This is a weekly guest devotion, written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
This is our tenth week studying the life of Moses. The past several weeks we have focused on how Pharaoh’s stubbornness has caused horrific pain and suffering to fall upon the nation of Egypt. Each time God commanded him to let the Israelites leave Egypt, he hardened his heart and refused to obey God.
This week we continue this series in hopes that Pharaoh has realized that God is persistent and he holds to his word; therefore, he humbles himself and let’s the Israelites leave Egypt.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says; “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”. If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field–on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die. ‘ ”
The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.”. And the next day the Lord did it. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh sent men to investigate and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.
Isn’t it amazing how stubborn one person can be? For a moment, place yourself in Egypt. Think about what it would have been like to see all your livestock die. Your livelihood had just been stolen from you. And what do you do with all the dead carcasses? We are not talking about a few carcasses. We are talking about thousands of dead animals lying on the ground rotting.
Are you devastated by the scene? Well this is what the people of Egypt had to face, yet the Israelites were not affected in the least. Not one animal owned by them perished. All was well in the land of Goshen.
What could Pharaoh have been thinking when what God had said would happen truly occurred? This account reminds me of the story about a little boy whose hand was stuck in a vase. Even though his parents tried to free the boy’s hand that was clenched, nothing helped. Finally the father told his son to open his fist and stretch out his hand, but the little boy said, “But, daddy, if I open my hand, I will lose my penny.” As long as the young boy refused to open his clenched fist, his suffering continued. It was only until he opened his hand and let go of the penny was he freed.
As long as Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt so that they could worship God, his and the people of Egypt’s suffering continued.
Is there something you are holding on to that is not allowing you to be freed from the bondage of sin? Is there something you are holding on to that is driving a wedge between you and God and not allowing you to enjoy the love of Christ? Let go and be refreshed by the cleansing blood of Christ who loved you so much that he died for you. You will experience such a relief from your burden that you will wonder why you held on to your sin so long.
I am sorry to say that Pharaoh still has not learned to let go of the Israelite slaves. It’s not going to get any better, and his pain is not going to be less. Join me next week and see what Pharaoh’s response will be when God demands that he let His people go.