Episode 4

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Published on:

25th Jan 2021

Exodus 10-11

Exodus #4

God's mercy is without limit for the repentant but no so for those who harden their hearts. It's one thing for you and me to harden our hearts and quite a different matter when God hardens our hearts. God is indeed merciful but there is a limit to His acts of Mercy.

The last three plagues differ from the first seven in intensity, in power, and in effect. The locust invasion is devastating, while the three days of darkness plunges men and beast into an abyss of fear and anxiety. Finally, when the last plague strikes, the firstborn of beast and men are dead. 

Mostly, though, it is the change of language that is striking. In the first six plagues, we mostly hear a tragic refrain: "and Pharaoh hardened his heart," but in these last three plagues, we hear a second, more potent refrain, "and God hardened Pharaoh's heart."

What is the difference between hardening one's heart and God's hardening our heart? When we freely choose to rebel against God, we set ourselves outside the flow of Grace. Grace is what keeps us human and when we move away from its saving light, our soul dries-up: our heart hardens. 

This ray of light shines into the world as a pure act of Mercy on God's part. As St. Bonaventure noted, "The mercy of God is infinite but his acts of mercy are not." Indeed, if his acts of mercy were infinite, no one would be condemned to Hell.

Therefore, when Scripture says, "God hardened Pharaoh's heart," we understand it to mean that the light of grace was no longer available to the Egyptian ruler. God, through the sacrifice of his Son, is always ready to show us mercy whenever we repent, but it is not the case that God will show us mercy no matter what. This would be contrary to his justice. 

Repentance is not a transitory act; it is the Christian way of life.

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About the Podcast

Exodus
God's Wrath and Mercy
The Book of Exodus is an adventure, a divine mystery, a recapitulation of salvation history, a tragic account of fall and redemption. Above all it is a love story between God and humanity.

While this study is not a verse-by-verse on Exodus, it focuses on ten salient points of the book:

01. The Election of Moses as a prophet for his people
02. The revelation of the Holy Name of the Lord
03. The Ten Plagues of Egypt
04. The flight into the wilderness
05. The Israelites reaction after they had left the fertile land of Goshen
06. The Giving of the Ten Commandments
07. The Golden Calf
08. The Tabernacle
09. The signification of the Tabernacle in the Light of Christ
10. Moral reading of the Book of Exodus.

What is peculiar about Exodus is that most folks would say that the most important (and perhaps the only) points of the book of Exodus are the flight from Egypt and the Ten Commandments. Yet, a full one-third of the book is concerned with the tabernacle: The Lord himself instructs Moses on the architecture of the Tabernacle based on a heavenly design and then the Israelites build it according to that pattern.

It would be an oddity to exclude the last third of a book, be it a novel, a manual, or a historical account. In fact, anyone who excludes the last one-third of the Gospels would be excluding the crucifixion and the resurrection of Our Lord. So why is it that we cannot remember the tabernacle when we read Exodus or why is it that we do not deem it important?

This series highlights the fundamental link between the giving of the Law (the ten commandments) and the living of the Law (the tabernacle). We will show that the Law that God gave was meant to be lived and practiced around the tabernacle and that the tabernacle (not the Law) is the symbolic mediation of grace. It is symbolic because its sacrificial system cannot confer grace and it is symbolic because the tabernacle points to the fount of grace: the Catholic Church.

Prerequisite

The Catholic Foundation Library is a definite prerequisite to a sound understanding of Exodus. It serves as a basis for grasping the way Scripture functions end-to-end. Further, since the events in the Book of Genesis are the reason why Exodus and Numbers were written, it makes sense to go through the study of the Book of Genesis before undertaking a study of Exodus.

About your host

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Michael Mouawad

Michael Joseph Mouawad, aka Naji Mouawad, is a Lebanese-born Maronite. The Maronite Rite is one of the eastern rites of the Catholic Church under the authority of the Pope. The Maronites go back to Antioch and are disciples of Saint Maron--hence the name.

Michael is a husband and a father of seven children. He taught scripture at several churches in the San Diego Area. Predominantly, he taught the bible at Saint Ephrem Maronite Church, and at Saint Margaret in Ocean Side. He chose to teach Scripture for Catholics who wanted to deepen their understanding of the Word of God and who were willing to dive deep into the text. While these studies are not a verse-by-verse examination of the pages, they dive deep into the original meaning. The singular goal of this study is to help every Catholic to live a more biblically-centered life and to understand our present times in light of the Scriptures.

Qorbono--notice no u!--is a Syriac word that means the Mass and the Eucharist. This was the site that Michael maintained for years to share these bible studies with the world and now he is happy to make them available via podcasts for easier access and availability.

Michael is also the author of a high-fantasy epic--The Epic of Ahiram. He has already published five books of that epic and is working on publishing the remaining four. The Epic is evangelization via story-telling. It introduces essential Catholic concepts, including angels, demons, and transubstantiation to a generation of readers who may have grown up never hearing of or understanding these notions.

Michael is a professional Lead Software architect with over twenty years of experience in this field and loves writing code for his own use.