In these passages, a common theme that is present is that God is all powerful, and nothing is impossible with God. Pharaoh and his officials have hearts of stone and keep questioning the power of God. But through His humble servants, Moses and Aaron, He brings plagues that terrorize pharaoh and the land of Egypt (except the land of Goshen). Livestock and crops are destroyed by natural disasters of epic proportion, the people of Egypt are covered in painful sores, and there is such great darkness that people couldn’t see each other for three days.
As I think about this last part, a couple of things come to mind. For there to be this amplitude of darkness, that would mean that no sun, moon, or stars for those three days. Keep in mind, there wouldn’t be any city lights to overcome the darkness. But, a part that may be overlooked here is the Egyptian religious beliefs surrounding the sun, moon, and stars. The main Egyptian god was Ra, the sun god. Their belief was that Ra was born each morning, survived one whole day, and died each evening, and he was the giver of life (along with the Nile). Egyptian pharaohs were believed to be direct descendants of Ra, and therefore be a direct link between their main god and the people of Egypt. The fact that Ra did not rise for THREE DAYS would lead one to maybe believe that this God of the Israelites was more powerful than Ra, since He was able to prevent Ra from appearing for three days. But I digress…
The Psalm talks of the many enemies of God. The number of those who are wicked and argue that there is no god is many. But, despite their efforts, God cannot be held back. He will protect those who believe and release them from their oppressors, just as He did with the Israelites in Egypt.
And in Matthew, we see the appearance of Jesus be changed to be angelic, and two very important prophets come to personally talk with him, all in the sight of Peter and James. I can only imagine the fear and confusion that was felt by the two disciples, who, after witnessing this event, are told they can’t tell anyone. In the day and age of Facebook, where we feel the need to take pictures of our dinner plates and post them so people will know, I am guessing it would be virtually impossible for this transfiguration sort of news to not spread quickly. Nonetheless, it appears as if the disciples stay quiet about what they saw.
Later, we see the disciples struggle with healing a demon-possessed boy due to their lack of faith in their abilities. Jesus gets the job done, of course, and reprimands the disciples by calling them faithless. I can almost picture him doing the forehead slap, like a parent who has seen their child make the same stupid mistake for the 500th time, and think “what is wrong with you?” Nevertheless, Jesus doesn’t give up on his disciples and uses their mistake as a teachable moment.
As much as we think we are in control, we aren’t. Ultimately, the Almighty and All-Powerful God is the one who has the final say in what happens. As much as we might like to fight it and try to do it on our own, that mindset is futile. Each time the Israelites, and the disciples, lost sight of the power of God, they failed miserably. The fact that pharaoh refused to believe in the God of the Israelites nearly caused the destruction of Egypt. No one can hide from the power and judgment of God. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to be on the winning side.