January 20

Read Exodus 8 -- 10

In Today's Reading:

Plagues of frogs, lice, flies, death of cattle, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness

While God was in the process of delivering the Israelites, the Egyptians suffered through each of the ten plagues, but the plagues did not affect the Hebrews. Even Pharaoh's magicians recognized Who was in control and said to Pharaoh: This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not to them (Exodus 8:19). Following the hail that destroyed all that was in the field, both man and beast. . . . Pharaoh sent . . . for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, I have sinned . . . the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked (9:25,27).

Pharaoh assured Moses that the Israelites could go free the moment the hail ceased. But, again Pharaoh changed his mind and hardened his heart against the will of God. Without a doubt, Pharaoh's heart was hardened each time he decided to reject the Word of God (7:13-14,22; 8:15,19,32; 9:7). But, the time arrived when the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh (9:12).

Eventually, Pharaoh agreed to Moses' request, saying: Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast to the LORD (10:8-9) meaning that everyone from the youngest child to the most elderly person must worship the Lord. However, Pharaoh insisted that the Israelite slaves must worship on his terms. His own advisers withstood him, saying: Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: know you not yet that Egypt is destroyed? (10:7). Disregarding his advisers, Moses and Aaron were driven . . . from Pharaoh's presence (10:8-11)

A person is deceived who believes he can worship the Lord on his own terms. Others who are equally deceived say they will live for Jesus later in life and, like Pharaoh, refuse to give up control of their lives. But there comes a day when the time for repentance is past. God alone decides how long He will be insulted. My Spirit shall not always strive with man (Genesis 6:3; compare Proverbs 1:24-28; Jeremiah 7:16; Hebrews 4:7).

Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loves judgment (justice), and forsakes not His saints (Psalm 37:27-28).

Word Studies:

8:15 respite = an interval of delay; 8:22 sever = set apart; 8:23 put a division = make a distinction; 9:3 grievous murrain = severe pestilence or disease; 9:31 in the ear = ripening; bolled = in the bud; 10:7 snare = endanger.

Christ Revealed:

As a Light to His people. There was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt . . . but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings (Exodus 10:22-23). Jesus said: I am the Light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness (John 8:12). The LORD will lighten my darkness (II Samuel 22:29)

Pray For:

Government Official: Rep. Shelley Berkley (NV) · Country: Lithuania (4 million) eastern coast of Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe · Major languages: Lithuanian and Russian · Limited religious freedom · 80% Roman Catholic; 5% Russian Orthodox; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for forgiveness for particular sins (Psalm 51:1-9).

Optional Reading: Matthew 20

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:5