Vol. 5, No. 6
~ Page 11 ~
All Bible students are acquainted with the familiar story of God leading Israel out of Egyptian bondage using Moses, his servant, as their great leader. There is also the acceptance of how God divided the waters of the Red Sea, permitting Israel to cross on dry ground and reaching the other side safely. There was great rejoicing at that time. Songs were sung in praise to Jehovah for his deliverance. In contrast, God caused the waters to come together and drown and destroy the army of Pharaoh (Exodus 14 & 15).
I recall seeing the movie, "The Ten Commandments", with my family many years ago and was amazed at the special effects as I watched the parting of the Red Sea. The real thing was, without doubt, more spectacular than the movie version. God made a seemingly impossible feat a reality. When God determines to do something, there is nothing too hard for Him to accomplish.
However, when men have a part in his plans, matters can be more difficult than the miraculous that God can perform with his power. Did you ever consider that it was more difficult for God to get Egypt out of Israel than it was to get Israel out of Egypt? It was but a short time after the crossing of the Red Sea that the children of Israel began to murmur and complain, stating that matters were much better back in Egypt for them. At least they had the "flesh-pot" and plenty of bread to eat (Exodus 16:2-3; Numbers 14:2-3). This rearward look undoubtedly affected their attitude, causing doubt and despair and contributed to their lack of faith in Moses and more importantly in God.
Essentially, matters remain the same regarding God's power to deliver men from bondage. Regardless of the darkness of sin, "He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him..." (Hebrews 9:25). Such salvation through the Gospel presents no obstacles for God. The power is inherent in the Word of God (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:12). It is an easy thing for God to declare a person free from past sins upon one's faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ (Romans 6:16-18). The real challenge is, however, for children of God to rid themselves of the influence of the world. This requires more diligence, patience, prayer, persistence and time. Some, seemingly, never reach the pinnacle of self denial and of crucifying the old man of sin as instructed by our Lord (Matthew 16:24; Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 3:5-11). It isn't that the Lord doesn't have the power to make us what we should become; rather, it is our human frailties and weaknesses that prevent him from perfecting us. The clay simply mars in the potter's hands. The Holy Scriptures speak of those who returned to the ugliness and repulsiveness of sins (2 Peter 2:20-22). Can we condemn Israel without indicting ourselves? It is true that the basic nature of man has never really changed.
The exhortation is given in love that we grow in the likeness of our Lord, becoming "conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29). This requires a forgetfulness of the past and the awareness of the beauty of holiness. And, a striving to attain and a submission to His will, realizing without the strength of Jesus we cannot be anything (Philippians 3:12-14; 4:13).
Yes, it is often more difficult to get the world out of spiritual Israel than it is to save mankind from sin. But, with God's help, it is possible.