If things weren’t deep and passionate before, there is a whole lot of that going on now! The plagues keep getting more and more intense and powerful, and Pharaoh’s frustration and anger are getting worse and worse.
Pharaoh is doing everything he can to attempt to delay or stop the inevitable, but he just can’t stop YHWH. I kind of feel bad for the guy. But at the same time, i know why this is happening, and his involvement / responsibility in it. It’s kind of like working with troubled youth. Sometimes the only way they learn is to allow them to learn and understand the consequences of their actions. Explaining it to them, processing it with them and protecting them from it can only get you so far. Sometimes you just need to let them see, and until they see they will not understand.
You can see Pharaoh’s will / resolve start to soften in this chapter, but Pharaoh is not a man to change easily or lightly. Nor is he a man likely to accept defeat. God continues to harden an already hard heart. Pharaoh continues to attempt to compromise with God, but the cost of that compromise is much higher than the cost of the original price.
How do you help a man who is so insistent that he wins, that he is willing to destroy himself and everything around him in order to do so? How do you open the eyes of a man so blinded by his own pride and rebellion that he thinks he can stand against God? What drives a man to become what you see before you? Yes, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and yes, God had every right to do that! But the truth is, He didn’t need to. Pharaoh was so intent on doing it to himself that he did not need any real help from God.
How do help a man like that?
You could say that this is where it ends, or you could say that this is where it starts. Either way, Jacob and his family are on their way to Egypt. There is a much bigger plan for them than any of them can see right now. It is a plan that won’t be fulfilled for 400+ years.
Jacob makes a wise decision. Even though his lost son has called for him to come down to Egypt with all that he has and that he will be taken care of, he still seeks the advice of Elohim; the God of his fathers. Jacob wants to make sure that this is what God is directing him to do. What’s important to note here is that even when faced with something he desires more than anything in the world, Jacob does not just accept and do what he desires with all of his heart. He seeks God’s will before he makes the choice.
As a result God blesses him. God tells him that he is to go. That He (God) Himself will bring them out, and that Joseph will be there to see him off on his death bed. At this point there is nothing more that Jacob desires. We will see more of this plan of God’s in the coming books, but understand that all that occurs in the meantime is a part of God’s plan.
Do we jump into doing something that we want so badly just because we want it without consideration of the consequences or whether it is God’s will. Many times i have seen an amazing situation that i really, really want and think that it must be God blessing me, but i may forget to actually ask Him if it is from Him. Other times i seek God’s will and accept what He tells me; then when things fall apart i wonder if i really heard God or if i was just doing my own thing.
Just because it is a blessing, does not mean it is God’s will. Just because it has led to frustration and trouble, does not mean that it isn’t a part of God’s plan.
Some chapters i have to read and read and read the same thing over and over again before i can get it down on paper accurately. I just have a hard time keeping it all together in my mind long enough for it to get put on paper accurately. Other times, like today, i start copying the verses down and it all flows so smoothly.
This has to be my favorite part of this story. He just can’t take it anymore. Joseph breaks down and lets it all out. He reveals the truth in the presence of his brothers. All the work and testing that he has done, has led up to this purpose. He can now tell them not only who he is, but that this has all been a part of God’s plan. That they have nothing to fear and that God is blessing them abundantly above all things.
Wow, what it must have been like? To have all of this happen to you, to look back and know that God was directing and leading it all, and that you now have such a huge part to play in the process. Then to be able to come back, reconcile with those who “did you harm” and be able to tell them, “Do not fear. God meant for all of this to happen, and His plan is amazing!” What must it have been like for the brothers? Their dark and dirty secret out in the open, but for the good. All the guilt, pain, and agony that they had buried finally revealed with the ability to let it go. They still had to deal with the consequences and the backlash. But, the truth has been revealed, and they can finally be free.
Are their things in our lives that we have hidden that we wish would and could be revealed? I know that plenty of times in my life this has been the case. What Jesus told the Pharisees was that if they chose God and became His disciples, they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free. (John 8:32) They had enslaved themselves to the law and their own rules. They needed to be released from those chains. This was their chance and opportunity. One day, all will be revealed, until then; we may know / reveal the truth, and the truth will set us free.
It is chapters like this that make the Bible that much more real. We see the sons of Jacob as real people. They come alive with both their good and bad features. The story is not just told of the warriors of old who battled great serpents and monsters and creatures of the deep: who then went on to live perfect little lives playing heroes and growing prosperous as a shining light for all to see and desire to be like.
These are real men who are dealing with real problems. Sometimes they do the right thing. Sometimes they do the wrong thing, and sometimes they do nothing when they should be doing something.
They don’t always make the right choices, and when they don’t sometimes it can have a huge lasting impact on their lives and the lives of the people around them for generations. Ultimately, we see all things working together for good to all according to God’s purpose. He can take the worst, and make the best.
The impact of what happens here, the total annihilation of a city-state by the work of these two men, affects them for over a thousand years to come. It’s amazing how in one small (or not so small) choice there are waves of repercussions spreading out throughout time.
Do we take the time to consider how our actions will affect us and those around us for the next week; for the next month; for the next year; for the next hundred years? What kind of an example are we setting to our children / families / future generations? Does it even matter?