"I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me." Psalm 30:1
Text: Exodus 9 : 8-12
FURTHER ESCALATION OF THE SEVERITY OF THE PLAGUES
The first two plagues, water to blood and frogs, did not seem to impress Pharaoh very much. This may be partly due to the fact that his magicians seemed to be able to duplicate the feats (Cf. Exodus 7:22; 8:7).
The third plague, lice, baffled the magicians and they were quick to admit that the “finger of God” was involved. They could not produce lice (Cf. Exodus 8:18,19). Unfortunately, Pharaoh had hardened his heart so much, he would not listen to the advice of his court magicians. The fourth plague, flies, bothered Pharaoh so much that he offered Moses a compromise – he would let the children of Israel worship the Lord in the land (Cf. Exodus 8:25,28). He did not keep his word when respite came!
The fifth plague, disease on livestock, took a heavy toll on the animals owned by the Egyptians, but Pharaoh continued to remain obstinate and hardened (Cf. Exodus 9:7). Each of the plagues seemed to be increasingly severe.
The sixth plague, boils, was threatened. This particular plague would create personal hardship on the Egyptians. Would Pharaoh now concede defeat?
“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. 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.”
Simple, ordinary ashes in the hand of God brought about boils! Both man and beast were affected! The magicians were more than bewildered this time! They knew that they had met more than their match!
“And the magicians could not stand before Moses because
of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all
GOD HARDENING THE HEART OF PHARAOH
How should we understand the following text, about God hardening the heart of Pharaoh?
“But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh;
and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.”
Pharaoh had already hardened his heart! God was doing nothing more than maintaining the status quo, because His purposes were not yet fulfilled. God cannot be charged with sin for hardening a heart that has already been hardened!