Oppressive Darkness — Exodus Chapter 10
This blog post will cover the devotionals #41, 42 for Exodus Chapter 10.
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 Exodus 10:1-20
God told Moses to return to Pharaoh—that his hard heart was an opportunity for God to be revealed. He was to ask how long Pharaoh would refuse to let them go. The next day, locusts would come if he hadn’t obeyed. They’d eat absolutely everything that’d survived the other plagues. There’d be so many of them that they wouldn’t be able to see the ground. They’d fill the houses, etc. The brothers then left, and Pharaoh’s servants told him how they felt. They knew Moses wasn’t going to stop until God’s word was obeyed. They questioned Pharaoh if he realized that Egypt had already been decimated. Everything they’d gained by the forced labor of the Hebrews over the years was being taken away from them in mere days. He listened to them and called the brothers back. He told them they could go, but asked who all they intended to take. Moses essentially told him everyone—old and young, man and beast. Pharaoh said he’d allow it, but only the men could go. Pharaoh was now, after all the hatred and murder he’d shown towards Israel, pretending to express concern for the well-being of the children. He asked Moses if he really believed that God would expect him to let their women and children go on such a dangerous journey? They’re not needed for the worship, and any God that’d command them to put their vulnerable ones at such risk shouldn’t be obeyed. What his actual motive (in keeping the women and children) was to ensure the men would return. Then he sent them out—obviously not complying with God’s demand. Thus, winds came all night long, bringing the heavy locusts the next morning, as had been foretold. These locusts were more grievous than ever before, or ever to come. All the green of the trees and herbs was gone. Pharaoh called them back and told them he’d sinned against God and them, and asked to be forgiven just this once. He asked for them to have God remove the locusts. They were afraid that, after all the plant-life was gone, the locusts would turn on the people and eat them too. God sent a strong wind that carried every last one of them into the Red Sea. Yet, once again, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. So why was this the focus of the eighth plague? We learned about the Egyptian gods ‘Min’ (the ‘god of vegetation’ and a ‘protector of crops’) and ‘Seth’ (the ‘storm god’ who was said to be manifested in the wind, also known as ‘the god of chaos’). The wind brought the locusts which finished off all of Egypt’s crops—the physical sustenance of the people.
 Exodus 10:21-29
Plague number nine was going to be different. God told Moses: “Stretch out your hand toward Heaven, so there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness that may be felt.” This lasted three days. The darkness was so thick that they couldn’t even see each other—and it felt oppressive. Verse 21 said that it’d be ‘felt’. They didn’t just lack light—the atmosphere itself was tight and constricting, and they struggled to breathe. The Egyptians didn’t leave their places for three days, but all the Hebrews had light and good atmosphere in their homes. This time, Pharaoh was scared enough that he called Moses and said that everyone but the animals could go to worship God. Moses told him that all must go because they wouldn’t know what they’d be called to sacrifice until they arrived. Pharaoh became enraged and told them to get away from him and not return, or they’d die the next time they saw his face. It’s interesting to consider this, in light of how men were told they’d die if they saw God’s face—but it was for a different reason. Moses told Pharaoh that he was right—he’d not see his face again. As we discussed before, Egyptians worshipped the sun (directly associated with today’s Sunday worship), and they had a ‘sun god’ named ‘Ra’. They believed that day and night were fixed in a constant struggle. Egypt may’ve simply viewed three straight days of darkness as a victory for the god of darkness, ‘Apophis’. Regardless, it would’ve been a humiliation for their popular ‘sun god’. If we saw many of the plagues appearing to be an attack against the Egyptians by the gods they looked to for provision and protection, then even darkness would’ve been something that troubled them here. Not only was their ‘god of darkness’ now appearing to them in a negative light, but also the ‘god’ over all their gods, the ‘ruler of the darkness of this world’ who has ‘the power of darkness’—Satan himself. Likewise, the sun and moon were also things that Egypt worshipped, and this mysterious darkness had strange power over them and their ‘gods’. As scary as it was, though, this plague (judgment) was a sign of God’s compassion, and how unwilling He is to destroy. They had three days’ time to reflect and repent before they’d experience the last, most terrible plague of all. It’s interesting to me that the last plague before the Passover was darkness that lasted three days—because the last three hours before Christ died, there was a profound darkness that covered the land (see Matthew 27:45).