Reading for Today:
- Exodus 3:1–4:31
- Psalm 16:1-6
- Proverbs 5:1-6
- Matthew 18:1-20
Exodus 4:21 I will harden his heart. The Lord’s personal and direct involvement in the affairs of men so that His purposes might be done is revealed as God informed Moses what would take place. Pharaoh was also warned that his own refusal would bring judgment on him (v. 23). Previously Moses had been told that God was certain of Pharaoh’s refusal (3:19). This interplay between God’s hardening and Pharaoh’s hardening his heart must be kept in balance. Ten times (4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17) the historical record notes specifically that God hardened the king’s heart, and ten times (7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34, 35; 13:15) the record indicates the king hardened his own heart. The apostle Paul used this hardening as an example of God’s inscrutable will and absolute power to intervene as He chooses, yet obviously never without loss of personal responsibility for actions taken. The theological conundrum posed by such interplay of God’s acting and Pharaoh’s acting can only be resolved by accepting the record as it stands and by taking refuge in the omniscience and omnipotence of the God who planned and brought about His deliverance of Israel from Egypt and, in so doing, also judged Pharaoh’s sinfulness.
Matthew 18:3 become as little children. This is how Jesus characterized conversion. Like the Beatitudes, it pictures faith as the simple, helpless, trusting dependence of those who have no resources of their own. Like children, they have no achievements and no accomplishments to offer or commend themselves with.
Matthew 18:20 two or three. Jewish tradition requires at least 10 men (a minyan) to constitute a synagogue or even hold public prayer. Here, Christ promised to be present in the midst of an even smaller flock—”two or three” witnesses gathered in His name for the purpose of discipline.
DAY 27: Is it okay to question God?
Upon hearing that God was sending Moses to be the leader/deliverer of Israel (Ex. 3:10), his response of “Who am I…?” is an expression of inadequacy for such a serious mission. It sounded reasonable, for after 40 years of absence from Egypt, what could he, a mere shepherd of Midian, do upon return?
But was Moses crossing the line from reasonable inquiry to unreasonable doubt in 3:13? God’s patient replies instructing Moses on what He would do and what the results would be, including Israel’s being viewed with favor by the Egyptians (3:21), ought to caution the reader from hastily classifying Moses’ attitude as altogether wrong from the very beginning of the interaction between him and the Lord. Yes, Israel might ask for God’s name in validation of Moses’ declaration that he had been sent by the God of their fathers. Asking “What is His name?” meant they sought for the relevancy of the name to their circumstances—the character, quality, or essence of a person. God’s answer was: “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). This name for God points to His self-existence and eternality; it denotes “I am the One who is/will be.” The significance in relation to “God of your fathers” is immediately discernible: He’s the same God throughout the ages!
A response of divine anger comes only in 4:14 at the very end of Moses’ questions and objections, where he moved beyond inquiry into objection.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.