“And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also,” Exodus 7:23.
As it was in Egypt at the time when God’s judgments began to fall upon that land as the run-up to the ‘Exodus’, the Lord’s delivering of His people and a bringing them on their way to the land promised of old to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even so will it be again when the time comes for the Lord to fulfil His great promise to His elect people to return again to reign on the earth.
What happened in Egypt some 3500 years ago is instructive for us today for “all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come,” 1 Corinthians 10:11.
Of course, ungodly men do not see this to be so, but God’s people should ever see the Bible as a map upon which is wonderfully outlined not only God’s dealings with men and nations in the past but, foreshadowed in such dealings, a pattern for the future.
With that in mind we can look back to Pharaoh’s folly and see there a clear indication of that which will precede the Saviour’s return in judgment upon the wicked and in wondrous delivering mercy for His chosen ones.
The ways of God do not change! His response to man’s sin will ever be the same. As Malachi the prophet stated: “For I [am] the LORD, I change not,” Malachi 3:6, so we may see, in the past actions of God against the wicked, a paradigm of how the Lord will act in the future against man’s rebellion.
That being so, we should study the Scriptures to find in them, in both the historical records and in the prophetic predictions, wonderful instruction affording us hope for the future. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” Romans 15:4.
The description given us of the heart and mind of Pharaoh in our text is that of the mindset of our nation in the midst of the pandemic which rages at present. There is a ’turning of the back’ upon the truth that is ever so obvious to those who truly fear the Lord and see His hand at work amongst the nations.
The events that have taken place in the last two years would have stirred our forefathers to see that this “is the finger of God”! But there has been an UTTER SILENCE in the midst of the millions of words spoken and written about the world-wide impact of Covid-19 regarding the Lord. Where He has been mentioned, there is an expunging of any reference to that mention in the media reports of the discussion or debate where someone had the courage and the wit to speak His name!
The parliament in Westminster last night (Tuesday, 14th December) was riven with division and disagreement, to such a degree that the Tory Party was almost split down the middle, with a large percentage voting against their own Prime Minister, Boris Johnston. He suffered the biggest rebellion since he took power, as almost 100 Tory MPs voted against his Covid Plan B.
But despite the ever mounting level of chaos and confusion in the ranks of various agencies struggling to cope with the effects of Covid-19, there is never a mention of the supernatural element in the whole affair!
Couple the impact of the ever evolving crisis that the virus has brought upon society with the incalculable financial implications for Government, for businesses and for individuals, and you would think that there would at least be some mention of the unparalleled ramifications of this outbreak!
But no, not a mention of perhaps the God of Heaven having something to do with these events!
But the scale of these uncustomary occurrences is not merely measured in medical and monetary terms. When we look out across the world we have reports of the most horrendous natural catastrophes! Fires, droughts, floods, and here in Ulster Avian Flu resulting in the slaughter of tens of thousands of ducks and hens. Then again, there is the increasing threat of war with Russia and China who are arrogantly flexing their nuclear muscles!
Ongoing are the wickednesses that are a dreadful provocation to Heaven. The slaughter of unborn babies, with our own Stormont Assembly rejecting the attempt to stop terminations for non-fatal disabilities. The killing of the unborn is deemed by most today as a perfectly normal and routine practice, when in fact it must be seen as murder, infanticide. That is how Heaven views it! This was seen in the Lord’s reaction to the cruel practice of Israel in its apostasy, when it turned from God to idols and the slaughter of innocents was part of its idolatrous worship!
“For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you. And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you,” Ezekiel 20:31-33.
I find it amazing that the nation should react in horror and condemnation and call for the death penalty to be reinstituted for the guilty as it did in response to the recent horrible murders of two youngsters by their parents and yet endorse the murder of the unborn! In truth, there is no distinction in the eyes of God between the atrocious actions of the womenfolk who have been found guilty of these appalling crimes and the ongoing daily murder of unborn children.
Added to this national endorsement of murder we have the legalising and ‘sanitising’ of sodomy, that which provoked the judgment which fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The Labour Party has appointed a man who has long been an openly proclaimed sodomite as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary. There has not been any public protest at such an affront to decency and doubtless out political parties will have dealings with him without any hesitation!
This combination of abominable developments gives us the REASON for the divine visitation that has come upon the nations. But the hearts and eyes of men and women are closed to this fact!
Such blindness is a fruit of the spirit of rebellion amongst the nations. It is also the harbinger of the approach of God’s final wrath upon the nations. As it was with Israel of old, so it will be with the nations of the earth. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee . . . . . The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart . . . Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee,” Deuteronomy 28:15, 28, 45.
Christian, it is time to recognise and understand the ‘signs of the times’ and to pray for loved ones and friends who are yet out of Christ and rejecting the gospel for without doubt the darkness of the final apostasy and rebellion is drawing very near and with it dreadful occurrences!
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
The outcome of this wilful blindness is clearly stated by the Lord in many places in Holy Scripture. The best known is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
May we, with open eyes and awakened hearts prayerfully watch for that day!
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
15th December 2021.