My daughter is sleeping restlessly so I’m going to get right into it.
God commands Moses and Aaron to approach Pharaoh again. This time, he tells Moses and Aaron that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart. Why? To build up to the final showdown, of course! Exodus 7:3 reads “But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.”
Even today, there are miraculous signs and wonders that God is using to remind us of his power, yet he is being ignored completely. We need to look no further to the climate change that is taking place. Here in Michigan, winters are getting warmer and shorter; summers longer and hotter. We have read stories about fires burning relentlessly, glaciers melting, etc. People wish to blame these kinds of events on manmade issues such as pollution, fossil fuels—although I do believe our tampering with the environment has undoubtedly affected it, I also look at these things, including the tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, and other phenomena as coming from God.
God tells Moses and Aaron that as a result of Pharaoh’s hard heart, he will bring his fist down on the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. I like that statement. Look at what God will do to our enemies if we are faithful. There is no power like God’s power. That is why, even though it took me a long time to get here, that I can honestly say if I ever happened upon the guy who raped me, I would walk right past him. No, I would not strike up a conversation with him and inform him that he was forgiven. I do not think that is necessary. The only one he needs to seek forgiveness from at this point is God. If he were to apologize to me today, it would be small consolation. I have forgiven him and hope that he has not victimized anyone else, but that does not mean I would ever want to have a close encounter with him.
In my class, the Reverend Teacher often talks about the day we go stand before Jesus. A flat-screen television (or possibly an overhead projector screen) is going to come tumbling down, and from the day we were born, we are going to have to account for everything that flashes across that screen. I cringe at the thought of having to take responsibility for some of the things I have done. My major consolation is that that guy, if he is saved, and I believe he claims to be, will have to explain himself to Jesus.
Although it may surprise some, I hope the guy is saved. I hope he believes in Jesus, just as I hope everyone gets to where they believe in Jesus, although I know that is not to happen. I am trying to get it stuck in my head that no matter how much contempt I feel for a person, God still made him or her, and for that reason alone, I should have the compassion to be concerned as to where they will spend eternity. I imagine it grieves God to have even one of his children go to Hell, and for that reason we should be grieved too for the unsaved, even those who refer to Jesus as a fictional character (that is a personal jab at myself, because I have gotten burned up a few times when someone has referred to my Lord in that disrespectful manner).
Back to Exodus!
We find that Moses is 80 years old and Aaron is 83. Up until this passage of Scripture, I for some reason assumed Aaron was younger. Although I do not know if Moses had other older brothers (we do know he has the older sister), it is safe to say that this is another instance where God has allowed the younger brother to obtain a greater position than the older brother. Aaron had obviously been born before Pharaoh schemed to kill all Hebrew boys.
The Lord informs Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh will demand to see a miracle, and that in response, Aaron should throw down his staff, which will in turn become a serpent. Initially, God had told Moses to do this. I kind of wonder why he gave this charge to Aaron—was it because of Moses’ lack of confidence. Regardless, the brothers go before Pharaoh and do as told. The staff becomes a serpent, but Pharaoh is unmoved. He calls in the sorcerers of the land, and they are able to replicate the miracle. However, Aaron’s serpent-staff swallows up the others. Even after seeing one serpent-staff eat several others, Pharaoh’s heart is still hardened. God has other fun things planned.
Here come the plagues. The Lord tells Moses that he is to meet up with Pharaoh as he goes to the Nile River in the morning. Recall that the Nile was treated like a god by the Egyptians, as it supplied life through the water it provided. Pharaoh could have been going there to bathe, or perhaps he was going there to worship in some way. Either way it goes, God tells Moses to take along the staff-serpent from the previous encounter and again request that Pharaoh allow the Israelites to go and worship in the wilderness. Once the request is denied, Moses is to strike the Nile with his staff, and its plentiful waters will turn into blood. (GROSS!)
Exodus 7:17-20 reads:
“So this is what the Lord says: “I will show you that I am the Lord.” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.
Then the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and raise your hand over the waters of Egypt—all its rivers, canals, ponds, and all the reservoirs. Turn all the water to blood. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn to blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots.’”
Moses and Aaron oblige, and everything goes exactly as God has said it would. (The very thought of a bloody river almost makes my stomach turn). There is special significance here. I hate to be repetitive, but here it is again—the Nile was considered a source of life in Egypt, an object of great reverence.
(BABY IS AWAKE AGAIN!!!!!)