S99P1 – Timely salvation: the purposeful delay

Exo. 11:1

Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.”

Exactly five chapters before this verse (6:1), the Lord told Moses that his hand would cause Pharaoh to drive the Israelites out of Egypt.  It is a promise of freedom that came with additional instructions and a seemingly contradictory assertion that the Lord himself would harden Pharaoh’s heart to what Moses was commanded to say to him.  One plague passed, and Pharaoh appeared to repent, but that change of heart would be mere words.  Several more plagues came, and Pharaoh would not let go of his hold on God’s people.  The Israelites might have been losing faith in God’s power of deliverance, wondering why freedom proved elusive over and over.  It would take ten plagues for Pharaoh to let the people go, and even then he would pursue them.

The Israelites could not have seen the great purposes behind this delay of salvation.  The greatest of these purposes was spoken by the Lord himself as his people approached the Red Sea. (14:17)  All of these plagues and the subsequent pursuit of the Israelites by Pharaoh, including the destruction of the men and chariots that followed God’s people into the sea, served the purpose of glorifying God.  He was glorified by his display of power and by his faithfulness in keeping his promise to free his people.  Beyond his glorification, He also was developing faith and patience in his children.  This experience should have indicated to them that their God would be faithful and true regardless of how circumstances appeared.  It should have strengthened and prepared them for future challenges that would require waiting on God for deliverance.

I wait today for God to deliver me from circumstances that I feel I cannot bear and have little power to change.  Perhaps you also are waiting for God’s hand to move and free you from your own sort of bondage.  We recognize that He can make anything happen in an instant, and we wonder why many things take much longer than that.  We say that we would answer the prayer of another in that moment if we could, but we do not know his purposes.  What we do know is that He is faithful and that deliverance will come.  We are his children just as the Israelites were, and we have their deliverance is our example.  Father, give us patience, faith and an understanding of your purposes when we are waiting for your hand of deliverance to set us free.