Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Exodus 7:14-25 (NRSV)
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. Say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.” But until now you have not listened. Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD.” See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.’” The LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water—so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river.
Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.
I can almost smell the stench of the rotting fish and bloody waters when I read this passage! Moses and Aaron had confronted Pharaoh about letting the slaves go into the wilderness to worship. Following God’s command, Moses struck the river with his staff and the water turned to blood and the fish died. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing. Just as God had said, Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened and he would not listen.
Sometimes, like Pharaoh, our hearts harden. We complain loudly about what God has not done, causing our hearts to harden. Our complaints keep us from seeing the very things God is doing. We want bigger and better instead of appreciating and offering thanks for the little and most significant things such as children’s laughter, a kind word from an unexpected source, or a sense of calm in the middle of a storm.
Reflect on your words and actions. How might you be relying on the “magicians” of the world rather than God? In what ways have you hardened your heart against God?
Lord, sometimes life is just stinky. We find ourselves plagued by people, situations, and events that beat us down and darken our outlook. Forgive us for seeking the “magicians” of the world to provide light in our darkness instead of choosing the One who is the Light of the World. Help us to look for you in the ordinary and not just the extraordinary. Amen.
Go with God.