Nine Times No
Exodus 4-10; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 257-272
We worship God when we trust Him in every situation.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
Charlotte and her older sisters were playing outside. She stood between her sisters and fell back to one sister and then fell forward to the other. She trusted her sisters to catch her and they did! A long time ago the Israelites learned that they could trust God.
Moses made the long journey back across the desert from Midian to Egypt. Somewhere in the desert his brother, Aaron, came toward him. “God has sent me to help you,” said Aaron. Together they would face Pharaoh.
After meeting with the Israelite leaders, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh’s palace. Moses spoke bravely. “I have a message from God for you. God says, ‘Let My people go to hold a festival for Me in the desert.’”
Pharaoh answered, “Who is this God? I do not know Him. And I will not let the Israelites go.”
Moses replied, “Let the people go. Otherwise God may respond with plagues or the sword.”
But Pharaoh refused, and dismissed Moses and Aaron. Then he told the overseers to make the Israelites work harder.
Each day Pharaoh went to worship at the river Nile. God sent Moses to the river. There, Moses said to Pharaoh, “If you will not listen to God and let the Israelites go, something terrible will happen. Water will turn into blood. All the fish will die.” Pharaoh refused. Then Moses stretched out his staff, and the river water turned to blood. But Pharaoh still refused to change his mind.
Seven days later Moses again asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and worship in the desert. Again Pharaoh said, “No.”
Moses responded, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I will send a plague of frogs. They will be everywhere, in your bed, in your food, in your ovens.’” And it happened! Frogs appeared everywhere!
Pharaoh sent for Moses. “Take away these frogs, and I will let the Israelites go,” he promised. Soon great mounds of dead frogs littered the country. But as soon as the frogs died, Pharaoh changed his mind.
Again God sent Moses to Pharaoh. Again Pharaoh said no. And Moses promised: “God will send a plague of gnats.”
Soon gnats were everywhere, plaguing people and animals. Pharaoh’s advisors said, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh would not listen to them either.
Then God told Moses to go to Pharaoh when he worshipped his gods at the river. Moses asked again. But Pharaoh still refused. So Moses delivered another message. “The Lord will send swarms of flies. The air will be black with them.”
And it happened just as Moses had said. But there were no flies where the Israelites lived. So Pharaoh sent for Moses and said, ”I will let your people go, just do not go far.” But as soon as the flies disappeared, Pharaoh changed his mind again.
Moses went to Pharaoh again. “God says, If you continue to refuse to let My people go,” he said, “all your animals will get sick and die.” The next day the Egyptian livestock died, but Pharaoh still refused.
Next, God told Moses to throw ashes into the air before Pharaoh. He did, and the Egyptians broke out in big boils and sores. But Pharaoh still would not listen.
Then God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go or God would send a terrible hailstorm. The hail came all over Egypt except where the Israelites lived.
When the storm came, Pharaoh admitted that he had sinned and that God was righteous. He sent for Moses and said, “I will let the people go. Just ask God to stop this storm.” But when the storm was over, Pharaoh changed his mind again.
God sent two more plagues. Locusts came and ate up all the green plants. Then three days of darkness. It was so dark that the Egyptians could not see each other, but the Israelites had light. Still Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go.
Nine times God sent plagues on Egypt. The Egyptians worshipped the river Nile and the creatures involved in the plagues. God proved to them that their gods could not help them.
Nine times God gave Pharaoh an opportunity to recognize that the God of the Israelites is the true God. And nine times Pharaoh refused. Nine times God showed the Israelites that He was their God, that they could trust Him completely. How did they know? All through the plagues, God kept them safe.