Exodus 9 / Psalms 62-63 / Romans 13-14
O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
God remains hidden throughout the time of the natural creation. At times there are some who comprehend evidence of Him, but He is never able to be seen or comprehended long enough to be bottled up and controlled, because that's the human tendency toward evil. It's what the religions are all about trying to do as they say "God is here, He works this way and He wants this and that. We are the good people and He favors us," and they control others with that information. He doesn't show Himself for very long because He refuses to let the humans do that to or with Him for real, though they always do it with their own version of what they want God to be, for their own purposes.
And the LORD toughened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
That God purposely hardened Pharaoh's heart is a difficult concept for the human to grasp, because it likes to think of God as all-loving, fair, impartial and democratic—everyone has the same chance. Also, the humans are trained to identify good versus evil players in all situations, and they want the evil ones to be evil because they are bad, not because God made them that way (because He's so fair and impartial He would never do that). Jesus refers to all humans not as they think of themselves, but as being generally evil, just because they are humans, a natural adversary to those who are inherently good because they have been chosen by God to become clean, or transformed away from their state of uncleanness.
If you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.
That the humans are considered by God and the Son of God as generally evil is another difficult thing for the humans to grasp, because that conflicts with everything they ever learned, and the inherent goodness each one extends out to its own self. He wasn't speaking to those who were harassing or trying to kill him, or his apparent nemeses the evil pharisees and teachers of the law when he said this to the average people who were gathered around him wanting to hear him speak and even perhaps embrace him as genuine.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
They wanted to follow him, just as long as what he said agreed with what was in them. But his words to them weren't what they wanted to hear, on purpose, because the humans naturally think of themselves as good, while he knew something different about them. Their tendency to consider themselves better than most is the instinctual way of emotional survival they all engage in, as per the nature that lives in them to keep them unclean, evil and separated from God—because God made it to be that way.
Because good and evil are defined and maintained by one group over another, as per whichever group is making the claim about their own goodness, it is always biased and changing, and therefore cannot ever be permanently valid. The continuous, low-level campaign to establish their goodness agrees with the humans who want to prove and reinforce to themselves that they are the ones who are good, and anything and everyone who doesn't agree with them, what isn't like them or is a threat to them, is bad. It is a process that seeks to find the agreement of those to whom the condition of goodness is being extended. The good vs. bad tendency of the humans is opposed to God's view, that He and His family of sons is good, and everything and everyone else is bad and wrong—bad and wrong in the sense that they are not sons who become clean, but common animals that God shouldn't be expected to keep track of, each and every one as though they were all His own sons.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
In contrast to the humans who he referred to as inherently evil just because of their condition as a natural adversary of God and His secret tribe of sons—after the mode of the secret tribe of Joseph that got lost in the human story—he refers to this special group of humans chosen by the Father as clean, or good as opposed to evil. Because the Son was inhabited by the life of the Father in spirit (invisible & unseen) form, he knew that he was clean, a true Son of God. Also, he knew about God's desire concerning these particular men, so the word Jesus spoke to them was the declaration of the intention of the Father to make them His own sons (what Jesus knew himself to be). That is all that needs saying because it's everything i.e., they are good too because they had been chosen by God to become sons. There is nothing more than that except to be the Father Himself, or the firstborn Son of God, but they already exist and are alive together, waiting for the family to become complete—all the sons to be gathered up and pulled in to Him so that they can all be together as one family, which is the enduring purpose of God with this natural creation, to gather up His family of sons from out of it.
Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.
Good and evil are able to be defined by Jesus because he knows what is in man, and that only God is good, and he has tasted the goodness of God, of becoming One with Him because that process had already been started in the Son's body.
How can you say, `Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
The human without the life of the Father living in his body (the spirit—God is the spirit) is evil because its existence is based on the cycles of death, of the natural, and is destined only to die unclean and separated from God. There is nothing ultimately redeeming about his existence, and even Jesus would have been evil without the life of God, the only good One, living in him to give him not only a new consciousness—God's consciousness—but life. All men are evil, just because they die; there are no good humans unless God makes them good by imparting a piece of Himself to them via His own body, His life, the spirit.
...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The sons of God are made good only by their Father's & the Son's life in them, if and only if He (referred to as "the spirit" in the preserved words) lives in them while they exist as humans as a part of the natural creation. That condition of being unified with the Father & Son is the same for the sons as it was for Jesus when he lived in his human body—a guarantee of the intention of God to do for that one what He did for Jesus; remember him, not let him rot in the ground forever but redeem him from the earth (the natural) to be in the family. Otherwise they would just be and remain human, which is in regards to all this, evil because only human = only animal = only a part of the dying creation = unredeemable. Good = living, evil = dead, and all humans are dead, meaning even though they exist, they are going to die, which is a more likely and permanent state than their animal existence, so that their condition is less like alive than it is just death waiting to happen, which it always does.
Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
What about those who aren't specifically chosen to be sons of God? It's clear that God feels so strongly about His own sons that He enjoys rewarding those who help them, who are good to them, who don't turn on them because of the things they say about being specially chosen to be sons of the living God. In this parable he is separating sheep from goats, meaning he isn't talking about the sons of God, but those who either helped them or were bad to them. The sons of God are chosen by God to be sons, which is a different group altogether. Those who are around the sons but not specifically chosen to be sons have a great opportunity to receive a reward from the Father, who loves to see good things done for His true sons, and loves to avenge those who are ruthless and underhanded to them. The way that the human fathers are naturally so protective of their sons is only an imperfect version and copy of how God feels toward His own sons—a million times more intensely so.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, though you are evil (human), know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven (good) give the holy spirit to those who ask him!"
The lie promoted by the humans—how they feel about themselves is how God feels about them—is natural for them to do and believe because of the animal's built-in mode of survival and self-preservation. Therefore to think that it is good and believe the others who say the same thing is perfectly easy and natural for it, because those others reinforce that thinking so they can feed off each other to keep that alive. Is it not even a little interesting and peculiar that every one of the humans has the inborn tendency to ascribe good to itself? That's part of its intrinsic defense mechanism, its need to survive emotionally. If it can think it is good, and reinforce that by surrounding itself with others who think the same way about it and themselves (being no threat to each other), then they can all positively convince themselves that they are good. Likewise, everything else that threatens this group of like-minded humans—not necessarily physically but more so emotionally—is evil. However, Jesus says that everything and everybody is evil except for God and the ones He lives in because of the intention that must be there. Good and evil is not a matter of morality but of the state of either being actually alive or being actually dead, according to God not man. All of the people in the group are evil according to God, if they do not have His spirit living in them—a very definite black or white situation of either existing or not existing.
Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Man's position is always invalid because of his instability. His staying power is nothing because he is temporary, so anything he says or establishes is very soon gone. His life is like a blade of grass that sprouts from the dirt and then dies just as quickly, like a puff of smoke that can be seen for only a moment and then it's gone. God's existence, way and purpose on the other hand have been the same from the beginning—as a rock compared to the blade of grass. He does not say one thing and then another, nor has His purpose changed from the beginning. His purpose is to have a family not of merely arbitrary sons who are wishy-washy towards Him, but who love Him more than anything else, and look forward to being in His presence forever. He desires a family of sons who know and understand His great love, not just in words but in the reality of experiencing it in real terms. That is why He did all of these marvelous things for the object of His love Israel, who was the copy of His true family.
The human mind always tends toward needing to identify the good guy and the bad guy in every situation because it's been trained to operate that way. The criteria for this judgment is skewed because without the mind of the Christ they can only be manipulated by the current dominating propaganda imposed on them by man's culture that holds the temporary power to do so. So they will want to identify Joseph's Pharaoh as a good guy and Moses' Pharaoh as a bad guy. The fact is that they are neither good, but both manipulated by God for His purpose and desire—in the first instance to protect and preserve the life of a specially chosen group, and in the second to show this same group His power and ability to protect and preserve them, and that they were chosen specifically by Him, for His purpose, to be the object of His love.
The notion of God being impartial, or 'fair' as humans know it comes from the predominant view of the society, not any actual truth about God. Hardening Pharaoh's heart is an example of how impartial God is toward whom He has chosen to show His impartiality. At this point in the text, for our benefit, it is to Israel whom He wants to show His love, by His mighty strength and staying power. He wanted Pharaoh to have a tough heart, even in the midst of being punished by Him, because He planned the last of these punishments, the passover, to be something He would use as part of the way they could remember Him. They needed that renewing remembrance because they have the tendency to forget the truth about God and what He did, and instead be blown over here or there by every wind of the culture that blows on them. It was intended to be a reminder of His love for them, what He did for them, the total partiality and love He had for them throughout the coming generations of men until the true passover Lamb was revealed. Then the copy wouldn't be necessary any longer, because the better thing would have already come.
The better thing, the fulfillment of the copy, what had been looked forward to for thousands of years, was hidden from the humans because that's how the true God always works and wants to remain. So when that fulfillment came and the celebration of the Son who did the will of the Father was in the world, claiming sons for the Father, it was only here for a little while. Then the humans did with that truth what they do with everything—possess and take full control of it so they can own it and have power to use it for their own gain, which the Romans did in the years following the first century. It's not as though God was weak to stop it from happening—He had already declared that it would happen by putting that truth in the mouth of Daniel and He had His Son with Him, so God was content with His family safe by His side, and although it wasn't complete yet He could draw back from having to deal with the humans because they're a big pain, always doing the same things and acting the same way.
I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
God didn't care about the Egyptians because He didn't love them, He hadn't chosen them to be His people, the copy of His true sons. He cared about His people, those ancestors of Abraham who were chosen just because they were Abraham's offspring, still only the copy of the better thing. It was this group that He wanted to show not just His power to, but more importantly His partiality to them as favored and chosen by Him—special over all the others. The fact that He chose her specifically to love and take care of is extraordinarily important for us to understand and know about God.
We should comprehend and weave into our own way of thinking that God favors His sons over the others—specifically that He has favored us over everyone else who hasn't received the gift we have, to assure us that we are indeed His sons. If that were not true then He wouldn't have made all the effort in the OT to show that to us, to establish that that is His way and then set it apart from man's way, which says that He must be impartial and fair, and loves everyone the same. This milk-toast view of God obviously doesn't come from the scriptural account of who He is, but whatever happens to be the prevailing view of the culture at the time. More importantly, if His partiality were not true we would not have been able over the past three years to experience all of the gifts that we have been given, which all point to the same thing—that He chose us specifically, and we can be sure of that because we have proof within ourselves, that which the others don't possess.
The sons of God are favored over everything else, not because they are good within themselves, or did something deserving this or that, but because they are intended to be in His family, and He has chosen them to become sons after the model of the One good Son, because of his choice to believe the Father instead of the serpent (choosing God's way, being the Lamb instead of what the snake proposed—the way of man, to take by force what he can get by his own hand). So when God chooses a son, and the son finally begins to know that fact is true, then he starts not loving the things that used to give him joy and satisfaction, and loving those which didn't because that's the progression of the transformation. He starts not living for the things that used to give him joy and satisfaction, and living for those which didn't. He can do that because he gains the capacity to, only because of the life that is growing in him, teaching him the new way of God, which displaces the old way of the animal.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the holy spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
A definite declaration of the partiality of God. Our joy comes from knowing the absolute truth, spoken from the mouth of the Teacher who lives inside us, being told by the living word which speaks to our spirit so that we also exult in the spirit when we have a particular insight of knowing the truth that we are favored; knowing that we know by the action of the spirit to assure us that we know. That is the guarantee that we have the seal on us, that the angel of death will pass over us and the angel of life will remember us as per God's instructions to redeem us for the Father's sake. The truth the Teacher brings us gives birth to more truth, and compounds in us so that it rises up like water and becomes a fountain in us, flowing out of us to the other sons.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.