Wow, a year has passed since the people of Israel have come out of the land of Egypt! So much has happened in all that time. Now, it is time to look back on all that has happened. It had been exactly one year previously that the people of Israel had still been slaves in Egypt. They were celebrating their first Passover and were in wonder of all the miracles God / YHWH had done in their midst and to Egypt. That night the angel of the Lord / YHWH passed-over the nation of Egypt and took the lives of the firstborn of all who lived. However, those who were of the lineage of Israel and were celebrating the Passover feast were passed-over and their lives were not taken from them.
Now a year later they look back and see all the miraculous wonders of all that the LORD has done for them since then. It is an amazing picture that is hard to put into words. I am almost envious of them of this moment. How many of us, in a year’s time, get to bee freed from slavery, watch the army of our biggest enemy buried by a sea right after we walk through it on dry land, complain and then see nasty foul water turned pure and clean by a tree placed in it, cross a dessert, come to the mountain of YHWH, have YHWH speak to you from the mountain and completely shake your world, see a religious system (one of the longest lasting ever) built in front of your eyes, watched THE tabernacle being built and erected, and a hoard of people become organized into a huge standing army that is about to be led by YHWH in a cloud by day that becomes as a pillar of fire by night? It’s an amazing picture!
Maybe it’s time to look back on our own lives this past year. What amazing and miraculous things has He done in and through us this year? Are you able to come up with 100? …how about one? If you are having a difficult time coming up with even one miraculous thing that YHWH has done for you in the past year, maybe it’s time to start asking the question, “Why?”. Why in a year’s time can I not think of a single miraculous thing that God / YHWH has done for me? Why does it seem like God isn’t doing anything? Is it God / YHWH, or is it me / us?
YHWH is always at work. He is always doing the miraculous. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19) Jesus spent His entire ministry doing the miraculous. Every life that He came into contact with He touched and affected. The very last verse of the Gospel of John says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” Jesus was continually doing the miraculous. So His father… so much more! If we cant see the work that YHWH has done miraculously in our lives, then we are either ignorant (which is fixed with education) or we are blind, and we need a touch of YHWH’s hand once again to help us see.
Lord, open my eyes and help me to see. Also, open the eyes of the reader to see as well. You make the seeing blind and the blind see. You are a God of miracles, give us the wisdom and knowledge to see! Thank you Lord / YHWH! In Jesus name we pray… Amen (let it be done)!
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
This parable about the vineyard seems to bug me. So early in the day this man goes out and hires a bunch of people. They start working and keep working all day. As the day goes on, he goes out and hires more and more people. As the day goes on he continues hiring people until, an hour before finishing time he hires the last group of people. So then at the end of the day he pays the workers their wages… starting with the last first. So now he’s paying the last, those that have only worked an hour, not only the same as those who have worked all day long, but also he pays them all the same. Those who have worked all day long are kind of ticked off, they have families and lives that they need to get home to. They are tired from working so hard, and these other guys not only get paid as much as they do, they have to wait to get paid until these others do. I mean come on! Give these guys a break! But the owner doesn’t. He responds to their frustration by saying, “This is what we agreed to, so why are you so upset about how I paid these others?”‘
I’m pretty sure that i understand the meaning behind the parable. The workers are people. Some have been serving God all their lives, others reject Him until not long before they die. Yet they both get paid the same. Why? Because God wants to do it that way. Being one that has served Him since i was young, i struggle with this one quite a bit. I think that part of it is a pride thing, and part of it is an envy thing, and part of it is a blind thing. I feel like I DESERVE more because I have worked SO HARD for SO LONG (pride). I feel like as i see others doing the wrong things (what they want) for so long, yet they seem to have all that they want / need, and they will get the same payment at the end it just doesn’t seem fair (envy). It’s also a blind thing. I don’t know what i’ve been missing out on. I can’t see 5 dimensionally. I can’t see what could have happened if i had made a different choice, but i wonder.
In the parable, the owner of the vineyard says, “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’” I have to be careful of how i react to these kinds of things. Matthew 18:8-9 says, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” I have to be careful. If my envious eye is not brought under conviction and dealt with (removed), it can lead to my own downfall.
There is so much more to this topic that i don’t have time to go into, but i did want to touch on one more thing in this chapter. At the end of the chapter, there are two blind men sitting. They heard that Jesus was passing by and they cried out for mercy! What had they done wrong to deserve blindness that they needed mercy for? Christ asked them what they wanted Him to do (significant). He had compassion and healed them. When we are physically blind, or blinded by by pride and envy. Only one can have mercy on us and bring healing to our eyes. He is the one we serve, and who has served us.
Rev. John J. Camiolo
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?