God is Strong—for Starters
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place.”
Strength is a key quality of God’s self-revelation in these early chapters of biblical history, an attribute that shows up numerous times throughout the Old Testament; yet, the very fact that God has to continually remind these ancient peoples of His strength serves to reveal an even more special attribute of His: forbearance. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we moderns don’t also need reminding of God’s strength—reminders that He’s strong enough to help us overcome addictions and abuses and sins of our past—but mere strength is still the most basic aspect of God’s divine character. And we can’t move further into deeper qualities like goodness and righteousness and faithfulness without first understanding that God is strong. It’s as if we see the power of God first, and from that light, our eyes perceive deeper things.
Obviously God is stronger than a little Egyptian man with an oversized hat on an oversized throne! Obviously He’s stronger than the devils who roar like seething lions in our ears but flee like sewer rats whenever God appears! We don’t need an Exodus to teach us that or a Passover to remind us of it. We have the gospel of creation all around us! Of course God is strong—He’s Creator! But is He good? That’s the deeper question. Is He kind? Does He have my best interests in mind? Is He longsuffering to weak people who keep falling short? The question isn’t whether God is strong enough to save the world but whether saving the world is worth the sacrifice to Him? Still, let’s remember that Exodus 13 is a long way off from John 3:16, and we’re only in the opening chapters of God’s Self-revelation. For us, God’s strength is seen in His unrelenting resolve to redeem us at the cost of Himself. But for these Hebrews in Exodus 13, God’s strength is seen in His destruction of a petty Egyptian king and false Egyptian gods.
Oh to think what God’s strength will mean to us a trillion years from now, when we’re finally able to see the fuller picture!