When we read the account of the plagues against Egypt, one question that surely comes to our modern minds is this: How could Pharoah have been so obdurate?
Anyone in his right mind would have buckled after only one or two of the sweeping, ruinous plagues that the Lord visited on Egypt. Even Pharoah’s servants see that their ruler is being irrational. “Can you not see that the land is ruined?”
It is a striking thing, this adamance of Pharaoh, and it is surely, surely, one of the points of the whole story. That is, the story would not be the same story if Pharaoh had simply relented after the water had turned to blood. There is a point to all this repetition; all this obduracy, all this adamancy. God has told this story and has preserved it over millenia for us. Why do we have this very, very strange story. What is it there to tell us?
What is the point of this story?
Let’s think of Moses as the man who has heard the gospel. God has acted in his life. God has spoken to Moses and promised him liberation, freedom and life. Life in a new land, flowing with milk and honey. And God has enlisted Moses as a player in this drama of liberation, and God has promised to be with Moses and empower him to act against the status quo and to be successful in the liberation of Israel.
What happens? Moses hears the gospel, is empowered by God, and he obeys God.
And they all lived happily ever after?
Not at all!
Moses meets resistance. Boy, does he ever! Resistance that is obdurate, adamant, irrational. And so do we!