Saturday, October 20, 2012

God Continues to Share His Plan for the Exodus -- Exodus 3:19-22

But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion.  So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.  I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.  But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians.”
Even though God instructs Moses in what to tell the Egyptian King, He also tells him the supreme ruler of the land will not let them go unless he is coerced into doing so.  As a result of the Pharaoh’s reluctance to let the Children of Israel go, God tells Moses He will foray the land of Egypt with “all the signs of wonder I chose to exhibit to them and then they’ll let you go.”

We are not to think that by saying, “all My miracles” God had no other miracles available to Him.  While He did not say at this time how many such ‘miracles’ He would inflict on Egypt, He did assure Moses that when He was through, Pharaoh would let his people go.  But wait, there’s more.  There’s also a bonus payment from their Egyptian masters upon separation.  God says that while the Egyptians may have feared the Israelites due to their numbers and thus responded with an imposition of strong control over them, He would now see to it that they found ‘favor’ in their sight and when it was going to be time for them to leave Egypt, the Israelites would be taking lots of gifts with them.

I note, and as we shall see later, that this ‘favor’ is not exactly esteem or support or kindness, but more a “Sure, sure, take what you need and get out of here; just go!” type of ‘favor’.  God told Moses that the Israelite women were to ask of their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold, and of fine clothes, with which to adorn and dress their own sons and daughters.  God Himself refers to the ‘favor’ He will grant to the Israelites from the Egyptians as a means of “plundering” the nation that kept them in captivity for so long.
How are we to interpret this?  Was God teaching them how to rip off the Egyptians?  I don’t think so.  Commentator Chuck Smith says, in his C2000 Series, on this verse, “But in reality what they were taking was really the wages that were due to them through the several years of slavery, and servitude in which they were not paid. And so it was just really collecting back wages for all of the years that they had been slaves to the Egyptians.”  My own take on this is that God sometimes brings legitimate circumstances about – in this case, the asking for jewelry and clothes – as a means to bring justice to acts of injustice.

I believe the lesson here for us today is that when God hears our cry for deliverance from something or someone that has enslaved us, we better be willing to let Him do it in His way and time.  And we need to be willing to do our part.

As I study this section of Scripture today I am aware of the ‘enslavement’ that many of us find ourselves in.  I read recently of one man that has hired a person to “slap his face” every time he goes on the social media called Facebook.  He was desperately trying to free himself of his enslavement to its addiction.  Others of us may have more serious enslavements.
Enslavement also occurs at a family, group, local church, or even national level.  I believe America is enslaved today from many sources – both internally and externally and many believers are crying to God for deliverance.  I am not as convinced that these same people are willing though to be delivered in the way and time that God wants to deliver them.   I believe many Christians that make up the Body of Christ are collectively enslaved by the manipulation of our spiritual enemy, the Devil.

But here’s the good news.  The same God that told Moses how He was going to deliver the Israelites and later did can deliver us from all our enslavement.  He has told us how in His Love Letter to us, the Bible.  And the bonus the Egyptians got is nothing in comparison to what is in store for all of God’s true children.  I pray it will be so for us all.
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