Daily reading assignment: Exodus 7-9
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 sent by the Lord, the God of Israel, to gradually move the heart of Pharaoh to bow his stubborn will to the will of the LORD (7:14-12:36).
Today’s scripture reading identifies seven of the ten plagues that befell Pharaoh and Egypt in quick succession. The first three of the ten plagues envelopes the whole land of Egypt, affecting even the land of Goshen where the Hebrews lived (7:19-8:19). Starting with the fourth plague, the LORD “severs” the land of Goshen and spares His people from its sorrows.
Avoiding a long discourse, allow me to simply list the seven plagues that Pharaoh and Egypt suffered, remembering with each the king failed to humble his heart and set the Hebrews free.
1) Nile – water turned to blood; fish die (7:19-25)
2) Frogs and the stench of their dead carcasses (8:1-15)
3) Lice – most likely gnats or other biting insects (8:16-19)
4) Flies – Egypt is said to have biting “dog flies”; Israel is spared. (8:20-32)
5) A pestilence taking the lives of the Egyptian’s livestock (9:1-7)
6) Boils and blisters on man and beast in Egypt (9:8-12)
7) Hail and lightning destroying flax and barley crops in the fields (9:13-35)
Rather than closing today’s text with our focus on the hardened heart of Pharaoh; allow me to invite you to consider the character of Moses and his brother Aaron who stood in the LORD’s place before the king and delivered warnings of the plagues that would follow. We read concerning Moses and Aaron:
Exodus 7:6-7 – 6 And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they. 7 And Moses was fourscore years old [80 years old], and Aaron fourscore and three years old [83 years old], when they spake unto Pharaoh.
Eighty years old and serving the LORD! What an inspiration these men are; not because they were octogenarians (in their eighties), but because they were still doing everything “as the LORD commanded them” (7:6-7)!
Is there a lesson we should take from this?
Absolutely! The sum of a spiritual leader is not his academic credentials, but whether or not he has a heart for the LORD, is skilled in His Word, humble enough for God to use, and bold enough to unapologetically declare the Word of the LORD.
I fear many churches dismiss “silver-haired” saints in favor of “silver-tongued” youth.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith