Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 11 2011 - E100.18c – Exodus 9:13-10:20, Hail and locusts

The battle between the God of Abraham and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is approaching its crisis. God is determined to demonstrate his power through this drawn out battle so that the whole of Egypt will acknowledge that the Lord is the living God (10:2). Indeed, as the story of all that has happened in Egypt spreads, the name and might of the Lord will be "proclaimed in all the earth" (9:16). The battle is of epic proportions so that it may become a story that is told down the ages and throughout the world to declare the saving power of God.

The Lord sent a terrible hailstorm upon Egypt. Those who had listened to God's warning ensured that their cattle and slaves were safely under cover. The storm destroyed the flax and barley harvest and caused severe damage to trees. It even brought Pharaoh to the point of recognising that he had sinned against the Lord. But when the storm was over he quickly reverted to character and again refused to let the Israelites go.

Once more Moses goes to speak with Pharaoh. If he will not let the Israelites go, the Lord will send a great plague of locusts to cover the land of Egypt and consume what is left of their crops. Now the battle moves into Pharaoh's court. His officials have had enough and plead with him to let the Israelites go before the land is utterly ruined. Pharaoh returns to his bargaining; the Israelite men may go into the desert to worship, but they must leave their families and possessions behind to guarantee their return. But God will not settle for half measures, his demand remains the same, "Let my people go." Moses and Aaron are driven out of court.

So Egypt is filled with locusts that devour all that was left from the hail. The people of Egypt had experienced provision and blessing at the hands of an Israelite in the days of Joseph; now their opposition to the God of Israel has left them facing famine and death. Pharaoh calls for Moses, confesses that he has done wrong and pleads for the plague – 'this death' – to be removed. But when the locusts are gone he refuses to let the Israelites go.

The God of Israel is in control of the weather and the migration of insects. Nothing, great or small, is beyond his control. But it is not enough to catch a glimpse of his power or goodness and be moved for a moment with fear or love. God looks for the transformed heart and for lasting transformation of character – a work that can be accomplished only by his Spirit. What will he have to do to you to bring about that transformation?

Mighty God, soften my heart and keep me from falling back into those habits of rebellion that were once deep-seated within me. Give me a true and continuous repentance. Transform me from within by your Spirit that I may be remade in your image and delivered from this body of death. May your glory and power be displayed in me and through me.

Peter Misselbrook