Why is it that some children just love scary stories at bedtime? They can hear one and beg for another, then sleep without a problem. But another kid from the same family would need the lights on all night and be crawling in bed with mom and dad after hearing a scary story. Well, here's a story that you may or may not want to tell your kids before they go to bed – unless you jump ahead to read the happy ending.
How did you react to horror stories when you were a child?
Last week, we asked the question, "What will it take to get Pharaoh to let the nation of Israel go?" Today's text has the answer.
It wasn't a stick that became a snake; water becoming blood; frogs, gnats, flies, or dead livestock. Coal dust that caused boils made Pharaoh's heart harder. The plague of hail, which "left all of Egypt in ruins” (9:25), destroyed everything in the fields – people, animals, and crops alike. Even “all the trees were stripped" (9:25). That caused Pharaoh to send an urgent summons for Moses and Aaron, finally admitting his fault and begging them to ask their God to stop the hail. They asked and God did, but—well, you know what happened. Pharoah changed his mind again.
What are the reasons you think Pharoah was so stubborn in refusing to let the people go?
When God sent locusts, there wasn't much left for them to eat, according to the text, “nothing green remained." Three days of a "deep and terrifying darkness" (10:22) really freaked Pharaoh out, but the LORD hardened his heart once more and he would not let them go. He even threatened to kill Moses if he ever showed up on his doorstep again.
But Moses and Aaron did show up again. This time with the coup de grâce. "I (Yahweh) will pass through Egypt. 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 slave. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die” (11:4-5).
Would Yahweh spare the Israelites from the death sentence he pronounced on Egypt? How? That’s the great story of the Passover in the next chapter.
Did you notice in chapter 10, verse 2 that before Yahweh unleashed his final punishments, he said to Moses and Aaron—almost as an aside— “You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am doing among the Egyptians to prove that I am the LORD"?
We would hope they didn't tell these gruesome tales at bedtime. But, if they did, they could always include the “rest of the story,” the Israelites were spared some of those awful plagues. For example: when God sent the flies, he said, “But it will be very different in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites live. No flies will be found there” (8:22). When it hailed, Scripture tells us: “The only spot in all Egypt without hail that day was the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel lived” (9:26). and during the darkness: “During all that time the people scarcely moved, for they could not see. But there was light where the people of Israel lived”. (10:23).
When you relate these stories, be sure to include the rescue of chapter 12. Tune in tomorrow.
Should Christians today expect to be delivered from God’s judgment upon this sinful world? Why and How?
jbd & gmd
Note: quotations are from the New International Version or The New Living Translation.