Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh after showing him the sign God had commanded and after Aaron’s rod had dinner. Now Moses and Aaron interrupt Pharaoh’s bath time.
Pharaoh is NOT listening to God’s command to let the people go. Now it’s time to get serious. God started with a simple sign that Pharaoh was able to replicate through his magicians but even there God trumped it. Now the first plague is going to be released. This plague will affect the whole land of Egypt.
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That evening as Moses sits under his favorite tree he hears the Lord speaking to him. “Go to Pharaoh in the morning where he is bathing. Make sure and take you staff with you; the one that turned into a serpent. When he comes up out of the water you will be there to meet him and give him another message from Me. ‘And you shall say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you saying, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.’ But so far, you have not obeyed. Thus says the Lord, ‘By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile’”’” (verses 16-18).
Moses listened closely to the instructions of the Lord, including that he was to tell Aaron to perform the actual striking of the water. He was also to tell Aaron to strike all the water in Egypt so there wouldn’t be clean water anywhere. As soon as he was certain he had all the Lord’s instructions committed to memory and in his heart he went to speak with Aaron about what the morning held.
“Aaron, I have heard from the Lord. He has told me what our next step is for Him.”
“That’s great! Is it something I’m to assist you with?”
“Absolutely! I can hardly wait to see the look on Pharaoh’s face when he sees the Lord’s hand in the morning!” Moses proceeds to tell Aaron exactly what the Lord shared with him. Aaron’s eyes widen and his mouth falls open when he hears that there won’t be any clean water in all of Egypt.
“But what are we supposed to do about water?”
“The Lord will take care of His own. Our people may need to suffer a bit too so they will recognize the hand of God.”
“Maybe so. I bet this gets their attention” Aaron says with big eyes and a wary smile.
At first light Moses and Aaron head out to the place where Pharaoh bathes in the Nile. They hang back a bit so he won’t see them until the time is right. His procession can be heard for quite some distance and they watch from their vantage point. As soon as Pharaoh starts preparing for his bath Moses and Aaron avert their eyes. Their ears will tell them when he is ready to be approached.
After some time Pharaoh is heard ordering one of his servants, “Bring me my robe!”
The servant steps to the bank and holds Pharaoh’s robe for him to step into. It takes but a moment to wrap Pharaoh in his fine linen tunic and fasten it with a scarab pin. This is also the sign Moses and Aaron have been waiting for. They walk from their spot to the top of the bank above Pharaoh.
“Good morning Pharaoh” intones Moses.
“What do you want” Pharaoh says with a sneer. “Come to get an eye full of Egypt’s amazing god?”
“No my lord. We would not be so disrespectful. But I do bring you another message from the God of the Hebrews.”
“Let me guess; ‘let my people go’?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. But He has much more to say to Pharaoh on this issue.”
Pharaoh moves to his bench where his servant cleans his feet and puts his sandals on him. “Go ahead. Amuse your Pharaoh this morning.”
“The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you saying, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.’ But so far, you have not obeyed. Thus says the Lord, ‘By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.’” Then Moses turned to Aaron and said, “Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in the vessels of wood and in vessels of stone” (verse 19b).
Pharaoh listened to Moses’ words to him with a grim face but when Moses spoke to Aaron Pharaoh’s expression turned angry. Surely Moses didn’t intend to try this trick on him! This was something his own magicians could do. Didn’t their God have any new tricks? Still though, this was something that would disrupt his day.
Aaron steps forward and strikes the Nile with his staff. The entire river immediately turns to blood. The fish begin to be pushed to the surface where they gasp for air. Within minutes they lie perfectly still. The whole river is covered in dead fish. Pharaoh stood by and watched as the fish succumbed to the lack of oxygen. He then turns and begins walking away from the river. “Follow me and I will show you what I think of this trick.”
Moses and Aaron follow Pharaoh as he makes his way to his palace. Once they arrive, Pharaoh summons his magicians and also has two of his servants bring in a jar of water. Once everything is ready Pharaoh says to his magicians, “Your god commands you to turn this water into blood.”
The magicians step forward and, using herbs and incantations, turn the water into blood. Pharaoh smiles at Moses and Aaron. “My prophets can do the same. There is nothing special about your God’s latest trick. Leave me! I grow tired of your parlor tricks!”
Moses and Aaron leave Pharaoh’s palace. Aaron still has work to do as God commanded him to stretch out his staff to ALL the waters in Egypt.
Aaron and Moses have completed the Lord’s work by evening. There is no fresh water in all of Egypt.
In the meantime Pharaoh has ordered his magicians to turn the blood back into water. They are having no success in this at all and that was making Pharaoh angry! The longer this disaster went on the angrier Pharaoh became. By day three he was threatening to kill his magicians if they didn’t solve this problem.
On the third day the Egyptians began digging beside the Nile to try and find water. Anything they found immediately turned to blood as soon as it was exposed. The people began to cry out to Pharaoh for relief.
Even the making of bricks had come to a halt as water was needed for this process. This didn’t stop the Egyptian slave drivers to decrease their demands on the Hebrews. They simply rolled over the shortage from one day into the quota for the next. With the lack of straw there was already such a shortage that the Hebrews would never catch up.
This disaster lasted a full week. When the water finally cleared Pharaoh’s magicians took credit for it. Moses and Aaron waited patiently this week for the Lord to speak to them and tell them what to do next. They also prayed that Pharaoh would bend to the Lord’s will and release the people.
Moses and Aaron also spoke with the people about having hope during this time as the Lord was working on their freedom through His acts. Their words fell on skeptical ears. Hope rekindled for some while others only saw the difficulties. The Lord had MUCH work to do with His own people’s hearts too.
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Father God, I have noticed how difficulties can drive people in several different directions. My favorite direction is TOWARDS You! I am guilty, though, of going other directions too. I have often tried to solve the issue in my own way with varied success. I believe the positive outcome times were a gift from You, even though I didn’t recognize it at the time. It was Your grace for Your stubborn child. I have found though that when I turn to You in my struggle, no matter how it ends, I have peace. That peace is the BEST gift of all!
I’m asking for that peace right now Father for this weekend. I LOVE hosting camp for my grandchildren but we are facing some difficulties. Please put Your hand on our gathering and bless all those who attend and those who wanted to attend but were unable. Put Your hand on our water situation and keep it flowing freely without any issues. Also don’t let this weekend’s activities rob us of water for the coming week. Help me be wise with our resources and the kids be entertained by everything else that is going on. Help all the children get along together and enjoy one another’s company. Help me have ideas that will incorporate ALL the children in the activities, including our youngest. It’s not easy scaling an activity for participants from 1-15 and from high energy to quiet and retiring. HELP Lord! And YES, I’m looking forward to it with joy and anticipation to see how You work in our midst. I should have thought of praying about this BEFORE! Now I’m excited to see what You do with this prayer too!!!