Scrooge is a bit like us only exaggerated so we’ll get the point. He is absolutely selfish, uncaring for others, miserly with his resources, disdainful of the sick and poor (like his employee, for one) and utterly opposed to charity. A few family members love him but don’t like him. He is not a likable person.
Then comes that fearful night of visions where his past, his present and his future are revealed with such detail that suddenly Mr. Scrooge is changed. He experiences a dramatic conversion overnight that lasts for the rest of his life.
Signs and wonders are a marvelous teaching tool. Perhaps in your life you have had some experience of God that was so dramatic you actually said, “I will never doubt again!” Or you may have observed others who experience obvious signs of God’s presence and action, yet experience little or no change at all. Is it the hard heart of Pharaoh rearing its ugly presence in the present, maybe even in us? What does it take to get our attention and to forever change us from doubters to believers?
Today we have a guest blogger. Rev. Mike Mullin is a retired pastor who splits his time living in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Colorado mountains with his wife Elaine. Thanks Mike for contributing!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Exodus 13:17. Moses has mobilized the people but God is leading the nation. Note the method: a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night so they had light to travel.
The Philistines had a strong army. While the Hebrews were “armed for battle (verse 18) they were mentally slaves and totally unaccustomed to wield any weapon of their own.
Exodus 13:18. “Red Sea” is literally Sea of Reeds.
Exodus 14:5. Another change of mind that God knew about before it happened.
Exodus 14:11,12. Obviously the 10 plagues and the pillar of fire leading them had not convinced the fleeing nation that they had made the right decision. They blame Moses.
Exodus 14:15-18. Another sign, with the director’s intent revealed.
Exodus 14:19. Exodus 13:22 is explicit that the pillar never left the front. Now it goes behind to separate the two armies and make a smoke screen so Egyptians can’t watch. Note there is also an angel leading who goes to the rear to guard the Israelites. It is night.
Exodus 14:25. Confusion is one of God’s methods to defeat enemies. God does it and gets the glory.
Exodus 14:28. There must have been ample water to cover this elite army of Egypt. It was not a shallow mud hole.
Exodus 15:1. This is the oldest song in Scripture.
Matthew 21:23. The chief priests and elders question the authority of Jesus to teach. His response about John demonstrates they don’t “get it”.
Matthew 21:28-32. This is Jesus’ forceful way of saying, “You don’t get it, but prostitutes and tax collectors do.”
Matthew 21:33-45. Jesus speaks of the Jews who rejected and mistreated the prophets, then speaks of the son (the Christ) and finally of the Gentiles who “get it”. The NIV footnote says that by the 2nd century, the church was composed almost entirely of Gentiles.
Psalm 26. David, the author, is not bragging. He recounts his best efforts and his trust in The Lord. Could any of us read this Psalm as being from our own heart?
Proverbs 6:16-19. Haughty eyes reflect a proud heart (the opposite of humility). Note that twice the issue of honesty is mentioned. Jesus said, “I am truth…”
If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.
THE WORD MADE FRESH
A few days ago we read about the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign (Matthew 12:38). This occurred immediately after he had healed a demonized man. Maybe they wondered if his power came from the Lord or from Satan and in fact Jesus did answer in this way.
Throughout our readings, we have seen sign upon sign. The Israelites witnessed the plagues, their release from slavery, the miraculous signs of the pillar of fire and smoke, the parting of the sea and the destruction of the Egyptian enemy. One would think that with all this evidence, they would be absolutely grounded in faith.
And what about the chief priests and elders who, after three years to observe Jesus, still want to know where he gets his authority. They consist of a very large crowd of people who don’t “get it.”
What should the Israelites see? What should the elders and priests see? What should we see? God with us. Some do. Some don’t.
It only took overnight for Scrooge to be changed, but he is just a character in a play who is at the whim of the author. Bible characters seem to be far more difficult to convince by signs and wonders. Who are we most like? Hopefully more like David (Ps 26) than those in Proverbs who simply don’t “get it.”
- What moved you most in today’s reading?
- Have you had a dramatic revelation of God’s power in your life? If so, please share it.
- Do signs and wonders like the Exodus happen anymore? Explain.
- What do you think of God hardening the heart of Pharaoh?
- Does God harden hearts today? Why or why not?
If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.
Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.