Sometimes the things God is trying to accomplish in His Redemptive Plan are hard to understand and hard on those whom He uses. This week we look at the struggles of Moses answering the call of God to go and be used to set Israel free from the enslaved Egyptians. Moses was still hurting 40 yrs. later after being banished because of murder. He is on the back side of Mount. Horeb, probably feeling that his life basically is over except just playing out the shepherding thing. When God calls Moses, he tries to make as many excuses as he can; all of which is rejected by Jehovah. Finally, in the anger of the LORD, God says he will use Aaron as the spokesman, but Moses will still be the man God will directly talk to. At this point there are probably many of us who think because of our past sin, that God can’t or won’t use us. – the truth is God will use broken vessels to show His grace and mercy more readily than someone who has not been wayward in their walk. Now this does not excuse us from our sin and need for repentance; but God is the one who puts us on the shelf, not us! Also we read through the 10 plagues that God brings on Pharaoh and the land. There have been many that have read through this section of Exodus and felt “compassionate” for Pharaoh. The hardening of his heart by God is often felt to be unfair. A careful reading will expose to the reader, that initially Pharaoh had a hard heart, and that after plague of the Boils, does God harden Pharaoh’s heart. God is omniscient – He knows our thoughts and intents of our hearts. The rebellion and refusal to listen to Moses/God was in the heart of Pharaoh already. If we are not careful we can think that God did the same thing to Esau and Judas, but the individual has the choice to respond to the Lord – Pharaoh chose to reject God and thus endured the Plagues. There is a very clear pattern to how Pharaoh reacts to the plagues. During the first three, because they didn’t affect people or the palace, he pretty much just passed them off. This became especially true when the wizards and magicians were able to duplicate the plague. In fact the first time Moses request permission to go in the wilderness and worship [odd for they don’t do a good job of worship when they are in the wilderness] the labor of the Israelite people is increased for now they had to go get the straw to make the bricks. Needless to say, initially the Israelites were anti-Moses. With the many plagues  Pharaoh doesn’t seem to get that God will reign supreme. As the plagues progress, there is a pattern of trying to negotiate with God/Moses on leaving. It is interesting that Moses kept saying let us go three days in the wilderness to worship. I am not sure just how far all the people, livestock and such could go in three days. So the intent was much more than just a go and come back – they wanted to leave permanently. Obviously Pharaoh was not willing to let his workforce just take off. This story of how God delivered Israel out of Egypt is a story that will be remembered by Israel all of its days. The point that God said He would be known and glorified throughout the world because of His great power displayed in releasing Israel from Egypt. This point was spread wide because in the Promised Land, Rahab and others knew/heard about God’s power and that He was with the Israelite people. So the point of being glorified through Pharaoh came true completely. One final thought – Pharaoh was always in crisis of belief mode – when the crisis was in full swing, he would try to negotiate the release; but when the plague subsided; he would revert back to his hard hardheartedness. We are the same way – while a crisis is raging we cry out to God for help; but when it is over or manageable, then we become dependent on our own abilities to manage the situation. This could be a reason why God has to put drastic things in our lives to get our attention.