ONE MORE NIGHT WITH THE FROGS

night

God’s command to Pharaoh during the Exodus was crystal-clear, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me”. But this was met with stiff opposition and resistance from the Egyptian ruler. As a result, God through a series of plagues ensured that His agenda prevails and his people are liberated from oppression to a life of worship and freedom in God.

Plague after plague, Pharaoh was still unyielding and would not let the people go.

The second plague that Moses unleashed was that of frogs. The whole country was plagued with frogs. Disgusting ah! Frogs filled everywhere and all over the place- in bedrooms, kitchen etc and everywhere in the land. And remember they would not kill them because Egyptians regarded frogs as having divine power/gods.

Pharaoh’s magicians did their best to get rid of the frogs but instead of averting the disaster they made it even worse. As a final resort, Pharaoh summoned Moses and his brother Aaron to pray to their God to take away the frogs. Definitely, Pharaoh wasn’t interested in the God of the Hebrews but only in His power and help to clear up the mess!

Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh. But Moses said, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile”-Exodus 8:10.

The question that Moses raised was, “when?”

Tomorrow,” pharaoh said. (Exodus 8:10a)

This was a crazy and unexpected answer, right? Why did he prefer to spend one more night with frogs? Anyway, Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God” Exodus 8:10b.

Why did Pharaoh opt for a future date/time? This is a question I want us to look at briefly. You will note that Pharaoh’s problem was deeper than procrastination. It was a heart-problem; something that we all as Christians should beware of by diligently guarding our hearts.

Why was Pharaoh comfortable to spend one more night with the frogs?

He had a heart that did not delight in yielding to God’s voice Pharaoh had no bent or inclination toward God’s word or voice. He treated God’s messengers with contempt. He was only interested in building his kingdom through slavery. As a result the word of the Lord, through Moses and Aaron, fell in deaf hears. You can call this expression stubbornness or other names but in essence it is pride and disobedience. Pharaoh would simply not obey God or humble himself. But God knew when and where to strike.

He had a hard heart– Severally, it is recorded that Pharaoh hardened his heart (Ex. 8:15,32;9:7,34-35;13:15). In response, God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8,17). His heart was a hard nut to crack; but not with God. For God says, “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29)

What hardens one’s heart? For sure, sin does. The habit of sinning and suppressing truth makes ones heart to be hard and insensitive to God and his word. It deadens one’s conscience. A sinful and hard heart is blind to God’s doing and promptings. Pharaoh’s hard heart readily embraced suffering through the plagues than to obey God.

He had an unbelieving heart- Pharaoh simply trusted his own power and the power of magic. He only wanted to hear about God when there was a problem. Perhaps “tomorrow” was still convenient for him because he would have more time to explore other alternative solutions through magic and sorcery.

More importantly for us today, how can we guard our hearts, the wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23), with due diligence?

Hebrew 3: 12-13 warns, “See, to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful heart that turns from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Be constantly connected to the true Vine (Jn. 15), and with fellow brethren/church for encouragement and counsel. Guard your heart every “Today“.  See to it that sin does not set in and find a permanent lodging in your heart. Do it daily. For, God desires a broken/repentant heart, a teachable spirit, and a heart that obeys his voice.

Read here for hindrances to hearing/yielding to God’s guidance. 

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WHAT THE LIFE OF MOTHER TERESA REMINDS THE CHURCH IN AFRICA

mother Teresa

Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been canonized, formally declared a saint, by the Roman Catholic Church on 4th September 19 years after her death. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) founded the Missionaries of Charity,  that requires its members to subscribe to four vows: chastity, poverty, obedience, and to give “wholehearted free services to the poorest of the poor”. The award winning figure, a Catholic nun, has been hailed by many for what she stood for and for the impact she made in the lives of many poor people in India.

In my opinion, the life and work of Mother Teresa (MT) has a lot to remind the Body of Christ today.

  1. Ministry of the church to the poor– Mother Teresa’s life is a reminder of the biblical mandate that the church has toward the poor. Not only to the poor but also to refugees, sick, strangers, migrants, orphans and widows. To all those that are vulnerable to any form of suffering and exploitation. In her we see, true love at work. She sacrificially served “the poorest of the poor”. Her legacy of service to the people of Calcutta remains exceptional. Ministry to the poor is a worthy cause for the church today; the early church practiced it (Acts 6). The apostles, both to the Jews and Gentiles, put special emphasis on the plight of the poor as they preached the gospel: …They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do– Gal 2:9b-10.
  2. Incarnational Ministry– MT was totally sold out to the work among the poor. Her model takes after Jesus’ incarnation model of “coming down” to where people are. It is not easy to effect change when we stay aloof from people’s realities. With compassion, she literally went down to the people and suffered with them. She left her comfort and all her prerogatives to live and serve among the poor. Teresa was not a mother but became a mother to many.
  3. Leadership from below– I must say that we live in a world that strongly believes that for one to bring change (in the society) you have to be at the top. And so many people struggle to “be leaders” so that they can use their positions to right wrongs and straighten the crooked. But like Jesus, Mother Teresa’s life shows that the opposite is true, possible, and effective! You can lead from the bottom. Mother Teresa led by serving and served by leading.
  4. Simplicity– Trapped by materialistic culture around you? Mother Teresa’s life story is a down-to-earth life and lifestyle. Her life revolved around sharing and giving. She gave her life to selflessly serve God’s people. I wonder what Mother Teresa would say about the prosperity “gospel” that has become so prevalent today. But I guess, like Apostle Paul, she would perhaps say it is “no gospel at all”.
  5. Fervent spirituality– Her zeal and perseverance to serve “the poor of the poorest” was certainly informed by her intimate relationship with God. She must have learned her incarnational approach and what it means to surrender from Jesus. Her devotion to God and commitment to God’s people shows that the gospel is livable. Mother Teresa’s life is a good example of what a life surrendered to the hands of Jesus is able to achieve. Fervent spirituality will definitely lead to action.

Below, I leave you with some quotes attributed to Mother Teresa.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. Mother Teresa

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. Mother Teresa

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Teresa

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway

Mother Teresa