Thursday, December 8, 2011

Exodus 9:22-26 Consequences and Compassion

"Then the LORD said to Moses,
'Stretch out your hand toward the sky
so that hail will fall all over Egypt --
on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.'

When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky,
the LORD sent thunder and hail,
and lightning flashed down to the ground.
So the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt;
hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth.

It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.
Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields --
both men and animals;
it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.

The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen,
where the Israelites were."

Exodus 9:22-26 (NIV)


Although God had specifically warned against the consequences of disobedience, Pharaoh had refused to comply with the LORD's instructions or to even heed His merciful warning.  Some of Pharaoh's officials, though, were beginning to get the hint and ran to bring their servants and animals to shelter. (Exodus 9:20)

The hailstorm arrived as scheduled.  As the LORD had promised, it was the worst storm Egypt had endured as a nation. (Exodus 9:18,24)  Men, animals, plants and trees were all affected.  The text emphasizes this by repeating "everything in the fields", "everything growing", "every tree".

In stark contrast, the only place where it did not hail was the land of Goshen.  This was because this was where the Israelites were.  God was not playing favorites.  The Israelites were no less sinful than any other humans.  However, they had a covenant relationship with God, and He will always honor His promises.

If anything, sparing Goshen was a merciful act towards Egypt as well.  The Egyptians could clearly see that the God of the Hebrews was a powerful God, yet One who had mercy upon those who would turn to Him.  Those Egyptians who heeded God's warning were able to save their servants and animals from destruction.  This showed the Egyptians that God was willing to be their God, too, if they would turn to Him.

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