Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.
- “…one more plague…” The Lord tarried, did He not? At first, it’s seems like the Lord is harsh in sending ten plagues upon the Egyptians, but was not the purpose of each plague to change the heart of the people? YES! Just as God says later in Exodus 34:6-7, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” And, also in 2 Peter 3:9 we are reminded, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” What was true then is still true today! That is why we must persist in prayer for those who do not know Him or who are failing to follow Him whole-heartedly. He may bring trials and tribulations, but God truly desires for His children to be free.
2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
- There are two elements of this verse to focus on. First, the people were to ask for the articles. I don’t know about you, but I wrestle just with asking for prayer and help. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to ask for gold and silver! The past five or six months, the Lord has really worked with me on asking for help. When you ask for help, it forces you to be humble (because you have to admit you can’t do it all) and requires that you reveal your vulnerability (also not fun!). But, in asking, we receive – and I’m not referring to silver or gold, necessarily. When we ask for prayers or for help, it humbles us, which then allows God to move in the situation.
- The second facet of this verse is how the Israelites and Moses were favorably viewed. Even though Egypt was in ruins and the people had experienced everything from boils to darkness – they held the chosen ones in high regard. Extrapolate that same idea to your life. Regardless of what the world is going through, remember that you are in God’s camp. You are highly favored, beloved. James 4:6 tells us that God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. It also tells us in Numbers 12:3 “…Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. “ No wonder he was highly regarded. We talked about humility last week and it’s worth repeating again. Humility is the path which leads to God’s fullness.
4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
- The Lord was clear to mention that no one was outside of His judgment: “From the firstborn son of Pharaoh…to the firstborn son of the slave.” The same is true of everyone today – young, old, proud, humble…we will all have to give an account (Matthew 12:36). Fortunately, as devoted followers of Christ, we can declare this: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
- Notice how it says that Moses was “hot with anger” and left Pharaoh. I’m sure it was frustrating to him to see a king rebel time and time again. Not once, not twice, but ten times. Paul sums up this rebellious nature in Romans 2:5, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” The question to you is this: what are you storing up? Righteousness or wrath?
9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
- Despite all of the miracles Moses did, the heart of Pharaoh was hard. The attitude of Pharaoh was not uncommon then, in Jesus’ time (see John 4:48), or today. We have this term at work called a “rigor-o-meter.” It’s a conceptual tool we use to help gauge the simplicity or complexity of a project. Sometimes I wish I had a “heart-o-meter” to help me determine the hardness of a heart. Think of all the people you encounter in one day and what it’d be like to know how well-tilled their heart is in an instant. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit who can aid us in discerning not only the hearts of others, but our own hearts. If your heart was hooked up to the heart-o-meter today, what would the reading be? Soft? Hard? Ten percent rebellious? Twenty percent jealous? Let us ponder this through His Spirit and become healthy and supple soil. Amen.