Life can be a battle. We see evil vs. good, the devil vs.God, this world vs. the kingdom of God. Nations battle against one another, and sometimes even families go to war with each other. Does anyone ever win? It seems evil wins in this world, but it doesn’t. There is coming a day when evil will be destroyed and those who have followed Jesus through the battles of this world will stand victorious. It may not seem so now, but we are promised that God wins and He will reward those who are faithful to Him.
We probably all remember the famous battle between Pharaoh and Moses that is recorded in the book of Exodus. It must have looked like Moses was fighting a losing battle, but he knew better. Pharaoh seemed to have the power, control, authority and manpower to win easily. But things are seldom as they seem. God had it all planned from the beginning. Even the ending was already set, and it happened just as God said.
When Moses first approached Pharaoh to “let my people go”, Pharaoh asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” But after ten rounds, Pharaoh had gotten a chance to know the superior power of the God of the Israelites. Each of the ten plagues sent against Pharaoh and the Egyptians was a direct conquest of their gods…one by one. It was no accident. It was designed by God.
The first plague, turning the water of the Nile River into blood, was a show of power against the god and goddess of the Nile, Osiris and Isis as well as Khnum who was their guardian of the Nile.
The second plague of frogs was against Heqet, the frog-headed goddess of birth. It is said the Egyptians believed frogs to be sacred, and would not kill them. But when Pharaoh sent for Moses to get rid of the frogs, they died and were piled in heaps causing the whole land to stink.
The third plague was lice. Moses was instructed by God to take his rod and hit the dust of the ground and it became lice in the land of the Egyptians. This was a direct attack against the Egyptian earth god, Seb (also noted as Set or Geb).
The fourth plague was flies. It showed God’s power against their god of flies, Uatchit.
The fifth plague was disease and death of their cattle. Hathor, the Egyptian goddess and Apis, their god, were both depicted as cattle. They had various other gods who were associated with bulls and cows, such as, Ptah, Mnevis and Amon. All these gods proved powerless before the God of Israel.
The sixth plague came as boils. To set this plague into motion, Moses was to take ashes from the furnace and sprinkle them toward heaven. They became dust that caused boils to break out on the people and animals in Egypt. The false gods and goddesses they worshiped remained silent and powerless to stop it. Among them were Sekhmet, Sunu and Isis who were gods over health and disease, Thoth who was god of intelligence and medical learning and Serapsis who was an Egyptian god of healing.
The seventh plague came as hail accompanied by fire that ran along the ground. It could not be stopped by Nut, their sky goddess or Osiris, their crop fertility god or Set, their storm god or Shu, their god of the atmosphere and wind.
The eighth plague was the coming of locusts that killed any crops that remained from the hail and fire. This showed how powerless their god for protection from locusts, Serapia, was. They also worshiped Anuhis, guardian of fields and Nepri, the grain god. None could stop the locusts except the Lord God of Israel.
The ninth plague was a thick darkness that settled across the land for three days. Even at midday, Ra, their sun god could not bring them light. Neither could Horus, the god of sunrise and Tem, the god of sunset. Even Thoth, the moon god, could not give them moonlight.
The tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn in Egypt. This was a show of power against Isis, the protector of children. But it was actually a conquest of all their gods combined. Pharaoh himself was considered to be the greatest Egyptian god and ultimate power of Egypt. There was nothing Pharaoh could do to stop the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
After the Israelites had been delivered from the hands of Pharaoh, Moses recounted the whole story to his father-in-law. Jethro said, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.” That battle was actually between the gods of Egypt and Jehovah, the Lord God above all. No contest!
Before the first plague and before every plague thereafter, Pharaoh was given an opportunity to repent and obey God. But his heart was hardened more and more. God was not finished until He had shown Himself above every god the Egyptians worshiped and trusted in.
God will show Himself above the areas in which we deal proudly, too. Pride is an independent spirit, a sense of self-sufficiency that causes us to lean on our own abilities and beliefs instead of submitting to God. Pride, stubbornness and rebellion refuse to depend on God.
The Egyptians were depending on their so-called gods to protect them, provide for them, keep them healthy and bless the work of their hands. They did all the right things to appease these gods and insure their success, but it was all futile.
What are we depending on? If our trust is in our retirement plan or bank account, our doctors, influential friends, our ability to provide for ourselves, our plans for the future, or anything else, we are trusting in gods that are totally impotent. Our trust belongs in God alone. Wealth can vanish in a moment. Doctors’ knowledge is limited. Our plans may or may not be realized. Our friends may not always be there, and we may lose our abilities. These things are not wrong in themselves, but if we begin to put our trust in them and depend on them, God may begin to shake things up to cause us to look to Him.
Where is our place of pride? It is the place where we act independently of God, the place where we feel strong and capable in our own wisdom, abilities or provision. When we act out of our own sense of control, we are acting out of pride. God will deal with us in these areas, and we will either submit or fail. He will show us that our “gods” are inadequate. They may make us feel in control, but their false security will destroy us.
Where is our place of humility? It is in every area where we recognize our need for God and submit to His Lordship. It is the place where we surrender our will to God and rely on His wisdom, power, ability and provision. It is when we say “not my will, but Yours be done” and really mean it. We will only win the battle when we relinquish our will to His.
When God begins to deal with us in an area, He is giving us a chance to surrender our independence and become dependent on Him, the One Who has all power, wisdom and authority. If we are determined to have our own way, He will deal more strongly with us so we will see our error and turn from it. Why is God so persistent? Because He loves us. He is giving us the opportunity to live a life more abundant in an everlasting kingdom. But a day will come, when He will cease to offer that opportunity if we continue to refuse Him.
Pharaoh was a powerful ruler and refused to concede to God. If he conceded to that, he would have to give up his own glory, his self-sufficiency, his control, his reputation, all that was familiar to him, and all that he and every other Pharaoh before him trusted in. He refused to concede and lost it all anyway.
Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].” (Matthew 10:39 – Amplified Bible)
If we hold to the things (gods) of this world, we will lose the kingdom of God. If we give up the things (gods) of this world for Jesus, we will gain the kingdom of God. The two are so far apart, and yet, at the same time, we can live in His kingdom while we are alive in this world. Jesus said we have to make a choice. The two cannot coincide in our hearts. Our sense of duty or love cannot be toward both because they are diametrically opposed.
Living in His kingdom while in this world means we will live this life in a battle between the world and the Spirit, but God is above the world and will show Himself strong on our behalf.
Are there any “gods” pulling you toward independence and pride? Lay them down. Jesus says we must let them go completely - our own glory, self-sufficiency, control, reputation, all that is familiar to us and what we have trusted in. No god can stand before the Almighty God. But we can choose to stand with Him.
“Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7b