Pharaoh almost broke when Jehovah sent swarms of biting insects upon Egypt but not upon Israel. Moses, weary of dealing with Pharaoh, let Egypt suffer one more day before he asked Jehovah to remove the flies. When the misery left, Pharaoh buried the heavy weight of truth and returned to the status quo. He refused to grant Israel religious freedom.
Pharaoh knows Jehovah appeared to Moses. Pharaoh knows Jehovah is Lord and there is no one like him. Pharaoh knows there is no one like Jehovah in Egypt, but Pharaoh doesn’t know that there is no one like Jehovah in all the earth, so Jehovah sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh with Lesson #5:
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep — a very severe pestilence. 4 And the Lord will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.”‘” 5 Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”
This is the first miracle that was anything more than a major irritating nuisance. The serpent harmed no one; it only swallowed Egypt’s serpents. During the plague of blood, the Egyptians were able to dig around the river for water to drink. The frogs made the land stink. The lice made them itch and the flies made everything filthy. All Pharaoh had to do was let Israel worship their God and the misery would stop, but he refused. The longer you resist God’s mercy, the closer you come to death.
During the last miracle, Jehovah made a difference between his people and Pharaoh’s people. The flies swarmed on the Egyptians but not on Israel. From that point on, Israel and everything they owned remained separate. The livestock of Egypt died but not one cow that belonged to Israel was affected by the pestilence.
6 So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. 7 Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
Everything Jehovah said to Pharaoh happened when and how Jehovah said it would. The next day, the Egyptian’s livestock became ill and died. Pharaoh sent his servants to see if Israel’s livestock was affected. They returned to Pharaoh with one more reason that everything Pharaoh had learned about Jehovah was true. Not even one of Israel’s livestock had died.
When Pharaoh heard the truth, he resisted Jehovah’s effort to heal his heart. How much evidence did Pharaoh need? How many reasons to believe? Even though Jehovah’s goodness led Pharaoh to the truth, so he could repent, Pharaoh continued to resist Jehovah’s demand for religious freedom. Pharaoh treasured up one reason after another that would justify Jehovah when he had no other option but to kill Pharaoh. Who did Pharaoh think he was dealing with? Did he think Jehovah could kill animals and not men? When Jehovah saw Pharaoh harden his heart, he acted quickly to give Pharaoh another reason to believe.
8 So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10 Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.
If Pharaoh thought he was untouchable he was wrong. Up to now Jehovah had only been a nuisance, but now death was creeping into the land. The boils that erupted on the Egyptians proved Jehovah could have killed them, but he chose to kill animals instead. Jehovah is not willing that any should perish even Pharaoh’s who know the truth and refuse to obey.
Jehovah is doing everything possible to cure Pharaoh’s heart, but no matter what Jehovah does, no matter how much evidence he gives Pharaoh to believe, no matter how many reasons Pharaoh has to obey, he refuses to listen.
There is not much Jehovah can do about the Pharaoh’s in this world without losing us until we know what Jehovah knows. There are some people, and fallen angels who are who they want to be, and they will not change. They don’t care if their decisions bring stench, frogs, lice, filth and disease into our lives. They know if they let us worship God according to our own conscience, they can no longer control us and then they will lose the power that we give them. They don’t care about us. They only care about power, position and control. They know the truth but they don’t want us to know the truth. They won’t let us worship God in any way except the way they dictate.
Since Pharaoh refused to hear and understand the voice of God’s actions, God sent Moses with a clear easy to understand message.
Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. 17 As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.
Jehovah could have killed Pharaoh the first day he came to Egypt, but he didn’t. He could have killed all the Egyptians too, but he didn’t. God never demanded Pharaoh to worship him. God did not interfere in the religious practices of Egypt. He only demanded Pharaoh to let Israel travel three days into the desert, where the Egyptians could not see and would not hear Israel worship their God. Why did the shepherd of Egypt find this an unreasonable request.
Why didn’t Jehovah just kill Pharaoh and anyone who got in his way the first day? Why did Moses have to repeatedly confront Pharaoh for exalting himself above God’s people and making them slaves to his religious convictions? Why did everyone have to live in misery until Pharaoh gave Israel permission to leave?
I’ll tell you why. Israel loved Pharaoh. If God kills Pharaoh, we will never let go of Pharaoh. We must understand who Pharaoh really is before we will be free to love a God who loves us.
Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. 19 Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.”‘”
In verse 14 Jehovah stated the purpose of the plague was to teach Pharaoh that there is no one like Jehovah in all the earth. Who treats their enemy like Jehovah treated Pharaoh? Yes, Jehovah sent death, but he also made a way of escape. No one had to die in Jehovah’s judgment. Jehovah not only told his enemy death was coming, he told them what time – “about this time tomorrow.” Jehovah is not willing that any should perish even hard hearted Pharaohs and the fools that continue to follow them when it is so obvious they are not worthy of our support.
Pharaoh was considered a God in Egypt. One command from his lips would have spared everyone, but he refused to heed Jehovah’s warning no matter what it costs the Egyptians. The Egyptians who feared Jehovah stayed in their homes and lived. The Egyptians who did not fear Jehovah left their servants and livestock in the field to die.
The next day, Jehovah sent fire mingled with hail heavy enough to kill men and animals. From the safety of his palace Pharaoh watched his servants running to escape death, one after another struck down, their innocent blood soaking the ground. Pharaoh knew he could have prevented this, and he finally broke under the weight of truth.
27 And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.
The burden of truth Pharaoh hid in his heart finally poured from his lips, for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The truth Pharaoh sought to ignore could be ignored no more. Pharaoh knows he sinned. He knows Jehovah is righteous and he knows that he and those who support him are wicked. Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to pray the mighty thundering and hail would stop.
28 Entreat the Lord, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s.
Moses did not wait until tomorrow to pray this time. He prayed as soon as he was outside the city. He also made it clear that Pharaoh would know the earth is the Lord’s when the thunder and hail ceased.
Jehovah sends the storm and Jehovah calms the storm. His power is his mercy, his willingness to spare us from the judgment we deserve. Pharaoh knew the earth was the Lord’s when God calmed the storm just because he asked him to.
As God patiently educated Pharaoh, Moses also gained some knowledge.
30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the Lord God.”
Moses finally learned what Jehovah knew from the beginning. Fearing God is our choice and there are some people and fallen angels who will never fear God. They know who they are and they know who Jehovah is yet there is no amount of love and mercy that will ever change them. They will look us in the eye and admit they are sinners, admit Jehovah is righteous and admit they are wicked yet they still refuse to fear him. Not because they can’t, they don’t want to. It’s their want to and they can do whatever they want to, but so can Jehovah.
There are consequences to choices we make in life. Those who know the truth about Jehovah and refuse to obey him will not spend an eternity with us. Jehovah endures them, because if we don’t know what Jehovah and Moses know, Jehovah might lose us forever too.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses.
Pharaoh took the strength God gave him to believe and turned it into stubbornness. It’s not enough to admit we are sinners and God is righteous. We have to change our ways. As soon as the misery was gone, so was Pharaoh’s desire to relinquish his control over Israel.