Friday, December 24, 2021

2021.12.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 10:21–29

Read Exodus 10:21–29

Questions from the Scripture text: Toward where does Yahweh now command Moses to stretch out his hand (Exodus 10:21)? In order to bring what? What will they be able to do with this darkness? What did Moses do (Exodus 10:22a)? What came on the land for how long (verse 22b)? What couldn’t they see (Exodus 10:23a)? What couldn’t they do (verse 23b)? But who had what (verse 23c)? Whom did Pharaoh now call (Exodus 10:24)? What did he tell him to do? But what did he order to be kept back? Whom did he say should go? But who commands whom in Exodus 10:25a? To do what for what purpose (verse 25b)? What was to go with them (Exodus 10:26)? What would be left behind? Why? But what did Yahweh do to Pharaoh in Exodus 10:27? And what wouldn’t Pharaoh do? Where does he tell Moses to go (Exodus 10:28)? What does he warn Moses not to see? What does he threaten? What does Moses say about this in Exodus 10:29?

The world is full of people who receive good things from God, but give the credit to something or someone else—or even take it for themselves. Of the many false gods that Egypt worshiped, Amon-Ra (the sun himself) was considered to be chief. In this plague, however, Yahweh utterly humiliates their so-called god.

According to their thought, every evening Amon-Ra would die in the west and then in the morning rise again in the east. So this plague wasn’t just an inability to see, but the death of their chief deity. The previous plagues had come with Moses stretching his hand over the land; the attack on their god is demonstrated by the fact that he now stretches his hand toward heaven. The darkness is not only complete but intense: it can be felt. In Exodus 10:22, “thick darkness” is actually translating two different words for ‘darkness’ which compound each other. Even worse, candles and lamps are unable to provide light in their homes (Exodus 10:23a), although they function just fine in Israelite homes (verse 23b).

Truly, without the LORD, even the light of a candle cannot break into darkness. He is the One Who gives all good. Against Him Pharaoh had set himself. And, dreadfully, it is against Him that every one of our sins set themselves.

That which was true physically in Egypt is now seen to be true spiritually in Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh is obviously shaken by the devastating death of Amon-Ra, but in Exodus 10:24 he still wants to insist on keeping back the flocks and herds. Moses tells him not only that every Israelite hoof must go (Exodus 10:26), but that Pharaoh himself must provide additional sacrifice and burnt offering (Exodus 10:25). Yahweh is his true God, whether Pharaoh acknowledges him or not. Moses makes it plain that Yahweh is in charge, and whatever He commands for worship, He must receive.

But even with all of this humiliation and all of this rebuke and warning, Pharaoh is unable to submit his heart to the LORD. When Yahweh hardens his heart in Exodus 10:27, it is hardened not in the shape of repentance (which is like light that Pharaoh can never produce for himself) but rather in the shape of rebellion. Even his choice of words is ironic, showing how blind he is to his own wickedness and helplessness. “Don’t see my face again,” Pharaoh says. “You have spoken well; I will never see your face again,” Moses says. Pharaoh’s face, of course, cannot be seen because his precious chief deity has been slain and cannot give light. This final exchange indicates that before the darkness lifts, Moses and Israel will be gone.

O, let us confess that all our good comes from the Lord—the good of creation, and the only hope that we have of any repentance. Only He gives either sort of light. And though we deserve to die in darkness, He has been merciful to sinners and offers Himself to be our light in Jesus Christ. How merciful is this display of His glorious power!

Where do people think life and strength and ability come from? But from where does it really come? What life/ability do you most need?

Sample prayer:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You alone are the true and living God. From You alone comes all true physical light and spiritual light. Forgive us for when we are forgetful of You or feel ourselves dependent instead upon created things instead of You, the Creator. Give light to our hearts, that we would be willing worshipers in every way that You require. And glorify Yourself in destroying all false gods, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH539 “Am I a Soldier of the Cross”

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