Exodus 9: 1-7; 11
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 2 For if you refuse to release them and continue holding them, 3 then the hand of the Lord will surely bring a very terrible plague on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4 But the Lord will distinguish between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing will die of all that the Israelites have. 5 The Lord set an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” 6 And the Lord did this on the next day; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not release the people. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.
“11 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 12 You allowed men to ride over our heads; we passed through fire and water, but you brought us out into a wide open place. 13 I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices; I will fulfill the vows I made to you.”
Throughout time, the story of God’s mighty deliverance of His people from the Egyptians has captivated many. The thing we often forget though, is that deliverance costs. The Israelites suffered along with the Egyptians for the first few plagues and thereafter from the resentment the Egyptians poured out on them as retribution for their own judgment.
The rain falls on the good and bad, and the righteous and unrighteous alike will be tested – with one key difference. The testing by God on one of His children has the potential to yield a bountiful harvest and has eternal purposes. For the unsaved, God is hoping the testing will cause them to turn toward Him, but often testing yields punishment and exasperation for an unbeliever who does not understand the heart of God.
For those who fear the LORD, there is protection and a purpose in all hardship endured under the sun. It makes me smile to consider that the magicians, who were so smug at being able to duplicate God’s miracles initially, then were suddenly covered in boils and recognizing the finger of God. Not enough to repent and recognize their need for salvation, but humbled, nonetheless, in the presence of a Holy God.
God will be glorified in our moments of testing and of victory. Knowing that nothing is in vain in Jesus gives encouragement when the testing seems lengthy. He is at work. Even when it seems like the enemy is advancing, God knows the end.
God is so good in all of His purposes. He longs to bring us to a place of abundance, but not if our character is not prepared first. Of far greater worth is our heart than our comfort, even if it means we suffer for a little while. In due time, we will reap a harvest, and it will be beautiful.
Lord, thank you for patiently loving us and carrying us through life’s adversities and triumphs. We need, You, Lord. Help us to not resist testing but embrace the lessons learned and submit our souls to You in the process.
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