Bible Readings for February 27th
Although we are not quite to the end of the war between Yahweh and Pharaoh, there are several indicators in Exodus 10 that the battles are moving increasingly in one direction. Yahweh’s glory continues to shine brighter in the face of the false gods of Egypt, and Pharaoh seems to be wearying of fighting God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth.
At the beginning of Exodus 10, Yahweh insists once again that he himself is hardening the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh will not let the people of Israel go, giving this explanation for doing so: “that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am Yahweh” (Ex. 10:1–2). As we discussed in yesterday’s meditation, the judgment Yahweh is pouring out on Pharaoh is for the sake of the gospel—so that the people of God (as well as their children and grandchildren) may know that Yahweh alone is God.
And on Pharaoh’s side of things, it seems that the world’s most powerful king is coming to grips with Yahweh’s power as well. Pharaoh’s servants certainly understand that they are outmatched, so they beg Pharaoh to let Israel go before things get even worse for Egypt: “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” (Ex. 10:7).
Even Pharaoh himself begins to use shockingly humble language to describe his own rebellion against Yahweh, acknowledging that he has “sinned” against Yahweh (Ex. 10:16) and expressing a willingness to let Israel go into the wilderness to worship Yahweh (Ex. 10:8, 24). Nevertheless, Yahweh carries out his promise to harden Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 10:20, 27), and even though Pharaoh comes close to letting Israel go, he refuses every time at the last possible moment.
Pharaoh knows that he has nothing. His magicians have failed. His gods have failed. Even he—the mighty pharaoh of Egypt—has failed to restrain the God of the pitiful Hebrews from bringing the great Egypt to ruin and destruction.
This place of devastation is a point that God brings all of us to in our lives. The difference between life and death, then, is not whether God brings us to destruction, because he certainly will. Rather, the difference between life and death is found in whether we, like Pharoah, harden our hearts against the word of God in the gospel of Jesus or instead repent from our sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and redemption.
The setting is different, but God requires the same obedient faith from us that he did from Pharaoh.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.