Here is an excerpt of the sermon I preached for Oculi Sunday. I preached on the Holy Gospel (Luke 11:14-28) but used the Old Testament lesson from Exodus 8 as the background. I always enjoy finding parallels to the Gospel for the day in the Old Testament.
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Dearly beloved saints in our Lord Jesus Christ:
Pharaoh was a strong man, no doubt about it. He had huge armies at his disposal. He had riches beyond belief. He had more acres of land than we would care to count. His kingdom was powerful. So strongly did he trust in his own weapons and armor he did not believe that anyone had the power to destroy him, even God.
The only thing that was harder than his armor was his heart. For, although he saw with his eyes the works of Moses and the signs that he did, he did not believe with his heart that this was from God. Even when his own magicians told him that God was behind these miracles, he still would not relent.
Pharaoh was a strong man, but God was stronger. He sent His servant Moses to Pharaoh and plundered his castle. He set the captives free and divided the spoils among them. He led Pharaoh’s army into the Red Sea and buried them in a watery graveyard. Whoever was not with God was against Him. And those who were against Him felt the smite of His mighty hand and outstretched arm.
This was a divine preview of what God would do to the kingdom of Satan through the work of His Servant Jesus. For Satan too was a strong man with legions of evil spirits at his disposal. Like that evil tyrant of old who held the children of Israel captive, Satan also held the souls of all people prisoner.
But God invaded Satan’s territory. He came in under the radar, so to speak, taking human flesh and coming in the likeness of men. Satan was a strong man and he guarded his palace well, but our greater Moses was stronger, and He overcame him, took away his armor in which he trusted, and divided the spoil among the captives whom He set free. Now we who were born into captivity have been reborn through holy baptism into freedom, for we now participate through the Red Sea of Holy Baptism in Christ’s victory over the kingdom of Satan.