Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Exodus 7:14-18 Nile Confrontation

"Then the LORD said to Moses,
'Pharaoh's heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.
Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water.
Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him,
and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake.
Then say to him,
"The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you:
Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert.
But until now you have not listened.
This is what the LORD says:
By this you will know that I am the LORD:
With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile
and it will be changed into blood.
The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink;
the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water." '

Exodus 7:14-18 (NIV)
Some observations:
  • Moses was instructed to wait for Pharaoh on the bank of the Nile, with the staff that was previously changed into a snake.  This staff was a very visible reminder of the recent encounter between Moses and the magicians of Pharaoh's court.  In that meeting, God was shown to have superior power.  By having Moses carry this symbol of God's power, God was subtly warning Pharaoh to pay attention to what Moses would have to say.
  • In addition, by coming in the morning to meet Pharaoh before he started his day, God is making it clear that this confrontation is between Himself and Pharaoh.  Later, Pharaoh would be surrounded by his court and his advisors, but now, in the morning hours as Pharaoh prepared for his day, God was giving him a chance to listen to what He had to say and consider the consequences of disobedience
  • Speaking of consequences, God made quite clear what would happen if Pharaoh refused to obey the LORD:  The river would be changed to blood, fish would die and the river would stink.  Most significantly, the Egyptians would not be able to drink the water of the Nile.  That must have been a rather sobering threat.  The Nile was the source of much of the richness of Egypt.  Even while other countries suffered during times of drought, the Nile provided abundant supplies of water.  It was probably almost unimaginable that this could change.
  • Moses was to make it clear that it was the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, who was sending him to speak to Pharaoh.  There would be no confusion, no ambiguity.
  • "until now you have not listened" (v.16) -- is it just me, or does that imply that eventually, Pharaoh will end up complying with God's demands, either willingly or under compulsion?
It seems like God is doing everything possible to make His request clear and to persuade Pharaoh to comply willingly.  However, again I get the sense that God's plan will continue to be fulfilled either way.

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