February 26, 2014 by Chris French
Today we’re reading thru the 10 Plagues in Exodus 6.28-Exodus 11. Read it for yourself, but allow me to put the events in a timeline for you.
The Nile River turns to blood, but Pharaoh isn’t really impressed because his magicians can turn water to blood too. The Nile stays that way for an entire week! The Egyptians are having to dig beside the Nile to get fresh water. Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go so God sends frogs. Pharaoh still isn’t impressed because his magicians again duplicate the plague so he refuses to let Israel go. Next God brings in gnats and the Egyptian magicians are stumped. They tell Pharaoh God must be the cause of this. He still refuses to let Israel go so God brings in flies. This is the first plague Israel herself isn’t effected by. After the flies Pharaoh gives permission for Israel to worship in Egypt, but won’t let them go into the wilderness.
God is ready for Israel to leave Egypt though so a short reprieve isn’t good enough so He kills all the Egyptian livestock, again Israel is exempt from this plague. Pharaoh still refuses to release Israel so God send boils. Apparently the Egyptian magicians are still there trying to duplicate God’s miracles, but they get boils so badly they must leave. Pharaoh is still being stubborn so God sends hail, I’m thinking they’re the size of baseballs. Again there isn’t hail in Goshen where the Israelites live. Pharaoh asks for a reprieve and Moses pleads with God to stop the hail. Moses promises a plague of locusts if Pharaoh continues to hold onto Israel. Pharaoh says that he’ll now let Israel go into the wilderness to worship, but only the men can go. The women, children and livestock have to stay in Egypt. Enter plague of locusts. Again Israel is exempt. Pharaoh asks for a reprieve and Moses pleads with God to take the locust away, but Pharaoh again goes back on his word and refuses to allow Israel to leave so God makes it dark in Egypt for 3 days. It’s so dark apparently no one gets out of bed! Again Israel is exempt, Goshen looks like a Spring day. Pharaoh agrees to let everyone go, except the livestock. Moses says that’s not good enough and Pharaoh threatens to kill him the next time he sees Moses. Before he leaves Moses warns Pharaoh that if he won’t let Israel go that God will kill every first born in all the land of Egypt, including the first born among the livestock.
What can we learn from this?
1. You don’t get to make deals with God. As you read thru this story all of Pharaoh’s compromises seem perfectly reasonable. He doesn’t want to lose his slaves, especially since now Egypt is ruined. He wasn’t listening apparently. God wanted him to let Israel go, no strings attached. God wants us to be holy, so when we compromise and say that we’ll be holy tomorrow or if He’ll get us out of the situation we’re in I’m betting we look a little bit like Pharaoh to Him. Christianity isn’t a religion of compromise. You’re either sold out to Him or you’re friends with the world. It’s time to get off the fence. You can’t be both. If you try to live in both worlds James says you’ve already picked the world (James 4.4).
2. God has always wanted everyone to be His. That’s why Israel went into Egypt in the first place! The people who lived in Canaan during Abraham’s day were evil, but there were still some that cared what God thought so He sent Israel into Egyptian slavery for 400 years until the Canaanites were only evil (Gen. 15.12-21). This blessed the Canaanites with more time to come to Him if they wanted and also put Israel in a position to loot Egypt as they left. God also has a purpose in the 1o Plagues. If you read closely the purpose of the plagues was to make a polytheistic people believe that the God of the Jews was the only true God (Exodus 7.4-5). God has used a number of extravagant things in an attempt to bring people to Himself. Have your own attempts been as excessive or would you consider them normal?