It was the second plague.
Because Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go, God caused the rivers to bring forth frogs. And they were everywhere – on the people, in their homes, on their beds, in their servants’ homes, in their ovens, and even in their food (dough).
But when Pharaoh had enough of this, he called for Moses and told him that if God would take the frogs away from him and his people, he would let the Israelites go. So, Moses did what he asked. He cried out to the Lord and prayed for Him to take the frogs away. Then, the Lord answered him and the frogs died.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not to them; as the Lord had said (Exodus 8:15).
Respite means a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. During this plague as well as the others, Pharaoh would repent and ask for forgiveness. He would acknowledge his sin and he even called himself wicked and the Lord righteous at one point (Exodus 9:27). He would promise the Lord that if he took away his problems (plagues), that he would obey Him and let His people go.
But he didn’t mean it. He was just saying it to get out of his situation. As soon as God moved on his behalf because of Moses’ prayer, he got comfortable again, forgot about what he just went through, returned to his way of living and refused to let the Israelites go.
I know we all want this pandemic to be over. We want the children to return to school. We want to go back to the gym. We want to go to the movies. We want things to go back to the way they were.
But, like Pharaoh, are we only pleading with God so that this virus can stop and we can return to our daily routine or do we mean what we say?
Are we going to God in prayer because we want Him or because we want something from Him?
Are we complaining and murmuring like the Israelites about this current situation or are we giving thanks in it?
Just something to think about.
When God told Moses that He was sending him to bring His children out of Egypt, that was a prophetic word. That was a promise. But when Moses obeyed God and did what He told him to do, Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go.
At first, Moses was discouraged. It seemed like what God said wasn’t going to come to pass. But instead of being upset with the enemy who was opposing him, he was angry with God. Why did you send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people, neither have you delivered your people at all (Exodus 5:22-23).
That’s what the enemy wants us to do. He wants us to blame God for something he did. He wants us to think that what God told us to do isn’t working and that it will never work.
Had Moses not obeyed God and confronted Pharaoh and speak to him again and again, what God said would have never come to pass, but he kept speaking to that ‘mountain’ until God removed him.
I know some of you are getting a little weary, but this is not the time to quit and this is not the time to be silent.
Don’t stop speaking to whatever is trying to block you, stop you or hinder you. Continue to say what God said. If you don’t speak it, you will never see it. God has given you a mouth and wisdom (Luke 21:15). Use your mouth to create and use your heart to believe what you want to see.
You have been talking about it long enough. Now it’s time to speak to it.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says (Mark 11:23).
I think sometimes we give up too quickly.
If we don’t get the promotion or the loan or the new home, we quickly assume that it must not be a part of God’s will or plan. And some of us don’t even try again or fight through prayer and fasting because we want everything to come easy.
Sometimes we blame the devil, but maybe it is God using your enemy. Sometimes God hardens the hearts of the supervisor or the loan officer as he did with Pharaoh. Maybe the opposition comes to see how bad you really want the thing you’ve been praying for.
Other times, we blame God, but it is the enemy at work. He is the one behind the disappointment, the hurt, and the rejection. He doesn’t want you to ever receive what Christ has already given you. The enemy already knows that He can’t stop God, but he is hoping that he can stop you. He is betting on you to give up. He is hoping that you quit.
It is going to take a strong hand, but whatever God promised you, the enemy is going to let it go. In the meantime, he is hoping that you will let go of God and every blessing He promised, but he will be disappointed.
I know sometimes it seems like certain things will never happen for you, but don’t faint while doing good. You can’t spend the rest of your life blaming the devil or being angry with God. Sometimes it’s not them. It’s you. It’s your disobedience. It’s your laziness.
For every no, you are about to hear a yes – if you don’t faint. But you must make up in your mind that in this season you will not let God go until He blesses you.
And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me (Genesis 32:26).
Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me…that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth (Isaiah 30:1-2).
The Assyrian army was going to attack Israel first and then Judah. God already knew what Judah was going to do. They were going to try to make their enemy, their friend. They thought they would have greater success if they joined forces with Egypt, but it was already prophesied that Egypt would fall to Assyria, which meant that when Egypt fall, Judah would fall also. God didn’t have to send a prophet to His people, but because He loved them, He warned them.
Judah was aware that they needed help, but they were asking for advice from everyone except God. They never asked God if it was okay to go to Egypt. They just made a decision without Him. They thought Pharaoh was the answer, but Pharaoh was really the problem. Egypt couldn’t protect them and in the end, they would only be disappointed and embarrassed because the Egyptians are only men, not God (Isaiah 31:3).
The reason why some of us don’t ask God for advice before we make certain decisions is because we are afraid He is going to say no. We are afraid that God is going to tell us something that we don’t want to hear.
Let’s say for example, you’re dating someone. Because this is the person YOU want to marry, you refuse to ask God for advice because you don’t want Him to tell you that this person is not the wife or husband He picked for you. You’ve already made plans and you don’t want God’s plan to change your plan.
Maybe you’re tired of being single and you think you’re ready for marriage now, but God sees what is going to happen in the near future if you make a decision without consulting Him first. What you think is going to be an answer just may become a problem. Remember, the person you are about to join yourself to is just a man or a woman. They are not God. They are not a Healer and they are not a Savior.
If you’re not sure about anything else, know that God loves you. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t warn you before you go in the wrong direction or convict you when you do wrong. He does care for you and He doesn’t want you to make a decision that will only bring you disappointment and shame.
Jesus is called our Counselor and God has placed counselors around us. I know Proverbs 11:14 speaks about the condition of a nation without wise leadership, but even in your personal life, where there is no counsel, you will fall.
Before you make a permanent decision, seek godly counsel, ask for advice and then follow the advice.
Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).
God told Moses that He was going to use him to deliver His people. He also told him that He had given them favor, but the king of Egypt wasn’t going to let them go. It was going to take a mighty hand and wonders and then Pharaoh would let them go.
Moses did and said what God told him, but he returned to God without what God had promised. It was disappointing for him, but God wasn’t worried. He knew Pharaoh was going to let His children go.
There is something I’ve been desiring and the Lord said to me, It’s yours.
So, I went after what God said was mine.
But I just didn’t go after it. I went, knowing that I was going to receive the thing that God said He has given me.
I faced Pharaoh, but Pharaoh wouldn’t let it go.
So I went back to God because maybe I heard it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t Him, but I knew it was Him. Like Moses, I began to question what God said.
Why did you send me (Exodus 5:22)? Why get my hopes up like that?
But you know what God did? He just reminded me again, It is yours.
When the disciples told Thomas that they saw the Lord, Thomas told them that the only way he would believe them is if he could touch and see the print of nails in his hands.
Eight days later, Thomas saw the Lord and Jesus told him to touch him. The only reason why Thomas believed was because he could touch and see him, but God doesn’t deal with me the way Jesus did with Thomas. Maybe He did years ago when I first got saved, but now He wants me to grow up and to believe Him for what I have yet to see.
He doesn’t want me to worry like the disciples, who when they were in a storm, woke Jesus up from his rest. Instead, he wants me to rest in and with Him.
Pharaoh didn’t want to let the Israelites go, but God said he was going to and Moses had to believe God. No matter how many times Pharaoh told him no, the promise was still yes and amen.
Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29).
test: to examine or evaluate; to check the reliability of someone; to reveal the strength or quality of something in secret before they are used in public
Before you could be promoted to the next grade in school, you had to pass the tests. If you failed the tests, then you had to either repeat the grade or repeat a class.
I thought that once I finished school that my ‘testing days’ were over, but that is far from the truth.
When Potiphar’s wife tried to sleep with Joseph, he passed the test, but he was wrongly accused of rape and sent to prison. That was another test.
While in prison, he noticed two men who were sad. He was tested with their dreams. He interpreted their dreams although his own dreams hadn’t come to pass. That was a test.
Then, the butler promised Joseph that once he was released, he would mention him to Pharaoh, but he forgot about him. That was another test.
Finally, Joseph was tested with Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh had called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt, but none of them could interpret his dreams. But when Joseph spoke, he knew there was something different about him. Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?
Pharaoh then made him a ruler over Egypt.
And Pharaoh took the ring that was on his finger and placed it on Joseph’s finger.
And Joseph was arrayed with fine clothes.
And a gold chain was placed around his neck.
And he was given a chariot.
And he was given a new name.
And he was given a wife.
But before Joseph could receive all these things, he had to first pass the test.
God has promised many of us promotion and we want to be promoted just like Joseph. We want to be elevated. We want what is next. We want what God has promised us. We want what God has shown us through dreams and visions.
Has God forgotten you like the butler who had forgotten Joseph? No. So, why the delay? Why hasn’t it happened yet? Maybe it hasn’t happened yet because you keep repeating the same tests.
The test doesn’t come to tempt you, but it comes to prove you. You must be proven faithful and trustworthy. Before God can trust you with your own, He tests you to see if He can trust you with what belongs to someone else. I’m not suggesting that Joseph would have never gotten married, but had he touched another man’s wife, he would have further delayed getting his own wife.
A lot of times we think the reason why we haven’t received certain things is because God is punishing us for the things we have done in the past, but God loves you. He is not punishing you. He is only testing you. Do you really love Him? Will you obey Him? When God tested the children of Israel in the wilderness, He did it to reveal what was in their hearts. He did it to see whether they would obey Him or not.
You are asking for a lot from God, but God is requiring a lot from you. Can you imagine what it would have been like if God had given all those things to Joseph at the age of 17? I’m not focusing on his age, but I’m focusing on the fact that he had lot to learn. In order for him to be able to fit those clothes or that ring or that position, he had to grow into it.
He had to learn how to be humble, to be compassionate, to be faithful, to forgive and to become a person God could trust. I believe one of the reasons Joseph was able to forgive his brothers was because he knew what it was like to be forgiven. I know he did nothing wrong, but any time you are released from prison, you are forgiven, pardoned and given another chance. And now he could give to others what had been given to him.
Whether you’re still in school or not, there will always be a test. My prayer is that we stop repeating the same tests and instead learn from them.
I don’t care about the tests you have failed in the past. Just know that you will pass this test and the next test to come. Whoever has dug a pit for you, will fall in it. You will not fall with those who fall. You will grow in wisdom and in strength and when they see you, they will see the Father.
The children of Israel cried to God because they were tired of their condition. They cried because they wanted to be free. All they knew was sorrow, but they longed to know joy. They wanted to be delivered, but the thing they wanted to be free from would not let them go.
When God sent Moses to deliver His people, Moses didn’t address Pharaoh one time and then they were set free. He had to keep speaking and commanding Pharaoh to let them go before deliverance took place. No, it wasn’t easy, but just because something seems hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible.
Pharaoh knew that his time was up so he used tactics such as not supplying the straw Israel needed to build bricks, but still expecting them to make the same number of bricks. He wanted to discourage them. He wanted them to give up because he knew their deliverance was near.
Israel is my son, even my firstborn. Let my son go that he may serve Me (Exodus 4:22). When God had enough, He had enough. Because Pharaoh refused to let His firstborn go, God took his firstborn son. What held Israel in bondage for over 400 years finally let them go, but it took a strong hand (Deuteronomy 26:8).
As long as the children of Israel did what he wanted them to do, it was fine, but the moment they decided they no longer wanted to serve him, Pharaoh wanted to destroy them. So, Pharaoh gathered his army and chased them. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust be satisfied upon them. I will draw my sword. My hand shall destroy them (Exodus15:9).
The Lord divided the sea with His strength (Psalm 74:13). The waters were a wall to Israel on the right and on the left so that they could walk on dry ground. But when the Egyptians went after them, those same walls fell on them. He took the wheels off their chariots and destroyed Pharaoh’s chariots, horseman and all of his army. Not one of them survived.
The reason why Pharaoh wanted to keep Israel in bondage was because he was afraid of them. He knew what they would do to him if they were free. And he (Pharaoh) said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply and it come to pass when there fall out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us and so get them up out of the land (Exodus 1:9-10).
Today, God calls you what he called the children of Israel. You are His son, you are His daughter and enough is enough. Some say they’ve been called to preach, some say they’ve been called to teach, but we have all been called to freedom (Galatians 5:13). God just doesn’t want us to be saved, but He wants us to be free so that we may serve Him with our whole heart. He wants you to be free from sin, fear, shame and free to worship, praise, laugh.
Your adversary is afraid of you because you are a threat to him. He sets traps and builds strongholds to keep you distracted, to keep you from becoming who God called you to be. He wants you to serve sin and to please your flesh so that you will never please God. He knows he has lost, but he wants you to think he’s winning.
It will take a strong hand, but he will let you go and every spirit that should not be in you, will come out of you and will enter you no more (Mark 9:25). Nothing could hold Jesus in the grave and nothing will be able to hold you – not past hurts, disappointment, shame, unforgiveness, or past sins. God wants us to be free from every weight, distraction, hindrance and from the sin that easily trips us up so that we not only run the race, but we finish the race.
Deliver us, Lord.