“Exposing the Exodus”
Educating Pharaoh – (Chapter 9 Verses 8-12)
The rest of this chapter deals with the seventh plague, the storm of hail. You may recall how we said these plagues were divided up, three threes and then the last one, totalling ten. This is the first of the last three. The previous ones were indicative of the natural state of man. The flies breeding filth, uncleanness. The defilement of sin. Then the boils the inner impurities that issue in all kinds of immoral diseases. The prophet graphically pictures this universal human condition, “from the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil” (Isaiah 1:6). Satan’s agents, the magicians are now gone. And all who would seek to make war against God would do well to take note of that. Pharaoh’s question has not been ignored, “who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice” (5:2)? He is being systematically taught the answer to that question. It’s like the Lord’s response to that question is, “hey, let me introduce myself to you.” This is the God who sees, tries the thoughts and intentions of all men (Hebrews 4:12-13). God has neither been harsh nor impatient with Pharaoh. For God’s, “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived” (Romans 1:20), by Pharaoh. And now he is hit with greater severity than ever. The previous plagues came out of the river and out of the land. This one comes down from the heavenward direction. Here is a perfect example of a man who died in his sin, but with a knowledge of God. But then so too do all men who like Pharaoh suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). So Pharaoh knew God and that experimentally but it wasn’t to his benefit, on the contrary. But God’s dealings with Pharaoh would benefit others, and do so right down to this day (v16). What would the outcome be if there had just been one plague? People would just write it off, a natural disaster, they happen all the time, nothing unusual. But ten plagues, one after the other and increasing each time in severity? It’s almost as though the Almighty is saying Pharaoh here, listen to me, people will still be talking about you and your obduracy until the end of the age (v16). And the whole earth will know that I Pharaoh, I, am God, and not you.
The truth about God Pharaoh will know further (v14). It would seem that the truth about their king, their gods so-called is beginning to dawn on many (v20). Are they beginning to see the futility of their idolatry and maybe at least catching something of the uniqueness of God? How long will it take do you think and what will God have to do to bring back an awareness of himself and his uniqueness to the West? How long before people begin to realise the gods of the West are failing them too? Are the some of the Egyptians beginning to realise they’re fighting omnipotence here (v17)? The testimony of God is the testimony of the impotence of men’s idols. Egypt’s and everyone else’s. There are two responses here to the word of the Lord (v20-21). You see the revelations of God’s wrath just as much the world over today (Romans 1:18). The judgments of God against Pharaoh and Egypt start and stop at God’s behest (v22). The power of all creation, plants, trees, animals, birds, and insects, all creatures are under his control. He creates and destroys. But here is something very heartening in all this, the world of God, even in the grim setting of Egypt and defiant paganism is being made effective (Isaiah 55:11). Perhaps it was the exemption in Goshen that made people think? Before God strikes the loud voice of his wrath, i.e., divine anger is sounded. The thunder of his voice is as clear the world over today. May it be heard and recognised by many for what is and cause many to fly into the arms of Jesus Christ. The only Saviour, that people maybe “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)