Recognizing and Remembering God’s Hand in Our Lives
By K.T. Martin
This week as we study Exodus 7-13, we get to read through an exciting part of the Old Testament where God shows forth his power to liberate and protect His people. A number of important gospel truths can be pulled from those pages that still apply to us today. We’ll go through some of them below.
We need to be humble and obey the will of the Lord
Exodus 7-13 is full of examples of the great power of Jehovah. Chapter after chapter shows forth divine signs that should cause the Pharaoh to repent. However, we see here that these signs and miracles are not enough to cause an unwilling heart to obey the Lord’s will. Miracles or powerful acts of God are not what create a change of heart and a desire to repent; they can perhaps help, sure, but it is ultimately an internal process that requires us to use our personal agency. We have examples all throughout the scriptures where unrighteous people continue to be wicked after seeing manifestations from the Lord (e.g. some of the Pharisees, Laman and Lemuel, Korihor, etc).
We shouldn’t be like Pharaoh and deny God’s hand in our lives or harden our hearts and refuse to obey even though His direction is clear. We learn from the examples of the plagues that it is certainly much better to be humble on our own than to be forced to be humbled. In the end, Pharaoh’s refusal to repent and free the people of Israel leads to the death of his firstborn son (Exodus 12:29). What a high price to pay when he had so many opportunities to listen to the will of the Lord and free them earlier. Being forced to be humble or obey the will of the Lord is never a fun experience. We save ourselves a lot of unnecessary trials by choosing to be obedient from the start (see Deut 8:2, Jeremiah 5, and Mosiah 20:21 for other examples).
Recognize and be grateful for the miracles and blessings God puts in our lives
While the story in Exodus highlights some large scale miracles, it’s important for us to also make sure we recognize the miracles that happen in our own lives, even if they don’t appear to be as grand. We may not have water turned to blood or locusts sent down in order to have us liberated, but our Savior Jesus Christ is actively involved in our lives and seeks to help us through the spiritual or physical trials that we face. If we choose to look with humble hearts and ears ready to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we will clearly see our Heavenly Father’s help in our lives. No matter how “small” we deem them, those miracles should be just as sacred to us as those performed for Ancient Israel. Understanding this is important because the Lord has said nothing makes Him more angry than when He is not given the recognition and gratitude that He deserves.
D&C 59:21 says “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”
We kindle the wrath of God by choosing to not acknowledge His hand in all things, and when we do not obey His commandments. Both of these things are manifest in the story of the Exodus. We can learn from the Pharaoh’s mistakes and make sure we give credit to the Lord. It is through His hand that all our blessings come to be. It is through His hand that miracles appear in our lives. We do nothing by our own strength alone.
The Passover is symbolic of Christ’s Atonement
The atonement of Jesus Christ (his blood) provides us with eternal life – those who reject it are given spiritual death. In the case of the Passover, this was shown literally in a physical sense for those who were the first born son in a family. The blood of the lamb saves the sons of Israel, while the sons of the Egyptians receive death for rejecting it.
The Passover is a sacred event that is still observed by Jews today. While members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Christians at large no longer observe the Passover, we have our own sacred rituals that are meant for us to ponder on the same kind of concepts. Reflecting on the sacrament and our covenants helps us to remember the price that was paid for us to be forgiven of our sins. Just as the Passover is symbolic of Christ’s atonement, so is the sacrament meant to help us remember His Atonement and make sure we apply it in our lives.
God’s plan will not be hindered
One of the final things we can take joy in from the story of the Exodus is that God does not allow anyone to hinder his work in the long run. There may be delays and trials that His people have to suffer, but ultimately His promises and His divine plan for His children is never stopped. Satan, nor the works of men have the power to stop God’s work from rolling forth. Remember the promise given in D&C Section 3:1,3:
The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught… Remember, remember, that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men
More Come, Follow Me resources here.
K.T. Martin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religion from Liberty University and a master’s degree in leadership from the University of Arizona Global Campus. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in religious studies from Athens State University. He resides with his wife in Phoenix, Arizona.