Pharaoh has denied God’s command given through Moses and Aaron to let his people go four times. The fifth plague is more severe than the first four. Again God calls upon Moses to “Go to Pharaoh…”
Moses obeys. He gives warning beforehand and even a whole day to think about repenting and avoiding it. Pharaoh’s heart was hard, though, and he would not listen. Now, all the livestock belonging to the Egyptians die. The livestock belonging to the Israelites are not touched, though.
God again makes a clear distinction between his people and those who do not belong to him. He again proves himself omnipotent by setting even the time when it will happen. “When God’s judgments are abroad, though they may fall both on the righteous and the wicked, yet God makes such a distinction that they are not the same to the one that they are to the other.” ~Matthew Henry
By now everyone in Egypt has to know that there is some credibility to this God of the Hebrews. Everyone in the vicinity of these events has to understand that supernatural forces are working all around them. Think about the day to day events for a moment, though.
Every day the people of God were still waking up slaves. Every day they were working from sun up to sun down. Every day was back-breaking, miserable labor. Every day the Egyptians were dealing out degradation, abusive authority, and no mercy.
There must have been a hundred injustices playing out against God’s people at the hands of their Egyptian slave drivers on a daily basis. Yet, God does not send Moses to deal with any of them individually. No. Moses’ command is singular. He is a broken record; a rerun; a one-string banjo.
Let. My. People. Go.
And that is all. Over and over. Loud, clear, concise, and repetitively – just one command is given.
There is something to be said for prioritizing here. Many times the trickle-down effect of sin is so great that we find ourselves entrenched in a number of injustices all at the same time. In those times, we must remember Moses’ singularity. We must hone in on the big idea and stand there, unwavering. One clear command has more power than ten cloudy complaints. For us, that big idea is the gospel and the singular command is, “Repent!”
Do not allow the peripheral issues to muddy the waters or derail the big picture. Do not miss the forest for the trees when dealing with injustice, sin, the world, or our issue-ridden culture. Repentance is the command and Christ is the solution.
Repentance is the command and Christ is the solution.
On the other hand, when we are the ones continuously hearing a singular command from God and his people, we need to recognize our own need for repentance. When we hear the same command three or four times, we can rest assured that it is important and that we must obey before judgment becomes more severe.