Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh…” (Exo 9:13)
…so Moses went, armed with the warning of a seventh plague. Water had turned to blood. Frogs, gnats, and flies had filled the land. Livestock had died, boils had broken out in sores on man and beast… but Pharaoh would not yield to let the children of Israel go. And so, yet another warning.
“Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.” (Exo 9:18-19)
Earlier in the chapter, in warning about the fifth plague:
The LORD set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” And the next day the LORD did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. (9:5-6)
The LORD set a time. “I will do this thing tomorrow.” And the next day, he did the thing.
Now, early in the morning, he’s warned that a seventh plague is on the horizon. “About this time tomorrow.” Think about that. If you knew devastating hail “such as never has been in Egypt” was going to fall tomorrow, what would you do? Listen to the LORD’s patience: “Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter.” He gives them an entire day to prepare!
If you knew the hail was going to fall tomorrow, what would you do today?
I love how simply Exodus 9:20-21 frames the two choices:
Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field.
Some hurried to act, some didn’t pay attention. Simple as that. Those who respected the LORD enough to fearfully listen to his gracious warning did what was necessary to find “safe shelter” from the impending demonstration of his wrath. Those who didn’t respect him enough to pay attention to his clear warning went about their lives, doing whatever they wanted, without any preparation.
And about that time the next day, “the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt” (9:23).
It’s one thing to read Exodus 9 and shake your head at the stubbornness of those who failed to heed the warning.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness…? (2 Pet 3:8-12)
Moses isn’t warning you today that the most devastating hail imaginable is going to fall about this time tomorrow. But the same God who warned Pharaoh through Moses has graciously warned you. “The day of the Lord will come.” How patient he has been with us! And some have acted. Some are paying no attention. “Safe shelter” in Jesus is abundantly available to any who respect God enough to fearfully listen to his warnings. Those who don’t respect him enough to pay attention will go about their lives in whatever way they choose without any preparation at all.
But do not overlook this one fact. Your Creator has set a time. He has told us, “I will do this thing.” And on the day of his choosing, he will do the thing.
If you knew the hail was going to fall tomorrow, what would you have done?
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (2 Pet 3:14)