What do you do when God does a miracle in your presence? How do you respond when He sends a message with power? What does it take to convince you to change your mind and to do the right thing when you are set on the wrong thing?
Pharaoh comes face to face with Moses, and YHWH makes a move. Pharaoh has a choice to make. Obey this “God” of the Israelites, and lose all of the cheap labor that has helped to grow cities and his empire? Or, not? Moses and Aaron can do these amazing wonders, but so can his magicians. Now granted, Moses & Aaron’s staff / snake devours his magician’s staff / snakes, but that’s their problems not his. Why should he be concerned?
Then Moses & Aaron turn the Nile into blood. That’s a little bit more of an inconvenience, after all, the kingdom relies on the Nile river. Then again, the magicians can do the same thing. So what does Pharaoh do next? He goes back to his house with no real concern for the situation. However, seven days later, the magicians have not yet figured out how to change the Nile back to water. I’m sure that that may have become a little disconcerting.
What about us? Is God / YHWH trying to speak to us? Does He give us signs day after day that He is real and we need to look to Him? Do we ignore Him, considering His miracles no more than coincidences and conveniences or inconveniences? Do we ignore the little things, because they are little, and don’t take seriously where those signs are pointing?
Pharaoh ignored the little things. As a result, he takes that mentality with him when YHWH begins to do much bigger things. What will it take for us to come to the point where we cease ignoring the signs pointing at God. The more we ignore the little things, the more likely it is we will ignore and reject the big things. We need to open our eyes and see the truth of who God / YHWH is in the little things as well as the big.
LORD, open my eyes and the eyes of the readers. Help us to see the signs and understand where they are pointing. Help us to do more than that. Help us to pursue the God that is pursuing us. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
Genesis 16 is a lesson to us all. God had made a promise to Abram. That promise was going to take a miracle. There was no way it was humanly possible for Sarai to have a baby at her age. Yet God had told Abram that he would have a son. This could be seen as an opportunity, rejection, or false promise.
It could be a false promise (or disillusion) in that either God did say or Abram only thought He said, and that there was no real plan for the fulfillment of the promise.
It could be that God was going to bring it to fulfillment, and simply had not yet (which we know to be the truth). However, that seemed less and less likely every day.
Finally, it could be a rejection. God could have been making the promise to Abram while rejecting Sarai. This was likely the struggle that Sarai was going through. She was past the age of child birth, but Abram was not. She could not have children, but her husband still could. The promise had been made to him and not to her. He needed an heir, and she couldn’t provide it. So she did what she felt needed to be done to fulfill God’s promise for Him… and it was the wrong thing.
In Sarai’s defense, as far as we know, there had never been a single woman past the age of childbearing who had miraculously conceived. It was unheard of. Is that a valid excuse? No, not really, but it does explain her decisions. She knew what her husband and family needed. She knew she couldn’t provide it, so she did what she thought was the only feasible solution… and it backfired on her.
It also wasn’t fully her fault either. Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. He accepted her assessment and solution.
Ultimately though, the question comes back to us. What promises that God has made to us are we trying to fulfill of our own power? Are we trying to “help” God fulfill His promises, or are we resting in the promises of the God who promises and fulfills?