Exodus Devotional | Pharaoh's False Repentance - The Plagues: Part 1, Day 3
Updated: Mar 26
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Exodus The Plagues, Part 1, Day 3
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord's. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses. (Exodus 9:27-35)
Blood. Flies. Boils. Hail. Darkness. Death. For the Egyptians, the world is coming to an end and all their idolatrous gods are silent and powerless to explain it to them. Can you imagine yourself in their sort of position? Crying out to God or whoever is in charge, willing to do or say anything, just as long it relents and saves you from the calamity? I know you’ve been there. We all have.
Didn’t study enough for a test and now you’re hoping fervent prayer will overcome the power of futile, foolish Netflix-binging. Haven’t prayed or read your Bible in days (weeks? months?) and now you’re speeding to the emergency room, hoping God will listen to you as you pray for your friend. You’ve been caught in a terrible sin—maybe a long-term one—and now all the humiliation and the consequences are stirring up all sorts of tears and promises.
By Exodus 9, seven plagues have fallen upon the Egyptians, each worse than the last one. The Isrealites, living in the land of Goshen have been spared the plagues directly since number three (the gnats)...but they haven’t really been fully in the clear. Remember, they do live under and in the Egyptian society and economy. While the Lord may not have struck down their livestock, he decimated those of the Egyptian economy. You have to believe that there may have been at least some Hebrews who knew Egyptians that they cared for who were now suffering. Plead to your god, Yahweh, the letter from your Egyptian friend says. Plead to him for me and my wife. My son’s flesh is scarred horribly from the skin lesions, my daughter is sick with infection because of all the dead animals around us. Plead to your God for us--this new plague of darkness is terrifying. I can barely see by torchlight to write this.
I want you to see that, in his goodness . . . in his common grace, God does relent each time Pharaoh pleads with Moses. But it’s not for Pharaoh’s or his servants’ (read, his cohorts, governors, etc) sake. God is showing mercy to the people of Egypt, even though they don’t know him. He’s making himself known and they’re finding the introduction painful and terrifying.
But, God sees through Pharaoh’s fake contrition—his false confession and repentance. God causes Moses to see through it, as well, and call him out on it. When God relents, you think it’ll get better, but it won’t . . . because you haven’t changed. You’ll still be the same person and the core problem is still there.
Everyone seems to think that circumstance change is what will finally make their lives peaceful. Everyone’s waiting to win the lottery so they can start being generous. But the person you are at three-hundred dollars is the same person you’ll be at thirty-million. Pharaoh will say or do anything he can to get God to change his course of action when it’s not God who needs to change, but Pharaoh himself. And sadly, not only will an entire nation will suffer for it . . . so will his own son.
1. Have you ever found yourself saying or doing whatever you could, just to get out of trouble, even if it meant lying to say you're sorry? Ever made false promises about being better?
2. What’s going to have to be the difference between those false times and a transformative true time? What “plagues” can you see God has clearly sent to bring you to your knees you can kindly and mercifully be changed—in a true way, and not a “Pharaoh way?”
3. As Christians, the greatest plague God sends is the one we’ll be spared (drinking from the cup of death and eternal damnation). This is the closest to Hell we’ll ever be! But for your lost friends and family, unless God does something, this is the closest to Heaven they’ll ever get...each pain and catastrophe and world event is just a preview of eternity. Like the Israelite receiving that letter from their Egyptian friend, how will you pray for and respond to your unbelieving loved ones?