Ep.020: A Plague on Your House

Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.

Today we consider the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  Moses started by asking Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the people go. But Pharaoh wasn’t about to release his slave labor force. That’s like asking Walmart to dismiss its clerks and shelf stockers, and run the store with just the management. Not going to happen.

So Moses had a wee contest with Pharaoh, in which Moses called down plagues on Egypt to convince Pharaoh to free the Israelite slaves. Pharaoh wasn’t impressed with the first two plagues because his magicians could so something similar. But Pharaoh found the plagues annoying, so he asked Moses to pray to the Lord to get rid of them.

After plague #2, Pharaoh said, “Pray to the Lord to take away the frogs, and I will let your people go.”   

After the plague of flies, he said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”

After the plague of thunderstorms with lightning and hail, Pharaoh said, “Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough.”

And after plague #8, the locusts, he said, “Forgive my sin once more and pray for me.”

I like his prayer after the locusts. “Forgive my sin once more and pray for me.”  Amen to that! That’s a prayer for you and for me. After each plague, Pharaoh promised to let the Israelites go, but as soon as God lifted the plague, Pharaoh changed his mind.  What would it take to get Pharaoh to keep his promises and to set the people free? What finally worked was when Moses created a path through the Red Sea on which the Israelites escaped to safety. And when Pharaoh’s army followed, the path disappeared, the sea came in, and the army drowned.

Let’s take a look at Pharaoh’s philosophy of prayer and see if it has some lessons for us. Here’s how the Pharaoh philosophy of prayer operates: God tells you to do something, you decide you don’t really want to do it. God makes your life difficult, you ask someone to pray for you. And amazingly, the prayer works. Your life becomes easier, your troubles go away, and you forget about God. . . until God sends more troubles to get your attention and you say, “Oh, yeah! That’s what I was supposed to do. Maybe I’ll do it this time.” So you pray for relief from your new troubles, your prayer gets answered, things get better, and you settle back into your comfort zone of ignoring God.

So here are two lessons from Pharaoh’s philosophy of prayer:

1.    Be sure to pray when your life is falling apart. That’s what prayer is for.

2.    But remember to keep your promises when times are good. That’s what prayer is about too!

Dear God, teach us to pray and obey when times are good and when times are bad. May our paths lead us through the Red Sea to the wilderness where you meet us. And save us from our enemies who pursue us to bring us back into slavery.

Thank you for listening.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with me”.

Appendix:  The 10 plagues and Pharaoh’s responses.

  1. Nile to blood
  2. Frogs                 Pray to the Lord
  3. Gnats or lice
  4. Flies                Pray for me
  5. Livestock
  6. Boils
  7. Thunderstorm – Hail        Pray to the Lord for we have had enough
  8. Locusts            Forgive my sin once more and pray for me
  9. Darkness for 3 days
  10. Firstborn            Go, and bless me.
  11. The Finale: Path through the Red Sea

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