Consecrate & Commemorate

(Exodus 13:1-16)



“Christian author and speaker Skye Jethani (Jeh-tawn-ee) wrote about his kindergarten-aged daughter's homework assignment: Help your child identify as many logos as possible. Jethani said that without hesitating, she identified Pizza Hut, Target, and Lego. At home, she collected the logos of Disney, Jell-O, and Goldfish Crackers. Later, while drinking a glass of water, she proudly shouted, ‘That says IKEA!’ She spotted the tiny logo imprinted on the bottom of the glass.


Jethani reflected:


Should it scare me that my five-year-old had memorized more corporate brands than Bible verses or even names of relatives? Also scary was the fact that no one taught her to identify logos. We didn't have corporate logo flashcard drills at home. Zoe internalized these logos simply by living for five years in a brand-saturated culture.


This sort of brand marketing has been so effective that the average ten-year-old has already memorized between 300 and 400 brands. When these children become adolescents, each with an average of $100 of disposable cash to spend every week, they will select from these brands to construct their identities—identities they can eat, drink, smoke, drive, play, ride, and wear.


The spiritual value of shopping is not lost on marketers. Douglas Atkins, author of The Culting of Brands: When Customers Become True Believers, states plainly that, ‘Brands are the new religion.’”


Source: Skye Jethani, "There's Power in the Name Brand," Skye Jethani blog (5-18-16).




  • ME

    • Advertisement Jingles

        • There are certain advertisement jingles or phrases that I can still remember from my childhood

          • “Oh, I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer wiener, that is what I truly like to be. ​​ Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with me.” ​​ (part of the Oscar Mayer wiener jingle)

          • “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” ​​ (McDonald’s commercial from 1975)

          • “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid. ​​ They got a million toys at Toys R Us, that I can play with. ​​ I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid. ​​ They got the best for so much less, you really flip your lid. ​​ From bikes to trains to video games. ​​ It’s the biggest toy store there is. ​​ Geeee…whiz. ​​ I don’t want to grow up, but maybe if I did. ​​ I couldn’t be a Toys R Us kid. ​​ More games, more toys, Oh boy. ​​ I want to be a Toys R Us kid.” ​​ (Toys R Us theme song from 1980)

    • Bible verses

        • John 3:16 (For God so loved the world…)

        • Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned…)

        • Romans 5:8 (But God demonstrates His love for us…)

        • Romans 6:23 (For the wages of sin is death…)

        • 1 John 1:9 (If we confess our sins…)

        • Hebrews 9:22b (without the shedding of blood…)


  • WE

    • What phrases or jingles do you remember?

    • What Bible verses do you remember?


Moses shared with the Israelites what the Lord had shared with him. ​​ He told them about commemorating the day the Lord set them free from slavery in Egypt and about consecrating their firstborn male sons and animals. ​​ They would need to share with the next generation how God had saved them and why they sacrificed for Him, so they would never forget. ​​ Both commemorating and consecrating would require sacrificing on their part. ​​ What we can learn from this passage today is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Sacrificing for the Lord honors Him.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 13:1-16)

    • Consecrate (vv. 1-2, 11-16)

        • The Lord spoke to Moses (vv. 1-2)

          • The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to consecrate to Him every firstborn male

          • The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belonged to the Lord

          • It did not matter if it was human or animal, it belonged to the Lord

          • Moses obviously shortened the command from the Lord at the beginning of this section, because he elaborated, in more detail, what the command entailed in verses 11-16 as he shared it with the Israelites

        • Moses spoke to the Israelites (vv. 11-16)

          • The command to consecrate the firstborn human and animal was reserved for the future

            • They would need to observe this command when the Lord brought them into the land of the Canaanites (The Promised Land)

            • The Lord had promised this land to them and their forefathers on oath

              • Genesis 17:8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God keeps His promises!

                • This message from the Lord about their future should have encouraged the Israelites

                • It was not “if” the Lord would bring them into the Promised Land, then they would have to observe this command, but “after” the Lord brought them into the Promised Land

                • We can trust the Lord to keep His promises, about our future, too

                  • The Lord has promised to never leave us or forsake (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5b)

                  • The Lord has promised to send Jesus a second time to take us home to be with Him

                  • Read Revelation 21:1-8

                • We should be encouraged with God’s future promises for us

            • What we see next is the details of the command about consecrating the firstborn

          • What was required

            • Give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb

              • Firstborn males of livestock were to be sacrificed as holy to the Lord

                • The livestock included sheep, goats, and oxen/cattle

                • They were considered clean animals that the Israelites were allowed to eat

                • They were to be offered as a sacrifice to the Lord

                • Numbers 18:17, “But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. ​​ Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – God has the right of ownership to our first and best.

                  • Just as the Israelites had to offer the first and best of their livestock, we need to offer the first and best of our lives and work

                  • We need to be willing to offer the best of our time, income, and resources to the Lord

                  • How are you doing with offering the best of your time to the Lord? (are you spending time in fellowship with Him on a daily basis and with His people on a weekly basis?)

                  • How are you doing with offering the best of your income to the Lord? (are you giving consistently to the Lord?)

                  • How are you doing with offering the best of your resources to the Lord? (are you sharing the gifts and abilities that the Lord has given you with others?)

                  • Is there room for improvement?

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize God’s ownership of my first and best by offering the best of my time, income, and resources to Him.

                  • That may take some sacrifice on our part

                • Sacrificing for the Lord honors Him.

              • Firstborn of unclean animals were to be redeemed

                • In this text donkeys are the token animal mentioned to represent all unclean animals that were used for work

                • Numbers 18:15, The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours. ​​ But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.

                • “In the case of a donkey, a non firstborn lamb was an appropriate substitute (since all firstborn lambs must be given to God and none held back to serve as redemption substitutes).” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 317]

                • If the owner of the donkey was not prepared to redeem it by sacrificing a lamb, then he had to break its neck

                  • The firstborn was God’s holy possession – it belonged to Him

                  • The holy was not to be used for the ordinary unless it was redeemed

                  • Sacrificing for the Lord honors Him.

                • Redemption of firstborn males was not limited to just unclean animals, but also to human sons

              • Firstborn sons were to be redeemed

                • Scripture background

                  • Numbers 18:16, When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.

                  • Leviticus 12:6-8, When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. ​​ He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. ​​ These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or girl. ​​ If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. ​​ In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.

                  • Luke 2:21-24, On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. ​​ When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

                • Jesus, the Redeemer, was redeemed (even though He did not have to be redeemed)

                • His parents were obedient to the command to consecrate the first male that opened the womb

            • The command was to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb, but why was this required?

          • Why it was required

            • It was a way to remember how the Lord rescued the Israelites from slavery

              • For the Israelites, God used His mighty hand to bring them out of Egypt

              • When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let them go, the Lord killed every firstborn man and animal in Egypt

              • Since the Lord passed over the firstborn sons and animals of the Israelites, they remembered His mercy and protection by sacrificing the first male offspring of every womb and redeeming each of their firstborn sons

              • It would be like a sign on their hand and a symbol on their foreheads

                • “The line of thought referred to merely expresses the idea, that the Israelites were not only to retain the commands of God in their hearts, and to confess them with the mouth, but to fulfill them with the hand, or in act and deed, and thus to show themselves in their whole bearing as guardians and observers of the law. ​​ As the hand is the medium of action, and carrying in the hand represents handling, so the space between the eyes, or the forehead, is that part of the Body which is generally visible, and what is worn there is worn to be seen.” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 343-44]

              • Remembering was important so it could be passed down to future generations

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is pleased when we remember how He saved us.

              • Just like the Israelites, it is important for us to remember how the Lord saved us

              • For some of us it was dramatic and supernatural (He saved us from a life of destruction and rebellion)

              • For others it was perhaps a recognition of God’s hand at work throughout our entire lives

              • However the Lord saved you, it is worth remembering

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Take time this week to remember how Jesus saved me, and thank Him.

          • The importance of sharing

            • If this command was going to make it until the Israelites entered the Promised Land, it would need to be shared from generation to generation

              • When a son would ask his father about the meaning of sacrificing the firstborn animal and redeeming the firstborn son, he would share with him what it meant

              • This also foreshadowed Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross

                • Some of the Israelites in the 1st Century would recognize the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice

                • Matthew 20:28, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

                • 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20, You are not your own; you were bought at a price. ​​ Therefore honor God with your body.

                • 1 Peter 1:18-19, For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

              • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is glorified when we share why we sacrifice.

                • When our children ask us why we sacrifice our time, income, and resources for the Lord, then we have an incredible opportunity to share what it means for us

                • We can share that we sacrifice our time, income, and resources to serve the Lord at church or with another ministry organization because it is a way of glorifying and honoring God for saving us

                • We model for them that we are grateful to the Lord for rescuing us from sin and death

                • “When they ask you about the Lord’s Supper or other questions regarding salvation, are you ready to answer? ​​ This is a great time to share the gospel with your own child. ​​ We were slaves, but God rescued us. ​​ We deserved the death angel, but God passed over us. ​​ Then tell them of the marriage supper in the future (Rev 19). ​​ One day we will sit down at a banquet table with our King! ​​ Tell them it is ‘by the strong hand of God’ that the captives are free. ​​ As parents, we have a holy responsibility of catechizing our kids, pointing them to Jesus.” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 75]

                • We can also share the same things with others

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Glorify God by sharing with __________ (name/group) why I sacrifice ____________ (time, income, resources).

            • Who will you share with even today?

        • Moses not only spoke to the Israelites about consecrating the firstborn sons and animals, but he also spoke to them about commemorating the day they were rescued from slavery

    • Commemorate (vv. 3-10)

        • The Lord had already given Moses and Aaron these instructions, but Moses had not yet communicated them to the Israelites

          • Chapter 12 is the instructions from the Lord to Moses and Aaron

          • Chapter 13, verses 3-10 is Moses instructions to the Israelites

        • How were they to commemorate the day God brought them out of the land of slavery?

          • Do not eat anything with yeast in it

            • When the Israelites left Egypt, it was in such a hurry that they did not have time to add yeast to their bread

            • In order to commemorate this part of the Exodus, the Israelites were to sacrifice yeast/leaven every year

            • Sacrificing for the Lord honors Him.

            • They were to sacrifice yeast for the seven days of the Festival of Unleavened Bread

            • All yeast was to be removed from their dwellings, so that the bread would not accidently be leavened

          • As we learned in chapter 12, and again in verse 10, this was to be a continual, ongoing, annual ceremony for the Israelites

        • They were supposed to share with their children why they were sacrificing yeast in their bread

          • They were to share that they were doing this because of what the Lord did for them when they came out of Egypt

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is glorified when we share why we sacrifice.

        • We see again the use of the idea that they were to retain the commands of God in their hearts, confess them with their mouths, and fulfill them with their hands

          • Verse 9, like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips. ​​ For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is pleased when we remember how He saved us.

        • We are going to commemorate our Savior’s perfect sacrifice on the cross this morning following the message

          • We saw today that the firstborn sons had to be redeemed

          • We also saw that the firstborn male animals that were unclean/used for work could be redeemed with a substitute lamb or goat

          • You and I have the opportunity to be redeemed because of Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice for us

            • 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

            • Romans 8:32, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

            • We need a substitute because we have all sinned (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8)

            • We are not good people, even though we think we are (good person test – liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterous, murderer at heart)

            • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

            • Are you ready to make that decision today? ​​ (let the Lord know you want Jesus to be your sin substitute and you are accepting His gift of salvation through faith)


  • YOU

    • Recognize God’s ownership of your first and best by offering the best of your time, income, and resources to Him

    • Take time this week to remember how Jesus saved you, and thank Him

    • Glorify God by sharing with an individual or group why you sacrifice your time, income, and resources

    • Ask Jesus to be your sin substitute by faith


  • WE

    • We need to recognize God’s ownership of our first and best here at Idaville Church

    • Take time this week to remember how Jesus saved us as a church, and thank Him

    • Glorify God by sharing why we sacrifice our time, income, and resources to the Lord



“In his book The Unnecessary Pastor, Eugene Peterson writes:


My two sons are both rock climbers, and I have listened to them plan their ascents. They spend as much or more time planning their climbs as in the actual climbing. They meticulously plot their route and then, as they climb, put in what they call ‘protection’ pitons (pee-taan) hammered into small crevices in the rock face, with attached ropes that will arrest a quick descent to death. Rock climbers who fail to put in protection have short climbing careers.


Our pitons or ‘protection’ come as we remember and hold on to those times when we have experienced God's faithfulness in our lives. Every answered prayer, every victory, every storm that has been calmed by his presence is a piton which keeps us from falling, losing hope, or worse yet, losing our faith. Every piton in our life is an example of God's faithfulness to us. As we ascend in the kingdom of God, we also realize that each experience, each victory is only a piton – a stepping stone toward our ultimate goal of finishing the race and receiving the crown of glory.


Source: Eugene Peterson, The Unnecessary Pastor, Rediscovering the Call (Eerdmans, 2000), p.12.





Relating In A New Way!

(John 20:10-23)



Piercing Word video of John 20:1-31.



  • ME

    • Relating to my parents as an adult


  • WE

    • Relating to our spouse (levels of intimacy)

        • Boyfriend and girlfriend

        • Engaged

        • Married

    • Relating to fellow employees

        • If you’ve ever been promoted to a supervisory position within the same company

        • The people you worked beside on the same level now relate to you differently

    • Jesus was going to be relate to His disciples and followers differently

        • It all started after His resurrection

        • Let’s pray


  • The First Witness (John 20:10-18)

    • Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb

        • Peter and John had returned home

        • She looked into the tomb again while she was crying

        • She saw two angels in white

          • They are seated where Jesus’ body had been

          • One at the head

          • One at the foot

          • It is a picture of the ark of the covenant with the angels like the cherubim

        • Notice Mary’s reaction to the angels

          • She didn’t seem to be startled, concerned, or fascinated with them

          • We’d probably be taking out our cell phones and either taking a picture or video to post on our social media accounts

          • She had a single focus – Jesus!

    • The angels asked her a question

        • Why are you crying?

        • Mary gives her answer

          • They have taken MY Lord away

          • She uses the word “my” here, because she is fully committed to Him

          • Jesus had freed her from multiple demons

          • She has given her life to serve Him and had followed Him to Jerusalem and was at Golgotha when He died

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we are fully committed to Him.

            • Can you say today, like Mary, that Jesus is your Lord?

            • If so, that is wonderful! ​​ It means you are fully committed to Him

            • If not, what is holding you back? ​​ (there will be an opportunity at the end of the message to make a commitment concerning Jesus)

            • Maybe you were once fully committed to the Lord, but you have stepped away

            • He is patiently waiting for you to return to Him, just like the father of the prodigal son

            • He is watching and looking for you every day

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Return to the Lord and be fully committed to Him.

          • In the midst of her grief and despair, Jesus was there

          • We can also have confidence that in our grief and despair, Jesus is there

    • Mary sees Jesus

        • She did not recognize Him

          • Skiing – dressed in full camo – Judy didn’t recognize me

          • Stories of men who shaved their beard – children start crying

          • Debbie Frost didn’t recognize her grandson, Nathan, after haircut

        • Jesus asks her the same question, but goes further by asking who she is looking for

        • Mary thinks he is the gardener

        • She is willing to carry His body away

          • Her words reveal her devotion. ​​ She never paused to consider how she would carry the corpse of a full-grown man or how she would explain her possession of it.” ​​ [Tenney quoted in Guzik’s commentary]

          • Mary had a single focus of finding Jesus’ body

    • Jesus revealed Himself

        • He only said her name, Mary

          • Judy recognized me when I spoke to her (dressed in camo)

          • Debbie recognized Nathan when he spoke

          • John 10:3-4, The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. ​​ He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ​​ When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

          • However Jesus said her name, whether it was with the same tone or flexion that He had said it before, she recognized that it is Jesus speaking

        • She calls Him teacher

        • Jesus gives her a warning

          • Don’t cling to me

            • Actually, the ancient Greek construction of this phrase ‘means to stop an action already begun rather than to avoid starting it.’ ​​ (Tenney)” ​​ [Guzik]

            • So we see that Mary is already on her knees clinging to Jesus’ feet

          • Why did He say, “Do not cling to Me?”

            • He would be relating to her in a new way

            • Jesus’ correction is a spiritual redirection away from Jesus’ physical presence, a preparation for the Spirit that is about to be given.” ​​ [Burge, 557]

            • She had been able to minister to His needs and take care of Him during His earthly ministry

            • But, He had to ascend to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come

            • Also, she had a job to do – witness about His resurrection

              • She was to tell the disciples what she had seen and heard from the Lord

              • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been given the same job to do

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is glorified when we tell others about Him.

                • We need to share with others what we have experienced through the transforming relationship we have with Jesus Christ

                  • Our personal testimony is something that is undeniable

                  • Another person cannot deny that it happened

                  • Even if they try to say that, it does not negate the fact that it did

                • Matthew 28:16-20, Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. ​​ When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. ​​ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Witness about the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in my own life and how it transformed me.

            • Jesus did not want her to cling to Him, because He had a job for her to do

          • He gave her some specific instructions

        • Jesus gives her instructions

          • Go to my brothers

            • He doesn’t call them servants or friends anymore, but brothers

            • John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. ​​ Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

            • That was before His resurrection

            • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor a human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

          • Tell them I am returning to heaven

        • Mary obeys

    • Mary goes to the disciples

        • She tells them that she has seen the Lord and what His message was to them

        • There was doubt about the fact that Jesus had risen and that Mary had seen Him

        • Mark 16:10-11, She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. ​​ When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

        • If something happened like that today, we would probably be skeptical too

        • In the 1st Century women were marginalized

          • They were not allowed to be called as witnesses in a court of law

          • Rabbi’s taught this, “It is better that the words of the law be burned than to be entrusted to a woman.” ​​ [Courson, 595-596]

          • Jesus gives the gospel to a woman and entrusts her to share it with His disciples

        • The disciples doubt was about to change


  • The Disciples Saved (John 20:19-23)

    • Jesus appeared to the disciples

        • It happened on the same day they found the empty tomb

        • The disciples are all together

        • They were behind locked doors, because they were fearful of the Jews

    • Jesus encourages them

        • Shalom! – Peace be with you!

          • He does not condemn them for running away in the garden or for being absent at the crucifixion (although John was there)

          • He offers this same peace to us

          • Romans 5:1-2, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

        • He proved that He was alive

          • He showed them His hands and side

          • He encouraged them to touch Him and asked for something to eat

          • Luke 24:38-43, He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? ​​ Look at my hands and my feet. ​​ It is I myself! ​​ Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” ​​ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. ​​ And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” ​​ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

        • The disciples are overjoyed

    • Jesus saved them

        • Jesus again pronounced peace to them

        • He is sending them just as the Father had sent Him

        • He breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

          • At this point, the disciples are born again. ​​ Although they were already following Jesus, they were not yet regenerated because He had not yet died for their sins.” ​​ [Courson]

          • God had created Adam, but he did not have life until God breathed into him

          • Jesus would be relating to His disciples in a new way

          • We know that Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, before ascending into Heaven (Acts 1:3)

          • Jesus related to the disciples in a new way at Pentecost

          • Acts 2:1-4, When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. ​​ Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. ​​ They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. ​​ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

        • He states about forgiving and not forgiving sins

          • We know that only God has the right to forgive sins, so what does this verse mean?

          • Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.” ​​ [Guzik]



We know from the book of Acts that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to share boldly about Jesus. ​​ Jesus related to them in a new way, through the Holy Spirit


Jesus wants to relate to you in a new way today

  • Historical faith says, ‘Christ lives!’

    • This is knowing factually that Jesus came alive

    • It’s knowing that Jesus exists – that God exists

    • It’s having a head knowledge

  • Saving faith says, ‘Christ lives in me!’

    • This is taking your head knowledge and applying it to your heart, which is the center of your emotions

    • It’s saying to God that you recognize your rebellion against Him – that you don’t want anything to do with Him, because you want your own way and not His

    • It’s repenting of your sins and turning to Jesus Christ as your Savior – recognizing His perfect sacrifice for you on the cross (Hebrews 9:22b)

    • It’s accepting God’s offer to become a part of His family (John 1:12, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God)

    • The moment you receive Jesus into your life, you receive the Holy Spirit as a part of your life

    • You will experience just what the disciples experienced – Jesus relating to you in a new way

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and came alive again to take my punishment for sin, so I can be a part of God’s family.




Spiritual Migration

(Exodus 12:21-30)



“A team of researchers studied a bird species called the Caspian tern. Using GPS, the team followed their annual migration from the Baltic Sea to the African tropics. One researcher explained the purpose of the project: ‘We wanted to get a better idea of how the migratory skills of birds are passed from one generation to another in a species where individuals normally migrate together.’


It has long been known that birds migrate communally, as witnessed by the annual migrations of large flocks of geese during the North American spring and fall seasons. However, little is known about interactions among the members of traveling flocks.


Having studied the Caspian tern's migration behavior, the research team found that father terns teach their young about the secrets of migration while defending them from dangers they encounter along the way. One researcher said. ‘This is very fascinating behavior, which we really did not expect to find when setting up our study.’


The scientists even observed a case of a foster father bird filling in for a father's role. Young birds always stayed close to the adult bird. Indeed, young strays died. The authors of the study suggest that young birds must remain in contact with a parent during a first foray to winter grounds.


The team also found that when the young birds make their first solo return flight to breeding grounds in Europe, they took the same migratory routes on which they were accompanied by their fathers. In Caspian terns, migration knowledge is inherited through culture from one generation to another. This has consequences on the decisions individuals make years after they first migrated with their father.”


Source: Martin M. Barillas. "Like learning to drive." NewsWeek (3-28-22).





  • ME

    • My father’s example

        • I remember coming down stairs each morning after getting ready for school and finding my father sitting in the living room either reading his Bible or praying

        • That had a significant impact on my life

        • I also watched my father and mother live out their faith every day

    • My example

        • I spend time with the Lord every morning, but I don’t do it in the living room where my sons could see, rather I spend time with the Lord in my bedroom (I wish I would have done it differently)

        • Judy and I have lived out our faith every day for our boys to see

        • They experienced our family moving from state to state as we followed the Lord’s leading

        • Our prayer is that they will follow our spiritual migration in their own lives and the lives of their families


  • WE

    • How many of us have lived out our faith for our family to see?

    • How many of us have guided the next generation, so they know how to have a personal relationship with the Lord?

    • How many of us have tried to show others what a spiritual migration looks like?


Moses shared the Lord’s command with the Israelites about the sacrificial animal and the doorposts of their homes, but he also shared the instruction from the Lord about telling the next generation about the meaning of the ceremony. ​​ Moses wanted the Israelites and us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable.


Let’s pray

  • GOD (Exodus 12:21-30)

    • Command Communicated (vv. 21-23)

        • Everything that we have read in chapters 11 and 12 so far was a conversation between the Lord and Moses and Aaron

          • What we see in verses 21-28 is Moses communicating everything to the Israelites that the Lord had told him

          • First he gives them the command concerning Passover and then he instructs them about sharing it with future generations

        • Engaged (v. 21a)

          • Moses summoned all the elders of Israel

          • We are not told how many there were

          • This was the fastest and best way to communicate the Passover regulations to the rest of the Israelites

            • The elders would tell the clan leaders

            • The clan leaders would tell the family heads

            • The family heads would tell their family members

            • They must of all did an excellent job of communicating, because no Israelites died during the final plague

            • There were no email or text lists, websites or social media accounts, or calling chains to use

            • It was all word of mouth

          • In Numbers 1:1, 46 we are told that the total number of men counted who were 20 years old or more were 603,550

            • This census took place two years after the Israelites came out of Egypt

            • It is also important to note that the Levites were not included in the census

            • So, the total number of Israelites including the women, children, and Levites was vast, which is why Moses and Aaron used the elders to communicate the Passover regulations

          • The elders were given the responsibility of disseminating the information, which would include the actions they needed to take, a warning, and a promise

        • Action (vv. 21b-22a)

          • Choose their sacrificial animal

            • The elders were to communicate that each household was to select a male lamb or goat that was a year old, without any defects (Exodus 12:3, 5)

            • If a household was too small to eat an entire year old lamb or goat, then they must share with their closest neighbor (Exodus 12:4)

            • Once they selected the animal, they were to slaughter it

            • The original Hebrew does not have the word “lamb” after “Passover” because it could be a lamb or a goat, which is why the word “animals” is used earlier in verse 21.

          • Spread blood on the doorframe

            • This was the responsibility of the male head of the household [share about Sight & Sound’s production of Moses and how the men spread the blood on the doorframe]

            • They were to have a basin in which to catch the blood from the animal

            • Next, they needed to take a bunch of hyssop and dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and both sides of the doorframe

              • What we call hyssop may not have been found in Syria and Arabia

              • Hyssop was either wild marjoram or a kind of thyme [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 334]

              • “While the identity of hyssop has not been definitively established, it has traditionally been taken as a species of marjoram, a small aromatic plant with many hairy stems and small white flowers, often found in rocky areas of Palestine.” [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 225]

              • Whatever the actual plant was, we see that they were able to use it to collect blood from the basin and spread it on the doorframe of the house

          • The elders were also to communicate a warning after giving the Israelites the command about Passover

        • Warning (v. 22b)

          • Once the blood was applied to the doorframe, the Israelites were to remain in their houses until morning

            • This warning also protected the Israelites from accidentally being with an Egyptian family when the plague hit [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 288]

            • ​​ “The blood smeared on the lintel and door-posts was clearly protective. ​​ It formed a barrier that the Lord would respect when he brought the tenth plague on Egypt.” ​​ [Mackay, 225]

          • This was the promise the Lord made for those who were obedient

        • Promise (v. 23)

          • The Israelites would be protected from the destroyer

          • The Lord would recognize the obedience of each Israelite household and not permit the destroyer to enter their houses and strike down their firstborn

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Being under the blood ensures God’s mercy.

            • Mercy is not getting what we deserve

              • What we deserve is God’s wrath

              • What we deserve is eternal separation from God

            • Israelites

              • The only way the Israelites would experience God’s mercy was by spreading blood on the top and sides of their doorframes – being under the blood of a perfect lamb or goat

              • If they refused to be obedient, they would have suffered the same heartache as the Egyptians – their firstborn would be killed

            • Us

              • The only way we can experience God’s mercy is by being under the blood of Jesus – having the blood of Jesus spread on the top and sides of the doorframe of our lives

              • Those of us who refuse to be under the blood of Jesus will suffer the heartache of being separated from God for all of eternity

              • Matthew 9:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ​​ Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ ​​ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. ​​ Away from me, you evildoers!’”

              • Gospel

                • We cannot experience God’s mercy by doing any of the following things:

                  • Being a good person

                  • Going to church every week

                  • Tithing every paycheck

                  • Helping the poor

                  • Being a good neighbor

                  • Believing in God

                  • Prophesying in Jesus’ name

                  • Driving out demons in Jesus’ name

                  • Performing many miracles

                  • Fill in the blank with anything other than being covered by the blood of Jesus

                • We can experience God’s mercy if we accept Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross for us

                  • Hebrews 9:22, In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

                  • 1 John 1:7-10, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ​​ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ​​ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ​​ If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

                  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make sure I am under the blood of Jesus by confessing my sins, so I can experience God’s mercy.

        • Moses gave the elders the command from the Lord, but he also gave them some instructions from the Lord too

    • Instructions Issued (vv. 24-28)

        • The Israelites were to obey the instructions as a lasting ordinance for future generations

          • We talked last week about what the lasting ordinance meant – there was no limit to the number of years they were to observe it

            • They were to observe Passover and then the Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • Last week we saw when these two ceremonies were to be observed – month of Abib, days 14-21

          • The Lord even gave them a peek into the future when He instructed them to observe the ceremony when they entered the Promised Land (this meant they would be entering the Promised Land)

        • Educative opportunity

          • They were going to have the privilege and responsibility of teaching their children what the ceremony meant to them

            • Each year there would be a group of children who would be old enough to understand and ask the question, “What does this ceremony mean to you, Dad?”

            • The father of each household would then be able to share the miraculous deeds that the Lord accomplished in Egypt – they would share:

              • About being oppressed by the Egyptians

              • About crying out to the Lord for help

              • About God providing an unlikely leader, in Moses, who made it more difficult on them at first

              • About the miraculous signs the Lord did through Moses and how most of the plagues did not affect them, but only the Egyptians

              • About how they were protected from the Lord’s final plague by sacrificing a year old lamb or goat without defect and spreading the blood on the doorframes of their houses – when the Lord saw the blood, He would not permit the destroyer to enter their homes and kill the firstborn

              • That is why they continued to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread ceremonies every year

            • Passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Passing on a spiritual heritage is the responsibility of parents.

            • Going to church with someone other than our parents

              • How many of us grew up going to church with a grandparent or other family member other than our parents?

              • How many of us saw this happen with our friends as we grew up?

            • Spiritual instruction at home

              • How many of us grew up with little to no spiritual instruction at home, because Dad and Mom thought the Sunday school teacher or the youth group leader could handle that?

              • Perhaps our parents just felt inadequate at sharing about God and the Bible

            • This is an incredible opportunity for Dad’s and Mom’s

              • You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar

              • You don’t have to have a Bible degree

              • You just have to share what Jesus has done for you in your life

              • You just have to pray together with your spouse and children

              • You just have to read the Bible together as a family

              • We have so many resources at our fingertips to be able to share and pass on a spiritual heritage to our children

                • You Version Bible app has a Kids Bible Experience

                • There are all kinds of apps that are available to help teach your children about God and the Bible (just make sure they are teaching truth)

                • RightNow Media is another resource that is available for FREE

                • Reading Our Daily Bread together as a family is another way to connect with God and each other

              • Our children will love what we love, value what we value, and invest in what we invest in

              • We are only one generation away from being a completely pagan culture, so passing on a spiritual heritage is invaluable

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to passing on a spiritual heritage by ______________________.

          • The Lord wants us to pass on our spiritual heritage, just like He wanted the Israelites to pass on their spiritual heritage

          • What we see next is the Israelites reaction

        • Reaction of the Israelites

          • They bowed down and worshiped

            • How beautiful is that!

            • They acknowledged God’s protection and mercy by worshiping Him

            • “Bowing and worshiping says ‘I submit, I agree, I cooperate.’” ​​ [Stuart, 290]

            • That should be our reaction too

          • They obeyed what the Lord commanded through Moses and Aaron

            • They did everything that God instructed them to do

              • They went and selected a year old lamb or goat without defect

              • They slaughtered it at the threshold of their home

              • They collected the blood from the animal in a basin

              • They used a bunch of hyssop to smear blood on the top and sides of their doorframes

              • They ate the animal, after roasting it over the fire, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread

              • They remained in their homes all night

            • Because of their obedience, the Lord allowed the destroyer to pass over their homes and not kill their firstborn

          • Application

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Our response to God’s protection and mercy should be worship and obedience.

              • We can sometimes neglect to worship the Lord when He protects us from harm

              • We can sometimes neglect to obey the Lord when He shows us mercy

              • We need to be attentive to God’s protection and mercy in our lives

              • When we recognize it, we need to stop, worship Him, and be obedient to what He is asking us to do

              • Jeremiah 7:21-23, “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! ​​ For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: ​​ Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.’”

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship God for His protection and obey Him because He is merciful.

          • The Israelites responded to the Lord’s protection and mercy with worship and obedience

        • The focus shifts from the Israelites to the Egyptians in the final two verses

    • Plague Promised (vv. 29-30)

        • The final plague that the Lord had promised (Exodus 11:4-6) had arrived

        • At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt (human and livestock) regardless of their social status

          • Keep in mind that the firstborn may not have been a child

          • “This was not a case, however, of returning evil for evil. ​​ It was a case of divine retribution, justice meted out to those who deserved it, a judgment against an entire society and their absurd religious beliefs that led them to practice the horrible treatment they had given the Israelites in the past, thinking it appropriate.” ​​ [Stuart, 291-92]

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – God is both merciful and just.

              • We see His mercy in taking the firstborn in the middle of night while they were sleeping

              • We see His justice in holding Pharaoh and the Egyptians accountable for their actions

              • We are like Pharaoh and the Egyptians

                • We rebel against the Lord and refuse to be obedient

                • We worship other things above Him

                • We oppress and mistreat those around us

                • Fortunately, we can seek God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ

              • “Are you turning to the Substitute, Jesus Christ, that you might receive His mercy?” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 72]

          • This plague finally stirred Pharaoh’s heart to be obedient to the Lord’s command – “Let my people go!” (that is for another message)

        • Reaction of the Egyptians

          • I’m certain that Pharaoh, his officials, and all the Egyptian people did not rest well

          • They had probably heard what was predicted with this final plague

          • I would guess that most parents were checking on their firstborn frequently throughout the night

          • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

            • I remember learning about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when we were expecting our first child

            • That is a scary thing for a first time parent, because their did not seem to be any rhyme or reason to why it happened

            • Judy had the supernatural ears that most mothers have, so she was able to hear him breathing from the other room and knew when something sounded different

            • I was grateful for that!

          • Every household experienced death, which caused the Egyptians to wail loudly


  • YOU

    • Make sure you are under the blood of Jesus by confessing your sins, so you can experience God’s mercy.

    • How are you going to pass on a spiritual heritage to your children?

    • Worship God for His protection and obey Him because He is merciful.

  • WE

    • How are we going to pass on the spiritual heritage we have at Idaville Church to the next generation?

    • We need to worship and obey God for His protection and mercy on us as a body.



“What factors help Christian youth maintain their faith into adulthood? A major research project called the National Study of Youth and Religion found the following three factors:


  • The young person's parents practiced the faith in the home and in daily life, not just in public-church settings.

  • The young person had at least one significant adult mentor or friend, other than parents, who practiced the faith seriously.

  • The young person had at least one significant spiritual experience before the age of 17.


In other words, teenagers are most likely to retain their Christian faith into adulthood if they have had a meaningful and healthy relationship with their parents, a faithful Christian mentor outside of the family, and with God himself.


In conclusion, unless there is a specific adult in a teenager's life who shows the teenager by example and in the context of a meaningful, long-term relationship how an adult incorporates Christian faith into daily life, no program, camp, mission trip, youth group, worship style, musical trend, Sunday school, church reform, updated pastoral style, modernization, or even catechetical class will make a statistically significant difference. Further, to retain their faith into adulthood young people need to experience God's grace for themselves.”


Source: Adapted from Seraphim Danckaert, "Losing our Religion," Orthodox Heterodoxy (4-8-14).






Never Forget

(Exodus 12:14-20)



“London witnessed a spectacular scene recently when a giant wooden replica of the city ignited and burned brilliantly to the ground. The conflagration was planned, however, in honor of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. The original fire began on September 2, 1666, in the early morning at a bakery on Pudding Lane. The surrounding structures were soon engulfed, and the fire spread to the rest of the city, lasting four entire days. The modern-day festival to remember the disaster is known as ‘London's Burning’ and contains four days of free art events, concluding this year with the grand burning of the replica of medieval London.


At first glance, it seems a bit odd to celebrate such a catastrophe-especially with another fire. However, as gruesome as the Great Fire may have been, it now has its place firmly etched into the city's history as a turning point: the beginning of a time of regrowth and resurgence for London.


Christians arguably perform the same ‘odd’ type of ritual when we take communion and decorate our homes and sacred buildings with crosses. We not only commemorate the brutal murder of Jesus, but we adorn our worship with the murder weapon: the cross, one of the most widely known torture devices of that time period. And yet it doesn't seem strange to us—because we know that what Satan intended to be the ultimate act of evil, God turned around to be the ultimate act of love.”


Source: "Wooden sculpture of London goes up in flames to mark Great Fire anniversary," Yahoo! News (Sept. 5, 2016).





  • ME

    • Experiences I will never forget

        • Wedding day

        • Birth of our three sons

        • Weddings of our children

        • Birth of our grandchildren

        • Calling into pastoral ministry

        • Ordination with the United Brethren in Christ


  • WE

    • What experiences have we all had that we will never forget?


The Lord has just given Moses and Aaron the instructions for Passover and now He outlines a festival celebration that will be a lasting ordinance for the Israelites for the future, so they will never forget how He rescued them from Egypt. ​​ The Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be followed precisely. ​​ Anyone who was unfaithful to the instructions would be cut off from the Israelites.  ​​​​ The Israelites were to demonstrate their faith in God’s savings power by being faithful to His commands. ​​ The same is true for us. ​​ Our big idea today is . . .


BIG IDEA – Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness. ​​ [Stuart, 284]


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 12:14-20)

    • In verses 14-20 we see a couple of things

        • Verses 14-16 provide general instructions about a commemorative festival

        • Verses 17-20 provide more specifics about the festival

        • So, we are going look at various parts of the festival and review the general and specific sections together

    • What (vv. 14a, 15b, 16, 17a, 19b-c, 20a, c)

        • Festival/Feast of Unleavened Bread (vv. 14a, 17a)

          • The Lord told Moses and Aaron that the Israelites were to commemorate this day

            • The day that is being referred to is Passover, the day in which the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt

            • They were to celebrate a festival to the Lord every year so the generations to come would not forget that God is a delivering God

            • “Why did God want his people to remember the exodus so carefully? ​​ Because it was his supreme Old Covenant demonstration of deliverance, and he wanted his people to trust him as a delivering God. . . . The Old Covenant exodus was the paradigm of God’s saving acts; the New Testament crucifixion was the ultimate exodus because it delivers not merely from bondage to human despotism but from bondage to sin itself, and thus it provides for life not merely in a promised earthly land but in an eternal promised land, the home of the Father.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 282]

            • The Passover foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – We can trust God to deliver us.

              • We commemorate Jesus’ perfect sacrifice when we observe Holy Communion

              • Through communion we are joining Jesus in His suffering and death – we remember His body that was broken and His blood that was poured out for us

              • Our faith in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is demonstrated through our faithfulness in observing Holy Communion

              • Gospel

                • Romans 3:23 (all have sinned)

                • Romans 6:23 (we deserve separation from God)

                • Romans 5:8 (God loved us even as sinners)

                • Romans 10:9-10, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

              • Are you ready to trust God to deliver you from your sin today?

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to deliver me from my sin.

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – “It is important that we remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us.” ​​ [Merida, 66]

              • That is precisely what the Lord wanted the Israelites to do every year

              • When is the last time we have stopped to remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us?

                • Some of us pause on Thanksgiving Day and share what we are thankful for

                • We don’t have to wait for a specific time each year to remind ourselves, and others

                • We can remind ourselves, and others, each morning or evening

                • Some people keep a “grateful journal” where they write down everything they are grateful for

                • Let’s take some time this morning to remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us [allow people to share]

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Remind _________ (myself/others) that God has done ________ in my life.

            • While verse 14 gives us the general description of a festival, verse 17 gives us the specific name of the festival

          • Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • We learn that the name of the festival is Feast of Unleavened Bread

            • We also learn that the day that is being referred to is the day that the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions

            • The first two principles are evident again in verse 17

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – We can trust God to deliver us.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – “It is important that we remind ourselves, and others, of all that God has done for us.” ​​ [Merida, 66]

          • So far we have learned that the festival is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it was designed to help the Israelites remember that God was their deliverer

          • Now we learn more details about what was required during this festival

        • No yeast (vv. 15b, 19b-c, 20a, c)

          • Decree

            • They were to remove all yeast from their homes before the festival began

              • There were a couple of ways to make bread with yeast as Stuart outlines [Stuart, 283]

                • Dip dough in wine or vinegar and then air it out in the sun, so it would pick up the airborne yeast spores, before storing it in a closed vessel until it fermented

                • Knead flour and water, add salt, boil the mix into a porridge, then leave it until it went sour

              • They probably stored whatever yeast they had in a closed container and removed it from their homes, so that the unleavened bread (matzoth) they made would not accidentally be leavened bread

              • They would be able to tell if their unleavened bread was accidentally “yeasted,” because it would not be a flat cracker sheet

            • They were to eat nothing that had yeast in it

            • They had to eat unleavened bread during the festival

            • In the New Testament we see the use of yeast as a symbol for how thoroughly evil can corrupt and influence our lives (1 Cor. 5:6-8)

            • Here the removal of yeast did not necessarily symbolize the corrupting influence of evil

            • “Rather, its nonuse for these seven days in the bread one eats simply reminds the consumer that when God says ‘Go,’ he means, ‘Go now. ​​ Drop everything you’re doing.’ ​​ When a smoke detector goes off in one’s house, through its sharp beeps it is saying, ‘Evacuate immediately.’ ​​ Before leaving, the occupant may scoop up a few family photos, but one will not vacuum the carpets first!” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus, An Exegetical Commentary, 187]

            • When we do something consistently for a period of time, it has the tendency to fix it in our minds

            • The same would be true for the Israelites as they ate unleavened bread for seven straight days – it would help them to remember and not forget God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt

          • Consequences

            • The Israelites knew that if they did not obey the Lord’s decree, they would be cut off from the community

              • Being cut off from the community could take various forms as Hamilton suggests [Hamilton, 188]

                • An earlier-than-expected death

                • Childlessness

                • The elimination of the sinner’s family and descendants

                • Failure to join and enjoy the hereafter with one’s family already in the land of eternal bliss

              • It could also simply mean, “by their actions, they exclude themselves from being members of the ‘holy nation’.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 226]

              • The Old Testament has a wide variety of commands that had the same warning concerning being “cut off” for disobedience [Stuart, 284]

                • Failure to practice circumcision (Gen. 17:14)

                • Failure to eat unleavened bread during Passover (Exod. 12:15, 19)

                • Illegally manufacturing or using the sacred anointing oil (Exod. 30:32-33, 38)

                • Violating the Sabbath (Exod. 31:14)

                • Eating sacrificed food while ritually impure (Lev. 7:20-21)

                • Eating the fat or blood of a sacrifice (Lev. 7:25, 27)

                • Slaughter/sacrifice outside the tabernacle (Lev. 17:4, 9)

                • Forbidden sexual practices (Lev. 18:29; 20:17-18)

                • Child sacrifice (Lev. 20:2-5)

                • Necromancy (trying to divine the future by contact with the dead; Lev. 20:6)

                • Worship function by a defiled priest (Lev. 22:3)

                • Failure to observe the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:29-30)

                • Failure to commemorate Passover (Num. 9:13)

                • Defiant, intentional sin (Num. 15:30-31)

                • Failure to purify oneself after contact with the dead (Num. 19:13, 20)

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness. [Stuart, 284]

              • “The person who defies God’s regulations shows that he has no interest in keeping covenant with him and therefore will eventually suffer the consequences of not obeying God. . . . The proof of faith is a faithful life.” ​​ [Stuart, 284]

              • Application

                • Where are you today?

                • Are you living a faithful life or are you defying or ignoring God’s regulations?

                • There are consequences for defying or ignoring His regulations

                • Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. ​​ For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. ​​ But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Prove my faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations.

            • Those who ate leavened bread during the festival would be cut off from the community of Israel

          • There is one more part to the what

        • Sacred assembly (v. 16)

          • The beginning and the end of the festival were to be marked as special and sacred

            • On the first and seventh days of the festival they were to have a sacred assemble

            • The sacred assembly was a gathering of all the people in order to worship the Lord

            • It would probably include sacrifices to the Lord

          • Regulations for the first and seventh days

            • No working (regular work)

            • Only food preparation was allowed, but that was all

            • Does this remind you of anything in our modern culture?

              • How about the 4th of July celebrations

              • We remember (commemorate) our nation's independence every year

              • Most everyone is off work that day

              • Most of us have some kind of gathering with family and friends, which includes eating (food preparation)

              • The only part that differs from the sacred assembly of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are sacrifices to the Lord (animal and grain) – hopefully we pause to thank the Lord for the freedoms He has given us in the United States and for the food He has provided

            • This was another opportunity for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith by being faithful to the regulation of not working

            • Our faith is demonstrated by our faithfulness.

        • We move on from the “what” to the “how long”

    • How long (vv. 14b, 15a, 17b, 19a)

        • Lasting ordinance (vv. 14b, 17b)

          • It was to be an annual festival to the Lord for the generations to come

          • The fact that it was a lasting ordinance meant that there was no limit to the number of years it would be celebrated

          • The Lord’s Supper

            • Think about the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) for us as followers of Jesus Christ

            • It is a lasting ordinance, for us, until Jesus returns

            • 1 Corinthians 11:23b-26, For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” ​​ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” ​​ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

          • It was an annual festival for an unlimited amount of time

          • There was a limit to the length of the festival each year, though

        • Seven days (vv. 15a, 19a)

          • The festival lasted seven days

          • One week of festivities – that would be amazing!

        • We know it was a festival to the Lord that lasted seven days each year for an unlimited number of years, but when was the festival supposed to happen each year?

    • When (v. 18)

        • First month (Abib)

          • Exodus 13:4, Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving.

          • If you remember from Exodus 12:2, the Lord instituted a new calendar for Israel [read Exodus 12:2]

          • The name of the first month was later changed to Nisan (NYE-san)

          • In our modern calendar it represents March-April

        • Days 14-21

          • The festival began with Passover at twilight on the 14th day of Abib/Nisan

          • Leviticus 23:4-8, “‘These are the Lord’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. ​​ On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. ​​ On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. ​​ For seven days present an offering made to the Lord by fire. ​​ And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”

        • The festival was to take place on Abib 14-21 every year, but who was supposed to participate?

    • Who (v. 19d)

        • Everyone

          • Men, women, and children were allowed to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

          • Native-born and aliens could participate

          • There was a restriction for males, though

            • They had to be circumcised

            • This wasn’t a problem for the Israelites, because they circumcised their sons at eight days old

            • Exodus 12:48-49, “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. ​​ No uncircumcised male may eat of it. ​​ The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”

        • Everyone was welcome to participate in the seven day festival to the Lord

    • Where (v. 20b)

        • Wherever you live

          • There was not a restriction on where you could celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

          • If you were not in the Promised Land, you could still participate

        • What a relief for those who had been scattered many years later in Babylon and Persia and the Roman Empire


  • YOU

    • Are you ready to trust God to deliver you from your sin?

    • Whom do you need to remind and what do you need to remind them of that God has done in your life?

    • Do you need to prove your faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations?


  • WE

    • Whom do we need to remind and what do we need to remind them of that God has done in the life of Idaville Church?

    • Do we need to prove our faith in God by being faithful to His commands and regulations for us as a body of believers?


In a 2017 lecture, Mark Meynell addressed the connection between identity and memory:


BBC Radio 3, the U.K.'s primary classical music station, ran a fascinating series of articles on music and memory. Adam Zeman, a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, wrote about amnesia and memory loss and their relationship to epilepsy. Zeman mentioned two patients, Peter and Marcus, who described their amnesia in very similar terms. One said: ‘My memory of my past is a blank space. I feel lost and hopeless. I'm trying to explore a void.’ Both described how disconcerting it is to look at photos. Even though they recognize themselves, they have no recollection of the moment. One said that it's like ‘reading a biography of a stranger.’ He's conscious of recent memories slipping away from him, like ships sailing out to sea in the fog, never to be seen again.


Two things stand out in Zeman's essay. First, without memory, it's hard to cling to an identity. So one of the patients said: ‘I don't have the moorings that other people draw on to know who they are.’ Second, it's hard to have hope when we don't know our past. As Zeman explained, ‘The inability to invoke the past greatly impedes their ability to imagine a future.’”


Source: Mark Meynell, "The Pulpit and the Body of Christ," Covenant Seminary 2017 Preaching Lectures.






The Final Straw

(Exodus 11:1-10)



Heather Burke-Cody blogs:


I was thrift shopping for dorm stuff. The cashier appeared to be one of the most unhappy, maddest people ever. I was six people deep in the line, and it seemed like she got more and more exasperated with each passing customer.


She was especially incensed when one of my unmarked items needed a price check …. But as she rang up my items, I felt a ... soul nudge. I tried to bargain with Jesus and told him that the extra little bit of cash in the backside of my wallet was not meant for her. It surely should go to someone sweeter and kinder, more deserving, or at least appreciative maybe. Not someone downright mean and angry. But God did not budge.


The human heart is our very best compass. It rarely leads us astray. So, I paid my bill and reluctantly found the backside of my wallet. I slipped her some cash as she handed me my receipt.


She was caught off-guard by the gesture. She gripped the folded bill with one hand and paused. Then slid her mask down with the other hand. Her loud, stern voice got quiet when she whispered a single word: ‘Why?’ To which I answered two words back: ‘Soul nudge.’


There was another pause. A brief reckoning of sorts. When she grabbed my hand and held on, I was the one caught off-guard. ‘Today’s my 75th birthday and ain’t nobody called me. Not my sister. Not none of my kids. None of these people here. Nobody. Nothing. I don’t think I can remember ever being so sad. Ain’t nobody even remembers it’s my birthday.’”


Source: Heather Burke-Cody, “Soul Nudges and Heart Tingles,” The Everyday Good (8-12-22).




  • ME

    • Extending mercy

        • In talking with family and friends who are expressing anger or frustration with how they were treated, I often encourage them to extend grace and mercy

        • I try to remind them that the individual may be dealing with unspoken conflict, illness, financial troubles, and/or spiritual battles that are weighing them down

        • Extending grace and mercy could change their attitude


  • WE

    • Extending mercy

        • How many of us have run into a nasty person?

        • Have we extended mercy to them or have we treated them the same way they are treating us?


As we prepare for the final plague, we see the grace and mercy of God on display. ​​ Pharaoh continued to live in rebellion against God and His commands.  ​​​​ He will suffer the consequences of that behavior, and yet God will extend mercy in the midst of His judgment of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. ​​ Moses wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Even in the midst of judgment, God is gracious and merciful.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 11:1-10)

    • Review (vv. 1-3)

        • The Lord reassured Moses that there will be just one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt

        • The Lord reviewed for Moses what He had said previously concerning the Israelites leaving Egypt

          • At the burning bush: ​​ Exodus 3:19-22, “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. ​​ So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. ​​ After that, he will let you go. ​​ And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. ​​ Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. ​​ And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

          • In Midian: ​​ Exodus 4:22-23, “Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: ​​ Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” ​​ But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

          • In Egypt: ​​ Exodus 7:3-5, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. ​​ Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. ​​ And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

        • Moses added a parenthetical note

          • Since Moses was writing after the fact, he explains what the Lord did after the final plague

          • Moses did not create suspense, but explained the power of God

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is able to make those who persecute us look on us with favor.

            • Read Acts 5:29-42

            • When I worked in the secular business world, I experienced God’s power at work to make those who persecuted me, because of my faith, look on me with favor

            • Have you experienced that in your own life?

            • We can trust God and His power to transform the thoughts and actions of those who persecute us

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in God’s awesome power to make __________ (person/group) look on me with favor.

          • That is what God did for the Israelites and for Moses

          • Moses was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and the people

            • While Pharaoh was struggling to see God’s hand at work through Moses, Pharaoh’s officials and the people of Egypt recognized it

              • Gnats: ​​ Exodus 8:19, The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”

              • Hail: ​​ Exodus 9:20, Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside.

              • Locusts: ​​ Exodus 10:7, Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? ​​ Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. ​​ Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”

            • As we will see in just a moment, Pharaoh’s officials would bow down to Moses

            • “Moses himself was afforded a lofty status among the Egyptians, not because of anything he had done, but because his God granted him special favor and chose to work mighty signs through him.” ​​ [Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 48]

          • The parenthetical note shared the positive outcome of the final plague

        • The review is finished and it is time to return to the narrative

    • Report (vv. 4-8)

        • Most scholars agree that what we see in Exodus 11:4-8 actually happens between Exodus 10:26 and Exodus 10:27

          • “It is as if, while leaving, Moses turns to Pharaoh and says, ‘Oh yes, one more thing before I go.’” [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 245]

          • It also appears that the last part of Exodus 11:8 happens right after Exodus 10:29

        • Moses gave Pharaoh the details about the last plague as the Lord had told him

          • The plague (vv. 4-5)

            • The Lord was going to go throughout Egypt about midnight

            • Every firstborn in Egypt would die, without exception

            • It would affect every family from the greatest to least

            • It would include the firstborn cattle too

          • Reaction to the plague (v. 6)

            • There would be loud wailing throughout Egypt

            • The Hebrew word for wailing is the same Hebrew word used of the Israelites in Exodus 3:7, 9

              • Exodus 3:7, The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. ​​ I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.”

              • Exodus 3:9, And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

            • The wailing would be worse than they had ever experienced before or would experience in the future

          • Exception to the plague (v. 7)

            • The Israelites would be exempt from this plague

            • That is what is meant by the phrase “not a dog will bark”

            • “The actual meaning of the Hebrew is ‘but among the Israelites not a dog will stick out its tongue at any man or animal.’ . . . To say that not even a dog would stick out its tongue at an Israelite was a simple, graphically idiomatic way of saying that the Israelite humans and cattle would simply see no harm whatever from the tenth plague.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 267]

          • Response to the plague (v. 8)

            • Now we see that Moses is talking to Pharaoh and his officials that are standing beside him

            • Pharaoh’s officials would come down from the platform where Pharaoh’s throne was at and bow down before Moses

            • They would encourage Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt

          • Moses left the presence of Pharaoh

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is gracious and merciful.

            • We see God’s grace and mercy in several aspects within this narrative

              • One is the timing of the death of the firstborn at midnight

                • “. . . ‘midnight’ in the sense of the concept in the ancient world was the deepest, darkest time of night, the point during the night when the most people were likely to be asleep (since people tended to retire to bed at dusk) and the time of greatest vulnerability and defenselessness. ​​ Thinking of the events of the plague from the point of view of the mercies of God, causing the death of so many Egyptians was indeed a severe punishment, but allowing them to die quietly in their sleep was an act of grace.” ​​ [Stuart, 265]

                • I love the idea that God graciously took all the firstborn of Egypt while they quietly slept

                • Even in the midst of judgment, God is gracious and merciful.

                • He loved the Egyptian people even though they had rebelled against Him

                • We see God’s love and justice working together perfectly through His grace and mercy

              • Another is the fact that God did not completely destroy all the Egyptians

                • He certainly had the power and the right to do that

                • Exodus 9:15, For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.

                • Definitions

                  • Grace is getting something we don’t deserve

                  • Mercy is not getting what we do deserve

                • The Egyptians deserved to be wiped off the earth because of their rebellion against God and their oppression of His people, but God only required the lives of the firstborn children and cattle

                • Even in the midst of judgment, God is gracious and merciful.

            • God is gracious and merciful to us as well

              • We are all born into sin, meaning that we are in rebellion against God from our birth (Rom. 3:23)

              • We see God’s grace and mercy in the fact that what we earn or deserve for our sin is to be separated from God for all eternity, but He offers us the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus (Rom. 6:23)

              • We experience God’s love for us through the fact that He sent Jesus to die for us while we were still in rebellion against Him (Rom. 5:8)

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Experience God’s grace and mercy by accepting His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

            • Through the tenth plague we see the grace and mercy of God, but we also see His justice

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is just.

            • Many people ask if God’s punishment was just, because Pharaoh was the one whose heart was hardened and not necessarily his people

              • That belief assumes we know the heart of the Egyptians, which we don’t

              • “[We] must . . . remember that the firstborn of the womb belongs to God. ​​ It is his by right and he may do with it as he pleases. ​​ The ‘destroyer’ (i.e., the tenth plague) was not a random type of punishment; it was directed against the Egyptian firstborn. ​​ This is significant. ​​ Not only was the tenth plague a payback for Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite children in chapter 1, but it was God’s exercising his divine right over the firstborn.” [Enns, 254]

              • “What the question fails to bring out is the right of God to bring judgment upon any and all who have rebelled against him. . . . He may judge sinners at any moment by any means he considers appropriate: ​​ overthrowing cities such as Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18-19) or annihilating the inhabitants of Jericho by an invading army (Josh. 6).” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 205]

              • “God does a great many things that remain beyond human understanding because human intellect is far too limited to allow for appreciation of the entire complexity of God’s overall eternal plan for his universe and each individual in it.” ​​ [Stuart, 265]

              • “Compensation is a fundamental law of life (Matt. 7:1-2), and God isn’t unjust in permitting this law to operate in the world. ​​ Pharaoh drowned the Jewish babies, so God drowned Pharaoh’s army (Ex. 14:26-31; 15:4-5). ​​ Jacob lied to his father Isaac (Gen. 17:15-17), and years later, Jacob’s sons lied to him (37:31-35). ​​ David committed adultery and had the woman’s husband murdered (2 Sam. 11), and David’s daughter was raped and two of his sons were murdered (2 Sam. 13; 18). ​​ Haman built a gallows on which to hang Mordecai, but it was Haman who was hanged there instead (Es. 7:7-10). ​​ ‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap’ (Gal. 6:7, NKJV). ​​ As to the justice of this tenth plague, who can pass judgment on the acts of the Lord when ‘righteousness and justice are the foundation of [His] throne’? (Ps. 89:14, NIV).” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 197]

              • Genesis 18:25b, Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

              • It is arrogant of us as finite human beings to think that we know better than an infinite, holy God

              • We have to humble ourselves by ridding our hearts and minds of pride and submit to Him as Almighty God

            • Blaming God for not being fair or just

              • How many of us are willing to admit we have thought that we know better than God does about . . .

                • Our job, a relationship, and/or our finances

                • The physical or spiritual healing of a family member or friend

                • Children and women who are exploited and hurt

                • The political system and our government officials

                • The leadership and direction of our church

              • Maybe some of us have questioned whether God’s punishment of us has been just or fair

                • Even in the midst of judgment, God is gracious and merciful.

                • We can trust that God is fair and just even if we don’t understand, because that is His character

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Acknowledge that God is just and fair in how He deals with humanity.

            • We also see in this section of the narrative a principle that we have already talked about

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is able to make those who persecute us look on us with favor.

            • Moses told Pharaoh that his officials would come and bow down before him and plead with him to leave with all of the Israelites in tow

            • And we know from verses 2 and 3 that the Israelites would plunder the Egyptians when they left

        • The Lord’s announcement is finished and we see His final reminder in verses 9 and 10

    • Reminder (vv. 9-10)

        • Most translations simply say that the Lord “said” instead of “had said”

        • Whether the Lord told Moses presently or not, it is something the Lord had said before

          • Exodus 4:21-23, The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. ​​ But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. ​​ Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: ​​ Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” ​​ But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

          • Exodus 3:19-22, “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. ​​ So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. ​​ After that, he will let you go.

          • Read Exodus 6:1-8

          • The Lord had been said these things throughout the plague accounts and they had come true

        • Application

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God’s desire is for His people to come to Him without experiencing great calamities.

            • The Egyptians

              • The greater purpose behind every plague the Egyptians experienced was so they would recognize that the Lord is God

              • He wanted the Egyptians to believe in Him and serve Him instead of the vast number of gods and goddesses they were currently worshiping

            • Us

              • The greater purpose behind every hardship we face is so we will recognize that the Lord is God

              • He wants us to believe in Him and serve Him instead of the idols we currently worship

              • Are you continuing to rebel against the Lord?

              • How many calamities will you need to experience before you recognize that the Lord is God

                • He created you and He loves you

                • He wants you to be in a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – God wants us to turn from our wicked ways and live.

            • “Judgment is not the first option in God’s dealings with mankind.” ​​ [Mackay, 208-209]

              • Ezekiel 33:11, Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. ​​ Turn! ​​ Turn from your evil ways! ​​ Why will you die, O house of Israel?’

              • 2 Peter 3:8-9, But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ​​ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Turn from my wicked ways and repent of my sins.


  • YOU

    • Trust in God’s awesome power to make those who are persecuting me, look on me with favor.

    • Experience God’s grace and mercy by accepting His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

    • Acknowledge that God is just and fair in how He deals with me.

    • Turn from my wicked ways and repent of my sins.


  • WE

    • Trust in God’s awesome power to make those who are persecuting us, look on us with favor.

    • Acknowledge that God is just and fair in how He deals with us.



“The historian Paul Veyne calls himself an ‘unbeliever,’ and yet he extols the message of human dignity that we find in the sacrificial love and death of Jesus. Veyne writes:


[In the gospel, a person's life] suddenly acquired an eternal significance within a cosmic plan, something that no philosophy or paganism could confer ... The pagan gods lived for themselves. In contrast, Christ, the Man-God sacrificed himself for his [people] ... Christianity owed its success to a collective invention of genius ... namely, the infinite mercy of a God passionate about the fate of the human race, indeed about the fate of each and every individual soul, including mine and yours, and not just those of the kingdoms, empires and the human race in general.”



Paul Veyne, “When Our World Became Christian: (Polity, 2010), pp. 19-22.






Locust Legions

(Exodus 10:1-20)



“An ‘attitude indicator’ is an important piece of equipment on a plane. ​​ It shows the position of the plane in relationship to the horizon. ​​ As the plane climbs, there is ‘nose-high attitude,’ meaning that the nose of the plane is above the horizon. ​​ A ‘nose-down attitude’ for too long means it is going to crash. ​​ Monitoring a plane’s attitude is important, and sometimes it’s necessary to change the attitude in order to change the performance.


We reach the point of the story in Exodus where Pharaoh is about to crash. ​​ His ‘nose-down’ attitude has made his heart impenetrable, but God continues his assault upon the Egyptian powers and idolatry for instruction purposes as various plagues are unleashed.”


[Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 41]



  • ME

    • Attitude indicator

        • There have been times in my life when my “attitude indicator” has been “nose-down”

        • It normally happens because of pride in my life

        • I want something to go a certain way and when it doesn’t my attitude is nose-down

        • If I don’t change my attitude and confess my pride, I will crash and burn


  • WE

    • Attitude indicator

        • How many of us can relate to having a “nose-down” attitude from time-to-time?

        • What causes us to have that attitude? ​​ (pride, fear)


Pharaoh has been refusing to obey God’s command to let His people go. ​​ Because of pride, his attitude has been “nose-down” for seven plagues. ​​ The Egyptians have been tolerant of Pharaoh’s attitude during all of those plagues and have held their tongues, but that is about to change. ​​ They are going to begin encouraging Pharaoh to be obedient to God’s command, but his pride will prevail. ​​ Surely, his relationship with his people is beginning to erode as they recognize the pride in his heart. ​​ The author wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Pride ruins relationships.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 10:1-20)

    • Instruction (vv. 1-2)

        • This is the second plague in the third cycle of plagues

          • Moses is instructed to go to Pharaoh, just like plagues 2 & 5

          • Where we see a difference is in the plague of frogs and the plague on livestock, the Lord says, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him.”

          • With the eighth plague, Moses is told to go to Pharaoh, but we are not told ahead of time what he is supposed to say

          • Instead, the Lord follows up His command to go “with an explanation that was for the benefit of Moses and the Israelites in general, throughout their generations.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 243]

        • The Lord’s initiative

          • We see again that God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart and his officials hearts

          • This was certainly on purpose

            • The Lord wanted to perform His miraculous signs among the Egyptians

            • From the beginning, it was so Pharaoh and the Egyptians would know that God is the Lord

            • It was also that the Israelites would know that God is the Lord

            • It is all tied together

        • Sharing with the next generation

          • In the ancient Near East information was handed down through oral tradition

          • When the Israelites were finally free from Egyptian slavery, they would be able to share with future generations how God miraculously and powerfully brought plagues on the land of Egypt to encourage Pharaoh and his officials to let them go

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Sharing about God’s miraculous power with future generations is vital!

            • Idaville UB Church

              • We have much to share with future generations

              • God provided the old school property in the 1960’s

              • He provided for the multipurpose room expansion in the 1990’s

              • He provided miraculously for the elimination of debt, multiple times (building, taxes, etc.)

              • He has provided miraculously through transformed lives (salvations, baptisms)

            • Personally

              • How has God shown His miraculous power in your life?

              • Have you shared that with family members recently?

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Share God’s miraculous power of ___________ with _________.

        • With the instruction complete, Moses and Aaron go to see Pharaoh

    • Interrogation (vv. 3-11)

        • Three Questions

          • Moses and Aaron (vv. 3-6)

            • Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and gave him the message from the Lord, the God of the Hebrews

            • Question #1 – How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?

              • Pharaoh was dealing with pride, which affected his relationship with the Lord

              • Pride ruins relationships.

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – Humility before the Lord pleases Him.

                • Biblical background

                  • Proverbs 11:2, When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

                  • Proverbs 22:4, Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.

                  • Read Luke 14:7-11

                  • Philippians 2:3-4, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. ​​ Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

                  • James 4:6b, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

                  • Micah 6:8, He has showed you, O man, what is good. ​​ And what does the Lord require of you? ​​ To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

                • “When individuals or groups willingly acknowledge God’s sovereignty—not in general but over them—they assume their proper position and role in the created order. ​​ When people do not acknowledge the one true God as their own Lord, however, they are in rebellion against their very nature and eventually must be forcibly taught who is boss. ​​ The Bible teaches that everyone will eventually acknowledge the lordship of the only God; the Egyptians were required to acknowledge it, however reluctantly, through the plagues, before Yahweh (“before me”).” ​​ [Stuart, 244-45]

                • Are you being humble before the Lord or are you allowing pride to ruin your relationship with Him?

                  • Pride can cause us to not obey the Lord

                  • We may not ask fellow believers for help, because we are too proud

                  • Repentance and accepting salvation from the Lord, means we have to humble ourselves, admit we are a sinner, and need a Savior

                  • When we refuse to humble ourselves, we cannot benefit from the Lord’s wisdom

                  • His desire is that we walk with Him in humility

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess that my pride has ruined my relationship with the Lord and seek to be humble before Him.

              • After the Lord questions Pharaoh, He gives him a command

            • Command – Let my people go, so they can worship me

            • Consequence

              • If you refuse, I will bring locust into your land tomorrow

              • They will devour everything that survived the hail

              • They will fill every Egyptian house

              • It will be unprecedented – it will impact everyone

            • Moses turned and left Pharaoh

          • Pharaoh’s officials (v. 7)

            • After Moses and Aaron left, Pharaoh’s officials confronted him

            • Question #2 – How long will this man be a snare to us?

            • Recommendation – Let the people go

              • “That Oriental courtiers spoke so bluntly to Pharaoh is a measure of the desperation that they felt.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 190]

              • Pharaoh’s officials understood the seriousness of the threatened plague of locusts

                • They were already reeling from the devastation caused by the hail

                • Locust were not a new problem for them, they knew how devastating this plague would be

                • “Though weighing at most two grams, a locust is able to eat its own weight of vegetation in a day. ​​ Swarms may cover many square miles and involve billions of insects. ​​ The devastating impact of locusts was feared and viewed as a sign of divine judgment.” ​​ [Mackay, 189]

                  • Read Joel 1:4-7

                  • Amos 7:1-3, This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing a swarm of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the second crop was coming up. ​​ When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! ​​ How can Jacob survive? ​​ He is so small!” ​​ So the Lord relented. ​​ “This will not happen,” the Lord said.

              • Pharaoh’s officials already understood that Egypt was ruined from the hail

              • It seems as though Pharaoh is the last person to recognize this

              • Pride ruins relationships.

                • Pharaoh did not want to submit to the Lord, because it would strip him of power and authority

                • He was willing to allow his pride to ruin his relationship with his officials

            • The plea from Pharaoh’s officials must have had some impact, because he had Moses and Aaron brought back

          • Pharaoh (vv. 8-11)

            • It seems, at first, that the conflict between Pharaoh and the Lord has ended when he tells Moses and Aaron to go worship the Lord their God

            • Question #3 – But just who will be going?

              • Pharaoh asked the question, because he probably already knew the answer, but he wanted to be sure

              • Pharaoh was hesitant to let everyone leave, because he knew the impact it would have on Egypt

              • He was not stupid

            • Answer – everyone and everything

              • All ages

              • All sexes

              • All flocks and herds

              • The reason was because they were going to celebrate a festival to the Lord, which would involve men, women, and children

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – Worship should be a family affair.

                • When the laws for proper worship were given later on, the Israelite men were required to return to Jerusalem for three festivals each year (Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Festival of Booths)

                  • Deuteronomy 16:16-17, Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. ​​ No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed: ​​ Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.

                • Deuteronomy 6:6-9, These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. ​​ Impress them on your children. ​​ Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ​​ Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. ​​ Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

                • Darren Williamson shares six ways that family worship will bless your family []

                  • Family worship will unify your family

                  • Family worship will provide space for family dialogue

                  • Family worship will become a life-giving spiritual tradition

                  • Family worship will reveal weaknesses in the family unit

                  • Family worship will invigorate Christian marriages

                  • Family worship will provide training ground for worship in the assembly of the church

                • Worship should be for more than just men – it should be encouraged and modeled by men as the spiritual leaders of the household

                • Guys we have to step up and lead our families in prayer, Bible reading, worship, church attendance, Scripture memorization, modeling the fruit of the Spirit, and much more

                • When we lead, our families will follow

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Lead my family in worshiping the Lord by _________.

                  • What is one thing you can begin doing to lead your family in worship?

                  • If you are part of a family unit that does not have a husband or father, then ladies I encourage you to take the lead

              • After Moses answered Pharaoh’s question, Pharaoh responded

            • Response – only the men can go to worship the Lord

              • Before Pharaoh says no, he makes a sarcastic remark

                • The way it is written in English makes it sound like Pharaoh is blessing them on their journey

                • Stuart says, “Were Pharaoh speaking modern colloquial English, he might have said something like: ‘Oh, sure, that’s fine. ​​ And it would certainly prove that Yahweh was with you if I actually allowed all our family members to go with you, but, look, it’s obvious you have evil in mind.’” ​​ [Stuart, 248]

              • He also accused Moses of planning something evil

              • Pharaoh knew if he only let the men go, they would return to be with their wives and children and any evil they were planning would be thwarted

            • Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence

              • Pharaoh was obviously angry with Moses’ answer

              • Pharaoh’s pride was ruining his relationship with Moses and Aaron

              • Pride ruins relationships.

        • The interrogation is done and it is time for the invasion

    • Invasion (vv. 12-15)

        • The Lord tells Moses to stretch our his hand over Egypt

          • This would begin the invasion

          • The locusts would consume everything growing in the fields that had been left by the hail (certain crops and fruits were unharmed by the hail)

        • Moses obeyed and God did the miraculous

          • “‘Made blow’ represents a word used for driving sheep or guiding armies. ​​ Here the Lord acts as shepherd and general to ensure that an east wind would blow in from the desert zone between the Nile and the Gulf of Suez, or even all the way from Arabia.” ​​ [Mackay, 193]

          • God was bringing this unprecedented swarm of locusts from a faraway location where they had hatched and matured

          • They were riding the Lord’s special wind all day and night in order to arrive in Egypt at just the right time and cover a specific area of land

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God’s power is unlimited and it rules over every land.

        • The locusts did their job

          • They invaded all Egypt (settled down in every area of the country)

          • The swarm of locusts was unprecedented before or after

          • There were so many of them that the ground was completely covered

          • The land was now completely desolate and bare

          • “In destroying the vegetation, God not only left the land bankrupt, but He triumphed over Osiris, the Egyptian god of fertility and crops. ​​ He also proved that He had control over the wind.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 195]

          • God also showed His power over other Egyptian gods [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 62]

            • Min, the patron god of crops

            • Isis, the goddess of life (who prepared flax for clothes)

            • Nepri, the god of grain

            • Anubis, the guardian of the fields

            • Senehem, the protector against pests

        • Pharaoh realized the extent of his pride

    • Intercession (vv. 16-19)

        • Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron

          • He was perhaps in a panic at this point

          • There was no oasis along the Nile River anymore

          • It was as desolate as the desert

        • He confessed

          • The difference between Pharaoh’s confession this time and after the hailstorm was that he acknowledged who had sinned against – the Lord God and Moses and Aaron

          • PRINCIPLE #5 – God is honored when we acknowledge that we have sinned against Him.

            • “All sin, regardless of the perpetrator and the victim, is first sin against God. . . . This posture is what makes the difference between guilt for sin and sorrow for sin. ​​ Guilt says, ‘I am sorry I did it.’ ​​ Sorrow says, ‘I am sorry I did it to him.’ ​​ Guilt is feeling sorry for one’s sins because they are destroying one’s own life. ​​ Sorrow is feeling sorry for one’s sins because they grieve and break God’s heart.” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 160]

            • Do you have sorrow for your sin, because it has grieved and broken God’s heart?

            • Pride ruins our relationship with God, because it is sin

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Honor God by acknowledging that my sin of ___________ is against Him.

          • Once we acknowledge our sin and own it before the Lord, then we can seek forgiveness

          • That is exactly what Pharaoh did

        • He sought forgiveness

          • Pharaoh sought the Lord’s forgiveness and Moses and Aaron’s forgiveness for his sin of pride

          • After seeking forgiveness he asked for relief from the plague of locusts

            • Please pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me

            • “Pharaoh’s point was that he saw Egypt dying as a result of the combined effect of the hailstorm and the locust invasion, not merely that the plague was deadly in some sense. ​​ His words do not suggest a focus on a plague but rather on death. ​​ Pharaoh was beginning to get the point: he realized that the plagues were leading to death, not merely inconvenience or temporary hardships.” ​​ [Stuart, 253]

        • “Moses proposed but God disposed.” ​​ [Stuart, 254]

          • Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord

          • The Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up all the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea

          • Every last locust was removed from Egypt

        • God had to make Pharaoh resolute at this point

    • Inflexible (v. 20)

        • The Lord had to make Pharaoh’s heart resolute, so He could complete the final two plagues

        • Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go


  • YOU

    • With whom are you going to share an example of God’s miraculous power?

    • Do you need to confess that your pride has ruined your relationship with the Lord and seek to be humble before Him?

    • How are you going to lead your family in worshiping?

    • Will you honor God by acknowledging that your sin is against Him?


  • WE

    • With whom can we share an example of God’s miraculous power?

    • Has pride ruined our relationship with the Lord?



“According to the National Geographic website (their kids' version that is) the Pufferfish can inflate into a ball shape to evade predators. Also known as blowfish, these clumsy swimmers fill their elastic stomachs with huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) and blow themselves up to several times their normal size … But these blow-up fish aren't just cute. Most pufferfish contain a toxic substance that makes them foul tasting and potentially deadly to other fish. The toxin is deadly to humans—1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. There is enough poison in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

Like Pufferfish, human beings can blow themselves up with pride and arrogance to make themselves look bigger than they are. And this pride can become toxic to a marriage, a church, or a friendship. No wonder the late Bible scholar John Stott once said, ‘Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.’”


Source: "Pufferfish," National Geographic Kids.





A Tef(Nut) to Crack

On May 8, 1784, the South Carolina Gazette reported that eight people were said to have been killed by hail along the Wateree River: “On the eighth of May last, a most extraordinary shower of hail, attended with thunder and lightning, fell in this district, and along the banks of the Wateree; the hail stones or rather pieces of ice, measured about 9 inches in circumference; it killed several people, a great number of sheep, lambs, geese, and the feathered inhabitants of the woods.” While death by hail is fairly rare in the US, in other places of the world, it is responsible for a fair number of fatalities. In 1928 in Klausenburg, Romania, six children were killed in a hailstorm during a Mayday festival. On April 14th, 1986, grapefruit sized hail hit Gopalganj, Bangladesh and killed 92 people. Those massive hailstones are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s heaviest at 2.2 lbs. And as recently as 2009 fourteen people were killed by hail in the Anhui province of China. ​​ 

On the website atlasobscura, Dylan Thuras, writes, In 1942, a British Forest guard in Roopkund, India made an alarming discovery. Some 16,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake absolutely full of skeletons. That summer, ice melt revealed even more skeletal remains, floating in the water and lying haphazardly around the lake’s edges. Something horrible had happened here. A National Geographic team set out to examine the bones in 2004. Besides dating the remains to around 850 AD, the team realized that everyone at the “Skeleton Lake” had died from blows to the head and shoulders caused by “blunt, round objects about the size of cricket balls.” This eventually led the team to one conclusion: In 850 AD this group of 200 some travelers was crossing this valley when they were caught in a sudden and severe hailstorm. An ancient folk song of the area describes a goddess so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them with ice stones “as hard as iron.” Hail killed every last one of them.

In our scripture this morning we are going to see that the one true God, Yahweh, will send the full force of his plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt. Pharaoh has now been warned six times to let the Israelites go so that they can worship the Lord, but he has continued to harden his heart, refusing to do so. The Lord will again show that the gods of Egypt are impotent, and he will reveal other sovereign purposes for the plagues in addition to freeing his chosen people from slavery in Egypt. We will notice that God is acting not only in judgment but in mercy and that there is a bigger picture, so to speak, at work. In our scripture this morning, found in Exodus 9:13-35, God is going to give us insight into the bigger picture of what he is doing in Egypt and ultimately the world.

We, as individuals, tend to see only part of the picture. We tend to focus on ourselves and how the good or bad things in our lives affect only us. But because God is almighty, sovereign and eternal, and knows the beginning to the end of history, there are things that we can’t fathom or comprehend about what is going on around us. That’s the bigger picture that God is working out in the world but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can begin to see the bigger picture about what God is doing in, through and around us, we can gain wisdom and insight about the why and the what God is doing, in our families, our church, our community, and our world. When we are focused only on ourselves and on worldly things like Pharaoh was, we miss the opportunities to see God’s power, to give him glory and to bring others along on the salvation and sanctification journey with us. Let us be people who want to see the bigger picture that God has for us and that brings us to our big idea that Moses wants us to understand this morning that God desires his people to see and understand the bigger picture. This is important as we study the judgment and mercy in the plagues of Exodus, and it is important as we contemplate the discipline and blessing in our lives that we receive from our heavenly father. As we dwell on and ponder that big idea, let’s open our study into God’s Word with prayer: Heavenly Father, open our eyes and our eyes to your bigger picture this morning and in the future. Help us to see the why and what you are doing around us and give you praise, honor and glory for it. Let us not be so focused on ourselves that we miss what you are doing in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our first point this morning is Purpose found in Exodus 9:13-21. Follow along as I read those verses. This is what God’s Word says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’” Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.”

This is the longest and most detailed narrative concerning a plague so far. It signals that a new intensity and seriousness is coming with future plagues. This seventh plague is similar to the first and the fourth in a couple of ways. First, the Lord’s instructions to Moses are similar. In Exodus 7:15, the plague of blood, Moses is to go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes to the water. In Exodus 8:20, the plague of flies, Moses is to get up early and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water. Here the Lord tells Moses again to get up early in the morning and to confront Pharaoh. We aren’t told where Moses is to confront him, but we can guess that he is again at the water, either washing or worshiping or both. Second, Moses continues to give Pharaoh the same message from the Lord, which is to let his people, the Israelites, go so that they can worship him. ​​ 

Then the message begins to differ in several ways. First, the plagues will become more intense and the consequences more serious than before. The Lord is now going to send the “full force” of his plagues against Pharaoh, his officials and the Egyptian people. The phrase, “full force” can be translated as “all.” The word “all” or “every” or “everything” appears twelve times in describing the seventh plague. This plague will show that there is no one like the Lord in “all” the earth, it will affect “every” man and animal, and “everything” growing in the field, and “all” vegetation and “every” tree. Every conceivable aspect of the land of Egypt will be caught up in these plagues. The word “plagues” is plural making us acutely aware that the Lord is not yet done sending them against Egypt. He will send these remaining plagues “against” or “to the hearts” of Pharaoh, his officials and the Egyptian people. “To their hearts” means they are “for their careful attention.” Pharaoh is running out of time to pay attention to what the Lord is trying to tell him so he can humble himself before Almighty God and be obedient to him. Shemesh says, “The Lord will strike Pharaoh precisely in the organ that perpetuates his transgression—his heart.”

Second, the Lord is sending these remaining plagues to their hearts so they may “know” something more about him. He sent the first plague so that they would know he is the Lord. He sent the second plague so that they would know that there is no one like the Lord. He sent the fourth plague so that they would know that the Lord was in the land of Egypt. And here he is going to send the seventh plague so that they would know that there is no one like the Lord in all the earth. He has already shown that he is the Lord and is above all other gods. He has shown that he is the God of the Hebrews and he is Lord over the land of Egypt, not Pharaoh. Now he is going to show that he is the Lord over all the earth. He is incomparable and unique. He is the Lord of everyone and everywhere. This speaks to both the Lord’s character and wonder-working power that separates him from all other deities. Goldingay says, it is “not the uniqueness of a theology but the uniqueness of a reality.” Our Lord is the only true and real God in all the universe.

The overarching purpose of the plagues was so that Pharaoh, the Egyptians, the entire world and even the Israelites would “know” the Lord. God wants us to “know” him, and he’s made a way through Jesus Christ for us to do that. He wants an intimate and personal relationship with us and that happens when we are redeemed, reconciled and restored to fellowship with the Almighty, our Creator. This “knowing” happens when we admit that we are a sinner, we believe that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins and when we confess him as Lord over our lives and over all the earth. That brings us to our first next step this morning found on the back of your communication card which may be for you: My next step is to Accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and be redeemed, reconciled and restored to an intimate and personal relationship with him.

Third, the Lord tells Pharaoh that he is also Lord over him because he holds his very life and the lives of the Egyptians in his hands. “For by now” introduces a climactic force to what the Lord could have done. The Lord could have stretched out his hand and “struck” or “destroyed” or “erased” them off the face of the earth, but he didn’t because there was a greater purpose, a bigger picture, for the sending of the plagues. Fourth, the Lord shows that he is sovereign; that he is in control of all things and all things run and move according to his purposes. Pharaoh deserved death but the Lord “raised up” or “spared” Pharaoh for a greater purpose. Fretheim says, “The question here is not what God could have done, as if God’s power were in doubt, but what should have been done had God not had a more comprehensive purpose that (Pharaoh’s) life could serve.”

The Lord then reveals his greater purpose or bigger picture for sending the plagues. It was so they would see his power and that his name would be proclaimed in all the earth. Yes, the Lord wanted to free his people so that they could worship him. Yes, the Lord wanted Pharaoh and the Egyptians to know that he is the Lord. But the bigger picture was that his great power would be seen by the Egyptians and the Israelites alike and that his name or his fame would be proclaimed in all the earth. In Romans 9:17, Paul quotes verse 16 in discussing divine sovereignty and divine mercy, and how the Jews and the Gentiles are on the receiving end of both. In Romans 9:18 Paul goes on to say, “So then he (talking about God), has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.” The point is that Pharaoh, just like us, owes every breath to a holy, just and merciful God, and in spite of Pharaoh hardening his heart against God and his people, God had a plan to use the life of Pharaoh in a way that his power would be seen, and his name would be proclaimed in all the earth. We see this reality in Joshua 9 when the Gibeonites met with Joshua, they spoke of “the fame of the LORD,” saying, “we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt.” And in 1 Samuel 4, when the ark of the covenant entered their camp, the Philistines said, “We’re in trouble! Nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the desert.” The plagues made God famous and his name, his reputation and character, was proclaimed in all the earth.

The Lord then accuses Pharaoh of still setting himself against God’s people and refusing to let them go. “Setting himself” can also mean “treading on” or “barricading” himself against God’s people. Pharaoh was “exalting” himself in hostility over them, presuming to be their king when Yahweh was their true lord and king. The consequences of exalting himself over God’s people and refusing to let them go would be the worst hailstorm in the history of the civilization of Egypt. This describes the unprecedented severity of the plague that is coming. There had been nothing like it before and there would be nothing like it again. Mackay says, ‘Worst’ means ‘very heavy’, continuing the theme that the plagues are just retribution for Pharaoh’s hardness or heaviness of heart. Hamilton says, “A hailstorm over all Egypt would be about as common as a blizzard in San Diego from a nor’easter. It would be as unheard of as 24-7 darkness (the ninth plague) in the land of eternal sunshine. In total, it would be a storm that would demonstrate God’s power and sovereignty over all weather and nature.

We then again see a difference in the message to Pharaoh and the Egyptian people. For the first time the Lord warns the Egyptians to bring in their livestock and slaves from the field so they would be saved. God was inviting and even testing Pharaoh and the Egyptians to trust his word. It was a call to an act of faith. Pharaoh and the Egyptians had seen God’s power over and over again and was now given a chance to trust in him and believe in him as the sovereign Lord over all the earth. Again, we are confronted with the bigger picture of God’s mercy and judgment. He didn’t want to kill Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He wanted them to see his mercy toward them and fall down in worship to him as their Lord. God wanted survivors rather than victims.

Next, we see that this plague ups the ante, so to speak. The previous six plagues brought death to fish and livestock including horses, donkeys, camels, sheep and goats. And they definitely brought discomfort and uncleanliness to the Egyptian people. But with the seventh plague any of the Egyptians and their slaves who were caught outside in the hailstorm would perish. This is the first plague where people would be killed. This is also the first instance of Egyptians believing the word of the Lord. Moses records that some of Pharaoh’s officials feared the word of the Lord and took the warning seriously and brought their slaves and livestock inside. It was probably a minority, but it showed that the plagues were starting to affect the Egyptian people. They probably did not fear the Lord, himself, but at least they believed that he would do what he said he would do and had the power to do it. This would have been a belief that was short of conversion, and would not have been a saving faith in the one who revealed the coming hailstorm to them. We also see the flipside that there were others who ignored the word of the Lord. They paid no attention and they “set or hardened their hearts” just like their leader, Pharaoh, and left their livestock and slaves in the field. There is a truth here that when we, as human beings, are confronted by the word of the Lord, there are two choices we can make. We can fear the word of the Lord and obey, or we can ignore it and harden our hearts.

Now that the Lord had proclaimed his bigger purposes for the plagues which was to show his power and so that his name might be proclaimed in all the earth, we come to our second point this morning which is Plague seen in verses 22-26. This is what God’s Word says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on people and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.” When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So, the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell, and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.”

The next day, Moses stretched out his hand and staff toward the sky and the Lord brought the hail over all of Egypt. It fell on the Egyptian men, their animals and on everything growing in the fields. It happened just as the Lord promised it would. Moses’ staff represented God’s divine power and presence and the sky was filled with thunder, hail and lightning. Moses stretching his staff toward the sky and the Lord bringing the storm are to be understood as almost simultaneous. Even though it was Moses who did the motions it is clear that it was the Lord who sent the plague. Literally, there was hail, and fire flaming within the hail. Motyer says, “fire kindled and rekindled itself without need of fuel to feed on and spreading in all directions.” The fire was self-perpetuating, and fire and water were able to coincide together. The coincidence of two such mutually exclusive elements as hail and fire must have been extraordinarily frightening and destructive.” ​​ 


We can only imagine what the Egyptians would have thought about this storm. They were probably terrified and believed that the wrath of God was being poured down upon them from heaven. The mention of the storm again being the “worst” in Egypt since it had become a nation acts as a reminder that this was judgment from God being poured out on them. The word “worst” is also translated “heavy” showing that as Ryken says, “Pharoah got exactly what he deserved – a storm every bit as heavy as his heart.” We are told that the hail struck everything in the fields, men and animals and it beat down everything growing in the fields and even stripped every tree. The word “struck” is often used to mean “a deadly blow.” Men and animals were killed, everything growing in the fields was beat down and the trees would have been smashed by the sheer force of the storm. This was a killer storm in which both the hail and lightning did major damage. We are then reminded of the power and sovereignty of God in that the only place it did not hail was in the land of Goshen, where God’s chosen people the Israelites were. This was truly a supernatural event sent from God as judgment upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian people.


As we have seen before this plague was also an attack on the Egyptian gods. When God said that they would know that there was none like him in all the earth – the comparison was between the Lord and the gods of Egypt. Currid says, “It is critical to remember that the Egyptians believed their gods to be personified in the elements of nature. The catastrophe of the hail was therefore a mockery of the Egyptian heavenly deities, including Nut, the female representative of the sky and personification of the vault of heaven, Shu, the supporter of the heavens who holds up the sky, Seth, who manifested himself in the wind and storms, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture.” This is where the title of today’s sermon came from. I called it a “Tef(Nut) to Crack” but in reality cracking Tefnut was an easy feat for our God, further showing that the Lord was sovereign over all persons, places and things.


After God brought the worst hailstorm in the history of the civilization of Egypt that killed men, animals and devastated the crops in their fields, we now come to our third point this morning called Promise found in verses 27-33. This is what God’s Word says, “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.) Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land.”

As with the other plagues, we don’t know how long the devastating hailstorm continued before Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He summons them because he knows that they are the only ones who can stop the devastation that is taking place in Egypt. But when he did, he said something he had never said before. He seems to recognize Yahweh as God, but in the broadest sense. He confesses that he has sinned and that the Lord was right, and that he and his people were in the wrong. But as we look closer at his confession we notice a few things about it. First, he didn’t confess that he had sinned against God or even confess to God. Second, he didn’t confess all his sins he only confessed to sinning “this time” minimizing his sin. Maybe he didn’t believe that the other times he lied and hardened his heart were really sins at all. Pharaoh didn’t turn away from his sin looking for a relationship with the Lord. He was again grieved over the consequences of his sin, not grieved at his sin itself. Also, in calling the Lord “righteous” he was not talking about the Lord’s character, but his actions. Pharaoh was making as narrow a concession as he could, only admitting to doing wrong or being unfair not committing any evil. He didn’t have a fear of the Lord, so his confession didn’t show true repentance.

He then asked Moses again to pray to the Lord to stop the thunder and hail; they had had enough. In both Hebrew and Egyptian, “thunder” is used to mean “the voices of God.’ God had been speaking in judgment through this plague wanting Pharaoh to see his power and let his people go. Pharaoh just wanted the terrible storm to stop. Then we see the first of two promises made in this section. First, Pharaoh promises to let the Israelites go saying they do not have to stay in Egypt any longer. This was a reversal from the plague of flies when he would only give them permission to sacrifice in the land and then permission to leave Egypt as long as they didn’t go too far. Pharaoh was now giving permission to leave the land with no stipulations. He was willing to grant a privilege that he thought was within his power to grant. Second, Moses promises that when he has left the city he will pray to the Lord to stop the thunder and hail. The Lord is mentioned three times here meaning that it was the Lord that Moses would be praying to and it would be the Lord who stops the storm. The spreading out of Moses’ hands meant he would turn his palms upwards in supplication to the Lord. We again see the purpose that Pharaoh would “know” something about the Lord. He would know that the earth is the Lord’s and that he is in control of everything that happens on the earth, even the weather.

We also see that Moses is not naïve. He knew that Pharaoh and his officials could not be trusted to fulfill their promise because they did not have a fear of the Lord. We may wonder why Moses would seemingly give in and pray to stop the hail knowing Pharaoh’s past in reneging on his promises and hardening his heart. There are a couple of reasons. One, it would prove “that the earth belonged to the Lord” not to Pharaoh or the Egyptian gods. Two, it would also leave Pharaoh without an excuse for exalting himself above the Lord and against his people. Third, the Lord’s power would be seen not only in sending the hailstorm but in stopping it as well. Fourth, Moses believed in God’s sovereign purpose in what was happening. The use of the “Lord God” in verse 30 is the only place it is used in the Pentateuch outside of Genesis 2-3. It was probably used here to show that Pharaoh has to some degree been impressed by the power of God, but he doesn’t yet trust in or truly “know” the Lord. ​​ He has at least stopped claiming to not know him. In fact, now, he not only knows the Lord exist but admits that he was right in sending judgment on Pharaoh and Egypt.

We then get this curious aside. We are told that the flax and the barley were destroyed since they were almost full grown and ready for harvest. We are also told that the wheat and spelt were not destroyed because they were not yet ready for harvest. There are probably a couple of reasons why Moses gives us this information. First, it is a timestamp as to when this plague happened. Because the barley was nearly ripe, and the flax was blossoming points to January as to when the hailstorm hit Egypt. This level of exactness shows that this was a real and specific event in history. Second, it points to the devastating effects of the hail on Egypt’s economy. The flax and the barley would not have recovered, and those crops would have been lost. And the fact that the wheat and the spelt were spared showed the mercy of God in the midst of his judgment. Proving again that God had a bigger picture in mind. Moses and the Lord now keep their promises. Moses leaves Pharaoh, going out of the city, and spreads his hands in prayer toward the Lord and when he does the Lord stopped the thunder, hail and rain. The Hebrew suggest that Moses’ prayer brought immediate relief. Moses mentions twice that he would pray after leaving the city. This showed his complete trust in the Lord to protect his people from these plagues and there would be no question about whether the storm was stopped on its own or not.

After Moses and the Lord made good on their promise we come to our fourth point this morning which is Prevaricate found in verses 34-35. This is what God’s Word says, “When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.”

Moses kept his promise to pray to the Lord and God kept his promise to bring the devastating hailstorm to an end. But true to form, Pharaoh does not keep his promise. Now that the threat of the plague was over, he prevaricates, or lies and would not let the Israelites go. His admission of sin didn’t change his behavior and Moses records that Pharaoh sinned again. This is the first time that Pharaoh’s hardening of his heart has been called sin. Greenberg says, “He acknowledged guilt but went right on being guilty.” DeNeff says, “Any repentance that does not lessen our impulse to commit the same sin again is not genuine repentance.” There is a difference between remorse and repentance. The best way to tell true repentance is to see what happens after confession of sin. Ryken says, “True repentance is a complete change of heart that produces a total change of life.” We see this in scripture with King Saul and King David. In 1 Samuel 15:24-25 Saul says, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” In Psalm 51:4b, David says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” And in verse 10, he says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Did you hear the difference? Saul, like Pharaoh, admitted he sinned but didn’t admit that he had sinned against God himself. He was motivated by a desire to escape punishment. David, on the other hand, admitted his sin against God and was motivated by a passionate desire for reconciliation and restoration.  ​​​​ 

We also notice that Pharaoh’s officials hardened their hearts as well. This probably included the earlier officials who had feared the word of the Lord and heeded the warning to bring their animals and slaves inside before the storm started. Pharaoh’s hardening had a negative effect on those around him. We are not surprised that Pharaoh has hardened his heart again and wouldn’t let the Israelites go. The Lord had already told Moses it would happen. After the plague of boils, we are told that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It may have been that Pharaoh had been close to giving in to the Lord and letting the Israelites go but God’s plan had not been completed so he hardened Pharaoh’s heart. We now notice that Pharaoh is hardening his own heart again. Pharaoh was sure that he was the ultimate authority over his people and his land. It never occurred to him that there was an even more supreme being above himself. Even after being confronted by God, Pharaoh shut him out of his world and lived like he was in control of his destiny and the destiny of God’s people as well.

We, as human beings, tend to make everything about us. The Israelites fell prey to this as well. They were thinking that the Lord was sending these plagues so that they could be free. Of course, that was true, but God had a bigger picture in mind for them. As we continue to study the history of the Israelite people in the wilderness and in the Promised Land, we will see that it was a picture that they never really saw or understood for very long. God wanted them to worship and obey him as their Lord and be the conduit through which the world would be saved. They were going to see God’s power manifested in incredible ways over and over again but what did they do? They complained and accused Moses and God of bringing them in the wilderness to die. They refused to take the Promised Land the first time because the people were bigger than they were, and they didn’t think God could give them the victory. And they crucified Jesus, the Messiah, God’s Son, the one that they were waiting for. They completely missed the big picture of the purpose that God had created them for.

We see this missing of the big picture in an interview with the co-pilot of US Air flight 1549, which crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York City, a landing which everyone survived. In response to the question, “Was it a miracle?” co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles stated with absurd arrogance, “I wouldn’t say that. I would simply say that it’s just that everybody did our jobs and we had good fortune, as well.” We live in a world that is much like ancient Egypt. We have so deified everything and everyone that we actually think that we are in control.

I am also reminded of times of struggle and hurt in my own life. I can cry out “why is this happening to me, God” and never realize that he might be wanting me to see and confess my sin or see that the struggle I am going through is not for me but so that I can help someone down the road who is going through the same struggle. When we stop focusing on ourselves and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can start to see and understand God’s bigger picture in our lives. We can start to see the power of Almighty God which should cause us to proclaim his name in all the earth. The Lord is determined that the earth will know that He is Yahweh. This brings us to second and last next step this morning which is to Stop focusing on myself and strive to see and understand the bigger picture that God has for my life and the world around me.

This week a friend of mine prayed a benediction in a Bible study that I take part in on Tuesday nights and I think it’s appropriate to what we have talked about today so I would like to pray it over us now: “You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go God is guiding you and wherever you are God has put you there. Amen.” Let us be people who want to see the bigger picture that God has for our lives.

As the praise team comes forward to lead us in our final song and the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offering, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your powerful Word and for your powerful name. Help us to “know” you as Lord and Savior and to be connected to you in an intimate and personal relationship. Help us to stop focusing on ourselves and strive to see and understand the bigger picture that you have for us and the world. We ask for the help of the Holy Spirit this morning as we strive for this understanding. In Jesus name, Amen.



“Boiled” Over

(Exodus 9:8-12)



Most of us are familiar with the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. ​​ She had just finished high school and was looking forward to college, when she and her sister went to the Chesapeake Bay for a swim. ​​ When Joni dove into the water she hit her head on the sandy bottom, snapping her head back and crunching her fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae.


On November 12, 2023 Alisa Childers had Joni on her podcast to discuss the nearest of Christ in 50 years of suffering.


In answering one of Alisa’s questions, Joni made this statement, “God permits what He hates. ​​ He’s not excited about suffering. ​​ He hates evil, obviously, but He permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” ​​ She then used the example of Christ’s suffering to illustrate that God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves. ​​ She continued her answer by saying, “my friend said, Joni, it’s very much like you, um, God permitted what He hated, your spinal cord injury, just like He permitted those awful events leading up to the cross of Christ, but He permitted it in order to accomplish something good. ​​ He’s turning you from a headstrong, stubborn, rebellious teenager into a young woman who’s going to understand something of perseverance, something of endurance, who is going to allow her character to be refined, who is going to gain a deeper love for prayer and His Word, who is going to set her heart and hopes on Heaven. ​​ I mean He went on and on just envisioning for me things that at that point I could not envision for myself, but at least those ten words had hooked me, ‘God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves.’ ​​ And now I understand what it is that He loves in my life, Christ in me the hope of glory and my suffering.”


Alisa asked another question about the chronic pain that Joni experiences all the time. ​​ In response she said, “I realized that God shares His joy on His own terms and those terms call to us, for in some measure, to suffer as His own son suffered and, in a strange way I welcome the dark difficult guest of pain in my life. ​​ I welcome it because I know it is the gash through which more grace will pour into my life and I have counted that grace and that nearness and sweetness to Jesus Christ as worth the pain and that’s hard to say when I feel like screaming. ​​ But I believe it to this day and sometimes I lay on bed at night and I am so happy in Christ despite the pain that I am crying, but I’m so happy because He’s really worth it and I don’t know that I can convince people of it except that they just have to take me as saying the truth. ​​ That it’s a matter of faith. ​​ It’s a matter of stepping out.”




Can we even imagine having that kind of hope and joy after being knocked down? ​​ Joni, through the help of family and friends, was able to eventually look up to Jesus. ​​ It took time. ​​ She continues to look up to Jesus after 56 years of being a quadriplegic. ​​ She uses Scripture, prayer, and music to sustain her.



  • ME

    • Our family has experienced times when we have been knocked down and had to look up to the Lord for help (health, jobs, relationships, etc.)

  • WE

    • How many of us have spent some time flat on our backs because of some illness, surgery, or injury to our bodies?


The Egyptians were going to find themselves in a world of hurt with this sixth plague. ​​ They were going to suffer from painful boils all over their bodies that kept them from being able to stand in Moses’ presence. ​​ All of the plagues the Lord brought upon the Egyptians was so they would know that He is God. ​​ This plague was not an exception. ​​ When they were knocked down, would they look up to the Lord? ​​ We will see. ​​ The same is true for us – when we are knocked down, will we look up to the Lord? ​​ Our big idea reflects that thought today. ​​ It is . . .


BIG IDEA – God may knock us down, so we will look up.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 9:8-12)

    • Instruction (vv. 8-9)

        • Moses and Aaron were just given the instructions without having to meet Pharaoh at a certain time or place (just like the third plague of gnats)

          • This is the third plague in the second cycle of plagues

          • Next week we will begin the third cycle of three plagues, before the final plague

        • Instruction

          • The Lord spoke to both Moses and Aaron

          • They were to take handfuls of soot from a furnace

            • It is likely that the furnace where they got the soot, was one that was used by the Israelites for making bricks

            • Perhaps the Lord was using what was afflicting the Israelites to afflict the Egyptians

          • Moses was instructed to toss the soot up into the air in the presence of Pharaoh

          • God would miraculously transform it into fine dust that would cover the whole land of Egypt

            • “As the God of the Hebrews was Lord over the water, air, earth, and life itself, so he was Lord over all elements, including fire.” ​​ [Martin, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, 44]

            • “What started as a small amount of soot was changed and vastly multiplied by divine fiat into a huge amount of fine dust, covering Egypt and causing festering boils on both humans and animals.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 228]

            • Attributes of God

              • God is sovereign, which means He is Lord over everything (all elements, animals, and humans)

              • God is omnipotent (all-powerful)

              • God is Creator, so He is able to transform His creation according to His plan and purpose

            • The transformed soot would cover humans and animals throughout Egypt

          • Festering boils would break out on humans and animals

            • While it is not explicitly stated, most scholars agree that the Israelites and their animals were exempt from this plague – they did not break out with festering boils

            • This was the first plague that actually attacked the bodies of the Egyptians

            • The boils would have been visible and very uncomfortable [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 145]

            • If you remember, the Egyptians were obsessed with cleanliness, especially concerning their bodies, so this would have prevented them from bathing as often as they would have liked and it definitely affected the cleanliness of their bodies

            • They would have been dealing with oozing sores all over their bodies

        • Attacking the gods of Egypt

          • The Egyptians looked to their gods for healing (Amon Re, Thoth, Imhotep, and Sekhmet) [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus In Exodus, 60]

          • “Perhaps this plague is connected with Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess of plagues, who was viewed as responsible for epidemics, and also capable of healing those who were afflicted by them.” ​​ [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 173]

          • They were going to find out that Sekhmet was powerless and impotent

          • Comedian, Christian McCartney, was on Huckabee the other night and he closed his set by saying, “Laughter is great medicine, but Jesus Christ is the only healer.”

          • The Lord was trying to get the Egyptians attention, so they would know that He is God

        • The instructions have been given, now it is time for action

    • Infection (vv. 10-11)

        • Moses and Aaron did exactly what the Lord had instructed them to do

          • They got handfuls of soot from a furnace

          • They stood before Pharaoh

          • Moses tossed the soot into the air

        • God kept His promise

          • The author does not state here that the soot turned into fine dust and covered the land of Egypt, but we know it happened because festering boils broke out on humans and animals

          • This was part of the Lord’s instructions to Moses and Aaron

            • The soot would turn into fine dust and settle on humans and animals

            • The fine dust would cause festering boils to break out on humans and animals

        • Magicians condition

          • Role of the magicians

            • Stuart outlines two reasons why the magicians were mentioned during the sixth plague when they haven’t been mentioned since the third plague [Stuart, 229]

              • It would help the reader understand that Pharaoh used the magicians as advisors during these plagues

              • If the physicians (magicians) could not heal themselves, it proved once again that God was more powerful than the gods or magicians of Egypt

            • “In ancient Egypt healing was frequently linked to magical rituals undertaken by priests in temples. ​​ The very priests to whom the Egyptians might have looked for help are themselves afflicted and their powerlessness to ward off this bodily ailment underlines yet again the superior strength of YHWH.” ​​ [Alexander, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 187]

          • The plague of boils was so bad that the magicians could not stand before Moses

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God may use physical ailments to get our attention.

              • Notice that I use the word “may” in describing this principle

              • Not all physical ailments are a result of God trying to get our attention

                • Some of our ailments are simply the result of repetitive stress over time (knee cartilage gone; carpal tunnel in our wrists; bulging disks in our back; rotator cuff injuries; etc.)

                • Those physical ailments may afford us down time that we would not otherwise have or take

              • God may knock us down, so we will look up.

              • It is valuable to do some self-evaluation when we have time on our hands

                • Whether we are recovering from surgery due to repetitive stress on a part of our body

                • Or if we are sick from some virus that requires us to be quarantined

                • Perhaps we have time because we have lost our job

                • Whatever the case may be, it is important to spend time with the Lord

                • He may have been trying to get our attention for some time

                • Will we look up or will we continue to harden our hearts to His voice, to His prompting?

                • What are some ways that we can look up to the Lord when we are knocked down, when we cannot stand?

                  • Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word

                  • Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you through His Holy Spirit

                  • Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you through fellow believers

                  • Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you through worship

                • The Lord’s desire is for us to recognize that He is God (sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, healer, Creator, and so much more)

                • He wants us to look up to Him in repentance and dependence

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Look up to the Lord in __________ (repentance/dependence) since I am currently knocked down by ________.

            • The magicians were knocked down by the plague of boils

            • Their gods were useless, because they were false gods

            • The Lord was showing them that He is the only true God – He only could heal them and restore them

        • Perhaps this plague started to get Pharaoh’s attention

    • Indifference (v. 12)

        • “While it had been predicted in 4:21 that the Lord would harden Pharaoh’s heart, this is the first time that it is recorded as happening.” ​​ [Mackay, 175]

          • Maybe having boils all over his body, caused Pharaoh to start contemplating letting the Israelites go

          • God needed Pharaoh to stay the course of His redemptive plan

          • He needed Pharaoh to be willing to let the Israelites go without any strings attached or compromises

        • The plagues were not exclusively for Pharaoh and the Egyptians

          • They were also for Moses and the Israelites

          • God wanted the Israelites to recognize that He is in complete control [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 219]

          • This is a great reminder for us also – God is in complete control of every aspect of our lives


  • YOU

    • Do you need to look up to the Lord in repentance or dependence as you struggle with being knocked down right now?


  • WE

    • We need to look up to the Lord in dependence as we struggle with being knocked down.



“Author and pastor Jim Van Yperen tells this story:


Margaret attended a church I served many years ago. Confined to a wheelchair for most of her adult life, Margaret lived with a body both contorted and misshapen, ravaged by multiple sclerosis. She spoke softly, often slurring her words in barely audible grunts. She drooled constantly and was in pain nearly all her waking hours. Margaret had grounds for complaint; but she did not complain. She loved Jesus, and she never missed church. Sunday morning and evening, midweek prayer meeting, and special gatherings, Margaret was always there, always in a neatly pressed dress.


One night, after I first arrived at the church, I was conducting a forum asking questions and facilitating dialogue with a group of about 20 people. I asked people to tell me their favorite Bible verse or a passage from Scripture that was personally meaningful. Several people offered verses that I noted on a flip chart up front. After many people spoke, Margaret let me know she wanted to say something. Most of the people had recited their verses from memory or read them aloud from Scripture. Since Margaret could not speak, I looked up the verse for the group and read it for her: ‘It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes’ (Psalm 119:71 NASB).


Margaret smiled broadly and nodded her head. Her wheelchair was a testimony to grace.”


Source: Jim Van Yperen, "Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict" (Jim Van Yperen, 2002), pp. 106-107.






Field Fiasco

(Exodus 9:1-7)



“Their tongues were cut off, but there was no spilled blood. No signs of struggle. No footprints or tire tracks were found. Investigators were stumped: who is going on a murderous rampage of cows in Texas, and how are there no clues surrounding their deaths?


It seemed a scene straight out of The Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch, the reality TV show on the History Channel about the Utah ranch that is supposedly the site of unexplained supernatural phenomena.


Across three Texas counties within the span of a few weeks, seven cattle were found dead under the same suspicious circumstances: lying on one side with the mutilated part of their face exposed, minus a tongue.


The cow-killing spree happened in Madison, Brazos and Robertson counties – all located in east-central Texas. Each cow was from a different pasture and herd.


‘A straight, clean cut, with apparent precision, had been made to remove the hide around the cow’s mouth on one side, leaving the meat under the removed hide untouched,’ the Madison county sheriff’s office said.


‘On two of the five cows, a circular cut was made removing the anus and the external genitalia. This circular cut was made with the same precision as the cuts noted around the jaw lines of each cow.’


Ranchers reported no predators or birds had scavenged the remains, a common theme in similar killings.


The official cause of most of the cows’ deaths is still unknown, but the freakish events have sparked memories of a long-held conspiracy theory about the mysterious deaths of livestock animals dating back to at least the 1970s in the US that lays the blame at the feet – or tentacles – of aliens in UFOs.

Back then, scores of animal mutilations across at least seven US states triggered a bout of speculation that outer space visitors were attacking – and sampling – earthly animals. Others thought it was all a part of a ritualistic killing.


In 1979, the FBI launched a formal investigation into similar killings sweeping New Mexico. But the appropriately named Operation Animal Mutilation concluded that the mysterious deaths of livestock animals killed in similar fashion to those seen recently in Texas were a result of natural predation.


The Robertson county sheriff’s office said a postmortem exam returned on Monday showed that the cause of death for one cow was pneumonia, but like the FBI’s investigation, the report did not explain the reasons for the animal’s injuries.


The Madison county sheriff’s office said: ‘Multiple similar incidents have been reported across the United States and we are actively coordinating with other agencies to find answers.’


Other ranchers in the area are fearful their bovines could be butchered next.


Mark Enloe of Enloe Ranch lives in Madison County, along the same stretch of highway where the cows in his town were attacked. He called the recent string of cow murders ‘concerning’.


‘I have cattle right in the same vicinity of where these [killings] have taken place, within a couple of miles. I’m sure trying to keep an eye out, watching and making trips up and down the road several times during the day and night to just check and see if anything strange is going on.’


Enloe said his neighbor was taking more precautions by putting up cameras around his cows in case he’s targeted next.


And Enloe’s friend Steve Cole, who just happens to be Madison County’s justice of the peace, has even more reason to worry. One of his cows was found dead of unnatural causes mere days ago. Although his cow was not mutilated, he’s not confident these incidents aren’t related.


Roughly 15 minutes down the road is the B&B Cattle Company. On a phone call with its owner, Brad Barrett, a loud ‘moo’ can be heard in the background.


‘We always take precautions to make sure the [cattle] stay safe, but not anything more than normal … We have plenty of dogs. If something’s awry, oh, I’ll definitely know if I’ve got my dogs,’ he said.


The sheriff’s offices in all three counties did not respond to a Guardian request for comment.


$5,000 reward is being offered by the Animal Legal Defense Fund for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who may be responsible for the deaths of these cows.”





  • ME

    • Free chicken meal

        • Quite a few years ago our neighbor man called us to let us know that one of our chickens was lying dead in his yard

        • Before we were able to get outside and retrieve the dead chicken, the perpetrator returned and ate the chicken

        • It was another neighbor’s dog that had gotten lose

        • When we finally got outside, we could tell that the dog had been running circles around the chicken pen

        • The dog eventually made a hole in the chicken wire and caught one of our chickens, killed it, and it deposited it in the neighbor’s yards

        • We have had other chickens die of natural causes

    • Red beet raid

        • For all of the years we have had a garden, we have never had any issues with wildlife raiding it and eating up the plants

        • That all changed this past growing season

        • The year before we had a bumper crop of red beets and we were looking forward to another prosperous year

        • Unfortunately, some deer decided to venture into our garden for the first time and they ate all of the baby red beet plants

        • We could see their hoof prints in the soft soil


  • WE

    • How many of us have experienced some kind of damage to our pets, farm animals, or plants?

    • It is frustrating and concerning when it happens


While ranchers in Texas have not figured out the cause of death and the mutilation of their cows, Pharaoh and the Egyptians were warned a day ahead of the coming destruction of the livestock in their fields. ​​ The Lord was warning them of the consequences of refusing to obey His command to let His people go. ​​ It would be costly for them. ​​ The same is true for us. ​​ What the author wants us to understand today is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Refusing to obey God’s commands is costly.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 9:1-7)

    • Command (vv. 1-4)

        • This is the fifth time the Lord instructed Moses to go to Pharaoh with His message

          • How was Moses’ feeling at this point?

          • We are not told how he is feeling about doing the same thing over and over again with the same negative results

          • What we do know is that Moses obeyed and continued to obey another five times

          • Application

            • How many of us have stopped after being rejected just one time?

            • Is there a difficult conflict that God is asking you to face repeatedly? ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Exodus 9:1]

            • Are you ready to throw in the towel?

            • I want to encourage you to not give up, especially when you know what God is calling you to do is the right thing

            • Moses realized that persistence is rewarded

            • That is not always easy to see when you are in the middle of the conflict or difficulty

            • Resolve today to keep being obedient no matter how long it takes

            • God is faithful!

            • Paul reminded Timothy of this truth when he was encouraged him to remain faithful

            • 2 Timothy 2:11-13, Here is a trustworthy saying: ​​ If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. ​​ If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Keep being obedient to what God is asking me to do no matter how long it takes.

          • Moses faithfully shared the Lord’s message with Pharaoh

        • Message

          • The Lord, the God of the Hebrews

            • The phrase, “the God of the Hebrews,” has not been used since Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh

            • During the plague of flies, the Lord made a distinction between His people and Pharaoh’s people

            • The Lord is now expressing that there are two groups in Egypt and He is identifying with the Hebrews [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 169]

            • They are His people

          • Let my people go

            • This has been the recurring command from the Lord

            • The reason the Lord is command their release is so they can worship Him

          • If you refuse

            • The Lord used this same phrase during the second plague of frogs and a similar phrase with the plague of flies

            • We will see this phrase again with the plague of locusts

            • The Lord adds a phrase in this message that is not found in any of the other confrontations, continue to hold them back

              • This phrase indicates that Pharaoh is restraining the Israelites from being where God wants them to be [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 221]

              • God is ready for the Israelites to return to the Promised Land, but Pharaoh is holding them back from accomplishing this

              • God will not allow anyone or anything to get in the way of His plan or purpose

              • In God’s sovereignty, He has five more plagues for Pharaoh and his people to experience before he will release the Israelites

            • The hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague

              • The magicians recognized the plague of gnats as the finger of God

              • But, with the fifth plague they would experience God’s whole hand

              • The fifth plague affected the Egyptians livestock out in the field

                • Any horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats that were in the field would die from the plague

                  • “Domesticated animals were treasured as enormously valuable assets in Bible times.” ​​ [Stuart, 222]

                  • Bulls, cows, and rams were also part of ​​ Egyptian cult worship

                  • The Lord was once again targeting the Egyptian gods

                  • Some animals were considered sacred

                  • Apis, the bull-god of Memphis

                  • The ram of Amun

                  • “. . . Hathor, the mother and sky goddess was depicted as a cow.” [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 216]

                  • Mnevis, sacred bull worshiped at Heliopolis

                • “All of God’s creation, human and nonhuman, are liable to be caught up in the disastrous consequences of one malevolent human being. ​​ The ripple effect of one’s stubbornness and stupidity can be massive.” ​​ [Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary, 143]

                • PRINCIPLE #1 – Refusing to obey God’s commands is costly.

                  • Have you experienced that in your own life?

                  • Has your stubbornness and stupidity caused disastrous consequences for you and your family, friends, and coworkers?

                  • Have you been on the receiving end of a family member, friend, or coworker who has been stubborn and stupid?

                  • Your stubbornness and stupidity may not have cost others their livestock, but it may have cost them their health as they have worried about you, their savings as they have tried to help you, their sleep as they have stayed awake praying for you, maybe even their own job or other relationships

                  • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my stubbornness and stupidity and seek forgiveness from those I have hurt.

                • In the field

                  • This seems to be significant that it would only be the livestock in the field

                  • We will see animals being affected by the boils (6th plague), livestock being killed with hail (7th plague), and the death of the firstborn livestock (10th plague)

                  • “The information that it is only the livestock that is out in the open that is going to be affected afforded those Egyptians who took the warning seriously the opportunity to bring even more animals under cover than would ordinarily be kept there (see 9:19). ​​ This may go some way towards explaining the presence of animals affected by subsequent plagues (9:9, 19; 11:5; 12:29) [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 170]

            • The plague would affect the Egyptian livestock in the field, but would not affect the Israelites livestock at all

          • Distinction foretold

            • Just as the Lord had done with the flies, he made a distinction between His people and Pharaoh’s people

            • This distinction did two things:

              • It exposed the impotence (powerlessness) of the Egyptian deities that were represented by these animals [Mackay, 171]

              • It was a nationwide humiliation of the Egyptian people [Stuart, 222]

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is able to be precise in His punishment.

              • He is able to protect certain people and things while allowing devastation and destruction to destroy others

                • We see God’s omnipotence and sovereignty through this

                • Hawaii

                  • In August of 2023 there were a series of wildfires that swept across the island of Maui in Hawaii

                  • They were devastating and destructive

                  • In the midst of that destruction there was an historic church that was untouched

                  • The Maria Lanakila Catholic church was spared

                • West Virginia

                  • On March 5, 2019 it was reported that at fire broke out at the Freedom Ministries Church in Daniels, WV

                  • There was extensive damage to the building, but the fire department wrote, “Not a single Bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed!”

                • We may not always understand why these kinds of things happen, but we can trust in the power and sovereignty of God

                  • “It’s hard enough to go through difficulty, but doubly hard when it seems like others aren’t.” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: Genesis—Job, 258]

                  • How many of us can relate to that statement

                  • Maybe you are going through a difficult situation right now and you are frustrated because family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers seem to be doing just fine

                  • They appear to be thriving and flourishing while you are floundering

                  • God is sovereign and in control of your situation

                  • Perhaps there is something specific He is trying to teach you that He is not trying to teach your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers

                  • He is allowing you to experience difficulty, so that you will recognize that He is the Lord

                  • He is able to be precise in His discipline, so we will pay attention to what He is trying to accomplish in our lives

                  • He wants us to be transformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus

                • God loves us and wants what is best for us and sometimes that requires us to experience precise punishment

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Embrace God’s precise discipline, so He can accomplish His plan in my life.

              • Perhaps you are not experiencing the Lord’s precise discipline in your life right now – Praise the Lord!

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Pray for ______ (name) as they are experiencing _______.

            • Refusing to obey God’s commands is costly.

          • God’s message to Pharaoh was clear – He wanted His people released and if Pharaoh refused the Egyptians livestock in the fields would die, but the Israelites livestock would be spared

        • After sharing the Lord’s message with Pharaoh, Moses then shared the Lord’s timing

    • Consummation (vv. 5-7)

        • Timeframe

          • The Lord gave the Egyptians a day to prepare

          • If they were smart, they would remove their livestock from the fields

          • “A definite time was also fixed for the coming of the plague, as in the case of the previous one (8:23), in order that, whereas murrains [an infectious disease affecting cattle or other animals] occasionally occur in Egypt, Pharaoh might discern in this one the judgment of Jehovah.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 316]

          • It would not be a natural occurrence that would affect all livestock – Egyptian and Israelite alike

          • This would be a supernatural disease on the Egyptian livestock that would not cross over to the Israelite livestock

        • God was on time

          • God kept His promise to bring the plague the next day

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God keeps His promises.

            • God did not make an idle promise and He was not bluffing

            • He kept His promise to the Israelites on multiple occasions

              • He rescued them from slavery

              • He brought them into the Promised Land

              • He sent them into captivity when they disobeyed His commandments, decrees, and statutes

              • He restored them from captivity when they returned to Him

              • He always had a king from the line of David on the throne – including Jesus

              • He sent Jesus to take our punishment for sin

              • The list could go on and on

            • We can trust Him to keep His promises even today

              • When we follow His commandments, decrees, and statues, He will provide for and bless us

              • When we choose to rebel against Him, He will discipline us

              • When we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us because He is faithful and just (1 John 1:9)

              • He will save us, provide eternal/everlasting life, and allow us to become His children when we repent of our sins (Rom. 10:9, 10; John 3:16; John 1:12)

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Rejoice in the fact that God always keeps His promises.

          • Distinction delivered

            • All of the Egyptian livestock died, but not one Israelite animal died

              • Most scholars agree that the word “all” here is hyperbole for “most” of the livestock

              • This would make sense when we look at verse 3 and realize that only the livestock in the fields died

              • It was a significant number of livestock that the livestock that remained was insignificant

              • Stuart considers another secondary meaning of the Hebrew word for all, “It is due simply to the fact that the Hebrew word kol, usually means ‘all,’ can mean ‘all sorts of’ or ‘from all over’ or ‘all over the place.’ ​​ In this verse the better translation of the full expression would be ‘all sorts of Egyptian livestock died’ or Egyptian livestock died all over the place.’” [Stuart, 223-24]

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is able to be precise in His punishment.

          • I am sure the Egyptian people realized that refusing to obey God’s commands was costly

            • They lost a valuable asset that helped with cultivating the land, so plants could grow

            • They also lost a valuable resource that provided meat and milk

        • Checking up on God

          • Pharaoh had not forgotten God’s words about making a distinction between His people and Pharaoh’s people

          • He sent some men to investigate the livestock of the Israelites

          • “If a similar situation was found in Goshen, the Israelite enclave, it would prove that the plague had been natural . . .” [Stuart, 224]

          • Pharaoh did not want it to be true, but it was – not one of the Israelite animals had died

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God keeps His promises.

        • Even though Pharaoh verified that God had kept His promise to protect the Israelite livestock, his heart did not change

    • Coldhearted

        • Pharaoh’s heart was unyielding

        • He still refused to let the Israelites go

        • Proverbs 28:14, Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

        • Ephesians 4:18, They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them die to the hardening of their hearts.


  • YOU

    • Keep being obedient to what God is asking you to do no matter how long it takes.

    • Embrace God’s precise discipline, so He can accomplish His plan in your life.

    • Whom do you need to pray for that is experiencing God’s precise discipline?

    • Rejoice in the fact that God always keeps His promises.


  • WE

    • We need be continue to be obedient to what God has asked us to do no matter how long it takes.

    • We need to embrace God’s precise discipline of us, so He can accomplish His plan in our church.

    • We need to pray for those who are experiencing God’s precise discipline.

    • We need to rejoice in the fact that God always keeps His promises.



“Out of parental concern and a desire to teach our young son responsibility, we require him to phone home when he arrives at his friend's house a few blocks away. He began to forget, however as he grew more confident in his ability to get there without disaster befalling him. The first time he forgot, I called to be sure he had arrived. We told him the next time it happened, he would have to come home.


A few days later, however, the telephone again lay silent, and I knew if he was going to learn he would have to be punished. But I did not want to punish him! I went to the telephone, regretting that his great time would have to be spoiled by his lack of contact with his father. As I dialed, I prayed for wisdom. ‘Treat him like I treat you,’ the Lord seemed to say. With that, as the telephone rang one time, I hung up. A few seconds later the phone rang, and it was my son.


‘I'm here, Dad!’


‘What took you so long to call?’ I asked.


‘We started playing and I forgot. But Dad, I heard the phone ring once and I remembered.’


‘I'm glad you remembered,’ I said. ‘Have fun.’


How often do we think of God as One who waits to punish us when we step out of line? I wonder how often he rings just once, hoping we will phone home.”


Source: Dennis Miller, Antioch, Illinois. Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 2.




God has been letting the phone ring once with Pharaoh and hanging up. ​​ He wants Pharaoh to know that He is the Lord. ​​ He is being gracious, merciful, and patient with Pharaoh. ​​ He wants Pharaoh to call Him back.


Has God let the phone ring once with you and hung up? ​​ Do you need to call Him, so you will not have to experience the costly consequences of refusing to obey Him?