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Devotionals

Negotiating With God -- A Plague Upon Us

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Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. -- Exodus 7: 23 (NLT)

 

God had a very clear instruction for Pharaoh -- let my people go so they can worship me in the wilderness. Moses and Aaron tried to convey this to him but his heart was hardened. Likewise, God often has instructed us as well -- most often through His Word. Like Pharaoh before us, we too can react to this instruction with a hardened heart before God. Eventually God would call down upon Egypt the ten plagues and within the reactions of Pharaoh to these plagues are similarities of how we can react to the chastisement of the Lord. I know this is not a popular Sunday sermon topic but the Bible is clear:

 

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? -- Hebrews 12: 7-9 (NLT)

 

Shouldn't we? Absolutely -- but do we? That is the real question. Do we submit to the chastisement of the Lord, follow His instructions, and grow in our walk with Him? Or do we react as Pharaoh with a hardened heart? There is a growing trend in modern Churchianity that is troubling in this regard. Anything that happens in our lives or the life of our local church is attributed to a move of the Spirit of God -- as confirmation from God. Yet anything negative in our lives or the life of our church is dismissed with a carnal or worldly excuse. The damage is unmistakable. It causes a callousing in our Spirit and a hardening of our heart towards God. It fits in well with the "bless me" theologies that are destroying the modern church. There is not room in the bless me church for discipline from God. Let us examine the ten plagues of Egypt in this regard.

 

The first plague was the plague of blood. Moses directs Aaron to raise his staff over the land and all of the water, including standing water and the Nile River were turned to blood. The Bible says that there was blood everywhere in the land of Egypt. The key verse today is the reaction from Pharaoh. Blood is everywhere throughout the land and he returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. Perhaps the earliest example of the defense mechanism we have come to know as denial. Yet how often do we do the exact same thing! How often when faced with God instructing us that something we are doing is wrong do we just block it out completely? I think about the story of Achan who lived during the time the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land. Instructed by God to not take from the plunder of their defeated enemies, Achan took a wedge of gold, 200 shekels of silver and a Babylonian robe and buried them under his tent. The fact that he buried them indicates he certainly knew what he was doing was "wrong." Yet he did it anyway. He just put the instructions from God out of his mind like Pharaoh. If we are not careful, we too can end up with something buried under our tent that we know God has said "no" to. We would be wise to keep God in the forefront of our mind and not dismiss what He has instructed. The second plague was the plague of frogs. Sounds harmless enough but imagine frogs everywhere. You couldn't walk without stepping on them. Their dead bodies piled up and rotting. In your cabinets, closets and baths. Add to this that the Egyptians worship the frog-headed goddess of birth -- Heqet.   Because of this frogs were thought to be sacred and not to be killed. Oh joyous day! Yet despite this, here is the reaction of Pharaoh:

 

"You set the time!" Moses replied. "Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River." "Do it tomorrow," Pharaoh said. -- Exodus 8: 9-10 (NLT)

 

Do it tomorrow? Are you serious? Frogs in his food, frogs in his bed, frogs everywhere. Do it tomorrow? Oh, but is that not how we embrace our sins? Just one more night with the sin -- I'll give it up tomorrow God -- I promise. Just one more night of the disobedience -- I'll give it up tomorrow God -- I promise. Yet tomorrow never comes does it? We can have the conviction of God pouring down upon us like frogs growing out of our hair and still say to God -- one more night. You can deliver me tomorrow. Sin and disobedience will always keep you longer than you wanted to stay -- frogs or no frogs.

 

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