Sunday, July 3, 2011
Read: Exodus 8
The plague of frogs; the plague of gnats; the plague of flies… and the list goes on. Each one is a result of one man’s stubborn pride and pathetic fear. That pride and that fear brought disease, destruction, and death upon his whole nation. It even cost him his own son’s life!
It is easy to identify with the Israelites who were bound and enslaved by a tyrannical ruler, but it is not often we choose to identify ourselves with Pharaoh, a man who was blinded by fear and pride. He was driven by his will being done and his kingdom staying put.
Pharaoh had everything. He didn’t have to worry about his next meal or how he was going to stay warm at night. He was afraid of losing his kingdom to the Israelites so he enslaved them for fear of being taken over. The act of enslaving the Israelites brought about what he feared the most, the destruction of his kingdom.
Pharaoh chose to harden his heart to the will of God. He made a decision to go against Him and to hold on to the very thing he was asked to give up. And because he didn’t give up the Israelites, he ended up bringing greater devastation to his kingdom than if he would have let them go. Pharaoh was given many opportunities to repent, but he refused.
But we, the Church, can identify with Pharaoh. I can empathize with Pharaoh’s fear and pride. There have been times when Jesus asked me to surrender something that He knew would bring me harm but I chose to disobey and hold on to my sin. Eventually, these sins brought me serious harm; and I succumbed to spiritual death. If I had listened to God’s voice and not hardened my heart, I could have avoided the pain and devastation of my sin. ( Does this resound with you?)
It is like a parent who warns their child that they’ll get sick if they eat too much candy. The child doesn’t listen to the parent’s warning and ends up with a stomachache. They pay a penalty for not listening to the wisdom of their parent. And in their immaturity, they miss the fact that the parent had their best interest at heart.
I wonder what would happen to the Church if we chose to trust and obey the Word of the Lord instead of turning from Him and harden our hearts. We don’t trust because we don’t know Him or His character. If the church truly knew who God was and knew His heart for us, we wouldn’t struggle to obey Him and the world would be vastly different.
Identify your fears and sources of pride. How many plagues will it take for you to give them up?
What are some ways you can ‘get to know God’? Do you trust God? (Others?) Take some time to talk with your cell group and share some thoughts
Monday, July 4, 2011
Read: Exodus 9
We’re into the thick of it. Pharaoh’s magicians could mimic the first couple of miracles that God performed through Moses. They pulled off the snake trick, even though their fabrications were eaten by God’s miracle (Exodus 7:8-13). They schemed up something similar to the bloody water (7:22). Of course, at that point, the more impressive and convincing miracle might have been changing the bloody water back to its original state. If you look back at chapter 7, the whole Nile River stunk, possibly because all of its fish died, and the Egyptians entire water supply was gone in a wave of Moses’ rod.
But now we’re getting beyond a little witchcraft. Actually, we’re way past what the best national witches and warlocks of Egypt could conjure up. Why? Because it’s not a fair fight. The limited power of Satan and his demons cannot be equal to the unlimited power of God and His angels. God is self-existent. He depends on no one to live, and is absolutely unique in the history of the universe.
Chapter 9 gives us some insight to this unfair fight. Satan is a created being. God is all-powerful. Satan is limited in power. God is everywhere. Satan can only be in one place at a time, like you. His demons are sent out through the earth, but he is not omnipresent. God knows everything. Satan doesn’t. It isn’t even close.
How did Moses deal with it? He just obeyed God. He wasn’t thrown off, impressed, or discouraged by it. He remained in the Truth. And God was free to demonstrate His power through Moses because of it, even in the face of powerful demonic opponents.Don’t ever be discouraged by things like witchcraft. Stay far away from anything demonic, don’t give it the time of day. Remember satan is limited but Christ is all and will destroy satan.
You might be mixed up in some of the enemy’s stuff through witchcraft. Get out. Break the curse.
What needs to change in your life to get out of witchcraft’s influence?
In what ways do you see witchcraft in society today?
What commands must you obey and what truth must you clutch to defeat your demons?
Monday, July 4, 2011 continued…
Read Exodus 10
Here’s another aspect of God we don’t usually notice these days. How many sermons have you heard about the God who mocks?
The tables have obviously turned on the Egyptians as they get pummeled by one miracle after another, as they get hammered by one plague after another.
And we’re not finished. God reveals Himself as the mocking God. Yahweh said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh… that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your son’s son how I have made sport of the Egyptians… that you may know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 10:1-2).
This isn’t the only time. In the face of a summit conference of nations organizing to rebel against Him, “God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans. And then in fierce fury He rebukes them and fills them with fear” (Psalm 2:4-5 LB). Let me introduce a nature of God you may never have thought about: the mocking God.
Check this verse out: God “stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets” (Col.1:15 Message).
He marches every demon in the universe, naked, with their tales between their legs, up and down the main streets. The mocking God.
There is much more (read Isaiah 40, for example). God is so much more powerful than any enemy. The very cool thing is that as great as He is, as dominant over every force in the universe, He “stoops down to make me great” (Psalm 18:35) and to make you great.
We’re not camping out on this to persuade you that He is mean-spirited. He is far from mean-spirited. He loves you with an everlasting love.
But He laughs at the enemy. He is not surprised by them. He isn’t off in some office trying to figure out what to do next. The Father isn’t plotting with the Spirit to come up with some effective response to Terrorism. Jesus isn’t out surveying Christian leaders for an appropriate strategy against abortion. God hasn’t convened a big assembly of the angels in heaven to develop a plan to defeat materialism. He isn’t asking the martyrs under the throne for a good idea to deal with pride in the West or corruption in the Rest.
He makes sport of the enemy. He demonstrates His power and mocks them.
How does the revelation of a mocking God help you in the Jesus Revolution?
What specific enemy should you confront out loud, in Jesus’ name, with these texts?