life preserver on land

“…the thunder and hail will stop, and you will know that the earth belongs to the Lord. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord…”

…So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and went out of the city. When he lifted his hands to the Lord, the thunder and hail stopped, and the downpour ceased. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had stopped, he and his officials sinned again, and Pharaoh again became stubborn.”

-Exodus 9:20-30, 33-34


I tend to think it’s an Israelite trait to be stubborn and rebellious the moment I’m out of trouble; to require bailing out again and again. I tend to bemoan that I, too, am Israel: aware of You in my need, forgetful post-rescue.

But here I see that pattern in Pharaoh and his officials, and I see Moses calling them out on it before they even turned. This is what he noticed, even in the shining moment where they appealed to You for help:

their hearts did not fear You.

A heart that only sees You when it needs help but ignores You in the quiet and turns from You as soon as You answer, does not fear You. And it is not just an Israelite trait – it is a human trait. We’re willing to call on You when we’re in over our heads, but we don’t want to need You. We want to be able to handle it on our own. So as soon as we’re back on dry land, we turn. We humans are tragically alike in this: we do not fear You.

The other thing I noticed is that it is not only Pharaoh that Moses accuses. The officials also sinned. Pharaoh called the shots, but they were still responsible for their own hearts. While it was Pharaoh’s call, his officials did not get to hide blameless in his shadow. They, too, chose not to fear You. They, too, disregarded your words.

They, too, chose to turn as soon as the thunder stopped.


Soften my heart toward You. Build in me a fear of You that outlasts the storm, that lives in the quiet, and that remembers how I need You even when things seem under control.

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