Exodus 9:1-7 Plague of livestock
Well, by now Pharaoh, if he honestly looked at his situation, should have realized that God was God and Pharaoh was not. But Pharaoh did not acknowledge God and allow God’s chosen people to go out and worship God. The last plague, flies, came only upon the Egyptians. God separated out Israel – this is also a picture of how Israel is separated out by God even today, and also how we, as Christians grafted into the vine of Israel, are also separated out from the world. We are in the world, but not of the world.
Now we have the fifth plague: Livestock. Remember in Pastor Don’s last Bible study about Spiritual Warfare (see the previous two entries), Pastor Don talks about that split second decision where we open the door for satan, or make the wrong decision that has life-long impact. Pharaoh will make this wrong decision after the livestock plague, and it is the last time that Pharaoh hardens HIS heart. From now on God will honor that desire of Pharaoh for a hardened heart, and God will harden Pharaoh’s heart. I really believe that in each of our lives there is a point where we reject God that one last time and God honors it (hopefully we never get to that point). I am so grateful that God kept pursuing me, and placed Pastor Don into my life. Had I rejected that attempt from God, I don’t know if God would have continued. God loves us so much that He gives us free will. God will not force us to love Him, He wants us to have the free will to choose a relationship with Him or not to choose. I pray that those who have not fully accepted God, will make the choice to let Him in their lives.
This plague affects the bedrock of the economy of the Egyptians, their livestock, which is used for warfare, the plowing of the fields, and the work of the nation. There are many animal deities that are reflected in the animals affected. Here are a few:
Cow – hathor & horus (hathor is kind of like the Mary figure)
What we are seeing is that God is striking Pharaoh in the place of his pride. Pharaoh is realizing that he does not have the control over the earth that he was brought up believing that he had. The people are also seeing a weak and ineffective Pharaoh. After having to dig water to have viable drinking water that was not bloody, scratching lice, swatting flies, and squashing and smelling frogs, now their income will be affected. I am certain people are wondering what their god Pharaoh is doing, why he does not stop the plagues.
When you come to think of it, God has shown us many signs and wonders in our lives, some simple others more complex. Before we accept Christ, we harden our hearts too, wanting to have things done the way we want them to be. How many things have we hardened our hearts to? And even after we have accepted Christ into our lives, there are still areas of resistance where our hearts are hardened. Pharaoh has had a long history of dealing with Moses, and now has had several signs and wonders, and still he will choose to harden His heart. And soon God will honor that choice. One thing that we forget when we reject God is that that rejection does not only affect us, but it impacts the people around us. In Pharaoh’s case the whole kingdom suffered because of Pharaoh’s hardened heart.
One of many dangerous ideas in the current new age movement is that what we need to do is what is right for us, that each person has their own path, and they too have to choose what is right for them. All is wonderful, all is good, and each person should tolerate the other’s choices for we are all gods. WRONG. What we do impacts others, we do not live in a vacuum. And I suspect that it would be easy to test how tolerant these people are in their walks of life. Of course, by today’s definition of tolerance, not only must a person be allowed to believe what they want, but they want others to accept their beliefs as true. I have no problem allowing others to believe what they want to believe, but I do not feel that I must agree that they are believing truth. If they want to believe what I consider a lie, that is ok, but they cannot force me to accept what I see as a lie as truth. Tolerance only goes so far though. Once a person’s beliefs impact another’s intolerance arises. If someone feels “divinely” led to destroy another person’s prized possession, I predict intolerance would arise.
Exodus 9:1-3 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews; “Let My people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them, behold, the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep—-a very severe pestilence.
This profoundly affects the economy of the region.
Exodus 9:4-5 And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel. Then the LORD appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing to the land.”
Again, here is the division between Egypt (the world) and the Israelites. God will protect His people. Sometimes God will sovereignly protect us through difficulties that others have, other times God will be with us as we walk through the difficulties. Here God is making sure that when Israel leaves for the Promised Land, that they have wealth, and livestock is one form of wealth. We will see that the Israelites will gain much wealth, and the Egyptians actually pay them to go (it is probably the equivalent of 400 years of wages). Can you imagine the dinner table discussions about Pharaoh after these plagues which have hit the Egyptians, but not the Israelites. I am certain that there was quite a bit of discontent in the Egyptian households.
What I sometimes still have a hard time understanding is how, after so many miracles from God that the Israelites turned to idolatry so many times. It is kind of helping me to see that signs and wonders are not all that is needed to hold onto faith in God, but that the relationship with God is vastly more important in faith building. If our faith is just built on signs and wonders it will be very feeble for we will go from sign and wonder to sign and wonder. If there is no sign or wonder then we will think God is not present. God teaches us to listen to that still small voice, and to trust Him no matter what the external circumstances reveal. We have to come to that point of basic trust in God, knowing He is faithful. Signs and wonders, while they do exist, are not the measure of faith, nor are they the measure of the presence of God in our lives.
God had a SET TIME for this to occur. And we know that all that occurs in Egypt at this time was laid down before the foundation of the World. God knew that he would use these plagues with Pharaoh both to strengthen His People’s (The Israelites’) faith, and at the same time to show the world that God is God, sovereign and almighty.
Exodus 9:6-7 So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites were dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
God kept His word. God will always keep His word. Those who say that God will not do what He has promised to do regarding judgment and end times events, will one day wake up and realize that the SET TIME has arrived. God has a timetable, and He will do what He says He will do.
I would have liked to have been a fly on Pharaoh’s wall to hear what he had to say when he discovered that things occurred just like God said that they would. Did he throw a royal temper tantrum? Did he strike out at his servants? Did he rage. Did he have a little bit of fear that maybe he was up against something that was more powerful than him? Whatever his reaction, the end result was that yet again, Pharaoh hardened His heart.
I pray that God continues to bless your lives, and that when we celebrate Thanksgiving that we remember the manifold blessings of God.
Hoping your day is blessed.
Heather’s Blog Recent Posts
- John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Syria – letter from trapist nuns
- John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler
- Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last
- Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone
- Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone
- Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone