Locust Legions

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Pride ruins relationships.

Exodus(34) (Part of the Rescued(33) series)
by Stuart Johns(233) on February 4, 2024 (Sunday Morning(342))

Confession(14), Honor(1), Leadership(3), Omnipotent(3)

Rescued

Locust Legions

(Exodus 10:1-20)

 

INTRODUCTION

“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]

 

BODY

  • 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 [https://renew.org/family-worship-blessing/]

                  • 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?

 

CONCLUSION

“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.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2017/september/7090417.html]

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