EVIL AND THE GLORY OF GOD
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Romans 9:17-18
The Egyptians oppressed the people of God for 400 years. Great evil was perpetrated upon them. The Hebrew people were beaten, suffered injustice, and everything else that makes up the stuff of slavery. Rage and hopelessness simmered beneath the surface of every soul. They took on the mindset of a slave and just accepted whatever came their way.
Can God be glorified when suffering exists? Are those who perpetrate such evil subject to the sovereign hand of God? The comforting answer to both questions is “Yes!”
God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that He, Yahweh, was the one who put Pharaoh in power and kept him there. God did this so that His own glory could be revealed. It was to be showcased incrementally. Every time Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go, the stakes went up and another level of God’s power was unleashed. Each plague was worse than the one before. People’s eyes were growing wider and wider at the power of this “I Am” – God.
God did not cause Pharaoh to sin through unbelief. Pharaoh chose that on his own. But, on that parallel course of history, God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that His glory would be revealed by the miracle of His people’s release from oppression.
I am asking the question now, just as you are. If God hardened Pharaoh’s heart – AND Pharaoh freely chose to sin through unbelief, how are both simultaneously possible? Logically, isn’t it an either/or? Once again, this is the mystery of election and free will.
How does this play into our modern day oppressors? Who is it that confines you? Who causes you to feel that you are their slave? If the abuse comes through a family member, God would have you be pro-active to get to a place of safety. But if you work in an oppressive environment or are being persecuted under an ungodly regime, God is biding the time. His glory is released when we love and forgive our enemies, and when we lose our lives for the sake of Christ. And, He is also glorified upon our release from Egypt. It may be today. It may be when we step over the threshold into eternity. God’s glory is always showcased and its brilliance coincides with His perfect plan for our lives.
Can I trust You while in Egypt? If I cling to You and stand on sound doctrine, I can. I’ve seen Egypt and I’ve seen your powerful hand of deliverance. Oh, I pray for each one reading these words today, Lord. Strengthen their spiritual fiber so that they can stand in the fire. Amen
JOURNAL QUESTION: Down deep, do you feel that God owes you deliverance from today’s evil? Do you wonder at His claims to be a loving Father when the fires are hot? Play spiritual counselor. What would you have told God’s people in Egypt about God’s character – 300 years into their oppression?