FEEDING TIME

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MEAT OR INFANT FORMULA?

 

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.  The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.  Exodus 15:1-3

 

Moses was celebrating in the Holy Spirit.  Being inspired with a song is a gift from the Lord himself.  He was celebrating as David did when the Arc of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem.  When you have a great gift from God, a time of celebration is wonderful to rejoice in.  The Holy Spirit is the author of this joy, but people do not always recognize the prophet who enjoys fellowship with him.  They can sing a different tune in a short time.  They think he has gone from hero to zero if they don’t get their way.

 

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?  Exodus 15:22-24

 

Moses turned to his provider, the Lord, for help.  The Lord pointed to a cure, and an admonition.  He presented them with the biggest word in any language: ”IF”.

 

And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, IF thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.  Exodus 15:25-26

 

God would provide another tree (cross) that would cure the poison of the curse forever:

 

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.  Galatians 3:13

 

Israel was almost ready for the law now.  They need to see that they can not live by good works, and that lesson will be provided for them.  IF they can keep his statutes they will be fine.  They don’t yet know that for human flesh this is impossible.  Israel is being taught like small children for now.  Remember how a two-year old behaves?

 

And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.  And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger Exodus 16:1-3

 

It is interesting to see that this place is called the wilderness of SIN.  It is probably a miserable desert, not the dessert they enjoyed in Egypt.  There are no delicacies or big meat roasts here.  They again consider Moses a murderer intent on their destruction.

 

Israel has seen a few things that are available to obedient children.  They have seen some miracles from their Father in Heaven.  Like little babies, they try to become the boss of the whole house when it’s feeding time.  Their screams are heard in heaven.  It is left to Moses to “mother” the infants of faith.  Their father gives Moses an answer for their crying.

 

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.  And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.  Exodus 16:4-5

 

God is giving them help…with strings attached.  There is a test in this gift.  It will trip them up if they are disobedient.  Can you imagine what will happen if we give a two-year old a chance to make a choice on his own?  Their favorite word now is “NO!” and they will try it often. 

 

I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.  And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  Exodus 16:12-17

 

OK; we have a limit, but some gathered more or less.  Wasn’t that predictable?

 

And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.  And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.  And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.  And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.  And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.  And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.  Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.  Exodus 16:19-26

 

God demonstrated that he had a rule that would not be broken.  They had to do what they were told.  If you place your fingers on the top of the stove, you will be hurt.  What is there about the words “thou shalt not” that you don’t understand?

 

And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.  And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?  See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.  So the people rested on the seventh day.  Exodus 16:27-30

 

We see Israel behaving like infants, but we can not mock them.  They are a preview of our own Christian walk.  We come to Christ with no teaching, and have to trust our church leaders to give good directions.  New Christians see a few miracles because God gives us some revelation to encourage us.  Sometimes we think we are the saviors of the world because we have had this great discovery.  We get excited and try to get all of our friends saved…in the bar on Friday night!  Then we discover that God has a little power to spank us too!  But he lets them see the spoiled manna without punishment.  He will one day give them the real bread of life.

 

And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.  Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?  Exodus 17:1-2

 

Just because we leave the place of sin, doesn’t mean sin doesn’t still have a place in us.  I may not go back to the bar, but I may still have a bottle in the refrigerator at home!  Faith will wait on The Lord, but unbelief will want answers in a hurry.  This is a basic weapon our enemy tries against us.  We know we have a provider, and expect him to answer when we cry, like babies.  We know the promises of God are true, but we try to push him to prove himself.  He tested our savior with this temptation too. 

 

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Matthew 4:5-7

 

We may expect God to save us, but not to run to rescue us in foolishness.  He is our father, but not obliged to spend his work day chasing us off the freeway.  In a reasonable pursuit he is there for us.  If we manufacture a risk against God given wisdom we are at risk.  If I accidentally drink poison I have mercy, but not if I do it to tempt him.  Perhaps it is unwise to handle snakes as a proof of faith too!

 

Now we can see that the Old Testament has a place in our learning forever.  It reminds us that we were carnal when God found us.  We are reminded of the grace we received so that we will be patient with others in the infancy of their faith.  We still need to teach, but we can allow time for the discovery process.  Jonah went the wrong way, but God did provide him a ride home when he recognized his error.  It is the believer’s choice to travel first class, or to go as “whale bait”!

 

 

Remember Amy Grant’s song, “Fat Baby”?

 

know a man, maybe you know him, too.

You never can tell; he might even be you.

He knelt at the altar, and that was the end.

Hes saved, and that’s all that matters to him.

 

His spiritual tummy, it cant take too much.

One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch.

On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best,

And gives his language a spiritual rest.

 

He’s just a faaa…

He’s just a fat little baby!

Wa, wa, waaaaa….

He wants his bottle, and he don’t mean maybe.

He sampled solid foods once or twice,

But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice.

Ba, ba, ba, ba…ba, ba…ba, ba!

 

Hes been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood,

But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud.

He knows the books of the Bible and john 3:16.

He’s got the biggest king James you’ve ever seen!

 

I’ve always wondered if hell grow up someday.

He’s momma’s boy, and he likes it that way.

If you happen to see him, tell him I said,

He’ll never grow, if he never gets fed.

 

He’s just a fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fa-at, fat…

Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fa-at, fat…

Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, faaaaat…

…baby…

 

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/a/amy+grant/fat+baby_20007610.html

THE ARMY OF THE LORD

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And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.  Exodus 12:51

 

AFTER 430 YEARS IN EGYPT, ISRAEL IS NOW AN ARMY, in size and organization by the twelve tribes.  God ordained a feast of memorial for all time to come for this.

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.  And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.  This day came ye out in the month Abib.  And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.

Exodus 13:1-5

 

As God spared the firstborn of Israel and took those of Egypt, they are called to offer their firstborn beasts and their firstborn children to the Lord.  The firstborn children will be consecrated to the Lord.  The animals are sacrificed, but the children are redeemed.

 

They gathered the remains of Joseph to deliver them to the Promised Land.  He would be buried in the land God had given to Israel.  But he would not arrive any time soon.

 

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:  Exodus 13:17

 

The army of the Lord was not ready for battle yet.  Fresh from bondage, they had no heart for a fight.  They were used to letting someone else tell them what to do, and living in the security of the armies of Egypt.  They were too soft for war.  They were still of the old life, not yet changed into a committed confident army.  They had to travel through the long wilderness route to get hardened for the bigger battles to come.

 

And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.  Exodus 13:20-22

 

As they approached the edge of the wilderness, God established evidence of his presence that they could see at all times.  They had a visible sign of his glory with them.  If they had any fears that night, they had this powerful miracle to give them peace.  They could sleep with assurance.  They would need that assurance the next day.

 

And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?  And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:  And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.  And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.  But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.  Exodus 14:5-9

 

This is not a sight the former slaves want to see.  An Egyptian army was equipped with the latest military technology, and experienced warriors.  They were the great killing machine of their day.  The Prince of this world was challenging the God of Israel even in the sight of the pillar of smoke and fire. 

 

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.  And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. Exodus 14:10-12

 

They cried out to the Lord, but without much faith.  If they expected God to answer, they expected Moses to take the blame.  The words they say are of unbelief.  They do not trust God yet, nor his servant either.  He had to be their teacher and example of faith.

 

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.  Hebrews 11:24-27

 

When I was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1966, we were treated to a fearful event.  Getting off the bus in Fort Knox Kentucky, we were greeted by a sweet, kindly, group of screaming demons known as Drill Sergeants.  They made us grab our heavy bags and “RUN, don’t walk, you MAGGOTS!” all the way to our assembly area.  God had to train an army, and he had his drill sergeant get up early to greet them.  The Lord provided his own source of stress though, with Pharaoh’s help.  This army will shape up just fine.  Moses had already made the wilderness journey, and found a life in this new land.  He knew the way, and the one who kept his walk safe.  He knew what heavy training could do for them.

 

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  Exodus 14:13-14

 

We need to know that we have help when we are beyond our ability.  When we can no longer lift the weight, when we can not gut out another repetition, we have help.  Rest in the knowledge that our trainer will bear the load on himself.  We understand the concept, but do we count on him when we really need him?  I get better results on the leg press machine when I let go of the handles, and raise my hands to the Lord for help, even without the trainer helping.

 

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.  Exodus 14:16-18

 

God placed himself between the Egyptians and the children of Israel so they could not approach them.  Then he led them into the sea itself.

 

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  Exodus 14:21-23

 

No, this was not a Hollywood special effect, but a fairly natural seeming event, a strong east wind.  Perhaps this had happened before, and the Egyptians felt confidence to go ahead.  Still there were all the previous warnings of Moses, and the waters were still in sight.  Does anger make men blind and mad at the same time?  There are a few men of God in this age still, and they can also go un-heeded.  If a man has predicted change faithfully in the past, it may be wise to consider the possibility that he is trying to help you avoid some great loss. 

 

And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.  Exodus 14:24-25

 

Perhaps the sea bed had the properties of Texas mud “gumbo”.  It sticks to everything and gathers huge clumps on wheels, feet, and horse’s hooves.  The weight may have contributed to failing wheel bearings.  Perhaps the army of Egypt still thought this was a natural event in progress.  If one is blinded by pride, it can become a supernatural event.  When good men try unsuccessfully to warn us, we can discover the nature of an angry God.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.  Exodus 14:26-28

 

Israel has faced its greatest fear, and found its greatest hope.  That hope was not in their own strength, but in the power of their God.  This was a cornerstone of their courage for the future.

 

Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.  And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses. Exodus 14:30-31

 

Or did they?

 

FOOTNOTE:

 

Isn’t this really about the modern Christian?  This testament was prepared to show us how we behave as new Christians.  We are not ready to do spiritual warfare because we are too close to our old bad habits.  New believers sometimes start off complaining or challenging their leaders.  But these patriarchs show us good examples even before there were New Testament epistles to draw from.  Watch them demonstrate the spirit of the law before Jesus came to spell it out for us.  And don’t throw the Old Testament away; consider the relevance of every part of god’s word.

THE SPOILS OF WAR

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GOD IS PREPARING A FINAL FAREWELL FOR PHARAOH.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.  Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.  And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.  Exodus 11:1-3

 

God moved the Egyptians to make loans of treasures to their Jewish neighbors.  They saw what God can do, and were offered a chance to invest in the future of Israel.  Such a deal!  Actually, the Egyptian church may reap great rewards in heaven today.  They are Christians under persecution in an age of jihad.  Like other Christians in Muslim lands, they will be honored for their stand of faith at God’s throne.  In Moses time they were just beginning to discover what was to come.  At least those who had wealth were not in Pharaoh’s army!

 

And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:  And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.  And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.  But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.  Exodus 11:4-7

 

Pharaoh is unable to let the Jews go, but this will be the final test.  This is to become a monument event in history.  All mankind will receive a notification of the deliverance of the blood of the lamb.  This is the Lord’s Passover, a type of the offering for the sin of man.

 

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:  And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:  And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.  Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.  And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.  And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  Exodus 12:3-12

 

They must mark the door post with the blood of the lamb.  They must eat it fully dressed with their bags packed to move out.  They must eat fast, to be ready to leave immediately.  It is time to order the march.

 

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.  Exodus 12:13-14

 

This is to be their security check, to allow them to live unharmed for the move to the promised land.  It is also to be a memorial feast forever after this.  We still keep the feast to a lamb who took our place for deliverance from the angel of death.

 

And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.  And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.  And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.  Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.  Exodus 12:29-32

 

Pharaoh was at last moved to release the people who’s God had cursed his own household with death. 

 

And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:  And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.  Exodus 12:35-.6

 

The Egyptians had feared an armed revolt by the Jews, but this never happened.  Israel was without sin, and earned their just wages in the end.  There was no carnal warfare, but there was a spiritual warfare.  The spoils of war were taken by the conquerors.  God had given them victory without military conflict.  His weapons are mighty, and war is childish.

 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 

We have a more perfect weaponry in the spiritual realm, for mature warriors of the cross.

 

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  1 Corinthians 13:10-11 

 

Fighting with weapons, physical strength, lawyers, and government gangs is immature and childishly weak before God’s way.  We need to hear our Captain, and submit to his plan of battle.  In humility we find our real strength and spoil the strong and wise.

 

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Corinthians 1:25-29

 

How many times have men bullied others in their physical strength.  Yet when challenged, they often back down to righteousness.  God has his glory in our weakness when we trust him for our courage.  We must walk in his commandments to enjoy this kind of power though.  We lose power as Sampson did when we begin to take shortcuts.

 

I have found many bodybuilders have a need for more strength.  Their insecurity can be insatiable, as they continue to need more size and power.    Often these are gentle people with insecurities from old self image issues.  Without knowing the source of strength, they can feel unfulfilled.  I know Christ confidence is greater than self confidence.  I long to share this source of peace with my friends who can not find quiet in their other quest.  They have great dedication and work hard for their goals.  If they discover the power of faith they can be giants in Jesus.  They have the determination to stay on course for a great journey.

 

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.  And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.  It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.  Exodus 12:40-42

A BRIEF NOTE

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These studies follow my own discovery of scriptures and the Arizona wilderness.  The photos are all here in Arizona.  The area closely resembles Israel and Egypt, and I took many retreats to areas that resemble the original settings.  I burned my passover lamb at Roosevelt Lake, which is nearly identical to the north end of the Red sea.  If you visit Arizona, contact me for a jeep trail, campout, or hike in God’s amazing creation.  Get ready to see the stars!

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TRUE REPENTANCE

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THE PHARAOH REPENTS OF HIS SIN…or does he?

 

And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.  Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.  And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’s.  But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.  Exodus 9: 27-30

 

Moses was not fooled, because God had already revealed that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart.  Being able to hear God is an asset in life.  We can be aware of some of the devices of our enemies with his help even today.

 

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.  And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses. Exodus 9:34-35

 

Once again Moses is before the Pharaoh to warn of a new plague, of locusts this time.  Again he is denied and the plague begins. 

 

And the locust went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.  For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.  Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.  Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.  Exodus 10:14-17

 

Pharaoh admits he sins against the God of Moses.  He does not claim this is HIS god.  Here is a key.  Pharaoh is not a brother in the Lord, so we know he is of another father.  Satan has many children, and some come in the garments of righteousness. 

 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Matthew 7:15-20

 

Pharaoh has religion and prophets too.  His treatment of his fellow man reveals who his father is.  Our relationship with neighbors will reveal who our father is.  Pharaoh rules by oppressing others, the power of the oppressive pyramid.  This is the rule of law, enforced by punishment.  Moses rules by example and encouragement, seeking release from bondage and rules.  As Matthew warns us, we can watch for the fruit of goodness.  False churches will attack and hurt with thorns and thistles.  A true church will visit the widows and restore the fallen.  God came to heal the sick, not the healthy.  The Good father helps the children of new faith to grow strong.  These are the fruit of his vine.

 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  John 15:1-10

 

Notice that we must KEEP his commandments, not just hear or say them.  We are saved by faith, having heard his words.  But that faith must manifest actions to prove the faith.  Pharaoh can’t manifest faith because he does not believe the words about the God of Moses.  The words are a map, but our footprints reveal where our acts have taken us.  James has some thoughts on this in the New Testament too:

 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  James 2:17-20

 

This Pharaoh does not show the kindness that Joseph received of his predecessor.  His deeds are cruel, even while he speaks of repentance.  He says he will follow, but his footprints are not on the path of life.  The evidence is seen by man and God, and the results are predictable.  We have a map to check, and it is called the Bible.  We can see if a leader is on the path of life by this chart.

 

And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.  Exodus 10:19-20

 

We know that the Lord had already judged against the Pharaoh, so this is a lesson for Israel now.  The chosen people need to see God at work to build their faith.  We still need signs today, as we forget to trust the Word of God.  These records help our memory.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.  And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:  They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.  And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.  And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.  Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.  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.

Exodus 10:21-29

 

God is our light, and true darkness is the absence of God himself.  We often live near big cities now, where lights are on 24 hours each day.  Deep caves lack natural light, but there is hope even there.  God can penetrate natural darkness.  When he removes himself from man, the darkness can be felt in our heart.

 

Moses heard Pharaoh say he would not see him again as a prediction of the future.  Pharaoh has spoken a prophesy, even as the High Priest spoke against Jesus many centuries later.  Being a prophet of God is not the same as being a man of god. 

 

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Matthew 7:21-23

 

If our leaders can show such power, and still fail, how can we be safe?  We have a fellowship with the Trinity to guide us.  When we pray to God, we have answers from the Father.  Reading the bible, which is The Word, the life of Jesus, gives us fellowship with The Son.  Fellowship with other believers exposes us to the work of the Holy Spirit that comes through their fellowship with him.  Our pastors are usually good examples of balance in this trinity relationship.  If any part of our leadership is out of balance, we will have help from the other members.  We need to give time to each for our sure guidance.

 

If we know to balance diet, exercise, and rest, we should understand this balance as well.  You have a spiritual strength training going on now.  Your spiritual trainer came to you from heaven in person to give you the program for your life.  He won the greatest contest on earth as an example.  He wrote the plan in a book that delivers the bread and water of life.  Now we can grow in the greatest strength of all. 

 

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

 

FOOTNOTE:

By now I hope you have seen that the words of the bible are interactive.  God left us his own life in text that lives in our hearts.  You may have seen how these words answer your daily struggles.  My words can only illuminate what is already written by a higher authority.  The answers are already all there. 

 

This blog was first published on another site which limited what I could share.  Between 50 and 200 readers viewed it daily, but I could not express the full power of what is in this Bible.  My readership is now down to one or two readers daily, but I hope to remain faithful to publish what I feel that God is illuminating from his word.  Please feel free to use the comment features, or to contact me on Facebook.  I appreciate a few faithful friends more than many who are not drawn to God’s word.  His sheep know their master’s voice.

 

David Luther

ENDURING HARDNESS

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COUNTERING THE COUNTERFITS

 

God used Moses to demonstrate power greater than the magicians of Egypt.  The proof was similar to the magic of the enemy, but just a little more powerful.  Again Moses went to demonstrate the power of God.  He turned the rivers into blood first.

 

Again the magic of Satan was comparable in imitating the curses of God.  The magicians turned water into blood too.  But Satan only knows how to curse, and only God can bless us.  Satan has a reason to curse, considering his destiny with fire.  He just wants to take us to outer darkness with him. 

 

After seven days, a new curse was pronounced, and again the Egyptians duplicated the plague of frogs:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.  And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.  And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.  Exodus 8:5-7

 

Has anyone noticed the stupidity of the people who are deceived here?  Egypt has been cursed with frogs coming out of the wood work.  We step on them, sleep with them, and find them in our food.  So what do the magicians do?  They prove their genius by making the problem worse.  “See how great we are?  We just gave you some more frogs!”  It sounds like the Hezbollah solution to me.  “Israel made us Palestinians miserable, so we will punish them by killing the Palestinians in Israel with our rocket artillery.  Now all of Lebanon can share in our glorious liberation of Palestine too; after you rebuild Lebanon that is.”

 

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.  Exodus 8:8

 

Pharaoh is no fool though; he knows who can turn the plague off.  His experts surely can’t, so he asks Moses to call off his God. 

 

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  Exodus 8:15

 

Well that was a lousy deal, but God knew how to deal with a louse:  with lice!

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.  And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.  Exodus 8:16-17

 

The magicians failed to duplicate this, but they were dumb enough to try.  Pharaoh may have been a smart fellow, but he was not free to follow common sense.  His heart was hardened.  No amount of education or worldly wisdom can make us right when our heart is wrong.

 

Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  Exodus 8:19

 

OK, here we go again.  Moses, get out of bed, it is time for another day’s work.  Now we are getting ready to really bug the Egyptians. 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.  Exodus 8:20-21

 

Wow, this is really getting old, but at least the Jews don’t have to share this curse. 

 

And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.  And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?  We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.  Exodus 8:25-28

 

Moses finally gets the Pharaoh to yield, but with a few strings attached.  Moses wants to get out of sight so the Egyptians do not try for vengeance.  The Pharaoh gives his permission…but he lied!  (What a surprise!)

 

By now some Jews may be wondering if this trip to Egypt was a good idea.  Perhaps Joseph owes them an apology for bringing them into bondage.  “He knew they didn’t know God, he should have known better.  These Egyptians have a form of godliness, but deny his power.  Before Moses came along, we worked hard, but ate well.”  God prepared Moses with the next stage of his plan of battle. 

 

Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.  And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. Exodus 9:3-4

 

This was done, but it was not enough.  Even as the cattle of Egypt all died:

 

And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.  And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Exodus 9: 6-7

 

Notice that Egypt lost their herds, but Israel still had theirs.  Everyone still needs meat, and the Jews had plenty.  Later we will see that another plague kills some Egyptian herds off again, and this suggests that new Egyptian herds came from nearby.  Guess where the Egyptians went to get food?  I don’t think the Jews can ever miss offering “such a deal”! 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.  And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.  And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.  And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.  Exodus 9:8-11

 

This time the magicians got the message.  There comes a time when we must consider if our leaders might be wrong.  When God is in the message, it will be pretty clear to understand!  Egypt was punished, but their people were beginning to see the light.  Pharaoh may have been as a devil to them, but Moses was called to be as a God in their sight.

 

We all struggle with opposition in life.  At times we can be surprised to find God drawing our enemies to favor us.  We forget that he has sheep who are lost.  He can use us to bring them back to the fold.  We must take care not to oppose everyone, remembering to invite them to consider God.  We do not war with flesh, but with the spirit that is tempting them to sin. 

 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11-12

 

God sent Moses to war against his spiritual counterpart again.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.  Exodus 9:13-15

 

This plague again afflicts the Egyptians, but not all of them.  Some Egyptians got mercy as they believed on the Lord.  God has people in the darkest places, and there is hope for those who have a tender heart.

 

Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.  He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:  And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.  And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.  So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.  Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.  Exodus 9:19-26

 

Those Egyptians who feared the Lord found the beginning of wisdom, and safety.  Here is an outreach to gentiles even before the time of Christ.  Jesus built on this foundation later.

 

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  Matthew 5:43-44

 

We need to remember that there may be good souls in the darkest places.  Jesus wrote to the church in Revelation.  There are a few faithful souls in the worst of churches.  Each faces temptation, and the Egyptians were like one of these churches:

 

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  Revelation 2:12-17

 

These Egyptians may have been like this church that has many evils surrounding it.  Their faith would endure in a land of false Gods.  Still they can behave like the world, and cause some Jews to fall into sin by their liberalism.  Nicolaitanes” were those who were inclined to rule over others by force, like the Pharaoh.  Moses was a guide, offering encouragement to the children.  Jesus, as “The Vine” sacrificed himself for the faith of his new followers, his branches.  One organization is a heavy pyramid, and the other is a tree of life that sends nourishment to the fruit.  One has a tyrant on top, and the other a supportive patriarch at its root. 

 

We see a few friends trapped today in the place of spiritual Egypt, and we need to remember them in our prayers.  Jesus encouraged the few good believers to continue in spite of the errors of their leaders.  They need our prayers.

 

 

FAMILY REUNION

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ACCEPTANCE BY THE AFFLICTED

 

Our expectations of family and our realities do not always match up.

 

And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.  And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:  And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.  And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.  Exodus 4:27-31

 

Moses found his family and nation ready to accept deliverance from God.  Everyone was ready to come together in agreement in the Lord.  Pharaoh was not quite as ready to be agreeable though.  The name of the God of the Hebrews did not impress this king of Egypt.  He just made their labor more difficult.

 

REJECTED BY THE SAME PEOPLE

 

The people later demanded that God judge Moses for the evil they now endured.  Moses even began to question his direction himself.  He challenged God to explain his failure to deliver the people.  But God had already told him that the Pharaoh would resist him.  God reminded him who was boss:

 

CONFIRMATION BY ONE

 

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.  And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.  And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.  Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:  And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.  Exodus 6:2-8

 

What is there about “I AM THE LORD” that you don’t understand?  The people could not remember who was boss either, and they refused to believe Moses.  Finally God tells him that he has been made as a God to Pharaoh. 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.  Exodus 7:1-5 

 

The stakes have been raised, and Pharaoh is to see the power this time.  But he will NOT be free to make a common sense decision.  His heart will be hardened so Egypt can see who the boss is too.  HE is LORD.

 

This may seem unfair, but God is building a case for much greater things in the future.  One king is prevented from hearing the truth so we can hear it now.  Jesus also spoke in parables so evil men would not understand and be saved.

 

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.  Luke 8:10

 

Some are already known by God, and their evil will be barred from gaining eternal life.  They have committed to a religion that does not follow the rules of faith. 

 

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.  2 Timothy 3: 1-9

 

Israel needed to see a reminder of truth and faith.  They had been living in comfort under Joseph, and needed to be weaned from wealth and complacency.  A season of bondage had prepared them to consider leaving their hosts again.  They still needed to see the advantage of walking by faith, instead of trusting the world.  We too can learn to trust the comfort of prosperity, and forget the God who is our source.  We can begin to take shortcuts in our walk.

 

DEMONSTRATIONS

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 

Exodus 7:8-10

 

COUNTERFITS

 

This was a powerful spiritual demonstration.  But Satan has always had power in this world too.  The magic of Egypt will demonstrate power as well:

 

Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.  Exodus 7:11-12

 

This was a Satanic power greater than we see even in this evil age.  The world is impressed by the power of Satan, and we should know that this is real.  The saints should not recoil in horror at the evidence of evil spirits in this world.  Fear not:  THE LORD is greater. 

 

In our society we have been shocked by the power of mind altering drugs over our youth.  Now we see drugs giving power to athletes as well.  They gain real strength, even while using banned substances.  There is a form of witchcraft in our modern world.  Are we to be impressed by the power of Satan?  Perhaps the church should take care not to entertain the enemy.

 

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,  To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  Titus 3:1-2

 

This says that we should obey the laws of our nation and states.  It is NOT a suggestion.  Christians must obey our laws, including traffic and drug laws.  These are not laws that resist our Christian beliefs.  They are made for our safety.  Today we see law officers being arrested for violating the laws they are paid to enforce. 

 

Do we have the right to kill an abortion doctor?  Is an athlete free to use steroids because a Christian is not under law?  But then is a Christian free to gossip or tell his pastor about another person’s weaknesses?  The bible has given us instructions to avoid these things, and yet churches are destroyed this way regularly today. 

 

If we are shocked to see athletes caught in adultery or drug use, why should we accept violations of God’s commands by the church?  Perhaps we only need to verify that basic Christian behavior is being taught to new believers.  If we recognize the work of the tempter we can seek help to avoid it.  The powers of darkness are real, but so are the spiritual weapons that have been offered to us.  We have a way to take action.

 

ASK

 

Any soldier that carries a radio in his pack is a target for enemy snipers because he has the power to call for artillery and air support.  Similarly the prayer warrior has the power to call God for support.  We can oppose the spirits that draw us off the path.  We can help those who are under attack around us.  We don’t have to war against flesh, or surrender to the growing flood of sin in the world.

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