By halfpoint

There’s nothing like teaching a children’s Sunday school group to keep you theologically sharp, because children don’t shy away from asking difficult questions.

One pesky question about the whole process of the Exodus is why God had to send quite so many plagues, with Pharoah hardening his heart and God allowing it.

Why such a long wait while the Israelites endured more hardship? The obvious answer is for Pharoah’s sake: he really didn’t want to let his free labour go, and God knew it would take a big show of power to compel him (Exod. 3:19–20).

However, it is also for Israel’s sake. Even slavery can be preferable to going into the unknown, and this acts as a transition time so they can get less comfortable living in Egypt.

Additionally, Israelites needed riches and resources to survive in the desert. The Egyptians provided the Israelites with going-away gifts of gold and clothing (Exod. 11:2; 3:22; 12:35–36).

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But the third reason for the delay was for the Egyptians themselves. Extraordinarily, the plagues made them favour Pharoah less and the Israelites more.

Exodus 12:38 has a wonderful detail that when the Israelites finally escaped, ‘Many other people went up with them’. Many Egyptians were included in God’s salvation.

Sometimes the reason for God’s delays is to bring others in. As we consider Jesus’ first coming, we can ponder how Jesus is delaying his second coming in order to include more people (2 Pet. 3:9).

We can be praying for more to know Christ and look for opportunities this season to share that good news with others.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Dear Lord, thank You that Your delays always have a purpose. Thank You for delaying Your second coming, and we pray as many as possible will come to know You. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Look up the countries of the world most unreached by the gospel and pray for them. Additionally, take chances to invite your friends to Christmas events.

Scripture To Consider:
Ruth 1:6–19; Isa. 51:4–6; 2 Pet. 3:14–18; Rev. 7:9–17

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.