Meditations in Exodus: 26. Preliminary Battle Briefing
Ex 7:2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country
We observed chapter six as a summary time which we also said was a turning point and from now on the action really starts. At the beginning of chapter 5 the first approach had been made to Pharaoh, and it had not gone well. The result? Pharaoh had refused their first request for Israel to be let go and had then made life harder for the Hebrew slaves. But so far he has not seen God move, That is about to change! But first of all again the Lord has to instruct Moses. Over the years I have noticed that of there is something big to do, the Lord says it more than a couple of times. If you have received fresh direction for your life from the Lord, then you may expect Him to speak at least three times. Why? Because He knows we need reminding and constantly reassuring.
We need to say something at the beginning of this Part 4. Although this will be a portion of Scripture that will be very difficult to apply to our personal lives, it will reveal the folly of man and the grace of God as it appears so clearly nowhere else in the Bible. The warning that must come through must be against pride and against spiritual blindness. The revelation of God that comes through is of one who hesitates in bringing judgment on this foolish occult-driven, superstitious people and gives them opportunity after opportunity of coming to their senses and repenting. Hold on to this picture of God for it is quite amazing. Power, yes, grace even more so.
So it starts: “Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (v.1) Actually, this is going to be a bit eerie because Moses is going to be there always but will remain silent while Aaron does the talking. Without doubt Moses will be the leader and Pharaoh will realise that but Aaron will be the one bring the word from his boss. Yes Moses is going to be the one who does the stuff and so he is going to be seen as the power broker to Pharaoh. If Pharaoh comes to revere one of them because of their power it will be Moses. Moes will get the instructions from God, pass them to Aaron who will them convey them to Pharaoh (v.2). That’s the plan anyway.
Then comes a fourth warning of what will actually happen: “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.” (v.3,4) Observe very carefully this order of events again; this is God’s war strategy to bring judgment on this foolish king and his people:
- I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and
- though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,
- he will not listen to you.
- Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment
- I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.
We have already touched on this before but it needs repeating if we are to fully understand it. Pharaoh has a hard heart to start with. That simply means he is proud and arrogant and set in his ways, the ways he thinks. When you push a hard hearted person they just get harder and so in that sense, God IS going to harden Pharaoh’s heart. I would suggest that this hardness is made more acute by the use of occult activity in the land, which we’ll soon see. Those who are involved in the occult, whether it is witchcraft, spiritist fortune telling or even freemasonry, always find it more difficult to comprehend the Gospel. The apostle Paul said of people generally, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Cor 4:4) there referring to Satan’s activity. It is even more so when people have dabbled in his works in the occult.
So God will press Pharaoh and his heart will just get harder so, second, the Lord will multiply his signs and wonders in Egypt, the spectacular ‘plagues’ but, third, because of his hard heart Pharaoh will not listen. It will be crass stupidity because it will be so obvious what is going on, but blind hard hearted people are crassly stupid. It’s an aspect of Sin. So, fourth, those acts of disciplinary judgment (for that’s all the early plagues are, seeking to bring changes in behaviour) will eventually turn into terminal judgments, ones where people are dying, so that fifth, the end result will be that Israel are freed and allowed out of the country.
But there is an even bigger and even more important end result to all this: “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.” (v.5) God’s objective again and again revealed in Scripture is that he is revealed to His world. He wants His world to know Him and, wherever possible, to enter into a living relationship with Him. THAT is the end goal. There will be some Egyptians who will leave with Israel and there will some who will remain in Egypt but never be the same again; they will know the truth, that all their present gods are petty superstitions, and that there is just ONE all-mighty, all-powerful God, the Lord of all, and He alone is worthy of worship, not all these other foolish make-believe entities! That is where this is going eventually.
The to the success that is coming: “Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them.” (v.6) Awesome! Obedience releases the power of God or, to put it another way, it opens the way for God to come and move. And just in case you thought you couldn’t do something like that, the record adds, “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.” (v.7) Doing the will of God has nothing to do with age. Whatever He gives you to do, it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are obedient, he will bless that obedience and you will see great things happening.
Remember you and I cannot do miracles, only God can. We’ll need to remind ourselves of this again and again for this is a primary lesson that is about to come out of what is about to take place. It is God who provides the plagues, not Moses. Moses and Aaron are only there to make it more clear for Pharaoh. Without them he would be so deaf as well as blind that he would not hear God, so Moses and Aaron become loudspeakers for God so that Pharaoh does hear.
So what have we seen in the first seven verses of chapter 7? We have seen the Lord, yet again, laying out the battle strategy. This is what WILL happen. The Lord knows and understands Pharaoh completely so He knows exactly what will happen, how Pharaoh will react and so what He will then go on to have to do. It’s all about showing to the onlooking world the folly or stupidity of pride. Don’t think you can outwit God. Never think you can beat Him in the chess game of life; you can’t. Surrender NOW!