The fifth plague was on the livestock, but God only brought this upon the Egyptians. God even told them when He would do the plague, and at that time, all the Egyptians’ livestock died while those belonging to the Israelites were untouched by the plague (Exodus 9:1-6).
Then Moses took soot from a furnace and tossed it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh, causing boils to break out on both people and animals. Because of this, the magicians couldn’t stand before Moses (Exodus 9:10-11).
Then God told Pharaoh that if he didn’t let His people go, they’d see God’s full force through the plagues, that He could’ve already wiped them off the earth. He was demonstrating His power. Because Pharaoh still wouldn’t let God’s people go, He sent the worst hailstorm Egypt had ever seen. Some listened and sheltered their livestock and slaves. There was hail, thunder, and lightning. The storm beat the ground and striped the trees. But it didn’t hail in Goshen where the Israelites dwelt. Pharaoh asked Moses to ask God the end the plague. Moses said he’d do it but called Pharaoh out by telling him he knew he and his officials didn’t fear God. God stopped the storm at Moses’s request (Exodus 9:13-33).
Right before the plague of locusts, God said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 10:1-2, NIV).
Here is our answer. Mine, yours, and Moses’s. This is why God had to do this. So people would know and remember and pass it on for generations. God had to prove Himself.
He has to do this to us too. When life gets tough, it’s so easy for me to forget just who God is and what He’s done for me. I, of all people, should remember just how good He’s been to me and the countless ways He’s shown me grace and love. Yet I forget. Yet His mercies are still new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23).
So there was the eighth plague: locusts. Plentiful enough that people couldn’t see the ground. They consumed what remained after the hail, and they were in people’s houses. Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to plead with God, and God changed the direction of the wind, which carried the locusts away to the Red Sea (Exodus 10:13-19).
Then came a plague of darkness. It lasted three full days. People were unable to see or move. But the darkness was not where the Israelites lived. Pharaoh proposed Moses and the Israelites go worship without their livestock. Moses turned this down, explaining that they needed to sacrifice. Pharaoh was so angry that he told Moses if he saw him again, Moses would die (Exodus 10:21-28).
The final plague was the death of the firstborns. God told the Israelites specifics on what kind of lamb to slaughter and eat on the tenth day of that month and that the blood of that lamb was to be rubbed on the sides and tops of the doorways to the houses the lamb was eaten in. God would passover the houses with the blood. This is Passover, and the following seven days is the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The Israelites did this, and at midnight, God struck down the firstborns in Egypt (Exodus 11:1-12:29).
Pharaoh finally told Moses and all the Israelites and all their livestock to go. The Egyptians told them to hurry lest they die (Exodus 12:31-33). God led them around the desert by the Red Sea (Exodus 13:18). Upon learning that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials pursued them on chariots. The Israelites were, of course, afraid, but God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea, and it parted; the Israelites crossed on dry land. The Egyptians pursued still, and per God’s orders, Moses stretched out his hand again, and the sea came back together, and none of the Egyptians survived (Exodus 14:5-28).
This is where we’ll leave Moses. He and the Israelites stand alive and victorious. God had freed them. His plan, crazy as it seemed, worked. His people were out of slavery.
It’s easy to look at this story and see God as cruel. But I still see a God of compassion and mercy. He excluded His people from many of the plagues. He ceased each plague at Moses’s request knowing it was really Pharaoh’s and that his heart wasn’t sincere. He heard the cry of His people. He was faithful in delivering them in His own time and His own way. Everything He did had a purpose in providing freedom and ultimately demonstrating love.
God had a plan for Moses. Moses had a destiny. Not one he should’ve had because he should’ve died as a baby. Not one he expected because he ran away. Not one he wanted because he was content where he was. Moses was us. We weren’t supposed to make it this far, but we have. We may run away from God or our callings, but they follow us. We may be content where we are, but it’s only because we can’t yet see where we’re going. Like Moses, God has a plan for all of us. To see our plans fully unfold, we have to trust God to get us there.
By Carrie Prevette