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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2003

Moses Confronts Pharaoh

Moses was eighty years old when God spoke to himfrom the burning bush. God told Moses he mustreturn to Egypt,go be-forePharaoh, and speakGod’s words to him. Moses did not want to go, and offered five excuses to keep from doing what God instructed him to do. We, too, sometimes hesi-tate to do what we knowGod wants us to do.

The first excuse that Moses made was that he was a “nobody.” But God said He wouldbe with him. His second excuse was that he would not know what to tell the Israelites if they asked him for God’s name. God told him to tell them, “I AmWho I Am,” meaning that God has always existed. His third excuse was that he would
not know what to do if the Egyptians did not believe him. God told him to throw his shepherd’s crook, or rod, on the ground. God turned it into a snake, causing Moses to run from it! But then God told him to pick the snake up by the tail. When he did so, the snake turned back into a rod. God also told Moses to place his hand inside his shirt. When he took it back out, it was infected with the deadly skin disease of leprosy. When he put it back in his shirt like God said, it was restored to its former healthy condition. His fourth excuse was that he was not a goodspeaker. But God told him he could take his brother with him. His fifth excuse was that someone else could go. But God told him that taking his brother andhis rod with him wouldenable him to do well. So, finally, Moses agreedto do what God wanted him to do. He took with him his rod, and his brother, Aaron,even as God had in-structed.

At his first meeting with Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron informed him that God required him to release the Israelites. Pharaoh defiantly responded: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice…?” (Exodus 5:2). The second time they met with Pharaoh, Aaron threw down his rod, and God turned it into a snake. But Pharaoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing. Then Aaron’s snake swallowed all the other snakes! God does not have to resort to tricks and deceit. What He does is real!

Since Pharaoh still would not obey, God had to punish him and motivate him to obey. So God brought upon him ten terrible afflictions. These plagues were meant to gain the release of the Israelites. But more important, they showed Pharaoh, Egypt, and the world, that God is the one true God (Exodus 9:16).



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