God’s Persistence, Sinners’ Resistance
The message God sent to Pharaoh by his prophet Moses throughout these chapters was simple and steady, an unchanging and persistent call that Pharaoh let His people God to serve Him in the wilderness. God’s persistence in warning is met by persistent resistance from Pharaoh.
The signs (that we call plagues) that God sends on Egypt are His response to Pharaoh’s resistence. These signs begin as annoyances and inconveniences, become afflictions and then escalate further into catastrophes. They effect a wider and wider scope, impacting not just on Pharaoh but on the natural environment, the climate, human health, the economy, trees, crops, animals, and people. To complain about the scope of the judgment is to overlook the fact that human resistance to the word of God cannot be met with a judgment that is determined by those human resisters. We like to kid ourselves that we can manage judgment (and so manage God Himself.)
The signs are all with a view to Pharaoh, Egypt and Israel all knowingGod. And knowing God to be the LORD, to whom no one can be compared. There is none like Him. “Great God of wonders, all Thy ways display the attributes divine.” For Pharaoh, the repeated “tomorrow” that gives him time to repent shows that the LORD has no desire for his death, but rather that he would turn from his wickedness and live. “But countless acts of pardoning grace beyond Thy other wonders shine. Who is a pardoning God like Thee, or who has grace so rich and free?”
Pharaoh must have dreaded the new day, wondering if Moses will come with more trouble for him. But the persistent turning up of Moses was the sign of a God who is like the persistent widow in the parable of Jesus – earnestly seeking justice to be done on the earth. If only Pharaoh would open himself to, humble himself before, this holy and gracious God who, through the people He comes to rescue, will bring blessing to the ends of the earth.
Next week: Exodus 11-12