By Shelly Volk

Ex 6:2 – 9:35

Last weeks reading ended with Moses crying out to the Lord. Since he went to Pharaoh, things for the sons of Israel got worse and there was no deliverance for his people (Exodus 5:22-23). God responded, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh under compulsion” (Exodus 6:1).

This weeks reading begins with God telling Moses what to say to the sons of Israel:

“I am the LORD, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people and I will be your God and you shall know that I am the LORD who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”

Exodus 6:6-8

In the above verses God declares He is Lord twice and in between those verses are seven I wills.

“When Pharaoh will not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people, the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt by great judgments.”

Exodus 7:4

God instructed Moses that when Pharaoh will ask him to work a miracle, he was to have Aaron throw down Moses’ staff and it will become a serpent. We read the following in Chapter 7 of Exodus Verses 10-12:

“So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

However, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he refused to acknowledge the superiority of God’s power. Thus started the plagues. The water in the Nile was turned into blood, the land was struck with frogs then lice, the plagues of pestilence, boils, and hail followed. When Pharaoh entreated Moses to have some of these plagues removed with a promise that he would let the people leave, God stopped them. However, when relief came, Pharaoh went back on his word and his heart was hardened each time. The battle lines were drawn.

On the one hand, we have the Lordship of God, His authority, power, and promises; on the other hand, we have the hardened heart of Pharaoh that resisted God.

What lessons can be learned from this reading?

1. Keep your promise: Pharaoh went back on his word, even though God honored Pharaoh’s request.

a) Examine your heart! Have you gone back on your word to God even though He answered your cry.

2. Don’t harden your heart: It is important to recognize a hard heart     is not only confined to the enemies of God.

Psalm 95:8-9; Hebrew 3:7-8

“Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness when your fathers tested Me, they tried Me though they had seen My work.”

3) Sin will harden your heart: The Scriptures warn us of this!

Hebrews 3:13

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, lest anyone of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

4) Dullness to the Spirit: To see with the natural eye only.

Mark 8:17,18

“Jesus said to them, ‘Why do you discuss the fact that you have not bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?’”

In Chapter 8 of the Gospel of Mark, we read of Jesus feeding the four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. Keep in mind, that the disciples previously witnessed the Lord feeding five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes (Mark 6). The disciples didn’t understand about the loaves because their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:52). In this second miracle found in Mark 8:15, Jesus said to the disciples, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” But the disciples thinking naturally discussed with one another the fact that they had no bread. That is why Jesus questioned them asking why they didn’t understand – and asked if their hearts were hardened Why couldn’t they see? Why didn’t they hear?

The disciples related leaven to the loaves of bread – but Jesus was speaking spiritually about the leaven of the Pharisees. What a warning for all of us! A hardened heart causes dullness for us to apprehend the spiritual because we are focused only on the material, or the natural. Do we doubt miracles because we cannot explain them logically?

Pharaoh was an enemy of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The disciples were following Jesus. What a warning for us to guard our hearts with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

“How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Proverbs 28:14

There is great hope for the unbelieving sons of Israel:

“And I shall give them one heart and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my ordinances and do them – then they will be my people and I shall be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19,20

By the mercies of God – there is great hope for us because we walk in the New Covenant, New Testament promises, with our Messiah and Lord. Remember: Don’t harden your heart! If your heart is hardened – repent – ask the Lord to please soften your heart – He will.

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About the Author

Honored to be the father of Scott Volk! Shelly Volk a Jewish believer––saved in 1974––called by the Lord in 1975 to serve Him with Arthur Katz. Arthur had founded a community of believers in Northern Minnesota. Shelly left his lucrative position in the world. In 1976, along with his wife, June, sold their home with most all their possessions and gave to the poor. With their three children: Scott, Dean & Suzi moved to Ben Israel Ministries. Shelly served as a leader of the community with Arthur Katz and Arthur Beebe for 81/2 years. This marked the beginning of Shelly’s journey, walking by faith and trusting God for all things.

In 1985 Shelly was called by the Lord to Phoenix, Arizona, through the Kaplans He joined them at Jewish Voice Broadcast where he was the leader of Phoenix Messianic Congregation and hosted Jewish Voice radio and TV programs; he also taught the bible and preached the Gospel. Shelly and June led tours to Israel.

In January of 1987, Shelly became the Senior Pastor of Calvary Church of the Valley. He led the two Congregations for several years and served as senior pastor for CCV for 10 years. The church grew from 75 to 500: marriages were restored, God moved with salvation of many youths and restoration of families; barren women conceived and alcoholics delivered. Shelly led many of his Jewish kinsmen to the saving knowledge of Yeshua as their Messiah.

He founded Immanuel Congregation of Phoenix in 1996. He and June have had a weekday radio program: For Zion’s Sake, for almost 30 years.

Shelly resides in Phoenix, AZ, with his wife, June. They have been married 55 years. Their three children are married and gave them eleven grandchildren (5 married) and 2 great grandsons along with a great granddaughter due in April.

Shelly’s Burdens: Encouraging Leaders; The Kingdom of God; The Mystery of Israel and the Church; The Time of Jacob’s Trouble; The Restoration of All Things and the salvation of Israel.


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