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Scripture reading: Exodus 11-12

Exodus 11 

The Man (or Woman) God Calls

Before the LORD sent the tenth, and final plague, He instructed Moses to communicate to the people that they would “borrow [to request or demand] of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold” (11:2).

This seems a strange request for a people preparing to sojourn in the desert; however, I suggest two motives for the demand. First, the Egyptians had enslaved God’s people for four centuries, and the value of what they demanded in precious metals would scarcely be regarded as full payment for their toil. A second purpose, the “jewels of silver, and jewels of gold” would be required to decorate the tabernacle and fabricate vessels that would later be used in worship.

Before I address the tenth plague, consider what the LORD had done in this contest between Pharaoh and His servant Moses.

The LORD had magnified Moses in Egypt, and the fears he had entertained in returning from the wilderness were overcome by God giving him “favour in the sight of the Egyptians” (11:3a). Forty years of herding his father-in-law’s sheep had humbled this once proud prince of Egypt. However, the LORD had so magnified him that he became “very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people” (11:3).

Forty years earlier, Moses’ flight into the wilderness left behind everything that gave him rank and privilege as a prince in Egypt. Now, having departed from the quiet pastoral life of a shepherd, God had blessed and elevated him above the king of Egypt in the eyes of the people.

The Tenth Plague

The final plague severely affected Egypt’s proud, obstinate king. The Egyptians viewed Pharaoh as a god (though human, they believed he was an intermediary between the gods and humanity), and the tenth plague assailed the king and his son, the future heir to Egypt’s throne. Thus, Moses prophesied, “Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die6And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more” (11:4-6).

The LORD promised to spare Israel’s firstborn and “put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel” (11:7), but only if the people followed the Word of the LORD as Moses instructed. If they refused to obey God’s Word, they would be no different from Egypt. But, as we will see in Exodus 12, God did withhold His judgment of Israel because of the blood of the Passover (12:13). (The succeeding devotion will establish the central meaning of the Passover and its significance, Exodus 12).

Moses: A Model of Humility.

Take a moment and reflect on Moses’ example of humility. When God called and commanded him to leave his sheep and return to Egypt, the once proud prince of Egypt protested. Moses asked God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” (3:11a) The solitude of the desert and the calling and promises of God did so transform his life that we will later read in the Scriptures, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

Closing thought:

It is rare to find a man or woman of great talents and abilities humble enough to trust, obey, and serve the LORD!

Unlike Moses, who was a model of humility and meekness, our society, including churches, has produced a generation given to “selfies” and self-promotion, the antithesis of humility. Is it possible that the dearth of men and women entering ministry indicates a generation too proud to serve?

In his epistle to believers in Corinth, Paul wrote: “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty…29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

There is a desperate need for men and women humble enough for God to use (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) and bold enough to declare the Word of the LORD unapologetically!

* A second devotional will follow and focus on Exodus 12.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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