When I was a child, my brother and I used to play a game called Mercy. One of us would hold the other’s hand, bending fingers backward toward the wrist until it hurt so intensely that our sibling cried out, “Mercy!” It was a silly child’s game, often ending in sputtering shouts of, “I’m never playing again… you made it hurt too much!”
In today’s passage there is no juvenile game, but there is a person who, indeed, needs to cry out for mercy and to submit himself to a sovereign God.
- Take some time to reflect: When did you last willfully reject what God was doing in your life? What did that look like? How might the situation have been different if you had submitted to him?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 9:27-35 (ESV)
27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Previously, God had caused thunder, hail, and fire to descend on the land, livestock, and people of Egypt. In verses 27-28, how did Pharaoh respond to God?
- After Pharaoh’s confession, what did Moses say he would do (vs. 29)? What would be the result of his actions, and for what purpose?
- What insight did Moses have about Pharaoh’s confession (vs. 30)?
- After reading what happened in verses 33-35, take a moment to consider again what each man said in verses 27-29. Was Moses true to his word? Was Pharaoh true to his confession?
- Is there any area where you are currently sinning against God, allowing your heart to be hardened toward him?
RESPOND TO GOD
We may not think we have much in common with Pharaoh, yet it’s amazing how much we do! How many times have you or I encountered the power and work of God, in both impressive and minute ways, yet refused to yield in worship? In how many instances have we superficially repented of our sin against him, yet gone on to repeat our sin once more because we haven’t truly submitted our hearts to him?
- Ask God to reveal how you have allowed your heart to be hardened against him, choosing self and sin rather than responding to his sovereignty, authority, and power.
- Specifically confess these things to God these and submit yourself to him.