13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. 18 Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place; every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.’” 20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place. 21 Those who did not regard the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the open field. Exodus 9:13-21 (IEB)
Here we see further deepening of the distinction between the plagues that affect the Egyptians who hardened their hearts, and the faithful Israelites and faithful Egyptians who heed the warnings.
Boils appeared on cattle and humans who did not listen to the warnings of Moses and Aaron. Hail fell on livestock and slaves left in fields by unmerciful and unrelenting slavemasters. People suffered because of the hardened hearts of the faithless.
Do people suffer around you because of your lack of faith?
God of all creation, you make your power known so we may see and believe. Please soften our hearts by your gracious love–we don’t want to have hard hearts like Pharaoh. Please show us your presence without killing us! It seems when people asked to see your glory or they didn’t ask, they were shown powerful, overwhelming things. We don’t know what to pray for, but it seems the point of this story is that your name, your power, your fame is to be known by all creation, that we would not try to stand in the way, as if we could.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg’s wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.