Monday, January 7, 2019

Exodus 7:14-18, Exodus 12:1-13

TAKE TIME TO REFLECT:

As I continue to offer a few reflections through Exodus, I will not go sequentially. In fact, my entry today was not even planned. 

I was called on Sunday morning at the last minute to teach a class over texts for which I had not prepared a lesson (not something I recommend). Still, what the Lord laid upon my heart as I shared to the class was clearly something He intended for me. Perhaps He will speak a word to you from these reflections, too. 

You could do a personal study to discover how each plague upon Egypt actually exposed a false god that the Egyptians worshipped. Each plague intended to open Pharaoh's heart and mind to the reality of the one true God. Only the text continues to present a back and forth, if you will. We read at times that Pharaoh hardened his heart; other times we read God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Which is it?

Somehow I believe it is both/and. Scripture does not neatly tidy up the tension for us, but I believe that when people harden their hearts they run the risk of God giving them over to the hardness of their hearts (cf. Psalm 95:6-11; Heb. 3:12-15). 

Exodus 7 begins the Lord's plagues upon Egypt. This first plague combatted Hapi (the Egyptian God of the Nile), and it involves blood that leads to death.

In Exodus 12, which presents the tenth and final plague against Amun-Ra (the most powerful God in ancient Egypt), we are introduced to blood that leads to life. The angel of death will pass over those who place the blood of the lamb over the doorpost of their home. 

Allow me to diverge here for just a moment. Reading Exodus 12:3-6 suggests to me that the lamb to be slain would have been the family's lamb. Anyone who has children knows that it does not take long for them to form an attachment with an animal. We just got a fish tank, for instance, and my sons immediately named the fish in it and get excited watching them swim around. 

The sacrifice of the lamb at Passover would thus prove costly and personal. This was but a prelude to the most costly and personal sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (cf. John 1:29).

The main lesson seems abundantly clear to me. Following after false gods leads to death. Trusting in the true God and the costly, personal sacrifice of Christ leads to life. I must ask you, are you covered by the Lamb's blood?  

Yes, I pray this would be a message that non-believers would hear and one to which they would not harden their hearts. But my reflection on these texts extends to me as a believer as well. 

How often do I follow after false gods that lead to death in my spirit (or the spirit of others, such as my children)? You can put a number of things in the blank - money, power, success, stuff, popularity, and so on.

I think for Pharaoh it was his sense of personal pride and desire for control. Even when he apparently let God's people go, he could not actually let them go. He would chase after them to his ultimate demise. 

I have trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior. His blood covers me and secures my eternal salvation. 

But I still get caught up with false gods that lead to a sense of death. I seek affirmation from men and women, and I want everything to fall within my sense of orderliness. Amid it all, I lack patience, and I lack gentleness. 

In 2019, I need to surrender my false gods, which have the power to destroy me, my family, my witness, etc. I need to lay them down under the life-giving blood of Jesus. Just the other day, in dealing with my oldest son in a totally inappropriate manner, God exposed "false gods" in my life and how deathly they can so easily become.

My prayer: "Holy Spirit, turn me from the false gods that lead to death. Cover me with and renew me by the life-giving blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. And, by Your grace God my Father, forever keep the Lamb's life-giving blood over the doorposts of my home."


TAKE TIME TO RESPOND:

What false god(s) do you need to surrender to the life-giving blood of Christ?

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