One of the things I notice about Pharaoh is that he is like that friend of yours. You know the one. Everyone has a friend who experiences who experiences frogs, locusts, boils, and hail, repeatedly. It turns out that having that friend could a living lesson on grace for you!
6 All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. 7 Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go…
10 Festering boils broke out on people and animals. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.
25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. 26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
13 By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
Exodus 9:6-7, 10-12, 25-26, 10:13-14, 16
At every turn, these friends realize that they need to change their ways, yet after you counsel and pray and support them, they turn back again to their own ways.
Just like Pharoah… he gets Moses and Aaron to pray for him again and again with every plague – ask God to take it away from me… and then I’ll go back to my old ways. After a while you get tired of praying that prayer for the hard-hearted, don’t you?
I think we need to keep our minds focused on the sovereignty of God. He knows. He knows. And he is able to change that heart in the blink of an eye. Yet sometimes his patience with the Pharaoh’s and wayward friends of the world is for a more powerful and long-term life-change. Sometimes it’s to more powerfully glorify God through the process and the outcomes.
And sometimes it’s about you and me…
That”s right. Because we consistently and cold-heartedly apply less grace and more judgement to others while we excuse and explain our own behaviour. All the while, in different ways, God is showing us the same forbearance he is showing Pharaoh here.
God is very, very patience with us. If he responded to us as we would like to respond to others, we would be eaten by frogs and locusts before sunset. Remember that.
We have been given much grace.
Pay that grace forward,
And let God be God.
He will be…