Summary: Acknowledge that God is, that God is here, and that God is holy. Then allow Him to use you to make Him known to a world in desperate need of Him. Do that; or else, be a fool!
Three years ago (2009), Leonard Mlodinow shared a story in The Wall Street Journal from the life of baseball great, Joe DiMaggio:
During the summer of 1945, right after World War II had ended, Yankee slugger, Joe DiMaggio, returned to baseball after serving as a soldier during the war. Not wanting to make a big deal of it, he snuck into a mezzanine seat at Yankee Stadium as an ordinary fan with his 4-year-old son, Joe Junior, before rejoining his team. But a fan noticed him, then another. Soon throughout the stadium people were chanting, “Joe, Joe, Joe DiMaggio!” DiMaggio was touched and looked down to see if his son had noticed the tribute. He had. “See, Daddy,” said the little DiMaggio, “everybody knows me!” (Leonard Mlodinow, “The Triumph of the Random,” The Wall Street Journal, 7-3-09; www.PreachingToday.com)
Junior assumed that all the glory was for him and not his father. It was a silly mistake made by a 4-year-old, but when we as adults make the same mistake in relationship to our Heavenly Father, it’s not silly; it’s downright foolish.
Romans 1 says, “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…” (Romans 1:21-22, NIV).
Do you want to keep from becoming such a fool? Then I invite you to turn with me to Exodus 7, Exodus 7, where we see how God dealt with an ancient Pharaoh, who foolishly assumed all the glory was for himself.
Exodus 7:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” (NIV)
God makes it very clear: Everyone will know that He alone is the LORD, that He alone is YHWH, the great I AM. Pharaoh is not. The Egyptian gods are not. Only God is the LORD, the I AM, and He will send 10 plagues of judgment to demonstrate that fact before every single Egyptian.
Now, the 10 plagues can be divided into three groups of three each, with the 10th plague being the culmination of them all. Notice, the 1st, 4th and 7th plague each begin with “In the morning.” Aaron’s staff is used in the first 3 plagues. No staff is used in the second 3 plagues, and Moses’ staff is used in the last 3 plagues.
In addition, each set of 3 plagues begins with a purpose statement, the reason why God is sending the plagues. In Exodus 7:17 God says, “By this you will know that I am YHWH. In Exodus 8:22 God says, “So that you will know that I, YHWH, am in this land.” And in Exodus 9:14 God says, “So that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.”
God wants everyone to know that He is, that He is here, and that He is holy. And the sooner we acknowledge that, the less foolish we become and the better off we’ll be. So if you want to keep from becoming a fool in everyone’s eyes, like Pharaoh did, then first of all…
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT GOD IS.
Recognize that the God of the Bible exists and none other. Realize that God is real, the ONE WHO IS, the I AM, YHWH Himself. Look at Exodus 7:14 where the first three plagues are introduced.
Exodus 7:14-24 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water. Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord [that I am the I AM, YHWH]: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’ ” The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs’—and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.” Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river. (NIV)