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Harder to Counterfeit — Exodus Chapter 9

This blog post will cover the devotionals #37-40 for Exodus Chapter 9.

**Pictures will be added at a later date.

Please note that this devotional book WILL SOON be for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.

[37] Exodus 9:1-7

After the flies, Moses was sent back to Pharaoh with the same demand and another warning. This one would hurt more. There’d be a “very grievous murrain” (which means ‘an infectious disease affecting cattle and other animals’) “on the cattle, horses, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep in the fields.” Recall, from devotional #36, that we learned that the animals the Hebrews would’ve sacrificed to God were considered sacred by Egypt? Well, those very animals would be the focus of the fifth plague. Not only were their quantities held by individual owners symbolic of their status of wealth, but they were extremely useful in accomplishing tasks that were otherwise ‘impossible’. They were considered to be manifestations of their gods. One was ‘Apis’, ‘the golden calf’ (which we see residue of at Mount Sinai when Aaron makes a golden calf for them to worship). He’s known for strength, vital energy, and power—and was said to host God Himself. Another one of their major gods was ‘Hathor’, goddess of the sky (among many other things). This god was often depicted as a cow with a sun-disk between its horns. The worship of this particular idol was a major offense to God—and still is to this day. Sun worship (which can be shown to be directly connected with Sunday worship—or reverence of Sunday over the true, Biblical Sabbath) is the test that’ll come at the end of time to determine those people who’ll be sealed by God, and those sealed by the beast. It’s not surprising that God would allow this to be a major focus of not only this plague, but also the final plague. Both the revered animals and the beasts of burden were to be impacted. God would again keep a protective barrier around Goshen where Israel’s cattle lived. He warned it’d happen the next day, and it did. All of Egypt’s cattle died. Pharaoh sent someone to check Goshen and none of Israel’s cattle was affected. He must’ve been curious enough to know if it’d happened just as Moses said it would. Yet again, his heart was hardened, and he didn’t release them.

[38] Exodus 9:8-12

The brothers were told to take handfuls of ash from the furnace and sprinkle it upward in front of Pharaoh. It’d become small dust through Egypt, and whatever man and beast it settled on were covered with boils breaking forth with ‘blain’ (‘inflamed swelling or sores on the skin’). The act of sprinkling ashes from the furnace was very significant. God had shown Abraham four hundred years prior that His people would be oppressed—and He did so under the symbol of a smoking furnace and burning lamp. The oppressors would receive judgments and the captives would be delivered with great wealth. Israel had suffered long in Egypt’s furnace of affliction—so Moses’ act was to assure them that God kept His covenant in mind—and their deliverance was here. Interestingly, ‘Sekhmet’ was their ‘goddess of healing’ (also depicted with a sun-disk on her head) and the ‘protector of Pharaohs’. They often called upon her to ward off disease. Likewise, one of Egypt’s most important gods, ‘Isis’, was called the ‘goddess of healing and magic’—supposedly far superior in her power to all other gods. The dust became boils, and the magicians couldn’t even stand because of the boils that covered them. They’d encouraged Pharaoh’s stubbornness up to that point, but now even they were affected by it, and could do nothing to protect or heal themselves. Now Egypt would know that it was pointless to trust in their power (or that of their gods). This finally cut off the channel (the magicians/sorcerers) through which Satan was working to undermine God’s power. Yet, once again, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he refused. On another note, I’ve heard that Egypt’s known for its skincare regime, and I know they were vain—they had extravagant make-up, hairstyles, clothing and jewelry. Likewise, the Pharaohs themselves were considered gods. Perhaps this sixth plague was also against the god of self.

[39] Exodus 9:14-17

The day after the flies were removed and the boils came, Moses was to return to Pharaoh. God warned him that the plagues would now be worse, and that He Himself had raised him (Pharaoh) up so His power could be revealed. He was still exalting himself over God’s people and refusing to release them. How could he still act like God was a powerless joke after all he’d gone through? Of course, God didn’t create him for that purpose, but He ordained events so that he’d be the ruling monarch at that time. His proud sins had cost him God’s merciful life-sustaining power—yet, God chose to continue sustaining his life in order that His power and character could be revealed in Egypt (much like the sustaining of Satan’s life despite his loss of God’s mercy). If God had allowed a more merciful king to reign at that time, he might’ve let them go so easily that it wouldn’t have been as obvious that God hated the evil of oppression, cruelty, and idolatry. Israel was highly involved in the idolatrous practices of Egypt, and they needed to understand how evil it was, and to desire to escape its grasp. They needed to view Pharaoh as their oppressor (rather than their provider) and God as their Provider and Deliverer (rather than someone Who abandoned them and was powerless to release them from Pharaoh’s tyranny). The time of the event and its results were always told beforehand so they couldn’t be claimed as coincidence. Notice the importance of that in relation to the challenge that God presented to the false gods in Isaiah 41:21-24, “Produce your cause,” says the Lord: “bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring them forth, and show us what will happen: …declare us things to come. Show us the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. See, you are nothing, and your work is nothing: he that chooses you is an abomination.”

[40] Exodus 9:13-35

The next day, hail would fall that was unlike anything the country had ever experienced. However, God gave the Egyptians an opportunity to avoid this one—even if Pharaoh didn’t comply. They should gather their cattle and servants into houses so the hail wouldn’t kill them. There were indeed Egyptians that heeded God’s word, and they were spared of loss. The rest left their cattle and servants in the field. Moses raised his rod towards the sky, and it began to thunder and hail. Fire ran along the ground (this reminds me of the sulfur gas from Sodom and Gomorrah that ran along the ground). It was likely gas that was ignited by lightning during the hailstorm. Not only were man and beast hit, but also the growing herbs. All the trees were broken. Once again, the only place unaffected in Egypt was Goshen. Pharaoh called the brothers and confessed that he’d sinned this time. He said, “The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Ask the Lord (because it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and you will stay no longer.” Moses responded, saying he’d spread his hands to God as soon as he gets out of the city, and the thunder and hail would cease—so that Pharaoh could know that the earth is the Lord’s. How beautiful it is that Moses wasn’t affected by the storm when he went out into it. Pharaoh and his people got to witness God’s protection over His messenger. Now, why was hail the focus of this plague? Hail is associated with the Egyptian gods, ‘Nut’ (a ‘goddess of the sky’) and ‘Seth’ who’s said to be manifested in wind and storms. They’d learn that everything from the sky to the ground (and beneath) were subject to God’s voice. However, Moses also told him that he knew Pharaoh and his servants still wouldn’t fear (respect, acknowledge, obey) God. Moses did what he said, and Pharaoh did what Moses said he would. This time, the Bible clearly states that “he sinned more still, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” He didn’t let them go. Cattle, people, and food were destroyed in this seventh plague. It says that the flax and barley were hit—as the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled (the flax ‘boll’ / capsule is the mature fruit of the plant). Yet, the wheat and rye weren’t hit because they weren’t grown up (matured). Why does the Bible tell us all this? We can use this information to see what time of year this was occurring. Barley and flax are ready for harvest usually between the end of April and the end of May, whereas wheat and rye are typically harvested between July and September. Because the latter two weren’t yet matured for harvest (like the former two), they were still soft and flexible—and couldn’t be busted apart by the hail like the dry, brittle grains of flax and barley were. Interestingly enough, ‘Geb’ (the ‘earth god’ we mentioned, in devotional #35, associated with the dust/lice plague) is often depicted as barley, among other things. Likewise, ‘Isis’ (called ‘the goddess of life’) is said to grind, spin, and weave cloth of flax. ‘Min’, another Egyptian god, is called ‘the god of vegetation’ and ‘a protector of crops’. We see how many different Egyptian ‘gods’ were being addressed in this plague.

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