Boxing with God

Boxing is not as popular as it was in the last century. Great pugilists such as Cacius Clay (Mohammed Ali), Joe Lewis, and George Foreman were as well-known as popular baseball greats or football heroes of today. Old men often talk of the “fight of the century,” or the “match at Madison Square Garden that would go down in history.” As great as some of those boxing contests might have been, they pale in comparison to the TKO that God gave Pharaoh as recorded in Exodus chapter 14. In order to appreciate the points we will make in this week’s “Tom’s Pen,” let me encourage you to take just a moment and read Exodus 14:15-31, for it is in that chapter that we read of Pharaoh’s final attempt to thwart the purpose and plan of God. The very words thrill our soul and encourage us! What must it have been like for those who were there? What impression did it leave on their hearts and minds? This passage might very well be divided into the following homiletic outline: (1) Pharaoh’s Fist, 14:5-10; (2) Israel’s Fear, 14:11-12; (3) Moses’ Faith, 14:13-14; (4) God’s Fight, 14:15-21; (5) Pharaoh’s Foolishness, 14:23-28; and (5) Israel’s Faith, 14:22 and 29-31. It is the fourth point where we find Pharaoh boxing with God.

It has been at least four decades since I heard a sermon titled, “Boxing with God.”  Today I could not give you the details of that sermon, or the date when I heard it. But the title of that sermon made a lasting impression upon me at that time, so much so that I find myself often thinking of the foolishness of men who have found themselves “boxing with God.”  Pharaoh had “climbed into the ring” with God, and that arrogant and rebellious king would soon realize that he was “boxing with God.” God would knock Pharaoh out in three swift punches. First, God opened a way for Israel’s deliverance and the means of Pharaoh’s destruction. “Stretch out thine had over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (14:16).  That same open sea, and dry ground, would tempt Pharaoh to “follow them,” but this to his ultimate destruction. Second, God stood between Pharaoh and Israel, providing a fire of light to Israel, and a cloud of darkness to their enemies (14:19-20). God protected Israel while fighting Pharaoh, “so that the one came not near the other all night” (14:20). Third, God “troubled the host of the Egyptians” (14:24). The Hebrew ‘hamam’ means “to put in commotion, to disturb, crush, discomfit, or vex” (Strong).  This would be followed by the complete destruction of Pharaoh’s army with the flood waters of the Red Sea as they returned upon these enemies of God. With a one-two-three punch, God rescued Israel and destroyed their enemies so that they would “see them again no more forever” (14:13).

There is an important truth that emerges from this incident.  Pharaoh is an example of the masses of humanity who have, in their persistent rebellion against God, passed the point of no return in their rebellion and opposition to the Almighty and who will, on that final Judgment Day, find themselves the recipients of God’s knock-out blow to all of His enemies. There is a day coming, when all of the enemies of God shall be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). The atheists and agnostics, the greedy and the godless, the enemies and enraged antagonists of God Almighty shall meet their Maker as did Pharaoh of old. In that day the abortionist will know that life began at conception. In that day every evolutionist (theistic evolutionists included) will know that the Biblical account is precisely how it all began. In that day every Senator and Representative in Washington will know you cannot govern a nation without the aid and blessing of Jehovah God. In that day, when we, as God’s people, are received into heaven and the arrogant and antagonistic enemies of God are overwhelmed in the fiery flood that shall come upon them, we will realize that our struggles have been worth it all. When time gives way to eternity, and this world and all therein is burned up (2 Peter 3:10-12), you and I will sit at the feet of the God who has redeemed us, and we will not only sing the song of Moses – we will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb for all eternity! Won’t that be a grand day?

By Tom Wacaster