You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you.
The ten plagues. Who were they for? Certainly, they were to convince Pharaoh to release Israel from slavery, but Pharaoh’s heart was not the only hardened heart. I believe the ten plagues were primarily for the Israelites.
The Israelites had been in slavery for four hundred years. Bondage was all they knew. They cried out to God for deliverance. But after such a long time, I’m sure many of the deliverance prayers were more liturgical lip service than heartfelt petitions. God used the plagues to show His people that He was present and powerful.
There is much discussion about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. But think about it. This was a tremendous act of God’s grace. God simply kept the pagan king doing what his heart was already bent on doing – opposing the work of God. The multiple plagues showed the Israelites that God was to be feared and followed. The plagues gave them the courage to leave all they had known and begin their journey into the unknown. Without the plagues, Moses may well have crossed the Red Sea alone.
Father, thank you for all your activity that goes along with your calling. Thank you for demonstrating your presence and power in our lives. Thank you for the courage to leave the familiar in order to follow you in faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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