Recommended Reading: Exodus chapters 1-14
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Matthew 12:30 NLT
At the end of Genesis we read about how Jacob dies, then later Joseph also dies. Apparently about 400 years pass before we then read about the fate of the Israelites in the book of Exodus, where they have been enslaved by the Egyptians. The first 7 verses tell us that they had become very numerous, so their nation seems to be firmly established and all was well.
But a new king came to power that was unaware of Joseph and how he had had standing in their kingdom. He also was unaware of how his predecessor had allowed the establishment of the Israelites in their country because of Joseph. The king became concerned about their numbers and the power that could potentially develop among them, so he enslaved them; however, their numbers continued to grow. Then he decided to slow the growth of the Israelites by killing the baby boys at birth.
In Exodus 2 we can read about how Moses was born to Israelite parents and was saved from death by Pharaoh’s own daughter. He in fact was actually taken into the home of Pharaoh and brought up as royalty – trained and educated accordingly, for 40 years. But apparently either Moses knew of his true heritage, or he had a real heart for others. As an adult he one day witnessed a slavemaster abusing an Israelite and he intervened, killing the slavemaster. Then another day he tried to settle a dispute between two Israelites. One of them had either himself observed, or heard from someone who did see Moses kill that Egytian slavemaster and confronted him about it. Word of what Moses had done reached Pharaoh and he attempted to kill Moses. So Moses fled Egypt and escaped to Midian. During his many years in Midian, Moses had married and fathered children, working as a shepherd for this father-in-law. The Egyptian king that attempted to kill him had died and was apparently replaced by someone with a heart just as evil.
In Exodus 3 is the story of how God appeared to Moses and spoke to him out of a burning bush. It is here where God called him to be the deliverer of the Israelites. However, the once bold and brave Moses is now reluctant to do as God asks and tried to beg out of it. But God called his bluff. He tells Moses that He will allow Moses’ brother Aaron to go with him as the spokesperson for Moses as he received direction from God.
As Exodus 5 opens we see Moses and Aaron going before Pharaoh asking that he let the Israelite people go. Pharaoh is uncaring and obstinate with his denial to follow God’s demands. Although we do not want to think about it or believe it, we can see how many people even today are not unlike Pharaoh. He rejected God, then as Moses and Aaron performed powerful acts, he fell for the trickery of his magicians rather than seeing and believing in the power of God. Even after the point where his magicians could no longer duplicate what God was performing, Pharaoh would not relent. He procrastinated, he made empty promises, he tried to compromise and even tried to fake repentance. Does any of that sound familiar? Through it all, his heart only grew harder until even the threat of death among his people did not move him.
How often do we, like Pharaoh, try to bargain with God? We procrastinate about making a real commitment to God. We make promises about what we will do that we do not keep. When things take a negative turn in our lives then we will try to bargain and compromise – I will do this if you will do that God. It is hard to think about how some people will even fake their repentance and commitment to God. Maybe they think it will help them in the business world, or help them be accepted in a certain social circle, or to help them win a political office, etc.
What people need to recognize is that our God knows what is in your mind and your heart. You may think you are fooling Him, but be assured – you are not and it is a dangerous game to play. You are playing with fire.
“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” Titus 1:15-16 NLT
It is critical to your eternal life that you stop straddling the fence. You need to determine where you want to be once your time here on earth is done. “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Revelation 3:15 NLT
If you want an example of where it will get you to play games with God, check out Exodus 14 to see what happened to Pharaoh and all of the Egyptian army that pursued the Israelites after they had allowed them to leave – it was not pretty!
In January of last year (2020) I learned that a long-time acquaintance had passed away. They said she died peacefully at home in her bed. Do you think she went to bed the night before thinking that her time here on earth was up? We often hear stories like this and others where someone is suddenly gone because of an accident, etc. It is rare that we can plan how and when our time here on earth is up, so it is not wise to play with fire by procrastinating. We need to be ready.
Written by Karran Martin – January 22, 2020