EGYPT IN ISRAEL

It seems ironic on the surface of it that God enacted ten judgments on the Egyptians in order to release the Israelites from their bondage, only to have them turn on Him more than ten times after they had departed from their slave masters.  One of their last of their acts of defiance was to decide to (elect a president and) return to Egypt!  It seems trite to say so, but it was easier to get Israel out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of Israel.  Obviously, I am speaking of a spirit of Egypt*.  This is a spirit that probably still controls affairs in Egypt, but its influence in Israel was quite strong as well.  I’m speaking of the passing of an entire generation before that spirit was out of the people of Israel.

*That’s not really a far-fetched idea.  Consider the “prince of Persia” in Daniel 10:10-20.  One might readily infer that these powerful spirits remain at the “same address” in the absence of other information.

Consider the following passages of scripture (emphases added).  The reference point for the Israelites in all these situations was Egypt.  The memory of Egypt was more pleasant to them than the will and provision of God in their then-current situations.  Even in the case of the golden calf at Sinai, the people made a god like ones they had known in Egypt and referred to the Egyptianesque god as their savior.  They went so far as to assign the name of The LORD to the calf.  Yes, they already had the commandment regarding graven images before that point in time, but they went in that direction anyway.


ABRA KADABRA

The biblical material related to the “ten plagues” that afflicted the Egyptians is quite an interesting narrative.  It has several dimensions that may have exegetical importance to us.  In this discussion, however, I will focus on one of the dimensions that is generally overlooked.  Let’s look together at the role played by the magicians in Pharaoh’s court.

I say Pharaoh’s court to help us orient ourselves to who those folks were.  They were persons who were attached to the government for some purpose.  It seems very likely they were available to Pharaoh and his senior officials on what we might call an “on-call” or “standby” basis.  That being the case, they were probably not employed in any other capacity.  They were, to some degree, members of the retinue of Pharaoh. 


FEAR AND A SOUND MIND

Right now (March 2020), there is a concerted effort in the world to engender fear.  The specific vehicle for this activity is the appearance of a “new” virus in the world.  Viruses are insidious little critters, as you know.  They are hard to spot.  There aren’t even any mug shots.  Conversely, the “spirit of this age” is quite happy to share enough information to generate fear in those who will be fearful.  This COVID-19 isn’t the first virus to come along with the implied threat that it will even cause the universe to reverse its expansive activity and collapse on itself.

It’s interesting how the fear message is spreading.  News media and political decision makers are the main vehicles.  The media does that anyway and states the reason is information – not fear.  But the message is “be afraid and look at my face while I tell you that you should be afraid.  And, by the way, keep looking at my face while I constantly bombard you with reasons to be afraid.” 

Let me be clear.  We should gather the information we need to understand the situation we are in.  One of the aspects of the Spirit of God is a “spirit of knowledge.”  The issue for us is the nature of the information we receive and how we acquire that information.  Fear should not be a motivation for seeking information.  Keeping up with things is a reasonable motivation.


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