Saturday, April 13, 2013

The 7th Plague: Hail -- Exodus 9:22-26


Now the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”  And Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth.  And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt.  So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  And the hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field.  Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were there was no hail.
 
This section of the chapter now takes us to Moses actually implementing the plague of hail, the seventh plague.  But can you imagine how Moses felt knowing what he was about to do?  By stretching out his hand towards the sky, destructive hail would start to fall on all the land of Egypt.  Can you imagine being used so powerfully and physically by the Almighty in the way that Moses was?  It is hard for us to fathom it.  It is even harder to imagine what it would feel like and how we would react.  Recently I saw the movie “42” on the life of American baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, who was the first black man to play in the major leagues.  It took a special man to be able to endure all that that entailed in a very anti-black racially charged society of America in the mid-1940’s.  But somehow, I believe, God had molded him and prepared him for such a destiny as this.  And this is what He had done for Moses.  Jackie Robinson was also not meant to go through this ordeal alone, for Pee Wee Reese the captain of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time was there to stand with him publicly and to take the heat beside him.  And similarly, God provided Aaron for Moses.
So hail fell on man, beast, and plants alike indiscriminately throughout the entire country, save and except the land of Goshen where the children of Israel resided.  And what a hailstorm it was.  God provided all the special effects of a spectacular display of hail – adding thunder and fire (perhaps thunder bolt flashes).  The storm was so bad that in recording the event, the author (Moses himself) felt it necessary to say, “ . . . such had not been experienced since ancient Egypt became a nation”.  Wikipedia gives us the following on this: “The history of Ancient Egypt spans the period from the early pre-dynastic settlements of the northern Nile Valley to the Roman conquest in 30 BC.  The Pharaonic Period is dated from around 3200 BC, when Lower and Upper Egypt became a unified state, until the country fell under Greek rule in 332 BC.”  This is not too far out from our own calculations where we had estimated that the book of Genesis covered approximately 3500 years from the time of creation, as the beginning of the Pharaonic Period overlapped with the end of Genesis.  Assuming both our calculations and Wikipedia sources are correct, or approximately correct, the earth then would be approximately anywhere from say 6000 to 7000 years old at the time of Christ plus the 2000 plus years since then, for a total of 8000 to 9000 years old.  This is a far cry from the millions of years for the earth’s existence that is claimed by others.
It is interesting to note God controls the elements of the skies and the clouds therein.  He can use them to water the earth and bring forth blessings or He can, when He is good and ready and fed up with man’s wrong-doing, unleash them for the sake of punishing man and showing him that there is truly “none like Him”.  But even in so doing, He does not forget His own – those that He had adopted as His own sons and daughters for the land of Goshen, a part of Egypt, was left unharmed.  It is my prayer our lives are lived symbolically in the land of Goshen because we have been bought and adopted by God as a result of what God’s Son, Jesus Christ, did for us some 3000 or so years after Moses stretched out his hand and brought the hail of God upon Egypt.
But the most marvelous thing is that God still does today the things he did for and through Moses and Robinson in the past.  His purpose and plans for mankind in the 21st after His Son came to earth still need fulfillment as they did about thirty-one or so centuries before that.  And you and I can be part of that wonderful purpose. 

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