He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with his servants. He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. —Psalm 105:25-27
Some comentators believe this psalm was authored after the Babylonian captivity, serving as a reminder to the Jews returning to Jerusalem of God’s faithfulness to Israel during and after the exodus from Egypt. The post-captivity Jews could expect God to be just as faithful as He was to those in Moses’s day. We have the same expectation today because God is for us! We continue to see the personal pronouns “He” and “His” in reference to God.
And what do we learn? God is for His people! Look at the first two verses of this psalm that recall the families of Jacob making their trek to Egypt where Joseph was in a position of great power as a part of God’s plan to save many alive. One family entered Egypt. A nation exited. God increased His people and made them stronger than their captors. Just as “Israel” is the new name given to Jacob, we are the “chosen people” when we come to Christ. Israel still had a lot of Jacob in them, just as Peter had a lot of Simon left in him in the New Testament. And yet, God was faithful when Israel acted like Jacob, the supplanter, and when Peter acted like Simon. God is faithful to us even when we have lapses. There’s no better illustration of this than the words of King David, who knew a bit about personal failure and God’s faithfulness (to say the least!):
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me” (Psalm 139:7-11).
God blessed Israel even when they were under the heavy hands of the taskmasters, which caused the Egyptians to hate them and deal with them dishonestly. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who performed miracles, thus validating Israel as His chosen people who exalted their God above the many “gods” of the Egyptians. All of this brings us to this truth: “If God be for us . . . we are ensured a life of victory and not defeat!” Even if we are hated by the world and oppressed by the government, we still have a real understanding of the truth, which is that the government may try to thwart God’s will just as Pharaoh did in slaying the infant boys of the Israelites. We may be silenced by their threats at times, but the “gates of hell will not prevail” against God’s church.
If the great enemy of the second death has been defeated, and we are victorious over it through Christ, then what can feeble man do to come against us? If he takes our lives, we have a glorious home awaiting us in heaven with our Savior! We’ve already won the battle! Therefore, we must be steadfast, immovable, abounding in the work of the Lord while we are still here, for our labor for His name’s sake is never in vain. We are the champions—we’re not “going to be,” or “hope to be.” We are already numbered among those who, when evil was meant against them, God used it for good. Remember this, saints: A Christian is so mighty in God that not even death can harm one: “ . . . whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” We have millennia to look back upon to see that if God be for us, we can walk in victory and not defeat. Walk on!
Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.