Today, I am reading and commenting on Exodus 7-9.
At the end of yesterday’s passage when God told Moses to go back to Pharaoh again to ask him to let the Israelites go, Moses complained that he could not do it because he was a bad speaker. Moses believed that he would have to convince Pharaoh by his eloquence. God responded by telling Moses that He would perform miracles to convince Pharaoh, and that Pharaoh would still refuse until God would bring his fist down on Egypt, at which point Pharaoh would beg them to leave. It is important to remember that when God calls and sends us we will not accomplish the task He has given us by our eloquence. It is not our eloquence, or skill, or strength, or cunning, which will accomplish the tasks which God sets before us. Those tasks will be accomplished by the power of God and by nothing else. God gave Moses skills which he used when God sent him to lead His people, but those skills were not what got the job done.
There are two other aspects of this passage I want to point out. The first is the sort of subtle clue that indicates that God is starting to move. When Aaron cast his staff down and it became a snake, Pharaoh’s advisers did the same thing neutralizing the impact of this miracle. But something happened which is the sort of thing for which the observant should watch: Aaron’s snake ate those produced by Pharaoh’s advisers. The other thing I want to note is that at the beginning the passage tells us that Pharaoh’s heart remained hard and/or he became stubborn. Through the first five plagues, Pharaoh had what is called agency. He could have decided to let the God’s people go, but he did not. However, with the sixth plague, God no longer allowed Pharaoh the choice. At that point the passage tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. We all have the choice to do God’s will, but at some point God may choose to no longer give us that choice, at least until He has poured out His full wrath.