Stubborn Pharaoh Learns the Hard Way
Who God Is (Part 3)
by Sophia Prinsloo with Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
(Continued from Part 2)
When will Pharaoh ever learn?
One would think that after…
…having a FRIGHT from the snake miracle,
…being THIRSTY because all the water has turned into blood,
…SHUDDERING from frogs jumping all over the place and on everyone and everything,
…ITCHING and SCRATCHING like mad because of biting lice everywhere,
…ACHING from being stung by swarming gadflies,
…being FEVERISHLY SICK from boils,
…becoming POOR from almost losing all your livestock from pestilence,
…seeing everything outside SHATTERED by large hailstones,
…Pharaoh would give in, acknowledge the Lord our God's mighty power and let Israel go! But his heart only grew harder.
Just as Pharaoh was persistent in defying God, Moses was persistent in seeking and doing God's will. Deep in prayer, he heard God speak and say, “Go, tell Pharaoh I said, ‘How long will you refuse to submit and obey Me? If you still refuse to listen to Me, if you won't recognize my greatness and let my people go, I am going to cover all Egypt with a layer of locusts so thick you won't even be able to see the ground.
‘They will fill your palace and every house in Egypt and devour everything not destroyed by the hail and sprouted afterwards. It will be the worst locust plague in the history of Egypt!’”
After Moses conveyed this message of the Lord to Pharaoh, he simply walked out of the palace.
But Pharaoh's servants were terrified of Moses' God and told Pharaoh, “Your Majesty, do you want to destroy us all? Let us try to make a compromise and allow only the Israelite men to go and worship their God in the wilderness.”
The servants ran after Moses and Aaron and brought them back to Pharaoh's court.
“All right, Moses!” Pharaoh said. “You can go, worship the Lord your God in the wilderness, but only the men can go!”
“No!” Moses firmly replied. “The Lord our God does not allow compromises. Our men, women and children, together with all our animals MUST go!”
Stubborn Pharaoh lost it. “NEVER! Get away from my sight!” he bellowed as the servants in his court chased Moses and Aaron out of the palace.
Just as the Lord commanded, Moses stretched out his rod across Egypt. Suddenly, an east wind blew in millions of locusts. There were so many that even the sun was blotted out. They wound up covering the entire country of Egypt, even filling every nook and cranny of Pharaoh's palace.
Poor Mrs. Pharaoh shrieked as locusts flew into her hair. The children went running and hid in the closets and cabinets. You could hear the creak and crunch of the locusts as people stepped on them.
The millions of locusts ate everything that was still green, even the wheat plants that were supposed to go into the Egyptians' bread recipe after the plants were ripe and harvested. They had a real problem! Where would the Egyptians get food from now?
At once, Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and pleaded with them: “Please, forgive me! I have done wrong against the Lord your God and against you! Pray that this death will depart from me!”
By now, Moses was so tired of Pharaoh constantly changing his mind and not keeping his word. However, being the true servant that he was, Moses called on the Lord to stop the plague of locusts, as Pharaoh requested. Instantly, the Lord sent a west wind blowing all the locusts into the sea. Would you believe, as soon as the very last one disappeared into the waves, Pharaoh changed his mind again! He was so stubborn! He did not let the Israelites go as he had promised he would.
Locusts was the EIGHTH plague the Lord used to prove his power over Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods.
Next the Lord commanded Moses: “Stretch your hand into the air and a blanket of darkness will settle upon the land of Egypt, such thick darkness that you will be able to feel it.”
Moses obeyed and suddenly everything was dark. The plague of darkness lasted for three whole days. The Egyptians could do nothing. They couldn't go anywhere and they couldn't get anything done. They couldn't go to work. They couldn't go to the marketplace. They couldn't even see to cook. What a mess they were in!
Only in Goshen, where the Israelites lived, there was light as usual. They were able to do everything just like any other normal day.
Darkness was the NINTH plague the Lord used to show his power over Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods.
Pharaoh had reached his wit's end. He called for Moses and tried to bargain with him. “Okay, Moses. Go, serve the Lord in the desert! Your women and children can go with you, but your animals must remain here!”
Moses quickly refused. “Our animals MUST go with us, because we must use them for sacrifices to the Lord our God.”
Hearing Moses' response, Pharaoh became infuriated and did not want to let Israel go. He screamed at Moses, “Get away from me! Make sure I never see your face again! If I see you again, I will have you put to death!”
“You are right, Pharaoh,” Moses answered. “You won't see me again! But I have a message from the Lord. God says, ‘By midnight, I will go into Egypt and the firstborn in every Egyptian family will die. There will be no difference. The death angel will visit the homes of the rich as well as the poor, and even the homes of Egyptian slaves.
“‘Not even your son, the crown prince, will escape from the visit of the death angel. Death will come even to the firstlings of the remaining animals. The entire land of Egypt will cry and mourn bitterly because, in every house of Egypt, the firstborn will be dead. Only among the Israelites will not one die, not even among their animals.’”
Moses continued, “All your servants will come and bow before me, pleading with me to take the Israelites and leave the land of Egypt. Not only will they beg us to leave, but they will also give us presents of silver and gold, and then we shall go!”
Death of the firstborn will be the TENTH plague and will show the Lord's mighty power over all the false gods of Egypt and over life and death.
Moses left Pharaoh's court piqued with anger at Pharaoh's stubbornness. Actually, we know it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart, because He wanted to show Pharaoh just how powerful and mighty He was, greater than Pharaoh and all the gods of Egypt. Not one of Egypt's idols — and there were many of them — could protect the Egyptians' water, their animals, their plants, their health, their light or their lives against the wrath of the Lord God of Moses and Aaron, and the Hebrews. God wanted Pharaoh and the Egyptians to know He was the One true God. There was no other god beside Him.
During all the time that God poured out his wrath, there were no plagues whatsoever in the land Goshen where the Israelites lived. They Hebrews heard about all the plagues the Lord had brought upon Egypt and realized that the Lord was mightier than all the idols of Egypt. Plague after plague, the Israelites slowly began to believe that God really could save them from bondage in Egypt. Now they believed God actually could lead them away to freedom and into the Promised Land they had heard so much about from their forefathers and ever since dreamed about. How exciting!
Up until now, the Hebrews had to do nothing in order to save themselves from the plagues in Egypt. However, for this final, TENTH plague, there was something very important they were going to be asked to do, and they had to get it right to be spared from a visit by the death angel. God wanted to see if they were willing to obey Him. Otherwise, they, too, could lose their firstborns to the death angel. We will find out what that was and solve this mystery in the next story.
God is mighty in power and you will be wise to always be obedient to Him.
1. Where was Moses when the hailstorm stopped?
2. How long was there darkness over all the land of Egypt?
3. When did Pharaoh tell Moses, “If I see your face again, I will put you to death!”?
4. Who persisted in disobedience to God?
5. What can we learn from today's lesson?
A VERSE TO LEARN:
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).
Seeing fear in his people's eyes when Moses warned of the approaching locust plague, Pharaoh began to realize that he must, in some way, appease this God of Moses and the Israelites. He thought he would try bargaining with God by being just a little bit obedient to Him but still having his own way. He didn't understand that God doesn’t work that way — with Him, it's all or nothing.
How about you? Have you ever tried being just a wee bit obedient? For example, when your parents asked you to tidy up your room, did you do it half-heartedly, leaving your closet and dresser drawers in a mess?
[After discussion:] Remember, just as Pharaoh wanted to keep the children of Israel in slavery, the devil wants to keep us enslaved by sin. He wants sin to be our master. But if we learn to be obedient to God, He won't allow the devil to have any hold on us, even if he tried to bargain with God to keep us under his power.
Let's now take a moment in prayer and ask God to forgive us for the times we were just a little bit obedient but not completely. Let's thank and praise Him for not letting the devil have a hold over us as we serve Jesus with all our hearts, minds, souls and might.
Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times we have
half-heartedly obeyed you. Please help us not to be
disobedient to You, but to seek You in prayer about
everything and be completely obedient to your will for us.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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