Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Felt Darkness"

Exodus 10.7, 21 NIV

“Pharaoh’s officials said to him, ‘How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the LORD their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt — darkness that can be felt.’”  
Have you ever argued from a position that you knew was wrong? You dug a conversational hole and a superior debater pushed you in. To ‘save face’ you became committed to the defense of your premise no matter how foolish it sounded, even to you. It’s not a pleasant place, but it’s a learning place. The experience teaches a smart man to carefully think through his position before he opens his mouth.

The ninth plague of Egypt, “darkness that can be felt,” describes the spiritual condition of man who will defend his position at all costs, a man who has confused stubbornness with conviction. Change is painful, especially when it requires you to place your sacred viewpoints, treasured opinions, and pet doctrines on the altar and sacrifice them for the greater good of family, church, community, or nation. But to do otherwise guarantees a “darkness that can be felt” by you (if you’re honest) and everyone around you.

Pharaoh lived in that darkness. He had a dark, cold, hard heart. He should have relented when Moses first said, “Let my people go” (Exodus 5.1). After eight serious plagues Pharaoh should have known better. But pride kept him from bowing before his Maker and his Maker’s spokesman. The leader of Egypt would rather have destroyed land of Egypt than submit to the God of Moses. Even his closest advisors warned him…

“Let the people go… Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”

God expects me to recognize His mighty hand before it’s too late. He will require of me exactly what He required of Pharaoh...

“...humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…”
1st Peter 5.6 NASU

Pharaoh said, “No.” What will I say?


The image "Dark mind, hands of light !" is used here by permission of Italian born photographer Felice de Sena Micheli. Felice explained, "The original photo is from Alessandro Villa, who gave me full permission to re-compose his pictures".


Anonymous said...

Yes, that passage also struck me: "Darkness that can be felt." I almost wrote on that since I have definitely felt such darkness. I guess some times we need to be in such a place to realize we did fall into a deep hole, and as you spoke the other week, we need to walk down another street and avoid the hole altogether.

For the record, I also now know less about child rearing than I did 14 years ago, when my wife and I had yet to walk down that path.

My journal entry for Wednesday:

"But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people."

------Exodus ch 8, vs 22-23.

"But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die."

------Exodus ch 9, vs 4.

"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it upon the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away."

-----Matthew ch 13, vs 47-48.

About a quarter century ago, I remember frequently seeing the following bumper sticker:

"Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven."

Being a very young man, and being unchurched, unsaved and completely ignorant about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I was offended by the bumper sticker. How dare these people suggest that Buddhists, Hindus, or any other person that might be a "good person" would not be forgiven by God. But looking at these passages in Exodus, it's clear that in the end, the only thing that matters is who's team you're on. In fact, the creator of heaven and earth uses the phrase: "my people and your people."

Of course I am called on to obey the ten commandments, love my neighbor and live a moral life. But in the end, what will matter is whether or not I am one of God's people; whether I am a sheep or a goat.


Dave's Bible Blog said...

The sheep and goats... good insight. What distinguishes one from the other?

Anonymous said...

"All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right: come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom created for you since the creation of the world."

---Matthew 25, vs 32-34.

We are "blessed." We cannot bless ourselves, only God can do it. We have an "inheritance." An inheritance is not earned, it is granted. We have a "kingdom." One cannot live in a kingdom without being subject to the king.

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice. Jesus used this figure of speech because they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. (will eat/one omer per person) The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

----John ch 10, vs 1-10.

A raima or two:

1) Yahweh is the "watchman."
2) Yahweh opens the "gate" (Jesus)
and the shepherd (also Jesus) walks through the gate and leads the sheep.
3) The sheep are the ones who recognize the voice of Jesus and follow him to the "pasture."
4) It is only by following Jesus to the pasture that we can partake in our daily bread/sustenance. (I could swear I heard a real estate agent say something about that this morning)
5) The one true shepherd is:

a) Pharoah?
b) Buddha?
c) Aristotle?
d) Socrates?
e) Plato?
f) Confucious?
g) King Herod?
h) Mohammed?
i) Bruce Springsteen?
j) Roberto Clemente?
k) None of the above?

6) "At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?" But others said: "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

---John ch 10, vs 19-21.

7) "Do you think I came to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in law against mother-in-law."

-----Luke ch 12, vs 49-53.

8) Sheep and goats, sheep and goats, sheep and goats.

9) True or false:

Jim has too much time on his hands today?