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Exodus 8:1-9:35

Irrational, Illogical and Unreasonable, that is the mental state of the latter Pharaoh. That is the state of someone’ mind who is in sin, in this case, deep in sin. According to the writer of Proverbs, he is a fool because a fool cannot be reasoned with or even see reason (Prov. 12:15;17:10,16;26:12).

The first time we see these three character flaws in the Pharaohs is when the order goes out to have all the male infants killed. From a business and economic point of view that is a stupid move. Egypt’s economy was based on slave labor thus the death of all the males would over time deplete your work force. Now we see the current Pharaoh, or it’s the same ole’ Pharaoh, but now he is an older fool, actually increasing his own people’s misery, the people he is suppose to be protecting. I don’t know but I hope if I had had an up close and personal relationship with a bunch of frogs, I trust that I would begin thinking about the power, or precisely the lack of power my gods, were showing and rethink my belief systems. And if asked for a timetable to get rid of said frogs, I wouldn’t say tomorrow, I would say, “Right Now! Thank you very much.”

Now regarding God hardening Pharaoh’s heart bear with me as I use an illustration. In Biblical Text, both Old and New, soil and or the ground has been used as simile for the heart of man. We find this in the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3-9,19) and in the Prophets Jeremiah (4:3) and Hosea’s (10:12) writings. God can either harden your heart, like Pharaoh, or soften your heart, like the Apostel Paul, based on the condition of the soil and the environment you allow yourself to live in.

Two people can have a garden separated only by a fence. One person constantly “works” the soil and keeps it watered, the other does not. Seeds are sown in both patches of land. When the sun (Son) comes up and it is in the heat of the day, the seeds sown on the soil that is worked will produce a crop of what has been planted, but that same sun (Son) will cause the unworked unprepared ground to harden further giving the birds a firm table to eat from.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
It would be an interesting thing if everyone tried to be perfect in this way! Then there would be no more poor people!

I think the story of the rich man asking about what he can do to get into heaven and Christ gives this list and then says follow the commandments. He replies that he does this, but really the first commandment is the most difficult. Put no Gods before God and if this young man did this he would not bow to wealth, but give it to God. I am always checking my own motives and careful to know that it is very easy to begin to serve modern idols, than to God. How do I spend my time, what do I allow into my life, etc. Sometimes we are like Pharaoh and the idol is ourself. In his belief system he was God and sometimes we think of ourselves in that same way.

For me what stood out in today's readings was Exodus 9:27-28 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned this time,” he said to them. “The LORD is the Righteous One, and I and my people are the guilty ones. 28 Make an appeal to the LORD. There has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”
This has a familiar ring to it. We call out to God in the midst of the big crisis but the intensity of the call dissipates as relief arrives. Pharaoh keeps changing his mind about letting the Israelite's go each time the slightest relief appears. Like Pharaoh we want control of our lives, we want to call the shots and be in charge but God knows this and puts us in situations we have little or no control over. Pharaoh’s decisions are based on what will protect his kingdom keeping him in power. Jesus teaches the opposite leading us (like the Israelite's) away from bondage, fear, stubbornness and into the vulnerable open space of green pastures where we find rest in Him.

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