In today's reading the plagues and the heart hardening continues. Often, when I spend time in these scriptures, I'm thinking about Moses and Pharoah, thier struggles, their direction, their choices. Or, I go another way, I find it easy to focus on the indiviual plagues and whatnot, or the historical context and culture of Egypt. But this morning I begain to wonder if perhaps there should be times where I see myself as Pharoah?
God has been calling out to Pharaoh through the plagues and the Hebrew leaders, he almost seems surprised that they haven't responded when he says this:
15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Exodus 9:15-17
Here's the idea, rather than think of how evil Pharoah is or how "coeircive" God seems to be acting here, do I ever put myself in that situation? Haven't I been there thousands of times myself? Have you?
It seems to me God isn't saying, "Hey stupid, do right or I'll smoke you!"
But perhaps, God is saying, something like, "If I wanted to kill ya I could have at any time...I don't want that, if you had eyes to see, you might recognize that you have all of this power (wealth, authority, position) so you might further see that what the world thinks of as power is nothing when its center is self! I gave you all of this not to hoard and protect but so that you might see where real power is and use your percieved power to promote--My, way, renown, NAME. It's power that spreads love and sacrfice around the world. A power that is with the oppressed and hurting. A power that loves you, is on your side, but will not make it all about you. You don't get to understand everything, if you did, you'd be God...which is really what you want isn't it? Can you ever see that ugliness in yourself? So, you decide Dan, (Pharoah?), you decide, you get to choose. Protect what I've given you (that you think you built) or be part of my sin slaying, self-denying, plan to cover the world in my grace and love.
Pharoah seems to think that his way, his understanding, his might, his wealth, his property, his position, his gods, his great structures, his authority, are all actually his. It's an issue for all of us, and oh, how easy it is to fall to the same temptation in my own life. Of course it tends to come with a hardened heart.
How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Exodus 10:3
Thoughts? Keep Reading!