Feb 28-March 6 Bible Reading
Date Added: 3/6/2011 9:38:48 PM
This week we will be reading and meditating upon the great plagues God brought upon Egypt. These wonderful events of Scripture are not just stories, they are true events that were purposed by God for the people of that time, their descendants, AND for you and me today. They teach us, as they were teaching those of the time of Moses, that the Lord God is sovereign over all the earth.
2011 Rocky Mountain Biblical Worldview Conference - April 8 & 9 2011. Speakers: John Eidsmoe and Bruce Shortt. Held at Westside Bible Church, 2040 Fairview Ave, Meridian, ID. Click here for more information, and to register!
Text: Exodus 5:1-31
Moses and Aaron make their first appeal to Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go and worship God in the wilderness. I am sure they entered this meeting with confidence, but things really turned for the worse rather quickly. Pharaoh not only says he does not know the Hebrew's God, but that he won't obey Him or recognize Him. Additionally, Pharaoh takes Moses and Aaron's request as a sign that the children of Israel are being idle. So, he demands that they make bricks without being given any straw. The Israelites now have to find straw and make bricks and they have to make the same number as before.
How could things turn so bad so quickly? Moses is frustrated and asks God this same thing at the end of the chapter. Notice that Moses actually recognizes God's sovereignty over this situation and realizes that God has allowed this situation to develop. He has allowed Pharaoh to treat the people harshly. God could have kept Pharaoh from taking these harsh actions against the Israelites. God could have delivered the people from Egypt.
Moses, in frustration, asks God the questions, "Why am I here? Why did you send me?" There are times in your walk with God that you too may get frustrated because you do not understand why things happen in your life. In Moses' situation, God has a greater work He wants to do in Egypt and with the children of Israel. Moses does not understand this greater picture, even though God has told Moses that Pharaoh will not respond well. It is hard to be patient with God's timing of events, but it is something that we all need to learn. If Moses, who talked with God, had to learn this lesson of patience, then you and I need to learn this as well. Trust God in your life realizing that He is over even the difficult situations you face.
Reading: Exodus 6:1-30
This chapter is a continuation of the conversation the Lord is having with Moses. The last chapter ended with Moses complaining to God that he did what God said and went to Pharaoh and matters have only become worse. Pharaoh is being harder on the people than before, the people won’t listen to Moses, and Moses can't understand why God hasn't delivered them from Egypt.
To these complaints from Moses, God tells him these things:
1) I will cause Pharaoh to release Israel from Egypt
2) I am the God that spoke to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
3) I have told you my name - JEHOVAH - that is greater than any name your fathers knew me by.
4) I have remembered my covenant with the children of Israel to give them the land of Canaan.
5) I have heard the groaning of the Children Israel and I will respond.
Moses must have been one frustrated person. He obeys God and speaks to Pharaoh, who does not listen to him. He is reassured by God that the Lord is going to free Israel. So, he goes to the Israelites and, now, they won't listen to him. And, God wants him to go back to Pharaoh. Moses is probably feeling like a ping-pong ball right now.
We, too, can get in frustrating situations where we know we are doing what the Lord wants us to do, but the results aren’t what we expect. Just like Moses is needing to do, we need to listen to God and not be controlled by the circumstances around us. God has given Moses His Word. He has given Moses wonderful promises, some of them I listed above. Moses needs to hold onto the promises of God. That is what will sustain him through this trial.
As you read through your Bible you will read about some wonderful promises that God has given for all who are Christians. Like Moses, we need to hold onto God's promises when we face difficult situations. Faith in what God has said will be the greatest strength any person can draw upon to endure every trial.
Reading: Exodus 7:1-25
Though Moses is feeling helpless and inadequate, he and Aaron make the right decision. They listen to the Lord and obey Him. Twice in this chapter it says, "And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them" (vss. 6, 20). Even though they were disillusioned with all that was around them, they wisely listened to God and submitted to His will for their lives.
It is going to be a long, hard road for Moses to travel as he deals with Pharaoh. But, as you read about it, I want you to pay close attention to Moses' character and confidence. We have seen him face Pharaoh three times. Before the first meeting, Moses was very reluctant to go and simply made his request, was rejected, and left. After that meeting, he complained to God and talked all about his inadequacies.
In this chapter, he had two more meetings with Pharaoh. He obeyed God and God performed some miracles through Moses. However, the Egyptian magicians copied these miracles and Pharaoh's heart was hardened. But, we don't read of Moses complaining and he and Aaron appear to be gaining confidence. This is what a steadfast faith in God and His promises can bring in your life as well. God will build you up as you put your faith in Him.
Reading: Exodus 8:1-32
In this chapter, we see Moses going back before Pharaoh a number of times. There are no more signs of Moses being timid or of him complaining. He has completely submitted to God's plan and purposes and, so, he willingly goes to Pharaoh again and again. Moses does this even though he knows that Pharaoh will likely harden his heart again and again.
God's hand is in all this and He has His purposes for why Pharaoh’s heart continues to harden through all these plagues. He told Moses in verse 5 of chapter 7 that he will do these great miracles of plagues so that "the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord." In this chapter he tells Moses that he will not allow any of the plague of flies to affect the Israelites in Goshen because he wants Moses to know "I am the Lord in the midst of the earth."
We now read these stories from ancient history for the same reason. They teach us that the Lord of Scripture is the Lord God of all the earth. What a powerful God He is, that He could bring forth such great plagues upon the Egyptians. If you know the story of the plagues in Egypt then you know there are even greater miraculous things to come. If you do not know this story, then, in the words of that familiar saying, "you ain’t seen nothin’ yet."
Reading: Exodus 9:1-35
Moses has increased greatly in his boldness. He has been going repeatedly before Pharaoh and declared what God will do. In this chapter God has brought pestilence upon the cattle, boils upon man and animals, and a great hail storm with ground fire. In this last plague Moses even warned Pharaoh that the people should bring their animals and servants in from the field or they would die.
Things are changing some in Egypt. Some of the Egyptians, including servants of Pharaoh, are not willing to stand in defiance of Moses and the Hebrew God. In verse 20 we read that those among the servants of Pharaoh that feared the word of the Lord brought their cattle and servants into shelter. But, the very next verse speaks of those that refused to heed what Moses said and caused their cattle and servants to remain in the fields. Then we read in verse 25 how those that remained in the field were killed by the hail.
Though there is change among some of the Egyptians, there is no change in the heart of Pharaoh. The Lord has hardened Pharaoh's heart. Pharaoh has hardened his own heart. All this is being done for God’s purposes and for His glory. As Moses tells Pharaoh in verse 14, these things are being done so all would know that there is no one and no thing in all the earth like the True Lord God. Do you believe that today?
Reading: Exodus 10:1-29
The battle continues to rage – Moses vs. Pharaoh, or, so it seems to most people in Egypt. But, there is something much greater going on as the Lord God directs all these events. The greater picture is given to us in the first verses of this chapter. Here we read the reasons for God continuing to harden Pharaoh’s heart and the hearts of his servants. There are three reasons:
1) God wants to demonstrate His power before Pharaoh
2) He wants Moses and the children of Israel to be able to tell their children and grand children about the wonderful things God is doing in Egypt
3) The ultimate reason is so that the children of Israel would all know and believe that He is the One True God.
Just as we are finding out here, God has greater purposes in all that He does than what seems to be the immediate purposes at hand. Moses has come to learn this. Remember when he first encountered Pharaoh and things didn't go his way? Moses was ready to quit and question God's actions (or, inactions, since the children of Israel were not released). But, now, Moses is seeing things more from God's vantage point. He understands that God’s purposes are beyond the immediate. He understands that God's design is not only for the Egyptians to learn of His power and the children of Israel to learn of His greatness, but it is for generations to come. God not only wants those Israelites held captive in Egypt at that time to come to know Him in all His greatness, but He wants their children and all their descendent to know Him as well. And, since He has preserved these stories in the Bible, we can say that He wants you and me, who are living thousands of years after these events happened, to know Him in His greatness and power also.
These stories are for us as well. The God of the Hebrews, that is bringing all these plagues upon the Egyptians in preparation to free the Hebrew people, is the same God who governs the world today. He is Lord of all the earth.
Reading: Exodus 11:1-10; 12:1-17
The last and final plague that the Lord is to bring upon Egypt is announced in this section. It will be the killing of all of the firstborn in the land of both men and of animals. In one night, at about midnight, the Lord will go through the land of Egypt and carryout this plague in the land. Pharaoh has been warned, but the Lord hardens his heart and he will not let the children of Israel go. The Lord did this, the Scripture says, so "my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt."
The Israelites, for their protection from the act of death that is about to take place this night, are given the institution of what is called the eating of the Passover Lamb. The blood from this lamb, placed upon the side posts and lintel of their door, will be a protection for their home and their firstborn from this act of judgment and death. In this meal, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that is instituted here by God for the children of Israel, is much symbolism. You will read more of these things as you continue through Scripture. Also, we will expand upon these symbols as you come across them in other portions of Scripture and when you repeat your reading of this story in future years. But for now, in this first reading of the Book of Exodus and the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, realize that the use of the "blood of the lamb" for protection becomes a great theme in Scripture that points to the blood of the True Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the One who delivers all believers from the wrath and judgment of God -- a judgment that will bring a final death to all who are not protected by His blood.
The final showdown of God and the "gods" of Egypt is about to take place. The great deliverance of Israel from Egypt is just around the corner. The One True Lord God is about to bring to pass exactly what He said He would do. He is bringing Pharaoh to the point that Pharaoh himself will rush Israel out of the land.