[CF Devotionals] 2018-07-15 - Exodus Study

Moses and the Works of God

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  1. Moses and the Works of God
    1. The Plague of Hail Ch. 9:13-35

      Introduction: Next, we are going to look at the first of the next three plagues. We will also see that Pharaoh would fit well into contemporary society, with the avoidance of consequences approach to life. Finally, we will discuss how we should respond to this problem, endemic to our society.

      First, let me repeat some of the opening comments I made previously, as they continue to be applicable to this summary. There are two principles and one textual point we need to remember, as we start looking at the last triad of plagues.

      These plagues fell on Egypt for the glory of God. They served as a lesson of His power and, for the Hebrews, the mercy and the promise-keeping aspects of God’s nature. The judgments showed the Egyptians their gods had no power, and the God of Israel was also the God over Egypt. Finally, these acts occurred and were recorded for our benefit. Remember Paul’s words:

      “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV).

      Second, the true conflict was between God and Satan, over the fate of the Children of Israel. Throughout Scripture, we see Satan’s attempt to destroy the Hebrew race. First, for the express purpose of stopping the arrival of the Messiah. And second, when that failed, to turn to naught the promises of God to His people. As we noted a couple of weeks ago, this is the same war that goes on today with Satan trying to destroy the Jewish people and to undermine the work of the Church. Third, a strictly textual point, the plagues are grouped in three sets of three each. God had Moses warn the Pharaoh of the first two, and the third arrived unannounced. As previously stated, the tenth stands alone, and we will look at it a little later.

      Next, we will start to examine the last of the three groups: Plagues of Hail, locusts, and Darkness and the gods represented in these judgments. I. The Plague of Hail: God again sent Moses and Aaron to the Pharaoh at the first light, the time the King probably worshiped his gods. The message from the Lord this time is more expansive than previously. It spells out clearly who the He is and what are His motives and intent, for both Israel and Egypt.

      Pharaoh was ordered to let the people go, to serve God. Keep in mind God had made it clear Pharaoh would not comply. But the Lord’s words were given as the basis by which both the King and his Kingdom would be judged. If the people were not released, then God would take actions that made what had already happened look like a Sunday School Picnic.

      The purpose of the plagues were not primarily to generate the release of the people, but to demonstrate who God is.

      “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalms 57:5 ESV).

      The plagues have also demonstrate God’s mercy. He pointed out He could have already sent such great disasters as to destroy the nation, wiping it off the face of the earth. God pointed out something which must have been very galling to Pharaoh. His own power was from the God. His authority only existed because God allowed it. And why did the Lord choose to raise him up? God lifted him up, so that through him, the power of God could be displayed. The nation itself had been spared from the total destruction of the plagues, from the effect of the famine during the time of Joseph, so at this point in time, God could demonstrate to the entire world just who He was.

      We live in a world which is under God’s authority. Scripture does not teach the world was created by some great intelligence who went off to let it run on its own, but by a God who cares for it and provided a way of salvation for its people. To the unbeliever, who says what kind of a God would allow all that is evil to go on in the world, we must say this is not the world He created. Have you even had anyone say this to you? How did you respond?

      This is the world people have corrupted with their sin. The world we live in is the product of our own fallen nature. What beauty and goodness we find is simply a shadow of what it was before the fall. God allows us to live in the world of our own making. Through the suffering in the world, then, God lets mankind see its own failings, and many do recognize God for who He is, and turn to Him.

      The Lord is in control, and the day is coming when He will lift the curse off the earth and man will truly be able to see the real problem is man himself.

      “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

      The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.

      Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

      Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

      And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

      For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Isaiah 11:6–9; 35:1–10; Romans 8:18–23 ESV)

      But the Pharaoh was not ready to free the people. Since the King will not capitulate, he is informed that another plague is on the way, one that would cause major destruction. The situation is somewhat different here, because the Lord gave a specific warning which will allow the people to take some action to protect themselves. The Egyptians who believed His warning could be saved. Those who rejected it would be destroyed. The plague itself was to be a devastating hail storm, that would destroy any who were out in it.

      Dr. McGee identifies the gods against whom this plague was directed by saying:

      “This plague is directed against Isis (sometimes represented as cow-headed), goddess of fertility and considered the goddess of the air. She is the mythical daughter of Set and Nut, the sister and wife of Osiris, and the mother of Horus. It is said that the tears of Isis falling into the Nile River caused it to overflow its banks and bring nourishment to the land. Isis was a prominent goddess in Egypt, and the plague of hail was directed against her.”  1 

      Anyway, God told the King that all who go inside would be saved. All animals that are put undercover would survive. Those who were outside, those animals that are not sheltered would also die.

      The very nature of this plague puts the Egyptian in the position of having to believe God’s warning if they were to be saved. The people certainly had enough proof of the truth of God’s word so belief should be fairly easy or at least prudent. This is much like the issue of salvation. For men the choice should be easy. To believe salvation is the free gift of God and to accept that gift leads to an eternity with the Father. But as with the Egyptians many refuse to accept that gift and so face an eternity in judgment. This is their choice.

      “ Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

      What is interesting here is that some of the officials of the court did believe the warning and so they and their livestock were saved. The Pharaoh’s position with his own people seemed to be deteriorating. And reinforcing the wisdom of those who did believe was the death of those who rejected the warning, for they and their animals died in the hail storm.

      The storm must have been a great storm, for as Moses stretched out the staff, hail fell and lightening struck, destroying men, animals and the vegetation, crops and trees. Once again though God spared the land of Goshen allowing no harm to fall on the Children of Israel. One would hope this would be as much a lesson to them as it was the Egyptians.

      Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron before him. Now he tries a different tact. He admitted he was a sinner, that the Lord was right and he and the people were wrong. Moses was request- ed to pray for relief from the storm. The King will let the people go. Unfortunately, this was copping a plea. The confession of sin was not repentance but an attempt to simply bring an end to God’s judgment. When the unbeliever admits he is a sinner this is not the same as accepting God’s mercy. It is simply an attempt to get off the hook, as the criminal pleads guilty to a lesser charge, not saying he’s sorry, but simply trying to get a reduced sentence.

      Moses wasn't fooled by the “I’m sorry” stuff. He was showing growth, for this time he told the Pharaoh while he would pray for him, he was well aware the King was just trying to buy off the Lord. When he said he knew Pharaoh did not fear the Lord God,

      “… in the Hebrew we have Yahweh followed by Elohim, that is Pharaoh apparently acknowledges the God of the Hebrews is the absolute and eternal God. 2

      … Moses knew neither the King nor his officials feared the Lord, only what He could do. And just as Moses expected, as soon as the storm was over the King and his officials harden their hearts against God. This time this includes even those officials who didn’t follow the warning. It does seem that some even those officials who didn’t believe must have been the palace so they weren’t killed.

      As an aside Moses notes that the ripe crops were destroyed. These specific plants provided both food and clothing. Those that had not come up yet were not hurt. This means that the people were not left without any food for an extended period of time.

      I think what the saddest part of this scene is the confession of Pharaoh and the recognition that the Lord was right and he was wrong. The real issue isn’t even if he was being sincere or not, the issue is that after his confession his actions are the rejection of God and His Truth. Those who are the hardest to reach are those who have admitted their needs and have still rejected the Lord. If we have anyone in this situation all we can do is pray for them and turn them over to the Lord, for there is nothing else we can do.

  1. McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Volume 1, “Genesis - Deuteronomy,” Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN 1981, p. 230.
  2. Murphy, James G., Commentary on the Book of Exodus, Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, 1979, p. 100

Exodus study to be continued.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com


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