Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” But he said to them, “The Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. Exodus 10:7-11
Pharaoh’s men want to cut their losses and give Moses at least some of what he’s asking for. Pharaoh was at first quibbling over the lost productivity of slaves for a short while, and is now king of the ash heap. He offers to just let the men go, but Moses is staying with God’s plan of full deliverance.
Today, Satan’s kingdom has been brought to ruin, but because we don’t believe it, we take the terms we are offered. We have been made free from sin, but we still have “acceptable” levels in our lives. We have been given power, but we accept the lie that it has either passed away or been downgraded. It is time to believe God regardless of the situation.
Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord‘s. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
If you are paying much attention to the text, this chapter can lead to some confusion. After all, it appears the livestock die twice, and maybe even got boils between deaths. This looks like the author was just winging it, but he also takes time to explain why the wheat survived the hail storm, and the barley did not. What are we missing here?
The Hebrew word for livestock is translated as “cattle” in the King James version. But it can also refer to other herd animals. So I err on the side of the limitations of translating ancient languages and texts when it comes to second guessing God’s word.
Our takeaway from this subject, it is this: let not your heart be hardened. As soon as the hail stopped, Pharaoh bailed on obedience. Some people are like that about finding discrepancies in the Bible. As soon as they can identify a mistake, they declare the Bible “unreliable.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’” And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies. Exodus 8:20-24
It is not until the plague of flies that God see it’s His people apart from suffering with the Egyptians. They endured the waters turning to blood, the frogs, and the gnats, but not the flies.
God does not spare His people all of His judgment. This is important to remember as you consider whether or not the church goes through the Great Tribulation.
And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” Exodus 7:1-5
Much earlier in my life as a believer, I was troubled by passages that indicated God had made the decisions for us, as to whether or not we were to be saved. It seemed unfair, and I even found it depressing that most people are destined for destruction by the will of God. Is that the case? Or is His foreknowledge so complete that He merely manipulates those who aren’t going to choose Him anyway?
When I read the scriptures that tell us how he is not willing that any should perish, I don’t see it as a contradiction, but evidence of our limited understanding. Rather than argue with the creator of the universe about things I cannot possibly know about, I bow before Him and rejoice in His presence. I am an unworthy vessel who clings to His mercy. I am a speck of dust in His universe, and He still reaches out to me. I have no right to judge my God, and if I thought I did, it would be evidence that I was some kind of pretentious idiot.
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them.F)” data-cr=”#cen-ESV-1660F” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top;”> I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.
Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’” Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.
God reveals Himself to His people in pieces. He does not give them the entire picture all at once. Even the name He gives them gives new information. Due to the passage of time and vagueries of the ancient language, some of this is lost to us. But we have the gift of hindsight, and we know that God’s promise is also loaded with challenges. Yes, God will deliver them, but it will be terrifying. Yes, God is giving them the land, but it is someone else’s land right now, and there will be resistance.
Today we talk about such resistance as, “God closing the door,” and we wait for things to fall into our laps before we believe in His promises. The fact is, we live in a sin-cursed world and we have an enemy who be comes to kill, steal, and destroy. We have been given weapons to tear down the enemy’s strongholds, but we must use them. Some of us are like the Hebrews who could not believe because of our broken spirit.