Scripture: Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people. Exodus 11:2-3 ESV
Observation: Chapter 11 presents the threat of the final plague: the death of all firstborn males in Egypt (livestock and humans alike). The narrative starts with God’s promise that this will be the last plague, producing the desired outcome. Yahweh then commands Moses to instruct fellow Israelites to ask their Egyptian neighbors for their gold and silver jewelry. Indeed, even though Pharaoh remained obstinate, his magicians and people feared the Hebrew God and his spokesman, Moses, and would grant whatever his people requested to avert further disaster (above verses). Thus, Moses confronts Pharaoh with no plea bargain but instead conveys the details of this plague of death and the Egyptians’ response:
- It will extend from the palace to the non-Hebrew slave quarters.
- Their cries of anguish will exceed past and future lament.
- Neither the Egyptians nor even their dogs will resist Israel.
- Pharaoh’s subjects will bow down to Moses and implore the Hebrews and other God-fearers who follow them to leave.
Finally, Moses tells Pharaoh that he will go when the Egyptians ask—implying Pharaoh will have no say in the matter. Then, burning with anger, Moses abruptly leaves Pharaoh’s court (11:8). Along the way, Yahweh reminds Moses that Pharaoh will not heed his words so that the Lord’s wonders “may be multiplied in the land of Egypt” (11:9).
Takeaway: Whether pertaining to a leader or their followers, we need to wait on the Lord to orchestrate circumstances if we want to see a change in the attitude of others. While telling off the guilty party with righteous anger might feel good, it may not go well for us. But if we persevere trials, waiting on the Lord’s favor while praying for discernment of timing and words that align with God’s will, then even if the message is not well received, the results will, in due time, effectuate the desired outcome. And don’t be surprised if adversaries become allies and doubters become believers, for the Lord loves to multiply his wonders in all his creation.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for pouring out your favor on us in the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Would you please help us persevere hardship and wait on you to change attitudes (including ours) that we might speak at the right time with your words that effectuate change and reveal your wonders? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling