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Monday, January 19, 2015

The 10 Plagues of Egypt (Blogging Through the Bible)

Today I want to share with you something I never knew about the plagues of Egypt until our study of them these past two weeks. In my observations from chapter ten of Exodus on Friday, I shared with this you:

"There is a purpose behind everything God does. With Pharaoh’s heart hardened against the One True God, God was able to bring to shame all the false gods of the Egyptians that each plague was specific to, and to glorify His mighty name to all that witnessed His glorious power."

Back in chapter five, we see Moses' first encounter with Pharaoh. Moses tells Pharaoh that God has sent him to request of Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so that they can hold a feast to Him in the wilderness.

Pharaoh's arrogant response is, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

So God shows Pharaoh Who He is - and His mighty power - through the plagues that went against the false gods of Egypt.

Let's take a look at the plagues and the false god it went against.

The Plagues of God Against Egypt and the False gods They Shamed

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood (Exodus 7)

The Egyptians entire life revolved around the Nile River. It supplied fish for food, watered their crops, and fertilized their land with its rich soil deposits. They worshiped the Nile River as a god because it produced life. The Egyptian (false) god Hapi was known to them as the spirit of the Nile because he supposedly controlled the water. The Egyptian (false) god Osiris was supposed to have used the Nile as his bloodstream. The Egyptian (false) god Khnum was the supposed guardian of the Nile River. However, not one of these false gods were able to stand against the mighty power of the One True God as He turned the Nile River into blood - killing all the fish of the Nile, causing a stench throughout the land, and taking away the Egyptians' source of water.

The Second Plague: Frogs (Exodus 8)

Frogs were a common sight to the Egyptians since they lived near the Nile River. They chose the frog to represent their false goddess Heqt who they worshiped as the goddess of fertility. The frog was a sign of fertility to the Egyptians. They thought this false goddess would help women deliver their babies. Since frogs were sacred to the Egyptians, they would not kill them when God sent them as a plague. Instead, when Moses prays on behalf of Pharaoh, God causes the frogs to die - putting to shame their false goddess.

The Third Plague: Lice (Exodus 8)

For this plague, God caused lice to come up from the dirt of the ground, proving that their false god Geb, had no control over the dirt or the land - only the One True God had control!

The Fourth Plague: Flies (Exodus 8)

The Egyptians' false god of Khepfi was believed to control insects. This false god was exposed in the third plague of God when He sent swarms of flies upon the Egyptians. In this plague God went a step further in displaying His mighty power as He set apart the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived - protecting them from this plague - and showing the Egyptians that this false god had no control over the insects.

The Fifth Plague: Death of Livestock (Exodus 9)

In this plague, God killed all of Egypt's livestock: cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen and sheep - to prove His power over their false god, Apis, pictured in Egyptian art as a bull. What good is a false god who cannot even save himself?!

The Sixth Plague: Boils (Exodus 9)

Painful boils appeared on the Egyptians and the beasts of the land when Moses scattered ashes in the wind as directed by God. This plague put to shame their false god, Sekhmet, who the Egyptians thought had power over diseases as well as another false god, Thoth, who the Egyptians thought helped with healing.

The Seventh Plague: Hail (Exodus 9)

The plague of hail was heavy at times - so heavy in fact - that men and animals who didn't seek shelter were killed by the large chunks of ice and fire that came down. Even the land was destroyed as every "herb of the field" was struck and the trees were broken by the hail. Once again God protected the Israelites and their land of Goshen from this plague that showed God's power against the Egyptian's false god, Nut, who they believed controlled the weather.

The Eighth Plague: Locusts (Exodus 10)

God sends swarms of locusts that cover the land and consume everything that is left from the previous plague of hail. These locusts are even in of the houses of all the Egyptians! With the crops of Egypt destroyed, God proved their false god, Seth, who they thought controlled their crops - was no god at all!

The Ninth Plague: Darkness (Exodus 10)

The ninth plague of God exposed the Egyptians most important false god, Ra - sun god to the Egyptians. They believed this false god to be the most powerful of their false gods. God sent a darkness so dark that it could "even be felt" proving that their false god had no power at all!

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

All the previous plagues up to now were performed by God in an attempt to make Himself known as the One True God to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Remember I told you how Pharaoh had asked Moses in chapter five of Exodus, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

God answered Pharaoh's question by putting to shame all of his false gods. But Pharaoh still refused to acknowledge God as the One True God. 

We saw God's patience and mercy as He withheld this last dreadful plague in hopes that the other plagues would bring Pharaoh and the Egyptians to repentance. But we know that this is not what happened. Every firstborn (livestock too) in Egypt would die, including Pharaoh's son who was next in line for the throne. In that time, Pharaohs were considered to be gods by the Egyptians. So God proves once and for all in this plague that He alone is the One True God.

Sin can have far reaching effects on those around us. Pharaoh's sin of refusing to acknowledge God as the One True God destroyed an entire land and caused lives under his rule to be lost. 

God will have no other in His rightful place. He is a jealous God, meaning He desires for you to love Him above anyone or anything else in this world. 

What false gods have we set up in our hearts that need to come down so they do not take God's rightful seat on the throne of our hearts? I pray that we all will take time today to examine our hearts before the truth of God's Word.

Here is my SOAK for today:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Exodus 11

Scripture: Exodus 11:4-6, 9

4 Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

Observations: God had given Pharaoh warning after warning with each plague. With each new plague, God was giving Pharaoh the opportunity to come to repentance. But Pharaoh continued to let his pride stand in the way. With each plague refusal, his heart became less sensitive to God’s warnings (1Timothy 4:2) so much so that the warning of the death of his own first born son had no effect on Pharaoh’s hardened heart. God allows Pharaoh to choose this path of hardening his heart in response to His warning of this final plague.

Application: Don’t harden our hearts toward the truth God shows us in His Word. Every time we refuse to walk in obedience to the Lord, our hearts are harden one step further until one day our consciences will no longer find any conviction in the Word of God. We think we are fine when really we are just dead on the vine.

Kneel: Heavenly Father, may the truth I discover in Your Word penetrate my heart and convict me to respond in obedience to its teaching. Help me to remain sensitive to Your Holy Spirit at work within me so that I continue to grow in the example set forth by Jesus Christ while He walked this earth. Jesus, You are the vine, and we are the branches. Help us to remain in You and be sensitive to Your will for our lives so that we can bear fruit worthy of Your name. It’s in Your life-changing name I pray. Amen!

Here is our reading plan for this week:

Exodus Reading Plan

I'll see you back here on Wednesday for another Blogging Through the Bible post! Have a great week!

Walking in His Grace, 

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