So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the LORD to take away the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.”
Did you notice the change in Pharaoh’s response here? Evidently, it no longer matters to him that his sorcerers can seemingly mimic the plague. I get the feeling that between the lines of chapters 7 and 8, there are days, perhaps even weeks of discomfort; humiliating encounters from hundreds of Egyptian civilians protesting outside his palace walls, demanding he do something to help, asking for food and water; and, on top of that, he’s getting constant knocks on the door from disturbed counsellors and courtesans who keep breaking his peace to ask the question he hates most—“Sire, what will you do to end this?”, all the while facing the harsh reality that all the alchemist tricks and black magic in the world can’t get him unstuck from the quicksand his political career is now mired in.
Back in Genesis, we witnessed God transform selfish, stuck-up, arrogant people like Pharaoh time and time again. Lost causes we thought had no chance of turning their lives around, no hope of overcoming horrible vices with heroic virtues, but Genesis taught us to believe against all odds, to never stop praying for those who persecute us, because Heaven’s mercy knows no bounds. And right now, at this critical juncture in Pharaoh’s life, he’s in the best place he could possibly be—on his knees—and we can feel his stone-cold heart starting to warm and soften, we can hear the emotion vibrating through his vocal cords and the vulnerability in his voice as he pleads with Moses and Aaron for help.
To think he’s just a word away from becoming a brand new man if he’ll just say it; an arm’s length away from grasping God’s salvific hand if he’ll only loosen his white-knuckled fist, reach out, and take it.