Impossible Situation or Glorious Opportunity?

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Bridgman's Pharaoh's Army Engulfed

But the Lord hard­ened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not lis­ten to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses (Exo­dus 9:12)

The sto­ry is famil­iar. God com­mands Moses to bring the peo­ple of Israel out of Egypt but Pharaoh repeat­ed­ly refus­es to let them go. And almost inex­plic­a­bly God him­self “hard­ened Pharaoh’s heart” so that he resists Moses’ request.

Two weeks ago, I vis­it­ed the non­prof­it law firm which is assist­ing PAK7 US and joined in the firm’s devo­tion­al time. The attor­ney who led the devo­tion used the sto­ry of Moses’ lead­ing Israel out of slav­ery in Egypt through the Red Sea as the basis for a dis­cus­sion about how God’s peo­ple are to deal with var­i­ous seem­ing­ly unsolv­able prob­lems. The exam­ple that eas­i­ly came to the Wash­ing­ton lawyer’s mind was the bit­ter polit­i­cal impasse that now plagues Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. In pol­i­tics these days, it seems there is scarce­ly any civil­i­ty much less find­ing com­mon ground to address many prob­lems.

I found the dis­cus­sion thought-pro­vok­ing. Why did God ask Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly “hard­en the heart” of the one who could let them go?

We could eas­i­ly ask the obvi­ous ques­tions. Why does God put us into seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions?

Why does he ask us to do things that are human­ly impos­si­ble?

Why does he have a faith­ful ser­vant on a dif­fi­cult for­eign field face incar­cer­a­tion on false charges, much like the Apos­tle Paul, and then seem to not answer many prayers for his release?

Why does he give his Church a Great Com­mis­sion that is not just dif­fi­cult, but human­ly impos­si­ble?

God’s ways are so much high­er than ours (Is. 55:9). When God asks us to do the impos­si­ble, it’s nev­er just about the task. It’s always about the ulti­mate pur­pose, to mag­ni­fy the glo­ry of God.

If we ask these ques­tions with an unbe­liev­ing heart, we may mis­tak­en­ly think God is act­ing like Pharaoh, who asks Israel to make bricks with­out straw. But if we fix our eyes on the glo­ri­ous, lov­ing, sov­er­eign Father, who is work­ing out his great redemp­tive pur­pos­es through his Church in this world, impos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions begin look­ing like glo­ri­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties. We can see the sit­u­a­tion as Moses did  –through eyes of faith.

 

 

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