I know two brothers. They are both smart, successful, short, sometimes funny—and sinners. They grew up in the same home, went to the same church, ate the same daily meals around a table full of love. They both felt the sting of death within their home. One brother cannot help but see evidence of God’s merciful presence and rescue all over his life, and the other stands not quite convinced that God exists. The one is not better than his brother. They are both as good and as bad as the other. One has simply been tenderized by the merciful miracle of faith.
- What evidence have you seen of God’s presence and love in your life? What in life causes you to doubt evidence of God’s love and work in the world?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 7:14-25 (ESV)
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. 16 And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed. 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”’” 19 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.
25 Seven full days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- List everything this passage says about Pharaoh. What was his attitude and disposition toward God and God’s people?
- What were the reasons that Pharaoh remained unconvinced that God is the Lord? What were the consequences to him and to those that followed him?
- What was the stark contrast presented between Pharaoh and Moses (vss. 16, 20)?
- Are you more like Pharaoh, disobedient towards God, hard-hearted and unconvinced, or Moses, full of willingness to do whatever it is that God says to do? What step of obedience is God calling you to take today?
RESPOND TO GOD
Two men were met by God and each were given a command to obey. Moses was called to go and speak to the king, and the king was called to let God’s people go. One believed and obeyed, and one turned to a hardened heart. And so there was blood. This time the blood-red waters were a warning and reminder that hard-hearted disobedience always has a deadly cost; it was a foreshadowing of the blood soon to be spent by the first born of Egypt and one day the first born of all creation, Jesus himself. I am amazed that God meets the hard-heartedness of the world and the hard-heartedness in me with the blood of his own son. It is a price I could never pay on my own. It is blood that sets me free to live and to obey—by the merciful miracle of faith.
- Be courageous in asking God to show you where your heart might be hardened. Confess to God and invite his mercy.
- Worship and praise God that he has made a way for you to be forgiven—that Jesus died so you can live.