Yesterday, I was blessed to have one of our girls from the Owasso Children’s home stop by. She’s all grown up now, a high school graduate, and a brand new, proud aunt! It brought back all the memories, good and bad, from living there. On one hand, I loved it, loved my girls, loved the experience, and would gladly do it again in a SECOND. But on the other hand, it was not at all what the administration said in all the interviews: all the promises, all the expectations on both sides, all the demands, and our general job description. And sitting there with one of our girls, we were able to talk about our memories. We laughed a lot, thinking about the fun stuff, and we were able to talk about the hard times too. She never understood as a young teenagers what happened…until she was an adult. And she went in search for me. She’s the one that told me that in all her years there, (she told me she had 7 houseparents in just ONE school year!) we were the only ones to make her feel a PART of a family. That she was truly loved. So in the midst of chaos with our administration, our God-given instructions were still fulfilled.
One thing I will never forget, is what our direct supervisor told us: the residents (what they called them, but I found terribly sad; we were a FAMILY. A “resident” does not imply a part or a member of a FAMILY.) are only allowed to do 2 things: school work and house work. Period. End of discussion.
This director, or at least our immediate supervisor, was our authority and we were to obey his commands, directions, explanations. Period. Was he fair? No. Was he right? ahem…most certainly not. But did that matter 1 iota to our circumstance? Nope! And did anyone care? Again….not at all. But we were obedient to Christ, and in the end, we did not stay.
Which brings us to…..the REAL lesson! LOL The Israelites had been taken into captivity by authority that was cruel and unreasonable in their demands. They cried out to God (last weeks lesson) and He heard their cry and sent Moses.
Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh (speculated to be either Ramses II or Thutmosis III…it’s in my lesson, I cannot take credit for the info. LOL I only found it VERY interesting to know who it could possibly have been!) and said:
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.”
And of course, Pharaoh was LESS than pleased to hear this!
verse 2 goes on to say: “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.”
Pharaoh, in hearing of their whining, demands that the Israelites not only make the bricks, but NOW, they must gather the straw to MAKE the bricks as well! Oh and in the same time-frame….nice…..
And the Hebrews blamed Moses and Aaron for making their jobs and their lives ever more difficult.
Gosh, I wonder if I were in the same circumstance, could I have gone on? Could I have approached Pharaoh again? Could I have led these whiny people out of Egypt? I hate whiners…
Why would God send Moses to do this, only to be turned back without fulfilling what God had directed him to do? That doesn’t make any sense now does it?
Well, not to US…to our natural eyes. In Exodus 4, God TOLD Moses that He was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart.
And even in rejection and failure, Moses did not turn away from God. He QUESTIONED his calling understandably, and that’s where Moses had to go to God to inquire AGAIN of what his calling WAS. Gosh….kind of like getting alone with God to reestablish communication….It’s important to do this. God DESIRED Moses to keep returning to Him for instruction, for encouragement, and to TRUST HIM! If it had been just a walk in the park, how much would Moses have learned? How close to God’s heart would he really have come?
God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart to make it more difficult, but to strengthen Moses and show HIS sovereignty.
And that is what began the judgements poured out over Egypt and WHY. God was judging the Egyptians for their oppression of the Israelites, but ALSO to show them that He is GOD! They experienced the Almighty power of God FIRSTHAND!
The first plague was: water turned to blood. My human self just gags at the thought of this. We have to have water for our very survival. It affects every portion of our lives. And the magicians were able to partially duplicate it.
The second plague was: Frogs. Everywhere….they came up from everywhere and were into EVERYTHING! YUCK! And the magicians were able to bring MORE frogs to the land, but were unable to get RID of them.
The third was: Lice. (some versions say GNATS) I have dealt with lots of lice in my years teaching. It’s GROSS and NASTY and it itches and it’s miserable and it’s HARD to get rid of! I just itch at the THOUGHT of this plague! (it does NOT mean YOU are gross or nasty, do not misunderstand my hate for lice as JUDGEMENT, it just means lice are gross and nasty! Doesn’t mean you are dirty…I am well aware of this fact. No hate mail. )
Also, PLEASE notice…the magicians were UNABLE to recreate this plague:
Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”
Fourth was flies. Fifth was disease of their livestock. Sixth was disease of man and beast: boils. Not fun. Seventh was hail, eighth was locusts (destroyed their crops, all food supplies had been effected by this point) and finally the ninth was 3 days of total and complete darkness.
But the last, and probably my worst nightmare, death of the firstborn.
All of these plagues could have been prevented, that’s important to know. Our actions have consequences…..
At the time the death of the firstborn was announced, God instructed the Israelites to cover the doorposts with blood from a lamb and the angel of death would passover their house. I love the 10 commandments movie at this point….it grows dark….the Israelites are seen in their homes huddling together as the angel of death moves through their city. It’s scary and a great visual for this part. Also why people still celebrate Passover today: it’s a reminder to us how God saves us!
I cannot imagine waking to find my firstborn dead. I cannot in a million years fathom the sound of that city on that morning. My heart breaks.
I love the part in the lesson that says “In every way possible, God wanted His people to remember their deliverance. He reminded the Hebrews to take advantage of teachable moments when they could tell their children about God’s miraculous action of the exodus.”
God in all of His infinite wisdom, strives to help us, to care for us, and to reveal HIMSELF to us. He is trying to get OUR attention. And He always gives us a means of escape when we’ve gotten in over our heads.
God is powerful. And He is loving. He guided the Israelites out of Egypt by a pillar of clouds in the day and a pillar of fire at night. There was NO mistaking WHO exactly God was, and WHO was leading them.
I posted the lesson, and then found more information that I found FASCINATING!
The number 10 in Biblical numerology means fullness of quantity. So the Egyptians were fully plagued! The 10 commandments means the fullness of God’s moral law. The 10 plagues represented God’s fullness of justice and judgement.
Also, each of the 10 plagues are thought to represent the 10 Egyptians gods/goddesses:
water turned to blood: Egyptian god, Hapi, god of the Nile
frogs: Heket, Egyptian god of fertility, water and renewal, often depicted with a head of a frog.
lice from the dust of the earth: Geb, Egyptian god of the earth
flies: Khepri, god of creation, movement of the sun and rebirth, often depicted with the head of a fly.
death of livestock: Hathor, goddess of love and protection (head of a cow)
boils: Isis, goddess of medicine and peace
hail: Nut, goddess of the sky
locust: Seth god of storms and disorder
3 days in darkness: Ra, god of the sun
Death of the firstborn: Pharaoh himself was worshiped as king of Egypt
God is God. He is the ONE God. He is the ONLY God, and in the 10 plagues of Egypt, He was demonstrating His power over ALL man-made gods.