Storms excite me. Much to the dismay of my mother-in-law whom I left alone in the basement with my four terrified children (one of which was so scared he had just thrown up), because I had to go outside to see the tornado. I know, I’m a terrible mother! Or daughter-in-law, whichever you prefer. But I had to see it! (My excuse still to this day.)
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 9: 13-35
Key Verse: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36, NIV)
And it was worth the peek. God’s power, vividly on display in the storm, amazes me. When I see those dark clouds billowing in the west, I get all kinds of eager. I check the three different radar apps on my phone (don’t judge) and I watch it build. Oh man, it’s coming. How’s it going to hit us? When’s it going to hit us?
Then it gets here. Standing in awe at the window I love watching Jesus direct the lightning bolts (Job 38:35). I can see for miles, each one sent to its place, standing at attention before the King of Glory. Then I count and listen; how close was it? The rumbles of thunder apparently what Heaven’s throne room sounds like (Rev. 4:5). And the closest any of us has come to hearing the audible voice of God (Job 40:9).
But I don’t think I’d have been standing by the window when the seventh plague hit Egypt. Hiding under my bed, is probably more like it. The storm unequal to anything they had ever seen, God warned Pharaoh first. “Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall…therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter” (v. 18-19).
It’s coming. If you’re outside you won’t survive. Having seen enough already “whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field” (v. 20-21); much to their detriment.
The next morning, as promised, dark clouds billowed with vengeance. God flinging wide the doors to his storehouses of hail (Job 38:23), it fell hard “with fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail.” The pouring rain and thunder at a standstill over the vast kingdom, except in the land of Goshen. There, it was dry. Perhaps overcast, but I’m picturing sunny with a slight breeze out of the west and eighty-two degrees.
How long did the storm last? It doesn’t say. Long enough to break every tree in the field, strike anyone or anything caught outside, including the animals that had either been spared from the pestilence of the fifth plague or brought from neighboring countries afterwards, and crush the crops. Specifically, the flax and barley, placing the seventh plague most likely in the month of January. With the 10th plague (and thus Passover) occurring around Easter (Fitting huh?).
Growing up I pictured the plagues one right after the other. Ten plagues in ten days, but perhaps it took a year. With enough time in between each one for the Egyptians to consider their losses and their loyalties. The Egyptian gods doing nothing to protect them, can you imagine their dinner conversations? “I think we should serve the God of the Hebrews.” “What? Are you kidding?” But after the seventh plague I’m thinking there were a few more converts.
With a storm of this magnitude there was no denying God’s power or presence in the land of Egypt. God had shown up to save his people. His wrath pummeling the enemy. Incidentally, David spoke of his own rescue in similar manner, describing God’s presence as a storm.
“He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. The LORD also thundered in the heavens…And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them” (Psalm 18:10-14).
David goes on to say, “He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me” (v. 17). Sounds exactly like the seventh plague, don’t you think? God thundering from the heavens with hailstones, fire, and flashes of lightning.
And you know what? It’s not the last time God will show up in this manner. In the time of the great tribulation when the seventh bowl is poured out, He plans to do it again (Rev. 16:18). “And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each” (v. 21), will fall on the enemies of His people.
In other words, it’s coming. We’ve been fair warned. The question is, will we heed the word of the LORD, get inside, and be under the covering of Christ? Or will we ignore it, as the Egyptians did, paying little attention to the caution of God.
John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (NIV).
We can’t save ourselves, but we can come under the covering of Christ. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:9, NIV)
By sincere, whole-hearted repentance. As opposed to Pharaoh who only went half way. Calling Moses and Aaron (because he knew they were the only ones who could fix this) he said to them, “This time I have sinned: the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong” (v. 27). In other words, “Make it stop!”
But Moses knew it was a hoax (v. 30). Pharaoh wasn’t sorry that he was a grievous sinner, he was sorry that his crops had been grievously destroyed – his economy collapsing.
My friend, repentance is of the heart, not the heartache. To repent means to change one’s mind. In the Biblical context to repent is to change one’s mind about two things: Who we are (a sinner) and who Christ is (the Savior).
And when that happens, with genuine sincerity, you can know, you’re safe in the arms of Jesus. Brought in, and given shelter from the storm. It’s as simple as “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
So seek shelter while you still can my friend; for there’s a storm brewin’ on the horizon.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Have you trusted in Christ for salvation with a sincerity that spills forth in devotion?
Who can you share the love of Christ with today