And so it begins: Moses and Aaron go before Pharaoh and tell him (it seems Moses is not requesting anymore, but demanding) to let the people go. Pharaoh refuses, and God pummels Egypt with miraculous events to convince Pharaoh to obey God. The rod to snake, the water to blood, and the frogs from the river are all miracles that the Egyptian magicians can duplicate. But the next plague, the plague of gnats, the magicians are helpless to create or stop. This is the first sign that demonstrates God’s absolute preeminence over the magicians and gods of Egypt.
Next the plague of flies is sent, and God “ups the stakes” with this plague by not only doing something that the Egyptian magicians and gods cannot duplicate or control, but God sends this plague against all of Egypt except in the land of Goshen, where His people live.
Pharaoh begins to weaken a little, setting conditions on the release of the Israelites to go into the desert and worship, but Moses holds fast to God’s command that everyone and every animal go forth; all of Israel and all of Israel’s possessions. Pharaoh refuses, and the next plagues attack that which Pharaoh refused to allow Israel to take: all the people (men, women and children) and their cattle. But only the people and cattle of the Egyptians. The next plague was against the produce of Egypt, with the hail destroying the flax crops, but again, none of these plagues affect the Israelites in Goshen.
I saw one commentary on this, in which the author was giving a drash on the idea of bondage; he showed the relationship between how God was freeing the Israelites from human bondage to the Egyptians in the same way that Yeshua (Jesus) has freed humans from spiritual bondage to sin. I thought that was a good message, which is why I mention it here, but it’s not the message I will bring today.
I feel that what we need to talk about is how Pharaoh, in spite of the absolutely undeniable proof of God’s existence and power over him, his magicians and his gods, still chose to defy God. When you’re reading this, aren’t you asking yourself, “What is it with this guy? Hello! Anyone home? Think, McFly, think! C’mon- get with the program, already!”? I know I do. I can’t believe how anyone, even the Pharaoh, could be so stubborn in the face of overwhelming power. Yes, this is a new one for the Pharaoh- I mean, in all fairness to him, the Pharaoh has grown up in a world where he is the all-powerful one, himself, and has never had to move over and make room for someone greater than him. He probably isn’t really believing this, and maybe, even, thinks that after Moses entreats God to stop each plague, that he, Pharaoh, commanded Moses to make it stop. Who knows for sure?
The bible tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s, heart, but could that have been through a lifetime of being an absolute ruler? Maybe the hardening God did of Pharaoh’s heart was not just there and then, but had been part of God’s plan from before that Pharaoh was even born? Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter, does it?
The lesson for us, I would like to offer, is that we need to help others see the power and glory of God in everything that happens. I would guess that most everyone reading this (especially those who have blessed me by being a follower of this blog-ministry) know the Lord, or at least recognize His existence and influence, but what about the rest of the world?
What I am trying to say (and not doing a good job of) is that people need to see the wonder, power and proof of God’s existence in everyday miracles, which happen all the time. I am not talking about hail from a clear sky, or rivers being split open, but about events that happen every day . For instance, what about a Tsunami? Isn’t that a force to be reckoned with? Sure, scientists will tell us it is the natural result of an underwater earthquake, but doesn’t God use the natural to show His supernatural power? That is what the world fails to recognize, just as Pharaoh failed to recognize (and accept)- God uses the natural to show that He is supernatural. We have fallen into a sort of ennui when we see supernatural occurrences because, I believe, when we can explain how something happens we think that it can’t be a miracle anymore. Yeah, I watched that Tsunami, I see that volcanic eruption, I lived through a hurricane…so what? It’s nature, it’s based on coincidental weather manifestations, it’s not a miracle.
My Webster’s Dictionary (1993) defines a miracle as, “A supernatural event or happening regarded as an act of God.” What it doesn’t define is, what is an ‘Act of God’?
As far as I’m concerned, when I breathe that is an act of God. When I eat something and it gets broken down to it’s molecular level in my stomach and intestines, then is distributed to each and every one of the mitochondria in each and every one of the billions of cells in my body so that I can move, walk, talk, act, think…that is an act of God.
When my heart beats and the blood carries life to my body, which is why God said never to eat the blood (Leviticus 17:11), that is a miracle, a divine intervention by God, an act of God that continues to occur. From you and I being able to breathe, to everything else that happens in the universe, every moment of every day, all are a miracle that God has made happen. He has set the ball rolling, and whether He controls which way it goes or just lets it roll whichever way it wants to for a while, it is still an act of God that made it go and keeps it going.
Miracles are all around us and we, as Believers, need to explain to people that even a natural occurrence is something God has caused or allowed to happen. God is in charge of everything, and just because we can duplicate what He does or because we can explain in scientific terms the mechanics of the occurrence, doesn’t mean it isn’t a miracle.
The only thing that can’t be explained is how people can deny God’s existence, power and influence in the world. That is what I cannot explain; this is what I consider something that has no explanation in the natural, that there are still people who refuse to believe in God.
What’s the “take-away” today? This: look for the miracles, show the miracles to others, and proclaim God’s power and glory in every little miraculous thing you see to everyone you talk with. Hit them between the eyes with it (I am talking figuratively) by explaining that that just because we can explain how something happens doesn’t mean it isn’t a miracle.
Let me leave you with this little joke:
Scientists can now read the complete human genome, and in a meeting of the great scientists of the world they decided that with this knowledge they will soon be able to cure any disease or malformation, so God isn’t really necessary anymore. God asks them, “Can you make a living human being from a handful of clay?” The scientists gather and confer, then tell God they believe they can. God says to them, “Show me.” They go out and get a large clump of clay, and when they bring it into the laboratory God says to them, “Oh, no! That’s my clay- you have to make your own clay.”
If a miracle can be defined as an act of God, and we know God created the universe and how it all works, then everything that happens in the universe is, by definition, a miracle. Our job is to teach this to those that refuse to see and accept the truth of it.