“Exposing the Exodus”
The Power of the Gospel – (Chapter 8 Verses 1-15)
This is about God’s will to liberate his own people. He desires his people to be free of all these pagan notions and philosophies of religion. Their consciences free to obey God’s revealed will. However, I doubt that even Israel at this point are wondering what all the fuss is about. They have been doing the paganism for a long, long time. It is ingrained in them. The second command later given to them commanded a keeping pure of God’s worship as instituted in the word of God. Which of course includes disapproving, detesting and opposing all false worship, i.e., idolatry. It called for the removal of all monuments of idolatry. There is only one way out of this disastrous religious philosophy that Egypt is in bondage to and Israel need freeing from. That is the purity and the power of the gospel in which God’s comes in every generation to those who hinder the worship of God, “let my people go” (v1). The only road to man’s freedom lies in the power of the gospel. Not all the wonder-working power and magic of the Egyptian sorcerers (v7). Nor can all the wonders of modern philosophy, scientific advance, and technology. No, man’s need is not to be found in the wisdom of man (1Corinthians 1:18-21). The wisdom of man does not address man’s problem, what he has become by choice and practice, a sinner. It has no answer to the judgment of God and the consequent death that that involves. The more man tries the more he compounds matters, just more and more frogs (v7). The prince of this world is unable to cast the evil out of man’s heart, he is the culprit, the cause of it. His agenda is always more frogs. And these Anti-Christian witch doctors are his agents. Paul, in the New Testament, is very strong against the philosophies of men and their heresies, because they rob the gospel of its power. The only power to remove the frogs once and for all (Romans 1:16).
Is this a turning point for Pharaoh, pray for me, an acknowledgment of God (v8)? Is this a real desire for change? He is most certainly faced with a major crisis, but. Many folks are faced with similar crises in their lives. The loss of social status, a tragedy in the family. I recall many who were caught up in the London bombings in 2005 testifying to having prayed. Who similar to Pharaoh prior to their terrifying circumstance would have asked his same question, with the same arrogance, “who is the Lord.” Alas, when help comes, the crisis is over, so too is the praying. Pharaoh does not ask to be taught of the Lord, how he might call upon the Lord himself. I get people in the course of my missionary labours who ask me in a similar fashion to pray for them, or for someone dear to them. They like to be assured of prayer for some reason. But I fear for many of them it is just like Pharaoh here. He does not want God, to entreat him himself, to worship and to obey God’s will. He simply wants the bad circumstances to be changed. Like the people caught up in the London bombings, they want to be delivered from the crisis. Others, they want the distressful, uncomfortable providences which make for discomfort to be removed. They want the effects of their unhappiness to be removed but not the cause. This is man’s wisdom you see, treat the effects, always the effects, make them go away, they make him unhappy. But the underlying cause, remove that, the sin? No thank you, we do wish to speak of this. And yes very plausible language is used here (v8b). He will let the people go, things will be different he promises, but they won’t. His heart has not been changed. It is only grace in a sovereign act of God in the new birth (John 3:7), that will do that. No one ever desired to be changed, no one ever desired God or his will until they were born again. What is it you would desire God to do for you? Are you serious about it, how serious? Do want what you want, what you really, really want?
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)