Loving Lord, let Your love alone push and posses me each day. Enable me in sacrificial loving.
Read Exodus 10:21-29
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.
“Oh for a heart to praise my God / a heart from sin set free; / a heart that’s sprinkled with the blood / so freely shed for me” (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788). When our heart is set free from the bondage of sin, we will not willfully resist God’s will for our lives!
Paul says that at the resurrection we shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). Until then our changes are more gradual–slow, fitful, with many fallings-back and turnings-aside. With trembling gratitude for God’s miraculous patience with me, I read today’s story as if looking in a mirror. Am I, even today, tempting God’s patience, the courtesy of his kindness, by my stubbornness, my waywardness, my delays, my diversionary tactics–anything to avoid going the way he wants me to go?
After the darkness of a locust-filled sky, an even deeper, more appalling, palpable (21) darkness falls on all Egypt, (Goshen is spared again), likely a decisive signal that Egypt’s sun god Re is vanquished. Pharaoh, however, still haggles, wanting to keep the Israelites’ herds as hostage (of course, Egypt’s own animals have been devastated in earlier blows).
But Moses is intransigent: not a hoof is to be left behind. “Moses knows that Pharaoh knows that he knows that Pharaoh is right about the Israelites’ not coming back” (J. Goldingay). Finally, something in Pharaoh snaps and he roars out what appears to be a final threat (28)–but even this is not to be taken literally (12:31).
Tyrants often try to rewrite history (“You never know what can happen yesterday!”). But in Pharaoh’s case we find his own choices constructing the fulfillment of the proverbial threat: “Penalties are prepared for mockers” (Prov. 19:29). Step by ruinous step, we see Pharaoh’s thoughts ripening into words, into actions, and finally into a catastrophic destiny.
Have you ever made vows to the Lord in the midst of darkness and difficulty, only to go back on those vows when things smoothed out? Do a heart-check to see if there is any Pharaoh in you at this time.
Lord, make my heart like wax in the hands of Your almighty love; save me from my own foolishness and waywardness.