has been good. This blog will share the goodness of God as seen in the midst of the great, the good, and the not so good of our world.