7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
9 Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.
To read about the plagues on Egypt is to see how Pharaoh was hardened in his heart to believe that the people of Israel were up to evil rather than to worship God. Pharaoh did not wish them to go for a festival, correctly anticipating that they would not come back, and Egypt would lose their free slave labor. Pharaoh gave permission for the men to go, but the women and children had to remain behind.
Then he allowed the families to go, but they had to leave behind their flocks and possessions – all to compel the people to return to slavery after the festival. But God had other plans for his people, and God wanted them to set free. God wanted his people to know that God loved them and had a good plan for them.
Pharaoh didn’t believe God’s plan was good, so God sent plague after plague to wear pharaoh down. Sadly, once the people of Israel were rescued from slavery, they didn’t think God’s plan was good either. We who look back upon this time in Israel’s history aren’t much better, for we call evil good, and good, evil. May we someday get it straight, by the grace of God.
Dear God, look upon the motivations and intentions in our hearts. The good we intend may be misconstrued by others and perceived as wrongdoing. Meanwhile there are other times when we may attempt to put a good covering on a plan that is not worthy of you. We want to give it a good spin, but you know the true worth of what is under the surface. Lord, help us do what is right and good, and live according to your commands. For this we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.