SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- God tells Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh." This does not mean that Moses has become divine. The actual meaning here is that Moses is God's representative in these circumstances. He was authorized to speak and act in God's name as well as given some limited divine power.
- God hardens Pharaoh's heart. This is a very troublesome scripture. Why would God do such a thing? We're not totally certain but the verses immediately following (4-7) suggest two reasons: to bring judgment on Pharaoh and to reveal himself to those who rejected Him. Even with that, it's difficult to think of God hardening another persons heart. Some commentators suggest that God simply facilitated a process that Pharaoh had already initiated. After all, the Bible repeatedly states that Pharaoh hardened his own own heart. We must also understand that Pharaoh was not an innocent or godly man. He was a brutal dictator overseeing the terrible abuse and oppression of over a million Israelites.
- Aaron throws down his staff and it becomes a snake. Proving that this miracle was greater than the magicians' illusion, Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.
- There will be 10 plagues in Egypt before Pharaoh lets God's people go. Here we read of the first, the plague of blood. It was a quite fitting first plague. Pharaoh had stained the Nile with the blood of the Hebrew newborns. Now God turned the river into blood.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." Paul says we are representatives of Christ to others. People who don't know God look at us. People who don't read the Bible read our life. We can help others come to know Jesus.
- While we do not completely understand the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, we do know that God disciplines those he loves (Hebrews 12:6). Pharaoh was outside of God's will. God would have loved for Pharaoh to bow the knee in surrender to Him. God uses the plagues to reveal Himself to the Egyptians.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Are you giving those around you a true idea of God through your life and your decisions? As you work and play this next week, remember that you are a representative of God. In light of that, are there any changes you need to make in your life?