In our study of Exodus chapter nine, we look at the fact that God gives each of us a chance to believe His words.
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Then ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go to Pharaoh, and tell him, 'Here is what ADONAI, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, so that they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go and persist in holding on to them, the hand of ADONAI is on your livestock in the field - on the horses, donkeys, camels, cattle and flocks -and will make them suffer a devastating illness. But ADONAI will distinguish between Egypt's and Isra'el's livestock - nothing belonging to the people of Isra'el will die."'"
Pharaoh is warned again and reminded that the plague will not affect the people of God. The Egyptians used many types of animals in their pagan worship including a black bull named Apis and, once again, Pharaoh is being given the chance to surrender to the one true God.
ADONAI determined the exact time by saying, "Tomorrow ADONAI will do this in the land." The following day, ADONAI did it - all the livestock of Egypt died; but not one of the animals belonging to the people of Isra'el died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the people of Isra'el had died. Nevertheless, Pharaoh's heart remained stubborn, and he didn't let the people go.
Even after seeing the fact that there was a difference between God's people and the Egyptians, Pharaoh still would not surrender. That reminds us that a Christian testimony is powerful but it is only the power of God that can change a heart.
ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, "Take handfuls of ashes from a kiln, and let Moshe throw them in the air before Pharaoh's eyes. They will turn into fine dust over all the land of Egypt and become infected sores on men and animals throughout Egypt."
With Pharaoh's refusal, the next plague is executed without further warning. Up to this point, the judgments had to do with external possessions and, although they had a cost, nothing gets your attention like physical affliction.
So they took ashes from a kiln, stood in front of Pharaoh and threw them in the air; and they became infected sores on men and animals. The magicians couldn't even stand in Moshe's presence because of the sores, which were on them as well as on the other Egyptians. But ADONAI made Pharaoh hardhearted, so that he didn't listen to them -just as ADONAI had said to Moshe.
The boils were a burning abscess that affected the entire body and affected the knees and legs to where the magicians could not even stand. Even though the plagues had started to affect the people directly, Pharaoh was still too proud to accept the will of God.
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, 'Here is what ADONAI says: "Let my people go, so that they can worship me. For this time, I will inflict my plagues on you, yourself, and on your officials and your people; so that you will realize that I am without equal in all the earth.
Pharaoh is given another warning but this one is much stronger. In the original Hebrew, it says that "all" of God's plagues will be sent. With all that they had seen, it is hard to imagine what the "all" would have meant to them. God says that the purpose of these plagues is so that Pharaoh and all the others could see that there was no one like Him. They were used to having all sorts of gods but were being put on notice that there was none other than God.
By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with such severe plagues that you would have been wiped off the earth. But it is for this very reason that I have kept you alive - to show you my power, and so that my name may resound throughout the whole earth.
Pharaoh is reminded of the fact that God could have destroyed him and his people with a single act. Instead, He has used them as a demonstration of His power to glorify His name. The same thing is true for us before we accept Jesus Christ. God would have been just to wipe us off the earth but He demonstrates His mercy to Glorify His name.
Since you are still setting yourself up against my people and not letting them go, tomorrow, about this time, I will cause a hailstorm so heavy that Egypt has had nothing like it from the day it was founded until now. Therefore, send and hurry to bring indoors all your livestock and everything else you have in the field. For hail will fall on every human being and animal left in the field that hasn't been brought home, and they will die."'"
The warning to Pharaoh continues and we see that he and all of the people of Egypt are given a choice. They can either believe God and bring in their livestock or they can choose to doubt and let them die. There is no middle ground and each one had to make their own decision. This was a picture of the fact that God was going to deal with people on an individual basis for salvation. We also see that this salvation was going to be extended to Gentiles as well as to the Jewish people. It is an individual decision to accept the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and the payment for our sins. If we do not enter into the shelter of that faith, we will all face death.
Whoever among Pharaoh's servants feared what ADONAI had said had his slaves and livestock escape into the houses; but those who had no regard for what ADONAI had said left their slaves and livestock in the field.
We see from this passage that some of the Egyptians believed the word of God and brought in their slaves and livestock while others refused. We are reminded that this was not an uninformed decision as they had the examples of the plagues that had already passed. This is a picture of what will happen in the last days. There will be all kinds of plagues and they will be visible to all. Each person will have to decide if they believe the word of God or not. Those that do can take shelter in Jesus while those that do not will be judged and the sentence will be death.
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Reach out your hand toward the sky, so that there will be hail in all the land of Egypt, falling on people, animals and everything growing in the field, throughout the land of Egypt." Moshe reached out with his staff toward the sky, and ADONAI sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. ADONAI caused it to hail on the land of Egypt - it hailed, and fire flashed up with the hail; it was terrible, worse than any hailstorm in all of Egypt since it became a nation. Throughout all the land of Egypt, the hail struck everything in the field, people and animals; and the hail struck every plant growing in the field and broke every tree there. But in the land of Goshen, where the people of Isra'el were, there was no hail.
So, the Lord used Moshe to bring about the worst storm in the history of Egypt. It affected the entire country except for the land where the Israelites lived. This is a reminder that God makes a clear distinction between His people and the world at large.
Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aharon and said to them, "This time I have sinned: ADONAI is in the right; I and my people are in the wrong. Intercede with ADONAI - we can't take any more of this terrible thunder and hail; and I will let you go, you will stay no longer."
It appears that Pharaoh has "seen the light" and is repenting as he calls Moshe and Aharon. Many will call out to the Lord or have someone else pray for them when they are in the middle of a tough situation.
Moshe said to him, "As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to ADONAI; the thunder will end, and there won't be any more hail - so that you can know that the earth belongs to ADONAI. But you and your servants, I know you still won't fear ADONAI, God."
Pharaoh wanted to be saved and even confessed that he was wrong but was not willing to repent. Moses recognized that as he agreed to pray for him and we see that repentance only comes from godly fear.
The flax and barley were ruined, because the barley was ripe and the flax in bud. But the wheat and buckwheat were not ruined, because they come up later.
The plague of hail was severe but it did not completely ruin all of the crops. This is a picture of God's divine mercy as He could have destroyed all of the plants and animals but He did not. We will see this pattern again as described by John in the Book of Revelation at chapter 8. We are also reminded that this, in fact, is a limited period of mercy on this earth. There is a final judgment where all will stand and answer but, as we see here, it is when the time is ripe.
Moshe went out of the city, away from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to ADONAI. The thunder and hail ended, and the rain stopped pouring down on the earth.
Once again, Moshe prayed for the Lord to extend His mercy to Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. Once again, the Lord answered the prayers of Moshe and the plague came to an end. In Revelation, we see a reversal of this prayer as the martyred saints plead for God's judgment upon the earth.
When Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail and thunder had ended, he sinned still more by making himself hardhearted, he and his servants. Pharaoh was made hardhearted, and he didn't let the people of Isra'el go, just as ADONAI had said through Moshe.
Yet again, Pharaoh's true heart was revealed when the plague ended. There had not been a change of mind and so there would be no change in the course of action which is a sign of true repentance.