13 Apr Seeing the Glory of God through Irony
When someone told me about the Irony of God in the Bible, it seemed absurd to me, people can be ironic, but God? How could a God who is holy, good, loving, just, omnipotent, and sovereign, be ironic? I couldn’t wrap my mind around this. To me this was impossible. The Bible is God’s Word, exhaled by God himself. It is a very solemn, very spiritual book and therefore I did not understand how it could contain irony. After studying and meditating on it, I concluded that yes, there is irony in the Bible. I also concluded that if I learned to see irony in the Bible, I would also see the glory and sovereignty of God. In all of this, we would understand and see how God uses people for His eternal purposes, to carry out His plans.
Let me explain it to you. We can see the irony in a situation that turns out to be the complete opposite of what we expected, just like we see in the story of Moses and the Pharaoh (Exodus 1). Let us begin, remembering that 400 years before God freed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, God in His providence had placed Joseph as governor of Egypt, in order to keep His people alive and provide for them. God had a plan already to free His people from slavery. When the Israelite people entered Egypt, there were only about 70 people, then they started to greatly multiply. Even so, Pharaoh had enslaved the people of God.
Verse 7 says “but the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.”
Pharaoh saw this and created a plan to weaken the Israelites. His strategy was to oppress them and burden them with so much work, to limit the option of multiplying, and thus prevent them from uniting with their enemies and leaving Egypt. The plan seemed to have every chance of success. However, the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied, and the more they spread abroad, so the Egyptians started to fear. It caught my attention to see how the Bible emphasized the irony: “they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong.” I can just imagine Pharaoh worried that his plan wasn’t giving him results and at the same time God looking at him with a smile and saying, never, my plans are not your plans, nor are my ways, your ways.
After some time and seeing that his original plan failed, Pharaoh looked for a new strategy because the first one did not work. His strategy was then to look for two women throughout all of Egypt to deliver all the babies of the Hebrews, so that they had the opportunity to kill the newborns if it was a boy, and only let the girls live. However, God had control of this situation too, and these two women (midwives) named Shiphrah and the other Puah, directly chosen by Pharaoh, feared the God of Israel. What possibility was there in the human mind for this to happen? It was definitely not a very high possibility. Once again, Pharaoh’s plan was doomed for failure. These women, out of fear of God, did not kill the children. God blessed them and the people continued to multiply and become more powerful.
The irony here is that the Pharaoh thought these women were not a risk, yet it was these two women who completely destroyed his plans.
Pharaoh reached his peak of despair and frustration, so his third strategy was to kill all the Israelite boys by throwing them into the Nile river, and that is what he did. Chapter 1 ends in complete suspense, with the uncertainty of whether Pharaoh’s plan will now work. In the next chapter we find another irony in the story – perhaps the most important. Here we see how Pharaoh is part of the education and upbringing of the one who would liberate the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.
The Bible shows how one of these children who under Pharaoh’s order had to die, ended up being his grandson, raised in the palace, and educated by him. This child would end up liberating Israel. His name is Moses which means “saved from the waters.”
Three great ironies that were established to fulfill the plans outlined by God. In the midst of this story, we see that all of Pharaoh’s plans were thwarted, and how he was a fundamental part of God’s master plan. It was Pharaoh himself who educated and raised the leader who would liberate the people of Israel…ironically it was this end that Pharaoh wanted to avoid. Pharaoh ended up saving, through his daughter, the saviour of Israel.
How glorious our God is, His plans are inscrutable. He is sovereign and we could never understand His providence. In this story we see the glory of God, we see how God orchestrates even the smallest detail and shows His glory, always for our good. So dear brothers and sisters, if we know and rest in the sovereignty of God, then we will start to see things a different way. God is never mistaken, He never goes wrong, even if we do not understand it. THAT IS OUR GOD, HE IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING AND HIS PLANS ARE PERFECT AND ETERNAL…. EVEN IF WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM.