Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 9-10, Psalm 22, and Matthew 22. Our devotional is from Exodus 9-10.
We continue our study of Exodus and Moses’ petition that Pharaoh set God’s people free to go into the wilderness and offer sacrifices to the LORD (Exodus 9:1). Having suffered four plagues (Exodus 7:19-8:24), Pharaoh continues to harden his heart.
The fifth plague fell on the livestock of Egypt (Exodus 9:3); however, as a testimony of God’s sovereignty and love for Israel, none of Israel’s livestock perished (9:4-7). Yet, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart against the LORD.
The sixth plague was the misery and suffering that comes with boils and blisters and fell upon man and beast in Egypt (9:8-11). Once again, Pharaoh did not repent and “the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh” (9:12).
The seventh plague brought hail raining down and destroying the crops in the fields of Egypt (9:13-35). Some of Pharaoh’s servants believed Moses’ warnings and sheltered their servants and livestock in houses (9:20). When Pharaoh saw the plague of hail had ceased, “he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart” as he had in the past (9:34-35).
Egypt suffered enough loss at the end of the seventh plague that hunger and famine became the lot of the people. Nevertheless, Pharaoh refused to repent of his sin and the LORD commanded Moses, “Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants” (10:1). [On a personal note: don’t underestimate the influence of a nation’s leaders on its citizens; as Pharaoh’s hardened his heart, the same was true of the people].
The eight plague to come upon Egypt was locusts and they devoured what was left of the nation’s crops (10:3-20). Darkness was the ninth plague (10:21-29). While Israel enjoyed the comfort of light in their dwellings, a darkness oppressed the Egyptians that was heavy and frightening. Still, Pharaoh refused to allow Israel to go.
Why did the LORD not simply deliver Israel from bondage by the force of His will and power?
Exodus 10:2 – “And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.”
The LORD wanted Israel to know and remember through successive generations all He had done in Egypt. His dealings with Pharaoh and the Egyptians was to serve as a lasting testimony of the LORD’s person, His power, and His presence among His chosen people.
Though a nation of slaves, Israel’s God was the Creator and Sovereign of nature and He would bring the greatest ruler and most powerful nation in the world to her knees.
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith