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Chapter five of the book of Exodus, we left Moses in great despair. He did what he thought God was calling him to do. He went to the Pharaoh and demanded the release of the children of Israel. But the Pharaoh, rather than releasing them, only increased the burdens and the severity of their slavery.
Until the children of Israel started really getting on Moses' case saying, "Why didn't you leave us alone? We were much better off before you ever came. Now since you've come, things are really hard on us. We wish you would've left us alone." So Moses in turn went to God and said, "God what were You asking me to do? Why did You ask me to do it Lord? Because You haven't delivered them, and things are just worse."
It is interesting how that many times when we launch out into what we feel is the will of God for our lives, that things don't work out exactly like we thought they were gonna work out. Sometimes things turn into total chaos, and we're prone to challenge again our calling. "God did You really call me to do this? And if You called me to do it, how come it's turned into such a mess?"
Now Moses didn't want to go in the first place. He had said, "Oh Lord, please call somebody else." The Lord became angry with Moses. Moses did what the Lord said, and just things seemed to be going just the opposite of what he had anticipated and expected.
I do believe that any time we enter into any kind of ministry for the Lord that Satan is going to challenge our commitment of faith. That Satan is going to do his best to discourage us right at the beginning of any ministry. He's going to make you question the call of God upon your life. He's gonna challenge the work of God within your life, especially if that ministry has to do with some of the gifts of the Spirit. How Satan loves to challenge any exercise of the gifts of the Spirit. For instance, the gift of prophecy. "He that prophesieth", Paul said, "let him prophesy according to his portion of faith"(Romans 12:6).
Many times when you by faith step out, and speak what you feel to be the Word of God, people will challenge it, and it'll cause you to question, "Was that really God that was speaking to me?" Moses came to this place of challenge. The people challenged him, and challenged his ministry, and he in turn challenged God. "Why did You send me? Things aren't any better, they're only getting worse."
So beginning with chapter six, we have God's response to His distraught prophet.
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land (Exd 6:1).
"Moses you haven't seen anything yet. Now you're going to see what I'm gonna do to Pharaoh because with a strong hand", he's not gonna just let them go, he's gonna drive them out. By the time they go, he's gonna be glad to see them gone.
And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Exd 6:2):
Now that is, it might look upon the service that just sort of, "Well, of course." But how many times we forget that. How many times we think we're in the driver's seat. How many times we think we ought to be controlling the situation. I'm sure that these people are falling after this "command God" bit, and are going around ordering God like He's some kind of a little puppet or robot.
That God is saying to them, "Hey, wait a minute. I am the Lord. Who's in control? Who's guiding these things? Who's governing over these things? Moses, I am the Lord." Many times we try to take that position away from Him, but He needs to remind us who He is. And we need to be reminded of who He is because there is a danger of forgetting who He is, as we are so prone to exalt ourselves or to exalt man, and forget that He is the Lord.
When we forget that He is the Lord, then we fall into that category that Paul was referring to in Romans chapter one. "Who when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God" (Romans 1:21). They began to take things in their own hands. They began to live as though God was their servant, rather than they were God's servants. We need to be reminded that He is the Lord, and not only that He is the Lord, but of the greatness of His power and His wisdom and of His glory.
So many times we look at our problems and they seem so big, overwhelming. I look at that mountain in front of me and I think, "Oh, nothing can move that mountain." I get discouraged because that mountain looks so big, and I come to God with sort of timidity. You even hate to ask Him because you know it's such a huge mountain. You know it's impossible for you to move it, and you just wonder if God can really do it.
The disciples, when they came to the Lord with, they had a heavy problem, they said, "O Lord. Thou art God, Thou hast created the heavens and the earth, and every thing that is in them"(Acts 4:24). That's a good thing to remind yourself of before you pray. The heavens out there are the work of His fingers. He's created it all. So that mountain that is in front of you, though it may look like Everest to you, it is nothing in the eyes of God. "It is nothing for Thee to help Lord, many are with those that have no power."
Next time you think that that mountain that you have in front of you is maybe too big for God to move, get up at about four o'clock, three-thirty, and look out into the western sky and look at the constellation Orion. Take a careful look at the left shoulder of Orion, that's Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse is four hundred and fifteen million miles in diameter. If you would hollow out the center of Betelgeuse, leaving out the crust a hundred million miles thick, you could put the sun in the middle of Betelgeuse and let the earth rotate around it, and have a hundred million miles to spare.
Betelgeuse is a pretty big mountain. It happens to be traveling at about nineteen miles a second. Have you ever wondered what kind of a force or thrust it took to get Betelgeuse into orbit; something that huge moving that fast? You ever wondered what thrust, what force? I can tell you, "When I consider the heavens", David said, "the work of Thy fingers"(Psalm 102:25). Hey, all of my problems seem really small. That mountain doesn't look nearly so big.
God said to Moses, you know he had his feathers ruffled and he was all uptight, and God said, "Hey, wait a minute. I'm the Lord." So many times we get all upset, our feathers ruffled. He said, "Hey, wait a minute. I'm the Lord; I'm in control. I've got it." You know, and we need to remember that. What a comfort to know that He is the Lord and He is in control.
And I appeared unto Abraham, and unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, [El Shadai] but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them (Exd 6:3).
Now that is in the sense that the word means "the becoming one", actually Abraham used the term Jehovah-Jireh when his son said, "Dad where is the sacrifice?" Abraham said, "Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide"(Genesis 22:8). But yet the Lord is saying, "By My name Jehovah was I not known." In other words, they knew Him in a less personal way than Moses was to know God. They knew Him as the Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Some of you may know Him as the Almighty God, the Creator of the heaven and the earth. Whenever I hear a person beginning his prayer, "O thou mighty God, creator of the universe," I think, "Well, they really don't have a very close relationship with Him. When I hear someone come in and say, "Hey, Dad, I'm really in trouble." I feel, "My, they've got a real neat working relationship with the Father".
I was with some Italians once in a prayer meeting, and they started saying, "Oh Papa." I was shocked for a moment, and I thought, "My that's sacrilegious." Then I found out that "papa" was "father" in Italian. I thought, "Oh, that's beautiful." I like that. "Papa, your child's in trouble. I need help." It's glorious to have a close, intimate relationship with God, to know Him by that name Jehovah where He becomes to me all that I need.
Now they had not really appropriated that fullness of God that He wants to be to His people. They were sort ofGod was sort of a far off, great, powerful almighty force, creative; yet, He was known in a personal sense, but yet, always in that vast distance that exists between the infinite and the finite. Now God is coming closer to man. And He said, "They've not known me by my name Jehovah, you're gonna know me in a closer, more intimate way." Even as God wants to relate to you in a closer, more intimate way, and for that purpose He sent His only begotten Son. Why? That you might relate to God in the closest kind of intimate relationship as a Father with His child; that you might boldly come into His presence, that you might receive mercy in your time of need.
It's funny sometimes when people come into the office to see me. They're so nervous that they forget really what they want to say. I feel sort of funny, because I'm nobody, and I know I'm nobody. And yet because of what God has done through my life, people respect that work that God has done through me, though it doesn't make me anything. It just glorifies God that He's able to take something like me and make something through me, of His grace and love. It just shows how great God is. But yet people sometimes have that sort of, "Oh Chuck", like, something, though it really isn't. You don't need to be that way, don't need to feel that way at all. I'll tell you my grandkids aren't that way. Man, they come storming into the office. They don't care what kind of a counseling session I'm in or anything else, you know. They interrupt whatever's going on. "Grandpa, I need an ice-cream cone." I'll tell you, they get first priority because of relationship.
God wants you to have a neat, beautiful relationship with Him. He wants you to feel a perfect freedom of just coming in anytime even with the most trivial things. He wants to have that kind of relationship. And thus God is expressing, "Look they knew Me as God Almighty, I revealed Myself to them. They knew Me as God Almighty, but they didn't really know that relationship of intimacy that I want you and the people to experience as I take, and begin to watch over you, and I begin to care for you, and I begin to put the food on your table."
And I have also established my covenant with them, [That is with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.] to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I've also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant (Exd 6:4-5).
Now first of all God establishing Himself to Moses, "I've made My covenant with them. I know, I heard, and I have remembered My covenant."
Sometimes because of time delays, we feel that God has forgotten His promises. In the last days the Bible says, "Scoffers will come saying, Where is the promise of the coming of Jesus Christ?"(2 Peter 3:4). Because of the time delay men will scoff. "God is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness, but is faithful"(2 Peter 3:9).
"Wherefore [God said] say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you [First of all "I am", and then, "I will bring you] out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: for I am the Lord (Exd 6:6-8).
So He started out by saying, "I am", and then He threw in all these "I wills", and He comes back to, "I am".
Now a promise is usually just as good as the person making it. There are some people who have made many promises but I don't put much stock into it. When I was just a little guy there was a knock at the front door. My parents went, and this guy introduced himself as our cousin Pringle, some relative of my dad's. They came in. "Oh this is your family, Charles. Oh wonderful, wonderful." He kissed all of us kids. He looked at me very sternly and he said, "Now, son don't smoke. If you don't smoke until you're twenty-one, I'll give you a gold watch." I thought that was sort of a funny thing for him to say because he was smoking. I didn't smoke until I was twenty-one; in fact I've never smoked yet. But I've never seen him again. So I've got a gold watch promised to me that I've never seen, because I've never seen that cousin Pringle again. So there are some promises that you just can't put much stock in.
But I'll tell you when God begins to promise, and He begins it by saying, "Hey, look I am the Lord, and I will, and I will", and there are seven "I wills" there of God; what God will do for His people. And because the history of the children of Israel is typical history, and it typifies the child of God coming out of bondage through the Red Sea, baptism, into a new relationship of faith with God in the wilderness and on in through the death of the old life, and the old self into the land of promise, a life of richness and fullness; we can take these "I wills" of God to Israel and we can apply them to our own lives as God is promising.
I will deliver you from the heavy burdens, I will rid you from the bondage, [from the flesh, and of that old life] and I will redeem you. And take you for a people, and I will be to you a God: and I will bring you into the fullness of that which I have promised. So Moses spoke to the children of Israel: [these words of the Lord] but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for the cruel bondage (Exd 6:6-9).
They, at this point, were so discouraged because of these things the Egyptians were laying upon them. Even when Moses came with these glorious promises and declarations of God, the people just couldn't believe it.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Go in, and speak unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. And Moses spake before the Lord, saying, Behold, the children of Israel haven't listened to me; how then will Pharaoh hear, who am of uncircumcised lips (Exd 6:10-12)?
Moses said, "Hey, God now look. You told me to tell the children of Israel, they didn't listen to me, now You're telling me to tell Pharaoh. If they didn't listen to me, what do you think the Pharaoh's gonna do? He's not gonna listen to me." So Moses is still dragging his heels at the call of God, at the commission of God upon his life.
And the Lord spake to Moses and unto Aaron, and he gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt (Exd 6:13).
Now at this point there is inserted a little genealogy of the first three sons of Jacob. With Reuben and Simeon his first two sons, it lists just the names of the sons of Reuben and Simeon as they are in Genesis. When it lists then the names of the sons of Levi, it goes on then to name the grandsons and the great grandsons in order that we might have a genealogy that will bring us down to Moses and Aaron.
So Amram [Verse twenty] took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and these are the years of the life of Amram he was a hundred and thirty seven years old (Exd 6:20).
Now verse twenty-seven. "These are they", well verse twenty-six,
Now these are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the Lord said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies. These are they which spake to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron (Exd 6:26-27).
So you have a little genealogy to bring you to Moses and Aaron just sort of inserted here into chapter six, so you'll know where they came from.
And it came to pass on the day when the Lord spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, That the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I am the Lord: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee. And Moses said before the Lord, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, how shall the Pharaoh hearken unto me (Exd 6:28-30)?
So that's just sort of a little throwback to verses twelve and thirteen. He threw in the genealogy, and then he sort of recaps the story to bring you up to chapter seven.
And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt (Exd 7:1-2).
Now it is important that we point out to you at this point that we are going to be reading now, here God says, "I'm gonna harden the heart of Pharaoh." On cases we're gonna read, "And God hardened the heart of Pharaoh." Then God cracks his skull for having a hard heart. Now is that fair that God would harden a man's heart, and harden a man's heart and then wipe him out because he has a hard heart? So if we don't understand a little bit of the Hebrew language, we could come into real difficulty here in the understanding of God and the ways of God. Is God really fair?
Now to me that would be very unfair to harden a guy's heart, and then to whip him because he has a hard heart. There are two Hebrew words that are employed now in our text, but they are both translated "hardened". As we go through, you're gonna read in the text where "Pharaoh hardened his heart", and then where "God hardened the heart of Pharaoh". But there are two different Hebrew words employed. It's important that you know that. Because this word here in verse four, three, literally means "will make stiff" or "stiffen the heart of Pharaoh," where the other Hebrew word means "hardened" in the sense of hardened as we think of it. So Pharaoh hardened his heart, and God strengthened Pharaoh in that position.
Now God will let you set your course. Oftentimes He'll strengthen you in that course that you have set. This He did with Pharaoh. Pharaoh hardened his heart against God. God strengthened his position. "All right, you want to harden your heart against Me? All right, I'll strengthen your position, in order that I might magnify My power throughout the whole earth." But Pharaoh had that free choice to begin with. He exercised that choice in hardening his heart against God, and then God firmed up his decision.
It's a tragic thing when God firms up our decisions. Many times, unless the decision is the right decision, and then it's great that God firms up our decision. But God so often works this way, making firm your decision. That's a blessing to me, because I was so weak when I first made my right decisions for the Lord, but the Lord strengthened my decision. God made me strong in my position. God, in a sense, hardened my heart; that is, He made strong or stiffened the position that I made in committing my life to Him, strengthened my resolve. Even as God will strengthen yours as you submit your life to Him, He'll give you that strength for commitment. But if you exercise your will against God, and if you harden your heart against God, then it would be a tragic thing for God to stiffen you in that position. But that's what He did for the Pharaoh. Pharaoh hardened his heart. God made stiff, or strengthened the position that Pharaoh had taken.
But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments (Exd 7:4).
Now you see God is speaking by foreknowledge. He knew what Pharaoh was going to do. He knew the decision that Pharaoh was going to make. God strengthened the Pharaoh in his position. Actually it would almost have to because of all this guy went through, and still he is saying, "No, you can't go". Man, he had to be the most stubborn, foolish person in history. Allowed Egypt to be wiped out because God stiffened his heart, made it strong in the position he has taken against God, and against the people of God.
But God knew that the Pharaoh wasn't gonna let them go. But that's just foreknowledge. You can't blame God for that; you can't fault God for that. If He knows what's gonna happen you can't say, "Oh well, God isn't fair because He knows what's gonna happen. He can't help it. He knows it. He's just God. So God deals from this advantage of foreknowledge, but it would be stupid to have foreknowledge and not to use it to your advantage.
Think of what you could do if you had foreknowledge like God has. Now if you went to the racetrack and you had foreknowledge of which horse is gonna win, wouldn't it be sort of stupid to bet on the losing horse? That's dumb. If you had the foreknowledge of knowing which horse is gonna win, you're naturally gonna bet on the winning horse. Now God having foreknowledge, knowing who's gonna win, wouldn't it be sort of foolish for God to invest in the losers? Of course it would. You can't blame God because He knows in advance what it's gonna be. The beautiful thing to me is that God has invested in me. He's invested in you. What does it mean? It means you're a winner. The fact that God is working in your life, He knows what He has planned for you, and it means you're on the winning side. God has chosen you. That shouldn't scare you; that should cause your heart to rejoice.
So here with the Pharaoh, God knew what he was gonnaHe said, "He's gonna harden. He's not gonna listen to you. He's not gonna hearken to what you have to say, in order that I might really lay My hand upon them and bring My people out.
And the Egyptians shall know [This is the purpose, in order that the Egyptians, and later on that all the world may know, but that the Egyptians may know,] that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth my hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among you. And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord had commanded them, and so they did. And Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three years old, [so Moses was the kid brother] when they spake unto Pharaoh. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent (Exd 7:5-9).
So when you're standing before Pharaoh and he says, "Oh then show me a miracle", just have Aaron throw the rod down and it'll become a serpent.
So Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast his rod before Pharaoh, and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: [but God got the best of it for,] Aaron's rod swallowed up the other rods. And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said (Exd 7:10-13).
Now it is interesting to me that the magicians of Pharaoh were able to duplicate the feat of Aaron and Moses. There are powers of darkness that are able to counterfeit the work of God. Satan is a great counterfeiter. Just because a particular situation has sort of an aura of, miraculous; I can't understand it, does not ensure that that is actually a legitimate work of God. Satan is able to counterfeit much of God's work, and often does counterfeit much of God's work. One of the things that is to mark the Antichrist is the tremendous ability that he'll have to work miracles and signs and wonders in the eyes of the people. He'll be able to do miraculous feats.
Now we are told concerning Satan that he is able to transform himself into an "angel of light" in order to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is able to counterfeit the work of God in order to deceive people. Now because Satan is able to counterfeit the work of God, should we then just say, "Well, I want nothing to do with miracles because Satan can counterfeit miracles." Notice that a counterfeit never disproves the genuine, but only the opposite. You cannot have a counterfeit unless there is a genuine. It's got to be a counterfeit of something; it's a counterfeit of the genuine article. The counterfeit then never disproves the genuine, only affirms the genuine to exist.
So if people tell you, "Well, there are counterfeit gifts." Yes, that is no doubt true. But that doesn't disprove the genuine gifts of God; it only affirms the genuine gifts of God. "But how do I know whether I'm gonna get a counterfeit gift or a genuine gift from God?" Well, if that is a concern to you, then you first of all need to just get your relationship with God right and your concepts of God right. For if you think when you have your heart open to God, and you're really seeking God with all your heart, He's gonna lay some counterfeit gift on you, then you do not know nor are you serving the same God that I know and serve.
You think that your Father is going to give you a stone when you ask for bread? "Lord I'm hungry I need a fish." "Well here try this scorpion on." What kind of a Father is that? That's not my loving, heavenly Father. Even so if I come to Him with an open heart and say, "Oh God I need You and I desire Your fullness in my life." It would be blasphemous to think that God would allow Satan to move in with some kind of a counterfeit experience when my heart is genuinely, sincerely open to God. What kind of a Father would He be? So Jesus said, "How much more will Your Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask of Him"(Luke 11:13). Oh your blessed, loving Father will give you the genuine; you'll never need to worry about that. He would never allow anything else.
We are aware that counterfeit does exist. We are aware that there is power in those areas of darkness. They're able to perform magical feats and miraculous feats that we cannot understand or explain. They were able to throw down their rods and they became serpents too. Thus, when you get into books of magic, which you should never do, you'll find that the deeper you get involved in those kind of books, the more they havethe book of Moses, and the book of the magic of Egypt, and so forth. Because they definitely were tuned into the counterfeit world of darkness and were able to perform uncanny feats through the works of Satan, the counterfeit of the work of God.
"And they cast down every man his rod: and they became serpents: Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."
And he hardened [or made stiff] Pharaoh's heart that he hearkened not to them as the Lord had said that he wouldn't. The Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuses to let the people go. Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he is going out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink where he's coming; and the rod which was turned into a serpent take it in your hand. And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto you would not let them or hear. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with a rod that is in my hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood (Exd 7:13-16).
Now you remember when Moses first went before Pharaoh and said, "The Lord has sent me to tell you to let His people go." He said, "Who is the Lord? I don't know Him." Well, the purpose of this whole little episode here is that he might get acquainted with Him and find out who He is. So Moses said, verse seventeen,
In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: ["You want to know who I am? You'll find out. Behold, I'll smite with a rod that is in my hand on the waters in the river, they'll be turned to blood."] And the fish that are in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Say to Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in the vessels of wood, and in the vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of the servants; and all of the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that were in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; for there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments (Exd 7:17-22),
Again we find here a counterfeit once more. But you know, they're sort of dumb. I mean what does that help the Pharaoh? They're adding to the plagues now. It would be better if they would smite them and turn them back to pure water rather than going around and further polluting the water systems.
And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also. And the Egyptians digged around about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river (Exd 7:23-25).
Now there is a book called "Worlds in Collision", written by Immanuel Velikovsky, in which he tries to give an explanation for the waters turning to blood, as a near approach to the planet Venus. He has a very interesting book. He has a lot of conjecture in it. The methods by which God did these things, we are not told. I prefer to just think it was miraculous and let it go at that. I have no problems with God working miracles. He's, you know, He's able to do many things. If He can turn water to wine, surely He could turn water to blood. Thus this doesn'tI don't need to help God out in my own concepts of God, because He's great enough to do any of these things. In fact, it'd be nothing at all.
The Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. [So the third demand now, actually the fourth demand.] And if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all of your borders with frogs (Exd 8:1-2):
Now of course the Egyptians worshiped the snakes; and thus, when his rod turned into a serpent, they couldn't kill it because they worshiped snakes. They also worshiped the Nile river as one of their gods, because of it's life sustaining forces. When it turned to blood, God is really striking out at another one of their gods. But another thing they worshiped were frogs, and they couldn't kill them because they were held to be sacred. "So you like frogs? You want to worship frogs? All right, we'll give you frogs."
And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your houses, and into your bedchambers, in your bedrooms, and upon your bed, and into the house of your servants, and upon thy people, and into your ovens, and into your kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all of your servants. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth your hand with thy rod over all the streams, over all the rivers, and over all the ponds, and cause frogs to come upon the land of Egypt (Exd 8:3-6).
So in all the ponds, rivers and all, just invaded the land at the drawing and the impulses that God sent out to them.
Now God's control over nature is to me always a very interesting thing to observe. Nature itself is so fascinating, so many imponderables of nature. I just love to study the capacities of God's little created beings. Last month, I think it was in National Geographic, what a fascinating article on the birds, upon the homing instinct that are built into birds. And they really don't know exactly how they are able to fly thousands of miles over oceans and all. They feel that maybe they are able to tune in on the magnetic forces for guidance systems. They really don't know exactly how they can navigate so accurately.
The little golden plover, it spends its winters in Hawaii and its summers in Alaska. Now that's not so dumb. It goes up to Alaska in the spring to have its young. Then in the fall before the big storms, it takes off and flies back to Hawaii, several thousand miles non-stop losing about a quarter of its weight in flight. Eats a lot of food before it goes, stores it up, and then takes off. How can it find the Hawaiian Islands, that little dot out in the Pacific? An amazing thing.
You can't say, "Well it just remembered the way it came" because you don't really have any real things to watch. But the interesting thing is that come fall, the parents take off and fly back to Hawaii until the little ones are big enough to fly that far. But in a couple of weeks as they store up their food and get a lot of exercise, two weeks after the parents have left, the kids take off and they fly directly to Hawaii, and they've never been there before. Now tell me how.
So God has homing instincts that He can put in animals, and He has something in a frog. He called all the frogs out of the rivers. Ladies kneading their dough and frogs jumping in, get folded in it. They can't kill them; they're little gods.
"And Aaron stretched out his hand over Egypt; and the frogs came out, and they covered the land of Egypt."
And the magicians did so [About then, I'd kill em'] with their enchantments, and they brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Entreat the Lord, ["Who is the Lord, I don't know him." Now Pharaoh's changing his tune. "Entreat the Lord"] that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord. Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I entreat for thee, [In other words, "You tell me when you want the frogs gone, so that when they're gone at that time, you will know that God did it. You won't just say, Oh well they decided to go back to the river. You tell me when you want them gone."] and I will entreat for you, and for your servants, and for your people, and I will destroy the frogs from thee and from thy houses, that they remain in the river only? And he said, Tomorrow. So he said, All right be it according to your word: that you may know that there [Who is Jehovah? "That you may know that there"] is none like unto Jehovah our God. And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from they servants, and from thy people; and they shall remain in the river only. And Moses and Aaron went out from the Pharoah: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, [He didn't send them back to the river, He just let them die.] out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps: and the land stank (Exd 8:7-14).
Stinking gods, God just really rubbing their noses in their gods, really. Just saying, "You want to serve these gods? You don't know who I am? Then here you are."
So when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened [Now the word completely different, "kabed", he stiffened, or heavied his heart,] against God, and hearkened not [heavied is the literal translation, "and hearkened not",] to them as the Lord had said. The Lord said unto Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch out your rod, [Now He didn't go to Pharaoh this time, He's just gonna bring one on him without any warning, so said to Aaron, "Stretch out your rod",] and smite the dust of the land, that it might become lice throughout all the land of Egypt (Exd 8:15-16).
Now it's either lice or mosquitoes. We don't seem to know which. It's a word that's only used twice here. In Psalms this plague is referred to; so there are some in the translation of the Greek, in the "Septuagint", seems to be the mosquitoes, really doesn't make any difference, either one would be miserable.
And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in men, and in beast; and all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they couldn't (Exd 8:17-18).
So here the Egyptians came to an end, that is the magicians. They weren't able to duplicate this. Now in this there's sort of a creation of life. This was their limit. They could draw frogs out of the water. They could change the water to blood. They could make serpents out of their rods, but at this point they can't follow it any further. Their powers have been more than matched by now.
So the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not to them; as the Lord had said. The Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he is coming forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. [So the next demandactually it's the fifth demand that was made upon the Pharaoh.] Else if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and in thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians they'll be full of the swarms, and also the ground where they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen (Exd 8:19-22),
In other words from this point on, God is gonna make a distinction between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. The plagues are gonna come upon the Egyptians, but the children of Israel are going to be spared. So God is going to make a division now.
that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth (Exd 8:22).
Again, "Who is the Lord? I don't know the Lord," the Pharaoh's remark. So God says, "All right, that you might know who I am." God is introducing Himself to Pharaoh.
And I will put a division between thy people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be. And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants; houses, and into the land of Egypt: and the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms. And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and he said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; [or it isn't right to do this] for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he has commanded us (Exd 8:23-27).
So here the Pharaoh now is offering the first of the compromises. It is interesting to me that Satan so often offers us compromises. When you've determined to commit your life to Jesus Christ and Satan sees that's what you've determined to do, then he begins his compromising. "Okay, if you're gonna have to make a nut of yourself, but don't getdon't get really religious. You know, don't go too far. Oh yeah, go but don't get involved too deeply. You don't want to become a religious nut." So, "Yeah, go to church, you know, once a week, once every other week. Don't get carried away with this thing." Satan offers the compromises. As Satan said, "Hey go, but sacrifice in the land. Don't go very far, stay in the land."
Now Moses knew that if they sacrificed in the land, because the Egyptians worshiped the animals, for them to kill the animals would cause the ire of the Egyptians to be lifted against them, and they would've stoned them. Because the sacrifices unto God were going to involve the sacrificing of animals, Moses wisely said, "No way. We need to go three-days journey out of the land, lest the Egyptians see us sacrificing, will stone us."
So Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: now ask God to get rid of these flies (Exd 8:28).
So the second compromise. First of all, "Go in the land, now don't go very far."
And Moses said, I go out from thee, and I will pray to the Lord that the swarms may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitful any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. And Moses went out from before the Pharaoh, and he entreated the Lord. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms from the Pharaoh, and from his servants, and from his people; and there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened [kabed] his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go (Exd 8:29-32).
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, [Now we have the sixth demand.] and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go, and will hold them still, Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon your cattle which are in the field, and upon the horses, upon the asses, the camels, upon the oxen, and upon all your sheep: there will be a grievous murrain. [or a boil-kind of a disease coming upon the animals.] And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die that is the children of Israel's. And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all [Now that word, all there is in a generic kind of a sense.] the cattle of Egypt died: but the cattle of the children of Israel died not one (Exd 9:1-6).
That is all of the cattle that died were the Egyptians. It doesn't mean that all the Egyptian's cattle died. But all that died were the Egyptians, not any of the children of Israel's cattle died. You see what I'm trying to tell you? Because later on we're gonna find the cattle of the Egyptians hurt by the hail that God sends. So in the all, that is all of the cattle that died were Egyptian cattle. So it doesn't mean that the cattle were totally wiped out, all of the Egyptian cattle were wiped out.
Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of the Pharoah was hardened, and he did not let the people go. The Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, [Now this time they don't, this is one of those again that just comes on the Pharaoh unannounced.] Take your handfuls of ashes from the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it towards heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. [So germ warfare, nothing new.] And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before the Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward the heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because they were covered with boils; and the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not to them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, [So another demand, a seventh demand actually.] that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon your heart, and upon your servants, and upon your people; that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth (Exd 9:7-14).
Again back to 5:2, "Who is the Lord? I don't know the Lord." You're finding out.
For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. For in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; that my name may be declared throughout all the earth (Exd 9:15-16).
So this verse sixteen is one of those verses that speaks of the sovereignty of God. "For this very reason I have raised thee up that I might wipe thee out" really "with tremendous power so that all the earth will know." Paul refers to this in the ninth chapter of the book of Romans, as he is talking there of the sovereignty of God. Paul doesn't seek to explain the sovereignty of God, he just declares it.
Now I don't have to explain the sovereignty of God. I can just declare to you that God is sovereign. I can't fully understand God's sovereignty and how that works out with human responsibility, but I know it does. Because even though God is sovereign, we are also responsible for our actions.
In other words, I cannot blame my actions against God. Paul said that there are some here because God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh, or made stiff his heart. And because God said, "Hey look, I've raised thee up for this purpose that I might just actually show My power, that My name may be declared throughout all the earth." So that "If God made me this way than how can I resist the will of God?" You see? If God raised me up for this purpose, then who am I to resist the will of God?
But yet Paul says you cannot take that argument and you can't really reach that conclusion from the sovereignty of God. Yet people do; they say, "Well God is sovereign then who am I? Doesn't make any difference what I do", et cetera, and they use that as an excuse for inactivity, et cetera.
And yet you exalt yourself against my people, and you'll not let them go? Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such has never been in Egypt since the foundation thereof until now. Send therefore now, and gather your cattle, and all that you have in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, [You see there's still some cattle out in the field.] that shall not be brought home, the hail will come down upon them, and they will die. And he that fears the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the barns: And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field (Exd 9:17-21).
So Moses is now giving them a warning. "Tomorrow there's gonna be a hail like you've never seen before and you'd better get your cattle in." Well those who really feared the word of the Lord, obeyed, got their cattle into the barns and they were okay. But there were others who said, "Oh, coincidence", and they left their cattle out in the field with their servants, and of course they got wiped out by the hail.
The Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth your hand towards the heaven, that there may be a hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, upon beast, upon every vegetable of the field, throughout all the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So that there was hail, and fire mingled with hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; the hail smote every vegetable of the field, and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. And Pharaoh sent, and he called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: [What about the other times Pharaoh?] the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer. And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know how that the earth is the Lord's. But as for thee and thy servants, I know that you will not yet fear the Lord God (Exd 9:22-30).
So it is interesting that we have now a confession of sin. "I have sinned. The Lord is righteous, I and the people are wicked." But it was an insincere confession of sin. I've heard a lot of people say, "I'm a sinner." Well, it wasn't in any way a repentant kind of a thing. With a confession of sin there must be a real repentance, a turning away from sin in order that there be forgiveness. Confession in and of itself is not enough. There's got to be that turning away from sin. So Pharaoh said, "Hey, I'm a sinner." He'll say it again, but it's an insincere confession.
And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not yet grown. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to the Lord: and the thunders and the hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had stopped, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses (Exd 9:31-35).
And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord (Exd 10:1-2).
Now the Lord's been doing these things up to this point to let Pharaoh know who He is. "That he may know that I am the Lord." Now it's an interesting twist here, "I'm doing these also for the purpose that you might tell your sons, and they might tell their sons, and they might tell their sons, that they may know that I am the Lord. You tell them the things that I did to the Egyptians."
So this part of the history of Israel remains a vital part of the Israeli history even to the present day. It is the history that the children must all study. But the tragic thing to me is that so many Jews today look upon it as mythology, as fables. Even as every country has its mythology, the Greeks have their mythology, the Roman mythology; many Jews look upon this as mythology. That is sad indeed because what do you learn from mythology? What lessons are to be gained from mythology? How can you know that the Lord is really Lord from mythology?
So God wanted them to know that He was Lord that they might rehearse these things to their children.
And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that you will not be able to see the earth: they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, and has remained unto you from the hail, they will eat every tree which grows for you out of the field: They will fill your houses, and the houses of your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have ever seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. [So he gave Pharaoh warning, "Tomorrow the locusts are coming."] And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let them go, that they may serve the Lord their God: don't you know that Egypt is about destroyed (Exd 10:3-7)?
So now the servants of Pharaoh are beginning to say, "Hey, wise up. How long are you gonna let them wipe us out? We're just about destroyed. Let them go."
So Moses and Aaron were called in by the Pharaoh: and he said unto them, [Now he offers another compromise.] Go, and serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, and I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so now: go now you that are men, and serve the Lord; all that you desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence (Exd 10:8-11).
So Pharaoh is offering the compromise, "Look you can go, but let your children stay. Don't take your children with you. It's gonna be tough out there in the wilderness and all, and don't subject your children to that. Now if you want to go and serve your God, if that's in your heart, and you've gotta do it, then do your thing. But oh, don't make your kids be a part of it."
How many times Satan says, "Hey you know you don't want to rob your kids from fun. Now if you want to make your commitment to the Lord and you want to live a life of dedication to God, that's all right for you if you're gonna do it. But hey, don't put that kind of a trip on your kids. You don't want them to be thought of as weird or whatever. So let them go ahead and do the things with the other kids so that they're not thought of as different." "Go, but don't take your children with you." What an insidious compromise.
And the Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every vegetable of the land, even all that the hail has left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb and vegetable of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the vegetables of the field, throughout all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only (Exd 10:12-17).
So again the confession of sin, and again the asking of them to pray for him. But again an insincere confession of sin, "Once more, this is the last time." It's truth; it is the last time that he asks them to pray for him.
And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the Lord. And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; and there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. The Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be a darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days: And they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed (Exd 10:18-24):
So the last compromise that he suggests, "Go, you know, serve God, but don't take your possessions, let your flocks and herds remain. Give yourself, but don't give your possessions to God. Your little ones go along with you."
And Moses said, You must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not a hoof be left behind (Exd 10:25-26);
In other words, Moses is saying, "Man, when we go, we're goin all the way. We're not gonna even leave anything behind. Nothing is to be left behind when we go."
for therefore must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come there. [In other words, "We don't know what the Lord our God will ask us to give to Him. We don't know what sacrifice He's gonna ask us to make until we get there, so we've gotta take everything in order that we might be prepared for whatever God might call upon us to sacrifice unto Him."] And Pharaoh said unto him, Get out of here, and you be careful that you don't see my face again; for the day you see my face you're a dead man. And Moses said, That's well spoken, because I will never see your face again (Exd 10:26-29).
So they did not leave each other in the best of terms. So next week we get into the final plagues, and into the flight of the children of Israel as we continue chapters eleven through fifteen for next Sunday, as we continue our study through the Word of God.
Keep up with your reading during the week. Read it over. If you have a Haley's Bible pocket handbook, read it over also in Haley's. You'll get a lot of interesting insight out of Haley's. I highly recommend and suggest this Bible pocket handbook as the first book you get after your Bible, the first book of your library, and it should be Haley's Bible pocket handbook for all of the rich information that it has stored up. So if you'll read it alongside with the Bible, he just gives you good insight and background into the scriptures. Historical, archeological, and all, just helpful insights.