In considering this week’s blog on Moses I found myself thinking ‘below’ what happened with the plagues. Looking under the obvious. After all, you can read the full story in Exodus chapters 8, 9, and 10.
When I attended a Pentecostal Bible College, we were taught that each of the plagues represented God’s supremacy over the gods of the Egyptians. As I mentioned two weeks ago, the Egyptians had 8,700 gods to choose from, so the chances were that this was true.
Josephus has an interesting ‘take’ on the early plagues…
“for he [Pharaoh] was forced in part to recover himself from his wicked temper to a sounder mind…”
(This was after the plague of lice… which his magicians could not recreate.)
From then on, only the Egyptians were affected by each plague that Moses announced.
I found myself wondering… was part of the reason Moses had to appear before Pharaoh to announce the plagues, to build faith in Moses?
I remember at that Bible College, hearing a lecturer say, ‘don’t believe God will heal your cancer if you have never believed He will heal your headache’.
So, starting at that point, is it possible that God was teaching Moses (and Aaron) that He could be trusted? That He meant what He said.
Moses had lost confidence in himself, and had been contentedly minding sheep for his father in law Jethro. We are never told in God’s word, or in Josephus’ writings if Moses looked back and said, “if I had only done it this way…” No. All that is recorded is that Moses married a daughter of Jethro, raised his sons, and tended Jethro’s sheep.
In a relatively short time…
Moses went from shepherd (for forty years) to spokesman for God before Pharaoh. It is quite possible the plagues progressively built Moses’ faith in the God who had called him to be deliverer… but whom he didn’t know.
Do you remember Moses reply, when first commissioned by God at the burning bush. He said he was ”not eloquent’. God told him Aaron would speak for him. It seems to me that Moses found ‘his tongue’ somewhere as his faith was being built. He would need that faith when he was leading the former slaves through the wilderness. But whoa… I am running ahead of myself.
As the plagues progressed…
The Egyptian people were increasingly desolated by the ‘fight between Pharaoh’s pride and the will of the great God of the universe’.
For Pharaoh it seems to have been a battle of wills between himself and God. His people suffered a time of great distress. But what about the Hebrews? Their land of Goshen was free of the plagues suffered by the Egyptians… but they still had to work, and work harder because they had to gather their own straw to make the bricks.
Something else that Moses was learning. How to cope with the grumbling of the people he was to lead out of Egypt.
- When he was a prince of Egypt, whatever he said would be done.
- When he commanded the Egyptian army, what he commanded would be done.
With the sheep… well, as any shepherd could tell you, there are ways of handling recalcitrant sheep. So learning that the people God sent him to deliver would grumble, complain and be ‘stiff-necked’, was something Moses needed to experience.
God never ‘dumps’ things on us suddenly. There has always been some preparation, although we might not realise it till later.
With that in mind… tread softly, you may be treading on someone’s dreams,
Till next time