Exodus 9:13-35 (NRSV)
God sends hail
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place; every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.' " Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place. Those who did not regard the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the open field.
The Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that hail may fall on the whole land of Egypt, on humans and animals and all the plants of the field in the land of Egypt." Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; there was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the open field throughout all the land of Egypt, both human and animal; the hail also struck down all the plants of the field, and shattered every tree in the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail.
Then Pharaoh summoned 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. Pray to the Lord! Enough of God's thunder and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer." 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. But as for you and your officials, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God." (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they are late in coming up.) So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and stretched out his hands to the Lord; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down on the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
Oh my! Isn’t it awful when we harden our hearts against God and do what we want to do even when we know it is wrong?
This is called willful disobedience. If you are a parent you know all about this. You tell your child, “Don’t eat the cookie.” S/he eats the cookie; you are mad. You tell your child, “Tell the truth.” S/he tells a bold-faced lie; you are angry and disappointed. You tell your child, “Stay away from that location.” S/he sneaks out of the window at night, gets into trouble, and is brought home by the police. You are embarrassed and outraged.
When our children willfully disobey us punishment is usually swift and memorable. For the most part this is because we desperately want to keep our children safe and raise them to be God-fearing and honorable adults.
God feels the same way about us. We are God’s children and God wants to keep us safe from harm and maintain a right relationship with us.
God does not give us laws/commandments in order to restrict our freedom; rather, God gives us these rules to keep us safe and in right relationship with God and with each other.
God gave Pharaoh specific instructions through Moses, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Instead of hearing and heeding the words of Almighty God, Pharaoh exalted himself against God and God’s people!
Wow! It is never a good idea to play “chicken” with God! God always wins!
As it was for Pharaoh, so it is for us. Sin brings about swift and memorable punishment/consequences, the worst of which is the spiritual death that accompanies willful, unconfessed, and unrepentant sin.
To make matters worse, sin separates us from God. God hates sin and can’t abide it. When our lives start to stink with the pollution of the sin in--and all around us--God takes a step back. God does not leave us, nor forsake us, but God does take a step back as God calls, beckons, and begs us to do the right thing and come on home.
Again, if you have older children, you know about this. When our young adult children insist on doing their own thing--and going their own way—we often make the painful decision to take a step back. We let them know that they are unconditionally loved and will always be prayed for, we make ourselves available to offer right advice or counsel, but we understand that we can’t make them to do the right thing!
I have counseled many a parent who is sad, even grief stricken, by the behavior of their young adult child, but realizes that their continued nagging only makes the situation worse. Often, the only thing that causes a wayward child to come home, is when a parent steps back, stops rescuing them, and allows them to hit rock bottom!
God knows that sometimes we have to hit rock bottom. That is why God takes a step back when we persist in willful disobedience. God does not leave us; rather, God stays near, ready and willing to assist us, as soon as we humble ourselves and ask for help.
God gave Pharaoh multiple chances to do the right thing. God said, “by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.”
But, God did not bring about ultimately destruction on that day! Instead, God continued to speak to the heart of Pharaoh, giving him the opportunity to do the right thing.
Today, God is speaking to our hearts. For most of us, we know exactly what we should do, we simply don’t do it.
We know that we need to be in right relationship with God, but we have resisted doing so for all sorts of very poor reasons. We know that we need to be forgiven by God, but we have been too proud to ask.
Today, I beg you, urge you, and plead with you, stop being so hard-hearted! Stop being so stubborn and proud!
God loves you so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save you from you sin and to gift you with eternal life.
There is nobody who loves you like this! There is nobody who has made a greater sacrifice to prove their love and fidelity to you.
Stop looking at your friends, family, and folks on your job and/or in your neighborhood. These people cannot save you! The only One who CAN save you is God, when you put all of your hope in Jesus!
Today’s reading says that those who believed the word of God were saved from the deadly hail and those who were in right relationship with God were spared the punishment that came upon the others.
Today is YOUR DAY to get saved! Let’s just keep it real and admit that you need Jesus.
Will you come to Jesus now, while there is still time?
Dear God, I am a sinner. Please forgive all of my sin and fill me with Your Spirit. I have been hard-hearted and stubborn in the past, but today I am putting all of my hope in Jesus. I believe that you love me and that Jesus died and rose again to save me from my sin and give me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words and I want to share them with others. Please help me to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you just prayed this prayer for the first time, today, you are saved! I would be so honored if you would let me know about your decision by clicking “Yes” in the poll located at the top/right of today’s devotional! I am so happy for you! Happy Spiritual Re-Birth-Day!
Next steps: In response to what God did for you just now, let me suggest that you consider telling another Christian so that they can celebrate with you! Ask them to help you find a Bible that is easy for you to understand so that you can learn more about your new-found faith! Ask them to help you find a good Bible believing church where you can be baptized and make loving friends who will walk with you on your new journey! You are already saved; now let God mature you by faith! Congratulations!
Congratulations to all of those people who have recently put all of their hope in Jesus! Welcome to the Christian family! We love you and we are praying for you even now in Jesus’ Name!
If you would like to put all of your hope in Jesus today, please visit my blog entitled, “Putting All Your Hope In Jesus” located at
If you have additional questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus"
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