Category Archives: Bible

Exodus 15

Except for the occasional lyrics of a song, I have little interest in poems. However, there are times when a poem is especially interesting. For instance, I learned a love poem written by Edmond Waller when I was in high school. I still remember some of the words:

Go lovely rose
Tell her that wastes her time and me
That now she knows
When I resemble her to thee
How sweet and fair she seems to be

Tell her that’s young
And shuns to have her graces spied
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide
Thou must have uncommended died

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired
Bid her come forth
Suffer herself to be desired
And not blush so to be admired

Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair

In today’s Scripture passage, everyone was eager to hear the words to this poem set to music. The event that caused such interest was God’s miraculous rescue of the Israelites from Pharaoh and his army. The Lord parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to cross to the other side. But when Pharaoh and his army tried to cross, God caused the water to collapse on them and they were all drowned.

“There they stand, seeing the shores of the sea strewn with the dead bodies of men and horses, with the broken pieces of chariots and weapons of war scattered in all directions… all ornaments of the mighty power and distinguishing favor of their covenant God!” (Bush 183-84)

After experiencing such an incredible event, it is no wonder that the people joyfully sang about what the Lord had done.

Now as we read through this song, it would be easy to read it and miss what is being said. You could summarize the song with, “Yay, God saved us. Amen.” However, there is much more than that in this poem. The writer, probably Moses, used Hebrew poetry and song to express his thoughts about what the Lord did for them that day.

To help us understand the poetry better, I have converted the song’s lyrics into an outline of five questions. Hopefully, these questions will help us to remember what the Lord did back then.

  1. What is the Lord to me? (2)

    [Read Exodus 15:2.]

    I like how the song writer points us toward the Lord. In these verses, he points out four things that the Lord is to us.

    a. He is my strength.

    The Lord was the strength behind the Israelites’ deliverance. What had the Israelites done to defeat Egypt or part the Red Sea. They had done nothing.

    ILLUS. When we were in college, the college soccer coach wanted his players to learn to trust in the Lord and to not be proud in their own abilities. One year the team’s theme verse was Psalm 20:7 which says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” That is the right focus.

    b. He is my song.

    The Lord was their reason for singing. As they celebrated the victory over Pharaoh’s army, they made sure to make the Lord the focal point of their song.

    c. He is my salvation.

    The Lord was the One who had saved them from the Egyptian army. As the author of that act, He could right be called their salvation.

    d. He is my God.

    The Lord had been an abstract idea until this point. Yes, they had seen the plagues, but this was something even more eye-popping. Now they could say that the Lord was their God, not just the God of their forefathers.

    APPLIC. What is the Lord to you, today? Is He the One who strengthens you, makes you sing, and who has rescued you? Is He your God or just an abstract idea you think about on Sundays?
  2. What was the Lord for me? (3-8)

    [Read Exodus 15:3-8.]

    If you were to describe what the Lord has done for you, what would you say? Moses and the Israelites were quick to describe Him in war-like terms.

    a. He was a warrior (3-5).

    “Some have thought there was something degrading in a form of expression which seemed to bring down the Deity to the level of a mere mortal hero. … The very same phrase occurs 1 Sam. 17.33, as an appellation of Goliath” (Bush 186).

    Rather than think this is degrading of God, try to think of the best way to explain in English how tremendously powerful God’s defeat of the Egyptian army was. He showed himself to be a mighty warrior on behalf of the Israelites.

    Who is this mighty warrior? The Lord is His name.

    This reminds me of when Pharaoh asked who “the Lord” was. At the time, he was so full of himself that he didn’t recognize the Lord. But he eventually found out that the Lord was His name and He was a mighty warrior.

    b. He was powerful (6-8).

    Moses proclaims God’s power in poetic terms. He refers to God’s right hand and nostrils. While God is a Spirit, we understand things in human terms.

    Right hand – “The right hand, being naturally the strongest from being most employed, is used by an apt metaphor for the highest degree of power” (Bush 187).

    ILLUS. I remember arm wrestling someone in 8th grade. I could not beat him right handed. He was too powerful.

    This is the idea of God’s right hand. His power was on display for all to see and nobody could stop him. With his “right hand,” He dashed the Egyptian army to pieces and overthrew those who fought against Him.

    Nostrils – “The blast of Your nostrils (v. 8) refers to the wind that parted the sea, and the words You blew with Your breath (v. 10) refer to the wind that collapsed the billowed water; these are poetic anthropomorphisms” (Hannah 132).

    This is a curious idea. Are any of you powerful enough to blow water apart with your nostrils? Some might sneeze and make their coffee spill, but no human can make water divide. It almost seems like God’s power was so great that just a sneeze caused the water to stand aside.

    APPLIC. Think back to those events in your life where God showed Himself to be powerful for you. Have you forgotten? Take some time to thank Him today.
  3. What did the enemy think? (9-10)

    [Read Exodus 15:9-10.]

    It is easy to see that Pharaoh and his army had not learned their lesson under the ten plagues. They actually thought they could win against the Lord. These hard hearted men were fools to harden their hearts and fight against the one, true God. And yet they progressively thought of how they would overcome Israel.

    a. We can overtake them.

    First, they agreed that they could pursue Israel and overtake them. Remember how Pharaoh and his servants decided that they shouldn’t have let the people go. They then figured that they could pursue and catch them.

    b. We can plunder them.

    But their pursuit was not to just catch them, they wanted to plunder them. Remember how the plagues had decimated the Egyptian economy. Their crops and livestock had been ruined and many had given away valuables to the departing people. They Egyptians were ready to plunder them and take back whatever they could take.

    c. We can destroy them.

    The Egyptians were ready to satisfy their lust for revenge on the Israelites. They were ready to draw their swords and kill their former slaves.

    d. We were wrong.

    But none of these thoughts ever materialized. The Lord blew with the wind and caused the waters to cover them. Then the heavily armored soldiers sunk in the water like lead.

    They were wrong.

    “Thus it is that men are often never more confident and presumptuous than when they stand upon the very brink of ruin” (Bush 188).

    APPLIC. How said it is that some people are so hardened against the Lord that they rush to their doom still thinking that they can fight against God and win.
  4. Who is like the Lord? (11-13)

    [Read Exodus 15:11-13.]

    The first question is very specific. Who is like the Lord among the gods. Moses and the Israelites had recently seen how impotent the Egyptian false gods were against the Lord. This led them to believe at least three things about the Lord.

    a. Nobody else is so glorious.

    God’s glory is unlike any other. He is holy (totally separated from any other), fearful (so incredibly powerful that we should fear), and a doer of wonders (look at the Red Sea for instance).

    “Though we honor him with praises on our tongues, we should do it with an humble awe upon our spirits” (Bush 189).

    Is there anyone so glorious as our God? The answer is obvious. No one.

    b. Nobody else could have done this.

    The idea of the earth swallowing them seems odd since the army was drowned in the water. But this was just another way of saying how far under the earth they were taken. Jonah used the same words to describe his time under the water inside the great fish.

    Who else could have done this? The answer is obvious. No one.

    c. Nobody else would have helped.

    The Israelites of this time were not necessarily lovable people. They complained against Moses before crossing the Red Sea and at the end of this chapter, they complained about not having water in the wilderness.

    And yet the Lord showed mercy on these people and guided them out of Egypt across the Red Sea, and eventually took them to the Promised Land.

    Who would have done this for such an ungrateful people? The answer again is no one.
  5. How will the nations respond? (14-18)

    [Read Exodus 15:14-18.]

    Think about what just happened.

    “The greatness of Egypt had been effaced, her land ravished, her people left in mourning, and her army destroyed. Other nations, hearing of the power of the Israelites’ God, would cower in fear” (Hannah 133).

    a. They will hear and be afraid (14-15).

    This is exactly what happened later in Israel’s history.

    Joshua 5:1 –”So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.”

    Moses rightly points out that other nations would hear and then fear. He mentions the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Canaanites. Each of them were affected by sorrow, dismay, trembling, and a melting of their hearts. They knew that they could do nothing against the Lord or the people He was protecting.

    b. They will be filled with dread (16-18).

    Have you ever been so afraid that you couldn’t move? We call this being petrified. This is the picture presented in the song. Because of the greatness of the Lord’s “arm,” the Canaanites would become as still as a stone. They would be so overcome with dread of the Lord’s power that they could not resist.

    I would imagine that it would be tempting to think that it was their own power that made them afraid. However, “it was not their own arm which would get them the victory. It was to be the greatness of God’s arm … that the inhabitants were thus rendered impotent” (Bush 191).

    APPLIC. We ought to consider this point as well. Whether we are thinking of our changed life or success in obedience or evangelism, always remember that it is God’s might that made all of these things possible.

Conclusion

At the end of the song, we have two extra thoughts.

In verses 19, Moses summarizes what the Lord did. The Lord drowned Pharaoh and his army in the water. But the Lord allowed the Israelites to walk on dry land in the midst of the water. What could have been a terrible defeat was turned into a terrific victory because of what the Lord did.

In verses 20-21, Miriam gets the women involved in their own response to Moses’ song and celebration. With a timbrel in her hand, she sang an answering chorus which praised the Lord and showed what happened to Pharaoh’s army.

What do we learn from this ancient song?

1. We learn that those who fight against God will eventually lose.

Our world is filled with people who think that they can get away with sin and that God will not hold them accountable. But this is never the case. Pharaoh and his advisers saw the power of God and were given the opportunity to respond, but they chose to harden their hearts and eventually found that they had made the wrong decision.

2. We learn that the Lord loves and fights for His people.

As you read the words of Moses’ song, were you aware of how often the Lord’s power was wielded against the enemy and how often He showed his love for His people? God loves His people. And if you are one of His children, you can be sure that He loves and cares for you.

Will you take a moment today and thank Him for that?

Bibliography

John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, 132-33.

George Bush, Notes on Exodus, Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976, 183-94.

Exodus 14

On my recent trip to Fargo ND, I was wondering if the driving portion of my trip would be interrupted with a blizzard. But nothing of interest happened while driving. However, the flight portion of my trip back was not as free from trouble. To begin with my 1:55 pm flight from Fargo was delayed two hours due to mechanical issues. We finally made it to Chicago but then that flight was delayed 2½ hours. Ugggh. This wasn’t in my plan and I was tired. My faithful wife was waiting for me at the airport in Columbus and we finally arrived home after 1 am the next morning.

Trips can be interesting and also frustrating. But for the Israelites, this journey was all sunshine and happiness to this point. The Egyptians had given them gold and valuables as they left. The former slaves were now rich and traveling away with God’s significant blessing on their lives.

But as you know, most journeys have a flat tire or something bad that happens. Otherwise, we wouldn’t remember much about those trips. The Israelites were about to experience a bump in their road that they would never forget.

[Read Exodus 14:1-14.]

  1. The plan (1-14)

    The Lord had everything planned out. Along with his own part in what would happen, he planned for how Pharaoh would respond, how the Israelites would react, and how Moses would lead them.

    a. God’s plan (1-4)

    When a general plans an attack, he thinks through what his actions will cause the enemy to do. In this case, God knew what He was doing.

    He told Moses to have the Israelites camp near Pi Hahiroth, Migdol and the sea. Where are these places?

    The names of Migdol (tower) and Pi Hahiroth (house of mountains) are uncertain. Although their meanings may indicate they were in a mountainous region. (see Wikipedia).

    The Lord knew that Pharaoh would see Israel’s helpless position and pursue them. Once Pharaoh did this, the Lord would gain honor by defeating Pharaoh and his army. The end result would be that the Egyptians would know that “I am the Lord.” There would be no further doubt who was in control.

    b. Pharaoh’s plan (5-9)

    Meanwhile, Pharaoh finds out that the Israelites had left. This seems strange to read as he had already let them go. Perhaps his servants informed him like an agenda driven news reporter.

    The result was that Pharaoh and his servants changed their mind about letting them go. No doubt they suddenly realized that having no slaves would increase their own work and diminish their fortunes.

    So, Pharaoh gathered his chariots and armies. Note that he took 600 choice chariots along with the rest of the soldiers, horsemen, and chariots of Egypt. What were these choice chariots?

    Choice chariots – According to a Jewish source, “Chariots in those days attacked in squadrons of three and charged in the formation of a triangle, one on the point and two on the flanks. The chariots also had knives and sharp instruments on their sides. The result was that three charging chariots could break through any line of infantry. Chariots in the ancient world were the tanks of today” (Pharaoh’s Chariots).

    All of this was a result of the Lord hardening stubborn Pharaoh’s heart. It made no sense otherwise. Why would Pharaoh respond in such a way when the Lord had already decimated the land of Egypt. Was he dense? Yes, he was.

    c. Israel’s plan (10-12)

    The happiness of being delivered from slavery in Egypt drained instantly from their faces when the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army approaching.

    The people cried out to the Lord and complained to Moses. Their fear revealed the thoughts of their hearts. Why did you bring us out into the wilderness? to die? We would have been better to stay as slaves in Egypt!

    Psalm 106:7-8 – “Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known.”

    Note: Sometimes hard times and unexpected events can cause us to speak before thinking. Be sure to guard your tongue and be slow to respond.

    James 1:19-20 – “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

    Instead of blurting out your initial thoughts, wait a moment and take the time to pray and consider how you should respond. Are you trusting the Lord? Are you reacting like Jesus would react?

    d. Moses’ plan (13-14)

    Moses’ response to Israel’s complaining was based on his trust in the Lord … but was also based on what God had said to him earlier. See verse 4. The Lord had already told him that He would “gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army.”

    What seemed like a terrifying situation was actually in God’s plan to judge stubborn, unbelieving Pharaoh and his people.

    But think a little bit more about this. The Israelites were afraid of Pharaoh and his armies … after all that they had seen the Lord do in Egypt? Why were they not trusting the Lord to deliver them in this instance as well?

    The Lord had turned the Nile River into blood, caused frogs, swarms, and locusts to infest Egypt. Their flocks has been killed. Their crops had been destroyed. Boils had blistered on the Egyptian bodies. And finally, the firstborn of every family had been killed by the death angel. Why were they still afraid?

    They were afraid because they knew Pharaoh’s intentions.

    If the news reports from Ukraine are correct, there is much reason for the Ukrainians to be afraid of the invading Russian army. The cruel treatment and executions described by the news sound terrible.

    The same could be said of the Israelites. They knew what Pharaoh was capable of doing and were terrified that they would be tortured and even killed.

    But Moses’ words to them were still correct: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” If they had learned anything during the plagues, it was that the Lord was on their side, working for their benefit. What seemed like a hopeless situation was just another chance for God to earn their trust.

    Summary: God’s plan was to gain honor from this situation. No matter how fierce Pharaoh and his army seemed to be, He would be victorious. At this point, the Israelites just needed to wait and trust Him.

    So, how did it turn out?

    [Read Exodus 14:15-31.]

  2. The result (15-31)

    Just as the Lord had planned, so it came to pass. He instructed Moses, protected His people, caused a great miracle, judged the Egyptians, and earned the respect of the Israelites.

    a. God’s instruction (15-18)

    It is interesting that the Lord asked Moses why he was crying to Him. Was he talking about Moses or the people?

    In any event, the Lord told Moses to send the Israelites forward. In order to do this, Moses was to raise his rod over the sea and divide it. In a miraculous, unexplained way, the Lord would cause that portion of the sea to become dry land for them to walk across.

    The Lord promised that Pharaoh and his army would follow them but that He would gain honor by what happened next. They would know that “I am the Lord” after what he was about to do.

    Just what happened?

    b. God’s protection (19-20)

    Remember the heavenly cloud by day and fire by night that led the people? The Lord caused this cloud and fire to stand between Israel and the Egyptian army. Thus the army was unable to reach the Israelites all that night.

    c. God’s miracle (21-23)

    What happened next cannot be explained by science. It was a miracle of God. When Moses stretched out his rod over the sea, the Lord sent an east wind all night that divided the water and dried the ground. The water became a wall on either side of them.

    Throughout the years, people have been skeptical of what God did. One website suggests that a normal occurrence in this area happened that dried the path that allowed Israel to cross the Red Sea. But if this was the case, how were walls of water raised up on either side of the pathway. This explanation doesn’t answer that.

    An old farmer was in the hospital and shared a room with an atheist. The atheist thought that he could outsmart the simple-minded farmer with his explanation of the Red Sea Crossing. He said, “Mr. Farmer, do you think that the Red Sea Crossing was a miracle? Did you know that there are times in that area where the tide causes the water to recede and the wind holds back the water for a period of time so that there are mere inches of water left?” The farmer thought for a minute before replying. “Well, Mr. Atheist, if that is true, it is an even bigger miracle.” The atheist asked for an explanation. “Well, God must have done a miracle to drown all the Egyptian army in just a couple inches of water.”

    We don’t need to explain how it happened other than that God did something miraculous.

    Now where did they cross?

    Several ideas have been suggested for the location of the Red Seas Crossing. The most probable location is Nuweiba Beach on the west coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.

    “If you visit Nuweiba Beach you will see that both ends are bordered by steep cliffs with really nowhere to go. That is why Pharaoh would have said, ‘They are entangled in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ (Ex. 14:3) … Here there is a 10 mile long and a ¼ to ½ mile wide sand bridge which joins the two countries together. This sand bridge is fairly level and has a depth of only 1,000 feet. This would have given the Israelites a gentle slope to walk on and to bring their carts across, but at the same time been plenty deep enough to drown the Egyptian army. Any other area along the Red Sea would not be suitable for crossing given the many cliffs and drop-offs.” (“Where was the Red Sea Crossing?”).

    It is interesting to see that the perfect place to cross still exists.

    d. God’s judgment (24-29)

    When the Egyptians saw what happened, they pursued the Israelites. Not fearing for their lives, they drove their horses and chariots into the same dry land in the middle of the water. But the Lord did not allow them to catch up to Israel. Instead, he troubled them by causing their chariot wheels to come off and have trouble driving.

    When they saw God’s hand against them, they tried to go back. But the Lord did not allow them to escape. The Lord told Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea so that the waters returned to its full depth. The Egyptian army was covered by water and drowned.

    Divers have also found what appear to be corral encrusted chariot wheels and axels on both sides of this area (“Chariot Wheels At Bottom of Read Sea”).

    What happened to Pharaoh?

    While Exodus 14 does not mention Pharaoh’s death, we know that he drowned because of what Psalm 136:15 says. There, the psalmist says that God “overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.” This was the final earthly judgment on Pharaoh for his stubborn, unbelief and unwillingness to obey the Lord.

    As you can see, the stubborn Egyptian ruler finally received the judgment he had earned. This is a good place to think about your own relationship to the Lord. Have you turned from your sin and rebellion against Him, or are you still stubbornly refusing to submit to Him?

    Remember, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). While you may escape God’s judgment during your lifetime, you will eventually have to stand before His throne after you die (Rev. 20:11-15)

    Are you ready?

    e. God’s respect (30-31)

    The end result of this event was that the Lord saved Israel from the Egyptians. What they feared might happen did not in fact happen. Instead, the bodies of their enemies washed ashore showing a vivid picture of God’s deliverance and care for his people. This miraculous event created in the Israelites a deep respect for the Lord and His servant Moses.

Conclusion

Someone once said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” In this case, God’s plan came off just as He had planned it to be. The terrible slavery in Egypt was now ended and those who had treated them so cruelly were no longer able to do so.

If you were to ask the Israelites a year ago, if they would be free from slavery, they would have laughed at you. But now God’s loving plan to free them and take them to the Promised Land was finally coming to pass.

One of the lessons we can learn from this chapter is that God is in control and that we can trust Him to take care of us. No ruler, nation, or Satanic opposition can stand against the Lord God Almighty.

Are you trusting in Him today? I don’t mean to ask if you have been born again, but if you are trusting Him today. Solomon said is best in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

What may seem like an impossible situation to you, is not an impossibility to the One who created you, sustains you, and maintains the universe. This ought to give each one of us greater confidence in doing what God has given us to do. He is with us. Let Him lead and trust Him to accomplish His plan today.

Bibliography

“Where was the Red Sea Crossing?” as viewed at https://thecalltojordan.com/2018/11/01/where-was-the-red-sea-crossing on 4/30/2022.

“Chariot Wheels At Bottom of Red Sea” as viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIQ-QAKTqZc on 4/30/2022.

John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publication, 1989, 131-132.

George Bush, Notes on Exodus, Minneapolis: James & Klock, 1852, reprint 1976, 168-183.

“Pi-HaHiroth” as viewed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi-HaHiroth on 4/30/2022.

“Migdol” as viewed at https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/migdol on 4/30/2022.

“Pharaoh’s Chariots” as viewed at https://www.jewishhistory.org/pharaoh%E2%80%99s-chariots on 4/30/2022.

Exodus 13

The Book of Exodus began with the troubled history of Israelite slaves who were mistreated by the Egyptian pharaohs and their people. As we have studied each chapter, we have seen how God was working on their behalf to deliver them from bondage and to increase their faith in Him.

Last week, we learned about the Passover and exodus from Egypt. The Ten Plagues destroyed Egypt and finally broke Pharaoh’s will. He finally let God’s people go.

After such exciting chapters, you may feel a let down when you come to Exodus 13. There are no miraculous plagues or feisty conversations between Moses and Pharaoh. But what we find in this chapter is nonetheless important because it tells us something about our God and His care for His people.

Despite the lack of “exciting” content, I hope that you will carefully follow along and see the goodness of God in this chapter and also allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart.

  1. The Lord’s Command (1-2)

    It is interesting how the Lord continued to use Moses as his spokesman. Moses had represented the Lord to Pharaoh. Now he is representing the Lord to the Israelite people. With that relationship in mind, the Lord spoke to Moses so that he would convey his command to the people.

    [Read Exodus 13:1-2.]

    I recently listened to a debate about capitalism and socialism and learned that socialism desires for all of the people to be in charge instead of one person. While we like the idea of individual rights, free speech, and the right to vote, this doesn’t seem like a practical way to govern a large company or nation. This thought came to mind as I read these verses. God seems to always use one person to lead, speak, and represent him as opposed to the entire group. Perhaps God’s idea of government throughout the Bible is something that we should study in the future.

    The Lord told Moses that all of the firstborn were to be consecrated to Him. It is interesting to read that this included both the firstborn of people and of animals. Compare this to the tenth plague in Exodus 11-12 and notice that the firstborn of Egyptian people and animals were killed. The Lord seems to continue that idea in this command to consecrate the firstborn.

    Why did the Lord want the firstborn consecrated to Him?

    Isn’t God already the Creator and Owner of all that He has made? Yes, He is. But in this instance, the Lord wanted the Israelites to have a continuing reminder of what He had done.

    So, “to perpetuate the remembrance of that remarkable event, and in token of their gratitude for it, their firstborn … were to be consecrated to God as his peculiar portion” (Bush 154).

    Do you remember the Andy Griffith episode where Andy puts out a fire in a barrel of rags while Gomer Pyle is sleeping? The rest of the episode has Gomer showing his thankfulness to Andy for saving his life. That episode is funny because Gomer becomes obnoxious to Andy and his family.

    The Israelites were in a similar but much different situation. The Lord had saved their lives and delivered them from the oppressive Pharaoh in Egypt. But their devotion would now be shown toward the Lord by doing what He required. In thankfulness for his deliverance, they were to consecrate their firstborn sons to the Lord.

    What about you?

    The command given here was for the Israelites and not for us. However, you too have benefited from what the Lord has done. He gave His own firstborn (Jesus) to take our place and shed his blood to save us from the judgment we rightfully deserved.

    What should we do in response to God? “Does he stand so high in our affections that we are willing for his sake to part with what we love best in this world?” (Bush 154) Instead of giving our firstborn, we ought to consecrate our lives to His service.

    Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

    Perhaps it would be good to mediate on your own response to what the Lord has done for you and to decide how you can express your thankfulness to Him today.

  2. Moses’ Instruction (3-16)

    After hearing what the Lord wanted the people to do, Moses gave more specific instructions to the people. They were to celebrate what God had done and then consecrate the firstborn. Let’s look at the first section.

    [Read Exodus 13:3-10.]

    a. Celebrate what God has done (3-10).

    i. Remember what the Lord did (3a).

    How easily we forget what the Lord has done in our lifetime. Do you remember any of the prayers that have been answered at Calvary Baptist Church? Do you remember what the Lord has done in your lifetime?

    The Lord wanted the people to have an annual reminder of what He had done in Egypt. They were to be reminded that God showed His strength to deliver them from their slavery in Egypt.

    ii. Feast of Unleavened Bread (3b-7)

    To help them remember, after they arrived in the Promised Land, they were to not eat leavened bread for seven days. This was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    Unleavened bread is bread with no yeast in it. Normal bread rises in the oven because of the yeast in it. But unleavened bread stays compact and flat.

    How would this remind them of what happened?

    “Since the children of Israel left Egypt hastily, they did not have time for the bread to rise, so it was made on that very first Passover without leaven, also known as yeast” (gotquestions). (See also Deuteronomy 16:3.)

    When you are used to eating regular bread, it would be a stark reminder to eat flat, cracker-like bread. Doing this for seven days would cause them to remember the events that took place in Egypt.

    iii. Remind your children (8-10).

    You can probably recall your young child asking questions about why certain things were done in your home. The Israelite children would have similar question. Why are we eating this flat bread? This would have been a good time to recount what God had done in Egypt.

    One of my favorite songs in a different hymnal is “Give ear unto God’s Holy Word.” The lyrics encourage us to teach our children about God’s mighty works.

    “Give ear unto God’s Holy Word and hear His perfect law
    Remember what His hand hath done and tell His works in awe
    Recount unto thy children’s hearts the things which thou wast told
    The truth which thou hast heard and known from generations old.
    So shall thy children hope in God and not forget His name
    But follow in the ways of Him Who ever is the same”

    This is a good time to think about ways to remind the next generation of what God has done in your life and in this church’s time here in Willard. Celebrate what God has done.

    b. Consecrate the firstborn (11-16).

    [Read Exodus 13:11-16.]

    In this section, the Israelites were instructed to consecrate their firstborn male children and animals to the Lord. This practice would begin when they finally arrived in the Promised Land.

    i. The firstborn were to be set apart for the Lord (11-13).

    The act of consecration to the Lord was a setting apart. The Hebrew word means “make to pass over; i.e. from [your] own power and possession; [you shall] make a transfer of it” (Bush 157).

    With this in mind, God was telling them to transfer the ownership of their firstborn son or animal to Him. This would be hard to do. Would any of you be willing to give any of your children to someone else? Most parents would say no.

    It would also be difficult for a herdsman to give up the firstborn animal as there was no guarantee that there would be any future offspring.

    But giving to the Lord was something that should have come easily for thankful people who had just been delivered from slavery. Giving to the Lord would have been an act of thankfulness each time it was done. And (to put your mind at ease) the Lord also expected the parents to redeem (buy back) their children instead of sacrificing them on an altar as the animals were (in most cases).

    “Since donkeys were considered ceremonially unclean animals (Lev. 11:2-4) they could not be sacrificed, but they could be redeemed (padah, ‘to buy back for a price’) by lambs sacrificed in their place” (Hannah 130).

    Now, why was this done?

    ii. The practice reminded them of what the Lord had done (14-16).

    In the future, when a son asked his father about the firstborn, he would hear the story of how the Lord delivered them from Egypt with “strength of hand.” By the end of the ten plagues, there was no doubt who was stronger than stubborn Pharaoh.

    Some years ago, I met a man with extra large hands. His hands were literally half again as big as mine. I can’t say what would have happened if I had arm wrestled him, but I figure he would have had the advantage. His hand strength would have overcome me.

    How do you think a boy would respond to his father’s story about Pharaoh and God’s mighty power?

    He would probably never forget that story. Hearing that the Lord defeated Pharaoh and his gods ten times and destroyed the land would be a constant memory (like frontlets) that the Lord is all powerful and able to deliver them from any future enemy.

    Summary: God wanted the Israelites to celebrate and consecrate. They were to celebrate what God had done for them. And they were to consecrate their firstborns to the Lord in thankfulness and remembrance of God’s goodness to them.

  3. The Nation’s Journey (17-22)

    With all the instruction and celebration, it is easy to forget that Israel was on a journey to the Promised Land. These verses tell us three details about the journey to this point.

    [Read Exodus 13:17-22.]

    a. God’s path (17-18)

    “The shortest route to the land of Canaan was through the territory of the Philistines in the direction of Beersheba and the Negeb. It led along the Mediterranean Sea, the military road of the Egyptians” (Hannah 130).

    However, the Lord did not lead the Israelites on that path. He knew that these recently released slaves were not battle tested enough to handle the Philistines who would oppose them on this route. He knew their hearts and did not want them to become afraid and want to return to Egypt. So, he gave them a different path which went southeast from Egypt through a deserted area (not desert).

    b. Promise to Joseph (19)

    Years ago, Joseph had instructed his children to take his bones/casket back home to be buried. Moses remembered this and brought his remains with them. “Later Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem (Josh. 24:32)” (Hannah 130).

    c. God’s direction (20-22)

    Such a large group must have traveled slowly. Remember that there were 600,000 fighting men. If you were to add a wife to each man and a couple of children, the total population must have been about 2 million people. Whatever the case, this group made their way from Succoth to Ethan on the edge of the wilderness area.

    As they traveled, the Lord led the way with a pillar shaped cloud during the day. At night, He led them with a pillar of fire which lit the way which would have been comforting in an area which was unknown to them.

    Summary: The Lord showed his care for Israel in these verses. First, He took them down a route that would not discourage them. Second, He reminded them of better times with Joseph’s casket being carried with them. Third, He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Conclusion

As we conclude our study of Exodus 13, I wonder what caught your attention?

1. God’s command to consecrate the firstborn

As you saw God’s command for the firstborn to be consecrated, did you also see your need to consecrate your life to the Lord as opposed to living it for yourself? He certainly is deserving of anything we can offer to Him.

2. Moses’ instructions to celebrate and consecrate

As you read Moses’ instructions for Israel to remember what God had done for Israel, were you reminded of times when He met your needs and worked out things in your life that you thought could never be handled well? He certainly has in the past and still can today. Celebrate the Lord today.

3. God’s care for the Israelites as they traveled

As you read of the Lord’s care of Israel along their journey, did you realize that the same God has been caring for you all along? He has promised to never leave or forsake His children. So, trust and thank Him for His watch care over you.

Bibliography

John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publication, 1989, 130-31.

George Bush, Notes on Exodus, Minneapolis, James & Klock, 1852, reprint 1976, 154-164.

“Frontlets” in ATS Bible Dictionary as viewed at Topical Bible: Frontlets (biblehub.com) on 4/23/2022.

“What is the significance of unleavened bread?” as viewed at What is the significance of unleavened bread? | GotQuestions.org on 4/23/22.

1 Thessalonians 5:25

Advertising companies are always looking for a short jungle that will stay in the minds of consumers. Over the years, some radio or television commercials are so good that if you heard just a few notes or words, you would immediately know what company was advertising. Let’s try it.

  Where’s the beef?Wendy’s
  Plop Plop Fizz FizzAlka Seltzer
  They’re magically deliciousLucky Charms
  I wish I was an…Oscar Mayer
  Give me a break, give me a breakKit Kat
  Like a good neighbor…State Farm
  Ba-da-ba-ba-baaa … I’m lovin’ itMcDonalds
  I don’t wanna grow up, I’m aToys R Us
  Every kiss begins with KKay Jewelers
  The best part of waking up is…Folgers
  Be… all that you can beUS Army


Todays’ verse is short and succinct like a slogan or jingle. It is only four words long but reminds us to do something very necessary for Christians to do. What is it?

[Read 1 Thess. 5:25.]

  1. Who should pray?

    When you ask your online friends to pray for you, who are you really addressing? You are not expecting non-Christians to pray to God for you because they don’t know Him. You are asking your fellow-Christians to pray because they are part of the Christian family.

    Define ἀδελφός – “a brother, near kinsman, or relative; one of the same nation or nature; one of equal rank and dignity; an associate, a member of the Christian community”[1]

    Paul was talking to fellow Christians in the family of God. He considered himself to be no better than them and to just be one of their Christian brothers. This showed his humility in asking them to remember him (as a brother) in prayer.

    Prayer is for fellow believers whether men or women. So all of us should listen to what Paul asks because we are all being addressed.
  2. What does prayer involve?

    A radio talk show recently shared a clip of someone praying at a political rally. He ended his prayer by raising his voice and telling God that ________ would be the next president of the United States. As he prayed, I got the idea that he was speaking more to the crowd than to God.

    What does prayer involve? This is a good question. Is prayer just throwing words into the air? Or is it something very special?

    a. It involves talking with God.

    Define προσεύχομαι – “From πρός (prós, ‘to’) + εὔχομαι (eúkhomai, ‘to pray, vow’)”[1] The very word construction means pray to. So prayer should be a conversation with God. When you look at the prayers of godly people to God, they are always talking to someone not making a speech to the people listening.

    Read these sample prayers of Solomon (2 Chron. 6:12, 14-15), Jesus (Luke 23:34), and Elijah (1 Kings 18:36-37), and consider whether they were talking to themselves or someone else.

    b. It involves intercession for others.

    On our church website, there is a picture of my wife and I along with a short description of us. In English it might say, About Us. If it were written in Greek, it would be the Greek words “περὶ ἡμῶν.” These are the words Paul used in this sentence.

    Paul was asking for prayer for more than himself. At different times, Paul traveled with a variety of people (Barnabas, Silas, Luke, Timothy, John Mark, Demas, etc.). But praying “for us” also would involve praying for the variety of needs this group might have: relationships (Acts 15:37-40), the pull of the world (2 Tim. 4:10), persecution (Acts 16), and spiritual success (2 Thess. 3:1).
  3. Why should we pray?

    I will let you read the following passages and consider how God uses prayer in each of our lives.

    a. It is God’s process for accomplishing his will (John 14:13-14).
    b. It is God’s process for increasing your love for others (Phile. 1:4).
    c. It is God’s process for building our faith (Acts 12:12-17).


Conclusion

Each Wednesday night, our church family meets for prayer. We asked for praises and prayer requests and write them on a piece of paper. But there are times when we forget the answers to these questions. Who should pray? What does prayer involve? Why should we pray? I hope that you will consider the answers listed above the next time you pray.


Exodus 11-12

Typically, on Resurrection Sunday, the pastor brings a message about Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lord rose from death on the third day to show that He conquered death. His resurrection also gives us hope that His promise to raise us after death will be fulfilled. The resurrection gives us hope today.

However, this morning, we will continue our study in the Book of Exodus. Chapters 11-12 give an account of the first Jewish Passover. During this time, God gave the Israelites hope that they would be delivered from Egyptian slavery. And we will also see that what happened is a picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

  1. Announcing the Final Plague (Ex. 11:1-10)

    Chapter 11 details God’s conversations with Moses and also Moses’ announcement of the final plague to Pharaoh. In it, we will see how God’s plan would finally unfurl.

    a. The Lord spoke to Moses (1-3).

    God told Moses that He would send one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt. Once completed, Pharaoh would let them go. In fact, he would drive them out.

    b. Moses spoke to Pharaoh (4-8).

    [Read Exodus 11:4-8.]

    If you recall, Pharaoh and Moses had come to words and had promised not to see each other again. But these threats did not come to pass as planned. God sent Moses back to Pharaoh to announce the tenth plague.

    Moses told Pharaoh that the Lord himself would enter Egypt and kill all the firstborn people and animals. He told Pharaoh that the grief would be unlike anything they had experienced before. But none of this would affect the Israelites; no harm would befall them. Moses announced that the Egyptians would beg for him and the Israelites to leave Egypt.

    Why was Moses so angry when he left?

    “His indignation was justly moved at the repeated falsehoods of the king, at his mercenary and cruel disposition, and at the insolent manner in which he had himself been treated by him. But it was mainly in view of the indignity put upon the messages of God that his spirit was stirred” (Bush 134-35).

    Over and over again, this hard-hearted king refused to listen to All Mighty God. He allowed his country to be destroyed, people and cattle to be killed, and all because he was stubborn and would not submit to God. Moses could have said, “You brought this on yourself! How many more people must die because of your stubbornness?”

    c. The Lord knew Pharaoh’s heart (9-10).

    Pharaoh’s current response was not a surprise to God. He announced that Pharaoh would not listen to Moses and that God’s purpose would be fulfilled. The land of Egypt would soon know without a doubt that their false gods were nothing and that the Lord was All-Powerful.

    The Lord had dealt with this hard-hearted king for months now. He had given him the opportunity to respond, but he stubbornly refused to submit to God. The more he hardened his heart against God, the more God hardened his heart.

    Take a moment and think about your own response to God over your life. Have you been hard-hearted toward Him? Be aware that there may come a time when you will become so hard-hearted that you will not be able to change. And then it will be too late.

  2. Preparing for the Final Plague (Ex. 12:1-27)

    In the first part of chapter 12, God told Moses how to prepare the Israelites for the last plague and their departure from Egypt. What happened next would be so memorable that they would make this month the first of their year.

    [Read Exodus 12:3-7.]

    a. The lamb (3-11)

    The Lord had Moses instruct the people to take a lamb on the 10th of the month and keep it at their home until the 14th. Then at twilight, they were to kill the lamb and paint some of its blood on the lintel and doorposts of their home. After that, they were to roast and eat the lamb with their family. And they were to be dressed in traveling clothes ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

    b. The judgment (12-13)

    The Lord announced to Israel that he would pass through the land of Egypt and strike every firstborn. This would be a judgment against the false gods of Egypt that were worshiped by Pharaoh and his subjects.

    How would this be a judgment against Egypt’s gods?

    As we have looked through the plagues, we have also seen that the Lord was often targeting the false gods the Egyptians trusted to protect them from harm. Whether it was frogs, flies, locusts, hail, or something else, their gods and their supposedly divine Pharaoh were incapable of protecting them.

    During the last plague, the Egyptians would have been trusting another god to protect them from harm. “The goddess Isis, the wife and sister of Osiris, supposedly protected children. But this plague showed her to be totally incompetent to do what the Egyptians trusted her for” (Hannah 126).

    By the end of this last plague, Egypt and Pharaoh would know who was truly in charge.

  3. Responding to the Final Plague (Ex. 12:27b-32)

    Both the Egyptians and the Israelites were told about the coming plague. They knew that the Lord had promised to kill the firstborn of every family. Now how would each group respond?

    [Read Exodus 12:27b-32.]

    a. Israel did what God told them (27b-28).

    It was not just the Egyptians who were awe struck by what had been happening. The Israelites were amazed by God’s power as seen by each of the plagues. Now, as Moses told them what God was going to do, they responded in two ways.

    First, they bowed their heads and worshiped God. Their thankfulness to God was expressed by honoring him in this way. Second, they left Moses and Aaron to do what God had commanded. Their response showed that they believed what God had said and would do as he required.

    How about you?

    While it is good to bow your head and show respect for God, is that all the further that it goes? Or does your love for God affect the way that you live every day? God wants your worship and your daily actions.

    Jesus said, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (John 6:46) He was pointing out the difference between mere words and words that are followed up by obedience. If you truly love God, your life will show it.

    b. The Lord struck the firstborn of Egypt (29-30).

    At midnight, the Lord carried out his promise to kill the firstborn of every family and animal in Egypt. It affected all of the Egyptians from Pharaoh’s firstborn son to the firstborn of someone in prison. None of them escaped God’s judgment. There was no house that was not filled with mourning that night.

    c. Pharaoh let them go (31-32).

    This was the tipping point for Pharaoh. He had resisted the Lord until this point. He hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron and sent them away. And this time, he did not stipulate who could go or whether they could take their flocks. He just wanted them out of the land.

    Surprisingly, he asked Moses and Aaron to bless him also. “Amazingly the Pharaoh, who was considered a god, was now humbled to the point of asking that Moses and Aaraon … bless him” (Hannah 129).

  4. Applying the Final Plague

    The New Testament often uses events in the Old Testament as examples for us today. It is as if God planned what happened back then to show what He was doing for us through Jesus. Consider three New Testament verses that tie the Passover to what Jesus did for us.

    a. Jesus is the Lamb of God.

    [Read John 1:29.]

    John the Baptist was the great preacher who called Israel to repent of their sin and turn to God. His preaching affected not only the Jewish people but also soldiers and religious leaders.

    When he saw Jesus walking toward him, he suddenly announced that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” What did he mean? John knew what others did not. He knew that Jesus, like an unblemished lamb, was God’s future payment for our sins.

    b. Jesus shed his blood for us.

    [Read 1 Peter 1:18-19.]

    God tells us that the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). It further explains that we deserve to be cast into the lake of fire at the end of time for our sin against God (Rev. 20:11-15). But it also tells us that our sins have been paid for God. How did he do that?

    Peter tells us that the penalty for our sins was not paid by gold or silver. It wasn’t paid for by following some traditions or rituals passed along by religious leaders either. Instead, Jesus’ blood paid the price for our sins. When Jesus bled and died on the cross, his blood counted as the payment for our sins so that we could escape the judgment we deserve.

    But how does that work?

    c. Jesus is our Passover.

    [Read 1 Corinthians 5:7b.]

    The Bible tells us that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

    Remember how the Israelites escaped the 10th plague? A lamb was killed and its blood was painted on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. Then when the Lord came to kill the firstborn, He passed over their houses when He saw the blood. They escaped the judgment when He saw the blood.

    Jesus is our Passover.

    All of us have sinned against God and deserve to be judged. And there is nothing we can do to make amends for those sins. We are headed for the lake of fire with no remedy of our own making. But God had promised that Jesus is our Passover.

    When a sinner like you or me puts our faith in what Jesus did on the cross. When we believe that His blood paid the price for our sins, God has promised to pass over us and save us from the judgment we deserve. Jesus is our Passover.

Conclusion

Today, we have the opportunity to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died to pay for our sins. We also remember that He didn’t stay dead but was raised back to life after three days. All of that is wonderful… unless what Jesus accomplished has not been applied to your own life.

If you, today, have not believed in Jesus as the final and only payment for your sins, will you trust the Passover Lamb of God for yourself? If you have, you know the joy and peace that every believer has. If you have not, you face a coming judgment that you don’t need to face. Jesus took your punishment. Will you believe Him today?

Bibliogrpahy

John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, 125-29.

George Bush, Notes on Exodus, Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976, 130-47.

“What was the meaning and purpose of the ten plagues of Egypt?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=2103 on 4/16/22.

Exodus 10

God had sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to demand that he let His people go. Pharaoh, who was treated as the son of the Egyptian god Re, was unsympathetic with the Lord’s demands and claimed ignorance of who the Lord even was. But over the past seven plagues, he could no longer claim ignorance of who the Lord was.

Plague 1 – Water into blood
Plague 2 – Frogs invade their homes
Plague 3 – Lice infest Egypt
Plague 4 – Swarms of insects
Plague 5 – Pestilence kills Egyptian livestock
Plague 6 – Painful boils on Egyptian people and animals
Plague 7 – Hail mingled with fire

After the hail destroyed the Egyptian crops, Pharaoh admitted his sin and asked for mercy. But as soon as it was gone, he and his servants hardened their hearts and would not let God’s people go.

What will it take to break the heart of this hard-hearted king?

  1. Plague 8

    [Read Exodus 10:1-11.]

    a. Why did God send these plagues? (1-2)

    The Lord mentions two reasons for sending these plagues. First, the Lord wanted to show these signs to Pharaoh. As we read through the chapters describing the plagues, you may be tempted to feel pity for Pharaoh. Why did God harden his heart? Why was he treated so severely? The fact is that Pharaoh was very deserving of what he received. He was part of a people who had rejected the Lord and worshiped idols. He was part of a people who had severely mistreated the Israelites. He was part of a people who had previously murdered the Hebrew children. What the Lord did to Pharaoh and Egypt was just recompense for their evil behavior.

    Second, the Lord wanted Moses (and Israel) to be able to tell the story to future generations so that they would know that He is the Lord. In years to come, Moses would have the opportunity to share with his children and grandchildren what the Lord had done during their time in Egypt. These true stories would instill in their hearts the power of the Lord. It is something they would never forget.

    b. What was the promised plague? (3-6)

    With God’s words in their mouth, Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh. First, they confronted him about his refusal to humble himself before the Lord. Second, they announced what the next plague would be.

    If Pharaoh refused to let Israel go, the Lord would send locusts that would cover the ground, eat whatever food was left, and fill their houses. It would be something never before seen in Egypt.

    c. What was Pharaoh’s offer? (7-11)

    After Moses and Aaron left, Pharaoh’s servants counseled him to make a deal. “Such extensive economic disaster caused Pharaoh’s officials to realize that retaining their slaves was not worth the price” (Hannah). Their land was already destroyed and would only become worse with locusts.

    When Moses and Aaron came back, Pharaoh asked who would go if he let them go. He appeared to be on the verge of giving in, but he wanted to know who was going. When Moses and Aaron told him that all them would be going, he lost it! He must have thought that Moses was trying to trick him somehow. There was no way he would let all of them go.

    d. How bad was the plague? (12-15)

    [Read Exodus 10:12-20.]

    The Lord commanded Moses to stretch out his hand over the land of Egypt to begin the plague. When Moses raised the rod over the land, the wind began to blow from the east. The wind blew all night and in the morning the locusts arrived.

    What are locusts?

    “Locusts are large grasshoppers that live on almost every continent of the world and are known for their propensity to gather in large, destructive swarms. However, locusts often live for several generations, spanning decades, in the solitary, sedentary style that’s characteristic of other species of grasshoppers. It’s when locusts come together that their behavior changes” (Uyeno).

    “When locusts swarm, they can eat their own body weight in food every day. They gather in huge groups that can literally darken the sky and strip fields bare. There is little to be done when combating a modern-day plague of locusts. … In an astoundingly short period of time, they can completely destroy a crop; … life-threatening for subsistence farmers” (McMahon).

    There were so many locusts that the ground was covered the entire land and darkened the sky. Every plant and fruit was consumed by the locusts. Whatever had been left after the plague of hail was now completely gone.

    During a locust invasion on the Canary Islands a person said that “there was no opening one’s mouth but some would get in. … When a man opened his mouth to put in a morsel, he was sure to chew one of them” (Bush 125).

    What was the significance of this plague?

    “Besides the obvious vegetation destruction, this plague would constitute yet another blow to their religious system. There was a god who protected against the locust (Senehem). He was a minor deity. Yet, it was the function of many gods to protect the fields, vegetation and all that was destroyed by the locusts. This plague adds to the cumulative effect that Pharaoh is impotent and their gods are not able to secure order” (Free Sunday).

    Egypt soon realized that their gods were unable to protect them and that the Lord was the one, true and all-powerful God.

    e. What was Pharaoh’s response? (16-20)

    Things must have been very severe because Pharaoh hastily called for Moses and Aaron. He admitted his sin against the Lord and against them. He pleaded with them to ask the Lord to remove the plague because he knew it meant death for Egypt.

    Moses did as Pharaoh requested. He prayed and the Lord answered. A strong west wind carried the locusts from Egypt into the Red Sea and not one was left in Egypt.

    Pharaoh had responded well at first, but as soon as the locusts were gone so was his so-called repentance. The Lord hardened his heart and he would not let the Israelites go.

    “Pharaoh had indeed on former occasions made some pretenses to humbling himself, but as he was neither sincere nor constant in it, it passed for nothing in God’s esteem. … Let us learn from this how little value God puts upon those religious acts in which the heart is wanting” (Bush 121-22).

    How about you?

    As you see Pharaoh’s false repentance, do you see a picture of yourself? There are many people who have made a show of turning from sin and becoming a Christian. But later, they are found out to be nothing but a fake. God doesn’t want a show of tears and false promises; He wants your heart.

    Christians, as you talk to people about the Lord, remember that God is able to bring sinners to repentance.

    2 Timothy 2:24-26 – “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

    With God all things are possible.

  2. Plague 9

    [Read Exodus 10:21-29.]

    a. What was this plague? (21-23)

    As with the sixth plague (boils), no warning was given to Pharaoh about the ninth plague. The Lord told Moses to stretch out his hand toward the sky so that darkness would cover Egypt. The darkness would be so bad that it could be felt.

    How can darkness be felt?

    “Perhaps the language is figurative in that the darkness was so overwhelming that it gave people a groping feeling. The word, ‘felt,’ can be translated ‘grope, feel, or search’” (Free Sunday).

    Whatever the case may have been, the darkness lasted for three days. It was so dark that nobody left his place for those three days. “The meaning probably is, that no one went out of his house to attend to his usual business” (Bush).

    But the Israelites were not affected by this plague. God made a difference between His people and the idolatrous Egyptians.

    What was the significance of darkness to Egypt?

    “Re [pronounced Ray] was the foremost god of the sun. … Pharaoh himself was called the Son of Re. … Venerated as the one who illuminated the land of Egypt, the Son of Re was in charge of … the sun’s illumination. Therefore, this plague demonstrated that Pharaoh was not in control” (Free Sunday).

    b. What was Pharaoh’s offer? (24-26)

    From the darkness, Pharaoh called for a meeting with Moses and Aaron. (I wonder if he could see Moses or just had to speak and listen.) He gave permission for all of the people to go as long as they left their flocks and herds. Even the children could go.

    But this was not what God required. Moses reminded Pharaoh that they had to take their flocks and herds for sacrifices to the Lord. At this point, the Lord had not told them what sacrifices were needed, so they would need to take all of their livestock.

    c. What was Pharaoh’s response? (27-29)

    The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart further and he refused to budge. Instead of agreeing to Moses’ terms, he screamed for Moses to leave and never show his face again. He promised to kill Moses the next time he saw him. Moses promised that the hard-hearted ruler would never see him again.

Conclusion

When will these plagues end? When will Pharaoh finally let God’s people go? You will have to read the next chapters in Exodus to find that answer. But for now, it would be good to think through what has happened so far.

First, God has been using a hard-hearted Egyptian ruler to showcase his power in a land filled with cruel, idol worshiping, slave masters. Pharaoh and the Egyptian people were slowly learning that their sins against the Israelites would be judged severely by the one true God.

Second, God has been teaching the Israelites that He is the Lord in charge of all creation. As they watched Pharaoh and the Egyptians crumble beneath the judgment of God, they must have stared wide-eyed and open mouthed. The Lord did care about them. The Lord had heard their prayers for deliverance. The Lord was at work on their behalf.

As you see both perspectives, which side do line up with? Are you one of the enemies of God who is refusing to repent of your sins and is awaiting God’s judgment? Or are you one of God’s people who have turned from your sin to believe, love, and follow Him?

Hebrews 3:15 – “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…”

God’s desire for you is that you would recognize your sin against Him and turn from it to Him. He wants you to realize that your sin deserves death (Rom. 6:23) and that ultimately all those who reject Him will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Rev. 20:11-15). But God loved you and made a way of escape. Jesus, God’s Son, willingly died on the cross to once-and-for-all take the punishment for your sin. He died for you but rose from being dead the third day.

Now God calls on you to receive Jesus and what He did for you by faith. Put your faith in Him, believing that He died for you and rose again. What will happen after that? God will forgive you of your sin against Him and change you from the inside out. He will make you His child and lead you in the right way.

Two options: You can be like Pharaoh and harden your heart. Or you can turn from your sin to Jesus and become a child of God. Which will you do today?

Bibliography

• “Why did God use a locust swarm to punish Israel (Joel 1:4)?” as viewed at https://www.gotquestions.org/locust-swarm.html on 4/9/22.
• Mary McMahon, “What are Locusts?” as viewed at https://www.allthingsnature.org/what-are-locusts.htm on 4/9/22.
• Greg Uyeno, “What are locusts and why do they swarm?” as viewed at https://www.livescience.com/locusts.html on 4/9/22.
• “The Plagues of Egypt: Lesson 11: The Plague of Locusts” as viewed at https://www.freesundayschoollessons.org/biblical-theology/the-plagues-of-egypt-lesson-10-the-plague-of-locusts on 4/9/22.
• “The Plagues of Egypt: Lesson 12: The Plague of Darkness” as viewed at https://www.freesundayschoollessons.org/biblical-theology/the-plagues-of-egypt-lesson-11-the-plague-of-darkness/ on 4/9/22.
• George Bush, Notes on Exodus, (Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976), 121-30.
• John Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, (USA: SP Publications, 1989), 124-25.
• “How do you pronounce Ra Egyptian god?” as viewed at https://philosophy-question.com/library/lecture/read/262070-how-do-you-pronounce-ra-egyptian-god#0 on 4/9/22.

Exodus 9

During the 2022 Oscar Awards, emcee Chris Rock made a joke about actor Will Smith’s wife’s bald head (due to alopecia). When his wife became upset about the joke, Will Smith walked on stage, slapped Chris Rock, and told him not to mention her name again. Although I have no interest in movie actors, it has been hard not to hear about this on just about every radio program and news report. The odd thing is that later in the program, Will Smith still received an Oscar award despite his violent action during the program. This caused some to think that he was “too big” to get in trouble.

Have you ever been wronged by someone and then wondered if the person would get away with the sin? Or you might wonder if God was going to overlook the sin and never address it in this lifetime. Sometimes it may seem that way.

In today’s chapter, we will see that God was well aware of the wrongs done against His people. And He was well aware of the idolatry of the Egyptians and the hard heart of their leader. Did God let them get away with their sin? Let us examine what happened in Exodus 9.

  1. Plague 5 – Livestock Pestilence

    [Read Exodus 9:1-7.]

    a. God’s demand (1-3)

    The Lord told Pharaoh to let His people go again. But promised that if Pharaoh refused, he would send a severe pestilence on the Egyptian cattle, horses, donkeys, and sheep.

    What is a pestilence or murrain?

    “Pestilence is a deadly disaster, usually a disease, that affects an entire community. Pestilence is contagious, virulent, and devastating. For example, the Black Plague in Europe that killed over thirty percent of the population during the late Middle Ages was a pestilence” (Gotquestions.org).

    In this case, God’s promised plague would be a pestilence/murrain that affected all the animals in the fields of Egypt.

    b. God’s discrimination (4)

    But God also told Pharaoh that He would spare the Israelites’ livestock from the pestilence. This would show to Pharaoh the difference between those who serve idols and those who serve the Lord.

    c. God’s judgment (5-6)

    ILLUS. Tomorrow, our cat Lilly has an appointment with the veterinarian in Willard. This is an appointment that we are looking forward to.

    Surprisingly, the Lord made an appointment with Pharaoh for the judgment. Why did he do this? He wanted Pharaoh to know that what happened was not random chance but something that the Lord sovereignly decreed. It would show him that the Lord was in charge and not Pharaoh.

    The next day, all of the livestock in Egypt died. But none of the livestock owned by Israelites died.

    What was God trying to tell the Egyptians?

    To the Egyptians, “many animals were sacred, particularly … the bull which represented the god Apis or Re, and the cow which represented Hathor, the goddess of love, beauty, and joy. Hathor was depicted in the form of a woman with the head (or sometimes only the horns) of a cow. Also Khnum was a ram-god” (Hannah 123).

    God was showing the Egyptians that the Lord was the one, true God and that their idols were unable to help them.

    d. Pharaoh’s response (7)

    After suffering much loss in Egypt, Pharaoh sent messengers to see how Israel was doing. Sure enough, none of their livestock had been harmed. As promised, God had protected their livestock.

    I kind of wonder if Pharaoh didn’t rustle some of their livestock at this time.

    However, despite the tremendous show of the Lord’s power, Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he refused to let the people go.


  2. Plague 6 – Boils

    [Read Exodus 9:8-12.]

    a. God’s command (8-9)

    The Lord told Moses to take ashes from a furnace and throw them into the air in front of Pharaoh. “The original [word] for ‘furnace’ signifies also a ‘lime-kiln’ or ‘brick-kiln;’ and as these were among the instruments of oppression to the Israelites, it was fitting that they should be converted to the means of chastisement to the Egyptians, for God oftentimes makes men to recognize their sin in their punishment” (Bush 113).

    When Moses threw the ashes into the air, God said that they would become a fine dust that would cause boils to break out on people and animals.

    “As one commentator says, ‘This was a poetic justice.’ They would have been illustrative of Pharoah’s harsh treatment on the Israelites. Pharaoh forced the Israelites to slave over the brick making furnaces. Hard long, excruciating days with soot covering the body and pure exhaustion, it was time for God to exact that on Pharoah… causing the furnace dust to create a far more physical problem—festering boils!” (Free Sunday School Lessons)

    What are boils?

    Boils are enflamed sores that bubble up on the skin. You may recall that Satan afflicted Job with boils.

    “Job’s body is said to have been covered with itchy, irritating sores which made his face unrecognizable, Job 2:12, caused continual burning pain (Job 3:246:4), and which were infested with maggots (Job 7:5) and exhaled a nauseous [stench] (Job 19:17)” (ISBE).

    ILLUS. During junior high, I spent an afternoon swimming without sun screen and got a very bad sunburn which included blisters on my nose and back. My skin burned and the blisters eventually burst and dripped down my body. If boils are worse than that, they must be very bad.

    b. God’s judgment (10-11)

    Without warning Pharaoh, God sent Moses to cast the ashes into the air in front of the hard-hearted ruler. As the dust settled, boils broke out on people and animals. Even the magicians were affected by the boils and were unable to help their leader.

    “The Egyptians, fearfully aware of epidemics, worshiped Sekhmet, a lion-headed goddess with alleged power over disease; Sunu, the pestilence god; and Isis, goddess of healing. Yet these deities could not deliver the people and animals from their torments” (Hannah 123).

    God was once again showing Egypt who the one, true God was and is.

    c. Pharaoh’s response (12)

    Despite going through the painful boils of God’s judgment, Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. God hardened his heart just as predicted.


  3. Plague 7 – Severe Hail

    [Read Exodus 9:13-21.]

    a. God’s command (13-14)

    The Lord told Moses to get up early to speak to Pharaoh. But this time, he would not only repeat his command to let His people go, but would also speak straight to Pharaoh’s hard heart.

    To this point, Pharaoh had been resisting the Lord. The plagues were merely inconveniences, but now God would do something that would get his attention and cause him to repent … even if for only a few moments.

    b. God’s reasoning (15-17)

    The Lord told Pharaoh that He could have destroyed the stubborn ruler with a pestilence and be done with him. But he did not do this because He had a purpose for him and the plagues. Through Pharaoh’s stubborn rebellion, the Lord’s power would be seen in Pharaoh and be heard around the world.

    This would be possible because Pharaoh continued to exalt himself, fight against God’s people, and not let them go. Because of this, God would send another plague that would demolish the land of Egypt.

    Why did God reason with Pharaoh?

    Doesn’t it seem odd that God would not only warn Pharaoh about the coming plagues and also reason with him? From our perspective, Pharaoh has been given too many chances already. Six plagues have been unleashed against him and he still refused to let God’s people go. Enough is enough.

    We know that God is merciful and wants people to repent. But in this case, I think Pharaoh was a lost cause. God was not reasoning with him to bring him to repentance, but to show him over and over again the reasons he was guilty and was being judged by God.

    c. God’s warning (18-21)

    Once again, the Lord announced when the plague would begin. At the same time the next day, He would send a heavy hail storm unlike anything Egypt had ever faced. The Lord promised that any animal or person in the field would be killed by the hail.

    Where did these animals come from after the pestilence?

    “Skeptics and critics of the Bible like to point to Exodus 9:6 and 20 as an example of a contradiction in the Bible. However, there is a reasonable explanation for how the Egyptians could have their livestock destroyed and then possess livestock again in the same chapter. … There could have been a significant amount of time in between some of the plagues. … They could have imported (or forcefully acquired) animals from neighboring countries. The animals could also have been taken from the Israelites, whose livestock were spared from the fifth plague. The Israelites were slaves, after all” (GotQuestions).

    After six plagues, some of the Egyptians were beginning to listen. They heard what Moses said and brought their livestock and workers in from the fields. It makes me wonder if some of them (like Nebuchadnezzar or the people of Nineveh) truly turned from their idols to the Lord.

    d. God’s judgment (22-26)

    [Read Exodus 9:22-26.]

    At God’s command, Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky to call hail on Egypt. Huge chunks of hail mixed with fire fell from the sky and decimated the land where the Egyptians lived. Any person, animal, or crop left in the field was struck by the hail storm.

    What did this show to the idolatrous people of Egypt?

    “Clearly the abilities of several Egyptian gods were again being challenged. Nut, the sky goddess, was not able to forestall the storm; and Osiris, the god of crop fertility, could not maintain the crops in this hailstorm; nor could Set, the storm god, hold back this storm” (Hannah 123).

    But God’s people were not under judgment at this point. As Egypt was being decimated by the hail and fire, the Israelites were safe and unaffected by the storm.

    e. Pharaoh’s response (27-35)

    [Read Exodus 9:27-35.]

    This plague seemed to have a profound affect on Pharaoh. He actually seemed to repent this time. He admitted his sin, that the Lord was righteous, and that he and his people were wicked. Then he asked Moses to call on the Lord to stop the terrible storm. He even promised to let the people go.

    Moses responded to Pharaoh. He promised to ask the Lord to end the storm. But he knew (finally believing what the Lord has said repeatedly) that Pharaoh would not keep his promise.

    With half of the Egyptian crops destroyed, Moses left the city to intercede for Pharaoh. He prayed and the Lord caused the storm to cease.

    Sadly, as soon as the storm was over, Pharaoh once again hardened his heart and changed his mind. So did his servants. Despite his former promise, this hard-hearted Pharaoh would not let God’s people go.

Conclusion

Does it seem to you that the Lord is letting Pharaoh get away with his sin? Does it seem that the Lord will never put a stop to this arrogant king’s stubborn rebellion against God?

Or do you see God’s plan amidst the plagues and Pharaoh’s poor responses?

In this chapter, the Lord did two things: (1) He showed Egypt that their idols were unable to protect them from the Lord’s powerful plagues. (2) He showed Pharaoh the reason why He even allowed the ruler to continue living. He was not impressed or distressed about Pharaoh’s hard heart. Instead, the Lord used his stubbornness to show the world His power over the once powerful nation of Egypt.

“Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”

I would like you to recognize that God is in control of your life as well. First, you cannot exalt yourself above God and get away with your sin. Pharaoh, the great leader of Egypt, could not escape from God’s judgment and neither can you. Second, if someone has sinned against you, the Lord will take care of it in His time. Leave it to God. While you are waiting for God to do His work, pray that God will bring that person to repentance. But if He does not, know that God is the righteous Judge who will take care of each situation in His perfect timing.

Bibliography

• “What is the meaning of pestilence in the Bible?” as viewed at https://www.gotquestions.org/pestilence-in-the-Bible.html on 4/2/2022.

• “How could there be livestock in Exodus 9:20 when all of Egypt’s livestock had been destroyed by the plague in Exodus 9:6?” as viewed at https://www.gotquestions.org/Exodus-plagues-Egypt-livestock.html on 4/2/2022.

• George Bush, Notes on Exodus, (Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976), 111-120.

• F. B. Meyer, Studies in Exodus, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978), 122-23.

• John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, (USA: SP Publications, 1985), 123-24.

• “Boil” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, as viewed at https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/dictionary/viewtopic.cfm?topic=IT0001592 on 4/2/2022.

• “The Plagues of Egypt: Lesson 9: The Plague of Boils,” as viewed at https://www.freesundayschoollessons.org/biblical-theology/the-plagues-of-egypt-lesson-9-the-plague-of-boils/ on 4/2/2022.

Exodus 8

When God told Moses and Aaron what was going to happen, He was very specific. In Exodus 7:1-5, God promised six things: (1) to harden Pharaoh’s heart, (2) to multiply his sign and wonders in Egypt, (3) that Pharaoh would not listen, (4) to lay His hand on Egypt, (5) to deliver Israel, and (6) to show the Egyptians that He is the Lord.

As we read through the account of the Ten Plagues, let’s be looking for the fulfillment of what God promises would happen. But to make things easier to follow, let’s shorten our list to three things: (1) God’s sign to Egypt, (2) Pharaoh’s response, and (3) the results.

  1. The Second Plague

    Read Exodus 8:1-15.

    a. God’s sign to Egypt

    The Lord told Moses to tell Pharaoh what would happen if he refused to let His people go. For the second plague, God would strike the territory with frogs. The frogs would multiply in the river and then invade the homes, ovens, and bowls of the people. Then they would “come up on” the people.

    ILLUS. I don’t know how much you like frogs, but I have always enjoyed catching frogs and playing with them. We have found them at Peniel Bible Camp and along other ponds or lakes. Some people like them enough to decorate their homes with frog pictures or statues. In general, people like frogs.

    But this plague would involve more than extra frog decorations on your mantle. There would be hundreds of frogs in each home. Imagine walking into your home at the end of a long day to find your armchair filled with frogs, your bed filled with frogs, and your microwave, oven, refrigerator, and tupperwear bowls filled with frogs!

    ii. Meaning to Egypt

    “The Egyptians regarded frogs as having divine power. In the Egyptian pantheon the goddess Heqet had the form of a woman with a frog’s head. From her nostrils, it was believed, came the breath of life that animated the bodies of those created by her husband … . Therefore frogs were not to be killed” (Hannah 121).

    But what would happen if hundreds of frogs came into their homes?

    iii. The Event

    God told Moses to have Aaron stretch out the rod over the river, ponds, and lakes to cause frogs to multiply and come into the land of Egypt. Aaron did this and the frogs covered the land. Surprisingly, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to do the same thing with their enchantments.

    b. Pharaoh’s Response

    i. Initial

    Things must have been unbearable because Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. He asked them to ask the Lord to remove the frogs from him and his people. He even promised to let the Israelites go to sacrifice to the Lord.

    Did you notice that Pharaoh is no longer unacquainted with the name, the Lord? He can no longer say, Who is the Lord? since he had seen the Lord’s power poured out in two incredible signs.

    Moses gave Pharaoh the opportunity to choose when God would destroy the frogs, and keep new ones only in the river. Somehow, Pharaoh requested that it happen on the next day. How strange. Wouldn’t you have thought that someone bothered by frogs would want them gone right away?

    Moses spoke to the Lord about the frogs and God answered his prayer. The thousands of frogs in each house, courtyard, and field died. There were so many that they had to be placed in heaps and the stench of their dead bodies filled the land.

    ii. Final

    So, how did Pharaoh respond? Verse 15 tells us that he hardened his heart once relieved of the frogs. What seemed like a change of heart was just annoyance. Once the frogs were gone, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

    c. The Results

    i. Magicians

    The magicians were able to duplicate this plague for Pharaoh. But notice who Pharaoh turned to in order to rid himself of the plague. It wasn’t the magicians.

    ii. Pharaoh

    When Moses gave Pharaoh the choice of when the frogs would be destroyed, he was doing it for a reason. When the frogs died on the next day, this would be a sign that the Lord (not his magicians or his false gods) was unlike any other.
  2. The Third Plague

    Read Exodus 8:16-19.

    a. God’s sign to Egypt

    In response to Pharaoh’s hard heart and his unwillingness to let Israel go, God told Moses to tell Aaron to strike the dust of the land and make lice appear in all of Egypt. Aaron obeyed and all of the dust in Egypt became lice. Both people and animals were affected by this plague.

    What are lice? According to the CDC, “lice are parasitic insects that can be found on people’s heads and bodies, including the pubic area. Human lice survive by feeding on human blood.”

    How many lice were there? If you have ever dusted a room, you know that dust can accumulate quickly in a house. But God told Aaron to strike the dust of the earth throughout the land of Egypt. So, it was not merely the dust in a room, but the dust outside as well.

    Modern Egypt is known for having lots of dust and sand. A recent report showed a picture of a sand/dust storm in Cairo Egypt that made it hard to see the buildings. Imagine if all of that was lice. People and animals would be covered with these biting insects.

    b. Pharaoh’s Response

    i. magicians

    Up until this point, the magicians have been able to duplicate God’s miraculous signs. In verse 18, we find that the magicians tried but could not make lice appear. They even told Pharaoh that what had happened was “the finger of God.” In other words, only God could do something like this.

    ii. hard heart

    Unlike the magicians, Pharaoh was not changed by what happened. His heard grew hard and he would not listen to them … just as the Lord had said.

    c. The Results

    i. Everyone

    The Lord got the attention of everyone in Egypt. With lice bites all over their bodies, every person in Egypt was aware that the Lord was stronger than any of their false gods.

    ii. Israelites

    Do you think that the Israelites were unaffected by this plague? I think they were. Remember, the people were slaves to Pharaoh and his task masters. So, they were required to be in Egypt making bricks and constructing buildings. So, they would have seen and been affected by the lice.

    The results were that the Lord got everyone’s attention.

    ILLUS. As it was then, so it is today. When something happens that affects a lot of people, we all start to ask questions and sometimes these problems drive us to the Lord.
  3. The Fourth Plague

    Read Exodus 8:20-32.

    a. God’s Sign to Egypt

    This time, the Lord told Moses to get up early and meet Pharaoh at the water. Moses and Aaron were to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go or else be hit with a fourth plague of swarms of flies.

    But this time the plague would only affect the Egyptians. The Israelites in Goshen would not be affected at all as a sign to them and Pharaoh.

    What were these flies?

    Notice that the Lord promised to send swarms but “of flies” is in italics in our Bibles. This indicates that the translators supplied this word to describe it as best they could.

    The Septuagint (Greek version of the OT) used the word for dog-fly, “an insect that fastens its teeth so deep in the flesh, and sticks so close, that it oftentimes makes cattle run mad” (Bush 107).

    Others think this may refer to a flying beetle which “devours everything in its way, even clothes, books, and plants, and does not hesitate to inflict severe bites on man” (Bush 107). This would be interesting as Egyptians thought highly of the scarab beetle, “an emblem of the Sun and of the abiding life of the soul” (Meyer 121).

    In either case, these swarms would have been a continuing bother to Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

    b. Pharaoh’s Response

    As we have been studying this chapter, I have felt the urge to scratch my head and neck. Just thinking of swarming insects makes my skin feel uneasy.

    Pharaoh responded to these pesky swarms by calling for Moses and Aaron. He was tired of the swarms and was willing to make a deal.

    i. You can go but you must sacrifice here.

    Instead of giving in to the Lord’s demands, Pharaoh only bent part of the way. He would let them make their sacrifices but not travel a great distance away.

    Moses told Pharaoh that their sacrifices would cause a riot in Egypt. “This may have been because the Egyptians considered sacred the bull which represented the god Apis or Re and the cow which represented their goddess Hathor” (Hannah 122). If the Israelites were seen sacrificing a bull or cow to the Lord, the Egyptians would stone them.

    ii. You can go but not far away.

    Can you picture Pharaoh swatting the swarming bugs away from his mouth or talking through a cloth mask? He is vexed by the insects and finally tells Moses that he would let them go (just not too far away). Intercede for me! This is getting to be obnoxious!

    Moses promised to ask the Lord to remove the swarms on the next day. But he also told Pharaoh not to deceive him or change his mind about letting the people go.

    Moses went out and prayed to the Lord and asked Him to remove the swarms from the land. The Lord did as he asked and all of the swarms were removed — not even one remained.

    How did Pharaoh respond?

    iii. You can’t go.

    With the swarms gone, Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to keep his promise to let the people go.

    c. The Results

    Do you remember what God promised would happen in Exodus 7? He promised to harden Pharaoh’s heart and that he would not listen. These were the results of the fourth plague. Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to listen to the Lord’s demands.

Conclusion

Do you think Moses and Aaron are frustrated at this point? Can you hear them saying something like, “Things are not going well today.” But is that true and should they be frustrated? God’s plan is being fulfilled just as he promised.

  1. Pharaoh is hard-hearted and won’t listen.
  2. God is sending his judgments on the idolatrous Egyptians.
  3. Everyone affected by the plagues now knows who the Lord is.

Instead of being frustrated, Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites could say instead, “Things are going exactly the way God planned.” The only thing left to be fulfilled is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. And if God had fulfilled His other promises, it is sure that He would accomplish this final promise as well.

Are you frustrated today because things didn’t go the right way for you? Are you thinking that God doesn’t care about your situation and that He is slow or impotent when it comes to helping you? If so, I hope that you will realign your spiritual sensors and note that God is not impotent and that His plan is being perfectly fulfilled in your life today despite any obstacles that seem to be slowing things down.

Someone has said that God is never late but seldom early in fulfilling his plan. It is up to us just to keep doing what we are responsible for and to let God accomplish His plan in His own time.

Bibliography

Heqet | Ancient Egypt Online
• John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, (USA: SP Publication, 1985), 121-123.
CDC – Lice
Sandstorm hits Cairo – Global Times
• F. B. Meyer, Studies in Exodus, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1978 reprint), 120-22.
• George Bush, Notes on Exodus Volume 1, (Minneapolis: James & Klock, 1976 reprint), 98-111.

Exodus 7

Up until this point, it has been difficult for Moses and Aaron to do what God had commanded them. Even their conversation with God had not given them the strength to deal with Pharaoh’s hard heart and cruel response. Add to that the response of the oppressed Israelites and they were knocked out of the fight.

But God did not allow them to be discouraged for very long. He God knew exactly what they needed to get back into the fight. He did not yell at them. He did not punish them. Instead, he went back to the basics and carefully explained what He had given them to do and what God Himself would do.

  1. God’s careful explanation (7:1-5)

    [Read Exodus 7:1-5.]

    Note how God explained the situation to Moses and Aaron. He simply explained their part in the plan, what He would do, and what would happen.

    a. He would use them as ambassadors to Pharaoh (1-2).

    The first thing He explained to them was what they would be to Pharaoh. When they spoke to Pharaoh, Moses would seem to be God and Aaron would be his prophet.

    Moses was not God, but Pharaoh would view him as such. Apparently, the Egyptians were a polytheistic nation. They had gods for everything. Even Pharaoh’s first-born son was considered to be a god. You can imagine that each god had its own temple and leader. So, God told Moses that this is how Pharaoh would look at him.

    Simply put, “Moses was to be God’s representative in this affair… . He was authorized to speak and act in God’s name.” (Bush 89). Everything Moses and Aaron said was what God intended for Pharaoh to hear. Let my people go.

    APPLIC. Christian, have you ever considered that this is how the world may view you? They may not consider you to be God, but when you speak with the authority of Scripture, they will see you as an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). So keep in mind what a great privilege and responsibility God has given to you.

    b. He would do His work in Egypt (3).

    The next thing He explained to them was what He would do in Egypt. First, God would harden Pharaoh’s heart. Despite the many opportunities that Pharaoh would have, he never would respond favorably. As a result, God would harden his heart.

    Second, God would do many signs and wonders in Egypt. During the next three to nine months (Meyer 116, Hannah 119), Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Israelites would see indisputable signs that they could not deny.

    c. He would guarantee the results (4-5).

    The last thing He explained is what would happen as a result.

    First result: Pharaoh would not listen to them. God knew that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened beyond any chance of repentance. So, he would disregard what Moses and Aaron said and would ignore the miracles done by God.

    Second result: God would use these great judgments against Egypt to bring his people out of the land.

    Third result: The Egyptians would know that God is the Lord when they saw the great wonders that He did in their land and when the Israelites were freed from captivity.

    As mentioned before, the Egyptians had many gods. On one of their temples to Isis, they had this inscription: “I am that which was, and is, and shall be, and no man hath lifted my veil” (Meyer 107). When God was through with his judgments against Egypt, they would have no trouble knowing that the Great I Am had done it and not their false gods.

    God’s careful explanation would have made it clear to Moses and Aaron what their job was and what God would do in the near future.

  2. God’s dynamic duo (7:6-7)

    [Read Exodus 7:6-7.]

    What was the result of God’s conversation with Moses and Aaron? These two became a dynamic duo used by God during the plagues of Egypt and for many years afterward.

    a. They were willing to obey (6).

    Isn’t it interesting how God’s careful (and repeated) explanation led Moses and Aaron away from their discouragement to obedience? Instead of sulking and wondering how they could accomplish anything God had told them to do, they believed what God had said and obeyed His orders.

    b. They were old (7).

    One interesting thing is the age of these men at the time God sent them to Pharaoh. Moses was eighty and Aaron was eighty-three. We have several in that age range attending our services today.

    While people may have lived longer back then (Moses died at 120), they were considered old back then. The Law said that priests had to retire from duty at age 50. So, Moses and Aaron were past retirement age.

    This ought to be an encouragement to those who are older today. If God could use two octagenarians, then maybe he can use all of us in some way to accomplish his purposes.

  3. God’s amazing miracle (7:8-13)

    [Read Exodus 7:8-13.]

    Pharaoh was someone who had respect for the supernatural. This is why he had magicians working for him. Because of this, God prepared Moses and Aaron with a sign to attract Pharaoh’s attention.

    a. They were given a sign (8-9).

    Why should Pharaoh have listened to Moses and Aaron? He was king of the land and they were just spokespersons for the slave population.

    His magicians had probably gained his respect by doing some “magic” act. So, God instructed Moses and Aaron to do their sign when Pharaoh asked for it.

    The sign used would be the rod turning to a snake. Remember how Moses had fled from his rod when God had him perform that sign on the mountain? This would be certain to get the Pharaoh’s attention… right?

    b. They did the sign before Pharaoh (10-12).

    Aaron cast his rod to the ground and it became a snake. But instead of fleeing, Pharaoh called for his magicians to do the same thing. Surprisingly, each magician did this and their rods became snakes.

    How did they do this?

    “Pharaoh’s magicians duplicated the feat by their secret arts, probably miracles empowered by Satan, not merely some sleight-of-hand trickery. Satan is able to perform ‘all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders’ (2 Thes. 2:9) that deceive (2 Thes. 2:10; Rev. 13:11-15; cf. Matt. 24:24)” (Hannah 118).

    While they were able to duplicate God’s miracle, they didn’t get their staves back. Aaron’s snake swallowed each of their snakes and there was nothing they could do about it!

    c. They were unsuccessful (13).

    After seeing his magicians duplicate God’s miracle, Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he didn’t listen to God’s command to let the people go.

    This response did not invalidate Moses and Aaron, or God. Instead, this was exactly what God had said would happen (see Ex. 7:4).

    Moses and Aaron had failed to convince Pharaoh to let the people go. However, they had shows him and his magicians that God is greater then they are. This by itself is success.

  4. God’s first plague (7:14-25)

    [Read Exodus 7:14-25.]

    Although, they were unsuccessful in getting Pharaoh’s attention with the rod-to-snake sign, God was not done with His plan. These verses cover the first of ten plagues which God used for His purposes in Egypt.

    a. It was done because of Pharaoh (14-16).

    ILLUS. Have you ever pointed two fingers at your eyes and then at someone else. This means that you are watching the person you pointed to.

    In verses 14-16, note how God pointed out Pharaoh’s hard heart and unwillingness to let Israel go. Rebellion against God is not something that frightens God; neither is it something that goes unnoticed.

    God told Moses and Aaron to address these words to Pharaoh while the king was going to the water, presumably to bather. They were to address him because of his unwillingness to recognize the Lord (Who is the Lord?) and his unwillingness to let the people go.

    b. It was announced for a purpose (17-18).

    By this first plague, God would cause Pharaoh to know that “I am the Lord.” As the water turned to blood in the Nile River and surrounding ponds and streams, Pharaoh would be shown that God is the Lord and should be respected and obeyed.

    As a result of this act of God, all of the fish in the Nile River would die, it would stink, and nobody would be able to drink the water.

    Why would God attack their water supply?

    “The Nile, considered the source of Egypt’s livelihood, was regarded as a god. When the Nile flooded its banks in July and August it inundated the soil, thus making it possible to grow bountiful crops. At that time the Pharaohs officiated at ceremonies commemorating the blessings brought by the river” (Hannah 121).

    If the people considered the Nile River to be a god, they would soon see that it was under the power of “The Lord” and that it was impotent to help them when the Lord said otherwise.

    c. It was fulfilled as promised (19-21).

    Moses and Aaron were sent to meet Pharaoh at the bank of the river in the morning. “Probably Pharaoh’s visits to the river at early dawn were for purposes of worship” (Meyer 120). As the priests chanted their hymns of worship (Meyer 120), they were interrupted with the pronouncement of a plague which would certainly get their attention.

    God told Moses to have Aaron lift his rod over all the water of Egypt including the streams, rivers, ponds, and pools. The plague would cause all the water to become blood including water stored in buckets and pitchers.

    For some reason, Aaron raised his rod and then struck the water in the Nile River. Pharaoh and his servants were watching what they did and saw the water become blood. And as God had promised, the fish in the river died, the river stank, and blood was throughout the land.

    ILLUS. I recently read an article about an ancient document written about 1400 BC. In that article, it describes a terrible time where blood was throughout the land.

    If anything would get the attention of Pharaoh, this would be it. But how did he respond?

    d. It was ignored by Pharaoh (22-25).

    Instead of being amazed at the first plague, Pharaoh turned his attention to his magicians who were able to do the same thing. Somehow, perhaps by Satan’s power, they were able to cause water to turn to blood.

    “If all the water became blood, where did the magicians obtain water to duplicate the feat? The answer seems to be in verse 24: the waters in the Nile were stricken but no the natural springs or waters filtered through the soil” (Hannah 121).

    Despite the seven days of blood replacing the water in the Nile, and despite the discomfort caused to all the people, Pharaoh was unconcerned about the first plague. This is remarkable but not unexpected since God had foretold how Pharaoh would respond to the plagues.

Conclusion

What do we learn from this chapter?

1. Some people are so hard-hearted that nothing will change their minds.

Pharaoh was this same kind of person. He would not believe God’s words proclaimed by Moses and Aaron. Neither would be believe because of the miracles God did through them.

Do you remember when Jesus talked about the rich man and Lazarus? (Luke 16:19-31) The rich man while tormented in Hell asked for Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his relatives about the coming judgment. he reasoned that if a dead man came back to life, they would listen to him. But Abraham stated that if his relatives would not listen to Moses and the prophets, they would not listen if someone rose from being dead.

While God has used miracle in the past to convince people of his truths, there are some who will never listen even if they see great miracles. For these people, we can only pray and ask God to soften their hard hearts before it is too late.

2. Sometimes we just have to obey God and let him handle the results.

Once again, it would seem that God’s plan was foiled by Pharaoh and his magicians. Not only did they not fear God, but they were unwilling to do what He commanded. Had Moses and Aaron failed? No. Moses and Aaron were not told to make Pharaoh let the people go. They were simply told to tell him to do so.

When God gives us a task to do (pray, read the Bible, tell the good news, etc.), our only duty is to obey not to be successful. God is in charge of the results, not us. Remember what Jonah said in the belly of the whale? “Salvation is of the Lord.” When we come to the place where we are willing to obey, we have made it half-way. When we come to the place where we obey and leave the results to God, we have arrived where God wants us to be.


Bibliography

George Bush, Notes on Exodus, (Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976, orig. 1852)

John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament (USA: SP Publication, 1985)

F. B. Meyer, Studies in Exodus, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1978)

Exodus 6:1-13

Introduction

As you may recall, Moses and Aaron’s confidence had risen after a good reception by the Hebrew elders. But after being rejected by Pharaoh, seeing the Hebrew slaves being treated badly, and then being blamed for it, Moses and Aaron complained to God that He had not done what He had promised.

Chapter six continues the account of their conversation with God. In it we will see God’s answer to their complaint and their response to Him.

Before we get too far, let us ask ourselves the question again. Do we believe God will keep his promises only when things go well for us? Or do we believe God’s promises regardless of how His plan unfolds?

Message

  1. What God promised to do (1-5)
    [Read Exodus 6:1-5.]

    In this section, God goes through a list of His promises to Israel. This list was given to Moses to calm his fears and to give him hope for the future.

    a. I will make Pharaoh drive them out (1).

    Now you shall see… The Lord answered Moses’ complaint by pointing him to the future. Moses would see how God’s promises were going to be fulfilled.

    Pharaoh’s future actions… A strong hand refers to either God’s power or him raising His hand to keep His promise. Either one means that Pharaoh would be compelled by God to let the people go. The Lord “was arranging circumstances so that Pharaoh would let them go and would even compel them to do so.” (BKCOT 116)

    b. I will reveal myself as the Lord (2-3).

    In the past, God had revealed himself to the patriarchs as God Almighty, “the One who provides and sustains” (BKCOT 116). Now, God was revealing Himself as The Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah.

    “The name Yahweh comes from the Hebrew word for ‘I am.’ When God met Moses at the burning bush and commanded him to go back to Egypt and lead the people out, Moses asked who he should say has sent him. ‘God said to Moses, I am who I am.’ … “The name speaks of the self-existence and self-sufficiency of God. All others are dependent upon Him for life and breath and existence. He is dependent upon no one.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/meaning-of-Yahweh.html)

    c. I will give them the land of Canaan (4).

    God promised to keep his covenantal promise to the patriarchs. Remember the promise made to Abraham? God promised to fulfill that promise by giving them the land of Canaan.

    d. I will remember my covenant (5).

    God was aware of their groanings under the Pharaoh’s cruel bondage. As the beatings continued and morale did not improve, the Israelites may have thought that God had forgotten his promise to them. God wanted them to know that he was aware of their suffering. God had not forgotten his covenantal promise to them.

    Summary: In four statements, God made it clear that he was still acting on the behalf of the suffering Israelites. (1) I will make Pharaoh let you go. (2) I will be known to you as the boundless, self-existing One. (3) I will give you the Promised Land. (4) I will remember my covenant to you.

    When God makes promises, He always keeps them. Moses was not yet convinced that what God had promised would come true. He was listening more to his feelings and experience instead of trusting the One who will keep His promises.

    Learn to look past your personal feelings and experiences to what God has promised. If you are a child of God, you surely have seen Him act on your behalf before, right? Don’t you know that He will keep His promises to you? Take some time today to review His promises and rest in His unfailing care for each of His children.

  2. What God told Moses to say (6-8)
    [Read Exodus 6:6-8.]

    Notice that God begins with the word, “therefore.” He is reminding Moses and Aaron that His promises would be kept. With that in mind, God tells Moses what to say to the Israelites. He gives him the words that will inspire their confidence in God Himself taking care of their problems.

    a. Tell Israel I will rescue them (6).

    He said, I am the Lord, I will rescue you from bondage, and I will show my strength with great judgments. We know what those great judgments would be like. God would send ten plagues that would show Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Israelites that God can’t be messed with. There would come a time when all of these people would recognize the power of God’s “outstretched arm.”

    b. Tell Israel I will be their God (7).

    He would take them as His people and He would also be their God. It would be a remarkable relationship that no other nation would have. Then they would know that He is the Lord their God.

    c. Tell Israel I will bring you to the promised land (8).

    This is what the Israelites needed to hear. They didn’t want to be slaves in Egypt and to suffer. What would it be like in this new land? Much better. But those promises were made over 400 years previous to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was almost as if God had forgotten His promise.

    We also look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise to send Jesus back to take us to be with Him. Don’t let the passing of time convince you that God will not keep this promise. Read 2 Peter 3:3-9.

    His final statement was signed off with His name. I am the Lord—the Self-Existing God who can do what He promises.

    Summary: Once again, Moses and Aaron must have been confident after hearing directly from God. God had promised to do great things for Israel. God had told them exactly what to say. Now, they only had to believe and obey Him.

  3. What happened as a result (9-13)
    [Read Exodus 6:9-13.]

    In this section, we see that things didn’t turn out as well as Moses would have liked. The response from the Israelites was not good and the prospect of another bad response from Pharaoh was not expected as well.

    a. Moses was rejected by Israel (9).

    Moses and Aaron gave God’s message to the Israelites. But the suffering slaves would not listen to their words. They were overcome with anguish because of their cruel treatment by the Egyptians. Moses and Aaron are now emotionally down again. What was God’s next plan for them?

    b. Moses was afraid of Pharaoh (10-12).

    God told them to tell Pharaoh to let them go again. Moses told the Lord that Israel had just rejected him. Moses told the Lord that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen either. Moses again described himself as a bad speaker. Perhaps he “thought that his lack of success with the people was caused by his lack of oratorical ability.” (BKCOT 116)

    Isn’t it interesting how Moses’ confidence goes up and down. He keeps going back to his inabilities instead of trusting God’s promises.

    Do you think God knew about Moses’ excuses and feelings of inadequacies before He chose him to lead Israel? Now ask the same question about yourself. Do you think God knew about your excuses and inadequacies before He saved you and set you apart for His service? The answer is yes.

    God did not reject Moses or look for another person. He had chosen Moses and would make him fit for the job.

    c. Moses was told what to do (13).

    God spoke to them. This is a magnificent thought. God spoke to them despite their feelings of inadequacy. God told them a command for the Israelites. God told them a command for Pharaoh.

    Whatever he said to them, you can imagine that He had not changed His mind about his promises or what the people needed to hear. Whatever he said to them, you can imagine that He had not changed His mind about his promises or what the people needed to hear.

Conclusion

Moses was discouraged by the bad response of both the Israelites and Pharaoh. So, what did God do to spur him on to obedience? God went back to His sure promises. He listed off all the great things He promised to do for Israel. And when Moses still had trouble being confident, God told him exactly what to do.

The lesson for us is this. When we are discouraged and lack confidence, we should go back and review the promises of God. As we look at His many promises, we will see that His promises include not only positive things but negative as well.

POSITIVE NEGATIVE
I will forgive your sins (1 John 1:9). You will suffer (2 Tim. 3:12).
I will give you eternal life (John 3:16). You will be hated (Luke 21:17).
I will be with you (Matt. 28:20). Evil men will get worse (2 Tim. 3:13).

When we remember all of God’s promises, we will have more of a realistic perspective about what happens as we carry out God’s commands. God doesn’t promise a life without problems. But He does promise that He will be with us, and tells us what to expect, and what to look forward to as we obey His commands.