Friday, March 21, 2008
God’s Unusual Food Supply – Exodus 16:1-36
Exodus 16:1-36 (New Living Translation)
Manna and Quail from Heaven
1 Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.
3 “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7 In the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” 8 Then Moses added, “The LORD will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the LORD, not against us.”
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.
11 Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
13 That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. 14 When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. 15 The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
And Moses told them, “It is the food the LORD has given you to eat. 16 These are the LORD’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts[c] for each person in your tent.”
17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
19 Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” 20 But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.
21 After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. 23 He told them, “This is what the LORD commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the LORD. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”
24 So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. 25 Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the LORD. There will be no food on the ground today. 26 You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.”
27 Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. 28 The LORD asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? 29 They must realize that the Sabbath is the LORD’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” 30 So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day.
31 The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers.
32 Then Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.”
33 Moses said to Aaron, “Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the LORD to preserve it for all future generations.” 34 Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant—in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. 35 So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
36 The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.
Can you see God in heaven dealing with the children of Israel? Moses was having enough. Aaron was having enough. They kept reminding them that they were complaining to the Lord and not to them. How often do our leaders get frustrated with us? I have a cousin who was a pastor and he would tell me of times how the people in his congregation didn’t listen to him at times. They all shared a common vision for their community, but at times the congregation was stagnant on moving toward the vision.
Are we like that at times with God? Do we ever complain to our pastors or elders about things that belong to God? It is one thing to complain about the janitorial services or the mowing services at the church building. However, it is another to complain about your situation in life and that the church isn’t meeting your needs.
I know that some people bounce from church to church looking for the perfect church. There seemed to be a “problem” at the previous church that drove them away. When they would arrive at the new church that same “problem” would always show up. They didn’t realize that they were the ones creating their problem. If you have a “problem” at your church, take it to the Lord and ask him to show you the source of the problem. Don’t be surprised at His answer.
Tomorrow: Helpful Advice – Exodus 18:1-27
Thursday, March 20, 2008
God Provides Water – Exodus 15:22-27; 17:1-7
Exodus 15:22-27 (New Living Translation)
Bitter Water at Marah
22 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. 23 When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).
24 Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25 So Moses cried out to the LORD for help, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.
It was there at Marah that the LORD set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.”
27 After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water.
Water from the Rock
1 At the LORD’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. 2 So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
“Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?”
3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”
5 The LORD said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.
7 Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD here with us or not?”
Have you noticed a consistency with the rescue of the children of Israel? There is complaint after complaint. Instead of seeking God who performed a mighty rescue, they argue with Moses. Can this describe us? Do we argue with each other complaining about a lack of things? Do we wait for the end of the argument before we turn to God?
The first decree is set. If they obeyed God, then none of the plagues that beset the Egyptians would fall upon the children of Israel. That is a lot. No locusts, no gnats, and no frogs would be in their future. Obeying God is by far better than disobedience.
When we are experiencing a lack of things, turn to God first. Don’t argue with each other about why there is a lack. All that does is produce stress and doesn’t provide anything. Seek God and you may see God provide your lack from an unlikely source.
I am reminded of a story of an older woman that went around all day praising God and singing songs. Her next door neighbor was a very evil man always taunting the woman, telling her that her God was nothing. One day, she needed some food, so she went out to her front porch and prayed aloud asking God for food. So the neighbor went and bought two sacks of groceries and set them on her front porch. The woman started praising God for the food and her neighbor immediately interrupted her. He told her that he bought the food and not God. So the woman started praising God again and thanking Him for the food. She said, “God, I thank you for the food even if it was brought by the devil himself.”
You never know how God can answer a prayer.
Tomorrow: God’s Unusual Food Supply – Exodus 16:1-36
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A Narrow Escape – Exodus 13:17 – 14:31
Exodus 13:17-14:31 (New Living Translation)
Israel’s Wilderness Detour
17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”
20 The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22 And the LORD did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.
1 Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses: 2 “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. 3 Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ 4 And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.
The Egyptians Pursue Israel
5 When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. 6 So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. 7 He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. 9 The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Escape through the Red Sea
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. 18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the LORD!”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.
21 Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. 22 So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!
23 Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. 24 But just before dawn the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. 25 He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt!”
26 When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the LORD said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the LORD rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
Have you ever been backed into a corner and saw no way out except by death or tragedy? Have you ever had bills piled so high that you really wished that there was a poor house that you could go to? Have you gotten into a relationship or relationships that you know the only way out are with your feet first on a stretcher?
The Israelites knew they were facing certain death. They had camped with the Red Sea to their backs. While they were pitching camp, there were no worries. Then all of a sudden, here comes Pharaoh’s army. They just knew that they were facing slaughter. Then Moses said, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
That is our instruction for today. Watch the Lord rescue you. Some of us are treading water so fast. We are trying to do it all by ourselves. If we would just ease up and just start floating on our backs, we can rest. The hardest thing to do is to rescue somebody that is flailing about. The rescuer tries to put the harness on a person. The best thing to do is to calm down and let the rescuer put the harness around you. You may not know how the rescuer will rescue you, but you will be rescued. In the above verse that Moses says, you can replace “Egyptians” with the problem or situation you are facing today. The route you take may not be the most obvious. You may have to go through your Red Sea, but you will be rescued.
Tomorrow: God Provides Water – Exodus 15:22-27; 17:1-7
Monday, March 17, 2008
The Ultimate Plague – Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-36
Exodus 11:1-10 (New Living Translation)
Death for Egypt’s Firstborn
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. 2 Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.)
4 Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. 5 All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. 6 Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. 7 But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. 8 All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me. ‘Please leave!’ they will beg. ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh.
9 Now the LORD had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even more mighty miracles in the land of Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country.
29 And that night at midnight, the LORD struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.
Israel’s Exodus from Egypt
31 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. “Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” 33 All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!”
34 The Israelites took their bread dough before yeast was added. They wrapped their kneading boards in their cloaks and carried them on their shoulders. 35 And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. 36 The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!
God can and will do whatever it takes for His will to be done. There are basically three definitions of God’s will: His providential will, His moral will, and His personal will. There is never any question about His providential and moral will. His providential will is what He is going to do regardless of our obedience or disobedience. God sent His son to die on the cross and at some point in time, Jesus will come back in all of His glory. This will happen. It is not dependent upon our actions. God’s moral will concerns the “thou’s” and the “thou shalt not’s.” We don’t have to ask the question of whether it is ok to lie or not.
We struggle with God’s personal will for our lives. We see with the children of Israel that God was going to rescue them. That was His providential will. He was going to rescue them because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His personal will for the children of Israel included when they were leaving and with what they were leaving with. We see that when it was time, they took their bread unleavened and they basically plundered Egypt by asking their neighbors for things of value.
God’s personal will for each one of us includes abundance. Our abundance may differ from person to person as to the quantity. But the measure of abundance always includes fullness. Our abundance hinges on our obedience to God such as the obedience of the children of Israel. Their obedience included being ready to leave at the drop of a hat and to ask their Egyptian neighbors for things of value. We will see later on that these things come in handy when building the tabernacle of God.
Tomorrow: A Narrow Escape – Exodus 13:17 – 14:31
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Four More Plagues – Exodus 9:9 – 10:29
Exodus 9:9-10:29 (New Living Translation)
9 The ashes will spread like fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, causing festering boils to break out on people and animals throughout the land.”
10 So they took soot from a brick kiln and went and stood before Pharaoh. As Pharaoh watched, Moses threw the soot into the air, and boils broke out on people and animals alike. 11 Even the magicians were unable to stand before Moses, because the boils had broken out on them and all the Egyptians. 12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the LORD had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.
A Plague of Hail
13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. 14 If you don’t, I will send more plagues on you and your officials and your people. Then you will know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 By now I could have lifted my hand and struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth. 16 But I have spared you for a purpose—to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth. 17 But you still lord it over my people and refuse to let them go. 18 So tomorrow at this time I will send a hailstorm more devastating than any in all the history of Egypt. 19 Quick! Order your livestock and servants to come in from the fields to find shelter. Any person or animal left outside will die when the hail falls.’”
20 Some of Pharaoh’s officials were afraid because of what the LORD had said. They quickly brought their servants and livestock in from the fields. 21 But those who paid no attention to the word of the LORD left theirs out in the open.
22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward the sky so hail may fall on the people, the livestock, and all the plants throughout the land of Egypt.”
23 So Moses lifted his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed toward the earth. The LORD sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt. 24 Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such devastating hail and continuous lightning. 25 It left all of Egypt in ruins. The hail struck down everything in the open field—people, animals, and plants alike. Even the trees were destroyed. 26 The only place without hail was the region of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived.
27 Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “The LORD is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. 28 Please beg the LORD to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”
29 “All right,” Moses replied. “As soon as I leave the city, I will lift my hands and pray to the LORD. Then the thunder and hail will stop, and you will know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 30 But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the LORD God.”
31 (All the flax and barley were ruined by the hail, because the barley had formed heads and the flax was budding. 32 But the wheat and the emmer wheat were spared, because they had not yet sprouted from the ground.)
33 So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and went out of the city. When he lifted his hands to the LORD, the thunder and hail stopped, and the downpour ceased. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he and his officials sinned again, and Pharaoh again became stubborn. 35 Because his heart was hard, Pharaoh refused to let the people leave, just as the LORD had predicted through Moses.
A Plague of Locusts
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. 2 I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the LORD.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so they can worship me. 4 If you refuse, watch out! For tomorrow I will bring a swarm of locusts on your country. 5 They will cover the land so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will devour what little is left of your crops after the hailstorm, including all the trees growing in the fields. 6 They will overrun your palaces and the homes of your officials and all the houses in Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt have your ancestors seen a plague like this one!” And with that, Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
7 Pharaoh’s officials now came to Pharaoh and appealed to him. “How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the LORD their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?”
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the LORD your God. But who exactly will be going with you?”
9 Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the LORD.”
10 Pharaoh retorted, “The LORD will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. 11 Never! Only the men may go and worship the LORD, since that is what you requested.” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace.
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring on the locusts. Let them cover the land and devour every plant that survived the hailstorm.”
13 So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the LORD caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night. When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other. It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it. 15 For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land. They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm. Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you,” he confessed. 17 “Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the LORD your God to take away this death from me.”
18 So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and pleaded with the LORD. 19 The LORD responded by shifting the wind, and the strong west wind blew the locusts into the Red Sea. Not a single locust remained in all the land of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go.
A Plague of Darkness
21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward heaven, and the land of Egypt will be covered with a darkness so thick you can feel it.” 22 So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. 23 During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived.
24 Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the LORD,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.”
25 “No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the LORD our God. 26 All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the LORD our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the LORD until we get there.”
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart once more, and he would not let them go. 28 “Get out of here!” Pharaoh shouted at Moses. “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!”
29 “Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again.”
Pharaoh was sticking to his guns. He was not budging. Towards the end, he was easing up a bit, but he still wasn’t giving in to Moses’ requests completely. His people had had enough and were telling him to let them go. They felt as if they were being held hostage by Moses.
Through all of these plagues, the people of Israel were untouched. Even though this last plague of darkness, it was still light as normal in the land of Goshen. These plagues served a two-fold purpose. To those who were receiving the plagues, they were the recipients of God’s power. The children of Israel would know that the one saving them was the Lord.
Have you seen God’s power at work in your life? Have there been times that you could tell that God was there? I have seen God’s hand at work. There have been people healed unexplainably. There have been people who have received unexpected finances. There have been many things happen that could not be explained with reason or logic except that the Lord had caused these things to happen. I have seen God direct my paths. Every step was in a direction that I wouldn’t have normally taken. In order to allow God to direct your paths, you have to know Him and have to know who He is. That is exactly what He wanted from the children of Israel. He wanted them to know Him and know who He was.
If you don’t know who God is, go to His Word, the Bible, and let Him teach you.
Tomorrow: The Ultimate Plague – Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-36
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