“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
Tim Keller

TODAY’S READING: Exodus 10–12

The plagues ascended in drama and damage, each one destroying the illusionary power of false Egyptian gods. Christopher Wright rightly writes “the emphasis of the story as the suspense builds is that YHWH is not merely intent on liberating slaves but on reclaiming worshipers…. The exodus demonstrates who is truly God. YHWH stands alone and incomparable.[1] Jehovah was establishing Himself above all gods and above all false worship. Pharaoh was preventing true worship, and as God will be worshipped by all peoples, He would not let little pretending gnats thwart His global purpose, so God said in Exodus 12:12 (NIV): “I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord [Jehovah].”

God judging all false gods and God destroying all who resist His global worship gives us a beautiful and sobering advance view of the gospel. It is, after all, God who saves us from God.  God says to us all (through the story played out between Moses and Pharaoh in Egypt): I will bring one more plague; I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die; I will pass through the land of Egypt…and will strike all the firstborn…I will execute judgment; the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; [the LORD] struck the Egyptians; and the LORD struck all the firstborn (11:1, 4–5; 12:12, 23, 27, 29). The Lord does His own killing (see 13:15). He does not send the devil to do his “dirty work,” as my friend Butch Frey says, and it was the blood of the lamb that saved the people from God’s wrath (12:13). For the blood did not save them from Pharaoh or Pharaoh’s armies (that deliverance comes later), but the blood saved them from the destroying hand of God (v. 23). When God saw the blood, He passed over. For the gospel is simply this: The love of God saves us from the wrath of God for the joys of God.

A further beauty of the Exodus story is that God never has had and never will have favorites. The blood is color blind, ethnic blind, gender blind, age blind. All—from every nation—who shelter under the blood from the wrath of God enjoy His love in the present and His eternal joy. Walter Kaiser wrote: “Should the question be raised as to the effectiveness of all these demonstrations of the power of God in the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, the answer is available to us. When Israel left Egypt, a ‘mixed multitude’ or a group of ‘many other peoples’ went out with them (Exod. 12:38)… Many Egyptians were more than merely impressed by what they saw and heard. They were some of the first fruits of the work of God in their midst.”[2]

God’s destroying wrath and His covering love were not singularly aimed at nor restricted to the Israelites or the Egyptians. What happened at that specific time for those specific people was a microcosm of God’s redemptive work in history, a prefigurate of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and of Jesus absorbing the wrath of God for us all, and a prophecy that one day around God’s throne, there will indeed be a mixed multitude—and that multitude will include the Japanese (our prayer focus today) among many others.

[1] Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: VP Academic, 2006. 270.

[2] Kaiser, Jr., Walter C. Mission in the Old Testament: Israel As a Light to the Nations. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000. 21.

Prayer Focus: Japan (23 UPGs)

Today’s Unreached People Group: Japanese
Population: 121,611,000
Language: Japanese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Evangelical: 0.30%
Estimated Workers Needed: 2,432

[Source: Joshua Project]

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