As Christians, we tend to have this idea that God will only use these selective few righteous, God-fearing men and women. Exodus talks about this non-believing Pharaoh who hated God and hated his people. Pharaoh was a selfish, prideful, and ignorant ruler in the days of Moses. God steps down from heaven and appears to Moses and gives him instructions to go and demand that this most powerful ruler on earth release all his slaves and let them go and worship their own God. Doing this is a death sentence. It is nothing like Americans going on Facebook and talking trash about the president or another ruler. In those days you do not demand anything from Pharaoh, it’s Pharaoh who demands everything from you. So, what can we learn as 21st Century Christians from this early historic passage that seems to play no role for us? We can learn a lot, let’s explore!
Remembrance Of God!
Picture the setting. Israel has been in slavery for about 400 years. Generations of Hebrews have come and gone. By now the grandchildren of the first slaves, now themselves are old and have grandchildren of their own or they are dead and their kids have kids. All they have are the stories of a Loving God and a redeeming God that one day will save them from their pain and suffering. Many people by now have given up hope. Many might not even tell their kids about God anymore. Everything is becoming so dark and hopeless. Many are wondering if the God of Abraham forgot about them or maybe his God has died. Maybe Abraham was just an old man with weird dreams. Imagine the doubt that a lot of the Hebrews must be feeling 400 years later. Born into slavery and they watch everyone they know died in slavery or died because of slavery. Then one day, Moses comes and claims that God spoke to him. Moses, the baby that was saved and lived in the King’s palace. Moses the murderer who fled for his life. Moses returns. In Exodus6:9 it says, “Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.”
It’s understandable that the people of Israel felt a broken spirit. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Mat. 5:3. This is the heart of God to bring healing to the hurting and to restore the broken and make them like a new creation. We see it in the Exodus story and we see it again in the New Testament. God is in the business of healing and restoring the brokenness that is inside of each one of us. No matter if you’re a slave among the Hebrews or you’re a Christian among the church, or even if you’re a drug addict in the back of the Walmart shooting up. Maybe you’re homeless and you never had any interest in God, God still has an interest in you and wants to bring you healing from all your pains and sufferings.
Let’s look at what God says to Moses in Exodus 6:3-5 “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.”
‘I appeared’; ‘I also established’; ‘I have heard’; ‘I have remembered’
These four statements are incredible statements that God spoke to Moses, but he also speaks to you and me today. They are stated in the past tents. God is pointing out the works and wonders and powerful actions that he performed before in the past. When we go through seasons of doubt, pain, and suffering, we can remember that God has heard, God has appeared and He will not forget about us. Somehow, God will return, someday he will rise up again and he will do what he did and he will keep his promises, even to the 1000th generation and beyond.
What does any of this have to do with God using Pharaoh though? Pharaoh is the main dude standing in the way of God. All he has to do is get out of God’s way. The problem is that he doesn’t want to get out of God’s way and God knows that he will not get out of his way. So God is about to use Pharaoh and all his army as an example of what happens when you mess with God or you mess with his people. God uses Pharaoh as an example of what happens when you go to war against him. In the next study, we will look more at how God fights. The Plagues of Egypt seem like something evil that God does to the people of Egypt, but it’s not really towards the people of Egypt, but towards the gods of Egypt, and in the next study we will explore that.
For now, remember that God has remembered you in your suffering and pain. He has not forgotten you and he is going to do something amazing in your life that you aren’t expecting. He will fight rulers on your behalf.
If you’re not a Christian. You are a slave to sin and need to be saved from that type of slavery. Jesus offers the keys to freedom from sin and death. It’s true, hell is the 2nd death, but here on earth, we will experience death because of sin. Sin could lead to divorce, job loss, health issues, and so many other horrible things. Everyone is always asking, “Why doesn’t God deal with sin?” The answer is that he did. He came here as a man and his name was Jesus. Jesus died on a cross and paid the price for my sin and your sin. He defeated death and He offers us the same benefit and hope to defeat death. When we surrender to him and his authority, we find freedom from that sin and we can slowly unshackle the chains that hold us prisoners to whatever sin we are being held prisoner to. Jesus Alone Saves. Seek God, Know God.