Exodus 4:18-23 (ESV)
Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”
Why is God going to harden Pharaoh’s heart? This is nuts; if the goal here is to get His people to the Promised Land, why make it so difficult?
Well, it’s not nuts, and the reason is that getting His people to the Promised Land is not the goal.
The goal is God’s glory. It’s always God’s glory. Yes, He will get His people to the Promised Land; that’s guaranteed.
But, make no mistake, God’s glory is the purpose of everything. So, the plot’s going to be a lot more complex than some quick escape or great military victory. It will have many twists and turns, even great disappointments. Man’s sinful nature will spoil everything, over and over. We will learn more, and God will be glorified more.
People often wish that the LORD was the kind of god who would make our lives easy – the kind of god who would just liberate the Hebrews quickly and march them straight to Israel.
But a cheap, Hollywood-style victory wouldn’t really be all that glorifying. It wouldn’t even be all that interesting.
People who know God are amused by the curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Knowing God makes times more interesting, not less.
We’re called to significance, not comfort. If you seek a quiet life, avoid Christianity like the plague. Any Christian can be assigned an important, even suffering, role to play in God’s kingdom. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7a, ESV) isn’t about tranquility.
But there is a wonderful peace in the midst of all the action, a peace that is greater and more satisfying than simple tranquility – God’s peace.
And we’re not going to understand it.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: