(February 25, 2014)
This is a fascinating set of chapters for two reasons. The first is that we once again need to decide whether we will be Pharaoh or we will be Israel. Pharaoh was very impressed that his magicians could do the same things that Moses could do – so much so that he hardened his heart. Likewise, we are sometimes overly impressed that a naturalistic and materialistic explanation can be provided for most things in human history (however improbable such a humanistic explanation may be). Do we harden our hearts at this, as did Pharaoh – believing if another explanation other than God can be provided then God is summarily excluded? Or do we, as did Moses when he first saw the Lord change his staff into a snake, rightly find ourselves in awe of His power and capacity.
Secondly, we took are often given impossible tasks (I feel as though I am facing one currently). We look at those things that are important to us, and we commit ourselves to giving our best efforts. And yet, we can see no way that our best efforts will ever be close to good enough. Hopelessness and despair then consume our souls. But so too was it with the Israelites, and yet for the Lord’s own purposes He freed them from the Egyptians. We might never receive the temporal relief or freedom that we seek – the Lord does not promise us that. But if we see ourselves in bondage to sin, our halting and meager efforts, though seemingly impossible to result in our freedom, will be enough for the Lord – so long as we give our best. What a great blessing that this is – the more I know of the Atonement, the more I love the Atonement.