So the Egyptians rode out into the Sea with their eyes wide open, seeing all the signs and ignoring them. And later while the wonder of this mighty miracle was fresh in memory, the Israelites themselves started hardening up just like Pharaoh and the Egyptians and quickly turned away from the Word of God. They were headed for a mess by the time they got to Mount Sinai.
It took them exactly forty days to go from worshiping the Lord God Almighty to worshiping a golden calf Aaron made. And the scriptures state that they rejected God fully ten times while in the wilderness, once for each plague worked on the Egyptians. Thousands made the wrong choice and died lost to eternity out in the desert on the far side of the sea. The difference between what happened to Egypt and Israel is that Israel had the Word of God present all along through Moses.
Israel eventually turned away from the Law of Moses completely: acting no different than their enemies who had ridden into eternity that day in the sea. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote about his by then already dead nation.
“What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain; but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
So in spite of what is convenient, it appears that what we have posed and examined is true: someone is bound to be elect, while somebody is bound to be hardened and lost. But it is also apparent that it all remains a matter of personal choice as to where we individually will end up. And we have shown that is because a few will listen and follow the instructions and the rest will do something else.
We can also state that none of it has anything to do with the modern notion of predestination. Further, it is just as plain that being with the elect is a work in progress while we are here and not some heavenly giveaway. We need to look at the evidence and make the right choices.
I have three questions for you: are there any Egyptians around today who have the ability to make temples and pyramids on a par with their ancestors? They were smart enough to build things we still marvel at, but they were not smart enough to act on what they saw and heard.
Second, is Israel today anything like their forebears, whose untrained army always fought on foot, without a single horse among them, and conquered all of Canaan and Palestine?
Finally: exactly what is left of both of these long dead nations, one the chosen nation of God and the other their nemesis, beyond just a bunch of broken down dust covered ruins? Their modern incarnations are only a shadow of what they were long ago. So what did they miss in the presentation; and what did they miss in what was put right in front of their eyes and into their outstretched hands?
It comes down to this — what are you going to believe, God’s Word or the destructive lies of the Devil, or perhaps your own logic and intuitions? In what do you trust; and what choices will you make. Can we truly act “wiser than the fox” and “as gentle as a dove” as Jesus had said?
We ought to sit still long enough with the Word of God in hand to assess whether or not we will ever be seated at the Lord’s Table. The only other choice is that we can remain self-absorbed, blind and dumb, only to get so hardened up that we cannot see we have been lending ourselves over in service to the god of this world.
Jesus said we should act like “sheep in the midst of wolves.” Sheep have no means of defense or protection except with their shepherd around; and they are on the lunch buffet if the shepherd has gone on break or if there are wolves around. There are wolves out there today.
Are we ready as the apostles wrote to “give a reason to all that would ask of the hope that is in you?” Can we muster up enough Bible knowledge to do that?
Today salvation is put right in front of us, just like it had been with Pharaoh. Can we see it and figure it out or will we call for the court magicians?
Are we like the prophet Balaam who could not see the angel standing on the narrow wall over the path ahead ready to carve him up? God did everything except hit him on the head or kill him to get his attention and yet it failed to keep him straight. It took a talking donkey to get to him that day, along with suddenly being allowed to see the angel of God poised with his sword held ready to strike. Though Balaam was as contrary as could be that day he quickly realized that he could not win against the odds. In the end however, he was just too selfish and greedy to keep it in mind long enough to make the correct choices for any length of time. Many of us are no different. The Bible states that he remained contrary and died on the wrong side of God’s Word.
You and I won’t get a miracle, a visit from Jesus or an apostle, no talking donkey: nothing like that. We will not “get” anything other than the Word of God. Most of us have several copies lying around our homes, many unused.
Will we ignore the signs and the Word of God and try to get through the narrow pass on our own? Will we reject the truth just like some of our friends and family who have listened to and read these very same things? Do we believe what we find in the Word of God or does it seem to be ancient noise and nonsense? Do you choose the Lord every day or for just half a weekend now and again? Will you serve Christ or will you ride out into the sea all confused? Will we look in wonder at the evidence and wait until the water comes crashing down? It says the same thing about God in the OT as it does in the New: “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.”
Without the Word of God read and understood we unconsciously make the choice that none of it matters. And if we get to that point we are no better off than those arrogant and long dead Egyptians or Israelites. In fact if we keep it up, we will end up with them in eternity and have plenty of time to rehearse endlessly about how it all happened. Are these the choices you wish to make? God says he has put life and death right in front of us just like he did to Pharaoh and Balaam.
If any of that rings true, then it is long past time to stand up straight and get busy and do what we have been instructed to do; that is, if “you believe there is a God and that he will reward those who diligently seek him” – we better get moving before time, chance or both ends our stay here.
It requires no spin. He has set before us eternity one way or the other. And all the false teaching and the other chatter will be about as useful to us when the tide of eternity comes rushing in as a bicycle is to a fish.