Summary: The experts of Pharaoh’s day recognized God’s finger prints only when they could not explain the miracle any other way.
OPENING: Tell me, what Sport is this:
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that’s on the side that’s in goes out and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
When 3 men are out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When both sides have been in and out nine times including the not outs, that’s the end of the game.
(get audience to reply) Of course… It’s baseball. But how did you know? What gave it away? Of course. You knew what game it was, because baseball has a distinctiveness about it that sets it apart from other sports. So also, God’s handiwork has a distinctiveness that sets it apart. Notice the comment of Magicians as they surrender: They said what had occurred was a result of the "Finger of God."
I. What made these magicians believe that? Why would they suddenly believe that God had acted in this miracle?
After all they had duplicated all the previous miracles. They had turned their staffs into snakes, the waters of the Nile into blood, materialized frogs from dust… But frankly, these were all parlor tricks for them. Slight of hand and misdirection was their stock in trade. This was the first miracle they realize they couldn’t duplicate.
After this miracle, and from this time on, the magicians join the voices warning Pharaoh: "Get rid of Israelites!"
II. The Magicians become troubled... BUT Pharaoh becomes hardened... Why was there a difference in how they responded?
The gods of Egypt were personifications of forces that helped them explain their human experience. Were the Cows dry? Was the rain not falling? Crops not growing?
If so, it was time to appease the gods.
The Priests and magicians of Egypt were the scientists of the day. They interpreted why things happened the way they did and they reported their findings as scientific fact. Part of the reason Pharaoh’s heart became hardened, was that if he acknowledged what these "scientists" were NOW saying, he would have to admit that he had been wrong.
People don’t like to do that.
Even scientists don’t like to do that.
III. Such attitudes even prevail in much of what passes for "science" today.
The reason this happens is because, for many scientists, there is a basic underlying philosophy that rejects God as a possible force in world.
Back in 1987, the National Academy of Science was speaking as a Friend of the Court in a Louisiana Creation case. The representative of the Academy rejected Creationism because: "It fails to display the most basic characteristic of science: reliance upon naturalistic explanations."
ILLUS: I once read about a young woman who was studying in a college science class. They were discussing one of the facets of theory of man’s evolution As the class considered how each part of the human anatomy must have evolved, they began talking about the human eye. A great deal of time was spent discussing the development of the eye because its components and their interaction are so complicated that it was difficult to explain its evolving in a simplistic fashion. Though the student I read about was not a Christian, it seemed to her that perhaps Evolution might not be the best way of explaining this phenomenon and said so. The teacher became irritated as he responded: "Young lady, we’re not here to talk about God!"
Although the existence of God had never entered her mind in this discussion, she realized that without evolution, God was required.
The Bible tells us that the result of removing God from our lives (and our science) is chaos and impurity. Romans 1:18-25 tells us:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images (made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles).
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen."