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Egypt is unrecognizable. The once-lush fields that were fed by the Nile are left desolate by torrential hail and swarming locusts.
The abundant livestock that roamed the land of Egypt were eradicated by pestilence and disease. And even the Egyptians couldn’t escape the numerous plagues to befall the land, they’ve been found covered in boils and sores.
Somehow as Egypt is rapidly crumbling, the area of Goshen––where my people live––remained unscathed. When the flies started to blanket Egypt, I never once had to reach for my homemade fly swatter. As all of the cattle, horses, flocks, and camels of Egypt died, the livestock of Goshen thrived. I saw many Egyptians with boils and sores covering their body, yet somehow the Hebrews kept their health. When the hail pummeled the ground, destroying everything it touched, Goshen remained isolated and protected. Even during the darkness, light broke through in Goshen.
Moses and Aaron are on a mission to convince Pharaoh to let us Hebrews go in order to serve our God. Moses has become quite a hero to the Hebrews. He hasn’t spoken directly to us since the trouble he created with Pharaoh (you can read about that here), so we’ve come to rely on the information that quickly makes its way back to Goshen. From what I’ve heard, with almost every plague to hit Egypt, Pharaoh attempts to compromise with Moses on letting us go.
After the flies covered Egypt, Pharaoh approached Moses to bargain with him. Pharaoh said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land [of Egypt]”(Exodus 8:25). Moses knew Pharaoh was trying to prevent us from leaving Egypt. So he quickly replied, “It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?” (Exodus 8:26). Moses was right, the sacrifices we would offer to the Lord are considered sacred idols to the Egyptians.
Before the locusts destroyed whatever crop remained after the hail Pharaoh called Moses and gave him permission to let us serve God in the wilderness. However, Pharaoh followed up his statement with the question, “Who are the ones that are going?” (Exodus 10:8). Moses replied, “Everyone is! And all our flocks and herds.” Moses statement angered Pharaoh since he was planning on holding the woman and children as ransom so the Hebrew men would return after serving the Lord in the wilderness.
Finally, after complete darkness fell on the land Egypt, Pharaoh begrudgingly gave Moses permission to let every Hebrew serve God in the wilderness, but their livestock must remain! Moses replied, “Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there” (Exodus 10:26). Pharaoh again denied Moses demands.
The name of our God is beginning to spread among the Egyptians, some are even starting to fear our God. I heard when Moses warned Pharaoh that our God was going to bring damaging hail, many of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the Lord quickly brought in their slaves and livestock from the field.
I was also told that Moses relayed this treasonous message from the Lord to Pharaoh, “Indeed for this reason I have raised you up, in order to show you My power, and that My Name is declared through all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). I’m sure that ruffled the king of Egypt’s feathers.
Pharaoh has remained obstinate to Moses’ wishes, and because of it Egypt is collapsing. Since the plagues started, the once-thriving empire is now economically insolvent with no crop or livestock to survive. Politically Pharaoh is risking his kingdom over some Hebrew slaves, and the Egyptians are spiritually bankrupt know that each one of their god’s was humiliated with each passing plague. Even the magicians in Pharaoh’s court have all but given up on attempting to duplicate the plagues; they admit that these events are “the finger of God” (Exodus 8:18).
God is doing something miraculous by slowly breaking down Pharaoh’s will over us. Pharaoh is playing chicken with God. The question is, who will break first?
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