It wasn’t long ago that our society moved from what we called a “modern” society, to a “postmodern” society. In modern society people believed in the concept of truth and authority, even though they may not live in submission to it. There was a general consensus of right and wrong. In a postmodern society, people have shied away from absolute truth and truth has become something that centers upon the individual. In other words, what’s true for you may not necessarily be true for me. We have continued in this vein of thought and now, truth is not based upon fact, but more upon emotion. Because truth now rests upon the individual, each person becomes their own authority on right and wrong.
QUES: What are some problems with viewing the world through this type of lens?
QUES: Most Christians reject this concept and view God as authoritative. Yet we still question and struggle with God’s authority over us. What are some ways God’s people question who God is and His authority over them?
Man has always wrestled with the concept of authority. Genesis 3 (The Fall of Man) centers around the issue of authority. Now, in Adam and Eve’s case, the issue wasn’t if God was in charge, the issue revolved around submission to Him.
In our narrative today from Exodus (the plagues), we see Pharaoh continually refusing to accept and submit to God’s authority over him. Ironically, there are two responses to God’s authority and we can see them throughout the narrative. We either “harden” ourselves (Ex. 9:35) or “humble” ourselves (Ex. 10:3) to the authority of God.
In today’s story, we’ll see that God’s authority and power are actually a help to us and not a hindrance.
I. God frees His people by confronting false gods (Ex. 7:14-18)
The plagues carry a singular focus. God is in the midst of showing Himself to be the one, true God over Egypt’s worship of false gods.
You can see this begin prior to the plagues when Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh in chapter 7. pay close attention to 7:5 and 7:12.
Each of the plagues is designed to show that Yahweh is the Lord. The one true god who is over more powerful and over their worship of false gods. The plagues demonstrate the Egyptian gods to be frauds.
QUES: What are some lies and false beliefs present in our culture today?
THEO: In both the Old and New Testament times, the advocacy of monotheism (belief in one God) was contrary to the surrounding culture. The people of God knew, based upon God’s self-revelation, that Yahweh, the Lord, is the only one true God.
See: Deut. 6:4-9.
God, just as he did with Egypt, still reveals the failures that come along with worshipping false gods. Is this an act of mercy and love? I’d absolutely say yes. Why?
Consider Hebrews 12:5-11
II. God frees His people by providing a perfect sacrifice (Ex. 12:3-8, 12-13)
Unlike the other plagues, the 10th could not be reversed and included Jews as well as Egyptians.
This is one of the earliest and clearest examples of God providing an escape from death through through a sacrificial substitute. Jesus explains at the last supper that this is more than being about freedom from Egypt, but ultimately signifies our freedom from sin.
Consider: John 1:29; Rom. 3:21-ff; Hebrews 10:1-4, 10-14.
THEO: There are several signs, symbols, and pointers in the Old Testament that foreshadowed Christ as being the sacrificial Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. However, unlike the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, whose sacrifices were unable to take away sin, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was able to permanently, “once and for all,” take away sins.
III. God frees His people by preserving life in the midst of judgment (Ex. 12:29-32)
QUES: What do you find troubling about this passage? Do you see anything beautiful and gracious?
There are times when it may seem difficult to reconcile God’s character with His actions, However, we must remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8-9).
In this passage we see God as both Savior and Judge. A theme we see elsewhere in scripture and even in our own redemption.