November 27, 2022
“'Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before, or will ever be again. But against all the Israelites...'”
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(Moses speaking) “‘Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before, or will ever be again. But against all the Israelites, whether man or beast, not even a dog will snarl, so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying, ‘Leave, you and all the people who follow you.’ After that, I will leave.’ And he left Pharaoh’s presence in fierce anger.” Exodus 11:6-8
Once, a guy from a rock band told me the story of how their van had been towed from a hotel parking lot. It seems the hotel had experienced a rash of abandoned vehicles dumped by car thieves. As a result, they were towing all vehicles left overnight whose owners had not registered their tags at the front desk. A slight oversight by the band’s road manager almost resulted in a missed gig!
Here’s my point: The car had been in the hotel lot, parked by legitimate customers, but because it was not registered according to hotel regulations, it was also towed “legitimately.”
God made a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Keeping with my analogy: Egypt was illegitimate in His eyes, and Israel was legit. Soon, we will learn (in chapter 12) that even Israelites could be treated as “Egyptians” if they did not strictly follow God’s instructions. Their “legitimacy” was not dependent upon their DNA; instead, on their obedience to God’s Word. In fact, Scripture infers that in this matter, being “Israel” solely meant faithfully following the Lord’s instructions. For instance, Hebrews, who did not smear blood on their doorposts, eat the lamb’s meat & unleavened bread, would be considered “Egypt” and thus judged as Egyptians. (12:1-11) Consider Paul’s words:
“But it is not as though the Word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, ‘In Isaac your seed will be called.’ That is, not the children by physical descent, but the children of the promise are considered seed.” Romans 9:6-8
Pharaoh and his officials eventually recognized Israel’s God as greater than their gods, but they did not surrender themselves to worship Him. Here is another distinguishing difference: “intellectual ascent” v/s true repentance. It is not enough to say with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord!” You must also believe it in your heart. Notice that neither Pharaoh nor his officials were spared from God’s judgment…even after allowing the Israelites to flee the country. Their “You win!” lip service was not counted as true repentance because they had not surrendered their hearts. The battle was never really between Egypt and Israel. It was over the worship of the One true God, YHWH.
For people today (Jew or Gentile), salvation is neither by DNA, lip service, or good deeds. It is only for those who surrender and follow Messiah Jesus by faith.
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is God’s gift – not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
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