Advent: The God Who Acts

But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also (Exodus 8:32).

Several years ago a film came out starring Hilary Swank (yeah, she’s won an Oscar, but she was also the next Karate Kid) about a small Louisiana town that appeared to be suffering from the “10 Biblical Plagues.” Please tell me you didn’t see it.

Natural disasters from time to time get called “a plague of Biblical proportions.” Insurance companies provide coverage for “Acts of God” if there’s a severe flood or a tornado blows away your house.

The implication, then, of these our cultural association of God with natural disasters is that God has this repertoire of buttons and levers he goes to when he gets really, really mad at people. Like he’s the Great Oz.

But nothing could be further from the truth when we pay attention to the Exodus story. God doesn’t have a weird thing for fogs and gnats and flies.

No, these are not random acts of violence from a capricious and unbalanced supreme diety. Instead, these are acts of war. Strategic maneuvers meant to make a point. Keep in mind, in the Egyptian world, there is not one god but multiple gods and Pharaoh is the human representative of the gods. And the Nile River is the backbone of both religion and economy for the Egyptians.

And so, each and every act of God here has a point. The Creator God is dismantling one-by-one the inferior deities of Egypt. God loves and wants his people so much, he will destroy the competition to get their attention.

Now what about you? What counterfeit gods do you cling to that God has or will smash with extreme prejudice?

You can let them go. Or you can be like Pharaoh, refuse to listen, and let your heart shrivel.



About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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