Without reviewing every detail of the plagues of frogs, gnats, and flies, I can get to how God spoke to me in this chapter very quickly. I was irritated in yesterday’s reading (Exodus chapter 7) that I saw my reflection in the behavior of Pharaoh. Again today I am convicted as I read about the hard-hearted ruler.
I hear Pharaoh sounding so spiritual: “Pray for me…ask God to help me out of this mess…then I will do what He wants me to do.” But the promises are hollow and insincere. How often have I (and maybe you, too) prayed in desperation like that, making audacious commitments about what I will do if God would just help me with my familiar problem again; if He would just give me another “sign” that I should do what He has already told me to do; if He would just forgive that same old sin one more time; if He would just give me another chance to do it right? And yet when He answers the prayer, my zeal to follow through with my promises does not match the zeal with which I made them.
How often have I complained about the leftover garbage and stench of my sin (v.14), only to harden my heart to the touch of God when things start to smell a little better (v.15)?
How often have I chaffed under the discipline of the Lord, refusing to admit that my misery is, in fact, “the finger of God” in my life (v.19)?
How often have I tried to bargain with God, substituting partial obedience and half-hearted commitment for full surrender (v.25, 28)?
Can you tell, my blog-reading friend, that the Lord is using the example of Pharaoh like a mirror to reflect the tendencies of my heart? This Bible reading stuff is hard and painful! But it is oh, so helpful and healing! The Word takes me apart, but it puts me back together again. It cuts to the heart, but the surgery makes me better.
Even as I confront the hard-hearted, prideful, stubborn Pharaoh in me, I see a patient, merciful God who is passionate about defending His people. I see the great I AM sparing His family from the plague (v.22) and showing Himself powerful on their behalf. I see a bush-burning, staff-wielding, king-intimidating God who will work miracles in order to see His people enjoy liberty. And I see a God who will move heaven and earth to meet with His pitiful, fearful, fickle people — because He loves to be with them and He actually enjoys their worship.
Wow…suddenly I feel deeply, truly loved. You?