Wednesday, Jun 20th

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Exodus 10

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There is much in life to bring us down, including very real enemies of the Lord. We know disease and suffering, and those with an open faith are persecuted. Yet, God is true and will not allow His people to suffer needlessly or beyond their ability to cope.

In this chapter we find Moses and Aaron repeating their challenges to Pharaoh. This ought to be our own stance. We should not just feebly quote scripture at sinners and then retreat. We must be bold and keep repeating them, plus genuine references to what happens to modern men. Otherwise we end up looking like relics, believing only in the past glories of famous preachers – a common activity for reformed Christians in particular.

We must remember that Christians have supernatural lives, even when still on this earth. This means we have the same authority and power promised at the time of Christ. Why, then, do we live like hermits, afraid to come out into the light?

Some of us experience very real suffering, and know intense trials put upon us by God. This can lead us to feel abandoned and frail, and, often, worthless. This is all to the good, for whilst we do not like the feelings, they serve a purpose. They prove that our own human emotions and frames are useless when living spiritual lives. We must learn to be strong in the Lord, not in ourselves. Then, just as the archangel dared not fight Satan himself, but relied only on God, so we will come to realise that only God gives us anything of worth. We cannot earn it, or demand it. It is given freely because He wishes to give it. Along the way He might test us so that our faith is proved. Then, when we obey and learn the lessons of the trial, we will emerge stronger than before, with deeper faith. Learn it, friends. Today it is more vital than ever.

Verses 1 & 2

  1. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:

  2. And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.”

It did not matter to Pharaoh what happened to himself or to his people. His heart was hardened and he had to act sinfully. There was no other choice, because it had already been determined by God. That God did this deliberately is not our concern, nor should we attempt to explain it. God’s determinations are entirely His own, and no man can question them, or demand an answer.

Often, men say they do not like what God says or does. They pour scorn on those who believe such a God, or even that they believe He exists. Yet, He does, and what He says is absolute. Our acceptance of Him, or of what He says, will never alter anything, for He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything and there is no-one above Him.

Wicked men will remain wicked no matter how much they suffer as a result. That is the repugnant truth about sin: it enters the soul with force and soon overcomes it with dark desires and a face of flint.

God openly tells Moses to return to Pharaoh with yet another sign, saying that it is He Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Again, He tells us why – so that everybody from henceforth will know the might and power of God. If mankind had been obedient and true, God would not have done this thing, because there would be no need for it. Today, we see similar destruction of mankind all over the world. Millions suffer and die because they reject godly living and morality. This is not just because they live immorally or badly; it is mainly because their hearts have been hardened, just like Pharaoh’s.

We should remember this in everyday life. As we come towards the end times, we can expect to look into men’s eyes and find a steely blankness, caused by sin. It is bestowed upon them by Almighty God at a time of great apostasy and evil, when wicked men abound, and churches are filled with licentiousness and unbelief. No Christian will stand aloof and above the mess, and so God’s glory is dragged down. At such times God will cause some to stand tall, but the rest will be ruined by their own wickedness, the result of hearts hardened by God for His own purposes. Those who stand tall will not be welcomed in the churches or by anyone else, for they shine light upon dark minds and hearts, and elicits hatred for the Light. Even so, God will prevail.

Verses 3 - 6

  1. “And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

  2. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:

  3. And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:

  4. And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.”

So as to distinguish the true God and false gods, Moses and Aaron again went to Pharaoh, with a message from the “God of the Hebrews”. Thus, they differentiated God from pagan false gods. The false gods were called upon by the court magicians and witches, initially with some success, but they simply could not keep up with the genuine and only God!

The brothers boldly demanded to know how much longer Pharaoh would “refuse to humble” himself. The word ‘humble’, ‘anah, would not have been appreciated by the mighty Pharaoh, for it means to bow down and become low before God. He was, once more, told to let God’s people go.

If he did not comply with God’s commands, then another sign would be unleashed. Of course, Moses knew that Pharaoh could not comply until God removed the hardness of his heart. But, he continued to demand compliance, as part of God’s plan to show the world that only He was Almighty God and only He gave and took away, life.

If Pharaoh refused (which he would), then God would bring locusts, ‘arbeh, to Egypt the next day. The swarm would be so numerous that people would not be able to see the earth. The locusts would eat whatever food was left remaining after all the other miraculous disasters. They would even eat the greenery from trees. Thus, Egypt would be left destitute.

Like the other swarms of insects, etc., previously, the locusts would enter houses, filling every room and space, and the number of insects would exceed anything ever seen before. After Moses gave his warning to Pharaoh, through Aaron, Moses turned his back on the king and walked away.

Many Christians hide from warning others, whether Christians or otherwise. They try not to be ‘confrontational’ and claim it is an act of ‘love’ and humility. In reality it is cowardice (something I have been guilty of at times). The true Christian will speak boldly, knowing that whatever God says is true and powerful, the only word. That is why we must never compromise, or ‘have dialogue’ with unbelievers or those who teach heresy. We must only state what God says and stick to it! There are no alternatives. Then, we must turn our back on the one we have warned, and walk away. That, friends, is the Biblical way.

Verses 7 - 11

  1. “And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?

  2. And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go?

  3. And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.

  4. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.

  5. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.”

No doubt, many readers must have wondered, when Moses first approached Pharaoh, why he did not simply kill Moses and Aaron. Well, remember that Pharaoh lived by the advice of his magicians and witches. It was a country ruled by superstition and paganism. It is possible that Pharaoh wanted to try and humiliate Moses by having his magicians repeat the signs. This much was suggested earlier in Exodus. No doubt murder was in the minds of the courtiers from the start. However, the more recent signs left them worried and afraid.

When Moses had left, the various ministers and advisers turned to Pharaoh and asked him why Moses was left to speak as he did. They said that Moses had them snared, caught like bait on a line. They urged Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go into the desert to worship their God. Surely he must listen, knowing that Egypt was already destroyed?

Reluctantly, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and told them to go and serve their God. But, who would go exactly? Moses replied – everyone, including the domestic animals to be used for the subsequent feasts!

Pharaoh replied – go with your children (the word indicates only the small children), but understand that something bad is soon promised to you! Go now, while you are still strong, and serve your God, for that is what you asked for. Then, the two men were literally thrown out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Now, Pharaoh did not say others could go to the desert – only the small children with Moses and Aaron. In effect, he was trying to keep control of a situation that as declared by God. This could never be allowed by God. It has to be His way or not at all, so that God would be given the glory and not Pharaoh. Pharaoh, then, had made a very big mistake.

In our age, many people treat Christians with scorn and disdain. They think nothing of throwing them out of society. But, God will not allow it to continue without revenge. Whether the situation continues to the end of time or to a date that will arrive soon, God will exact a penalty on the churlish and stupid behaviour of those who attack His people. Notice how Pharaoh threatened Moses? That is how the devil’s family acts in the face of their Creator, even as the darkness of the pit envelopes them completely and they are doomed.

Verses 12 - 15

  1. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.

  2. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

  3. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.

  4. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.”

Next day, God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand into the air. This would be the sign that the locusts would come. And when they came, they would eat everything in their path. Joseph brought plenty to Egypt, but Moses would take it away again!

So, Moses raised his staff and the east wind, the qadiym, started immediately. For the whole day the east wind blew. It blew throughout the night. Then, when the next day came, so did the locusts, carried in by the wind. Of course, modern unbelievers would say that locusts were common in the Middle East. This was just a natural phenomenon. The wind simply brought locusts from one part of North Africa to Egypt.

But this is not what happened. Firstly, Pharaoh had been warned, 48 hours previously, what would happen. Secondly, the wind did not start until Moses lifted his staff into the air. He could not have anticipated when the wind would start. Thirdly, the locusts came with the wind started by Moses. That makes it a miracle.

The number of locusts were ‘grievous’, kabed, signifying a massive swarm, unprecedented in Egypt’s history, and never seen since. And they did exactly what God said they would do. The locusts covered everything, giving the earth and all matter a uniform colour of locusts. The few plants and trees left after the hail and thunder storms were soon bare. There was nothing left.

Verses 16 - 20

  1. “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.

  2. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.

  3. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.

  4. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.

  5. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

This time, Pharaoh recalled Moses and Aaron quickly. Again, he said that he had sinned against “the LORD your God” and against Moses and Aaron. You will note that he did not refer to God as his God. This is the kind of belief found amongst many Christians, who still think of God as ‘someone out there’. They call upon a ‘God’ Who is not personal to them. This is evidenced in many churches where the pastor is the central person, and not God. Whatever the pastor says goes, even when he is wrong. Such false belief is commonplace.

The statement by Pharaoh touches on another false belief held today… that God has no power or authority over unbelievers. Let it be known, that God is all powerful and His authority extends to all peoples, whether they believe or not, whether they sin wickedly or not! They cannot escape God. That is why Christians must show this power and authority over everyone, with God’s word. It applies universally. Some aspects are only for believers, but these are made plain. So, God is not just “your God”, He is everyone’s God.

He is the Saviour only to those who are saved. But He is LORD over everybody who has ever lived. They are subject to all His commands, and to all earthly laws given by Him. Like Pharaoh, unbelievers, especially those whose lives are wicked, taunt Christians and laugh at God, saying they don’t believe in Him, so they just ignore scripture, thinking it does not apply to them. Beware! God’s word of wrath is against all who reject Him. Their objections and rantings are irrelevant!

So, after telling Moses he had made an error in trying to avoid God’s demands, Pharaoh made an apology. Note that an apology, or even a recognition of one’s sin, does not equal repentance. Therefore, it has no weight before God or man. Pharaoh asked Moses to ‘forgive’ him, to accept his apology for his sin or mistake, and to call on God to remove the plague or ‘death’, maveth (that which is deadly). Pharaoh, then, understood Who God was, what he was capable of, and that the plagues were sent by Him. Yet, he did not repent or obey.

Moses went out from the palace (he was now kicked out this time) and called upon God in prayer. God responded by turning the east wind around and causing a west wind. Yes, winds do change. But, remember – this change came about only after Moses called on God, making it a miracle. Miracles are not just things not seen before, they can be shown in the method used by God, and in timing.

I look into my own life thus far and remember the miracles I have witnessed, all using different modes:

The time God showed me, in remarkable fashion, on three consecutive days, that He was in control even of my going to work; the time I was going to die in a massive car crash but my car was transported instantly so that I came out the other side of the crash involving dozens of cars (to this day I don’t know how); the time I asked God if I could witness at a particular time, and he immediately gave me a whole group of people, already seated and waiting, who asked me to witness to them!; the time he caused a demon possessed person to cower and crawl into a corner, with the demon whining for me not to harm it; and a similar situation when a demon begged me not to harm it though I cast it out; when a grandmother was literally dying and I sought the pastor to visit her to pray, saying that God was going to heal her – which He did; when a mother with a severe and chronic chest problem was instantly healed; when God stopped several people from killing me, on different occasions; when a variety of prophesies came about in accurate and timely fashion… the list goes on. Let us remember God. He is with us continually if we obey. And He still performs miracles, even when we don’t ask for them.

God turned the east wind about and made it into a mighty west wind. Not only did God make the wind change direction, but He then caused that wind to place the locusts into the Red Sea, causing them all to die. Not one locust survived. A miracle? Of course it was! Yet, Pharaoh would not let the people go. When a man is thus hardened to such an extent, it can only be that God has prepared him for destruction. Even if Satan leads a man to do this or that against God and His people, it is still God Who hardens his heart, not Satan. God is All-Powerful and Almighty! Nothing can occur without God’s approval or allowance.

Verses 21 - 23

  1. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

  2. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

  3. They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”

God was to reveal His power yet again! This time, the sign would strike a different kind of terror into the hearts of the Egyptians. Moses stretched his staff into the air and there was “darkness over the land of Egypt.” It was so complete that it was “even darkness which may be felt.” It was choshek; obscurity, black, chashak. It was so black it could be ‘felt’, mashash: the only way to find anyone or anything was to put your hands out and feel.

This kind of darkness is unique, and is very disturbing, because it is as if it actually enshrouds you. I feel it every time I go down a coal mine in the Welsh valleys. Set up as a museum, the visitor travels downward in a cage. Then a tour begins with an ex-miner. Everyone wears a helmet and light.

At one point, deep in the mine, visitors go through a heavy double door made of heavy leather, and it flaps back into place. Near the door was a tiny niche where a small boy or girl would sit for 12 or more hours a day or night. His or her job was to wait for coal trucks to come, and then to open and shut the heavy doors. The guide then says that everyone must switch off their helmet light. Then, he switches off the main tunnel lights, so that we could experience the same darkness known to those very young children who sat by the doors.

On my first visit I felt someone suddenly grab my arm and cling tightly. When the light went back on I had a young attractive female hanging on to me! She looked sheepish, but I had to admit it was a very strange experience. On the second and third visit, though I knew what it would be like, I still felt that same disturbing sense of being alone. Try as you may, you will not see anything. The eyes could not get used to utter blackness, because no light whatever was present. That is what it was like in Egypt, though sun, moon and stars were all still in the heavens! There must have been a lot of very frightened people there.

Is that not like the utter blackness promised to those who are unsaved and go to hell? To be eternally in a black place with no promise of light or respite, except for the fires of damnation? Is it not the actual state of the unsaved soul, even when alive on this earth? The only thing that keeps people from realising just how black their lives are, is everyday life. It helps them to carry on ignoring the hold evil has on their existence, with all the trappings of useless living, sin and nothing to look forward to… ever. Is this not the darkness we should remember when we contemplate a life in Christ, so that we do not return to our former ways?

Christians who forget this are likely to prefer the world and what it offers, to holy living and truth. They do what everyone else does and so rarely know the wonder of a spiritual life in Christ. Oh what they miss! They prefer earthly delights, and yet they will only last for as long as the person is alive on this earth! Then comes eternity…

The Egyptians experienced this utter darkness for three days. In that time no-one left their homes, because they could see absolutely nothing. It is evident from the text that they did not even have oil lamps or fires. God must have removed these or made them useless. But, to highlight God’s mercy on His own people, all the Hebrews had light in their homes!

Even when all appears to be dark, God will light the way of His own. Just stay put in Christ and the light will once again be manifested. At this time I am telling myself this very truth, though there may still be some fear. In the depth of the coalmine, the blackness made it fell as if you were floating in nothingness, with no hope of seeing light again. But, the light was there – all we had to do was get back to the surface. As Christians we must always get back to the surface, back to Christ. He is the Light of the world, and when with Him you will see.

Verses 24 - 29

  1. “And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.

  2. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.

  3. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.

  4. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

  5. And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.

  6. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.”

The episode was terrifying, and, sure enough, Pharaoh again called for Moses. He told him to go and serve his God, but only with the small children. And the flocks had to stay behind. Moses stood firm – we need the animals for sacrifices! They must go with us… every last one of them. Moses said that until they got to the desert they did not know how God would want them to sacrifice. That was why all the animals had to go.

It is not hard to guess what happened. Yes, Pharaoh changed his mind and hardened his heart. Pharaoh was furious with Moses and warned him to leave and never to return, for if he did, he would kill him. Moses replied that Pharaoh had said the truth – he would not see his face again. And Moses left Pharaoh in his fury.

Christians must bear in mind that many unsaved people hate God. This hatred is growing stronger with recent times, and so those who hate God also hate His people. So, nothing has really changed for believers! The hatred is now becoming widespread persecution, even in the West, so we cannot expect ease. Even so, God sees a future, and in that future we will live freely. If not on this earth, then certainly in heaven, where evil men will never enter to spoil the beauty and wonder.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Wales
United Kingdom