2004-07-06_1451_fromjoewatson

Last week, I listened to a great message from Matt Chandler on the fourth chapter of Exodus. I’m going to draw from that message in this post and hopefully enlarge upon it somewhat. The points I will make here are not those Pastor Matt made. His primary emphasis was Moses’ obedience in faith that caused God’s power to be revealed, and he challenged his church to follow Moses’ example.

It is a wonderful teaching.

The Exodus 4 passage details the exchange between the Lord and Moses in the wilderness. Much can be taught here, but we’re going to focus on acts the Lord instructed Moses to do which were to prove to him, Israel, the Pharaoh, and Egypt that He, God, was sending Moses to bring His people out of Egypt.

  1. He first told Moses to throw down his staff. It turned into a snake. He told Moses to pick it up, and it became a staff again.
  2. The Lord told Moses to put his hand into his cloak and take it out again. It was leprous. He told Moses to put it back into his cloak and take it out. The hand was free of leprosy.
  3. This next act of obedience was yet to come. Moses was to take water from the Nile and pour it onto the ground. It would pour out as blood.

Matt pointed out that each of those actions was to make known the ability of Israel’s God to defeat Egypt—its power and false gods, in which they trusted.

Matt taught that Pharaoh had a cobra on his crown that was facing out toward the viewer. The message: I am the sovereign ruler of a deadly nation, and I have power over your life—I can kill you. Pharaoh was considered a god in Egypt, therefore the message of Moses’ staff turning into a snake, like the one on Pharaoh’s crown, and back to a staff, was that the Lord had the power of life and death, not the Egyptian ruler. The king of Egypt would not be able to kill God’s people. He was not a god, only a pretender.

Concerning the healing of Moses’ leprous hand, Matt taught that Egypt had spent considerable resources trying to heal leprosy in the land and had failed. God’s ability to heal leprosy would again reveal his superior power over Egypt’s wisdom and resources. What Egypt could not do, the omnipotent Lord could.

The turning of the water of the Nile to blood would defeat the lie that its waters were Egypt’s source of life and therefore a god to be worshiped. The wealth and power of Egypt were built around the Nile and its life-giving ability, when it overflowed its banks, to bring abundant fish and waterfowl to the people as well as tons of fertile soil for agricultural production. The Lord would defeat that “god.” Only He is sovereign over nature as well as the life-giving resources and subsequent wealth it brings.

Matt went on to challenge his church to live lives of obedience and faith. It’s a great message, and I encourage the reader to listen or watch. The title is God Is Able.

I would like to enlarge on Matt’s sermon, and I have little doubt that he would agree with all that I write here.

The miraculous signs that the Lord performed through Moses in the wilderness—and promised He would perform when Moses poured the water of the Nile onto the ground—were proofs of God’s sovereign power not only to Moses, Pharaoh, Egypt, and Israel, but to us, as well.

When He made evident His sovereignty over Pharaoh’s claim of giver and taker of life, He was telling us that He alone has the power of life and death, not a man, not a nation, and not the devil, of which Pharaoh was a symbol and precursor. Only the Lord God Almighty possesses the power of life and death, and by that I also mean the power of true life—its meaning, its joy, its fullness—and its eternality. Jesus established that certainly in His resurrection from the dead. He bought eternal life, defeated death, and that old serpent, Satan—things done but not yet done.

When He established that He possessed the power heal leprosy, which Egypt with all its wisdom and resources could not, He was telling us that He is the sovereign Lord over healing and health. God is not powerless in the face of disease and illness. Jesus, of course, showed this power in His ministry, as did His disciples. The Lord does not always heal, but he without question has the ability, wisdom, and resources to do so.

Finally, when the Lord proved His sovereignty over the Nile as Egypt’s false god of food, sustenance, and resources, He was telling us that He alone is the life-giving Provider of all things in their fullness. A nation is not that source. Nature alone is not. A man, a personality, is not. Almighty God alone is. When Jesus said He was “the life,” this is what He meant. We cannot find life, in the ultimate sense of that word, in any other source. None.

So, let me end by offering this to my American friends who are perhaps wringing their hands over the election that is in our near future. Neither one of the candidates, is the source of a life of satisfaction and provision for you. Neither can kill you or bring you health. Neither is the source of your resources—food, water, or wealth. God and God alone is. Do not trust in man, God tells us. He—or she—is as fleeting as one’s breath:

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow (Psalm 144:4). 1

As difficult as it may be to hear, the United States of America is not your provider, either. As the Lord plainly states, “All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17).

“Nothing” and “emptiness” doesn’t sound like it can provide anything, does it?

1All Scriptures are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thanks to Joe Watson for the photo.

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