eMeditation on the Bible 


StoryGod versus false gods (Exodus 5-14) 

God sent Moses back to Egypt. The Pharoah who wanted to kill him had died. A new Pharoah ruled Egypt. Moses went to him and said, ďThe God of the Israelites, I AM WHO I AM, sent me to tell you: ĎFree my people!íĒ Pharoah said, ďWho is this god named I AM WHO I AM? Why should I listen to this god? I donít know this god. I will not free the Israelites!Ē Moses told Pharoah that if he didnít submit to Godís authority, God would act in powerful ways to show Godís supremacy. Pharoah refused to obey God. Instead, he made the Israelites work harder.  


Then the Bible tells the story of an epic battle between God and the gods of Egypt. To free the Israelites from slavery, God showed Pharoah that the highest power and source of life is God. God did this by demonstrating the powerlessness of Egyptís gods. The Egyptian gods were associated with the Nile River, which is the source of Egyptís water, food and sustenance for life. (Without the Nile, Egypt is a dry desert.) Each year, the Nile rises and floods the surrounding land, fertilizing the earth for growing things. When the Nile rises too little or too much, disasters happen. In the ancient story, God used this natural aspect of the Nile to give Pharoah many chances to recognize Godís power and obey God. God warned Pharaoh by a series of plagues that resulted from unusually high flooding of the Nile that year. Specifically, the extreme flooding caused the Nileís water to turn red (from microorganisms) and brought frogs (from the polluted water), mosquitoes and flies (from excessive water), locusts (from the heavy rains in Ethiopia and Sudan that caused the flooding), a thick cloud of darkness (from a large amount of mud that dried and was blown into the air), and other high-flood phenomena.  


After each disaster, God gave Pharoah the opportunity to recognize and obey God. Each time Pharoah refused and made life harder for the Israelites. Finally, Godís power could no longer be denied or ignored. The gods of Egyptís Nile River were defeated. Pharoah ordered Moses to gather the Israelites and leave Egypt immediately.   


Interpretation & Application 

In the Bible, Egypt symbolizes the false gods of every culture. Of course, we all appreciate our culture as Godís wonderful gift of creative and enjoyable traditions, customs and celebrations. Yet, every culture is a mixture of values: some that honor God and some that are incompatible with Godís values. The cultural values that conflict with Godís values are ďfalse godsĒ; which include the gods of Money, Materialism, Power, Status, Competition, and Selfish Individualism. They consist of societal expectations that exert strong pressure on people to prioritize their lives in ways that deprive them of spiritual development and fullness of well-being. They enslave people by taking so much of their time, energy and strength that they are not able to have a life with true meaning and purpose. These false gods motivate people to: (1) acquire as much wealth and as many possessions as possible to find security and happiness; (2) gain power regardless of the ethical compromises required; (3) climb up career and/or social ladders in ways that harm relationships and the well-being of others; (4) live a self-centered life with little concern about others. In contrast, God-honoring values are based on love and promote the well-being of others. They prioritize relationships, treat everyone with fairness and cooperation, and serve the needy.  


Respond by Growing

Think about this question: What are the false gods of your culture or where you live? Then remember: God will liberate you from false gods and give meaning and purpose to your life

when you cultivate a relationship with God by following Jesus as Godís authority over your life.