1. There Were Two Purposes for the Judgment
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And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” – Exodus 7:5
…Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. – Exodus 8:10
When you read the story of the Exodus from Egypt there really were two objectives. The big objective which we focus on the most is the deliverance of the Israelites. God used these plagues to soften Pharoah’s heart eventually leading to him letting them go. However, there was another objective that was just as important. God needed to show the Egyptians who he really was.
It was in these plagues that God was making known to the Egyptians that he is the one, true and living God. The plagues were God’s way of getting the attention of the Egyptians. We know the fate of Pharoah and the Egyptian army but what we don’t know is how many of the remaining Egyptians may have turned their hearts towards God after seeing this display of his power.
2. Remorse and Relief from Suffering Does Not Automatically Lead to Repentance
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. – Exodus 8:15
Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.” – Exodus 10:16
There is a pattern that we see in Pharoah’s life. This is not much different then the same type of pattern that happens in many people’s lives. When we experience the consequence of our sinful actions, we may experience remorse and seek relief from suffering.
What we learn from the 10 plagues is that each of them brought suffering with it that was progressively more intense. As the consequences increased so did the need for Pharoah and the Egyptians to seek relief. However, what you notice is once the circumstance was alleviated, everything went back to normal and there was no real repentance.
This is an important lesson to understand for our own lives; relief and remorse don’t always produce repentance. One of the ways you can measure true repentance is what happens when the consequence is finally removed. If you go back to what you were doing before, then there has been no true repentance.
We often see this in our society when great tragedies strike, whether it is on a national scale like 9/11 or in an individual’s personal life. The pain of the moment causes a person to seek relief however once the pain is alleviated and the sting is not as great, they return to business as usual with no real repentance. This was Pharoah’s lot, and this is the lot of many people as well.
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