The S.H.A.R.K. Priniciple (lesson 1)

March 31, 2014 at 10:18 am | Posted in The S.H.A.R.K. Principle | 3 Comments
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One of my greatest joys competes with one of my greatest fears. I am fascinated by, and terrified of, sharks (especially the great whites that breach up through the surface), but I love swimming in the ocean. I know it is not very likely that I will be devoured by a 2000-pound predator fifty yards from the shore, but I am still haunted by the knowledge that, while swimming, I am technically sharing the same space (the sea) where these creatures live, and there is the nagging sense of danger that comes from not being aware of what might be coming to get me.

In our spiritual lives, thankfully, we do not have to be unaware. Satan would like to destroy us, but we do not have to be ignorant of who he is or how he operates.

S.atan
H.
A.
R.
K.

Satan is a real “person” – a real being. You may have heard the theological statement that the devil is a “personal” devil. He’s not “personal” like a secret that is only between friends. He’s personal because he has a personality. He thinks thoughts. He has plans. He has feelings. He was made by God to be a creature with a will and a spirit. He’s not a fairy tale or a boogie monster, and he’s not just a symbol for evil. How do we know? Because Jesus said so.

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luke 10:17

Jesus had sent out 70 disciples, and they were excited because they had seen Jesus proven right. While they were witnessing for Him, God gave them power to subdue demons.

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Luke 10:18

Satan was originally an angel named Lucifer, but he rebelled against God, so God threw him and one-third of the angels (the ones who had taken Lucifer’s side in the rebellion) out of Heaven. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was there to see it happen.

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Luke 10:19-20

In these lessons I will say some things about Satan that may sound complimentary, but we must be careful never to give him any praise or adoration. Nor do I advocate making jokes about “beating him up” (a staple of the “Word of Faith” televangelists) or telling him to “go sit on a tack,” as I’ve heard in some children’s songs and lessons. We praise God for His victory over Satan. Only because of Him are true Christians on the winning side.

The S in S.H.A.R.K. is for Satan, and you stand as much of a chance against him as you would against a great white shark in the middle of the ocean – on your own. Thankfully, if you have trusted Christ, you are not on your own.

S.atan
H.ates

A.
R.
K.

I said before that Satan has a personality, which includes the idea that he has feelings. One of his most prominent feelings is hatred. His most prominent is pride (which tends toward hatred of others). One of the reasons why he is so often portrayed as this red-bodied, cartoonish figure with a pointy tail and a pitchfork is because at one time people thought the best way to combat him was to injure his pride. Therefore, they tried to make him look silly. Ironically, this is the way most people (inaccurately) think of him today.

God is a loving Being. Satan is not loving. But hatred is not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of love. Neither God nor Satan are indifferent. Satan’s hatred is focused on robbing God of glory and destroying the creatures God loves.

He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

John 15:23

Jesus was speaking about the Jewish leaders who rejected Him.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:24

Those that hate and reject Jesus hate God also. We know that Satan hates Jesus because Jesus came to save those whom God loves, and to bring God the glory that Satan would like to steal by accusing God of unjustly forgiving sinners. God was both just and loving in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, which is why Satan tried so hard to stop Jesus from going to the Cross.

But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

John 15:25

Jesus didn’t give anyone a valid reason to hate Him or to crucify Him. It was done because we are fallen sinful creatures, and we loved sin more than we loved God. In the same way, God justifies those who trust in Christ “without a cause” – in other words, without finding anything in us worthy of justification.

Sharks don’t hate people until they have some motivation – hunger, territoriality, self-defense, mistaken identity. Satan doesn’t have much reason to hate you unless you love God. If you start glorifying God, you become his target. Of course, if you are not right with God, you have a bigger problem than Satan. You are in trouble with God and need the Savior.

Next time, we will look at the A. in S.H.A.R.K.

Beware the Feeble Fortress

March 26, 2014 at 11:02 am | Posted in The Fives | 3 Comments
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When we talk about Job’s “friends” we have to put quotation marks around “friends” because it’s questionable just what kind of friends they were. Job had suffered, and was suffering greatly in Chapter 5 of the book that bears his name, when his “friend,” Eliphaz, went on the offensive.

Eliphaz’s (wrong) assumption was that Job’s suffering must have been caused by Job’s sin. Eliphaz’s support for this argument was partly his own experience, because he claimed to have seen men who were prosperous and well-established for a long while in their sin, when suddenly and without warning judgment befell them.

I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.

Job 5:3-4

This not-so-oblique reference to his children must have cut Job to the quick, since all his children has recently perished in a devastating catastrophe. (Unbeknownst to Job, his children had actually been killed through the machinations of Satan, with God’s permission, but not in any way as a consequence of Job’s alleged sin.)

However, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, and Eliphaz stumbled upon a valuable nugget of truth when he pointed out the futility of trying to protect our earthly possessions and wealth to the exclusion of our spiritual well-being.

Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.

Job 5:5

In ancient times landowners would sometimes intentionally grow hedges of thorns or briars around their crops, fields, and property to keep out trespassers and to discourage thieves. However, those who are truly hungry or who are bent on taking what does not belong to them will not be deterred by such security measures. This is a good reminder to us today that whatever dominion we think we exercise over our earthly possessions is ultimately subject to the will of God. Therefore, we are better off investing in the spiritual and the eternal than in the material and the temporal.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

Our Own Worst Enemy

March 21, 2014 at 9:47 am | Posted in Micah | 2 Comments
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Micah Chapters 1 and 2 contain warnings. Chapters 3 and 5 contain promises. Chapter 6 is a challenge. Micah sums up the attitude of the people when faced with the idea that God is displeased with their worship.

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Micah 6:6-7

You can’t build up a credit of good works with God while planning to sin. You can’t bargain with God: “If I do A, B, and C right, will You let me get away with X, Y, and Z?” The Lord is truly righteous. In Him is no sin at all.

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14

No man will make God his debtor. The stealing of land or property by the rich and powerful from the poor and weak is a sin which seems to trigger God’s judgment.

Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword.

Micah 6:13-14

God’s judgment sometimes begins slow like a train, but it always comes into the station right on time.

For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.

Micah 6:16 (emphasis added)

The sins of the “common” people are just as offensive to God as the sins of the leaders.

For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Micah 7:6

Micah 7:6 is quoted in Matthew 10:36: “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Why would Jesus say this? There will be some families where some family members are saved and some are not. Those closest to you can be some of the worst stumbling blocks, and thereby your worst enemies. As Christians, we don’t hate our enemies – we love them – but there are times when our devotion to Christ calls us to separate from even parents or children.

According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.

Micah 7:15

When every enemy is united against God’s people – when we don’t have anyone else to trust – that’s when the Lord does great miracles of deliverance.

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:18-19 (emphasis added)

The greatest victory God will ever win in your life will be the victory over you.

The Passover: Killing, Purging, and Eating

March 19, 2014 at 11:07 am | Posted in Exodus | 2 Comments
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Exodus Chapter 12 features the institution of the Passover.

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exodus 12:1-3

The reference to “the congregation of Israel” is significant because it is the official proclamation by God of the uniting together of the Jewish people into a nation.

Let’s look at some the central features of the “Passover.” This was not going to be something they were going to do once; it was given to them as something to be done every year from that point forward.

1. The killing of the Lamb

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:5-6

The deliverance of the children of Israel was going to come by death – for both believers and unbelievers. For the Egyptians it would be a judgment-death. For the Israelites it would be a substitutionary sacrificial death.

2. The purging of leaven

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

Exodus 12:19

Leaven is a picture of sin. It starts small, but it permeates a whole loaf. It works in secret (although the results are ultimately exposed). It “puffs up,” which is a picture of pride. Christians today are not commanded to observe the Passover as a religious ritual, but certainly the principle of purging spiritual “leaven” – both sin and false teaching – from our homes must be an ongoing activity.

3. Eating a feast (my favorite!)

Could you imagine if Christianity required taking a vow of hunger? How would we get people to come to Sunday School without donuts!

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

Exodus 12:8-10

They were to eat the lamb, along with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, so, while we are to take joy in feasting, we must remember the call not to burden ourselves down with physical pleasures – because we have work to do.

Catechism Question 3

March 17, 2014 at 10:50 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 6 Comments
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Question 3: Why did God make everything?
Answer: For His Own glory.
Prove it.

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

God was not bored. He was not lonely. One of His attributes is true “perfection.” He lacks nothing. He is complete. He is joyful now, so He has always been joyful. He has always known perfect triune fellowship within the Trinity. In our sinful flesh, we must admit that there is not a single person with whom we could dwell eternally and never get bored or aggravated, but God is not like us in that way. He is eternally fascinating.

One of the attributes of God that we seldom talk about is His beauty. He is eternally beautiful, and we will never discover the end of His beauty, and we will never get tired of pursuing it or marveling over it.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

Psalm 86:8-10

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 4:11

This catechism question-and-answer is a good opportunity to explain to children that God was good to give us the opportunity to glorify Him because that is the best thing for us.

Christian Teachers Warned and Watched

March 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching | 2 Comments
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The job of a Bible teacher is an honorable job. Almost every Christian is called upon to teach someone something.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Titus 2:3-4

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

II Timothy 2:2

It is an honorable job, but it is also a dangerous job.

Teachers are warned.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

James 3:1

The word translated as “masters” in James 3:1 is the Greek word didaskalos, meaning teachers. Why will teachers receive the greater condemnation, or, in other words, why are they exposed to a stricter judgment by God? Because teachers use words to teach, and words are dangerous things. You can read the rest of James Chapter 3 and see that the tongue is our most powerful member. It’s like a bit that controls a horse, or a rudder that steers a ship. Just as snakes have poison in their mouths, people have a much deadlier poison: the potential for hurtful and destructive words. You can’t call back an arrow once it’s been shot, and you can’t call back a hurtful word that’s headed for a child’s ears, mind, and heart, once it’s left your mouth.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew 12:36

If every “idle” word will be scrutinized, how much more will the hurtful, angry, destructive words? Especially when it comes to children.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Mark 9:42

Teachers are warned, and teachers are watched.

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

II Corinthians 3:2-3

Children will not always read the assignments, but they will always read the teacher. The old maxim that “more is caught than taught” may be truer than some Bible teachers would like to think. Students are are looking for clues as to how sincere the teacher is as a representative of Christ.

And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?

Joshua 4:1-6

That’s what students really want to know. Not just what the things you are teaching mean. But what they mean to you. They need to know what you know in order to grasp the material, but what they really want to know is: Are you sincere? They can sense frustration, they can sense doubt, but, even more so, they can sense hypocrisy. Make sure that your relationship with the Lord is right. Make sure the “Rock” of Ages means everything to you.

Sticks and Stones

March 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 1 Comment
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The Words of God are not harmful, but high-handed disobedience to the Word of God can do worse than stones that break our bones.

But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 15:30-36

Once, God sent the prophet Elijah to seek a widow woman, who would be able to provide him sustenance.

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

I Kings 17:8-12

She got angry and used harsh words. She probably wanted to use those sticks to beat Elijah and break his bones, but she didn’t. Instead, she obeyed the Word of the Lord.

You have probably heard the old adage: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” According to the Bible, though, words have power, and they can actually be more dangerous, more harmful, and more powerful than sticks and stones.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:6-8

It’s not the sticks breaking bones that we ought to worry about. It’s the sticks kindling a fire.

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 12:18

One kind of harmful word is a cutting word – “a cutting remark” we sometimes say – but the tongue of the wise is health. The Word of God is sharp, but it makes the one who gets cut healthier, not sicker.

A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Proverbs 13:2

What goes out of our mouths can produce spiritual fruit or poisonous fruit. A good rule of thumb is not to produce any fruit from our mouths that we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves.

A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

Proverbs 25:18

A maul will break bones. Lies are a type of unwise words that do not always sound harmful because of their deceitfulness.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 18:21

A person who loves to hear himself talk will not always be guilty of saying something harmful, but we must constantly remember that we are going to have eat the fruit that is produced by what we say.

As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

Proverbs 26:21

A person who gossips is like someone throwing fuel on a fire. The harmful fire that spreads through gossip can be snuffed out many times simply by keeping our mouths shut. Matthew 12:34 says that, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” but that doesn’t mean I always have to let everyone know what’s on my heart. Before speaking, I need to make sure that I am filled up with the Word of God and with the Spirit of God, so that what comes out is helpful, not harmful.

Beware the Forestalled Feast

March 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Posted in The Fives | 1 Comment
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They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. However, in the days when Esther was queen of Persia, it appears that the way to change a man’s mind was to throw a party.

Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Esther 5:5

Esther needed an audience with King Ahasuerus and she needed his trusted lieutenant, Haman, to be there, but she needed this audience to be in private, and she needed it to be well-timed. Both of these needs were met by the providence of God, and Esther was successful in being used to rescue the Jewish people that Haman wanted to exterminate.

From the Jewish and Christian point of view, Esther’s daring and wisdom are heroic. Likewise, the king’s decision to grant the request turns out to have been the right choice (even if it was motivated by the anticipation of attending a “banquet of wine” (v. 6). But what – if anything – can we learn from Haman’s folly? He went forth from this privileged audience with the king swollen with pride and primed to be easily offended by anyone who wouldn’t honor him. May the Lord grant us the grace to do the opposite.

When you experience a delay – even in something to which you are greatly looking forward – take the occasion to reconsider. Seek the face of the Lord and seek out His will in His Word. If what we are anxious to partake of is fraught with sin, a forced delay may be our last chance for repentance and rescue.

Cut-Outs, Cut-Ups, or Cut-Offs

March 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Micah | 4 Comments
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Do you remember the 70s when everyone wore “cut-offs?” Those old blue jeans that had been modified into shorts by a sturdy pair of scissors?

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Micah Chapter 5 is God’s “cut-off” chapter, where He announces the cutting off of the things that His people never seemed to tire of, even when God’s patience had run completely out.

Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

Micah 5:9-13

God cuts off, not to make a fashion statement, but because He will have the preeminent place in this world, not only in the hearts of believers, but, one day, in the suddenly-opened eyes and ears of everyone in the whole world.

And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Micah 5:15

Would you rather God have you by the heart, or by the throat? Would you rather be one of His friends, or be a part of His footstool?

Evil Angels

March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

Exodus 11:4-5

“Midnight” was the time when most of the Egyptians were the most likely to be the most soundly asleep, so this was a actually an act of mercy on the part of God. We know that the Israelites avoided this final plague or judgment by painting the blood of a lamb onto the door posts of their homes. How exactly, though, did God carry out this judgment on the unbelieving Egyptians?

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

Exodus 12:23

The LORD Himself, rather than “passing over,” passed “through” and smote the Egyptians, but He also “passed over” the homes of the obedient Israelites and would not let the “destroyer” come in. The way this is often portrayed in popular media depictions is to show a shadowy entity called the “death angel” coming through and doing the killing. We might get the impression that this death angel sort of checks the door posts, passing over some homes and entering in to others.

https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/49307-passover-angelofdeathatdoor.jpg

That idea may have partially come from Psalm 78, which is a very good synopsis of these events.

Psalm 78 gives insight into how we’re supposed to think about these plagues and the deliverance, and what God wanted His people to remember about them later on. It’s worth studying, and I would highly recommend it in connection with these lessons, but for now let’s just look at one particular passage:

They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan. And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

Psalm 78:42-49

What does this mean? Did God send special angels to deliver the plagues and the last was the “death angel?” That’s possible. Does God have a dark side and a secret undercover team of “evil angels” that He sends when He wants to do something wicked? That’s impossible. Could this refer to the false gods of Egypt, lending credence to the possibility that they were in fact representative of demonic entities that were being ultimately controlled by God, and were now being allowed to turn against the people that worshiped them? Possibly. (Being evil, it is logical to think these demons would have no qualms about doing such a thing.) Does the “evil” in Psalm 78:49 refer not to moral evil, but to catastrophic events – what we would call “calamities?” Possibly. The point is – and it has been throughout the deliverance narrative of Exodus – that God is in control. He was keeping His Word and fulfilling what He said He would do. God has the power and the right and the authority to give and take life as He chooses.


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