A timely question, given that Passover will be observed next Wednesday! The answer is clear for the plagues unleashed on Egypt during the Exodus.
Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:7)
“You shall know that I am the Lord your God.” Variations on that phrase are repeated nine times during the Exodus plague chapters, 7-19, while God extracts His children from Pharaoh’s brickyards. His goal? To make slaves over into “a people for His own possession” (Ex 19:5). (The Complete Word Study Bible renders this “a peculiar treasure unto Me”–love that!) Here are a few examples.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord (Ex 7:5)… That you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God (Ex 8:10)… In order that you may know that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land (Ex 8:22)… That you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. (Ex 9:14)… That you may know that the earth is the Lord’s (Ex 9:29)… That you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord. (Ex 10:2)
Most of these “you shall know” statements are directed at the Egyptians. The Lord instituted the plagues so that the world would confront the truth about Him. And so His children could demonstrate they are His own through loving obedience.
Here is a thought that hasn’t left me for days. The ten plagues the Lord inflicted on Egypt were a direct smack-down on their pantheon of idols. What about this culture’s idols?
Do we idolize athletes? Entertainers? Financial “security”? Material “success”?
In three short months, the Lord has shut down stadiums so we can’t worship athletes. Concert venues and theaters, so we can’t worship entertainers. The economy and the supply chain, so we can’t worship wealth.
Telling, yes? Unfortunately, I contend this pandemic is just the beginning of the smack-down of our idols. Brothers and sisters, time to cling to Him for our lives, not to things which are quaking under our feet!
What do I mean by “our idols”? Sometimes it’s blatant. I wrote a couple weeks ago about the deplorable Super Bowl Halftime display rife with satanic symbolism that the N.F.L. recently staged for 103M viewers–their idea of “family entertainment.”
Here’s another grim example. In the summer of 2015, as part of a city-wide festivity called “Projecting Change,” the Hindu Goddess of Death “took over” the Empire State Building.
Goddess Kali takes ovr Empire State building,NY-artwork by filmmaker Louie Psihoyos & co as part of Projecting Change pic.twitter.com/Lr20mXQmxk
— Anant Bhan (@AnantBhan) August 9, 2015
In two of the images, Kali’s tongue drips blood. The “goddess” reportedly wears dead children as earrings. And true to form, just over a year ago, New York City also lit the city, this time in pink, to celebrate the passage of a barbaric new bill allowing abortion up to the moment of birth. But well before that, it was an established fact that “in New York City, thousands more black babies are aborted each year than born alive.”
Nope…this is NOT a stripper pole, it’s the One World Trade Center spire that was ‘lit up’ in pink to celebrate New York’s extreme abortion bill. pic.twitter.com/V2yGh8eDji
— Sara (@mooashoo) February 4, 2020
Guess what city is “the epicenter” of the outbreak today? According to the official numbers, there are more cases today in New York and New Jersey than in Italy or China–or any other nation.
Look at the Empire State Building now.
— Rita J. King (@RitaJKing) March 31, 2020
The reign of death is not so “fun” once we see the dying, is it? 🥺 Geoffrey Grider writes:
My heart breaks for the dead and dying in New York City right now, it truly does. But let me ask you this. Do you really think it’s a coincidence that after making such a grand ‘spectacle’ of honoring the Hindu ‘goddess of death’ Kali that now the streets of New York are awash with so many dead bodies the morgues can’t hold them all? Please pray for the people of New York City, that God would show them mercy. And pray their eyes will be opened, that like Nineveh they would repent and turn from the culture of death they’ve created and choose life.
But our idols needn’t be so blatant. When we ascribe god-like qualities to something other than God–when we trust something other than God for our ultimate well-being and security–that thing is an idol. I’m afraid most of us have them. I’m in grief over mine!
People respond to a plague by
The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Ex 8:18-19)
This was only number three of the ten plagues. So twice, Pharaoh’s magicians succeeded in replicating the plague and gave Pharaoh reason to continue to trust them and the forces behind them. But the third through the tenth plague, even though he no longer had reason to doubt what his own eyes were telling him, Pharaoh stubbornly continued to trust in his idols. Rinse and repeat.
We see it in the end-times prophecy in Revelation as well. “And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.” (Rev 16:11)
I’m energized by the results of a recent survey here in the U.S.:
44% of Americans say virus a “wake up call” to return to God. Nearly 1/3 believe we are living in “what the Bible calls the last days,” according to a survey by nationally respected pollsters McLaughlin & Associates. Fascinating if surprising results in exclusive poll released by The Joshua Fund.
This is great news–“Egypt” seems to be taking note! But will these 44% heed the call and cling for their lives to the Living God? I hope so. Time will tell.
They have existential questions. We need to step up with sound Biblical answers!
I wonder what happened to Pharaoh’s magicians after their “finger of God” epiphany. Having spent years mining “the deep things of Satan” (Rev 2:24) in Egypt’s magnificent temples, did it occur to them that they could switch allegiances and seek refuge under Yahweh’s wings? I’m guessing their idolatry–and their pride in their wealth and position–was too ingrained. They aren’t mentioned again after Exodus 9:11, when “they could not stand before Moses because of the boils.”
Sadly, hardness of heart is not a condition that applies only to unbelievers. How can we discern whether we’ve come to know and trust the Living God? Because our lives are marked by loving obedience.
Note that God gave specific directions for salvation from the final plague on Egypt.
Don’t miss this. Redemption didn’t come for free just because one had Israelite parents or professed a belief in Yahweh or had suffered terrible oppression in the brickyards.
To receive the Lord’s redemption from the death that struck the firstborn of Egypt, God’s people had to follow His precise instructions.
An unblemished lamb had to be selected on the tenth day of the first month and slaughtered on the fourteenth. That unblemished lamb’s blood had to be painted around the door to their home—no other randomly-selected animal would do. The ritual had to be performed in the right way on the right evening or they would not escape the plague poised to strike unbelieving Egypt.
There had to be lamb’s blood on their lintels.
God was showing His people that remission of sins cost blood. (Lev 17:11, Heb 9:22). And without the obedience that comes as the natural fruit of a believing heart (“the obedience of faith,” Rom 1:5) the blood is not applied.
Today, the part of the Passover lamb is played by “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:36). The divine Lamb that was crucified at Passover. Don’t think you’ll escape the ultimate plague without His blood on the doorframe of your heart!
As I stated, the Lord was clear about His purpose in calling His people out of Egypt.
“‘I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’” Ex 19:4-6
Before God’s people can walk into their destiny as a nation of priests, He has to teach them to be holy. That’s a “religious” term in our ears, but here’s what it means: dedicated to His use. Set apart.
The disciples’ road to holiness led through a crucible of death and resurrection. The Israelites’ road led through plagues and through desert–forty years in the desert, where they “saw with [their] own eyes… miraculous signs and wonders” as clearly as in Egypt. Pillar of fire, column of cloud, manna for each day. “Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot…. I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God” (Deut 29:3-6).
There’s that familiar phrase again, reflecting God’s deepest heart for us!
The Wadi Musa in Jordan, in the shadow of Mount Nebo (Deut 32:48-50). Near the end of the Israelites’ journey.
After that purifying process in the wilderness, God used Joshua to establish the nation of Israel in the land. How much more will our Yeshua lead us into His peace and rest once we’ve shown ourselves “overcomers” through the trials of our day! Here’s another of His “I AM” statements, delivered in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles about six months earlier:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber…. I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:1,9-10)
A bit of Lauren Crews’s take on this passage:
This “door of the sheep” was their protective boundary. If the door was secure, the sheep were at peace. Most sheep grazed under the watchful eye of the shepherd throughout the countryside of Israel. At night they would be led into a cave for protection from the elements and predators. The door to enclose this makeshift sheepfold was often a wall built across cave entrance made of stones and topped with thorns.
The door held an important, symbolic role in the salvation of the Israelites. When Jesus said, “I AM the Door,” He was challenging the authority of the religious leaders of His time. He was also proclaiming He was Messiah – the doorway, covered with the blood of His sacrifice so the angel of death would pass over you and me. He is also the protection for His sheep. Crowned with thorns, He will ultimately destroy Satan. As Jesus said, “It is finished,” He became the only door through which we can enter the presence of God.
You won’t get in any other way.
But the road to the freedom that comes with full trust in Him often leads through a crucible of trials, as He shakes us loose from our dependence on our own set of idols. There are fabulous parallels between the smack-down of Egypt’s idols, which led to Israel’s freedom and establishment in the land, and the final judgment God will loose on His enemies in the last days–which will lead to the ultimate freedom for believers under His eternal reign.
Personally, I believe that day is here. The winnowing out of the believing remnant is beginning. I don’t think this shaking will end until Yeshua triumphs over the kingdoms of this world and ushers in His kingdom.
Have you painted the Lamb’s blood on your lintel?
Yeshua is THE door. Have you entered in?
I think about the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13) quite a bit. Here are a few things that strike me:
“I do not know you.”
Brothers and sisters, He so longs for us to know Him!! He’ll shake everything in our lives to make that happen.
This is a cautionary tale. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one engagement I’m desperate not to miss! And yet this parable seems to indicate that many who expect to be there… won’t. The deciding factor? A lamp filled with oil.
There was plenty of light inside, I’m sure, but each virgin had to have her own lamp producing a little point of light out there in the darkness if she wanted to go in.
“You shall know”?
Or “I do not know you”?
That choice belongs to each of us.
If you’ve never opened God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus (Rom 3:23, 6:23), please please please be persuaded to do it now! It’s simple. Just tell God from your heart that you admit you’re a sinner that needs a Savior (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23). That you’re done running your own life, and that you’re ready to make Jesus Lord of your life.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Rom 10:9-11)
The decision that saves you is that simple!
Simple… But no one said living it out will be easy. Especially now, in the shaking.
For this post, I was blessed to include insights from teacher extraordinaire, author and speaker Lauren Crews, a regular guest here at Five Stones and a Sling. It was Lauren’s study on Yeshua’s “door” statement that got me interested in studying how His I AM statements relate to the Feasts of the Lord. I’m thrilled to include extracts from her original guest post today. Thanks, Lauren!
As a Bible teacher and speaker, Lauren is excited to encourage Christians to explore and understand the Jewish roots of their faith. She lives in north-east Florida with her husband and two chocolate labs, who have them both well trained. She is represented by Credo Communications and working toward the publication of her books The Strength of a Woman and Jesus: The Alef and the Tav. You can connect with Lauren on the web at www.laurencrews.com.