Compared to the other chapters, this one is definitely much shorter. I only discovered how short the chapter was when i was almost done with it. It is only nine verses compared to most other chapters that average closer to 32 verses. At the same time, it has taken me longer than 1/3 of the time to do it as a regular chapter. I have been very groggy and it has been very difficult for me to focus. As a result, nine verses has taken me about as long to do as 16-18 verses on a normal day. It’s not unsurprising that it is on the day that i have a much shorter chapter, that that is when i just can’t stay focused. It’s like God has been giving me the energy and focus on the days that i really need it, and on days like today He reminds me of how much this kind of schedule wrecks havoc on my body. A reminder that i really need to take early bedtimes seriously to help me function better.
There is a ton of very heavy theology in this chapter. I think that i could really dissect this chapter and easily double my regular 400-500 word post for it. In this chapter God is beginning to prepare Moses for what He is about to do. This final plague is going to go the distance. It is going to push Pharaoh to the limits so that he pushes back and ejects the Hebrew people out of the land. As such, YHWH has to prepare Moses and the people to leave.
God blesses the people with honor and favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and Moses himself with great esteem in their sight. When they go out, it is not going to be with a whimper but with a bang. As a result Moses and the people need to be prepared. To be ready to move out.
So He tells Moses what to expect and what to do in the process. He gives him not only the instructions, but the go-ahead to get the job done. The people may have wanted to leave and thought that they were ready when Moses first presented God’s command to Pharaoh, but they were far from that. They still aren’t fully ready, as we will see in future chapters, but now they have all that they need to be successful.
How about us? Is YHWH preparing us for something bigger? Do we think we are ready and that we can handle what He has for us, or does God have more He needs to do in our lives before all of this happens?
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?