Day 8

Pharaoh’s Resistance to God

from the Exodus reading plan


Exodus 9:13-35, Exodus 10:1-20, Romans 9:14-24

BY Melanie Rainer

One of the biggest fights my husband and I have ever had was over a bug. 

Not just any bug, but a big fat bumblebee. We were driving the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, North Carolina, after a day of hiking waterfalls with his brother. Mountains all around, crisp air, blue skies. It was nearly perfect—until a bumblebee flew up from under my seat, and I started shrieking. “Pull over right now!” I shouted, as he kept driving. 

Realistically, there was nowhere to pull over. We were driving winding mountain roads with no shoulder. I was panicking, and there was nothing he could do (except match my pitch and yell at me to calm down). Finally, a scenic overlook saved us. But my nerves were shot, and my brother-in-law had witnessed a “real marriage moment.” 

I can’t read Exodus 7 and 8 without cringing. Frogs, gnats, flies, and a river of blood just sound gross. This is one of those passages that I try to skim over without putting myself in the scene: piles of dead frogs that filled the land with stench, and then “all the dust of the earth became gnats” (Exodus 8:17). Is your skin crawling? Mine is. 

The panic I felt driving down that mountain road, while feeling hunted by a hungry bumblebee, was probably nothing compared to the terror of being swarmed by flies, gnats, and frogs. In these pages from Exodus, Pharaoh goes back and forth in his response to God, who pulls back the plagues, hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and then sends an even worse plague. Sometimes the plagues are universal, affecting the Israelites in tandem with the Egyptians. Others, like the swarms of flies, are directed only at the Egyptians, while sparing the Israelites as only God can do. 

The Egyptians believed that their gods controlled the very things that God commanded in the plagues. During the first three plagues, the magicians of Egypt call upon their gods to mimic what Moses and Aaron were doing. During the plague of the gnats, the magicians could not replicate the work of God. “For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3). There is none like Him (Psalm 86:8). 

The meta-narrative of Exodus reveals God’s character to His people: He “is compassionate and gracious…slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” (Exodus 34:6–7). The plagues serve to pull back and reveal another aspect of God’s character. He demonstrates His authority over the earth, over the plants and animals, over His people, over all things. 

Eventually, the plagues work; Pharaoh relents, and the Israelites are freed. God has rescued His people, but He has also shown them that He can be trusted, that He is in their corner, and that He has all authority in heaven and earth. 

Hundreds of years later, God would come to earth as a man and again reveal His authority through a series of miracles—calming the sea, healing the sick, raising the dead—that showed His people and the watching world that He alone is God. We can still sit in awe of His power today.

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Pharaoh’s Resistance to God"

  1. Nancy says:

    Hello all!

    Thank you for taking time to answer my question regarding Pharoah’s heart and God’s response.
    I truly value your feedback! ❤️

  2. Annelyn P says:

    Praying for you during this difficult time, Kerry Rowley.

  3. Kimberly Ziehl says:

    @GramsieSue so glad to hear this! In a dark world little wins like you’ve seen with your grandson are such an awesome moment.

  4. Pam S says:

    So thrilled for you, GramieSue. Praying to make the family whole!

  5. Marilyn Jones says:

    Just my opinion, but everything was destroyed. The wheat and spelt were not destroyed. I believe that’s because God knew they would need them for Passover.

  6. Jennifer Prutch says:

    That is so great! ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Rhonda J. says:

    @JLJ- I love that, such a good word. Our choices matter and lead down one road or another. I feel we are losing our kids to the roads of the world, and it saddens me, and more, for my own child makes me riddled with worry.

    I agree, we cry out for God to stop the plagues of life that come our way, then quickly forget when things are well. We literally have to be slapped on the head over and over through our walk with the Lord, But God- if we are turned to Him, He is patient, then it will work out for us. Otherwise, we are lost to the world with hardened hearts. I pray for those loved ones with hardened hearts, or even wondering hearts. Thank you for your mercy Heavenly Father, let us never forget. Let us keep preaching to our kids and grandkids, showing love to all that are lost, and pray for these.

    @Heidi- Good to see you! Missed your comments.

  8. Mercy says:

    @Angie Mills, thank you for your detailed observation. It sheds light and wisdom for me to reflect on certain relationships today. Reading what you wrote brought to my mind this verse, “How can two walk together unless they are agreed”. Appreciate what you shared!

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