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January 18, 2024 - Exodus 5-8

“Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness’” (5:1).  Pharaoh responded, questioning God and declaring, “I will not let Israel go” (5:2).  We need to insert an editorial comment, here:  “Oh, you WILL let the people go! whether willingly or unwillingly.  But you WILL let them go!” 

 

Pharaoh increased his demands upon the people, working them harder and harder.  As the #1 in Egypt, Pharaoh figured he had the upper hand and could do whatever he wished.  But “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land’” (6:1).  So, Pharaoh says what he will do and, then, the Lord says what HE will do.  And so follows the story of Aaron and his rod, a miraculous sign performed before Pharaoh, and the first of the plagues:  the water turned to blood, the infestation of frogs, the plague of gnats, and the flies (more to come, though).  It took some time.  God had chosen to work through the means of the plagues rather than just striking down Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  But his purposes WILL be accomplished, and he WILL be shown to be God before all the Egyptians.  A good reminder of the truth of Psalm 2:4.  Of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).  And of Isaiah 46:9-10 – “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”  God vs. Pharaoh:  definitely not an equal fight!

 

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

the clouds ye so much dread

are big with mercy and shall break

in blessings on your head.

 

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

but trust Him for His grace;

behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

 

His purposes will ripen fast,

unfolding every hour;

the bud may have a bitter taste,

but sweet will be the flow’r.   --William Cowper (1774)

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