Moses: a well-timed hand

Cover to Cover

Reading: Exodus 8:20-11:10

Focus: Exodus 8:22-24; 9:5-7; 9:13-26

Reading through the Plague narrative, one cannot help but wonder at what it would have been like to go through each event and see a nation ravaged by the hand of God through the sheer power of nature. What would it have been like for the Egyptians subject to the hardened heart of Pharaoh and his officials? Even at the price of the plagues, so unwilling to release, holding onto their slave labour force. What a price to pay…

There is one aspect of the Plagues which gives us a glimpse into God’s heart during this ordeal. God gave Pharaoh numerous opportunities to release His people, having forewarned Pharaoh of the impending dangers. In each plague, God warned Pharaoh of the consequences if he did not release the Israelites. Interestingly, in the plague of the flies, livestock, and hail, God gave Pharaoh a set time before the plague would be released upon the land. In these instances, God told Pharaoh that at an appointed time the plague would be released upon the land. In effect, this gave Pharaoh a grace period in which to consider the cost of his actions. However, Pharaoh’s hardened heart resulted in the death of man and livestock throughout the land of Egypt.

It is in stark contrast to Pharaoh’s dealing with the plague of the frogs where Pharaoh, rather than requesting an immediate removal of the pests, postponed it until the next day. Here, God gave Pharaoh until the next day before the plague was released. Yet, further from God’s grace is God’s ability to act. In each case, God’s ability to release a plague is heightened by the fact that He sets a time and is capable of initiating it at His chosen time.

It is one thing to have the ability to do something, it is entirely different to have the absolute control over time to do something at a precise moment. With such power, there is no room for chance. And God is no god of chance, He is the God of all, all-powerful and all-knowing. The irony for us Christians is that we, so often, question and doubt God’s timing. Or are we like Pharaoh disregarding God’s revelation to us in all His might and power? If we would only trust and be patient, waiting for God to act according to His will in His time.

Next Reading: Exodus 12:1-14:31