Case studies: The resurrection of Lazarus/The ten plagues prior to the Exodus
(Excerpt from the book God’s Ways are Higher Chapter 2)
While I was tidying up, I saw a piece of paper dated 18th April 2013 on which I had written the following:
1. A quote I had seen written on a board (daily quotes are written on it) at Tooting Broadway underground station that day “The greater the obstacle, the more the glory in overcoming it”
(Anonymous) and underneath I wrote:
2. “I meditated on the sermon on the subject of worship at church one night: “We have a God who is faithful whatever He has promised, He will fulfill or bring to pass”‘
I have a journal and at times I write things I need to remember for my journal on pieces of paper.
I knew it was not a coincidence I found the paper on the night I was writing this series on God’s glory maximised during the process of fulfilling His promises or miracles in what may appear to be delay or denial.
DELAY IS NOT DENIAL
For Glory maximisation: The Resurrection of Lazarus.
It is not surprising that Jesus would use the same strategy as Abba Father did (see Part 1), by prolonging the time in which he performed a miracle so as to reap as much glory out of it as possible. Jesus was simply affirming who He is, the incarnate Christ, God who came as man to redeem the world:Paul the apostle said
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…” (Col. 1:15)
Jesus himself said “I and [my] Father are one” (John 10:30 KJV).
In his ministry, Jesus did what he saw the Father (God) doing and the Father was working through him to fulfill His will (John 5:17,19,30)
Having heard that Lazarus was sick, Jesus did not go to Bethany immediately, by the time Jesus arrived Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). No one who knew he was sent for could understand why he had taken so long to come, after all he loved Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. Even Mary told Jesus that her brother would have not died if he had come earlier.
Miracles reveal to the unbeliever that the God is indeed real and they testify that He sent Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ goal in his ministry was to glorify God and he chose at this time a strategy God also uses which would bring greater glory to God.
Jesus “stayed where he was two more days,..” (John 11:6) deliberately when he heard that Lazarus was sick
because the miracle of resurrecting Lazarus was a far greater glory inducing miracle than healing him would have been.
This is why Jesus said when he heard Lazarus was sick “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”(John 11:4 KJV).
We should be encouraged that as God is glorifying himself in all the earth, so he is also performing miracles in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones. There is also a lesson Mary and Martha as well as multitudes must have learnt following the resurrection of Lazarus as well as other miracles of God, which should also serve to assure us God is in absolute control in the worst circumstances. This lesson is that some situations get worst before they get better.
“The greater the obstacle, the more the glory in overcoming it” (anonymous -see point 1 above)
For Glory Maximisation: The 10 plagues prior to the Exodus.
To the naked eye, Pharaoh was extremely defiant and unreasonable in his reluctance to let God’s people go despite several tragic incidents (plagues) which were devastating to the Egyptians and their land.
However when God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand that he let the Israelites go, God literally spells out what He was going to do and why:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn. And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, [even] thy firstborn.” ( Exodus 4:21-23 KJV)
“And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.” (Exodus 9:12 KJV)
“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I [am] the LORD.”(Exodus 14: 4 KJV)
The evidence is therefore crystal clear; God allowed Pharaoh to refuse to release the Israelites from bondage each time until after the the tenth plague so that He would, during each of the ten times he sent Moses to Pharaoh, demonstrate His might and power. As a result the Egyptians suffered the consequences of Pharaoh’s hardened heart each time, the tenth and final one was by far the worst in that all the first born sons of the Egyptians died including Pharaoh’s.
The Lord plans to unleash vengeance on our enemies on our behalf and to deliver us from every demonic bondage because as His children and believers in Jesus we are his “first born sons” and so precious to Him.
It is worth noting that before Moses’ journey to Egypt when the Lord spoke to him, He mentioned that Pharaoh’s hardened heart would result in his first born son being slain (Ex. 4:23), Moses did not at the time envisage a prolonged nine plagues processes before this most devastating one of death to Egyptian first born sons.
As in this case, the Lord may ask us to do something but He may choose not to give us all the details of the time span, how he would do it or details of some of the joys or dangers and challenges we may encounter along the way but as Moses we must obey nevertheless because our lives or those of multitudes may depend on our obedience. Our obedience as that of Moses did although we may not be conscious of it often has eternal consequences and is for prophetic fulfilment.
Although the Israelites were doubtful and fearful revealed by how their suffering was intensified by Pharaoh at beginning of Moses’ demand he lets them go, the prolonged wait to perform His miracle of deliverance of His people was worth it to God. This is because through it He demonstrated that He was the one and only Almighty, Omnipotent God who Pharaoh, the magicians and gods of Egypt could not withstand or stop.
Our God is in every situation we go through. He sees, knows and cares. What appears to the naked eye or in the natural is often not what the full picture is or how it will remain permanently.
In order to have God’s perspective of things or understanding of His ways, we must determine to stay as close to Him and Jesus Christ as possible through daily bible study, prayer and praise. The Holy Spirit is activated as a result and we become ones who walk in the Spirit with the gifts and fruit of the Spirit able to know God and have His wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
In addition, whatever the enemy throws at us will never derail us because our soul knows well that in every “storm” or unsettling situation God is at work in His supernatural ways we may not understand for however long it pleases Him to reap as much glory out of it as possible.
“We have a God who is faithful, whatever He has promised He will fulfill or bring to pass”
“You are blessed, determine to stay blessed”
©2018Deborah E. Nyamekye
NOTE: God’s Ways: Maximising His Glory – Part 1 & 2 These articles are from Chapter 2 of my book God’s ways are Higher (Light of the World-John8.12 Publishing).
In this book, I expound on case studies from scriptures that reveal God’s Ways that are often not easily understood by people and at times may appear foolish to the human mind. However His sovereignty, wisdom and might are greatly revealed in the process as well as the outcome. This book also helps us to know and understand the God we serve and hopefully encourages the reader to search the scriptures more and to cultivate an intimate lifestyle with God even more.