Bo, January 20, 2018 - Shevat 4, 5778
Torah: Exodus 10:1-13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Brit Chadashah (New Testament): Luke 22:7-30; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34
Will the Real G-d Stand Up (Please?)
Moses has been functioning like a collection agent—he has been coming over and over again to Pharaoh, knowing full well that the last thing in the world that Pharaoh wanted to do was to talk to him. This must have been a very unpleasant job for Moses. Yet, underneath the visible human drama taking place here, G-d was accomplishing major spiritual invisible work.
Moses challenges him by saying: "This is what the L-rd, the G-d of the Hebrews says, 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may worship Me," (10:3). Moses is displaying considerable chutzpah (nerve) here, since Pharaoh could easily cause his head to roll. What's more, Pharaoh, who was considered to be god by his people, was in the position of strength. Why should Pharaoh submit to the G-d of these Hebrew slaves?
We really miss the point unless we understand that serious spiritual warfare is going on here. In 12:12 there is a clue: "I will bring judgment against the gods of Egypt." Paul gives us the key in I Corinthians 10:20, "the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons." This is the point—the real battle was not between Moses and Pharaoh, but between the L-rd's forces and the demonic powers behind Pharaoh and the other "gods" of Egypt. Part of the picture is that the people of Israel were in bondage physically, to Pharaoh, but spiritually, were slaves of the powers of darkness controlling Pharaoh.
The L-rd needed to deliver them from the physical and spiritual oppression. They understood that they were in bondage to Pharaoh, but had no clue that they were enslaved spiritually. We are often like that—we find ourselves in difficult situations and are unhappy about the rough circumstances. Sometimes, Satan and his forces have a hand in bringing about the difficult situations, but we are totally oblivious to the spiritual warfare going on.
May the L-rd give us spiritual discernment to recognize the footprints of Satan. Even more, may we learn to be strong in the L-rd and live in victory!