March 11, 2019

Prophets and Priests

Exodus 8:8-32

The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”

—  Exodus 8:19

It’s not good for kings and presidents to have advisers who only agree with them and say they are the greatest. Sometimes you have to confront people in power with the truth. But they don’t always listen.

God sent Moses as his prophet to speak to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. But Pharaoh didn’t recognize God. Pharaoh refused to free God’s people, the Israelites, from slavery, so God sent plagues that infested all of Egypt. Pharaoh had magicians of the dark arts, but they had no power to stop the one true God. The magicians warned the king, but he wouldn’t listen.

Pharaoh did ask Moses to pray for him a couple of times. In this way he recognized Moses as a priest of God, but Pharaoh didn’t take God seriously. As soon as Moses prayed and God provided relief from a plague, Pharaoh would go back on his word—again and again.

You would think that God would just give up on Pharaoh and destroy him. But God wants to forgive and to restore people to live with justice, doing what’s right. That’s why he calls us to pray for our enemies. It’s not easy to act like priests in that way for others, and yet we keep praying for them even when we don’t see any change.

Why? Because God has forgiven and restored us. Though we were his enemies (Romans 5:10), Jesus gave his life for our sake, so that we can have new life and live with justice and love for all. Who are the ones who need your prayers today?

Lord, may we speak your truth and pray faithfully for others, that they may turn and be saved. Amen.

About the author — Pete Byma

Pete Byma has served as a pastor of congregations in Michigan and in Washington state. Serving now as a pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he is also a consultant/coach for churches experiencing conflict, and he enjoys equipping and establishing people in ministry. He is married to Cheri, and they have four grown children and six grandchildren. Pete is also a registered soccer official and enjoys bicycling.

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