Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 7-8, Psalm 21, and Matthew 21. Our Bible devotional is from Exodus 7-8.
Exodus 6:28-7:13 records the second confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh. Of Pharaoh we read, “But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and stubborn and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said” (Exodus 7:13). The stage is set for ten judgments identified as ten plagues that will gradually bring Pharaoh to yield his will to the will of the LORD God of Israel (7:14-12:36).
Realizing today’s scripture reading is limited to Exodus 7-8, I will list briefly four of the ten plagues that troubled Egyptian households, but from which the Hebrews living in Goshen were spared (8:22-23).
1) The Nile and waters turn to blood and fish die. (7:19-25)
2) Frogs die and the stench of their dead carcasses fill Egyptian households. (8:1-15)
3) Lice, most likely gnats or other biting insects, afflict the Egyptians. (8:16-19)
4) Flies distress the people (8:20-24). Today’s Egypt has biting “dog flies” (probably similar to “deer flies” that inhabit southeastern United States).
Here’s a question to ponder: Why did the Lord bring plagues upon Egypt? Why did God not simply defeat Egypt and deliver His people out of slavery? I believe the answer to those questions is twofold.
The first, God’s desire was to break Pharaoh’s will so he would allow the Hebrews to depart out of Egypt. The second, the plaques demonstrated to the Hebrews that their God was Lord of creation Whom they could trust. It is that knowledge, the personal, demonstrative knowledge of the LORD that will strengthen and carry them through the Red Sea and the Wilderness to the Promise Land.
Pharaoh offered to compromise with Moses and permit the people to sacrifice to the LORD in Egypt (Exodus 8:25). Moses wisely refused to yield God’s will to please the king, stating the sacrifices would offend the Egyptians (8:26-27).
Pharaoh offered a second compromise, begged Moses to pray for the LORD to remove the flies out of the land, and he would allow the Israelites to depart and offer sacrifices (8:28-31). Moses prayed and God removed the flies; however, “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and would not “let the people go” (8:32).
The LORD’s answer to Moses’ prayer reminds us He hears and answers the prayers of His people. Pharaoh’s response is typical of many who, cry to the LORD in times of trouble, but when the distress passes they turn from Him and return to their sinful ways putting their souls in peril.
2 Chronicles 15:2a– “…The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith