DEAL OR NO DEAL?
Gracious God, as Your Holy Spirit works in me, help me to grow daily in love and obedience.
Read Exodus 8:8–32
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.
Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”
12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Gnats
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.
Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, 19 the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Flies
20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.
22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction[a] between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’”
24 And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
26 But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”
28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”
29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
30 Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
- Exodus 8:23 Septuagint and Vulgate; Hebrew will put a deliverance
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo we sometimes try to make a deal with God in our prayers? ‘If you… then I…’ Yet prayer is about submitting to the will of the Father. Are you ready to accept God’s way today?
Pharaoh realizes that Moses and Aaron can make a difference. He sees the difference prayer can make. Even though he sees this and asks for help – and the frogs disappear – he still hardens his heart (vs 8–15).
Two more plagues follow in the form of swarms of gnats and flies (vs 16–32). Pharaoh tries to offer another deal to Moses and Aaron, but with conditions (vs 25–28). He wants to receive prayer, but on his own terms – and his heart remains ‘hard’ (vs 19,32). Praying for God’s help involves surrendering to him and to his will. As God’s people, we need to be willing to pray as Jesus did, ‘not my will, but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). We can’t put conditions on God. Pharaoh tries to do this, and his plans end in failure. What prayers of yours may need to change in the light of this?
‘Father, Pharaoh was taken out of his comfort zone with irritat- ing insects and looked for solutions in his own way. May I look to you when facing trials. You are the one who delivers me through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’
Lord You are my deliverer, my strength, my hope. I lift my voice in praise.
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