Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Exodus 6:28 - 10:29 - The Life of Moses

Last week we learned that following God's call often results in difficult circumstances, requiring reliance on Him.

I.  Exodus 6:28-7:13 - God Strengthens Moses

Moses thought he spoke with faltering lips and ask God, why would Pharaoh listen to him.  Faltering means to be unsteady, stammering, timid, uncertain, weak, hesitant.  God reassured Moses telling him He had made him like a god to Pharaoh and Aaron like a prophet.  They were to say everything God had told them to say to Pharaoh, but God would harden Pharaoh's heart.  God would then send mighty acts of judgment on Egypt and would bring the people out of Egypt by divisions.

Moses objections showed that he did not have enough faith or trust in God.  We are so much like Moses, but the Lord was patient with him as He is with us.  He understands our weaknesses.  He can still work in the weak.

God said go to Pharaoh and when he wants  you to perform a miracle, take your staff and throw it down and it will become a snake.  So they did what God said and Aaron's staff became a snake.  Then Pharaoh summoned his magicians and they did the same thing with their secret arts, which came from Satan.  But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.  Pharaoh would not listen to them and his heart became hard just as God had said.

What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh's heart?  It means He made sure Pharaoh would not listen to Moses.  God proclaimed Himself sovereign in hardening Pharaoh's heart.  Pharaoh had a choice when he chose to harden his heart, but God fortified it.  It demonstrated God's power and authority.  If Pharaoh had let the people go after the 1st or even the 5th time Moses asked and God had not sent His miraculous plagues, God's superiority would not have been realized.  Pharaoh would have taken the credit.  God's signs and miracles showed Israelites and the Egyptians that the Lord is powerful and He is the one in charge not Pharaoh or the Egyptian gods.  

Has God asked you to do something hard?
Have you obeyed?

Principle: God will be glorified through both obedient and disobedient hearts.

II.  Exodus 6:14 - 10:1-23 - God Sends Plagues on Egypt

Because of Pharaoh's hardened heart, God would perform signs and wonders and would send judgment on Egypt and eventually bring the Israelites out of Egypt.  God has done this before when a country's ruler had a hardened heart.  Just look at Sodom and Gomorrah. And what about the Holocaust, just to name a few?

God sent plague after plague because Pharaoh would not listen and let the people go.  He sent 10 plagues in all, but in these chapters we will discuss only the 1st 9;  The Plague of Blood, the Plague of Frogs, the Plague of Gnats, the Plague of Flies, the Plague on Livestock, the Plague of Boils, the Plague of Hail, the Plague of Locusts, the Plague of Darkness.  These were all against the Egyptian gods.  God chose these specific plagues to show He is the 1 true God. 

Pharaoh had a perfect life and had the best of everything.  He probably thought, why do I need God?  So God was trying to get his attention  Why was he this way?  We have an enemy called Satan.  He wanted to control Pharaoh's life and he wants to control our lives.  He is the enemy all Christians.  He doesn't want us serving God.  Satan gets really mad and puts false gods in our way.  Satan is real and is the enemy of God.  Pharaoh thought he was a god.  God doesn't always give us the details about his plans, but he did to Moses.  The Egyptians would learn there is one 1 true God.  The purpose of all the plagues was to attack each of their false gods and discredit them.

Where do you need to see God working behind the scenes?
What do you need to do to trust Him?
Are you obedient to God?
How do you glorify God?

Nothing happens outside God's control.  It might be hard at times, but He is in control and if God puts you in it, He will bring you out of it.

The Plague of Blood (Ex. 7:14-24)

The 1st plague was against the god of the Nile and waters of Egypt.  Since Pharaoh would not yield and refused to let the people go so they could worship Him, God told Moses and Aaron to go and wait for Pharaoh by the bank of the Nile and say, "This is what the Lord says; By this you will know that I am the Lord;  With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood." - Ex. 7:17.  Then Aaron took his staff and turned the waters into blood, just as God commanded.  All the waters were blood, the Nile, the ponds, the streams, in the buckets and jars.  Blood was everywhere and the Egyptians could not drink the water.  The Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts.  Pharaoh's heart was still hard.

The Egyptians looked upon the Nile as a source of life.  By turning it into blood made it a river of death.  This showed that God is the source of life and He rules the Nile.  It dethroned the Egyptian gods.

The Plague of the Frogs (Ex. 7:25 - 8:15)

The 2nd plague was a judgment frogs.  The Egyptians worshipped gods in the form of frogs.  7 days passed and Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh again to let the people go so they could worship Him, but he refused.  Then Aaron stretched out his staff as directed by God and there appeared frogs all over the land of Egypt.  Pharaoh's magician did the same things.  Pharaoh asked Moses and Aaron to pray to the Lord to take the frogs away and he would let the people go.  Then Moses ask God to take the frogs away and the Lord did what he asked.  After Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart again just as the Lord had said.

The Plague of Gnats (Ex. 8:16-19)

The 3rd plague was against the land and their gods of the soil.  Again God commanded Aaron to stretch out his staff and strike the dust on the ground.  The dust became gnats and were everywhere in Egypt.  The magicians tried to do the same, but could not.  They told Pharaoh that this is the finger of God, but Pharaoh's heart was still hard.

The Plague of Flies (Ex. 8:20-32)

The 4th plague was also against the land.  Many insects were goddesses an gods of the Egyptians.  God told Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh again and ask him to let the people go to worship Him.  This time when God sent the flies, He didn't let swarms of flies go where His people were so they would know that He is the Lord.  God continued protecting the Israelites from the plagues from this point on.  Pharaoh then said "Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land." - Ex. 7:25.  But Moses said that would not be right and that it would be detestable to the Egyptians and they might get stoned by them.  Moses wanted to take the 3 day journey into the desert as God had commanded.  Pharaoh said ok, but don't go far.  Moses prayed to God for the flies to go away and they left.  Again Pharaoh changed his mind and wouldn't let them go.

The Plague of Livestock ( Ex. 9:1-7)

The 5th plague was against the animals.  The Egyptians worshipped many animals.  the most popular was the bull god.  God again told Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the people so they can worship Him.  If he would not, tomorrow God would bring a terrible plague on all the livestock, but God would not harm and livestock of the Israelites. God waited until the next day to bring the plague.  Maybe he wanted to give them a chance to think about it maybe change Pharaoh's mind or to give them time to get the livestock to shelter.  The next day the Lord did just what He said He would do.  Even then Pharaoh would not let the people go.

The Plague of Boils (Ex. 9:8-12)

This 6th plague afflicted the bodies of the people.  The Lord told Moses and Aaron to throw handfuls of soot from the furnace into the air, which they did.  It became dust over all of Egypt and the dust became festering boils on men and animals.  Egypt was famous for its medical skills and its healing gods, but they were powerless in healing the boils.  The magicians also had boils so bad and painful that they could not stand or do their magic.  The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart just as He had said to Moses.

The Plague of Hail (Ex. 9:13-35)

The 7th plague was the first of four directed against the gods of the sky.  God gives His purpose for the plagues.  The Lord told Moses to go to Pharaoh again and if he didn't listen and let the people go, this time He would send the full force of plagues against Egypt.  "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." - Ex. 9:16.  This time tomorrow He would send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen.  Those officials who feared the Lord's Words hurried to bring their slaves and livestock inside.  Then when it was time Aaron stretched out his staff and thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down.  The hail struck everything in the fields including men, animals, and crops growing.  Only the land of Goshen where the Israelites were was unharmed.  Then Pharaoh said,
"This time I have sinned.  The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.  Pray to the Lord for we have had enough thunder and hail.  I will let you go; you don't have to stay any longer." - Ex. 9:27-28.  So Moses prayed to God and He stopped the rain and hail.  Pharaoh sinned again and he and his officials hardened their hearts.  He would not let the people go.

The Plague of the Locust (Ex. 10:1-20)

The 8th plague was a terrifying invasion of locust that devoured all that was left.  God told Moses He had hardened Pharaoh and his officials hearts so He could perform these miraculous signs that Moses may tell his children and that they may know that He is the Lord.  Then the Lord told Moses and Aaron to go again to Pharaoh tell him to let the people go and worship or He will bring locusts into Egypt tomorrow.  Pharaoh's officials pleaded with Pharaoh to let the people go and that Egypt is in ruin.  Now Pharaoh ordered the let only the men go.  Moses stretched out his staff and locust invaded Egypt. Now there was nothing green on tree or plant in Egypt.  Then to get rid of the locust, Pharaoh made another shallow confession that he had sinned against the Lord and Moses.  He asked for forgiveness and wanted Moses to pray for him, which Moses did.  But when the locust went away he refused once more to let the people go.

The Plague of Darkness (Ex. 10:21-29)

The 9th plague came quickly and unannounced.  This was the most significant judgment of all.  The sun god had been banished.  The Lord commanded Moses to stretch out his hand so darkness would spread throughout Egypt.  Even at this point Pharaoh was unwilling to surrender and let the people go.

When have you tried to bargain with God?
Have you promised to obey God when under pressure, but later changed your mind?

There are many false gods today, but they go by the name "god".  Anything that opposes God is an idol and a false god. 

Is there something so important to you that it consumes you?  If so, that it your idol.
What captures your heart and mind?  
What things are gods in your life?
It is your job, family, money, reputation, possessions, pleasures, Facebook, shopping?  

The 1st of the 10 commandments says, "You shall have no other gods before me". - Ex. 20:3.  God will not comprise with idolatry. 

Pharaoh wanted to compromise with God.  God will not compromise.  He is sovereign and if you oppose Him, you will be broken as Pharaoh was.  After all these plagues/miracles the Israelites and "the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord" - Ex. 7:5.  They would all have personal knowledge and experience who God is.

There is only one true God.
Whatever you make your god, the 1 true God will discredit or destroy.
God works for the good of those who trust Him, but against those who resist Him.

Do you believe there is 1 true God?

III.  Exodus 10:24-29 - Pharaoh's Hardened Heart

Pharaoh tells Moses and to go worship the Lord, but leave the animals behind.  He is still trying to compromise with God.  Moses will not comprise.  Moses is now much more confident.

Principle:  There is NO comprising with God.

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