PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART XII

The Spirit of God partnered with Moses to deliver Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt. God gave to Moses sufficient power to subdue Pharaoh, and a prophet to deliver the irrevocable orders to let Israel go. Actually, it was the time to fulfill the promise and the Covenant God had made with Abram. Also the iniquities had caught up with the Canaanites and the Egyptians:

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:12-16).

And the LORD said to Moses, “See, the LORD make you as a God to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you; then I will lay my hand upon  Egypt and bring forth my hosts, my people sons of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth my hand upon Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” And Moses and Aaron did so; they did as the LORD commanded them. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1-7).

WHY DID GOD USE MOSES TO JUDGE PHARAOH AND THEN DELIVER ISRAEL?

God, in Genesis, Chapter One, said the “Word” and the world with everything in it just appeared! And God put man in charge. In Genesis, Chapter Two, God was more technical; and God equipped man with a choice so that man can fall by his own mistakes. And when man listened to Satan’s incarnation (the snake), the result was that man did fall. Since then, the big serpent (Satan) has run the world into the ground (Revelation 12). Satan has gained control of all the wealth and of all the nations of the world (Luke 4:5-7). The world is not run by flesh and blood! But, the world is run by the demonic forces, which use the flesh and blood to destroy man, who is the “image and likeness of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18). Before the end of the world, man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:8). During that stretch of time, man ought to heed the “Word of God,” that is sharper than a “two-edged sword” (Revelation 1:16: 2:12; 19:11-21, and Hebrews 4:11-13). Evil came into the world by man! And evil must be terminated by man! Sin cannot be hidden! For, sin always shames and discloses the sinner (Numbers 32:23):

Then I (John) saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords!”

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I Saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army. And the beast was captures, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of he beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the hose, the sword that issues from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh (Revelation 19:11-21).

And again in this place he said, “They (Israel) shall never enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already qted, “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day. So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:5-13).

GOD IS HOLY!  AND GOD DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH MAN’S UNHOLY WAYS TO DEAL WITH EACH OTHER

The Hebrew writers believed that God was using evil to defeat evil. That thinking does not fit into the “Nature of God!” God is good and generous (Mark 10:18; James 1:16-17). Also, God just could have opened His mouth and Pharaoh would have simply disappeared. If God had done so, God would have broken His own Covenant with man, whom he had authorized to deal with the human transgression (Genesis 8:21). By giving Moses godly power, God delegated Moses to deal with Pharaoh. The Old Testament writers found it difficult to believe that God could grant such powers to man. Yet, day in and day out, how often do we hear people insist in believing that, “God made me do it!” or “I can not help being, who I am.” It is man who deceives himself! And it is man, by his own willingness, to be misled. Jesus’ half-brother James had this warning:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the wod of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures (James 1:13-18).

The God, Jesus proclaimed, loves all men! And God sent His Son to atone for all their sins. God does not mislead or mistreat his children; regardless, whether they are saints or sinners. Life is very precious to God! Even one life is of greater value than the whole world (Matthew 16:26). Jesus warned us:

Do not give to dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls (life) before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him? So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:6-12).

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For is you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

THE BIBLE REGARDS THE HEART AS THE MAJOR ORGAN OF THE BODY

The heart is a term and a word used for the human brain, mind, soul, and spirit. It is the seat of intelligence and emotions, which can reason and can decide what man wants to store inside his heart. In a way, the heart is a storehouse for breathing in and out: good or bad, right or wrong. Jesus, too, made that comparison.

And he (Jesus) called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licetiousness, an evil eye, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man” (Mark 7:14-23).

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. THe good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:43-45).

God, Himself, has a heart! God’s Heart was wounded for what the  people did to their hearts. Man filled their hearts with all iniquities at a young age. By the time of Noah, God set a time limit for man of one hundred and twenty years, in which the spirit, God had put in man, could reside in the human body (Genesis 6:1-8). It is the spirit and the heart, in man, that must clean its house, so that the Holy Spirit can enter and live with man’s spirit. But when the people’s human spirit had filled it’s cup with evil and iniquity, God had to use Moses and Aaron to speak to Pharaoh, whose heart and whose spirit, evil had closed and hardened. Thanks to God’s Spirit, who keeps on sending people to us who try to break down our hardened and plugged-up hearts and spirits. God was and God still is patient with man! And God gives man ample time to repent and to alter his ways (II Peter 3:9). Even a man, like Pharaoh, could have listened and let Israel go; instead, he invoked ten plagues, which destroyed his land, and then his army in the Red Sea.

TIME, FOR PHARAOH, HAD COME TO REAP WHAT HE HAD SOWN

Man is God’s steward and God’s servant on earth. Jesus made this point very clear in His, “Parable of the Talents.” The invester or the banker handed to his servants tasks to perform, which did not exceed their abilities. Hence, he gave to one five pounds, to another he gave two pounds, and to a third he gave one pound. Two of these men doubled their investments and earned the right to be promoted. The third man did nothing, and even lost what was rightfully his own. And, he was cast off the property, in this life (Matthew 25:14-30). Earlier, Jesus offered this sobering thought:

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth (Matthew 24:45-51).

The Apostle Paul, prompted by the Holy Spirit wrote this warning:

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:7-10).

Pharaoh and Egypt were chosen to give Israel room to grow into a nation; and both prospered. But, when Pharaoh began to use the sword to exploit, deplete, and oppress Israel, harvest time had arrived for Egypt. With the measure Pharaoh had measured Israel, he would be measured himself (Matthew 7:2). And when man resorts to the sword, he too will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52). Those who threaten others, end up destroying themselves, just as Pharaoh’s army did (Exodus 14). Pharaoh and his people were given a taste of their own medicine. The plagues were symbolic of what Israel had to suffer, at the hands of the Egyptians. God uses man to judge himself and others. Moses and Aaron were empowered by the Holy Spirit to strip Pharaoh of his might, wealth, and many lives for his crime against Israel and against others, whom he had enslaved.

GOD DID AUTHORIZE MOSES TO DESTROY PHARAOH AND EGYPT, BUT WHO WAS THE DESTROYER?

The translators have led us to believe, along with the Hebrews, that God’s avenging angel did the killing. The truth is that Yahweh was present — but not as the destroyer — but as the guardian of the Hebrews against all the plagues. Then, who was the “Destroyer” (hmashachith-olothreuon)? Several references will disclose, for us, what was taking place in the punishment of Egypt. Paul was very helpful when he reminded the Thessalonians that the Spirit of God has not let the destroyer and the lawless one hurt the Christians (II Thessalonians 2:7-8). The destroyer is Satan! And should God withdraw His Spirit, Satan would destroy the world (Revelation 12). Satan, the destroyer, would have exterminated Israel in the desert, had not Yahweh stopped the massacre. And that is still true for us today! Paul had this insight, which sheds light on Exodus 12:23 when Yahweh did not let Satan, the destroyer, enter the Hebrew homes to kill the first-born. We read:

Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance.” We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put the Lord of the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (I Corinthians 10:6-13).

For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you (Exodus 12:23).