Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
Following God’s calling to save the people of Israel, Moses left his new home where he had spent for forty years as a humble shepherd. He took the God’s calling, but almost reluctantly because of his painful past failure that happened 40 years ago. He was all – powerful, strong and full of knowledge. He also had a heart for his own people suffering in Egypt as slaves, but he failed. He was even rejected by his own people and he was ended up to have no place to go except leaving Egypt. He was a towering prince, but he became a fugitive because he killed an Egyptian slave driver with his own hand to save his own people. However, for Moses who fled from Egypt, God already had a plan for Moses. God made Moses meet Jethro and his daughters in the Median wilderness, and Moses spent 40 years as Jethro’s son-in-law while keeping sheep. When Moses got the calling of God, it was very difficult to accept the calling. He could not easily overcome his past failure, but God’s persistency made Moses take God’s calling. However, God with full of grace did not send Moses alone. God sent Aaron also with Moses as a helper. Moses returned to the people of Israel in Egypt with Aaron.
For this time, the people of Israel were changed. They heard Moses when Moses delivered God’s message — liberating the people of Israel, and taking them to the promised land. They warmly received Moses as their leader. Forty years ago, when Moses came to the same people with his own earthly power, strength, and wisdom, they rejected. When Moses returned humbly and conveyed God’s message, they readily received Moses. (Yes, this is how God works even today. When we come with our own power, strength, wisdom and our own heart, we will taste failure. Why? Because God loves us. If not, we will soon be hostaged by our own success, which will lead us down to a walk of this world, not the walk of God.)
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh with the full support of his own people. However, when Moses actually confronted with Pharaoh, he could not say what was given by God, but he smoothed out God’s message with his own earthly wisdom. Instead of telling God’s message — leaving Egypt in order to go into the promised land, he told they would just go to the wilderness to give a sacrifice to God. A huge difference between what was told by God and what Moses told to Pharaoh. Moses feared Pharaoh, and his flat rejection. Moses’ fear was materialized, and Moses’ attempt was backfired. He was thrown out of the palace. Pharaoh also made the people of Israel’s lives more miserable than before.
It is another common temptation of all of us to dilute God’s message with our own wisdom to buy out others’ hearts, but it does not work as we expect. Soon we experience our wisdom backfires, and hurts us and even disgraces God’s name. Yes, Pharaoh actually disgraced God’s name too right before throwing Moses out of his presence. We have God’s Word and His Truth; we must say God’s Word and His Truth precisely and boldly without fearing others. Moses feared Pharaoh. However, it is easy to say not to fear others. It is truly difficult to be faithful as a mere human being under fear. In fact, as a human being, it is impossible not to fear of people because we are all weak. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit in faith we can be boldly faithful in God and in His truth.
It was not all. The people of Israel were also against Moses again, which made Moses truly devastated. Moses actually met what he most feared about. He really wanted to avoid this from the beginning. He had never wanted another rejection from his own people. Once was enough for him. After the first rejection, Moses fled. He ran away to the wilderness. It took forty years for Moses to return to his people after receiving God’s calling. However, Moses, for this time, responded differently. Moses went to back to God. It was the best move taken by Moses in his entire life till his age. Then Moses talked to God. In reality, he protested to God. Yes, Moses protested. However, it is far better than running away from God. Then did God warmly received Moses and hear Moses? Yes, God did. God did not rejected Moses, and God accepted Moses as he was. What was produced by the 40 years’ exile for Moses was not to run away from God, but to return to God. We can see authentic Moses and his honesty before God. Yes, it was a beginning to go into a deeper relationship with God, and it was not an exception for Moses. God’s plan to make Moses as the true leader of the people of Israel had begun
Then we might wonder what God really wanted from His people under such a difficult situation that Moses met? Here is what God tells us. It also includes a solemn promise too:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
First, we have to rejoice. Yes, we have to rejoice under such a difficult time after a huge failure. Then we should be gentle to those who give us hard time or even does harm to us, and we should not to be anxious (i.e., not to fear). Instead, we give thanks to God in our prayer along with our heartache and pains. Our thanksgiving is the ultimate weapon against the crushing situation tearing us down and making us to fall down to the bottom in our lives. Then God promises to give us the peace of God that transcends all understanding, which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Yes, what God promise is beyond our understanding and logic. As we give thanks to God when we are at the true bottom of our lives, God clearly tells us that God will give the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds although we might be tortured and being tossed around by the world and people in it, and then God transcends us to experience HIs peace in our hearts in Christ Jesus. Yes, this promise does not make sense because it is beyond logic of this world, but of God. However, when we give thanksgiving, surely, we experience His peace in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let’s confront by reciting the above powerful verses when meeting our life challenges and falling down to the bottom of our lives, and believe in His Word to experience the peace of God in our hearts and minds provided by God, which is prepared by God for His beloved own children in His unfathomable love.
Moses, being encouraged by God, went to back to his people, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. Moses became alone again as He was forty years ago. How painful Moses’ heart was!
God, then, told to Moses, who was bitten hard by his own people:
“Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.” (Exodus 6:11)
God did not give up with Moses. God gave a command to Moses. However, God made his command much simpler for this time. God found that Moses could not handle the grandiose plan. God gave only the first step without not including the 2nd step – entering into the Promised Land that was already occupied by 6 nations. (Some already know the end of the story about Moses. Moses indeed could not take the people of Israel into the Promised Land, which was done by Joshua, who succeeded Moses. This is another lesson that we can learn from Moses.) Was Moses ready for even this simpler command at that time? No. Moses objected while telling his own logic and rationale. The short answer from Moses was that it was impossible. Yes, to Moses’ eyes, it was impossible, but Moses did know what God could and would do. Then, God patiently made a promise with Moses. God would provide everything that Moses needed, which included making Moses like God to Pharaoh, and making Aaron as Moses’ prophet and speaker for Moses. Then God showed how to exhibit a miracle to Pharaoh. Yes, God gave His Godly promise to Moses, assigned Moses’s aid, and equipped Moses before sending Moses.
When Moses initially went in to the palace to see Pharaoh, he was not fully of God, but of his own people by relying on the approval of his own people. By the way, it was what Moses truly wanted for the past forty years. Moses got what he wanted – the approval of the entire people of Israel, but it was turned out to be absolutely nothing before Pharaoh. He failed. Moses still wanted it back, but God completely took away the approval of his own people. Anyway it was an empty façade.
Yes, God often takes away what we rely on because we think it provides what we want or at least enables us to do what we want. Why? If not, we start being attached to it, and it quickly becomes the source of our strength and a trust in our heart. Then what is a master in our heart? God? Or what something that we trust in our heart, although it is of this world?
God loved Moses, and he completely took about this temptation of Moses. Now, Moses had nothing but God. God took away the people that he eagerly wanted to have for the last forty years. God knew the danger, and took it away. (This is one of the reasons why we must rejoice in God when God takes away what we want and desire from our lives.) Moses only had God, nothing but God. And God’s special training course had just begun to make Moses the true leader who could lead almost two million people of Israel out of Egypt. God knew Moses would not be ready by just one lesson, but ten lessons. God also warned upfront that it would not be easy on Moses as taking the lessons one by one.
But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. (Exodus 7:3-4a)
Therefore, we should not be discouraged when we see a resistance, a refusal, or a rejection when we follow what God tells us. It is expected. Why? It is a part of God’s training course, through which God makes us mature through, and God’s training course is specifically designed for each of us, which is one of manifestations of our God’s love toward each of us. By the way, we should not forget God is righteous. God trains us, at the same time, God also gives out His judgement to whose who are against us faithfully following God and His Word.
So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” (Exodus 7:4b-5)
Yes, God later brought down His fist on Egypt as great acts of judgement because they did not heard God. At the end of the ten lessons that were specially designed for Moses and the people of Israel also, God name was glorified by Moses and the Israelites and also by the Egyptians, and all knew who God was. Therefore, we don’t have to puzzle why we repetitively confront a resistance and/or an opposition, which is a part of the training specifically designed for each of us so that we grow deeper into Him. And God also shows His righteousness by bringing down God’s judgement on those who refuse to listen to God.
Moses was making a baby step in God’s hand. Without the support from his own people, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh. Then Moses and Aaron boldly proclaimed God and His message. For this time, as commanded by God, Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted
Then God kept sending Moses back to Pharaoh as a part of God’s special training for Moses and the people of Israel. Whenever Moses returned to Pharaoh with God’s message, God brought plagues to an increasing degree. However, Pharaoh hardened his heart again and again as God warned to Moses. Again, the plagues were a part of training course specifically designed for Moses (and the people of Israel who watched what was going on following the series of plagues hitting hard Egypt). The plagues that God sent to Egypt were:
1. A plague of blood
2. A plague of frogs
3. A plague of gnats
4. A plague of flies
5. A plague against livestock
6. A plague of festering boils
7. A plague of hail
8. A plague of locusts
9. A plague of darkness
However, Pharaoh was getting close to let Israel people go as the above nine plagues. Even so, Pharaoh endured with his own might and strength at the limit till he could not go any further. The limit was already set by God. His officials begged, but he did not listen. Pharaoh was a strong person, but he was nothing but God’s puppet. Yes, nobody can withstand before God. Pharaoh was not an exception.
Then God said to Moses,
“I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Exodus 11:1b-2)
Finally, God saw Moses was ready along with the people of Israel. Through the nine lessons with the nine plagues, both Moses and the people of Israel saw and experienced the power of God. Especially, the people of Israel re-discovered Moses as their true leader who finally would free them from their slavery. As God promised Pharaoh would only endure nine plagues, but right after the tenth plague, Pharaoh would literally get rid of the people of Israel by forcing them to leave Egypt. God also did not send away His people empty-handed. God blessed His people who endured through the God’s training course.
God caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike. Yes, God does even today to us, His own people what God did to Moses and the people of Israel. Thus, we can rejoice always under all circumstances because all things surely will work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose – us!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Moses went to in the palace, and told boldly to Pharaoh:
“This is what the LORD says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me. ‘Please leave!’ they will beg. ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” (Exodus 11:4-8a)
Yes, Moses did not fear Pharaoh anymore, and he boldly what God told to Moses. What a change it was! Even Moses had to go through the God’s training to be the person whom God wanted. Then what can we expect from God?
The message of God boldly given by Moses was a truly terrifying message of God: all Egyptians would lose their own firstborn son, while nothing would happen among the Israelites. Then all the officials of Egypt would run to Moses, fall to the ground, and beg for Moses and the people of Israel to live. However, the Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Pharaoh continued marching to be fully ready for God’s judgement.
How about Moses and the people of Israel? Did Moses get what he wanted at that moment? No. Still there was no sign that God’s promise would happen. If we were Moses, what would we think while leaving the palace after delivering God’s message to Pharaoh?
However, Moses was truly ready. He continued following God’s promise although nothing was changed in his own eyes yet. How about the people of Israel? They were ready too although they did not see any sign of changing Pharaoh’s heart.
So the people of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded through Moses and Aaron. (Exodus 12:28)
Remember that the people of Israel rejected Moses after Moses failed to communicate with Pharaoh. Instead, Pharaoh made their lives more miserable than before. Then they even told,
“May the LORD judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!” (Exodus 5:20b)
In short, they cursed Moses. The people of Israel were no long same. They were completely changed. They did exactly what was told by Moses, which was God’s command. Both Moses and the people of Israel became one. Moses wanted to have the people of Israel on his side, but it did not last. But for this time, everything had been changed. This was the result of God patience, who carved out both Moses and the people of Israel to be truly one for His glorious plan of the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt.
The people of Israel started counting days as God instructed. As God commanded, while they were still in Egypt as slaves, they got together on the 10thday of the first month, each family chose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. On the fourteenth day of the first month, while yet they were in Egypt as slaves and nothing was changed, in faith, they slaughtered their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal.
Then they carefully heard and followed what was told by God,
“These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the LORD’s Passover. On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:11-13)
They fully dressed, but they were in the land of Egypt as slaves. They wore sandals, and hold walking stick in their hand in faith although nothing was changed. The observed the first Passover in the land of Egypt while they were still in slavery. What a faith they had! While they had the first Passover meal, they gave thanks in faith, which was the power of faith that God wanted, and they did. Yes, they could not see any changes, but they faithfully followed what God commanded. They used to be easily dismayed and turned back against Moses, but for this time, they did something unthinkable and even stupid if being watched by earthly eyes. They believed and they did what was commanded by God although they were still in Egypt as slaves.
For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
And that night at midnight, the LORD struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.
As God said, “then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites,” they saw the clear distinction between them the Egyptian. It was the victory of the faith of Moses and the people of Israel. The Israelites lived by faith, not by sight. Yes, they were still in Egypt as slaves.
Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night.
“Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” (Exodus 12:31b-32)
As God foretold, Pharaoh forcefully pushed out the Israelites from his own land. He allowed to take all belongings including flocks and herds, and asked them to be gone forever. In fact, all the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!”
The Israelites took their bread dough before yeast was added as instructed by God. They consumed unleavened bread for next seven day still the 21st of the first month. They wrapped their kneading boards in their cloaks and carried them on their shoulders. And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! Yes, God blessed the Israelites who were oppressed by Egyptians for four hundred years.
So all the people of Israel followed all the LORD’s commands to Moses and Aaron. On that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army. That night the people of Israel left Egypt and started for the Promised Land. There were about 600,000 men plus all the women and children. It could be about two million people of Israel, who left Egypt. It was not all. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock, because they saw and knew who God was.
It took forty years to make Moses who could take God’s mission according to God’s will, not by his own will. However, Moses had not been not perfected yet. Initially, he failed. The failure was not like the first failure though by which Moses was driven to the wilderness for forty years, but the 2nd failure made Moses go back to God. This was the biggest change that Moses could have at that time. Of course, initially, Moses protested, and even objected, but it was an important step for Moses to be getting mature into God. The most important fact is that Moses did not leave God, and God did not abandon Moses. Instead God, who is infinitely patient and full of mercy, always accepted Moses, whenever Moses came with failures and heart pain. Then God slowly, but steadily guided Moses while carving out Moses whom God wanted from the raw-material Moses who used to protest and object. Like Moses, we must choose God no matter what happens to us in faith because God surely accepts us as who we are. God will surely hear our failures and heart pains, and answer to us with God’s infinite love. Who is Our God? He is our faithful and ever-loving Father, whose love never fails.
Praise the Lord! He is good.
God’s love never fails.
Praise the God of all gods.
God’s love never fails.
Praise the Lord of lords.
God’s love never fails. (Psalm 136:1-3)
God’s love never fails.
Praise the God of all gods.
God’s love never fails.
Praise the Lord of lords.
God’s love never fails. (Psalm 136:1-3)
We’d like to share about how to wisely respond to the current worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. First, except our own family living together, consider all others as a potential source of transmitting the Coronavirus because people who are asymptomatic (no symptom of Coronavirus at all) can carry and transmit the virus. Thus, please avoid a physical contact with others, and maintain distance about two meters (or six feet). This social distancing saves lives. Please wash hands with soap about 20 seconds to wash out the Coronavirus that might be on our hands. Our hand skin is pretty thick and it protects well against the Coronavirus, but our hands frequently touch our mouth, then the Coronavirus on our hands will go into our body. We should prevent this type of infection by our own hands.
Most of all, this is the time to have a quality time with our own family and with God, Our Ever-Loving Father with prayers, and reading and medicating Bible every day. Please fix eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and follow the foot step of Jesus Christ together with our own families in this difficult time. When this Coronavirus pandemic is over, we will all find that we are one step closer to each other among our own family members in Christ’s love and have a deeper relationship with God. Then we will go out and share this Good News with our neighbors and even strangers.
May God’s grace, protection, healing on all and especially for those who are physically suffering from the Coronavirus and those who are mourning for the loss of the loved ones due to the Coronavirus.