This chapter records the fifth, sixth, and seventh plagues that God unleashed on the Egyptians. Some people do not accept that these miraculous calamities were acts of God, but verse 3 affirms that the plagues were a result of “the hand of the Lord” falling in judgment on Egypt.
They had seen livestock die before, they knew of people contracting boils, and they knew what hailstorms were. But these plagues were miraculous because of their timing (they occurred when Moses announced they would), their intensity (the severity of the frogs, flies, hail, etc. was unlike anything they had ever experienced), and their location (they occurred right where Pharaoh and the Egyptians would experience them, not somewhere else).
The plagues were most definitely the work of God, and yet Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. He would not respond to these powerful messages from God and he would not relent and free the Israelites. Even after the devastating hail storm when Pharaoh confessed that he had sinned (v.27), he proved later that he did not truly fear the Lord (v.30) when “he sinned yet again and hardened his heart” (v.34). There is a difference in wanting to escape the consequences of sin and true repentance, which desires to please God.
For me, the most significant part of this chapter is found in verses 15-16. In verse 15 Moses taught Pharaoh about God’s mercy. God could have vaporized the entire nation of Egypt with a single word, but instead He extended mercy. Pharaoh should have opened his heart to the Lord in gratitude, but instead he hardened his heart in rebellion.
In verse 16 Moses taught Pharaoh about God’s sovereignty. Pharaoh ruled Egypt only by the sovereign will of God. Every time he hardened his heart and rebelled, the Lord used that rebellion to display His power and glory.
I choose today to celebrate God’s mercy by opening my heart to Him and surrendering to His good and perfect will. Join me, ok?