Notes on the Exodus (78)

“Exposing the Exodus”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Confirmation of God’s Power  (Chapter 7 Verses 8-13)

This is the prologue to God’s mighty acts in Egypt. The emphasis is on the supernatural, the medium through which God demonstrates proof of his presence. In the first six chapters, God prepares the ground and his servant, Moses. In the next six, the battle commences. God brings judgment not just upon Pharaoh himself, but Egypt as a nation and their gods (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4). The judgment comes in the form of ten plagues. Such as unbelief today explains away as natural disasters, but in reality and ultimately all part of the supernatural struggle between God and Satan (Ephesians 6:12). Notice the marked change in Moses, the timidity and hesitancy are gone. He has reached the point of genuine faith-submission to God. Moses simply does as God commands him. This is the goal of every Christian. As he does so he discovers that God provides all that is necessary for him to fulfil his mission. God does not ask his servants to make bricks of straw when he calls a Minister he provides the grace, the gifts and the resources he needs. Now the gauntlet is thrown down, let battle commence. The instructions are specific (v8-9). The purpose of the miracle is not Pharaoh’s conversion, it is a display of God’s sovereign power, for his glory and the benefit of his people. God is not just supervising, he is in control. This is a huge comfort to his people, especially when we find ourselves baffled by circumstances and developments. We must remember God is free to act in any way he pleases at any time, whether by natural or supernatural means. But our trust needs to be in God at all times, not in miracles themselves. Miracles may surprise, awe the senses but they cannot work saving faith. Pride reigns in the unregenerate heart (Matthew 27:42), nothing but sovereign grace can subdue it. Even in hell, the notion of free-will prevails, “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (Luke 16:30).

The power belongs to God, not Moses or Aaron (v9). He works through his servants. It is well to be forewarned, this is the standard attitude of the world, do a miracle. Back up your words, authenticate what you say by a supernatural act. It is the response of sheer unbelief, to which Jesus refused point blank to succumb to such atheistic demands (John 4:48). Many through the Lord’s ministry witnessed the most staggering power manifested, yet remained totally unmoved. You remember the phenomenal ministry of Elijah? Yet afterwards, he complained of the ineffectiveness of his ministry, why? Because even after the wonders of Mount Carmel Israel clung to its idolatry, unmoved. Miracles are not the answer to everything. Many claim such, but they can be false or counterfeit. The history of the church has seen the counterfeit miracles of the Jesuits to those of modern day Islam. Such claims are made in order to get more fanatics signed up to their cause. The false claims of supernatural activity have turned many away from the gospel. God responds to faith, not unbelief, he makes no accommodation for unbelief. God is not a genie in a bottle at the beck and call of sinful unbelief. Such is in direct opposition to the second commandment, “you shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). The human heart is an idol factory. The more we walk with God, the more we learn to walk by faith.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)

Sermon Audio

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