Killing the Nile
Wise, loving God, as I read Your Word, give me the wisdom and good judgment I need for this day.
Read Exodus 7:14-24
 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.  Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake.  Then say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened.  This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.  The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.'”  The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt-over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs-and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.”  Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood.  The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.  But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.  Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart.  And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow is the Pharaoh's heart described in this passage?
Everything in Egypt depended upon the Nile. Lying as it did at the center of Egypt’s life, the Nile was celebrated and worshiped. There is a hint of daily religious observance about this procession of Pharaoh to the Nile, source of all life in Egypt (8:20; 9:13). Meeting him at the river, Moses announces that the Lord will turn the life-giving Nile to blood. This will be nothing less than a demonstration that the Lord is God Almighty, even in Egypt: “By this you will know that I am the Lord” (17). Striking the waters with his staff, Moses effectively kills the Nile. The fish die and rot. Everywhere, Egyptians are forced to dig to find fresh water. With one strike of his staff, Moses has shown the Lord’s authority over the gods of Egypt. The magicians may mimic this, but they can’t undo what God has done (24). Yet Pharaoh hardens his heart, turns his back on the Nile and his people’s distress, and retreats to the palace, probably to drink wine rather than water, seemingly indifferent to his people’s sufferings. He will not yield to God’s authority over Egypt and over himself.
Where are you being challenged to keep obeying, even though nothing has changed as yet? Pray to remain faithful.
Gracious Father, spare me from the terrible fate of a hardened heart. I want always to be open to You.
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