It’s funny because after all that God has done for them, you would think that the Israelites would trust and honor God. Instead, when they see the Egyptians coming after them they could only see punishment and reprimand from the Egyptians and not relief from YHWH. Pharaoh and the army are chasing after them, and their first reaction is to blame God and Moses. They said, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to the wilderness to die?”
So what does God respond? He tells them to keep going! He makes it clear that He WILL be honored, and it will be at the expense of the Egyptians. Three times this word “Honored” shows up in this chapter. God will be honored by the Egyptians and the people of Israel. Yet, how do the people react? They fear the Egyptians instead of God. They would rather return to slavery than to risk relying on God.
YHWH instructs Moses to move forward while He personally covers their flanks. He tells Moses to open a pathway through the trouble and into the relative safety beyond. In the end, YHWH brings the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry land and sweeps the Egyptian army with all of their world class chariots away in the sea. In the end, the honor and glory belong to Him and Him alone. He will be honored, and He is, both by the Egyptians, the Israelites, and later by the people of the promised land.
Are we giving God the honor that He deserves?
You can tell that God has a sense of humor and a thing for irony. You see it throughout the Bible and here especially is no exception. So the magicians and priests have attempted to stand against Moses and God with every new miracle that occurs, but take a look at verse 11; “The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.” Yeah, good luck trying to oppose Moses and God like that. They can’t even show up because of the very miracle they are trying to oppose. So much for that problem. Talk about irony.
This chapter is the first place that we see God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. After each miracle Pharaoh keeps hardening his own heart, but God hardens his heart after the plague of the boils. There are some that say that this is not right; that this shows that Pharaoh is being unjustly treated. I don’t buy that argument on many levels, and i will probably talk about that more in the coming chapters.
In the meantime, there is proof that Pharaoh was not ready to let the people go whether he hardened his heart or God did. Later in the chapter, during the plague of the hail, Pharaoh tells Moses to stop the plague and that he will let the people go. Moses says “But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.” This is later proven when Moses stops the storm, Pharaoh hardens his heart, and he goes back on his word.
Pharaoh rejects God and what He is doing. He rejects his own responsibility and what needs to be done. He even rejects his own word. He as well is rejected by God. Pharaoh is not the only one that does this. We do this as well. There are times when God commands and directs us, but we reject Him by refusing to trust and obey him. It’s not even a question of do we do it. It’s a question of why do we do it. So why do we do it, and what do we need to know / do to change that?