This coming Torah Reading starting January 20th reminds me of an incident that happened to me an my family. Several Years ago when our children were little we were headed to Florida for a family vacation. Being a type “A” personality I had to always leave on time (the time I wanted to leave) and get to Florida in 12 hours with no delays. We were going to a condo on the beach so we were not only packing our luggage but groceries. While loading the van one of the grocery bags ripped and all the bag of sugar spilled all over the floor of our van. Of, course being very immature it set me off in a tizzy. I had to clean it all up and it delayed out leaving an hour. Once we got on the road after 15 minutes on the intrastate it was bumper to bumper traffic. Just creeping along. Another hour delay. I was hot and not very happy until we came upon a very bad wreck with bodies laying on the shoulder covered in sheets. That is when the Lord spoke to me loud and clear. “I caused your delay. You and the family could of been that wreck. Your delays is me protecting you!”
This reminds me of a story I recently read: The Guy: At the end of a bad day he turns to God and says, “Lord can I ask you a question?” The Lord: answers: Of course, my friend! The Guy: Please don’t get angry with me. The Lord: I promise not to get angry with you, go ahead and ask. The Guy: Why have you made me so many difficulties today? I have had such a difficult and distressing day. The Lord: What do you mean? The Guy: It started with waking up very late. The Lord: yes, I know. The Guy: My car did not start, the battery was dead, I had to ask someone to help me start the car with cables. The Lord: O.K. The Guy: For lunch I ordered, and the waiter brought me the wrong thing. By the time that they fixed what I ordered it was so late that I didn’t have time to eat it and remained hungry. The Lord: alright please continue. The Guy: Walking out of my office my phone rang and when I pulled it out it dropped on the pavement and broke. Than I was so tired and upset that I purchased an electric Shiatzu massage chair to relax. I came home with expectations for a peaceful and relaxing evening, but was so disappointment. Nothing went well the whole day!
The Lord: I understand! Let me tell you what was happening this day behind the scenes.
This morning the angel of death was on his way to your house to take your soul. I had to send my angels to stop him. This is the reason that I let you sleep longer. I didn’t want you to be involved in this battle.
I did stop your car from starting because just around the corner of your house there was a drunk driver that would have hit your car.
As far as your phone falling and breaking. The person who called you was a well-known conman who would have cheated you from a whole lot of money with his scheme. As my friend I preferred to save you from this conman’s scheme.
As far as your new purchase of the electric Shiatsu chair you purchased there was a serious electrical problem in this chair and if you would have sat down on it – you would have electrocuted. So, I cut the electrical cord.
The Guy: Lord, I understand now that I didn’t think of all these things being for my good, and excuse me for my doubts and complaining. I just did not think of these possibilities. Thank you Lord for guarding me from all these calamities and saving me today from all the sad things that could have happened to me.” The Lord: It is o.k. my friend. You should know that everything that I do are for your good because I love you my child. I hope that now you know that all that I do is planned and in consideration of what is good for my children and the ultimate plan for the salvation of the world.
The Torah reading this coming Shabbat (January 20, 2018) is the story of the Exodus. The Parasha (portion) is called Bo (“come into Pharaoh” or “go into Pharaoh”) in Hebrew. It starts from Exodus 10:1 – 13:16. This narrative is the most dramatic part of the Exodus story. God reveals his “cards” to Moses in the first verses of this reading. God said: “I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”” (Exodus 10:1–2 NKJV) To our modern eyes and ears this sounds very strange, and unfair. In normal English this state, “I have convinced Pharaoh and his wise man not to allow you and the children of Israel to go out of Egypt so that I might make a big drama and punish Egypt so hard that you will have a relevant story to tell your children for many generations to come.” To our modern sense of justice this seems unfair. It also opens the option that God could have softened the heart of Pharaoh to immediately release the children of Israel from Egypt and let them God to freedom and return to their inheritance from God in land of Canaan.
Rabbi Joseph Shulam writes about this. He said,
“We see that The Lord knew well what was already in Pharaoh’s heart. After the 10th Plague and the death of Pharaoh’s first-born son, and after he released the children of Egypt Pharaoh change his mind and wanted to destroy Israel. The end game for Pharaoh was to destroy Israel. The slavery was only a way to break them and break their spirit and hope. This we see from the first chapter of Exodus. Please notice what was Pharaoh’s plan:
“And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigour.
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” (Exodus 1:14–16 NKJV).
We see from this text that Pharaoh’s desire was the destroy the children of Israel. If there would be no male children of Israel born it would take one generation for there not to be Israel. If there is no Israel there is no promises to Abraham, our Father to be fulfilled. If there is no seed of Abraham there is no Messiah. If there is no Messiah idolatry and all that it carries with it will be the only force in the world. Israel’s genealogy in those days was through the male children and therefore Pharaoh’s end-game was to wipe away all of Israel. Therefore, Pharaoh gathered his chariots after he let Israel to go into the desert.
“Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So, the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.” (Exodus 14:5–9 NKJV)
The object of Pharaoh and his chariots was not peaceful toward Israel. He felt that they are trapped between the see and the desert and that now he, Pharaoh, can finish with them. God had another plan for Egypt and God’s plan is well described in the song of Moses (Exodus 15). What is more interesting for me is that in the book of Revelation when the crowed beyond numbering will be gathered around the Sea of Glass they will be singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. (See Revelation 15:3). This will be the song of the final victory of the forces of God against the forces of evil that control our world.”
It is good to know that God is always in control and that everything that He does is always for the good of those who love Him and Yeshua the Messiah.