Psalm 65; Exodus 9:13–35; Acts 27:39–44
But I've left you standing for this reason: in order to show you my power and in order to make my name known in the whole world.Exodus 9:16
Depending on your context and current life situation, these words could be good or they could be bad. The Scriptures have plenty of examples of where this was good for the God follower and bad for the person (or people) who doesn't believe in God. There are, too, examples where the Scriptures point to the people who are followers of God who experience trials while others succeed.
In the case of Pharaoh, this was definitely not to his (or Egypt's) advantage. Granted, Pharaoh had the opportunity to fix the issue but chose not to. On the other hand, and we often ignore them, there were Egyptians (including Pharaoh's officials) who listened and obeyed. They, too, were also examples. They obeyed; their servants and livestock survived.
Sometimes, obedience is not the most pleasant, either. Paul was obedient insofar as heading to Rome. In fact, he could have avoided the whole situation, but we can infer that he believed that taking advantage of rules would dishonor the faith, and so chose the path to Rome, Caesar, and death.
The centurion wasn't a particular enemy to Paul or God. Yet, he felt obligated or even connected to Paul for whatever reason and sought to keep him safe. In a different way, he, too, was there to display God's power.
Humanity has plenty to be proud of. We have gone to the moon. We have sent exploratory devices to distant planets and comets. We have delved deep into the oceans (though there is still more to see). We have generated many theorems and rules to understand the universe. We have analyzed the very makeup of our biological existence (DNA).
All our achievements still cannot outshine God's glory, will, or plans. We're not really any closer to understanding them than the Disciples who walked with Jesus by the Sea of Galilee, but we know him. That all that really matters.
- Have you seen where someone in opposition to God, ended up glorifying God? What were the circumstances, and how did it glorify God?
- Have you seen where the pain or trial person trusting in God glorified God, even when their pain or trial ended badly? How about where it ended well?
Lord, help us be the light, even when it isn't easy to bring glory to you. Amen.
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)