When we look at the current state of affairs in regard to Christianity and see how bad they look, what is really going on?
One of my good friends recently posted this verse on the internet:
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. (Exodus 1:12 NIV)
Let’s wrap some “context’ around that.
The background on that verse is that, after Joseph died, a new king who knew nothing of Joseph came to reign over Egypt. He saw the Israelites growing in number and worried that they would side with Egypt’s enemies and overthrow the country should war break out. So, the Israelites were enslaved and put to hard labor.
But, still their numbers grew.
So, the king mandated that all male Hebrew babies be killed. But that didn't work either.
It was out of that murderous mandate that Moses was hidden in the reeds of the Nile and eventually was chosen by God to oppose Pharaoh and set the Israelites free. (Exodus 2.)
God specifically tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that when God stretches out His mighty hand against Pharaoh, the Egyptians will know He is the LORD.
In other words, God purposefully made it as difficult as He possibly could for everybody involved.
Since He is God, couldn't He have just softened Pharaoh’s heart? The Couldn't God have made it so that Moses says to Pharaoh, “The LORD God says, "Let my people go!’”
And Pharaoh replies, “Okay.”
No multiple plagues with snakes and frogs and locusts and gnats and flies and hail and boils and the Nile turning to blood, ending with the first-born male children of Egypt dying in an ironic God-like twist.
No chasing across the desert, no parting the Red Sea at the last minute…
Surely, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as big at the box office.
But that’s not what happened.
So, why all the drama?
Moses himself spends an inordinate amount of time in Exodus 3 and 4 coming up with excuses to God as to why God’s own plan won’t work:
“I don’t know your name.”
“I don’t speak very well.”
“What if they don’t believe me?”
At one point, God is ready to kill Moses. (Exodus 4:24)
I can’t say I blame Him. Any boss knows you can teach skills, but you cannot teach attitude. Surely He could have done better than this guy. I mean, here’s GOD, burning and smoking from the mountain top and commanding (not suggesting) that Moses go and set an entire race of people free from the most powerful nation on earth at the time.
And Moses’ response is the equivalent of, “Well, I dunno…”
No wonder He was burning and smoking! God’s answer to Moses is:
(Take your shoes off and fall on your face.)
“I am the LORD!”
“I AM WHO I AM!”
Yes, all caps, Even though no translation of the Bible I've seen has those words bold, italic and underlined, they most certainly are in my mind.
THE LORD. The one and only God of the universe. Creator of everything and everybody. Not some golden calf or stone statue-- GOD!
So, by the time Moses gets to Pharaoh, it is abundantly clear that He is not messing around. Their is no vagueness, no subtlety involved here. When all is said and done, there will be no doubt at all as to exactly who is responsible for what has taken place.
And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” (Exodus 7:5 NIV)
The way I look at it, we human beings are a little dense.
I know I am.
Even when I think I “get it” I’m actually pretty clueless. It takes a lot for the light bulb to finally come on.
So, maybe what’s going on in the world today is that God is up to something… big.
Maybe He had this planned all along and we are supposed to be paying attention.
The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.
(Exodus 15:3 NIV)