|Messianic Education Trust|
Shemot/Exodus 10:12 "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts ..."
HaShem told Moshe to stretch out his hand so that the locust storm might come upon Egypt. Ramban [Nachmonides] debates at length with Rashi over the size of the storm (cf v14) and both compare it to that mentioned in Yo'el 2:2 "there was never one like it". Did the arm or Moshe bring all those locusts to Egypt, so that neither before or after was there a storm like it? The command , stretch out, comes from the root , which means "to stretch out, extend, as the hand" and "to stretch, spread out, expand, as a tent"; neither definition seems to mention locusts! No, this sounds like one of the four great "I will" promises that HaShem gave Moshe that we remember each year in the Haggadah: "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements" (Shemot 6:6, CJB). It was G-d's arm that brought the locusts in on the easterly wind, but the sweep of Moshe's arm before Pharaoh and his court that was that signal that the plague was about to start and marked the all-encompassing nature of the invasion: every corner of Egypt - throughout their entire territory - was engulfed.
Early in Mark's gospel another hand is being stretched out: that of the man with the paralysed hand. "So [Yeshua] told the man with the paralysed hand, 'Stand in the centre of the synagogue.' Then He asked them, 'Is it right to do good or to do evil on the day of worship, to give a person back his health or to let him die?' But they were silent. Yeshua was angry as He looked at them. He was deeply hurt because their minds were closed. Then He told the man, 'Hold out your hand.' The man held it out, and his hand became normal again" (Mark 3:3-5, GWT). Again, it is obvious that the man didn't heal himself by stretching out his hand - his obedience and faith in Yeshua was the signal that G-d healed the man's hand. And again on this occasion, the signal was given in the face of unbelief and opposition, and G-d's arm was outstretched to bring healing.
G-d also promises to do the same for us: "'As I live,' declared the L-rd G-d, 'surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be King over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the land where you are scattered with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out'" (Yechez'kel 20:33-34, NASB). This is not something that we can do for ourselves; this is not something that we can organise, negotiate, fund and manage - this will be the hand of G-d moving in a sovereign way upon Israel and upon all the nations of the world; a great sign, performed on the public stage for all to see and know that there is a G-d in heaven.
Further Study: Jeremiah 32:16-22; Acts 4:23-31
Application: It is easy to fall into the idea of thinking that G-d is no longer willing or able to stretch out His arm and that if anything is to happen, we have to do it four ourselves. But His promise and power are just as effective and available today as they ever have been. Why not review G-d's promises to you?
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
|Messianic Trust Home Page||Join Weekly Email||More Weekly Drashot|
Support the work of producing this weekly commentary
|Last Year - 5764||Scripture Index||Next Year - 5766|