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?
Well now, things just keep getting worse and worse for Pharaoh. We have gone from blood to frogs and gnats and insects. God is showing Pharaoh that not only is He the one true God and that he can create life and take it away, but he can also have creatures distinguish between Egyptian and Israelite lands. Pharaoh’s magicians have gotten to the point where even they acknowledge that these things can only be done by God, and that’s saying something!
Pharaoh’s heart is beginning to change. He’s trying to compromise with God. Unfortunately what he’s finding is that God does not accept compromise. It’s a tough lesson for Pharaoh to learn, and he’s not learning it very well. Then again, do we? So Pharaoh’s trying to save face in the face of watching his land be devastated. He is beginning to understand that this is not such as small matter. So while he is starting to soften in his view, he has made the choice to harden his heart and ignore the truth.
That is such a tough thing to do. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It’s a tough thing to do for a short time, but when you are trying to wrestle against YHWH for an extended period of time, that will wear you down really quickly. The older i have gotten, the lazier i have gotten, and i have come to the conclusion that that is just too much work. It is so much easier to just say, “OK God. You win. What do you want me to do?”
The nice thing about letting God win is that it is worth it. Life is so much easier, more joyful, and more fulfilling when i step out of the way and just let God. It means going from slave to servant, but the difference between the two is amazing.
Rev. John Camiolo
What do you do when God does a miracle in your presence? How do you respond when He sends a message with power? What does it take to convince you to change your mind and to do the right thing when you are set on the wrong thing?
Pharaoh comes face to face with Moses, and YHWH makes a move. Pharaoh has a choice to make. Obey this “God” of the Israelites, and lose all of the cheap labor that has helped to grow cities and his empire? Or, not? Moses and Aaron can do these amazing wonders, but so can his magicians. Now granted, Moses & Aaron’s staff / snake devours his magician’s staff / snakes, but that’s their problems not his. Why should he be concerned?
Then Moses & Aaron turn the Nile into blood. That’s a little bit more of an inconvenience, after all, the kingdom relies on the Nile river. Then again, the magicians can do the same thing. So what does Pharaoh do next? He goes back to his house with no real concern for the situation. However, seven days later, the magicians have not yet figured out how to change the Nile back to water. I’m sure that that may have become a little disconcerting.
What about us? Is God / YHWH trying to speak to us? Does He give us signs day after day that He is real and we need to look to Him? Do we ignore Him, considering His miracles no more than coincidences and conveniences or inconveniences? Do we ignore the little things, because they are little, and don’t take seriously where those signs are pointing?
Pharaoh ignored the little things. As a result, he takes that mentality with him when YHWH begins to do much bigger things. What will it take for us to come to the point where we cease ignoring the signs pointing at God. The more we ignore the little things, the more likely it is we will ignore and reject the big things. We need to open our eyes and see the truth of who God / YHWH is in the little things as well as the big.
LORD, open my eyes and the eyes of the readers. Help us to see the signs and understand where they are pointing. Help us to do more than that. Help us to pursue the God that is pursuing us. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.