Wednesday, November 17, 2021

2021.11.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 9:1–7

Read Exodus 9:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Yahweh command Pharaoh by Moses in Exodus 9:1? What does He warn him not to do (Exodus 9:2)? What six livestock does He specifically threaten (Exodus 9:3)? What will Yahweh make (Exodus 9:4)? How much of the Israelite livestock will die? What does Yahweh appoint in Exodus 9:5? How does Exodus 9:6 relate to Exodus 9:4-5? What did Pharaoh send to see in Exodus 9:7? 

This is the fourth time in five plagues that the Lord has given the demand at the end of Exodus 9:1. And it’s the fourth time (cf. Exodus 4:23, Exodus 7:14, Exodus 8:2) that this word for “refuse” in Exodus 9:2 is used for Pharaoh’s rebellion. At this point, it starts to feel tedious to the reader, but this isn’t fiction it’s history. 

And in this fallen world, life—and especially sin—is tedious indeed. Egypt is being systematically devastated, but Pharaoh’s hardness of heart (Exodus 9:7) just keeps on keeping on. Sin looks so inviting in the moments of our lives; it’s good to have Scripture passages like this to help us see that it is unattractive, unrewarding, and offensive to God.

The Lord warns that His hand will be very heavy on Egypt (Exodus 9:3). This may be an intentional intensification over/against the magicians’ calling the lice the “finger of God” in Exodus 8:19. Indeed, it’s not just language being intensified. Exodus 9:3 identifies as God’s targets not only multiple animals who represent various Egyptian ‘deities’ but also which provide milk, transportation, labor, and clothing. All of these die (Exodus 9:6; a few other kinds of beasts will remain in order to be destroyed later by the hail).

But blessed be the Name of our God, Who is just as miraculous in the preservation of His people! Not one of all the livestock of the children of Israel died (Exodus 9:6). Indeed, it was this latter miracle—Israel’s livestock NOT dying—that Pharaoh sent to inquire about in Exodus 9:7. Dear believer, do you not see how powerful and merciful is Your God to preserve you and what is yours? Surely, nothing can touch you except that it be for Your good. Government agencies panic when a plague goes through the livestock, because they can’t stop the spread. But it is easy for your God to protect and preserve you.

So, lest we be hardened in our sinfulness, let us look to God for the grace that brings to our hearts His softening goodness. And thus let us despise our tediously persistent sin and delight in our almightily merciful God.

From what sin might you be refusing to turn? What are some examples of how God has miraculously protected and preserved you in this life? How about eternally?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are marvelous in Your persistent goodness, but we are astonishingly persistent in our sinfulness. Forgive us, and deliver us, we pray! And grant that we would see what a marvelous difference You have made in protecting and preserving us, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH525 “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”

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