Va'era - January 16, 2021

Torah Portion:
Va’era - January 16, 2021

Torah: Exodus 6:2-9:35
Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Portion Summary:
—God gives Moses a promise and sends him back to Pharaoh.
—The heads of the families and Moses’ lineage are recounted.
—Moses begins with a miracle for Pharaoh, and proceeds to the plagues.
—Water to blood, frogs, lice, and swarms are unleashed upon the land in succession.
—Pestilence of the livestock is limited to Egyptian animals, boils incapacitate the magicians, and then hail is brought.
—Each time, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened against the people.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
Hell-Bent
“But ADONAI hardened the heart of Pharaoh, so he did not listen to them—just as ADONAI had said to Moses.” Exodus 9:12 (TLV)

Did God make Pharaoh to be obstinate to the bitter end just to show His power and to pass judgment on Egypt’s evil practices? How much free will did Pharaoh actually have if God’s purpose was this the whole time?

It was explained to me this way: God hardened the heart of Pharaoh in the same way that you harden a rag to wring it out. You twist it, and twist it until it becomes hard, and what is in the rag comes out. God was wringing out all the pride, anger, and godlessness that was in Pharaoh’s heart. It was all there and just needed to be pressed out.

Later in the story, Pharaoh would try to make unsatisfactory deals with Moses, allowing only partial concessions of what God wanted for His people. Finally, in a fit of rage, he conceded and allowed the children of Israel to leave. This only lasted a short time, as once the Hebrews were gone and the plagues had finished, Pharaoh gathered an army and rode furiously to get back what he thought was his property. Even though there was a slight reprieve, Pharaoh defaulted to allowing selfish wickedness to dictate his actions once again. This is truly who he was—his relentless disobedience was a reflection of his true self!

Have you ever been hell-bent to get what you wanted? Was God saying no at every turn, and you got frustrated and hurt in the process? Pharaoh’s land, people, and army were devastated by his insistence on his way or no way. You can fight God, but you can’t win!

Father,
Thank You for Your wisdom and the assurance that Your will shall be done. Help me to better know You. I pray for humility to always seek Your will and for the faith to accept it. I pray that You will keep me at Your side.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.
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