The books of Genesis and Exodus are some of my favorite in the Bible. I suppose part of it is my love of the ancient Near East in general and of Egypt specifically. The first dozen chapters of Exodus pique my interest in Egyptian religion. It feeds my love of Egypt, but it also breaks my heart.
We all know the story. God commissions Moses to command pharaoh to release the Hebrews from bondage. Knowing what life was like in the Egyptian court, Moses is understandably reticent. Pharaoh is a god among men, and surely those at court remember Moses’ murder of the Egyptian taskmaster. God finally convinces his reluctant prophet to go with his brother Aaron. They are not well received.
Clearly, the king was uninterested in watching a large percentage of his workforce get up and leave the country. But there was something else: his arrogance would not permit him to take orders from a foreign god or from anyone else. He was a god. Called “the Living Horus,” the king of Egypt was the only member of Egyptian society made in the divine image. As the beloved of the gods, he was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony in the land.
Pharaoh walked above the company of mortal men. Goddesses protected him. Everyone praised him. No one disobeyed him. No one.
Because of his arrogant refusal to heed God’s command, one plague after another ravages the land of Egypt. People and animals cry out under the weight of the devastation. Still the pharaoh will not budge. Finally, in the tenth plague, the destroyer comes. The angel of the Lord enters the homes of those who do not have the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. Thousands of sons of Egypt drew their last breath that night, all because of the arrogance and stupidity of a man who thought himself a god.
There are millions who do not have the blood of the Lamb today. If we genuinely belong to God’s people, our hearts should dread what will befall them on the day of judgment. Let’s consider the following:
- The Word Of God Should Motivate Us. We should be a people divinely compelled. The prophet Jeremiah said, “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9). Keeping quiet about the gospel should be like trying to contain a forest fire within our chests.
- The Word Of God Must Be Handled Carefully. The author of Hebrews states, “For the word of God is living and active, sharer than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The New Testament has several warnings for those who would teach, underscoring the importance of handling the word faithfully. We do not merely preach, but preach with requisite care and precision.
- The Word Of God Demands That We Preach And Teach It In It Entirety. Prophets often prefaced their words with “Thus says the Lord” – an indication that the message they were to give was unalterable regardless of how difficult it was to preach, or how hard for their audiences to hear. Paul told the Ephesian elders, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26). We are not free to alter it, because it is not our word to alter.
The bread of life is in our hands. There is plenty enough for everyone. Many people are starving. How eager are we to share?