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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

May 3, 2017

Exodus  6:9-7:25

  1. Recapping from last week, Moses delivered the message of God concerning the Israelites leaving for three days to Pharaoh. Pharaoh responded by making the lives of the Israelites harsher by forcing them to work even harder. Pharaoh did this to discredit the message of Moses by causing the people even more pain. Despite the fact that God told Moses Pharaoh would be resistant, Moses gets mad and confronts God with Pharaoh's response and blames God for the people’s suffering. God responds to Moses’s indictment with a powerful declaration of HIS power and that HE was about to reveal himself in a way that no one has seen before. This is the difficulty for Moses and even for us. When God is about to do a new thing, it takes a great level of faith to trust God when you don’t see anything. Moses has to take God at his word, and up to this point it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. God tells Moses to go and tell the Israelites that God is about to do a new thing. As a leader, when you sense God is about to do a new thing, it is often hard to convey the message that this new thing is really a God idea and that it will actually succeed. When folks are used to things being a certain way, even a bad situation, it is much easier to just think things won’t get better than to get your hopes up. The people probably were initially very excited, but now they are even more discouraged by their painful position. So by the time Moses tries to share God’s powerful plan, they don’t want to hear anything from him.

  2. Verses 9-10. Moses relays the message of God’s deliverance to the people and they reject him due to their painful situation. To the Israelites, Moses is a man with a pipe dream and an empty message. Ezekiel 20:5-9 shows why God was so small and Pharaoh was so big in Israel’s heart during this time. Ezekiel explained that they trusted the gods of their oppressors, worshipping the gods of the Egyptians. This is why they didn’t trust God, and His messenger Moses. The reason why God did not judge Israel at the time was because He didn’t want His name profaned among the Gentiles. Moses is already feeling discouraged and he was reluctant from the start. So when the people fail to listen to Moses, God instructs Moses to return to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go. Moses quickly responds to God and says “why should Pharaoh listen to me if my own people won't listen and I have faltering lips?” Moses feels that if he couldn’t persuade his own people, how is he going to persuade Pharaoh? What Moses doesn’t quite understand is that God isn’t trying to use Moses to convince Pharaoh, God is using Moses to teach Pharaoh a lesson. God knows Pharaoh will not listen but he wants Moses to go anyway not so that Pharaoh complies, but so that Pharaoh can see the power of God. It is very hard to keep trying when the first few tries were unsuccessful. Sometimes God is using the resistance to make your faith stronger by giving you a deeper understanding of God's power.

  3. Verses 13-30. These verses are to help the children of Israel to see that Moses and Aaron were legitimately part of the Israelite family and to connect them with the promise that was made to Abram in the book of Genesis. This genealogy is to show that God’s hand has always been working out some great big plan from the start, and that this plan will continue with the line of Aaron and Moses.

  4. Chapter 7:1-2 God showed amazing patience with His servant Moses. After the outburst at the end of the previous chapter, we might expect that God had enough with Moses. Yet God didn't even chastise Moses; He simply told him what to do and set him to do it. God is rich in mercy. “I have made you as God to Pharaoh.” Pharaoh had rejected having any direct dealing with Yahweh, as he said in Exodus 5:2: Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? Therefore, God would now deal with Pharaoh through Moses. This lets Moses know that when Pharaoh rejects him, he really rejects God and he wouldn't take it so personally. In the same way, God will make us “as God” to people we encounter who are rejecting God and his plans. If they harden their hearts or reject us, we shouldn't take it personally. Moses was taking everything personally and he was finding it hard to stay motivated. God even told Moses, you will be like God and Aaron will be like a prophet of God as your spokesman. Just as Moses was not to act on his own initiative but to wait for God's direction, Aaron was not to act on his own initiative, but to wait for Moses’ direction. God will not allow Moses to let the seemingly failure of his first encounter with Pharaoh to discourage him. Moses is simply commanded to go.

  5. Verses 3-7. God reiterates to Moses what he said earlier. Notice How God repeats his previous plan to Moses. God is gracious like that in that he just keeps redirecting us to his purpose. What is the plan? God will allow Pharaoh to be Pharaoh. Beloved one of the most humbling things God can do is allow you to be you. You really don’t want God to let you be you. Pharaoh had a hard heart, and God let him be hard. This was going to cost Pharaoh, but he didn’t know it. God will not harden Pharaoh's heart against Pharaoh's own desire. It is not as if Pharaoh wished to have a tender heart towards Israel, but God would not allow him. Pharaoh revealed his hard heart when he refused the humble request of Moses back in 5:1-4; now, God will merely allow Pharaoh to remain in the evil he’s already chosen. God knew from the beginning that Pharaoh would not agree to Moses‘ request. It was no surprise to God that Pharaoh did not heed Moses. The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart to bring righteous judgment upon Egypt: Pharaoh and the Egyptians said they didn't know who the LORD was; God is going to let them know now. Pharaoh displayed the evil in his heart by rejecting a humble request. In response God will harden Pharaoh's heart, and Pharaoh will do what he wants to do: sin against Israel and God even more. Then, God will judge that sin. Moses and Aaron are feeling energized and they return to Pharaoh once more. The text is quick to tell us that these men are not young. Moses was eighty years old: This is retirement age for many, but Moses knew that God's will was more important than retirement. We also see from this that Aaron was Moses’ older brother, so God is going against the conventional customs of that day by making the younger brother more prominent.

  6. Verses 8-13. When Moses and Aaron go back to confront Pharaoh the second time, God tells them to use Moses’s staff and show Pharaoh the sign of the staff turning into a snake. Moses does this, but Pharaoh’s magicians appear to do the same with their staffs. The only difference is that the snake from Moses staff eats the other snakes from the magicians. This was to show that God would totally consume Pharaoh. The cobra motif is frequently found in Egyptian “art.” On the forehead of pharaoh's crown there was a cobra ready to strike. On the throne of King Tut is a coiled cobra ready to strike. So, to overcome the cobra symbol is to overcome the power of pharaoh. So it was as if one king ate all the other kings. The problem for Pharaoh was that he was not about to submit to another king. In his mind he was the only king. In Pharaoh’s mind he was the big snake.

  7. Verses 14-25. God told Moses that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. So here comes the judgment on Egypt. Pharaoh had a chance to listen, but now he will feel the wrath of God. God was now about to send various judgments called plagues on Egypt to show them that there is just one God. Almost all the plagues were meant to delegitimize idols/ gods worshipped in Egypt. God tells Moses to meet Pharaoh in the morning near the river. Moses was to use his staff and touch the river and it would turn to blood and all the fish would die. This plague was against Hapi, spirit of the Nile in flood and “giver of life to all men.” The annual flood was called “the arrival of Hapi.” Many Egyptians felt that The Nile water was the transformed life-blood of Osiris. The fact that the Nile turned to blood, which was abominable to Egyptians, was a direct affront to one of their chief gods. Although they had a fish-goddess named Hatmeyt, she could not help them and all the fish in the Nile River died. The Nile is virtually the “life blood” of Egypt. Without the silt soil provided during its times of overflow and the fresh water, Egypt would be almost uninhabitable. John Davis informs us of the importance of the Nile to the Egyptians and the way this affected their theology: “Were it not for this annual flooding, Egypt would be as desolate as the deserts on either side.” The Egyptians fully recognized this fact, and in thanksgiving for the blessings of the Nile, hymns were written. Not only were gods associated with the Nile, but fertility, blessing, and happiness were also associated with the faithfulness of this river. From the New Kingdom period comes a document known to us today as the “Hymn of the Nile,” a composition which may have originated in the Middle Kingdom period. The words of this hymn best tell the story of the importance of the Nile River to the Egyptian. “Hail to thee, Oh Nile, that issues from the earth and comes to keep Egypt alive! He that waters the meadows which Recreated, in order to keep every kid alive!...He that makes to drink the desert and the place distant from water: that is his dew coming down (from) heaven.” This plague was to show the great Pharaoh that God could shut down the very thing that they all needed, water. Moses turned the water to blood, but the magicians were able to mimic the same thing. The problem for the Egyptians was that the magicians could not make the water turn back. Pharaoh didn’t even pay any attention to this plague. He just went back into his palace as if nothing happened. Moses waited 7 days before he returned.

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