1.Now the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
3 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 4 Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field. 6 They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians—which neither your fathers nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.’” And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. Who arethe ones that are going?”
9 And Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.”
10 Then he said to them, “The Lord had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you. 11 Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the Lord, for that is what you desired.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land—all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them. 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.
16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. 19 And the Lordturned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.”
25 But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.26 Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve theLord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.”
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!”
29 So Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.”
I learned some valuable lessons in my walk with the Lord recently. I had the opportunity to speak to one of the most loving and Christ-like groups that I have yet to meet. These people loved me with honest genuine love and they looked beyond my feeble attempt at preaching, broke bread in fellowship with me, and hugged me as I was leaving. I truly did not want to leave and it warmed my heart and taught me that the Church of Jesus Christ is still alive and well.
I learned another lesson from the Lord as I finished speaking and even though it is a good lesson, I still feel like a failure. I had spend the days before studying, listening to preaching, and reading commentaries. I felt that I was ready to stand before this group of believers and give them the message that the Lord had given me.
When I finished and as I immediately sat down, I felt this terrible sense that I had messed up completely. Now I was rusty (it has been a long time since I preached) and I knew that I would ramble for a bit before finding my legs. I also know that the Word of the Lord does not go out in vain and that the people would hear what the Lord had to say to them.
The problem came, as I now realize, in the fact that I was preaching someone else’s message. Someone else had gone through the trouble of study and putting this message together. Don’t get me wrong, the Lord gave me the message that I spoke, but I had, without knowing, relied too heavily on commentaries and other’s preaching in my message and I only taught from what they had learned. My failure, and I say this to my shame, was that I was more concerned with what everyone thought of me and how much I knew.
Moses and Aaron, on the other hand, did not:
All throughout these strikes at Israel, they spoke and acted only through and what the Lord told them to do and say. Now they do goof up later on but right now, in this instant they are following what the Lord had said.
This is because they had a personal working relationship with the Lord. This comes through spending time with the Lord. For us it comes from spending time personally in worship to the Lord and in His Word. There is nothing wrong with reading commentaries and listening to preaching or bible studies on specific subjects, but the problem comes when we rely on these helps over our own personal time with Jesus.
We can learn everything there is to know a about Him but if we don’t take the opportunity to spend time with Him personally then we are living off someone else’s experience and not our own in the Spirit.
If we don’t then we will eventually end up like Pharaoh in that our words and our outward appearance will look like we are Christian, but inside we won’t hear the Spirit and our words will be empty and useless.
I will not allow this to happen in my life from now on. I have always felt the calling to preach and teach in my life I have also always had this struggle with my pride. If I can’t preach with the full personal knowledge from the Spirit and in complete love for Jesus and for those to whom I am speaking, then I will NEVER stand before the people of God again. If I can’t get past my pride then I will sit behind this computer screen and teach what the Lord gives me and I am completely ok with it