Moses, Pharoah and God

By Johnny O. Trail — He was the most powerful leader in the world at that time. His nation was incredibly wealthy with a powerful standing military that had no rival. The nation he ruled was at the pinnacle of the civilized world. In addition to its art and culture, the architecture of its empire is still studied and marveled at today.

Even though his association with God’s people caused him to prosper, he did not know who God was. Exodus 5:2 says, “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” In spite of these things, they were destined to be defeated by the slaves they exploited for labor and profit.

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Don’t reject what God has given

When Stephen appeared before the Sanhedrin to answer for what he was teaching, he gave the highest Jewish court a history lesson. Stephen’s speech is often referred to as his “defense” but it really wasn’t defending what he had been teaching; he was convicting the Jewish leaders of following in the steps of their forefathers.

He began by talking about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Acts 7:1-8), and then centered in on Joseph (Acts 7:9-16). With Joseph, he introduced his theme: the one God who was with Joseph was the one who was rejected by his brothers. Continue reading “Don’t reject what God has given”

How quickly we forget

It took the Israelites three months to reach Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt (Exodus 19:1). During this time God had shown that he was with his people and that he would take care of them.

Besides leading them out of Egypt after the last plague with the plunder they had been given, he led them through the Red Sea when it appeared they were boxed in and had no where to go (Exodus 14). When they needed fresh water, God provided (Exodus 15, 17). When they needed food, God provided quail and manna (Exodus 16). When enemies attacked them, God gave Israel the victory (Exodus 17). Whatever they needed the Lord provided. Continue reading “How quickly we forget”

Meeting God

The Israelites had largely forgotten God. In the hundreds of years since they had settled in Egypt and eventually became slaves, they had slowly lost their knowledge of him.

We can understand why earlier, when God sent Moses to the Israelites, that he was hesitant. “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘’What is his name?’ – what should I say to them?…And if they do not believe me or pay attention to me, but say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?” (Exodus 3:13 & 4:1 NET). Moses’ fears were real – the Israelites no longer knew who God was. Continue reading “Meeting God”

When did the Exodus happen?

One of the debates among Old Testament scholars centres around when the Exodus happened. There are two main dates debated – in the 1400s BC and in the 1200s BC.

To date the Exodus we need to go to King Solomon, due to some statements we find concerning his reign. Solomon’s reign is dated as 976-931 BC (there was some overlap with David’s reign). This is based on checking dates in what is known as “the Davidic Dynasty” with datable Babylonian and Assyrian records at a few points of intersection. This has allowed archaeologists to place the dates of David and Solomon into a reliable framework. The most widely used chronology is based on the work of Edwin R. Thiele (more information on this can be found in Wikipedia under the article on Solomon, for those who might be interested). Continue reading “When did the Exodus happen?”

What God do you serve?

Do you remember the scene in The Avengers Assemble when Loki was growing tired of having to fight the Avengers and in particular the Hulk? He stopped fighting, held up his arms, and said, “Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by…” And at that moment the Hulk flattened Loki by repeatedly smashing him to the floor, after which the Hulk could be heard to mutter, “Puny god!”

This scene has been rated as one of the most humorous in that film. But doesn’t it make such a good point? If Loki truly was an all-powerful god, then the Hulk could have done nothing to him. As it was, Loki could not even stand up to one of the Avengers.

Isn’t this what we also see in the plagues of Egypt? The Egyptians worshipped a plethora of gods. Through the plagues, God showed that he was more powerful than any of the Egyptian gods. Continue reading “What God do you serve?”

Excuses, excuses

When we catch up with Moses in Exodus 3, forty more years have gone by. Moses is now eighty years old and a shepherd for his father-in-law.

Although Moses seems to have forgotten what he already knew, that God would use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery (see Acts 7:24-25), God had not forgotten. God spoke to Moses from a bush that was burning but not burning up. The message God had for Moses was simple: now was the time for him to go and deliver the Israelites from slavery. Continue reading “Excuses, excuses”

Knowing who you are

The Pharaoh’s edicts became more and more sinister. Because the people of Israel had multiplied so rapidly, the new king over Egypt feared them. But how do you stop an ethnic minority from growing? Beginning with enslaving the Israelites, the Pharaoh moved on to genocide in the form of ordering all the male babies to be killed.

This was the condition that a Levite couple found themselves in. The woman gave birth to a child but she could not bring herself to kill him. After hiding him for three months, it got to the point that she could no longer hide him. So they obeyed the Pharaoh by casting him in the river, only they made sure he was in a basket that would float. Continue reading “Knowing who you are”