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.





Escape Plan

In 1848, William and Ellen Craft masterminded a creative and daring escape. The two had married in Macon, Georgia, in 1846, but were held in slavery by different masters.​​ Terrified of being separated, they devised an ingenious plan to flee the Deep South for Philadelphia. The light-skinned Ellen cut her hair short, dressed in men’s clothing and wrapped her head in bandages to pose as an injured white man. William, meanwhile, assumed the role of her loyal black manservant. On December 21, 1848, the Crafts donned their disguises and boarded a train to begin the long journey North. The scheme seemed doomed from the very start after Ellen found herself sitting next to a close friend of her master, but her elaborate costume prevented her from being recognized. The Crafts spent the next several days traveling by train and steamer through the South, lodging in fine hotels and rubbing elbows with upper-class whites to maintain their​​ cover. Since she could not read or write, Ellen placed her arm in a sling to avoid signing tickets and papers, but her ruse was nearly found out when a Charleston steamer clerk refused to sell the pair their tickets without a signature. Luckily for the Crafts, the captain of their previous ship happened to pass by and agreed to sign for her. The Crafts arrived in Philadelphia on Christmas Day and were sheltered by abolitionists before continuing on to Boston.

This couple had an escape plan, didn’t they? They wore disguises and anticipated some of the pitfalls of the journey that could have gotten them caught. This morning, we are going to see another creative and daring escape plan found in Exodus 12:1-13. God has devised an escape plan for the Israelites and he instructs Moses and Aaron on how his plan is to be implemented among his chosen people. The specifics of the plan must be kept to the letter because it is a matter of life and death. For the first time, both Egyptians and Israelites will be subject to a plague and its punishment because both are sinful. But God through his escape plan will make a way for those who believe in him to escape the punishment for their sin. And praise God, he does the same for us today which brings us to our big idea this morning that​​ God desires that his people escape the punishment for their sin.

Before we start to unpack God’s escape plan for his people in Egypt and ultimately for you and I in the here and now, let’s pray: Lord God, thank you this day that you have made​​ and thank you that we can gather together as a community of believers in your house. May your great name be praised and glorified this morning as we open your Word seeking nourishment for our souls that we so desperately need. In Jesus’ name. Amen ​​ 

Our first point this morning is Preamble. Found in Exodus 12:1-2. This is what God’s Word says, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” In chapter 11, Moses tells Pharaoh that every​​ firstborn son in Egypt and of the cattle will die.

The final plague seems imminent but as we open chapter 12, Moses delays telling the actual event, heightening the drama, especially for the first hearers. But that wasn’t the only reason. Moses inserts very important preparations that are from the Lord to the Israelites that are essentially his escape plan for the people. It is imperative for the Israelites to follow these preparations precisely in order to make it out alive. The escape plan communicates​​ his present intentions as they prepare for the final plague and his future intentions as they remember his​​ mighty deeds once they leave Egypt. These preparations and the focus on their future would have given the people confidence in the Lord’s escape plan​​ and his promises to them.

We are reminded that Moses wrote the book of Exodus somewhat later, probably in the wilderness or in the Promised Land. “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt” means the following instructions from the Lord were spoken to them while still in Egypt. The preparations the Israelites were to make for the first Passover and later in remembrance of it started in Egypt. The Lord then institutes a new beginning to the Israelite year. While living in Egypt, they had probably been subject to an agricultural calendar which would have been dominated by the planting and harvesting seasons. “This month” literally means “this new moon” and suggests that the Israelites would now be following a lunar calendar. ​​ The present month was March/April, and from now on would be the “first” month of their year. The Lord was instituting a religious calendar based on what he is about to do for his chosen people. Their escape from slavery in Egypt would mark a new beginning for them and would be celebrated​​ in the years to come. Interestingly, this would not be the only time that God’s people would be freed from captivity on the first day of the first month of the year. In Ezra 7:9 it says, “He [Ezra] had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the​​ first month.” It is not a coincidence that the Israelites leave captivity in Babylon on the first day of the first month of the year. ​​ 

After the Lord instituted the beginning of a new religious calendar for his chosen people, he gave them instructions for their preparations for the coming plague. It would be vital that the people follow these preparations to the letter for his escape plan to be successful. That brings us to our second point this morning, which is Preparation, found in 12:3-11. This is what God’s Word says, “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the​​ goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where​​ they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not​​ leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

The first​​ thing we notice in this section is that Moses and Aaron are to give these instructions to the whole community of Israel. This was probably done by first informing the elders of the people who would then relay the instructions to the rest of the Israelites. This is the first of over hundred times that the term “community” appears in the Bible referring to God’s people. The church today is also a “community”; a community of believers and followers of Jesus Christ that share a bond with one another and worship the same Lord and Savior. Moses addressing the whole community would signal that something of great importance is about to be said. What he relays are very specific and precise preparations the people needed to follow to escape their slavery in Egypt. Previously, the Lord had made a distinction between his people and the​​ Egyptians, exempting them from the effects of the plagues. But now there would be no such distinction this time. The only way for the Israelites to escape the Lord’s judgment was to follow his preparations precisely.​​ (BIG IDEA)​​ The Lord’s preparations included the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Lord’s escape plan. The “when” was the tenth day of the present month. The “who” was each man or father of each household. And the “what” was a lamb. Each man was to take one lamb for each household meaning this was not an individual meal but a communal one. It was also important that the men or fathers of each household did this because they were the spiritual leaders of their families.​​ This meal was to have spiritual ramifications for all time. The men were to choose the lamb that would be slaughtered that would save their family from death and deliver them to freedom. Later on, when this event was remembered, the father would also play​​ an important role. They were to pass down the story of the Exodus during the Passover seder meal. They were the ones who were to tell what the Lord had done for his people. If the fathers neglected their role in Egypt, his firstborn would have perished. If the fathers neglected their role in the future, the story of how the Lord saved his people would be forgotten.

This is exactly what happened in Israel from around 1050 to 620 BC. According to the account of King Josiah’s reign in the Books of Kings and​​ Chronicles, the Jews did not observe Passover for 400 years, from the time of the Prophet Samuel to the time of Josiah. 2 Kings 23:21-22 says, “The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed.” And 2 Chronicles 35:18 says, “The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem.”

The Israelite fathers at some​​ point stopped obeying the Lord. They stopped celebrating the Passover and forgot to remember what God had done for them in bringing them out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Men, fathers, let us not neglect our Christian duty to be the spiritual leaders of our family. Let us obey the Lord in all things and pass these things down to our children and our grandchildren. And for those who do not have children, to pass them down to your nieces and nephews, and any other children you come in contact with.​​ It is imperative that we do not forget the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that saves everyone who believes from their sin and gives them eternal life. That brings us to our first next step found on the back of your communication card. It is for all​​ the men this morning: My next step is to​​ be the spiritual leader of my family, passing down the great things the Lord has done, especially the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

The preparations for choosing the lambs show that extreme care was to be taken. If a household was too small for their lamb they were to get together with their nearest neighbor and share it. We see the precision of the preparation the people were to take. They were to calculate exactly how much each person would eat so there would​​ be no leftovers. No one was to go without, and no one was to gorge themselves. The meat and the eating of it was important. The fact that more than one family could take part showed a communal aspect of the meal. But there was also a worship aspect to it.​​ The word “eat” appears thirteen times in Exodus 12:1-20. Hamiliton says,​​ “The OT seldom dissociates worship from eating. Dinner is not something that follows worship. Dinner is an integral part of worship.” It is interesting that when we are connecting with others, we are also connecting with God.

The animals chosen were to be year old males without defect. Verse 5 stipulated the animal could be a lamb or a goat. They were to be a fully grown but young animal in the fulness of its strength. The important thing was not that it was lamb or a goat but that it was without defect. It had to be the best they had. In Deuteronomy 17:1, we see these words, “Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.” The animal had to be a perfect sacrifice to be the substitute for their sins. This perfect sacrifice foreshadowed Christ as our perfect substitute, who would save us from the punishment for our sins. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “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 ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” As sinners, we are unworthy before a holy God, and in need of a Savior. We need a substitute to take the punishment for our sins just like the Israelites did on the first Passover. The animal they chose had to be without defect to satisfy the wrath of God just as Jesus, the perfect “lamb​​ of God”, satisfied his wrath for us. This reminds us of our big idea that​​ God desires that his people escape the punishment for their sin.​​ (Big Idea)

The lamb or goat was to be taken care of by each household for four days, until the fourteenth of the month. This would give them time to ensure that they had chosen a perfect animal, without blemishes or defects. Also the lamb or goat would become part of the family and by the time it was slaughtered would have been cherished and mourned. The sacrifice would become precious to each family. This also would have been a public testimony of their faith in the Lord and his promise to free them from slavery. The entire community of Israelites were to slaughter the lambs or goats at the same time, at twilight on the fourteenth of the month. Twilight was the period between early evening and sunset giving them between one and a half to two hours to kill the animal and prepare the meal. The fathers acted on behalf of each family member just as the priests would later in Israel’s history. It would have been a solemn act as they sacrificed the animals as a community. It is interesting that in chapter 12, the plural “lambs” is never used, reminding us of Jesus’ sacrifice. Urquhart says, “There was only one before God’s mind—The Lamb of Calvary.”

Next, we see the “where.” They were to put the blood of the animal on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses where they would eat the lambs. A number of commentators say they would have actually tied the lamb or goat​​ in their doorways on the tenth day and would have slaughtered them right there on the fourteenth day. The blood of the perfect animal would have been on all four sides of the doorframe leading into their houses. Again, this would be a public showing of each family’s obedience and faith that the Lord would keep his word and protect them from this final plague. The applying of the blood ​​ highlighted the fact that this was a sacrifice and would save those who lived there. Milgrom says, “The things that receive​​ blood are extremities, the particular points of the object that a hostile force would strike first.” The blood on their door frames was to keep the Destroyer out of the house.

Next, we see “how” they were to prepare and eat the meal. It was to be prepared​​ and eaten on the​​ same night they slaughtered the animal. They were to roast the meat over the fire and eat it with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast or unleavened bread. They were not to eat it raw or cooked in water and the head, legs and inner parts were to be roasted, as well. Roasting the meat highlighted the sacrificial nature of the meal and that the Israelites were to be consecrated or “set apart” as God’s chosen people. They weren’t supposed to eat the meat raw, probably to keep them distinct from the pagan culture they will find themselves surrounded by in the Promised Land. They weren’t supposed to boil the meat either. Wiersbe says, “It was forbidden to be boiled because the bones would have to be broken and the meat in cooking would separate from the bones. It was important to see the wholeness of the lamb.” This reminds us that none of Jesus’ bones were broken on the cross. Roasting the animal with its head, legs and inner parts meant they didn’t have to fully butcher the animal. This preparation of the meat would have been the fastest and simplest way, saving time and demonstrating a readiness to leave at a moment’s notice.

Eating the meat with bitter herbs and bread without yeast also pointed to the quickness and ease of preparing the​​ meal. The bitter herbs could be eaten raw or roasted with the meat. The bitter herbs would remind them of the bitter experience of slavery in Egypt, that God was going to deliver them from captivity and remind them of their remorse over breaking God’s law.​​ Eating unleavened bread was often associated with sacrificial meals. Leviticus 2:5 says, “If your grain offering is prepared on a griddle, it is to be made of the finest flour mixed with oil, and without yeast.” Yeast was a symbol of impurity and sin. It​​ is hidden and works silently and secretly; it spreads and pollutes. Eating anything without yeast or leaven was so serious that in Exodus 12:15 anyone who did was to be cut off from the community. Eating unleavened bread signified they were ridding themselves of sin and impurity. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 says, “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and the Passover was to set them​​ apart as his special people to do his special work in the world. Paul urges the church to purge sin from among their midst and present themselves as set apart to the Lord to do his work in the world. It is only when we are considered righteous before a holy God that we can fulfill his purpose for our lives. That brings us to our second next step this morning which is to​​ Purge the leaven (sin) from my life so I can be set apart to do God’s work in the world. ​​ Since they had calculated the meat that each person would eat, there was to be nothing of the lamb or goat remaining. If there was any remaining, they were to burn it. This highlighted the sacrificial nature of the meal and pointed to their trust in the Lord for his provision in the desert. It was also​​ a sacred meal and was to be treated as such.

Then the Lord instructed the people how they were to eat this special meal. They were to eat it with their cloak tucked into their belt, their sandals on their feet and their staff in their hands. Cloaks were usually worn loosely indoors and tucked in their belts when they were traveling. Sandals were usually only worn outdoors and not indoors. And staffs or walking sticks were used when traveling from one place to the other. This showed their trust in the Lord​​ that he would deliver them from slavery, showed their commitment to go where the Lord would lead them and​​ showed their readiness to travel when the time came. Guzik says, “Faith was essential to the keeping of Passover.” Hebrews 11:28 says, “By faith he [Moses] kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” Lastly, they were to eat the meal in haste. This was not to be a relaxing meal but one eaten in anticipation of being freed from slavery at any moment. They were to be fully ready to depart. The Lord then calls the meal the “Lord’s Passover.” This is the first use of the word “Passover” and describes the act of the Lord in rescuing and redeeming the Israelites as a community​​ from slavery in Egypt.

After giving specific and precise instructions for the preparations of the execution of his escape plan, the Lord tells Moses how the plague would happen and how those who believed the Lord would be protected from judgment which brings us to our third point, Protection, found in 12:12-13. This is what God’s Word says, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the​​ Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

It is still the same night that the meal has been consumed. On that night the Lord would “pass through” Egypt and “strike down” every firstborn, of men and animals. To “pass through” meant judgment and to “strike down” meant to kill with a fatal blow. Because Pharaoh had tried to exterminate the Israelites, God’s firstborn, God would exterminate the firstborn of Egypt. But unlike Pharaoh, God’s “striking down” would be a quick and merciful judgment. The firstborn was God’s by right and he was exercising his right to do with them as he wished. When Pharaoh oppressed and killed the Israelites, he was setting himself up as “god” and trying to take away Yahweh’s right to the firstborn. The firstborn of the animals were to be “struck down” probably because so many of the Egyptian gods were represented by animals. Stuart says, “The gods were seen, above all, as the grantors of life and protectors of the living. The plagues, appropriately, were largely focused on death. The tenth and final plague showed that their gods could not save anyone or anything from death. If God can take the life of the​​ firstborn, he can take the life of anyone regardless of birth order.” By taking the lives of the firstborn of Egypt, God brought judgment on all the gods of Egypt. God then states that “He is the Lord.” This was his signature and emphasized his identity.​​ There would be no question who was “passing through” Egypt and killing the firstborn. He would be supreme over all other gods and has the authority to claim the firstborn of the Egyptians and Israelites alike. This would give further proof of his presence​​ in the land and his sovereignty over it.

As the Lord would go through Egypt killing the firstborn, the houses that had the blood applied to their doorposts would be “passed over”. It is important to not forget that the Israelite’s firstborn were also subject to this judgment. The Israelites were as guilty of sin as the Egyptians were and both needed a sacrifice to be saved. Each family’s lamb would die in place of their firstborn. The innocent would die in place of the guilty and God’s justice would be satisfied. Merida says, “The blood on their doors served as a sign that judgment had already fallen at that house. God accepted the blood of the sacrifice and passed over their sin.” This was the mercy of God. The blood would be a sign to the Israelites of God’s promise and that they trusted in the Lord to favorably intervene and free them from slavery. The power was not in the sign but in God’s word and promise to “pass over” the houses who had applied the blood to their door​​ frames. The Lord would see the blood of the sacrificial lamb or goat and even though they were eligible to be destroyed, no destructive plague would touch them when he struck Egypt. He would literally “stand watch over” and protect them from the Destroyer. It wasn’t their Hebrewness that​​ would save them but by trusting, believing and obeying God that the blood of the sacrifice would take their punishment for their sin.​​ (Big Idea).

On April 25, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Soviet Union experienced a meltdown and created​​ an enormous tragedy. It is one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power. To make the best of a catastrophic situation, the Russian authorities decided their best plan of attack for resolving this mess was to dump hundreds of tons of sand and​​ concrete into the live reactor in order to seal it up and prevent its radioactive discharges. One helicopter pilot was decorated for his heroism in making dozens of passes over the hot reactor to dump the huge cargoes of sand and concrete. Each pass he made over the reactor increased his health risk, but the job had to be done or the reactor would keep bubbling out its deadly fallout for decades to come. This pilot exposed himself to the deadly radiation in order to save the lives of millions of people and​​ many more who had not yet been born. This one man’s sacrifice saved many lives.

Almost two thousand years before this, there was another sacrifice by one person which would save the lives of millions of people and many more who had yet to be born. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on a cross to offer salvation for all humanity. Jesus was the Passover lamb foreshadowed by the lamb that was slain by the Israelite families in Egypt. It was Jesus’ shed blood that was foreshadowed by the blood put on the doorposts​​ that evening. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.” However, for Jesus’ blood to be effective for us we must appropriate that sacrifice for ourselves. His atonement must be made personal for each one of us. Anders says, “Jesus’ sacrifice can be studied and contemplated, but until a person applies the blood of Christ by faith to his or her own heart, there is no hope of eternity in his presence in heaven.” Those who are born again have the blood of Jesus covering them. God sees his firstborn son’s blood on us and passes over us. He forgives our sins and see the righteousness of Jesus as our own. We need the righteousness of Jesus to be in a relationship with God. This can’t happen because of anything in us. So,​​ where does your righteousness come from? Are you trying to achieve salvation through “good works” or “going to church” or “giving to the poor”? Those are good things, but they can’t save you. Only by believing in Jesus and what he came to earth to do can you be saved. ​​ God has provided the perfect Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, and everyone who trusts in his blood will be saved. That brings us to the last next step on the back of your communication card which is to​​ Apply the blood of Jesus Christ by faith to my heart, trusting in Him for salvation.

As the praise team comes to lead us in a final song and the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offerings, let us close our time together in prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you that it is truth and life and light. Help us to feed on your Word not only on Sundays but every day of the week. Lord, help those men who call you their Lord and Savior to be the spiritual leaders of the church and their families. And help us all to​​ purge the leaven or sin from our lives so that we are able to do your work and will in our communities and the world. Lastly, Lord, if there is anyone here this morning or listening that has not applied the blood of Jesus Christ to their hearts, trusting in Him for salvation. I pray that today would be the day and that your kingdom would continue to grow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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.





Paint It Black

On August 1, 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew set sail from London aboard the ship Endurance. They were bound for Antarctica, where the famous explorer hoped to traverse the continent on foot. But Shackleton never made the trek because before the Endurance could reach land, the ship became hopelessly lodged in an ice pack. It was January 1915, and from this point on their goal was simply survival. The crew faced many hardships in the months that followed, including freezing temperatures and near starvation. But of all the frozen terrors they faced, none was more disheartening than the long polar night. The sailors grew uneasy as winter set in, and the light began to fade. In early May the sun vanished altogether, not to be seen again until late July. Shackleton’s biographer wrote, “In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age—no warmth, no life, no movement. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether, and it has driven some men mad.” The bottom line is that humans need light and interaction to stay sane. Without light, we lose our sense of time, and without interaction, we become consumed with loneliness and boredom. With this sensory deprivation comes the strangest, most unimaginable psychological effects.

The Rolling Stones wrote a song in the mid-sixties called Paint it Black. At the end of the song it says – I wanna see it painted, painted black, Black as night, black as coal, I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky, I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black. In the song, the author has suffered a sudden loss, and can’t bear that life must go on without that person – his mourning has veiled his appreciation for the vibrant colors around him and he can’t even consider anyone else in his present state. There is little respite in the author’s grief, and as the song ends, he seems to sink deeper and deeper into his suffering saying “It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black.”

These words can also reflect a spiritual truth in our world today. When we are living in darkness our lives are black and we want everyone around us and even all of creation to be black as well. But if we only knew what true blackness was like, we would probably do a closer self-examination and long for the Light. Eternal “outer darkness” is how Jesus describes hell. He says it is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and He teaches us that it is a real place where real people will be sent. But being sent there is a voluntary choice. Jesus has offered us light, life, and peace in place of that; taking all of the darkness of the world upon Himself so that we could see the true Light of God once again. This morning in our scripture found in Exodus 10:21-29, the Egyptians are going to be plunged into darkness for three days. It will be a total darkness that can be felt, and they will not be able to see anyone else or even have the ability to leave their homes. The three days of physical darkness with certainly effect the Egyptians emotionally, but the darkness is really symbolic of their spiritual state. God doesn’t want them to stay in darkness which is why he keeps imploring Pharaoh to repent and let his people go. He wants Pharaoh and the Egyptians to “know” that he is Lord and in knowing and accepting that fact they can be brought into the light which brings us to the big idea that God wants us to understand from this passage this morning that God desires his people to live in the light.

Let’s pray: Lord God, we pause to thank you for the study of your Word. It is a light unto our path and food for our souls. May we be attentive to your Holy Spirit this morning as we dive into your Holy scriptures. Let us be convicted, corrected and instructed in righteousness by it. Please do what only you can do in our hearts and minds and wills. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This morning there are two points. The first is No Warning found in Exodus 10:21-23. This is what God’s Word says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.”

This morning, we are studying the ninth plague of darkness. It is the third plague in the third cycle of plagues and most resembles the plague of gnats and the plague of boils in that there was no warning to Pharaoh that it was coming. Having no warning would have brought Egypt to a standstill making its impact all the more dire and frightening. God instructs Moses to act and from that action God will bring the plague upon Egypt. In this instance, Moses is to stretch out his hand toward the sky and God will bring a darkness that “can be felt” over all of Egypt. Once God gave Moses the instructions, he immediately obeyed. He stretched out his hand and his staff, which is implied, toward the sky and instantaneously total darkness covered Egypt. Mackay says, “three days emphasized the completeness of God’s control over the situation in Egypt.” Total darkness is literally translated as ‘the darkest of darkness’ or “pitch-black darkness.” Alter describes it as “the claustrophobic palpability of absolute darkness.” Pharoah and the Egyptians would have seen the darkness as judgment and an ominous sign of what was to come. Total or “thick” darkness is used in the OT for the devastating effects of God’s judgment. Isaiah 8:22 says, “Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.” And Zephaniah 1:15 says, “That day will be a day of wrath—a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.”

The darkness over Egypt was so intense that the Egyptians couldn’t see anyone else or even leave their house for three whole days. Can you imagine this? Imagine living in the same house with your family but it is so dark that you can’t even see them. Imagine not being able to even leave your house because it is so dark. This eerie darkness would have caused panic and foreboding throughout the land of Egypt. Some commentators say this plague was caused by an eclipse or a sandstorm that made light and visibility nonexistent. But think about this: they couldn’t even seem to light a candle and there were no outside lights such as the moon or the stars. God had made it so flint couldn’t be ignited, fires couldn’t be started, and the moon and the stars were no longer in the Egyptian sky. It was a true and total blackout sent by God, and the Egyptians could do nothing but “grope” around in the darkness. It would have been dangerous to move around because you could fall or run into things. It would have been easier just to be still. Again, for the third plague in a row it was unlike anything the Egyptians had experienced before.

But, surprise, the Israelites had light in the places where they lived. This was truly a supernatural darkness brought on by God and not some natural occurrence. Now we don’t know if the cycle of day and night continued in Goshen as normal, but certainly they were able to have light in their houses. The Israelites continuing to have light signified that the presence of the Lord was with his people. Guzik says, “Light is not only a physical property; it is an aspect of God’s character. What we see with the ninth plague is God, in judgment, withdraw His presence so significantly that the void remaining is darkness which may even be felt.” And concurrently, God is light for the Israelites as he is for us as well. Isaiah 60:3 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” And Revelation 21:23-24 talking about the New Jerusalem says, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Physically, God made it so his people had light in order that the Egyptians and the Israelites would both know that he is the Lord. Isn’t that the way it should be? God’s people should be literal “lighthouses” in a dark world. (Big Idea).

The Egyptians were not only struggling physically in the darkness but emotionally as well. There would have been widespread panic and belief that the natural order of things had been stopped. It would have caused sensory deprivation, disorientation, depression and psychological distress. Since they believed that darkness brought death, they would have been terrified and had a sense of doom. They also worshipped the sun and the sun-god Ra. Every sunset represented death to them, but each sunrise offered them a hope of resurrection and the life-giving power of Ra. They had faith that the eternally rising sun could never be destroyed and each morning, they celebrated Ra’s victory over the forces of darkness and chaos. Darkness for three days straight was an attack by Yahweh on Ra and showed that Yahweh was more powerful than the most powerful god in Egypt. For Pharaoh it was even worse though. He was Egypt’s god, known as the son of Ra, the incarnation of Amon-Ra, who maintained the cosmic order. Quirke writes: “Within the reign of each king, he (Pharaoh) alone appears as the living representative of the sun god on earth and enjoys a unique sovereignty in the practical exercise of power.” Children in school were instructed to, according to Ryken, “Worship [Pharaoh], living forever, within your bodies and associate with his majesty in your hearts.… He is Re, by whose beams one sees, he is one who illuminates the Two Lands more than the sun disc.” They were to ascribe majesty and eternity to Pharaoh and even pray to him. Egyptian worship was deeply offensive to Yahweh as the Egyptians were worshipping a mortal man as the eternal god. Pharaoh was claiming attributes that belonged to Yahweh alone which was idolatry.

Idolatry is alive and well in our culture today as well. Origen wrote, “What each one honors before all else, what before all things he admires and loves, this for him is God.” Whatever we honor, admire, and love instead of God is our idol. The question is, what do we love most of all? Who is our supreme deity? Is it money, another person, a certain lifestyle, or ourselves. Walt Whitman’s famous poem, “Song of Myself”, says this: “I celebrate myself, and sing myself …the song of me rising from the bed and meeting the sun.… Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch.…If I worship one thing more than another it shall be … my own body.” We depend on our own abilities and admire our own accomplishments. We devote nearly all our attention to making our own plans, meeting our own needs, serving our own interests, and satisfying our own pleasures. We even complain about our own problems. It’s all about us. We idolize ourselves. Let us be a people who only worship the Lord and no one or nothing else. That brings us to our first next step on the back of your communication card: My next step is to stop making myself the object of my worship and turn my eyes upon Jesus and worship him alone.

That brings us to our second point this morning which is No Compromise found in Exodus 10:24-29. This is what God’s Word says, “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.” But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.” But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.” “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”

Again, Pharaoh summons Moses and seems willing to let the Israelites go to worship the Lord, even though the plague is likely already over. Moses was probably summoned after the three days of darkness had finished. First, this is evidenced in that during the three days of darkness Pharaoh would not have been able to send anyone to get Moses. Second, Pharaoh didn’t have to ask Moses to ask God to stop the plague. It had already come to an end according to God’s timing rather than a prayer from Moses. Pharaoh now gives permission for Moses to take the women and children with him but makes the stipulation that he can’t take their flocks and herds with them. Pharaoh again tries to bargain with God and Moses. He still can’t let go of whatever authority he thinks he has and wants to control and dictate what happens to the Israelites. But Moses was not willing to compromise. He didn’t compromise during the previous plagues, and he wasn’t about to compromise now. He tells Pharaoh that they will not leave without their flocks and herds because that is where their sacrifices and burnt offerings will come from in their worship of the Lord. The proof that Moses and the Israelites were living in the light was their unwillingness to make even the smallest compromise in their commitment to worship God and him alone. (Big Idea) Moses uses the phrase “not a hoof is to be left behind” meaning every animal had to go with them. They would need some of the animals in order to worship the Lord, but he didn’t know exactly which ones and he wouldn’t know until they got to the desert. We may think that Moses was just making excuses here but actually it was while the Israelites were in the desert that God started to unwrap how the sacrificial system would work. We see this in Leviticus chapters 1-10.

This was Pharaoh’s third attempt to get Moses and the Israelites to compromise their worship to the Lord. First, it was “go, but don’t go too far” which for us today translates to give God your Sundays but do what you want the rest of the week. Second, it was “go but leave your children behind” which translates to you don’t have to influence your children, let them make their own decisions about worship, the church and Jesus instead of leading them in the way of Christ. Third, it was “go, take your children but leave your flocks and herds behind” which translates to you don’t need to surrender everything you have to Lord. As long as you give him a little bit, he will be happy. ​​ The human will hates absolute surrender. “Not a hoof is to be left behind” reflects the response of God to every attempt we make to surrender less than everything to Him. Do you believe that everything we have belongs to the Lord? Do you believe that God has the title to all we possess. Everything we have is given to us by God to be good stewards of for him. Our time, our talents and our treasures must be placed in his hands. ​​ “Not a hoof” means, that all that I have and all that I am is held at the disposal of the Lord. Those who are living in the light are the ones who refuse to hold anything back from the Lord. (Big Idea) Let us faithfully recognize that God wants all of us, our heart, soul, mind and strength, and that he wants everything we own to be used for his glory and for his work in the world. Let us refuse to hold anything back from him. That brings us to the second next step on the back of your communication card which is to “Not leave a hoof behind” surrendering my whole self and all my possessions to the Lord for his glory and his use.

Pharaoh does not have an opportunity to respond as God hardens his heart and he was not willing to let the Israelites go. In this context, as in 10:20, this is again a self-hardening of the heart by Pharaoh, the Lord’s action is passive. Despite the pressure from his own people he would not voluntarily allow them to leave Egypt. Normally, the reference to God hardening Pharaoh’s heart would signify the end of the plague narrative but here we see further interaction between Pharaoh and Moses. This change in the narrative alerts us to pay attention to what’s coming next. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart causes him to respond in “violent fury” reacting angrily and irrationally expelling Moses from his sight, threatening him with death should he ever see him again. Ironically, after not being able to see anyone for three days, Pharoah tells Moses to get out of his sight. He is frantic, knows he is outmatched and not willing to admit defeat. We also see how much he has come to hate Moses as he threatens him with death. Moses agrees with and responds in the positive to Pharaoh’s ultimatum. He would never appear before Pharaoh again. Pharaoh has cut off his only means to salvation. Only Moses could help Pharaoh escape the spiritual darkness he was in, but he refused to listen and expelled Moses from his sight for good. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart should be a clear warning to all of us to examine our hearts regularly to make sure we are not hardening our hearts toward the Lord.

Pharaoh’s actions were outrageous in a number of ways. First, it violated the immunity Moses should have had as a prophet of God. Moses spoke for God and so Pharaoh’s anger should have been directed toward God and not Moses. This violation would have been a serious breach in the ancient world. Second, it was mean-spirited and vindictive. Pharaoh had been given many warnings to let God’s people go and even after agreeing to do so he continuously went back on his word. Now instead of admitting he was wrong he threatens Moses with death. Third, it was cowardly. He tried to get rid of Yahweh’s demands by preventing his messenger from bringing those demands to him. An impasse has now been reached and the stage is set for the final interaction. If Pharaoh wasn’t going to deal with Moses it meant he was going to have to deal with Almighty God, himself, which should have been a daunting prospect. This points to the plagues narrative soon coming to a conclusion.

My conclusion is from Christian author Kate Hannon. Johanna had lived her entire life in the dark cave, deep underneath the earth’s surface. She’d never seen light—not pure light, anyway. There were little glimmers of light that reached her here and there—a fish that glowed, a glimpse of the outside world if she wandered too close to the edge, and an occasional traveler with a headlamp. Johanna, and the thousands of others who lived in the gigantic cave, passed their existence in darkness. They stumbled along, making their way as best as they could in the blackness, often falling to their deaths in huge drop-offs, getting bitten by poisonous creatures, or twisting an ankle on a rock—all because they couldn’t see. They daily walked right over incredible crystal formations and jewels, only they didn’t know it, because they couldn’t see them in the darkness. They remained oblivious to the breathtaking colors and dazzling designs. As odd as it may sound, these people lived in the darkness by choice. I know that sounds crazy—who would choose to stumble in the fearful darkness? Who would choose not to see? And why would they choose that?

Well, although very few admitted this was the reason, the people chose the darkness because they didn’t want to see themselves as they really were. In the darkness, they’d convinced themselves they were clean and healthy, and they didn’t want to admit that wasn’t true. Light showed them things as they really were. It showed them the dirt all over them. It showed them the dried-up blood and the uncared for wounds covering their bodies. It revealed the sores and disease that ravaged their bodies. It showed them their mangled hair and weak eyes. In short, it showed them that they were a mess. Had they only realized the healing and life that could be theirs if they were only willing to step into that light, they wouldn’t have hesitated for one moment. Had they only really understood that their present life in the dark cave ended only in death, they would have raced into the life the light offered to them. But instead they refused, living in darkness—loving it actually—rather than in the light of life. John 3:19-21 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Light is an amazing thing. Without it, we don’t know how to walk safely…nor can we see the beauty surrounding us. Light shows things as they really are—it reveals the truth about ourselves and the world around us. God is light and truth—and He reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible. Are we willing to let God show us the truth—even if it’s not initially pleasant? Are we connected to God through His Word and through prayer? Or are we trying to live this life on our own without God, “groping” around in the darkness? As I mentioned earlier, if we only knew what true blackness was like, we would probably do a closer self-examination and long for the Light. Jesus has offered us light, life, and peace in place of that; taking all of the darkness of the world upon Himself so that we could see the true Light of God once again.

1 John 1:5-7 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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.” And Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” God doesn’t want any of his creation to stay in darkness. He wants everyone to “know” that he is the Lord, accept him as their Savior and be brought into the light that only he can give. God desires his people to live in the light. That brings us to our final next step this morning which is to “Forsake the darkness, accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and begin to live in the light.”

As the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offerings and Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final hymn, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you that we can study your Word and in that we can show ourselves approved unto you, workmen that do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Help us to stop worshiping ourselves and turn our eyes toward you and worship you and you alone. Help us to “not leave a hoof behind” and to ​​ surrender our heart, mind, soul and strength to you along with all of our possessions. Let it all be for your glory and use. And Lord, help us to forsake the darkness and to live in the light. And if there are some today that do not know you as their personal Lord and Savior I pray that today would be the day of salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.












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?



Let’s Make a Deal

Let’s Make a Deal debuted on television in December 1963. The premise of the show involved guests wearing crazy costumes, winning merchandise and being offered the opportunity to take the items they had already won and trade them for items they could not see. The items were hidden behind doors or in boxes and the contestant had to make a choice. If they chose to trade the prizes they had already won, they might get something better, or they might get a “Zonk.” ​​ That is, they might leave with something worthless. The show succeeded because there was always someone willing to make a deal. There was always someone ready to compromise by trading what they already had for what they thought would be something better.

This morning we continue our study of Exodus in 8:20-32. God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, are in slavery in Egypt. God has sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand he let His people go. When Pharaoh refuses God sends plagues on Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the land. Through the first three plagues, water to blood, frogs and gnats, Pharaoh has hardened his heart toward the Lord and has refused to let the people go. In the second plague, Pharaoh outright lied saying he would let the people go if Moses would pray to God to take the frogs away. In the fourth plague, this morning, we are going to see a “Let’s make a deal” scenario play out, as Pharaoh offers to let God’s people go, but only on his terms. ​​ He will attach a condition or compromise to their leaving. He will in effect say to Moses, “I know God said to let His people go, and I will, but first, let’s make a deal.” He wanted Moses and Israel to compromise that which God had promised them, which was total freedom from slavery, for something much less.

The same goes for us today. Pharaoh stands for Satan, Egypt stands for the world and the children of Israel stands for the church, all those who are saved by grace. When we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and commit to lives to the Lord, we are called to leave the world and our old master, Satan, behind. The world and Satan are forever trying to call us back to our old selves and convince us to make a deal with him and to compromise our faith. But, with the Devil, there are no upgrades, only “Zonks.” Satan wants us to compromise by trading what we already have from the Lord, for something much less.

God wants us to lead a life of obedience that is Spirit-filled and blessed by Him. The Devil wants us to trade the blessings of God for the rubbish of this world and he will offer us every compromise at his disposal to attempt to lead us astray. Sadly, many people, Christians included, will fall for his tricks. But don’t be discouraged this morning. John 16:33 says, “I have told these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” By the cross, Jesus has conquered Satan and the grave. With the Holy Spirit living within us and helping us to obey all that Jesus commanded, we have the same power to overcome Satan and the world. We do not have to trade the blessings of God for something less. We don’t have to compromise with Satan or the world. That brings us to our big idea this morning that God calls his people to obedience, not compromise. And with the Holy Spirit within us it can be done.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to your Word this morning. Don’t let us leave this place unaffected or unchanged. Help us to be obedient to your commands and not compromise the great things we have with you for the trash of this world that Satan wants to give us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit within us. We worship you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

There are three points this morning. The first is Complete found in Exodus 8:20-24. Please 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 and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. “‘But on that day, I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’” And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.”

This is the beginning of the fourth plague, the second cycle of plagues that God has sent against Pharaoh and Egypt. The first cycle consisted of water turning to blood, frogs and gnats. The fourth plague is similar to the first plague, the fifth plague will be similar to the second and the sixth plague will be similar to the third. The first similarity is that Moses was to “present” himself to Pharaoh as he went to the water or the Nile River. Pharaoh and the Egyptians worshipped the gods of the Nile so it was probably his ritual to go to the river each morning to worship. The second similarity is that Moses was to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go so they could worship him. The third similarity is that Moses was to announce the fourth plague. The fourth plague would consist of swarms of flies being sent on Pharaoh and his officials, on the people and in their houses. It would be a complete infestation where Pharaoh, his officials and the Egyptian people lived; even the ground would be infested. There would be so many flies that Stuart says, “you won’t even be able to put a foot down without stepping on lots of them.” There would be no escape from them.

In verse 21 we see a play on words: If Pharaoh will not “send” God’s people out of Egypt, God will “send” the swarms of flies against Egypt. The language of “send against” was a sign of divine response and punishment to his people’s slavery in Egypt. The choice was Pharaoh’s as to whether the plagues stopped or not. Would he be obedient to Almighty God or not? (Big Idea) These swarms of flies were not your ordinary housefly. They were made up of many different kinds of insects including dog flies, sandflies, horseflies, March flies, fleas, mosquitoes, midges, and even gnats again. The Septuagint identifies them as biting insects. This plague would be a complete infestation of biting insects sent against Pharaoh, his officials and the Egyptian people. There would be nowhere where these insects could not to get to them and bite them.

We also see some differences with the first plague. First, Moses didn’t have to identify the Lord to Pharaoh. In Exodus 7:16, Moses identified the Lord as the God of the Hebrews. After three plagues, Pharaoh knew it was Yahweh who was sending these plagues. Second, Moses didn’t need to identify where the Israelite people would go. Pharaoh didn’t need to be reminded that God had commanded them to go three-days into the desert. Moses may have left that part out fueling Pharaoh’s compromising response later on in the narrative. Third, the magicians will not be present, and Pharaoh will not call them. He knew after the plague of gnats that his gods were defeated and that there was no reason to summon the magicians. Also, Aaron is absent signifying that this is now between Moses and Pharaoh. Fourth, no staff would be needed to perform this miraculous sign. This would be a direct display of God’s power. All the Lord would have to do is speak and the plague would happen. That brings us to our first principle that God is All-powerful. We have seen this time and time again throughout our narrative.

Fifth, the first and second plagues were an attack on the water as all water above the ground was turned to blood and frogs came out of the Nile. The third plague was an attack on the earth as the dust of the ground became gnats. But the fourth plague will be different. It will be an attack on the air as swarms of flies overtake Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Like the frogs, the fly was revered because they seemed to bring life out of death. Ross says, “As the maggots came crawling out of rotting flesh, only to fly away, they manifested a power over death that was very appealing to a people obsessed with surviving after death.” This plague seems to be connected to the ichneumon fly which the Egyptians considered a manifestation of the god Uatchit. There also seems to be a connection with “Beelzebub” which means “Lord of the flies.” Beelzebub was actually a tool of Satan and one of the representations of Satan’s power in Egypt. Luke 11:15 says, “But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he (Jesus) is driving out demons.” Dunnam says, “They depended on Beelzebub to guard them against ravenous flies, but this plague convinced them he was impotent causing them to look elsewhere for relief.” The Lord has complete sovereignty and power over the gods of Egypt. He is also in control of all nature. That brings us to our second principle that God is in control of all nature. He is in control of the water, the earth, and the air. He created all nature, and he sustains all nature, and we can worship him for that this morning.

Lastly, probably the greatest difference between the fourth plague and the others is that we are told explicitly that the plague of flies would not happen in Goshen, where his people resided. The question we may ask is: has Goshen been exempt from the plagues so far? Stuart says, “At this point Moses chose to make the distinction explicit. It will appear as a feature in some of the subsequent plague accounts as well (nos. 5, 7, 9 and 10), but not in all of them—indicating that the cases where the distinction is overtly described are intended to suggest to the reader the general pattern that prevailed in all ten plagues. It is possible that Goshen has been exempt and we are now only being told. Pharaoh may or may not have been aware, but he is also now being told and he will not be able to ignore the fact that it is the Lord God of the Hebrews that is bringing these plagues.

The Lord was going to deal differently with the land where his chosen people lived. The Lord was going to make a distinction between the Israelites – his people and the Egyptians – Pharaoh’s people. The complete infestation of flies that the Lord promised to send against Egypt would be non-existent in the land of Goshen where his people were living. The reason given for this was so that Pharaoh would know that the Lord of the Hebrews is in the land. Pharaoh thought he was the king of Egypt, and he was in control of his land, and wielded the power there. But the Lord was going to let him know that was not the case. Yahweh is the Lord of all the world even the land of Egypt and all power is his.

The fact that it would only happen in Egypt and not in Goshen would be a miraculous sign from the Lord. It would also be miraculous because it would have a starting time, which would be the next day. This would prove that the plague of flies was not be a natural phenomenon or something that happened by chance. This sign was supposed to change the heart of Pharaoh into softening his heart and letting God’s chosen people go. But it was also a sign to the Israelites that they were still God’s chosen people. Magonet says, “This degree of discrimination moves the events beyond a natural cataclysm into a precise divine intervention.” Here God is granting his people a serene immunity because they are, after all, his people. The language of “knowing” and “sign” should have been a “sign” to Pharaoh of future disaster. This same distinction will be made again in Exodus 11:7 with the death of the firstborn sons. Even the word “ruin” used in verse 24 points to something more disastrous than a fly infestation.

Pharaoh did not comply with the Lord’s command, and he sent dense swarms of flies into Pharaoh’s palace, into the houses of his officials and throughout Egypt. The land was “ruined” or “corrupted” by the flies. This corruption would have kept the Egyptians from worshipping their gods because of being unclean, as they were with the plague of gnats. The imperfect form of the verb “ruin” is used to signify that the ruining continued for a period of time. Ryken says, “These were blood-sucking bugs that tormented both man and beast.” Literally, the swarms are described as “heavy”, meaning they were so numerous they became a burden to the Egyptians. Psalm 78:45 confirms this, saying, “He sent swarms of flies that devoured them.” These biting flies terrorized the people and devastated the countryside. The flies fed on the people and devoured them. We again see the principle that God is All-Powerful as he is able to use the even the smallest of his creations with such destructive force.

Now that the land was completely infested with flies, we could expect Pharaoh to comply with the Lord’s demands to let his people go which brings us to our second point this morning, called Compromise, found in verses 25-29. Please follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says, “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.” But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.” Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.” Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

We don’t know how long it took Pharaoh to summon Moses and Aaron, but once it happened they must have thought that Pharaoh was ready to let the Israelites go to worship the Lord. Pharaoh wanted relief and had seemingly started to crack under the burden of the flies. He was now willing to let the Israelites go but he was not willing to let them go to the desert. Instead, he was only willing to allow the Israelites “a holiday” in order to sacrifice to their God in the land of Egypt. This may have been seen as a capitulation on Pharaoh’s part, but it really wasn’t. They would continue to be under his jurisdiction, and he wouldn’t have to recognize their God’s superiority. Interestingly, Pharaoh now admits the existence and power of the Lord that He had claimed earlier to not “know.” But even now he only recognizes him as God of the Hebrews and not as God of all creation.

Pharaoh was offering to make a deal with Moses and Aaron to compromise that which God had promised them, which was total freedom from slavery, for something much less. Nothing but the complete release of God’s chosen people out of the land of Egypt and out of slavery was going to do. These were God’s people not Pharaoh’s. They were created to worship the one true God of the universe, the Lord God Almighty, not Pharaoh. This brings us to our third principle that God is pleased when we fulfill our created purpose to worship him and him alone. ​​ We see this in Psalm 148:5, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created.” And in Psalm 86:9, “All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord, they will bring glory to your name.” And in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.” We were created to worship the Lord and that is why God brought the plagues upon Egypt. It was so His people could be free to worship him and him alone. That brings us to our first next step on the back of your communication card which is to Fulfill my created purpose to worship the Lord and have no other gods before Him.

Next, we see Moses’ response to Pharaoh’s compromise. This was not going to fly with God nor with Moses. Moses knows that staying in Egypt would violate God’s command and he refuses to compromise saying that sacrificing to the Lord in the land of Egypt would not be right. The sacrifices the Israelites would make would be detestable to the Egyptians and would cause them to stone them. Cole says, “Moses refuses on the grounds that to sacrifice in Egypt would be like killing a pig in a Muslim mosque or slaughtering a cow in a Hindu temple. In the sense that the Egyptians would consider the sacrifice of a sacred animal as blasphemous.” The Egyptians would stone the Israelites on principle. Then Moses reiterates that they must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord, as he has commanded them. Pharaoh knew this three-day journey meant that he would never see the Israelites again. He would lose his free slave labor force and that was something he wasn’t prepared to do. We see the truth that Pharaoh knew that the Israelites wouldn’t be able to get away with making sacrifices in the midst of the Egyptians because he didn’t argue with Moses about it. He immediately tried again to get Moses to compromise. He said that he would let the people go as long as they didn’t go too far. He seemed to be allowing them to leave but really, he was keeping them on a short leash. They could only go as far as he could send his army after them to easily bring them back. This was as far as Pharaoh was going to go even with the plague of flies ruining the people and the land.

This goes to show that it wasn’t about the Israelites worshipping their God. It was about the Israelites freedom and whose they really were. ​​ “I will let you go” shows that Pharaoh believed he still owned and controlled God’s chosen people. Spurgeon says, “They were not Pharaoh’s people; Pharaoh never chose them, he had never brought them where they were. He had not fought with them and overcome them. They were not captives in war, nor did they dwell in a territory which was the spoil of fair conflict.” As Christ-followers, we are called to be in the world but not of it. We can’t compromise by worshiping “in the land” or worshiping the way the world wants us to. The world would say “worship on Sundays but the rest of the week do whatever you want.” The world would say “go ahead and worship but don’t be extreme, God will be okay with a little bit of worship or half-hearted worship.” No, we are to be obedient to the Lord and leave sin behind completely. Satan wants Christians to mix the world and church to the point where there is no distinction between God’s people and his people. Instead of being hated by the world like Jesus was Christians are joining the world and blurring the lines. We want to offer sacrifices to God but remain within the friendly confines of Egypt. But our scripture teaches us that we must not settle for the deals that Satan wants to make with us and compromise with the world

Jesus said we would worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth” and that means two things. One, it means leaving Egypt for the wilderness and ultimately the promised land. Two, it means total obedience to the Lord. ​​ We can’t compromise our faith; we must obey Jesus completely without compromise. (Big Idea) Spurgeon explained it like this: God’s demand is not that his people should have some little liberty, some little rest in their sin, no, but that they should go right out of Egypt.… Christ did not come into the world merely to make our sin more tolerable, but to deliver us right away from it. He did not come to make hell less hot, or sin less damnable, or our lusts less mighty; but to put all these things far away from his people and work out a full and complete deliverance.… Christ does not come to make people less sinful, but to make them leave off sin altogether—not to make them less miserable, but to put their miseries right away, and give them joy and peace in believing in him. The deliverance must be complete, or else there shall be no deliverance at all.” When it comes to obeying the Lord there can be no deals and no compromise. That brings us to our second next step which is to Obey the Lord completely, leaving Egypt (the world) and compromise behind.

Pharaoh then asked Moses to pray for him. “Now pray for me” shows Pharaoh knew exactly who the plagues came from, and how they could be stopped which was by humbly appealing to the Lord. Moses tells Pharaoh that as soon as he leaves him, he will pray to the Lord and tomorrow the flies will be completely gone. This would be proof to Pharaoh, the Egyptians and also to the Israelites that this plague was another miraculous sign from the Lord. The fact that the flies would leave at the precise moment that Moses said they would, would be all the proof Pharaoh needed to “know the Lord” and to let God’s people go. Pharaoh had already hardened his heart three times, so Moses warns Pharaoh to not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to make sacrifices to the Lord.

After the plague of the flies brought ruin to the land and Pharaoh tried to get Moses to compromise by not going too far from Egypt to make sacrifices, we now come to our third point this morning, which is Choice, found in verses 30-32. Please follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says, “Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.”

Moses leaves Pharaoh and prays to the Lord just as he promised, and the Lord did just as Moses asked. The flies completely left Pharaoh, his officials and his people, not one fly remained. Now Pharaoh had a choice to make. He could choose to let God’s people go, or he could choose to harden his heart again. This brings us to our fourth principle this morning that God is pleased when we choose him as our Lord. God wants us to be obedient to him. He is long-suffering, not wanting anyone to perish and this was true of Pharaoh as well. God longed for Pharaoh to choose repentance and begin to serve and worship Him. God wanted to show his mercy toward Pharaoh instead of forcing him into submission, but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he resolved to stand against God and his chosen people. Making choices is the privilege and price of being human. Every choice we make forms our character and the more choices we make forms a habit within us. As responsible human beings we need to make proper moral choices. When we become Christ-followers, God calls us to choose obedience to him, and every time we do it forms our Christian character. But if we choose to not obey the Lord and harden our hearts toward him then we form a different kind of character. No one knows when the “point of no return” will be, which was where Pharaoh found himself. Pharaoh had hardened his heart to the Lord and his people for so long and so many times that he was beyond that point of no return, and he would reap the punishment of his choices not only for himself but for the Egyptian people as well. Maybe that is where you are at this morning. Maybe you have been hardening your heart toward the Lord for a while now. He has been pursuing you and you have continued to put him off. If you are able to recognize this then you are not too far gone like Pharaoh was. We all have a choice to make when confronted by the Lord and you can still choose to soften your heart and bow before Almighty God this morning and accept him as your Savior and make him Lord of your life. That brings us to our last next step which is to Soften my heart, bow before Almighty God, accept him as my Savior, and live in obedience to Him and His commands.

I want to end with two short illustrations: In the early 1900’s through the 1960’s Broadway Presbyterian Church was a powerful witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Upper Manhattan, but from the 1960’s to the 1990’s a subtle change began to take place. A change in emphasis stole in as massive feeding programs for the homeless were undertaken. Church membership slipped from over 1000 to 120. In the soup kitchens, prayers were not even offered over meals out of concern that the clients might resent it. And it was discovered that the same people were coming through the lines year after year. There was no change taking place in their lives. What happened? The decisive point of the battle, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, had been surrendered. Free food doesn’t transform lives, The resurrected Christ transforms lives. (World Magazine, 26 January 2002).

The second comes from A. T. Pierson: Suppose you had a thousand-acre farm, and someone offered to buy it. You agree to sell the land except for one acre right in the center which you want to keep for yourself. Did you know that in some areas the law would allow you to have access to that one lone spot? And that you would have the right to build a road across the surrounding property in order to get to it? So it is with us as Christians if we make less than 100-percent surrender to God. We can be sure that the devil will take advantage of any inroad to reach that uncommitted area of our lives. (Encyclopedia of Illustrations #1775).

We have all heard Satan say at one time or the other, “Let’s make a deal.” He has tempted us to trade something precious for something worthless. He has tempted us to trade our testimony for empty promises and wasted years. The great thing about our God is his mercy, grace and forgiveness. When we fall, Jesus will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will restore us to life in Him. So I want to encourage all of us this morning that with the help of the Holy Spirit within we do not have to fall for Satan’s deals and compromises. And if we do our heavenly Father will let us trade in that which the Devil has given us for something more precious than gold.

As the ushers come to collect the tithes and offerings and the praise team comes to lead us in a final song, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your Word. It is true and tells us of your mighty deeds for your people. We can trust in it for our lives. I praise you because you are all-powerful and that you are in control of all nature. I also praise you for creating us to worship you alone and that we can choose you as our Lord. Help us to fulfill our created purpose by worshiping you and having no other gods before you. Help us to obey you completely, leaving Egypt and compromise behind. And Lord, I pray that we all would soften our hearts towards you, bow before you, accept you as our Savior and live in obedience to you and your commands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.






Gnat A Good Day

(Exodus 8:16-19)



“Pests—bugs and rodents—even the thought of them makes our skin crawl. But pests find their way into everyone's home at one time or another. The question is, do we hate these pests enough to do what it takes to get rid of them? One survey says that depends on what sort of pest is in the house. Researchers found that people will dish out their hard earned money for an exterminator—meaning they are really serious about getting results—when the following pests are in their home:


Twenty-four percent of adults—that's one in four—will pay an exterminator to kill spiders.


Roughly the same number, 27 percent of adults, will pay to annihilate ants.


With the next pest the percentage jumps to just over half, as 56 percent will pay to banish bedbugs.


The same percentage, 56 percent, will pay to get rid of rodents. (That's mice and rats. This is getting creepier and creepier!).


Fifty-eight percent will pay to kill cockroaches. (Maximum creepy!)


And then the number jumps again when we talk about the bug that can bring the house down: termites. Eighty-seven percent of adults—that's 9 out of 10—will pay to terminate termites.


Notice that except for termites, almost half of adults will live with some very unpleasant creatures rather than pay a professional to ensure the pests are eradicated. This survey also showed that many people are willing to endure a certain kind of pest, but not others.

Take that concept to a spiritual dimension and the same thing holds true. Many people are willing to live—or feel they have to live—with spiritual ants, spiritual spiders, spiritual bedbugs, spiritual cockroaches, spiritual mice, spiritual rats, or spiritual termites. Some sins we tolerate in ourselves; others we won't.


Source: Anne R. Carey and Keith Simmons, "Calling the Exterminators: Critters that bug us most," USA Today Snapshots (May 22-25), 1A; based on survey of 1,253 adults by Global Strategy Group for Orkin.



We are going to talk about pests and the power of God today, so I want to share two personal stories, one about pests and the other about the power of God.



  • ME

    • Baseball

        • When I first started playing baseball, they put me in the outfield

        • Playing baseball in the summer meant dealing with pesky gnats

        • They would swarm around my head and get in my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth

        • I would take my hat off and try to swat them

        • I would try to smash them between my hand and baseball glove

        • I don’t remember who gave me this incredible advice, but they told me to put my hand over my head, because the gnats would swarm to the highest part of my body – It worked!

        • I would stand in the outfield with my hand raised, so the gnats wouldn’t swarm around my head

    • Earthquakes

        • Our family experienced the power of God through earthquakes in Southern California

        • The first one we experienced was during a worship service on a Sunday morning

        • The worship leader was transitioning between songs and he said, “Our God is an awesome God.”

        • At that exact moment our chairs started shaking and the projection screen hanging up front started swaying

        • Once everything settled back down, the worship leader said, “I guess God agrees,” and he continued with the next worship song


  • WE

    • Perhaps all of us have had to deal with pests in our houses or swarming around our heads

    • Hopefully we have all experienced the power of God in miraculous ways and not just through natural occurrences


“There are two sins of man that are bred in the bone, and that continually come out in the flesh. One is self-dependence and the other is self-exaltation. It is very hard, even for the best of men, to keep themselves from the first error. The holiest of Christians, and those who understand best the gospel of Christ, find in themselves a constant inclination to look to the power of the creature, instead of looking to the power of God and the power of God alone.”


Source: C.H. Spurgeon in Sermons on Sovereignty. Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 2.




As we will see with the third plague, the magicians were not able to imitate or duplicate it. ​​ They acknowledged before Pharaoh that something divine and not human or natural had taken place. ​​ God continued to make Himself known to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. ​​ We will learn today that . . .


BIG IDEA – God has all authority and power.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Exodus 8:16-19)

    • No caution (vv. 16-17)

        • With the third plague there are none of the following items that were found in the first two plagues

          • No forewarning (Pharaoh was warned about the coming of the first two plagues)

          • No time of warning (i.e. “in the morning”)

          • No instruction formula (i.e. “station yourself;” “go to Pharaoh”)

        • Instructions for Moses

          • Once again Moses hears from the Lord and tells Aaron what to do

          • Aaron was to stretch out his staff and strike the dust of the ground

            • There are a couple of potential gods that this plague was targeting

              • It could be Seth (Set), the Egyptian god of the desert [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Pentateuch, 190]

              • It could have also been Geb, the Egyptian deity of the earth. ​​ “God was challenging their trust in the soil and the god of the ground.” ​​ [Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Exodus, 58]

            • When Aaron struck the ground, God’s power would be released

          • The result of Aaron’s obedience was that the dust throughout Egypt would become gnats

            • The exact identity of this pesky bug is not certain

            • Some suggest that it could be a gnat, lice, or mosquitoes

            • Keil & Delitzsch believe they were not lice, but rather “a species of gnats, so small as to be hardly visible to the eye, but with a sting which, according to Philo and Origen, causes a most painful irritation of the skin. ​​ They even creep into the eyes and nose, and after the harvest they rise in giant swarms from the inundated rice-fields.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 313]

          • With the instructions complete we see Moses’ and Aaron’s obedience

        • Obedience

          • They did this

            • Moses obediently shared the message from the Lord with Aaron

            • Aaron obediently stretched out his hand with the staff in it and struck the dust of the ground

          • Gnats were on humans and animals

            • This would have been particularly annoying to the Egyptians and especially the priests, because they were known for being hyper hygienic

            • “The Egyptians in general, and the priests in particular, were fanatical about cleanliness; and the priests frequently washed and shaved their bodies in order to be acceptable to their gods.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 190]

            • “So terrible a curse did the Egyptian nobles consider lice that they shaved their bodies every other day.” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament, Volume 1: ​​ Genesis—Job, 254]

            • Imagine how the priests and nobles felt when all of a sudden there were gnats/lice crawling all over them – their worst nightmare had come true – they were unclean, contaminated, and humiliated

          • All the dust in the land of Egypt became gnats

            • When Aaron struck the dust of the ground, it was just “the dry loose particles on the top of the soil” and not all of the ground [Mackay, Exodus: A Mentor Commentary, 162]

            • The use of the phrase “all the dust” is a figure of speech helping the reader to understand that this plague was vast, far-reaching, complete and total [Mackay, 162]

            • “Just as the fertilizing water of Egypt had twice become a plague, so through the power of Jehovah the soil so richly blessed became a plague to the king and his people.” ​​ [Keil & Delitzsch, 313]

            • God was attacking everything the Egyptians relied on and worshiped, so they would know who He was

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is the God of all nature.

            • God has all authority and power.

            • He was able to make dust of the land and transform it into gnats

            • There were certainly gnats already present in Egypt at this point, but God’s plague of gnats allowed for the supernatural multiplication of gnats, so that they were crawling on every human and animal found in Egypt

            • God is still the God of all nature

              • That is true because God is unchanging (immutable)

              • God created the seasons

              • God is the One who allows plants and animals to rest during the winter months

              • God is the One who brings new life each spring

              • God is the One who provides a harvest during summer and fall

              • God is the One who controls how many acorns are produced each year (He provided an abundance this year)

              • God is the One who controls how many flies and mosquitoes we have in the summer

              • God provides incredible sunrises and sunsets

              • God directs the migration of birds

              • God creates new life through children being conceived and born

              • God knows the number of our days

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Worship God for being the God of _______________.

          • God’s power allowed for the supernatural multiplication of gnats when Aaron obediently struck the dust with his staff

        • When the magicians attempted to duplicate or imitate this plague, they were unsuccessful

    • No copy (vv. 18-19a)

        • The magicians attempted to duplicate the miraculous sign, but they failed

          • Whatever trickery they had used with turning water to blood and having frogs come up from the Nile, was not working with turning dust into gnats

            • “The first two plagues concern the water, which is the life and power of Egypt, politically, economically, and religiously. ​​ The gnats however, come from the dust of the earth, which is not the Egyptians ‘power source.’ ​​ Their magic and secret arts are empowered by the Nile, but with the third plague, the magicians are out of their element.” ​​ [Enns, The NIV Application Commentary, Exodus, 210]

            • God proved to the magicians that He was not only God of the water, but also God of the land

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God has the power to limit the deceptive skills of imposters.

            • God could have limited the magicians skills to duplicate the first two plagues, but He chose not to

              • With the third plague, He not only proved His power and authority over the land, but also over the deceptive skills of the magicians

              • This is the last time the magicians are mentioned in the plague series

              • Their deceptions have been exposed, so their “skills” are no longer needed

            • Modern imposters

              • Because God has all authority and power, He is able to do the same thing today

              • He has the power to limit Satan’s deceptive skills in our culture (politics, economy, education, religion)

                • God is ultimately in control of who serves as our President, Senators, Representatives, Supreme Court Justices, Judges, etc.

                  • He is able to bring to light any deception that is being propagated through those individuals

                  • He can and will allow the truth to be uncovered

                • God is aware of every conflict that is happening in our world right now

                  • He knows what is true and what is false

                  • He knows when politicians and news anchors are making false claims about what is happening and who is to blame

                • God is still a part of our educational system whether or not administrators or teachers acknowledge Him

                  • He is able to speak truth through science, because He is the One who created it

                  • He is able to limit the false narratives that certain individuals and groups are using to deceive our children into believing a lie

                • God is also able to speak truth through His Word when others misuse or misinterpret it

                  • His Word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He desired and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11)

                  • Those who are speaking falsely about His Word will be revealed and dealt with

                  • Read Matthew 13:24-30

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust God to limit the deceptive skills of ___________, so that truth prevails.

          • The magicians were proven to be powerless, while God was proven to have all authority and power over the land too

          • The magicians simply acknowledge that Moses and Aaron were not the ones who originated this plague

        • Finger of God (finger of a god)

          • The magicians wanted to save face before Pharaoh, so they told him that this was the finger of God

            • It did not necessarily mean that the magicians were accepting the God of the Israelites as the originator of the plague

            • They did not want Pharaoh to think that Moses and Aaron were superior to them in any way (virtue or knowledge) [Keil & Delitzsch, 314]

            • “The expression ‘this is the finger of God,’ in light of its usage in Exod 31:18 and Deut 9:10, would seem to mean something like ‘a supernatural act of God’ rather than literally referring to God’s hand or figuratively conveying a sense such as ‘something easy enough for him to do with just a finger.’ ​​ The magicians were not confessing to their own conversion to true faith; they were simply saying that the plague was divine in origin, not human.” ​​ [Stuart, The New American Commentary, Volume 2, Exodus, 212]

            • A power greater than Moses and Aaron and the magicians was at play

            • A god greater than the gods of Egypt had orchestrated this miraculous sign

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God has all authority and power.

            • That is also our big idea today

            • This principle is evident through the other references to the phrase “finger of God” in the Bible

              • Giving of the law

                • Exodus 31:18, When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.

                • Deuteronomy 9:10, The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. ​​ On them were all the commandments the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.

                • God’s authority and power to determine right from wrong is evident through the giving of the Ten Commandments, that show us our need of a Savior

              • Creation of the heavens

                • Psalm 8:3-5, When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

                • God’s authority and power over creation is evident through His ability to create the heavens, including the placing of the moon and stars

              • Casting out of demons

                • Luke 11:20, But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

                • God’s authority and power over Satan’s minions is evident through Jesus’ ability to drive out demons

            • All three of these, and many others, prove God’s “creative omnipotence” [Keil & Delitzsch, 314]

            • God has all authority and power

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Acknowledge God’s authority and power over __________________.

        • The magicians were not able to copy, duplicate, or imitate the plague of gnats, but that did not change Pharaoh’s attitude or heart

    • No change (v. 19b)

        • Pharaoh’s heart remained hard even though his magicians admitted that this sign was divine and not human

        • “The evidence presented to him was not going to overturn his inner desire to maintain his independence from the Lord and his opposition to him. ​​ It was not a lack of information that was the problem. ​​ Pharaoh was displaying the inner heart rebellion against God that is typical of fallen mankind.” ​​ [Mackay, 163]

        • Read Hebrews 10:26-31


  • YOU

    • What do you want to worship God for being the God of?

    • Whose deceptive skills do you need to trust God to limit, so that truth prevails?

    • What do you need to acknowledge that God has authority and power over?


  • WE

    • What do we want to worship God for being the God of?

    • Whose deceptive skills do we need to trust God to limit, so His truth prevails?

    • What do we need to acknowledge that God has authority and power over?



“In an article for, pastor Clark Cothern shares how a power outage at his church revealed the power of God:


Our church meets in a rented gym. We're looking for property and are eager to settle into a more permanent structure. Someday. For now we are navigating the path of being somewhat nomadic.


One Sunday in June, we experienced a few spotty rain showers. No high winds. No lightning. A very normal Sunday in the Midwest. We were two weeks away from a forced, six-week relocation, due to our facility's parking lot being repaved.


We planned to become much more ‘unplugged’ as we used the smaller meeting space in a graciously cooperative nearby church. We were prepping our congregation and praying earnestly that the changes would turn into an opportunity for us to get to know God better. We knew we would be in for some unexpected teachable moments.

After the announcements, including the explanation of our upcoming change of location, and after some high-energy, electrically charged musical worship, we began our time of Communion.


As people formed two lines, making their way up the center aisle, Steve, our worship leader, played an appropriately worshipful song on the electric piano. Halfway through the song, and with half the congregation yet to reach the Communion elements, the lights went out. Instant silence. Well, almost. All you could hear were the piano keys thumping in rhythm to the song Steve had been playing. Steve grinned and stopped thumping.


Someone had to say something, so I said, ‘Isn't it good to know that God's power will be displayed whether or not we have electricity?’ People chuckled and, realizing we could all still see well enough to continue, they continued coming forward to the table.


I began singing a praise song everyone knew. Within two measures everyone had joined in, voices only. Harmonies floated in the room from places where we normally didn't hear them. A sense of community enveloped the room. It was a holy moment.


What began as a fairly typical time of Communion in familiar surroundings was transformed into a unique time of worship and a supercharged awareness of God's presence.


When everyone had obtained their bread and juice and returned to their seats, I prayed, ‘Lord, thank you that your power is on display, especially when our power is gone. Continue to pour out your power as we look into your Word. Amen.’


At that very instant—a nanosecond after ‘Amen’—the electricity came on again. Air conditioner compressors roared. Pop machine motors whirred. Sound system amplifiers hummed. And all the lights came on.


For a brief moment, everyone gasped. Then the entire congregation burst into laughter. I said, ‘Oh, now He's just showing off!’ More laughter. Holy laughter. The kind of laughter when you know you've just seen God's power displayed along with his humor.


Looking back, I think God was showing us that our upcoming changes would be just fine. He was showing us that worship isn't about our preferences. We knew that no matter what the changes in our worship space, he would be there to meet us.”


From our sister publication Leadership Journal, © 2009 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit


Source: Clark Cothern, “Power outage or Power display?” (10-3-09).