Scripture: Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” Moses said, “As you say! I will not see your face again.” Exodus 10:28-29 ESV
Observation: Like plagues three and six, for the ninth, the Lord commands Moses to extend his hand and invoke the curse without warning to Pharaoh. This time utter darkness cloaks the land, symbolically eclipsing the Egyptian sun god, Re. Indeed, so intense is the blackness of these three days that it could be felt (10:21). So Pharaoh summons Moses and presumptuously grants all the Hebrews permission to go and serve their God, but without their flocks and herds (10:25). Hence, Moses argues for taking their livestock since they will not know what animals will be required to serve the Lord adequately (10:26). And as occurs throughout this showdown of might, the Lord demonstrates his sovereignty by hardening Pharaoh’s heart (10:27). Thus, Egypt’s arrogant and stubborn ruler hastily speaks threatening parting words to Moses (above verses 28-29).
Takeaway: There is a sense of irony in this meeting of national leaders. With the stench of death lingering in the air from the herds and humans struck down from the hail storm, Pharaoh threatens to take Moses’ life. And little does he know that he will again call Moses into his presence one last time when he and his subjects are grieving over the loss of their oldest male child. And there is a subtle juxtaposition of light and darkness, life and death, in this account. Where Pharaoh self-deceives that he sees what is going on (light), his sin-marred perception causes him to stumble in spiritual darkness. For he presumes he possesses the power to control the outcome, even that of taking Moses’ life. But he will soon learn that Yahweh is in control and will turn his face away from Pharaoh and take this impetuous king’s own life in the Red Sea.
What can we take away from this disturbing story? The importance of walking in the light of Christ. Nothing good comes from the darkness, for it seeks to extinguish the light of Christ in the hearts and minds of humankind and wreak disorder, despair, and death in our world. In contrast, the light of Christ illuminates our journey through this sin-marred world with hope, peace, and abundant life until we reach our eternal Mount Sanai, where we, like Israel, will worshipfully enjoy our Lord forever.
And how do we walk in his light? Paul exhorts the church to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). And how do we learn what pleases the Lord? By exercising the gifts of godly wisdom and humility to gain support, accountability, and encouragement from Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the community of believers. For the darkness hates the light, but the light of Christ has overcome the darkness and has set us free.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, who is the Light of the World, and who has overcome the darkness. Would you please help us walk in his light and learn how to please you: to worship you and enjoy you forever? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
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