Feb 24, 2022

(Exodus 7, Luke 10; Optional Psalm 37:18-29, Proverbs 11:14-18)

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EXODUS 7 – At the end of Ex 6, Moses was discouraged, God is reminding him BOTH of the end of the story (glorious deliverance for God’s people and awful judgment for those doing their own thing) AND that there will be further complications along the way. Then God reminds Moses of his simple call – “You shall speak all that I command you…” (Ex 7:2). As we study sections of Scripture that get into both the sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of people, I find it clarifying and re-focusing to keep returning to Deut 29:29. There are “secret things” that belong to Yahweh (just like when our kids were young the knife drawer in the kitchen was out of bounds). These “secret things” involve mysteries like how God can be perfectly holy, holy, holy and yet use sinful decisions of people to advance His perfectly good and wise ultimate plan (like here in Exodus, and with Joseph in Gen 50:20 and at the cross, recorded in Acts 2:23, 4:27-28). And mysteries like how God can be perfectly just and righteous while sovereignly hardening Pharaoh’s heart AND holding Pharaoh accountable for his sinful decisions and actions (and God CLEARLY does both – see Rom 9:14-24 for inspired reflection on this whole set of events involving Pharaoh). But the things that are “revealed” (Deut 29:29, illustrated here in Ex 7:2) are for us to OBEY. When my head whirls, wondering how all this can fit together, I sometimes need the simple clarity of asking “What has God commanded?” And then trust His grace and help to obey.

This whole section is a case study in BOTH the sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of man (I’ve written “R” by v 2 because it lists both Moses/Aaron responsibility and Pharaoh’s responsibility to obey God and “S” by v 3. “R” by v 4a and Pharaoh’s accountable decision to not listen to God’s commands/warnings, and “S” by 4b and “S!” by v 5 as God declares how HE WILL end this story). “R” by v 22, another “R” by v 23. And a note beside v 24 on how hard we’ll work to NOT learn from God’s lessons when it calls for a radical life change.

Ex 7:5 – This entire section of Exodus is God showing Pharaoh (and Israel and future generations like us) EXACTLY who Yahweh is – He is the one true God who is unstoppable, and who has called out a people to Himself and He WILL bring His people to Himself at the end of the story! Pharaoh had said in Ex 5:2 – “Who is Yahweh, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh and moreover, I will NOT let Israel go.” Well, this entire first section of Exodus is to let Pharaoh and ALL of us know who Yahweh is, and we’ll see that in the END, Pharaoh WILL let God’s people go, just like Yahweh said!

Ex 7:6 – I need this simple clarity (also see Deut 29:29)! Also see Ex 7:20a.

Ex 7:7 – People were still living longer than we’re used to (see Ex 6:16, 18, 20), but Moses and Aaron still would have been considered “seasoned saints” – they’re both in the last third of their lives when God called them to lead in such a significant way. Very different from modern conceptions of retirement!

Ex 7:13 – “as Yahweh had said” (see also v 22). This is all just how God said it would be when He called Moses in Ex 3:19-20 and Ex 4:21-23. And the END of the story will be just like He said, too. From the hymn This Is My Father’s World: “This is my Father’s world and let me ne’er forget that though the wrong SEEMS oft so strong, God IS the Ruler yet!”

Ex 7:11 – In 2 Tim 3:8 we’re told two of the names of the sorcerers that tried to oppose Moses – Jannes and Jambres.

Ex 7:11-16 – The sorcerers were able to somewhat duplicate what Moses and Aaron did, and that gave Pharaoh the excuse/justification he was looking for to continue in his hardness of heart. God doesn’t give us details on whether the sorcerers actually used demonic power or illusions or some mix, but notice that they don’t IMPROVE things (also see v 22), and God’s power is CLEARLY greater (v 12). I’m not sure whether to put an “R” or an “S” by v 13 and v 14 (and v 22) – God started all this by telling Moses He would harden Pharaoh’s already wicked heart (Ex 4:21-23), but all through the story it’s clear BOTH that God is hardening an already wicked heart AND that Pharaoh is sinfully hardening his own heart and grasping at any justification he can for continuing his stubborn disobedience. But notice the simple clarity of v 15-16: Moses is to obey by giving the same message that Pharaoh must obey God or judgment will follow (and this is why I keep returning to Deut 29:29).

LUKE 10 – Both our OT and NT readings today are prime case studies showing BOTH the sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of people. And some clarifying simplicity in Lk 10:41-42.

Lk 10:2-3 – I’ve written “R” by the commands to pray (v 2) for more laborers and the command to go (v 3) themselves as laborers even into a dangerous setting, not waiting for more laborers or an easier time. I’ve written “S!” beside v 2b, underlining “HIS harvest.”

Lk 10:12 – One of many clear verses (also see v 14) that there WILL be differing levels in God’s perfect judgment one day. We’ve already read in Gen 19 about God’s terrifying judgment destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. But it will be even worse on towns that heard (and saw evidence) about the kingdom of God coming in Jesus and rejected Him and His message.

Lk 10:13-15 – Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were towns where Jesus sent folks to preach and minister and then went Himself. Tyre and Sidon were more towns (like Sodom and Gomorrah) proverbial for God’s judgment on them in the OT. I’ve written “S!” next to v 13: God is in such sovereign control that He tells both what WILL be (see our readings in Exodus) and also what COULD HAVE BEEN.

Lk 10:16 – I’ve written “R” here. After the mind-blowing sovereignty of God in v 13, don’t miss ALSO the clear responsibility of people to hear and respond to the kingdom message God sent through Jesus and Jesus sends through His followers. And we must be clear with folks that try to insist that they believe in the same God we do, but don’t receive Jesus as God in the flesh. Jesus Himself was crystal clear that if they don’t receive ALL that He said about who He is that they ALSO are rejecting God the Father.

Lk 10:17-20 – An exciting after-mission report and a clear command from Jesus about what to get MOST excited about! Compare the simple clarity here to v 41-42.

Lk 10:21-24 – Because of the resounding sovereignty of God the Father AND God the Son (see v 22c), I have “S” in the margin with arrows from the words “hidden” and “revealed”. Sadly, these issues about the sovereignty of God tend to become heated arguments in the church. But notice the joy and praise that Jesus has in reflecting on these truths that exalt God above all! Compare Paul’s overflowing praise in Romans 11:33-36, concluding three chapters in Romans ALSO on both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of people.

Lk 10:21 – Compare 1 Cor 1:20-31.

Lk 10:23-24 – If God has let us see truth, it should lead to grateful praise, NEVER to feeling superior to others. HE gets all the glory and praise!

Lk 10:27-28 – Summary of the entire OT – perfectly and completely love God and love people. If we do that, we earn eternal life. Of course, the ONLY human who has perfectly KEPT the law of God is Jesus Himself, and we need HIS righteousness accounted to our lives (see Rom 3:19-28).

Lk 10:29-37 – The story of the helpful Samaritan (shocking to Jews of Jesus’ day who HATED Samaritans) is all to show the lawyer who is trying to justify himself (v 29) how far short he falls from keeping the law of love that he correctly summarized in v 27.

Lk 10:38-42 – This is the same Mary who poured expensive ointment on Jesus days before His crucifixion (but DIFFERENT from the lady who poured ointment in Lk 7:37) and these are the sisters of Lazarus who Jesus raises from the dead in John 11.

Lk 10:39-42 – It’s easy to get fragmented in very good things! We should know something’s off when we try to tell the Lord and Master what to do. Note how Jesus gives a gentle rebuke and focusing clarity. I keep returning to these verses to prune the activity tree and keep re-focusing on godly priorities.

Optional Psalm 37:18-29 – Reminders that godliness is generally better even in THIS life, and even when there are hard things (v 24), that is NOT the end of the story for believers (note the ETERNAL FOCUS with the repetition of the word “forever” through this section).

Optional Proverbs 11:14-18 – I have an arrow connecting v 18 to v 4 and v 16. The wicked and violent may get riches for a while, but they are short-term and lead to eternal destruction.