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.
Two weeks ago we learned that God protected the Israelites from the plagues the Egyptians experienced. Pharaoh even began his own investigation in order to see for himself if what God said would occur did–that the Israelites would not be affected by the plagues.
Then last week we learned that Pharaoh’s heart had become so hardhearted that God said so be it, and he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
So far, six plagues have struck Pharaoh, his officials, and the people of Egypt, yet Pharaoh’s stubbornness was relentless. He said he would obey God, but once the plague was lifted, he didn’t keep his word. God knew what he would say and do before Pharaoh spoke. Pharaoh was not fooling God in the least.
This week the seventh plague strikes the land of Egypt. Will Pharaoh give up? Let’s read God’s Word.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront 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, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die. ‘ ”
Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt–on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.” When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields–both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)
Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses. Exodus 9:13-35
God made it very clear to Pharaoh that by now he could have wiped out the entire nation of Egypt. But since he wanted all people to know that he was the one and only true God, he chose not to.
Don’t ever think that God is not in control of all the earth. We live in a fallen and sinful world, but there is a God who loves us and knows what lies ahead for us. We may not understand why he allows sinful people to prosper or evil people to go unpunished for vicious acts they have performed. But all will stand before God and give an account for everything they have done or said. A day of reckoning is coming.
God is a merciful God. He even forewarned Pharaoh and his officials to bring their slaves and livestock in from the fields and provide shelter for them so that they would not be killed. Those who feared God heeded his warning. Those who did not fear Him, suffered the consequences.
I have heard my niece talk about how she used to tell her young boys that they could make good choices or bad choices. But with those choices came consequences. I think that is very good and very wise advice. What kind of choices are you making?
I almost have to laugh when I think about Pharaoh saying that God was in the right and he and his people were in the wrong. Even after everything God had done, Pharaoh still didn’t realize who God really was.
Does that shock you? Thousands of years have passed, Christ has been born, and people have witnessed more miracles than could ever be numbered, yet there are those who do not believe.
The flax and barley crops had been totally destroyed, lives had been lost, and more livestock had been lost. But just as God had spoken through Moses, Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened.
Are you hardhearted? Do you think you have control over God? Keep something in mind–God is always in control, and he is always right.