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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

“What Will Happen”

Ps. 105:23-25

We now get a picture of God’s overriding purpose.  Israel comes to Egypt.  This is Israel in the twofold sense of Israel, the person, the former Jacob, and Israel the people whom God had chosen for himself.  We read that God made the people very fruitful.  In other words, their numbers were growing.  God made them stronger than their foes.  We should then expect that Israel’s time in Egypt would be one of success and prosperity.

However we read that God turned the hearts of their foes, the Egyptians, to hate his people and “to deal craftily with his servants.”  The result was 400 years of slavery.  Why would God do such a thing?  There really are two reasons for this.

The first is that God is going to demonstrate his saving power from all evil, sin and destruction.  He has not abandoned his people in their suffering any more than he had abandoned Joseph in his trials.  God however has a greater purpose.  Sin, Satan and Death all have to be judged and eliminated.  This however must take place without the  destruction of God’s people.  From the earlier history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we have seen that sin already exists even (one could say, especially) among God’s chosen ones.  Sin invariably leads to suffering.  We are content many times to choose the sin but we don’t want the consequences.

The second point is that God is not forcing anyone to do anything contrary to their will.  God allows Pharaoh to oppress his people because God will use Pharaoh as an example to show his power (Ex. 9:16).  Yet God is not making Pharaoh to be an oppressor.  Pharaoh is acting according to his own desires and choices.  Pharaoh on his own wants to enslave the people of Israel.

Yet without denying human actions and responsibilities God still has a higher and greater purpose than we can often discern. All of us can remember times in our lives which seemed to be difficult and trying, but nonetheless finally resulted in a good outcome.

God certainly can and does work in spite of us.  However it is also the case that God also works through us.  He often brings about an outcome that we could never have imagined.  This is because he is the true God who works all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1:11).

Faithful and loving God I praise you that, whatever my circumstances, you have a purpose and plan for me which I may not understand at the moment.  Give me the grace to depend on you in all things.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.