Scripture Nugget 1.19.2016 “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.”’ But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.’ Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three day’s journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the LORD our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or sword.’ But the king of Egypt said to them, ‘Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors!’”
How many times have I been Pharaoh of my own life? Working, working, working so as to prevent myself from worshiping God, from celebrating the Sabbath which he ordained? As a pastor have I ever pushed church work on others instead of promoting and encouraging the work of the church, which is primarily worship – loving God first with all our heart soul, mind, and strength? O Lord forgive me when I have hurried into an opportunity to work, when I should have been introducing You to others through worship and prayer.
Scripture Nugget 1.20.2016 “But the magicians of Egypt did the same (turned water into blood) by their secret arts.” Genesis 7:22 (thus doubling the problem of no drinking water, no water for life). … “But the magicians did the same by their secret arts, and brought frogs up on the land of Egypt.” (thus doubling the number of frogs on the land) “Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron, (why not call on his own magicians?) and said, ‘Pray to the LORD to take away the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.’” Genesis 8:7-8. … “The magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, but they could not. … And the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God!’” Genesis: 18a, 19a) “Thus says the LORD: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you will not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, and your people, and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies; so also the land where they live. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I the LORD am in this land. Thus I will make a distinction between my people and your people.” (Genesis 8: 20c-23) “So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was dense darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were; but all the Israelites had light where they lived. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses, and said, ‘Go, worship the LORD. Only your flocks and herds shall remain behind. Even your children may go with you.’ But Moses said, ‘You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings to sacrifice to the LORD our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must choose some of them for worship of the LORD our God, and we will not know what to use to worship the LORD until we arrive there.’” Genesis 22-27
Pharaoh’s hardened heart prevents him from recognizing the fullness of the presence of God. He attempts in his own kingship to compete with God, at first indirectly through his magicians, but when there “power” is found to be limited, Pharaoh attempts to compete directly with his own bravado. Increasingly God’s Prevenient Grace wins out and Pharaoh slowly, oh so slowly, but not completely begins to recognize God. But he is still a long way from declaring God – LORD of his life. Moses in the meantime, empowered by God, continues obediently and without wavering to insist the Israelites go worship the LORD – properly the way God expects. My prayer and hope is that I be so insistent, individually and as one called to lead others to worship God. That I not cut corners and not allow outside pressure to cause me to cut corners. Lead me Lord, that I always be fully obedient even in the face of “Pharaohs.”