Exodus 14-16

Exodus 14-16…The Lord parts the Red Sea, the song of Moses and Miriam is sung, and the Lord sends manna and quail for the Israelites in the desert.

Three observations about these chapters:

1) God’s judgement is certain for those who disobey.

The Lord delivers the Israelites by parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptians. Just like the Egyptians, we have a certain, pending doom if we don’t repent and believe. This should motivate us to share the gospel with friends and family who do not believe. They will face an eternal judgement far worse being drown by the Red Sea. If we love them, we need to not only tell them with our words, but also show them with our actions, that there is great power in the gospel to redeem.

2) A right response to understanding His judgement involves being laid low before Him.

Notice the end of Exodus 14 (verses 30-31), which leads into a prayer of praise to God.

“That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”

If we’re to truly place our faith in the Lord, we must understand His power and wrath against our sin. The Israelites did, and in Chapter 15, Moses and Miriam lead the people in a song about how great and powerful He is. This is what turning to the Lord in authentic faith looks like. Being laid low, rightly grasping our nothingness, then proclaiming our desperate need for Him.

3) Like the Israelites, we grumble and complain because of our unbelief, yet God continues to extend us mercy.

Despite this initial burst of faith, the Israelites become lukewarm. They distrust the Lord’s goodness, and quickly forget His mercy and grace. Yet, He is faithful, slow to anger and abounding in love. He blesses them because of an intercessor; Moses communicates with the Lord on their behalf, which is a picture of what Christ does for us. Moses was interceding on a micro level in Exodus 16, whereas Christ intercedes in the most important way possible. His perfect life is what the Lord sees when He looks upon us.

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Exodus 8-10

Exodus 8-10…God send more plagues on Egypt.

In the preview to the plagues, which introduces and interprets them, the plagues are termed “miraculous signs and wonders.” This does not mean that they are simply amazing miracles. The purpose of the sign was to impart knowledge. Also, a wonder basically points to something extraordinary, the purpose of which is the mediation of a certain message. The plagues are not simply acts of judgment, but have a peculiar ability to point beyond themselves and instruct. This designation for the plagues establishes a basic biblical category, so it is vital to understand exactly what is meant by it. Signs/wonders are not just punishments. Judgment is to follow the signs according to 7:3-4 and is not mentioned again until 12:12. Judgment and instruction are not, however, mutually exclusive. There is an element of judgment to the signs, but this lies in the fact that as Pharaoh reflects on them he should understand his own helplessness and pending doom.

Signs/wonders are indicators of a greater judgment to come, intended to provoke a response before that greater use of power becomes necessary. In answer to Pharaoh’s question in 5:2, “Who is Yahweh?”, the plagues teach him about this unknown God and reveal his nature. Nowhere is this clearer than 9:16 – Pharaoh is still alive and the plagues continue so that God can show his power and so that his name (character) may be proclaimed. The plagues did indeed achieve this purpose of revealing his power and name (to Egypt, 14:25; to Jethro, 18:1; to the Philistines, 1 Samuel 4:8). God establishes his reputation and renown, and a response of obedience and fear, merited by his power, is achieved to some extent (9:20; 11:3; 14:25; 18:9). Pharaoh’s culpable hard-heartedness is therefore clearly revealed when he refuses to obey.

When we read this, we should have an understanding and experience in line with Pharaoh. If we read this and think we would never disobey in this way, then we’ve missed the point of these plagues and their application to us. We are rebellious and stiff-necked, just like Pharaoh. We need a Saviur, and were dead in our sins and transgressions, until He rescued us. We had no hope and no way to save ourselves. Now we are a people of the greatest hope, and through repentance and faith in Christ, have eternal life with him.

Acts 7:51

Acts 7:51…”You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Stephen uses the example of the hard-heartedness of the Israelites to show the Sanhedrin their own sin. It’s easy to read this passage and to quickly gloss over applying it to our own hearts. However, we all are stiff-necked, rebellious, and resistant to the Holy Spirit. All of us are in need of Christ’s perfect righteousness. Our hearts and ears need to be softened and humbled increasingly. Therefore, we should pray for a better understanding of our smallness and God’s bigness.

Acts 3:19

Acts 3:19…”Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” This call to repentance was in the context of Peter’s healing of a man who had been lame from birth, which was recognized and affirmed by many as being authentic. God used miraculous signs and wonders as a way to begin the spread of Christianity. In fact Peter’s response to confusion over this power was: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” The point wasn’t that Peter was powerful, but that these visible, public miracles were a continuation of Christ’s ministry of proving that He was God. Christ had power over sickness and death, and although the world was and is still fallen and broken, He will return to restore creation. When He does, there will no longer be sickness and death, which was brought forth at the fall of creation. This will be a great and glorious day because He will reign and we’ll be with Him and see Him as He is.

Acts 3:12

Acts 3:12…”When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?'” Observe the difference in the manner of working the miracles. Our Lord always spoke as having Almighty power, and never hesitated to receive the greatest honor that was given to him on account of his Divine miracles. But, the apostles referred all to their Lord, and refused to receive any honor, except as his undeserving instruments. This shows that Jesus was one with the Father, and co-equal with Him; while the apostles knew that they were weak, sinful men, and dependent for everything on Jesus, whose power effected the cure. If we are to be used by the Lord, we must be humble in understanding our role. He saves souls, and uses us as His tools for the work. This gives us great confidence in evangelism as the work of conversion is the Lord’s.