Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekly Bible Devotional: Feb 28 - Mar 6

February 28th
Text: Exodus 5:1-31

Moses and Aaron make their first appeal to Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go and
worship God in the wilderness. I am sure they entered this meeting with confidence, but things
really turned for the worse rather quickly. Pharaoh not only says he does not know the Hebrew’s
God, but that he won’t obey Him or recognize Him. Additionally, Pharaoh takes Moses and
Aaron’s request as a sign that the children of Israel are being idle. So, he demands that they
make bricks without being given any straw. The Israelites now have to find straw and make
bricks and they have to make the same number as before.

How could things turn so bad so quickly? Moses is frustrated and asks God this same thing
at the end of the chapter. Notice that Moses actually recognizes God’s sovereignty over this
situation and realizes that God has allowed this situation to develop. He has allowed Pharaoh to
treat the people harshly. God could have kept Pharaoh from taking these harsh actions against
the Israelites. God could have delivered the people from Egypt.

Moses, in frustration, asks God the questions, “Why am I here? Why did you send me?” There
are times in your walk with God that you too may get frustrated because you do not understand
why things happen in your life. In Moses’ situation, God has a greater work He wants to do
in Egypt and with the children of Israel. Moses does not understand this greater picture, even
though God has told Moses that Pharaoh will not respond well. It is hard to be patient with
God’s timing of events, but it is something that we all need to learn. If Moses, who talked with
God, had to learn this lesson of patience, then you and I need to learn this as well. Trust God in
your life realizing that He is over even the difficult situations you face.

March 1st
Reading: Exodus 6:1-30

This chapter is a continuation of the conversation the Lord is having with Moses. The last
chapter ended with Moses complaining to God that he did what God said and went to Pharaoh
and matters have only become worse. Pharaoh is being harder on the people than before, the
people won’t listen to Moses, and Moses can’t understand why God hasn’t delivered them from

To these complaints from Moses, God tells him these things:

1) I will cause Pharaoh to release Israel from Egypt
2) I am the God that spoke to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
3) I have told you my name – JEHOVAH – that is greater than any name your fathers
knew me by.
4) I have remembered my covenant with the children of Israel to give them the land of
5) I have heard the groaning of the Children Israel and I will respond.

Moses must have been one frustrated person. He obeys God and speaks to Pharaoh, who does
not listen to him. He is reassured by God that the Lord is going to free Israel. So, he goes to the
Israelites and, now, they won’t listen to him. And, God wants him to go back to Pharaoh. Moses
is probably feeling like a ping-pong ball right now.

We, too, can get in frustrating situations where we know we are doing what the Lord wants us to
do, but the results aren’t what we expect. Just like Moses is needing to do, we need to listen to
God and not be controlled by the circumstances around us. God has given Moses His Word. He
has given Moses wonderful promises, some of them I listed above. Moses needs to hold onto the
promises of God. That is what will sustain him through this trial.

As you read through your Bible you will read about some wonderful promises that God has
given for all who are Christians. Like Moses, we need to hold onto God’s promises when we
face difficult situations. Faith in what God has said will be the greatest strength any person can
draw upon to endure every trial.

March 2nd
Reading: Exodus 7:1-25

Though Moses is feeling helpless and inadequate, he and Aaron make the right decision.
They listen to the Lord and obey Him. Twice in this chapter it says, “And Moses and Aaron did
as the Lord commanded them” (vss. 6, 20). Even though they were disillusioned with all that
was around them, they wisely listened to God and submitted to His will for their lives.

It is going to be a long, hard road for Moses to travel as he deals with Pharaoh. But, as you read

about it, I want you to pay close attention to Moses’ character and confidence. We have seen
him face Pharaoh three times. Before the first meeting, Moses was very reluctant to go and
simply made his request, was rejected, and left. After that meeting, he complained to God and
talked all about his inadequacies.

In this chapter, he had two more meetings with Pharaoh. He obeyed God and God performed
some miracles through Moses. However, the Egyptian magicians copied these miracles and
Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. But, we don’t read of Moses complaining and he and Aaron
appear to be gaining confidence. This is what a steadfast faith in God and His promises can
bring in your life as well. God will build you up as you put your faith in Him.

March 3rd
Reading: Exodus 8:1-32

In this chapter, we see Moses going back before Pharaoh a number of times. There are no
more signs of Moses being timid or of him complaining. He has completely submitted to God’s
plan and purposes and, so, he willingly goes to Pharaoh again and again. Moses does this even
though he knows that Pharaoh will likely harden his heart again and again.

God’s hand is in all this and He has His purposes for why Pharaoh’s heart continues to harden
through all these plagues. He told Moses in verse 5 of chapter 7 that he will do these great
miracles of plagues so that “the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” In this chapter he tells
Moses that he will not allow any of the plague of flies to affect the Israelites in Goshen because
he wants Moses to know “I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.”

We now read these stories from ancient history for the same reason. They teach us that the Lord
of Scripture is the Lord God of all the earth. What a powerful God He is, that He could bring
forth such great plagues upon the Egyptians. If you know the story of the plagues in Egypt then
you know there are even greater miraculous things to come. If you do not know this story, then,
in the words of that familiar saying, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

March 4th
Reading: Exodus 9:1-35

Moses has increased greatly in his boldness. He has been going repeatedly before Pharaoh
and declared what God will do. In this chapter God has brought pestilence upon the cattle, boils
upon man and animals, and a great hail storm with ground fire. In this last plague Moses even
warned Pharaoh that the people should bring their animals and servants in from the field or they
would die.

Things are changing some in Egypt. Some of the Egyptians, including servants of Pharaoh, are
not willing to stand in defiance of Moses and the Hebrew God. In verse 20 we read that those
among the servants of Pharaoh that feared the word of the Lord brought their cattle and servants
into shelter. But, the very next verse speaks of those that refused to heed what Moses said and

caused their cattle and servants to remain in the fields. Then we read in verse 25 how those that
remained in the field were killed by the hail.

Though there is change among some of the Egyptians, there is no change in the heart of Pharaoh.
The Lord has hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh has hardened his own heart. All this is being
done for God’s purposes and for His glory. As Moses tells Pharaoh in verse 14, these things are
being done so all would know that there is no one and no thing in all the earth like the True Lord
God. Do you believe that today?

March 5th
Reading: Exodus 10:1-29

The battle continues to rage – Moses vs. Pharaoh, or, so it seems to most people in Egypt.
But, there is something much greater going on as the Lord God directs all these events. The
greater picture is given to us in the first verses of this chapter. Here we read the reasons for God
continuing to harden Pharaoh’s heart and the hearts of his servants. There are three reasons:

1) God wants to demonstrate His power before Pharaoh
2) He wants Moses and the children of Israel to be able to tell their children and grand
children about the wonderful things God is doing in Egypt
3) The ultimate reason is so that the children of Israel would all know and believe that He
is the One True God.

Just as we are finding out here, God has greater purposes in all that He does than what seems
to be the immediate purposes at hand. Moses has come to learn this. Remember when he first
encountered Pharaoh and things didn’t go his way? Moses was ready to quit and question God’s
actions (or, inactions, since the children of Israel were not released). But, now, Moses is seeing
things more from God’s vantage point. He understands that God’s purposes are beyond the
immediate. He understands that God’s design is not only for the Egyptians to learn of His power
and the children of Israel to learn of His greatness, but it is for generations to come. God not
only wants those Israelites held captive in Egypt at that time to come to know Him in all His
greatness, but He wants their children and all their descendent to know Him as well. And, since
He has preserved these stories in the Bible, we can say that He wants you and me, who are living
thousands of years after these events happened, to know Him in His greatness and power also.

These stories are for us as well. The God of the Hebrews, that is bringing all these plagues upon
the Egyptians in preparation to free the Hebrew people, is the same God who governs the world
today. He is Lord of all the earth.

March 6th
Reading: Exodus 11:1-10; 12:1-17

The last and final plague that the Lord is to bring upon Egypt is announced in this section.
It will be the killing of all of the firstborn in the land of both men and of animals. In one night,

at about midnight, the Lord will go through the land of Egypt and carryout this plague in the
land. Pharaoh has been warned, but the Lord hardens his heart and he will not let the children of
Israel go. The Lord did this, the Scripture says, so “my wonders may be multiplied in the land of

The Israelites, for their protection from the act of death that is about to take place this night,
are given the institution of what is called the eating of the Passover Lamb. The blood from this
lamb, placed upon the side posts and lintel of their door, will be a protection for their home and
their firstborn from this act of judgment and death. In this meal, and the Feast of Unleavened
Bread that is instituted here by God for the children of Israel, is much symbolism. You will
read more of these things as you continue through Scripture. Also, we will expand upon these
symbols as you come across them in other portions of Scripture and when you repeat your
reading of this story in future years. But for now, in this first reading of the Book of Exodus and
the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, realize that the use of the “blood of the lamb” for protection
becomes a great theme in Scripture that points to the blood of the True Lamb of God, Jesus
Christ. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the One who delivers all believers from the wrath and
judgment of God -- a judgment that will bring a final death to all who are not protected by His

The final showdown of God and the “gods” of Egypt is about to take place. The great
deliverance of Israel from Egypt is just around the corner. The One True Lord God is about
to bring to pass exactly what He said He would do. He is bringing Pharaoh to the point that
Pharaoh himself will rush Israel out of the land.

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