EXODUS 10:1-2 "1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: 2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD."
In verses 1 & 2 God gives 3 reasons for allowing the plagues and hardening Pharaoh's heart.
LOCUSTS - THE EIGHTH PLAGUE
EXODUS 10:3-4, 7-11 3 "And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 7 And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? 8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go F25? 9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. 10 And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. 11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence."
Even Pharaoh's servants realized that Egypt was destroyed. I think Pharaoh had come to this realization, too, but it was more of a power struggle with him: a matter of principle! He had fought so hard to withstand the God of Israel and he was not willing to concede and give up the fight. So, Pharaoh tried a compromise. When he asked Moses and Aaron just who would go to serve their Lord Moses answered that all of them needed to go. All the men, women, children and even their flocks and herds. Pharaoh told them that only the men could go. He knew the men would not flee and leave their children in Egypt. In other words, he was allowing them to go three days journey into the wilderness and worship but he was not risking losing his slaves! So the locusts were brought upon the land of Egypt. The land was covered with locusts to the point that it was darkened. The locusts were brought in by an east wind and stripped the land of the vegetation that was left from the other plagues. Locusts are used again in Joel and in Revelation as a judgment bought upon the land.
EXODUS 10: 17 - 20 "17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. 18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go."
Once again, Pharaoh repents and once again he hardens his heart! As soon as Moses entreated the Lord to remove the locusts Pharaoh recanted! So many people get in trouble and call on the Lord for help. Then, once He has helped them, they forget all about God and what they promised Him.
DARKNESS - THE NINTH PLAGUE
EXODUS 10:21-23 21 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."
I just went into my closet and closed the door to get an idea of just how dark total darkness
is. You should try it. The thing about this darkness that has always baffled me is verse 23 says
that they did not move from their place or see one another for three days. I wonder about lamps
and candles. Evidently no light worked in Egypt for 3 days; now that is a miracle!
Surely Pharaoh knew that only God could cause such a phenomenon!
EXODUS 10:24-29 "24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye,
serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. 25 And Moses said, Thou
must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. 26 Our cattle also shall go
with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with
what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them
go. 28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my
face thou shalt die. 29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more."
EXODUS 10:24-29 "24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. 25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. 26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. 28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. 29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more."
Now Pharaoh tells Moses that all the adults and children can go worship God, only their flocks must remain behind. You would think that Moses would jump at this chance. Once in the wilderness, the people could make a run for it and get away from the bondage of Egypt. They could even move faster without the livestock! But God had told Moses to bring Israel out of Egypt - all of Israel and this included their children and livestock! Moses was not making any compromises with Pharaoh. It is amazing to me how many Christians are willing to compromise with the world. They are willing to go to church on Sunday but have other things to do during other church functions. God wants all of you; everything you have is His, even your livestock, and is not to be left behind in Egypt!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Why do you think Pharaoh fought so hard against God when he surely knew he was not going to win?
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