With the Hebrew and Egyptian cultures at each others throats for over two generations, it would be unexpected for either group to treat each other with good manners, for the favor of God may not vary regarding our relational circumstances with each other though. Just because things are not well does not give us license to lose our manners.
God’s Manners and Favor
Today we are going to look for normal words in unusual contexts. After God gives Moses his mission, He explains how both the Hebrew people and the Egyptians will respond. God shows incredible knowledge and foresight of this situation and this is one of the passages that people use to attribute the Greek term “omniscience” to God many centuries later.
However, there may be a problem with this knowledge. It is one thing for God to know how this mission is going to turn out. It is another for God to send Moses into danger knowing that his part of the mission will fail and God will have to intervene in the end. Why is God knowingly and openly sending Moses on a mission that will fail?
Perhaps God has a form of manners as well. Even when he knows Pharaoh will not relent unless God uses compulsion, He still wants to offer him a chance. He is even willing to put up this pretense while His people, including Moses, bear the risk. God knows exactly how much force to utilize to get the result He desires, yet He still opts for the gentle approach first. Even with His enemies, those who do not have his favor, God shows a kind of gentle manners.
Our Manners and God’s Favor
So, if our God has manners among those He does and does not favor, what should we do?
Looking back at the text, with God spelling out the details of this momentous mission to free His people from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, there are a couple words that seem out of context. As God gives Moses the words to tell Pharaoh, on God’s behalf, and God tells Moses to say “please”. In fact, there is no demand for justice or restitution ether. God tells Moses to use his manners and God’s favor, and ask if the Hebrew people can get a few days off to walk out into the wilderness and worship God.
Now, I’m sure Pharaoh knows better than to expect them to come right back. He is wrong about that actually, but common sense does not always give you the right answer. Moses is supposed to ask nicely though.
The next word comes at the end of this passage. When it comes to the eventual plundering of the Egyptian people, God tells Moses it will be done by the Hebrew women. The men will not go breaking and entering from house to house. No, instead the women will go to their neighbors, relying on their manners and the favor of God. They are to ask for the gold and silver, and fancy cloth to take with them on their extended vacation.
If Moses thought this mission was ridiculous before, I’m sure he thinks it even more so now.
What kind of ridiculous situations has God led you into while serving Him?
What do you see here?
I’d love to hear what you see in this passage. You can comment below or send a text to 859-636-6965 for a faster response. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our God’s ridiculous manners with us.