God hardened the heart of Pharaoh in order to reach the heart of mankind.
Exodus 10:1–2 (NKJV) “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.” (see also Exodus 11:9)
And here we are, over 3,000 years later, reading what God has done – so that we might know this God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, truly is the LORD.
We’ve already touched on the fact that God only hardened Pharaoh’s heart after he hardened his own heart – 5 times! (See chart below)
Plague # 8 – Locust like never before (Exodus 10:14)
Plague #9 – Darkness in Egypt, but not in Goshen; a darkness that could even be felt (Exodus 10:21) (Perhaps a taste of hell? See Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
As was mentioned in yesterday’s reading, Pharaoh offered Moses various compromises (Exodus 10:11, 24) but “not a hoof would be left behind” (Exodus 10:26).
The final plague upon Egypt would be the the death of the firstborn, requiring an innocent Lamb to be sacrificed; this would provide the opportunity for God’s people to be set free!
This was such a huge event for Israel that this would commence the Jewish calendar. We read in:
Exodus 12:2 (NKJV) “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
It would be a completely new beginning for God’s people.
The Passover Lamb would be a picture, a typology, a prophecy of Jesus. The Jews were instructed to kill the Lamb, take the blood and place it on their doorposts and lintel; when the Angel of death descended on the land, if He saw the blood applied to the household, He would “Passover” that home (Exodus 12:13). The moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ, the blood is applied to our lives, and spiritually speaking, we will not die. (John 11:25) It’s not enough for the Lamb to die, we must believe and receive this blood, personally. The Lamb died in our place and paid the punishment we deserved, so that we can be forgiven.
John the Baptist pointed this out about Jesus:
John 1:29 (NKJV) “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”
Paul the Apostle pointed this out about Jesus:
1 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
Peter pointed this out about Jesus:
1 Peter 1:18–19 (NKJV) “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
John the Beloved pointed this out about Jesus (Revelation 1:5; 5:6).
Warren Wiersbe comments on the Parable of the Landowner, “The parable is not about salvation, for we cannot work for salvation; nor is it about rewards, for we do not all receive the same reward. The story concerns the selfish attitude implicit in Peter’s question. The key to the parable is that the first workers hired demanded a contract and insisted on knowing how much they would get. The other workers trusted the landowner. If you ask God for a contract, you will only rob yourself, for He is generous with His workers. Be faithful to do your job and avoid watching the other workers, and He will deal with you generously.”
I’m certain there will be many surprises when all is revealed in the Kingdom of God. Isn’t it interesting that the workers hired “last” were paid first? Truly the last will be first and the first will be last – and there IS a difference between invitation and salvation, between all who are called, and the few who are chosen.
Matthew 20:16 (NKJV) “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Jesus repeatedly warned and informed His disciples that He was about to die (Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 17:22-23) but this is the first time He brings up the fact that He would be mocked, scourged, and crucified. He tempers it all with the resurrection, but the disciples didn’t have a clue, they suffered from CHP.
They could not hear what Jesus was saying.
The mother of James and John (Salome) tries to secure positions for her boys. It’s actually sad to see that all the Apostles were focused on this, vying for power and position. Jesus teaches us that “positions” in the Kingdom of God are determined by the Father, and a person needs to be prepared for it. Salome and her sons had no idea what they were asking for – they only saw the glory not the gory. They only saw the crown and were oblivious of the cross.
Jesus teaches us that the Kingdom of God is completely contrary to the kingdom of men. Christian leaders are called to be servant-leaders. The Greek word used here is diakonos, it speaks of someone who runs errand for another.
But if you want to be first, Jesus said, if you have high-hopes and great ambitions in God’s Kingdom, you need to be God’s slave (the Greek word is doulos). The Christian life and ministry is not about being served, but it consists in serving to the point that we’ve abandoned all our rights of ownership to ourselves, we belong to God, we are His slaves, His servants. Christians are called to lay down their lives in this sense, as was literally modeled for us by Jesus Christ.
Matthew 20:28 (NKJV) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
David prays for God to give him victory over his enemies. He even makes it a prayer for all God’s people:
Psalm 25:3a (NKJV) “Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed…”
To wait on the Lord has less to do with time and more to do with trust. When we wait on Him, we don’t act hastily or sinfully; we wait in faith, with eager expectation, great anticipation. God will show up, save the day, and have His way.
David prayed for God to show him, teach him, lead him, and forgive him.
David knew that God would bless obedience, that God would even bless the children of those who fear the Lord and keep His Word.
I can relate to David all too well in the way he asked for forgiveness. O God, don’t remember the sins of my youth, or the sins of yesterday, according to Your mercy remember me (Psalm 25:7).
Psalm 25:11 (NKJV) “For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”
We also have another powerful reminder to keep our eyes on the Lord (see Isaiah 26:3).
Psalm 25:15 (NKJV) “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.”
It’s necessary to glance at our problems periodically, but let’s make sure to gaze upon God. It’s okay to look in the mirror occasionally for there are those times of heart examination, but let it not replace our concentration on Christ.
As we simply keep our eyes on Him, the Lord will rescue us from the traps of the enemy.
Proverbs 6:6-11 (NKJV) “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep— 11So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.“
What a shame and at the same time a revelation regarding the severity of the fall of man that we have been degraded to the point of having to be taught Bible truths by bugs! Instructed by insects.
1. Notice the ant’s inner Motivation (v. 7)
Having no captain, overseer, or ruler, no one’s pushing them, no one’s watching them, they just continue to work productively. No one’s forcing them to work responsibly.
No one has to tell them, “Ok, chop, chop, break’s over, get back to work.”
No, the ant has a heart to work, their own inner motivation to work hard, relentlessly, productively.
Christians should be the hardest and most faithful workers of all because we’re aware of the fact that ultimately, we work for and serve Jesus.
Ephesians 6:5–6 (NLT) “Workers, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.
2. Notice the ant’s thoughtful Preparation (v. 8)
Proverbs 6:8 (NKJV) “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.“
They’re “go-getters,” and they’re “gatherers”
As go-getters they don’t sit back with a sense of entitlement saying mom and dad, the family, society owes it to me. No, they go out and get it, they labor…they work for it.
(the Bible encourages giving generously, but not to freeloaders interested only in handouts)
2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
Warren Wiersbe, “The biggest thieves of all are the lazy people who could work but won’t, the people who consume what others produce but produce nothing for others to use. The “sluggard” and the “slothful man” are mentioned at least seventeen times in Proverbs, and nothing good is said about them. We need to recognize the fact that work is not a curse. God gave Adam work to do in the Garden even before sin entered the scene.”
I like what one man said, “Work is the meat of life, and pleasure is the desert.”
Another man said, “It’s better to wear out than to rust out so beware of handouts.”
When there’s a genuine need – praise God that so many are sensitive to the Spirit, but if a man needs to learn to walk and work, we musn’t get in the way, we might cripple him for life.
Ants are “go-getters” and they’re “gatherers” (savers).
Proverbs 6:8 (NKJV) “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.“
I realize this isn’t always possible for all of us, but I know of one young man who prior to this pandemic had close to 6 months of wages in his savings account. So, when the virus hit, and his industry was hit, he was furloughed and lost that income, but he’s doing okay, because he was a go-getter and a gatherer, a saver. (needs to be in the budget)
We don’t need anyone pushing us to work hard during the good season in order to gather in a healthy harvest and save for the “rainy day.”
We learn from the ant, we also learn from the slug.
Proverbs 6: 9-11 (NKJV) “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.“
If all we do is rest, sleep and kick back, according to the Proverbs, our bankruptcy will come suddenly and in one sense, violently.
2 things we learn from the sluggard
1. Wake up
Proverbs 26:14, “As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed.”
We read something similar in *Proverbs 24:30-34.
Now…we can’t go to the other extreme and be weird – sleep is a necessary element for a healthy life. Wise people enjoy sleep – (Proverbs 3:24) they’re working hard, willing to sweat, so sleep is sweet. Even as we read in Ecclesiastes 5:12, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet…” but the sleep of a sluggard is selfish.
One man said, “Laziness could run a competitive race for the most underrated sin.”
Paul was a good example for us – laboring abundantly – more than they all the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:10.
Jesus of course is the perfect example. In Mark 1 we have a day in the life of Jesus, rising before the sun to pray before the day even begins, then going out to minister all day long. Finally we see Him willing to work AFTER the sun had set – they brought to Him all who were demon-possessed, and the whole city was gathered at the door.
Now, I’m not saying He did that every day, but I know that was His heart.
John 4:34, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.’”
Some say it’s a matter of metabolism, I say it’s a matter of morals and wisdom. We’ve learned that Biblical maxim, “He who snoozes, loses.
One of my favorite Proverbs that I sometimes quote when I don’t want to get out of bed is Proverbs 20:13, “Do not love sleep, lest you come to Poverty; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread.”
We learn from the sluggard
1. Wake up
2. Or we’re gonna get Beat up
We’ll get beat up by spiritual and physical poverty.
Yes, it is possible to glean from anything in God’s creation – even the ant!
The ant doesn’t need anything to constantly push it – it works hard intrinsically. They save and store up for the future; these tiny insects are hard workers and good savers.
May we have the same work ethic and foresight, let us not sleep, slumber, slug, or sloth our life away.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.