Not wrath, but redemption

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What ‘storms’ are troubling you? While praying that God would calm the storm or carry you safely through it, will you ask him to use difficult situations to lead you to new depths of faith?


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Bible passage Exodus 9:13–35


The Plague of Hail
 13 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14 or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. 19 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.' "

 20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the field.

 22 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt." 23 When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24 hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. 26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

 27 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. "This time I have sinned," he said to them. "The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don't have to stay any longer."

 29 Moses replied, "When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the LORD. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the LORD's. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God."

 31 (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. 32 The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)

 33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the LORD; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


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The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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None like Him
While not minimising the reality or gravity of God’s wrath, the focus of today’s passage is not wrath, but redemption.

It’s true that God warns, ‘I will send the full force of my plagues against you’ (v 14a). Yet God’s intention behind even that ‘worst hailstorm’ Egypt has known (v 18) is not to destroy the Egyptians, but to demonstrate that ‘there is no one like me in all the earth’ (v 14b).

All about redemption
While justifiably angry over Egypt’s sin, God isn’t motivated by revenge. As he himself declares, by now he could have already wiped them off the earth (v 15). The Exodus story (indeed, the entire Bible) is about redemption – not just of Israel, but of all who are ready to trust God.

God’s offer of redemption still stands. Some embrace it, like Pharaoh’s officials (v 20), and escape the destruction. Some ignore it at their peril (v 21). Still others, like Pharaoh, may even admit their sin (v 27), yet without a genuine change of heart (vs 34,35).


Respond


‘Holy Spirit, grant me wisdom to recognise your redemptive purposes in everything that happens. And give me the grace to respond in faith.’

Tanya Ferdinandusz


Deeper Bible study


I have experienced hailstorms in Ethiopia with hailstones bigger than marbles – so that anyone out in it would definitely have been injured and all crops would be destroyed. They were all short-lived storms, but it helps me to realise how devastating this latest plague would have been, particularly coming after frogs, gnats, flies, animal disease and boils! God’s message to Pharaoh in verses 13–21 explains that this is not just a punishment: it mattered that everyone, Israelite and Egyptian alike, knew about God and that ‘there is no one like [the Lord] in all the earth’ (v 14). God could have destroyed the Egyptians in one go, but he had not done so. On several occasions Pharaoh had given permission for Israel to go and had then changed his mind. Sometimes, when there is such stubbornness and refusal to listen or heed the many warnings already given, drastic methods may be necessary.

It is interesting that after the third plague Pharaoh’s senior advisors, his ‘magicians’, had accepted that this was beyond coincidence: God clearly was behind it (Exodus 8:19). They could see how much the community was suffering, but were apparently not strong or willing enough to unite and question Pharaoh’s decisions. The number of Egyptians who recognised that God was at work was increasing (v 20) and those who did were able to avoid the hailstorm’s consequences. It is easy for those living in democratic societies to condemn others for not acting to stop the excesses of autocratic leaders, but the sense of powerlessness for those living in such regimes can’t be underestimated.

Not all Egyptians were to blame, certainly not those of other generations. Isaiah, after speaking about judgement on Egypt, goes on to speak of a different future when God will give his blessing to ‘Egypt my people’ (Isaiah 19:25).

Mary Evans


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God is near
Rend Collective Experiment
Copyright© 2009 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com



Song: Fear not O little flock (Rise up)
Composer:
Godfrey Birtill
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Comments
  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Rom 5:9 "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him" Thank you Father that we live this side of the cross. Easter children forever in your debt and forever thankful for your grace, mercy and abounding love. May that same grace, mercy and love be shown to all we come in contact with today, in Jesus name, Amen.

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Verses 27&28:- A tiny crack appeared in Pharoah's shell, but it was not big enough to allow God, in this world of sin, to enter in...... the old chorus has come into my thoughts 'Yield not to temptation; for yielding is sin'. (Verse 34)

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    As many who use WL regularly will know,more storms have hit my life during past years,(especially when I retired),than I could have ever have imagined.RACHAEL,BRENDA and others prayed that I might be brought to a place of healing and calm.As I have leaned on my Heavenly Father ,He has been utterly faithful and has brought me through.I still live with a lot of pain and sadness,as much is unresolved ,but God did not promise cloudless skies ,and an easy ride,but that He would be with us;the apostle Paul was told"how much he must suffer for my sake";we must expect the same, like our brethren in the persecuted church.It is in ,and through these situations that God is often most glorified ,as many testify to His saving and keeping power.

  • Linda Penrose | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    May God bless you ELIZABETH.

  • Sarah Creen | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Is it still possible to give by text?

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    SARAH, I suggest you Click on Help at the top and then scroll down to Contact us. Let us know how you get on.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    SARAH, I suggest you Click on Help at the top and then scroll down to Contact us. Let us know how you get on.

  • Adam Julians | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Elizabeth, I'm happy to read that you have known of God's faithfulness in the midst of needing healing, calm and experiencing pain and sadness. God bless you. "Let my people go, so that they may worship me" (V13b). God speaks to powers to usher in freedom to worship him. What oppression do any of us face today either self induced or coming through others is conspiring to hinder worship of God? God responds to the hard heart of pharaoh in power. Those that do not fear the word of God die due to their disobedience. And here we are back to fear. A literal fear. "T'was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fear relieved". It's pleasant to think of fear of God as having a revenant awe for him. Not so pleasant to think of fear of God as being scared stiff. However when I was bullied growing up my mother sent me back out and told me to stand up to the bullies. I did and I was glad I did what she told me and felt better for doing it. Every bully is a coward and placating a bully doesn't stop the bullying. The need to be made to feel afraid and that is done with power. And so when Satan threatens dear brother, dear sister, fear not. It is the enemy that will be afraid of you and will flee if you stand and resist him by the power of God in you. I feel a "Gladiator" moment coming on. " Strength and honour... What we do in life echoes in eternity" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWsCNPEwdxM

  • Derek Forster | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    “Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread Had seized their troubled mind, “Glad tidings of great joy I bring, To you and all mankind (to you and all mankind).”

  • Cherry Buse | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Thank you Adam, just what I needed today. God bless.

  • Lynda Spencer | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    I can't help feeling sorry for the Egyptian slaves who were left out in the fields, perhaps against their own will. It struck a chord with what MARY EVANS says in her comment regarding the treatment of people living in autocratic regimes today - "the sense of powerlessness for those living in such regimes can’t be underestimated." It spurs me on to continue to pray faithfully for my persecuted brothers and sisters wherever they are across our world. North Korea remains at the top of the 'Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian believer. http://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/about-wwl.php

  • Adam Julians | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Cherry, it's my pleasure. Glad you found it useful.

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Last night I went to Churches Link meeting where we saw a clip from Joanna Lumley's TV programme 'The Search for Noah's Ark' we then looked at the faiths of the world and find that Christianity although declining here in the west is growing in the East we looked at Islam Judaism, Hinduism, Buddism and many more. All the major faiths believe in love. Only Christianity believes that in Jesus is forgiveness of sins through his blood dying on the cross and personal trust in him. We saw how Churches are growing in China and South Korea heard how one man whilst in Malaysia looked for a Christian Church found a Church of England where over one thousand people worshipped in a service which lasted two hours, five services were held each day with over a thousand at each service. God is moving in a mighty way in places where there was and still is fear and oppression. I agree LYNDA we need to pray for North Korea who are seeing many people converted who have to hide their Bibles and speak in code also many are imprisoned and persecuted and killed for their faith. God can work His miracles in the rulers of that Country just as He did in Egypt through Moses and Aaron, we need to do our part in holding them in prayer. The Dalai Lama spoke recently about faiths . https://youtu.be/Pe2X95o4yIE

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Yes BARBARA all believe in love and Christianity being the only one worshipping a living Lord, praise His name

  • Keith Dearden | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Following the many tributes paid by WL members on here to our dear sister BRENDA, I copied and pasted them into an email to her son Bruce who has asked me to pass on his thanks as follows: Thank-you, Keith for sending through these tributes. It means a lot to us knowing that our mom touched so many lives and was so deeply loved. Please pass our heartfelt thanks for the beautiful tributes to the members of WordLive.

  • Sara Ward | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Elizabeth, you have continued to be in my prayers and to know that despite all you've gone through and continue to experience God is with you in the midst of it. Healing, I once heard, it done in the time and way that it is needed, how so ever that may be, and that has certainly been my experience. We may never know why things happen the way they do - only God knows that, all we can do is pray to be have the depth of faith to trust him. May he continue to heal you and grant you peace.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Thursday, 16 February 2017

    Thank you for doing that, KEITH. ELIZABETH, I think our Heavenly Father is gracious to us in only revealing one day at time, so that we are not burdened with tomorrows cares. Your post is filled with real faith, which is nothing like the'whistling in the dark' keeping your spirits up that the world resorts to in difficult times. God Bless

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