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.
Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt was held prisoner by his pride and stubbornness. God gave him several opportunities to be freed from his bondage, but each time he hardened his heart and rebelled against God. Eventually, God pretty much said that if that was what he wanted, that was how it would be. This week is no different. We will witness the continued devastation of the land of Egypt because of his rebellion.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left, after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians–something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’ ” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But just who will be going?”
Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you–if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. No! Have only the men go; and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts will swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail–everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. Exodus 10:1-20
A common question is, if God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, did he have a choice in the decision making of letting the Israelites leave Egypt? As I mentioned above, God gave Pharaoh the opportunity to allow the Israelites to leave, but he chose not to. God finally allowed Pharaoh to have his way, so that the Israelites would tell their children from generation to generation how God dealt with Pharaoh and the situation. Surely this would encourage them, knowing that God would be with them, once they began their journey through the desert.
By this time, even Pharaoh’s officials pleaded with him to let the Hebrew children go. But he chose not to listen to them. Once again, Pharaoh thought he could compromise with God by saying that only the men could go and worship God.
Have you ever tried to compromise with God? That is a worthless attempt to get your way. God does not compromise. Why would you want him to compromise when he has the best in mind for you? In other words, you are saying that you know more about what you need than God.
What little was left after the hail devastation was ruined by the swarm of locusts. Ruined! The land of Egypt was ruined, but Pharaoh’s pride and stubbornness tightly gripped him. At first he pleaded for forgiveness. But once the plague was lifted, he was not true to his word.
True repentance comes when we are sincerely sorry for our disobedience and we turn away from our sins. God knew Pharaoh was not sincere, and he knows if we are sincere or not. We may be able to hide our true feelings from others, but we cannot hide our true feelings from God. We might as well come clean with him.
It’s not over yet. Join me next week. If you are scared of the dark, you may want to prepare yourself for the upcoming event.