Exodus 10:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.
26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.
We are now into the ninth plague that God is sending against the nation of Egypt. In this plague God will mirror the hearts of the nation of Egypt. Their hearts were dark with sin and they did not have the desire to be forgiven and saved. Some of them were tired of the plagues, but they were not ready to have a changed heart.
The Bible describes hell as a place of “outer darkness”. It is a different kind of darkness than we normally think of. The darkness that God spoke of was a different darkness as well.
This time Moses was not told to confront Pharaoh first. He was simply told to stretch his hand toward heaven and the LORD would bring this intense darkness over the land of Egypt. This darkness would reside over the land for three days. We read that this darkness would be such that it could be felt. Again, God was doing something that had never been done before. God can do that. He proved His power with all these plagues. The magicians could not do this.
In verse 23 we read that the Egyptians could not see one another for the darkness. The sun did not give its light for three days. It was not just cloudy. It was an intense darkness. We read as well that the land of Goshen had light. The land of Goshen had originally been part of the land of Egypt. God granted Israel favour with the Pharaoh at the time of Joseph and he gave the land of Goshen for a dwelling place for them. Again, they could observe this darkness at their border, but they did not experience it.
In verse 24 Pharaoh did not tolerate this plague very long. He did not like this darkness. You cannot see anything and you do not even know what is going on elsewhere. Pharaoh said he was now willing to let the nation of Israel go and serve the LORD. We see again that Pharaoh wanted to control the situation. He would let the people go but not their herds and flocks. He thought he was doing them a favour by allowing their children to go with them.
In verse 26 we see again that there can be no compromise on God’s truth. When God says something, that is what He means. The children of Israel needed their livestock with them. They would need to make sure they had what God wanted them to sacrifice. God determines what is a worthy sacrifice, not man.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
The sacrifices were to be a picture of the sacrifice that the Lord Jesus Christ would one day make for the sins of mankind. All the animal sacrifices could never take a way the sins of the people. Only the shed blood and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ can take away sin. He is the sinless Lamb of God that takes away sin.
In verse 27 we are again reminded that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart. For those who have been following these devotionals, there should be no one who thinks that God is unjust in what He is doing. Pharaoh did not want to bow before the true God. He wanted the true God to live by his wicked standards. That does not work. God will never bow to the whims and wishes of wicked people. He is just and He is holy and He sets the standard. In order for man to be forgiven and saved, he must follow God’s way. He cannot invent his own way and think it is good enough. Man can choose to reject God, but he will also suffer due to that.
In verse 28 we see that Pharaoh was now becoming quite brazen. This is the first time he threatened Moses. Early on, God told Moses that He would make Moses seem like God to Pharaoh. Now we see how wicked Pharaoh was in that he would threaten God’s chosen servant.
Pharaoh threatened Moses not to come into his presence again. Pharaoh was certainly not thinking properly. The plagues were Pharaoh’s fault, not Moses’. Pharaoh now threatened to kill Moses. He was certainly a deluded man. He refused to learn from his past. He still assumed that he was in charge. He was coming to the end of the line. He was soon going to face death and he was not ready for it. He did not know it and he assumed that he could continue to live as he pleased and there would be no consequences. He assumed that he could inflict punishment on others, but he certainly did not accept punishment himself.
In verse 29 Moses agreed with Pharaoh. Pharaoh had sealed his fate. The next plague would be quite severe and then after that Pharaoh would lose his own life as the finale to the nation of Israel’s time in Egypt.
It is important to listen to the LORD. It is never wise to defy Him. No one will ever teach God a lesson. Those who want to defy Him will discover the detrimental consequences of this.
Today is the Lord’s Day. This is a special day that God has given us to set aside our busyness and focus our attention on Him. Jesus Christ promised:
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The true local church is very important. It is not something that we should consider only when it is convenient. It is the place to be on the Lord’s Day. Nobody can say they know all there is to know from God’s Word. No true Christian can suggest that they can meet wherever and with whomever and call it church. True Christians love the Lord and they seek to honour Him. A true church is a place that demonstrates their honour for the true God. It is a place that holds to all the doctrines of the Bible. It is a place where a person can go and be fed the truth.
God showed Moses and Aaron that their service for the LORD needed to be according to His Word. They could not allow Pharaoh to interfere with that. He did not have the right to change that in any way. This is also true for the true local church. The government does not have the authority to change how or if the true local church meets. God has already decreed that. The wise person submits to God’s authority and through that is able to be blessed by God.