Exodus 6:28-11:10 has been made into multiple movies telling of the encounters between Pharaoh and Moses, the kingdom of this world versus the kingdom of God. “Let my people go,” takes ten plagues. If God is God then why not just zap Pharaoh with plague ten, the death of the first-born, and let Moses lead the people to the Promised Land? It seems that is not the way an epic hero works with fragile humans and with stubborn enemies. Think, in a good movie there is usually a rescue plan that needs to be planned, executed and occupies a good part of the movie. Pharaoh was stubborn and thought he was god. Moses was new to leadership and needed to be formed. The people did not know the “I AM.” When we say “I do” at the altar or before the adoption judge, that is only a declaration of relationship but it is not the stuff that makes up relationship as we live into the reality.
As the plagues unfold, God defeats the gods of Egypt and ultimately shows himself as a real God and not Pharaoh. The Egyptians and the Hebrews witness and are immersed in the unfolding drama. The God who created the heavens and the earth that daily testify to his presence now takes on new dimensions. Moses speaks for him predicting the plagues and punishment of rejection of him. God is not just far away in the heavens but is involved in “good government” of his creation. God’s desire is liberation of his people to live in a “promised land” where they can freely worship under his guidelines that will be revealed. But God does not just zap us and make it happen. Growth is a process.
Why? God is revealing his character and God is forming people. So how does that apply to my life today? Relationships cannot be forced or dictated. The song goes “if I had never had trials, I’d never know what God can do.” It doesn’t make the troubles we go through fun or easy nor does it mean we have done something wrong. The Hebrews were not being punished for sins but were participants in an unfolding epic story that will be told for generations to come. I am challenged to ponder my story that will pass down to others. Perhaps the challenge today is to know the “I AM” better and to look for his hand working in our world. Perhaps the challenge is to reflect on how my story is forming. In either case, we are in the hands of a God who is working with the world around us and the powers that oppress us and he is working to form us into our best selves. Whew. Thank you.