Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Exodus: A Great Salvation -- The Egyptians Favorably Disposed

In the next and final post in this series, the sermon will discuss the tenth plague and the Passover. Part of the passage I did not have time to discuss is the part where the Hebrews "plunder the Egyptians" because God makes the Egyptians "favorably disposed" towards the people in order to give them their valuables. This is an interesting turn in the story. Ever since Ex. 5:2, Pharaoh's heart has gotten harder and harder towards God and the people, and God was sovereign over that, as we saw in the last sermon. Yet, we also see in our passage for Sunday that God will sovereignly make the Egyptians favorable to the Hebrews. Listen to how D.A. Carson talks about this part of the passage:
THE CRUSHING PLAGUES have followed their ordained sequence. Repeatedly, Pharaoh hardened his heart; yet, however culpable this man was, God sovereignly moved behind the scenes, actually warning Pharaoh, implicitly inviting repentance. For instance, through Moses God had already said to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go” (9:16-17). Yet now Pharaoh’s patience entirely collapses. He warns Moses that he is not to appear in the court again: “The day you see my face you will die” (10:28). 
So the stage is set for the last plague, the greatest and worst of all. After the previous nine disasters, one would think that Moses’ description of what would happen (Ex. 11) would prompt Pharaoh to hesitate. But he refuses to listen (11:9); and all this occurs, God says “so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt” (11:9). 
In Exodus 11 – 12 there is yet another almost incidental description of God’s sovereign provision. Exodus 11 tells us, almost parenthetically, that “the LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people” (11:3). This is followed in Exodus 12 by the description of the Egyptians urging the Israelites to leave the country (12:33). One can understand the rationale: how many more plagues like this last one could they endure? At the same time, the Israelites ask for clothing and silver and gold. “The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians” (12:36). 
Psychologically, it is easy enough, after the event, to explain all this. In addition to the fear the Israelites now incited among the Egyptians, perhaps guilt was also operating: who knows? “We owe them something.” Psychologically, of course, one could have concocted a quite different scenario: in a fit of rage, the Egyptians massacre the people whose leader and whose God have brought such devastating slaughter among them.
In reality, however, the ultimate reason why things turn out this way is because of the powerful hand of God: the Lord himself made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people. 
This is the element that is often overlooked by sociologists and others who treat all of culture like a closed system. They forget that God may intervene, and turn the hearts and minds of the people. Massive revival that transforms the value systems of the West is now virtually inconceivable to those enamored with closed systems. But if God graciously intervenes and makes the people “favorably disposed” to the preaching of the Gospel….
Check out the original post over at the Gospel Coalition's website, and remember that God is sovereign over the human heart and will bring the fruit of the gospel wherever He chooses. This world is not a closed system. As Father Christmas said in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, "Aslan is on the move!" and all the snow and the ice is melting.

By His Grace,

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