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May 19 – God commands the animals to die and the dust to bring distress

“The LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.”And the LORD set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” And the next day the LORD did this thing. – Exodus 9:4-6

Scripture reading: Exodus 9:1-12

God has an amazing way of getting His point across, doesn’t He? He has said to Pharaoh, “You shall let my people go and you shall know that I am the LORD.” Now the signs and judgments are being displayed for all to see and they are steadily increasing in power and consequences until at last God will slay every firstborn of Egypt and then drown the remainder of the powerful of Egypt in the Red Sea!

The LORD’s purpose in all this activity in Egypt was to make His name known among the nations and to bring His treasured people out of their bondage into the land of promise. Those two great purposes – to glorify God and restore the Israelites to the land of the promise – are on full display here. He strikes all the beasts of Egypt, but spares all that belonged to the Israelites. And then, the very dust which coated the Hebrew slaves from the brick kilns of their slavery is cast upon Pharaoh and his hosts and they are oppressed by these wretched boils. Even still, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

One godly congregant wrote recently, “Pharaoh grieves me. He grieves me because his hardened heart and unwillingness to accept God’s sovereignty remind me so much of my sister. Her heart is hard towards Jesus and her will is unyielding to God’s sovereignty … she and Pharaoh have too much invested in sovereignty over their own lives… Why doesn’t she see that lasting peace comes only from knowing Jesus?” (Cited in Phillip Ryken, Exodus, p 275)

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the LORD’s message would be heard and received in faith by new generations. Pray that the LORD would give us greater joy in the news that lasting peace comes only from knowing Jesus.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church in BC.

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