Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all (1 Chron 29:11).
God is an awesome God who reigns from Heaven above with wisdom, power and might! God alone knows how He can bring life from destruction; He alone knows how people will respond once they awaken to the pit of muck and mire they are in, but He does know, therefore He does.
In Exodus 14 there is a key to God’s plans and purposes for bringing the Israelite's out of captivity of Egypt, one we may have not seen before. Most all of us know the story of Moses being called to bring the Israelite's out of captivity so that Gods purposes for mankind's salvation could be put into affect. However, I noticed something about God's grace for Egypt in the following verse. After Pharaoh finally let God’s people go we read
“Then I will harden Pharaohs heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD” (Ex 14:4 NKJV).
God reveals something very important here…. His grace
He would gain honor over Pharaoh
He would gain honor over Pharaohs army
The Egyptians may know He is the LORD
Wow! How many times have we read this account of deliverance and yet failed to see God’s grace for Egypt? We usually read the account of Moses leading the Israelite's out of bondage as the sole purpose but looking at verse 4 we have a new perspective. I was surprised to see God's proposed grace to the Egyptians. Remember that Pharaoh and all of Egypt has just barely come through 10 signs and plagues of God’s wrath and yet he, once again, has hardened his heart and emboldened himself against God’s will in order to go after the Israelite's! Now this isn’t a surprise to God for we just witnessed God saying this was going to happen, He had actually played a role in Pharaoh hardening his heart.
Here’s what I discern. God is determined to use His omnipotence to show Himself as the One, Eternal, self – existing Jehovah and as such, be assured that the Egyptians will acknowledge Him. We all know what happens when we acknowledge God, we usually do an "about face" and begin to take note of His presence in our situation. That's what God is trying to get everyone to see, His sovereign presence over the universe. His identity as the only God. Egypt had several gods and practiced many forms of dark arts, witchcraft, idolatry and sexual perversions to mention a few.
I noticed that the parting of the Red Sea would have been the 11th mighty sign of God’s power to Egypt. I also saw this act representing God’s deliverance of Israel through the waters but also God’s opportunity for Egypt to acknowledge the One True God!
The number 11 can represent chaos such as disorder and disorganization but it also can represent transition; I see this as both. God brought chaos to Egypt’s well organized yet demonic lifestyle in order to transition Israel into God’s promises, but in doing so He left behind a powerful awareness of Himself. Glory! Terror!
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
How many of us have had to go through destruction, trauma and chaos in our lives in order to recognize the omnipotent Creator? God never allows those things to come forth in our lives without a greater purpose, one that will always, if we allow it to, bring us into relationship with Him. The Bible tells us that God is Love (1 Jo 4:8) and He created all things for good (1 Tim 4:4), then He didn’t create the Egyptians for bad. Follow me here for a moment. God loves all and He wishes that none should perish.
The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Pe 3:9 NKJV).
Man's choice to follow other paths are simply that, their choice but it is not and never has been God's purpose for man to take any path except the one that leads to Him through Christ Jesus. The Egyptians would have had opportunity to know the God of the Jews but would not have been interested in a "righteous God" as that would have cramped their lifestyle of sin.
I believe we witnessed God’s grace and mercy in His acts of wrath. You may ask how can God’s wrath be merciful. Well if we experience it here in this world and it leads us into a relationship with Him then we won’t experience the eternal wrath of separation from Him in hell.
Recently I had a conversation with a man who has finally come to the end of himself. After a long lifetime of crises, pain, left for dead more than once and bondage of every sort, loneliness and fear of an eternity in hell has brought this proud man to a humbling position before the cross. I assure you that a relationship with Christ would have afforded him much less pain in his life but he chose other things and it has taken what looked like numerous occasions of wrath (in the guise of grace) to bring this man down. Don’t misunderstand, for God prefers to show mercy, it delights Him to do so rather than release judgment.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy (Mic 7:18).
I have always believed that God never does anything on a small scale nor does He do a thing for one person that doesn’t have a side effect for another, in fact for many, maybe even hundreds. When God does something for us that we perceive as personal it is just that, however, it also has a bonus aspect for the others that may be in the area of fallout, be it for blessing or chastisement. If we would take a moment to allow our minds to be stretched in this area, we would begin to step out of ourselves and into a gigantic God!
Consider this; a man is praying for a new job with better hours and more pay but then gets fired and his nemesis at the workplace gets his job with a pay raise. Many people in this situation would question God on why He would allow such a thing to happen, where was the protection and the favor of a child of God? The same person, after being out of work for two weeks, receives a call from a job he applied for a long time ago and after going to the interview he gets the job with better hours and more money. What started out as a bad thing landed the person his dream job. Meanwhile back at the last company the “nemesis” that got his job with a pay raise just found out his wife was having triplets and she had to quit work, thereby putting a financial demand upon him. God loves them both. God provided for them both. One looked like a fail but in reality, was a tremendous blessing that affected at least six people and probably many more. It is all in our perspective and how we choose to see God’s hand on our life.
Today I encourage you to rethink your old ways of seeing God’s hand on your life and look for His big hand on all that involves you or those who are involved with you. Look at how many people are affected by our personal prayer needs and then stretch yourself to include them in your prayer need as well. May you be faithful in your journey, ever so thoughtfully looking for the Father.
For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 1Ti 4:4 NKJV
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1Jo 4:8 NKJV