"Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, 'Entreat the LORD, that He may take away the frogs from me, and from my people, and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD'" (Ex. 8:8).
Well, isn't that interesting? It looks like God has won! God's leader, Pharaoh, seemed to come into agreement with the plan of the ages. However, notice that there is no official decree here. Let's read on:
"Moses said to Pharaoh, 'Glory yourself over me: When shall I entreat for you, your servants, and your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only?' And he said, 'Tomorrow.' Then he said, 'Be it according to your word, in order that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God'" (Ex. 8:9-10).
Oops. Pharaoh wasn't as determined as it appeared. Even in the midst of great trial, he decided to delay obedience to God's directive to let the people go until the next day. This slight hesitation gave ample room for the enemy to haunt Pharaoh and to cause his heart to change. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
"But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said"(Ex. 8:15).
Next we have the plague of lice, which didn't work. Maybe some flies would get the point across?
"Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God in the land." Moses said, 'It is not right to do so, for what we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God would be an abomination to the Egyptians. If we shall sacrifice what is an abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and then we will sacrifice to the Lord our God, as He shall command us.' Pharaoh said, 'I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness. Only you shall not go very far away. Make entreaty for me.' Moses said, 'Indeed, I am leaving you, and I will plead with the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow. But let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord." Moses went away from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. Then the Lord did according to the word of Moses, and He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained. Nevertheless, Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, nor would he let the people go" (Ex. 8:25-32).
Here we have Pharaoh starting to bend. He even asked for prayer! However, he placed conditions on the release of the Hebrews. This is a very important point that we have to consider. When God is calling us to transition, it truly is a call to the extreme. There will be a lot of temptation to compromise and to avoid as much static and risk as possible. When we take this approach, we are giving way to the enemy. We're providing an opportunity for the enemy to counsel us in our place of wavering commitment to change.
Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go, but just a short distance. That way, when they were done, things could return to normal. The bricks would be made again and the kingdom would be built again.
Understand, this movement is not a slight adjustment or a momentary redirect. This is massive reformation and the old will be left behind to fade away. The coming church will look nothing like the current.
Next God takes out the cattle of the Egyptians while saving the cattle of the Israelites. Pharaoh's heart remained hard.
Would the spread of nasty boils throughout Egypt work? Nope. Pharaoh almost gave in again when the hail or the locusts came, but, once again, his heart hardened.
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