As we continue through our sermon series in Exodus, we began walking through the plagues in Exodus 7 and 8. We realize that the plagues are God’s response to Pharaoh’s question back in Exodus 5:2 when he says, “who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” This question is pressing for us, because we are more like Pharaoh than we may know or believe. We don’t have an issue with God per se, but if we’re honest, we tend to push against a God who will get into our space and impose His will upon our life.
In short, we see that the theme of this section tells us the plagues are God’s merciful response to proud souls that desire to evade God’s authority over their lives and draw them back to Himself.
- God’s Plan Laid Out: 7:1-7
God once again lays out His plan for Moses. With clarity and specificity, God lets Moses know exactly what will happen with Pharaoh, Egypt and His people. While we may find ourselves envious that God gives Moses a specific plan; I would argue that with similar clarity God leads you and I. Through the Word, prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God is directing and leading in our lives just as deliberately and intentionally as He was in Exodus 7!
- Signs and Wonders are Given: 7:8-13
God begins by giving signs and wonders to Pharaoh. The demonstration of the stick becoming a snake is God’s kindness to Pharaoh in giving him an opportunity to release the people before the plagues come. In fact, each plague is a gracious warning that God gives; but Pharaoh continues to harden his heart.
- 1st Plague – The Nile Turns to Blood: 7:14-25
The first plague is a shot at the Egyptian god Hapi. By turning the Nile to blood, God is revealing the Egyptian god of Hapi to be a fraud. Hapi was the goddess of fertility and was the spirit goddess of the Nile. When you consider all that the Nile meant to Egypt, this is a substantial blow. What is interesting is that the people find themselves digging ditches to find water. There’s an irony here that the people will sip muddy water so they can hold on 0to their idol instead of repenting and turning to the Lord.
- 2nd Plague – Frogs: 8:1-15
This second plague is an invasion of frogs. After Pharaoh asks for them to go, this moment of respite causes Pharaoh to change his mind. This moment is all too similar for many of us in our faith. God often allows hardship and trial in our lives to push us toward Jesus. We often lean into that and begin to flourish. But when that hardship subsides, we are prone to return to what we held dear prior to our season of difficulty. This moment of respite for Pharaoh is a reminder to us to lean into Jesus.
- 3rd Plague – Gnats: 8:16-19
The third plague is an invasion of gnats. Here the magicians, while previously able to replicate cannot do so, and go so far as to tell Pharaoh that this is the finger of God. Even the magicians are beginning to see the work of God in these plagues.
- 4th Plague – Flies: 8:20-32
The fourth plague is a plague of flies. This is the first of many times that God distinguishes between Egypt and the Israelites. Notice also the attempt of Pharaoh to get Moses and Aaron to compromise. This too is the first of many times that this also comes into play during the plagues. Moses and Aaron do hold strong and Pharaoh again refuses to let the people go.
This upcoming Sunday we will move through the rest of the plagues. I’d encourage you to read ahead and be familiar with the text. Each of these plagues represent God’s answer to Pharaoh’s question of ‘who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?’ We have to wrestle with that same question. Will we be responsive and open to what God says, or will we harden our hearts towards God and attempt to hold fast to our idols and false gods?
Please read the following Scripture before Sunday, October 29, 2017: