Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday 20 February Exodus 9-11; 1 Thessalonians 1 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Exodus 9-11; 1 Thessalonians 1

Despite the number of times Pharaoh goes through the cycle of sin, oppression, regret, and deliverance, God will not be mocked. God deals another detrimental blow to the Egyptian religious and economic systems. By God's grace, Israel is delivered from temporal judgment and destruction. The Lamb of God delivers us from sin, death, and the devil through His atoning blood. The magicians collapse under the Lord's chastisement; both people and animals are smitten by painful skin abscesses. The Lord again distinguishes His people in this plague by sparing the Israelites and their animals. The blessings God gives us should extend beyond us to bless even our animals! If the Lord shows such mercy to sheep, how much more shall He show mercy toward you? His Gospel rescues us from sin, death, and the devil.These three preparatory plagues will be exponentially greater than the previous one and will prepare Pharaoh for the final plague of judgment. God did not destroy Pharaoh with just one act of judgment in order that Pharaoh might glorify God, and the name of the Lord might be declared to the ends of His kingdom. Pharaoh mocks God with false repentance, but the Lord is unmoved. Sinners cannot bargain with God by conceding some of their sins or by amending behaviors. God sees through it all. Like the thief on the cross, we do not appeal to mockery but instead call on God's mercy. Jesus is always ready to forgive.

The plague of darkness removes any ability to move freely, as was possible with the first several plagues. Sinners mock God's Word and in so doing deceive themselves. The Egyptians would soon be exposed to the destroyer and the death of the firstborn as a testimony that the Lord is patient and slow to anger, but at the proper time, judgment will come. Thanks be to God that by the vicarious sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are His children through Holy Baptism, forgiven, cleansed, and protected from the final judgment.

God's final judgment is about to come upon Pharaoh and Egypt. The hardened king will see that God's patience has come to an end and His wrath is imminent. The 10th plague will bring judgment upon sin and its wages (Rm 6:23). In our stead, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, took upon Himself the full punishment for all our sin so that we will not die an eternal death.

As a good shepherd, Paul wants to keep in touch with the flock of God. Labor in God's kingdom is not a one-man job. We must not forget to visit and follow up with those who are in Christ Jesus. We must work in God's kingdom by joining hands with other brothers and sisters. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ sustain the Church and carry it in the palm of Their hand. The Thessalonians become model Christians in words and deeds due to the impact of the Gospel in their lives and the fruit of the Spirit demonstrated in their faith, love, and hope. Compared to the Thessalonians, we are much poorer in our faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope. Even without hardship or persecution, we are slow to confess our faith and live it out in love. The Lord knows each one of us and our specific situation. His Spirit has created faith in us and gives us power and full conviction. Despite our weaknesses and failings, His unfailing love and forgiveness will sustain us to be His witnesses.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Exodus 12-13; 1 Thessalonians 2


Pamela said...

I'm not sure if God planned for the plagues to be progressively bad but it seems like they got worse and worse as they went along. The plagues that were easily seen (blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of animals, hail, locusts) and felt (boils) must have been nothing compared to what the darkness must have been like. To be totally covered in a darkness so dark that you could not see your hand before your face must have been totally terrifying. Dealing with something you can see seems more bearable than dealing with something you can't see. Imagine being somewhere other than home when the darkness came? Terrifying!

The plagues culminate into the most unimaginable. The warning of death of the oldest son was a plague you can see (the lifeless body) but also something has long lasting effects that will outlast any of the other plagues. Did Pharaoh's servants hear this warning? Did they know?

Conrad said...

This sounds mean, but I've always enjoyed reading about the different plagues that God brought the Egyptians as a result of Pharoah's hardened heart. It demonstrates God's unmatching power as the sorcerers, who were viewed as having power, were shown how powerless they were in comparison.

In Thesalonians, Paul talks about giving thanks to God for all that the church has done, and how they have become models for all believers. What would people say about us? Are we the models that other believers would look up to as an example?

Tammy said...

God's power is amazing, isn't it?!

1 Thessalonians - this phrase jumped out at me "and you became imitators of us and of the Lord". Do I live in such a way that it would be a good thing for people to be imitators of me?