Thursday, June 4, 2015

How far will God go?

 
How far will God go to accomplish His will?

I wonder if it is even possible for me to really understand the lengths that God will go to in order to bring Glory to Himself or to make His name known.
Take Exodus for example; specifically the chapters that tell the story of the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. (You can read all about it here) I am... perplexed by the extremes God went to in order to accomplish His goal. I always thought that His goal was to free the Israelites.
Here's the way I have always thought of the story...
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God loved them and heard their cries and sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to "Let my people go". Pharaoh said "no". God sent the plagues. When God sent the last plague (killing all the first born males), Pharaoh gave in and finally told the Israelites to leave Once they were gone, Pharaoh sent his army to bring the Israelites back to Egypt. The Lord parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked across the dry seabed. Once the Israelites were safe, the Lord let the sea cover the Egyptians who had followed them. The Israelites are free, God is glorified. The End.
This is what I missed all the other times I read the story...
"The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out My hand against Egypt, and bring out the Israelites from among them.” Exodus 7:5
Here is how you will know that I am Yahweh. Exodus 7:17
This way you will know that I, Yahweh, am in the land. Exodus 8:22b
Then you will know there is no one like Me in all the earth. Exodus 9:14
I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth. Exodus 9:16
“Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may do these miraculous signs of Mine among them,and so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am Yahweh.” Exodus 10:1-2
The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”  Exodus 11:9
"I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.” Exodus 14:4
"I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:17-18
I am no theologian, but here's what I know about God. He could have freed the Israelites without the Plagues. He could have made Pharaoh let them go immediately. Yet He chose to drag things out with the plagues. He chose to drown Pharaoh’s army, chariots, and horses in the Red Sea. Why?
So that everyone would know that HE is Yahweh.
It’s easy to freak out and wonder “Why is God letting this happen” when life is challenging. I remind myself that there is no limit to what God will do to make Himself known, to Bring Glory to Himself, and to insure that we tell others about Him. Keeping this in mind gives me courage and  helps me to look for ways to share what God is doing in the midst of all that life throws my way. I hope it will do the same for you.