Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ooh Baby Let My People Go

The Bible plan I'm following this year has me reading in Exodus right now.
It's been a long, polar-vortex-y winter, with cabin fever, and I've got two toddlers stuck inside, growing and pushing their limits like summertime weeds.  So maybe my mind isn't able to think outside this box, but I couldn't help seeing a big resemblance between Pharaoh and my kids.
I'm so ready to be done with the intense repetition of timeout. I know getting outside and burning some energy playing on the green grass will help us all to have more consideration and patience, but these days it's just one timeout after another. Sam's in it more than Vava, because that's just his stage.  He'll do something he knows he's not allowed to do, I'll pop him in timeout, then we'll talk about a better action-choice, he'll apologize, and go back to playing.  And often, less than ten minutes will pass before he's doing the same naughty thing he was doing before.  It's like being released from timeout is a chance to be a repeat offender, not a chance to play and enjoy his freedom.  Eventually, he'll end up in the Big Timeout ... in his room, without toys. And that's usually the one that helps him get through the rest of the day (okay, probably less) without pushing - or grabbing - or whatever it is.
The descendants of Israel were enslaved in Egypt, and God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses is sure Pharaoh's going to need a little more convincing, and God assures him he's got it in hand. 'I'm going to harden Pharaoh's heart ... and after ten plagues, he will beg you to leave. The Egyptians will give you anything you ask, just to see you go. The Israelites will plunder the land of jewels simply by asking for them.'  It wasn't just going to be a scurrying sort of escape - it was going to be a complete God-led victory.
So every time Pharaoh refuses to let the enslaved Israelites go, God sends a plague. Every time, Pharaoh begs Moses to pray that God will take it away, and God does.
And then Pharaoh hardens his own heart.  The wrath of God brings him to a grudging lip-service sort of obedience, but at the mercy of God, he shakes his fist and recants his compliance.
And then I realize I'm not just reading about Pharaoh or toddlers but I'm reading about every single one of us. 
The wrath of God makes us tremble, but the mercy of God?
We can ignore it. Harden our hearts and climb back on the throne and choose oppression and selfishness.  Or we can bow. For real. Soften our hearts to soak up his mercy and receive his blessings. Let Him sit on the throne. Let Him guide us in righteousness and justice. Love and be loved.
I wonder what God would have done in Egypt with Pharaoh's softened heart.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Your last line is my favourite! "I wonder what God would have done in Egypt with Pharaoh's softened heart." I wonder indeed. And what will He do in my Egypt? with my softened heart? Miracles!