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Exodus 9:1-12 (The Plagues of Livestock and Boils)

May 10, 2015   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Exodus, Exodus Sermons (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written)  //  No Comments

Exodus 9:1-12
The Plagues of Livestock and Boils

Today we will zip right through two more plagues upon Pharaoh and the land of Egypt… well maybe not zip. But be it a zip or something a bit less than that, one of the plagues we’ll look at is a plague upon the livestock of Egypt… all of the livestock. And for me, it’s a good time to consider the position of animals in relation to man.

The Lord created the animals and, just like man, He is sovereign over them. But there are times when we don’t act as if we believe it anymore than we act as if we believe God has a right to our own souls. When someone close to us dies, we may find ourselves questioning God’s goodness, struggling with our faith, and unable to continue to praise Him.

But there is a fact that we need to consider – we are all going to die and we have no control over that. It is inevitable. And the same is true with animals, including our precious pets. It hurts to lose a pet and unfortunately, we may allow ourselves to get caught up in the same confused thinking about a pet as we do with a human.

However, if we simply consider the world around us, we can hopefully evaluate these things differently. How many of us like to have a burger or a steak? How about a nice chicken parmesan? Can we honestly say that the Lord loves our favorite pet more or less than one of these animals?

But suppose you don’t eat meat? Tigers do. Do we kill the tigers to spare the deer? The world around us is filled with life and all of that life belongs to the Lord. Some animals eat others, some bugs need to be swatted, and sometimes entire herds of animals will die in a plague.

We don’t question God’s goodness in these instances. We accept that the world around us works in a certain way. As we read today’s account, think of the innumerable cute little goats that died. Think of the donkeys and horses that were struck by the plague.

God created and God is sovereign over His creation. Remember this when your favorite pet dies. Instead of being angry at God for taking the pet that was inevitably going to die, remember to thank God for the pet that He allowed into your life for a special season and for the joy of your heart.

Keep all things in perspective and know that God is good and He is good all the time.

Text Verse: “How the animals groan!
The herds of cattle are restless,
Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.” Joel 1:18

Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything under heaven, including a time to die. Until all things are made new, this is what we can expect to continue with regularity and often with great sorrow for any one of us. In our sorrow, let us remember that God remains good, despite the painful tear in our hearts.

For those who belong to the Lord, let’s just keep our eyes on the Prize; let us fix them on Jesus. Yes, weeping may come for a night, but joy comes in the morning. As we see the destruction upon innumerable animals, and then the terrible plague of boils upon man and beast, let us remember that such things are according to a much greater plan than we could ever conceive or imagine.

This great plan centers on the work of the Lord for His people, the flock of His pasture. This is a truth which is found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Let My People Go (verses 1-5)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh

Towards the end of the previous chapter, the plague of flies ended because of a promise by Pharaoh to let the people go sacrifice to the Lord in the wilderness. The last words of the chapter revealed a broken promise though. Here are those concluding words of chapter 8 –

“So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. 31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.” Exodus 8:30-32

It is with this thought in mind, that we begin chapter 9 with the Lord once again instructing Moses to go in and speak to Pharaoh…

1 (con’t) and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews:

koh amar Yehovah – “Thus says Yehovah.” He once again declares His name. “I am the Existent One, full of all power. I control my creation and I see the future before it comes to pass. And I also see the heart of man.”

However, unlike the beginning of chapter 8, an additional distinction is made. Not only is He Yehovah, but He is elohe ha’ivrim – “God of the Hebrews.” This is the first time that this term has been spoken directly to Pharaoh. The term “Hebrews” was known to the Egyptians, but it was a name, like that of a clan. The meaning was disconnected from its use.

Now though, the name “Hebrew” is being reconnected to the use of the name. We may call someone “Tom Carpenter” and think of that as his name – “Oh, there goes Tom Carpenter.” However, a “carpenter” is something. If we reattach the use of the word to the name of the person, we can deduce that at some point in his history, one of his forefathers was probably a carpenter.

If we pay attention to names, we can do this with many people we know. There is Alex Goldsmith; his father worked in gold. There is Andy Miller; his father worked with grains. There goes Mark Holiday; his family never did a thing. In the case of the title “Lord, God of the Hebrews,” the use is being reconnected to the name.

In essence, “I, Yehovah, am ‘elohe ha’ivrim.'” The term “Hebrew” means “to cross over.” In His words, we can see what that means. “I am the Defender and Protector of those who have crossed over to Me. They are my people and I have made a distinction between them and you by placing My name upon them and by separating them for Myself.”

This is now the 17th time that the term “Hebrew” is mentioned in Scripture and the 11th in Exodus. In all, it will be used about 50 times in the Bible, and many of those will be speaking of the language and not necessarily the people. Each time the word is used, it has significance.

Its introduction here is to further distinguish the Lord’s people from all others. As those who have crossed over to be His servants have not yet been set free, the demand of Exodus which has become so common is made once again…

1 (con’t) “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

The Hebrew people are the Lord’s people, not Pharaoh’s people. And to the Lord, their service is demanded. They have been in bondage to Pharaoh and He is expecting this to change. It isn’t coincidence that the book of Hebrews follows directly after Paul’s epistles.

This pictures the transition from the church age back to a focus on the Hebrew people. Those who have long been in bondage to the power of sin and the devil are being asked to return to the Lord and understand that He had always been there for them.

The demand upon the world of the antichrist will be parallel to the demand upon Pharaoh in Exodus. If he continues to afflict them, consequences will be suffered, just as they are upon Egypt now. We see this as we continue…

For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,

These words are only a portion of a thought, and yet they are offset as a single verse. It is as if they are being highlighted with a pause off of the lips of the Lord for Pharaoh’s strained and expectant ears.

They are spoken as a “more definite assumption, in view of past experience, that Pharaoh may defiantly harden himself.” (Lange) In other words, they are showing that Pharaoh was heaping up guilt by his continued obstinate attitude against the word of the Lord.

The words “if” and “still” show, with all of the exactitude that the Bible can give, that the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart has, and continues to be, the fault of Pharaoh alone. Yehovah has, and will continue to emphatically declare his will, and yet Pharaoh has willfully chosen to reject that will by exercising his own.

Matthew Henry gives a clear and concise evaluation of this attitude of Pharaoh and expands it to all people who strive against the word of the Lord –

“Sinners have none to blame but themselves, for that pride and ungodliness which abuse the bounty and patience of God. For, however the Lord hardens the hearts of men, it is always as a punishment of former sins.” Matthew Henry

Pharaoh has been sinful and his sins continue. And with his sin comes the judgment of the Lord…

behold, the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep—a very severe pestilence.

The fifth plague is announced. It will be against the beasts of the field, some of which were deified by the Egyptians. If they were gods, they can now demonstrate their god-ness by resisting Yehovah. But if Yehovah is the One, true God, then they will suffer by His hand.

This then is an attack on the false gods of Hathor, the goddess with a cow head, and Apis, the bull god – symbol of fertility. These false gods will be proven exactly that, false. The “hand of the Lord” was promised in Exodus 6:1. There it said –

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” Exodus 6:1 (NIV)

The hand represents strength, power, and ability to perform. He formed these animals on the sixth day of creation and gave man dominion over them. However, He is sovereign over all things, even the life of all animals. This is reflected in the 50th Psalm –

“For every beast of the forest is Mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” Psalm 50:10, 11

Now, working out His sovereign will, he calls down the sentence upon Pharaoh and his kingdom. The pestilence, or deber in Hebrew, will come upon a notable list of valuable property. This word, deber, is usually used when speaking of pestilence among people, but it also covers animals as we see here in Exodus.

And it isn’t just a normal pestilence that occurred from time to time as the waters of the Nile rose and fell, or as the seasons changed bringing in pests carrying disease. Instead, the Lord says that it will be kaved, or literally “heavy” upon the land.

The imagery is that of the hand of the Lord coming down in a crushing blow against the animals which comprised much wealth in Egypt. It will be upon the “cattle in the field,”  a term used to describe any of the animals of the flock or the herd, some of which will be named specifically after this.

It will also come upon “the horses.” Horses would have been used for the chariots of Egypt and possibly as beasts of burden in the field as well. Their main use at this time would have been for warfare. Having a chariot implies having horses for the chariot.

And chariots were used both for royal transport and for military use. They were first mentioned in Scripture all the way back at the time of Joseph, over 200 years earlier, and so they would probably have been very abundant in the land.

The plague would also be on the donkeys. Again, donkeys would have been very common in Egypt. They were first mentioned in Genesis 12 at the time when Abraham was in Egypt, noting that Abraham had many as a part of his great wealth.

The plague would also be on the camels. In the same verse that donkeys were first mentioned, Genesis 12:16, camels were first noted in Scripture as well. According to the liberal scholars at Cambridge –

“Camels were not used, or bred, in ancient Egypt, nor do they appear ‘in any inscription or painting before the Greek period.'” (Erman, p. 493; cf. W. Max Müller, EB. i. 634; Sayce, EHH. 169). Cambridge

Because of this, they see the inclusion of camels as an anachronism, unless it is a reference to camels owned by traders. However, the Bible itself is a witness to history, and therefore this statement is no anachronism.

If Abraham had camels and other wealth when he was in Egypt, then it implies that there were camels in Egypt at that time. A little thought clarifies what liberal scholars can’t seem to grasp. Egypt was an integral part of the trade route from the Middle East to Africa.

Just because they didn’t deify camels doesn’t mean that there weren’t jillions of them hanging around the pyramids waiting for tourists to hop on and take a ride. In addition to these animals, oxen and sheep are also noted. The standard and common animals of the herd and flock were to be affected by this heavy pestilence.

And the Lord will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt.

In the previous chapter during the fourth plague, the Lord said –

“And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land.” Exodus 8:22

The Land of Goshen was set apart from the rest of Pharaoh’s domain, but it was only noted that it was where Israel dwelt. Nothing was said, one way or the other, concerning any Egyptians who also dwelt there, which later we will see that they did.

However, this plague adds in an entirely new dimension. Not only will the Lord make a distinction between the land where Israel dwelt and the rest of Egypt, but He will now make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and of Egypt, much of which would have been collocated.

The very livestock of one group would die next to the livestock of another group. It would be a marvelous display of the Lord’s grace upon Israel while at the same time judging Egypt. It is somewhat of a precursor to the final plague on the firstborn in this respect. The word for “and make a difference” in Hebrew is v’hiphlah.

It is the second of seven uses of the word palah, in the Bible. It means to “set apart,” but the word also means “wonderfully” or “wondrously.” Surely we can see the wondrous work of the Lord in his ability to judge even between the livestock of one group and another.

4 (con’t) So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.”’”

The Hebrew is emphatic and could be more literally rendered, “There shall not die of all that is the children’s of Israel a thing.” (Pulpit) The Lord gives life and the Lord controls death. It is a note of His absolute sovereignty over all things.

Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”

Like the previous plague, it is announced by the Lord and it will come about. There will be no stretching forth of Aaron’s rod, or any other visible display to initiate the action. Rather, the word alone has spoken and it will come about by that same word.

There are a few reasons why this plague may have been announced in advance as it was. One is to show the Lord’s sovereignty over the plague and the timing of it. Plagues of this type surely came from time to time, but this one is warned of in advance. The second is to show His control, in advance, over which animals would be affected by it.

And the third would be as a point of grace. In verse three, it said that all the cattle in the field would die. If they were brought in from the field, it is possible some could be saved, although this wasn’t stated either way.

Every beast of the forest is Mine
And the cattle on a thousand hills also belong to Me
I know all the birds of the mountains
And the wild beasts of the field I watch over tenderly

The life of all the creatures is in My hand
I created them and direct their life’s span
But somehow man has failed to understand
They are not gods, but a portion of My earthly plan

And as I wish I give life, and I take it away
Directing all things so that man will hopefully see
That as God to Me alone they should exalt and obey
And with their hearts they should worship only Me

II. The Heart of Pharaoh (verses 6, 7)

So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.

It is certain here, as it is throughout Scripture, that context needs to be considered when making absolute claims concerning words such as “all” and “every.” In this verse, it says that “all the livestock of Egypt died.” However, in the coming plagues, it is noted that they will come upon the animals of the Egyptians.

Therefore, this verse now does not mean all in the absolute sense, but in the general use of the word which is found throughout Scripture. The great number is being considered in opposition to the exclusive description given for the animals of the Israelites, which was “not one.” A literal translation from the Hebrew is lo met ekhad – “not.died.one.”

This contradistinction between the two is all the more poignant when considering its ramifications concerning the superstitions of the Egyptians. Whether they actually deified the animals, or whether they deified what the animals represented, the fact that their animals died and the Israelite’s didn’t shows that Yehovah was sovereign over all.

What would seem the cruelest part of this wasn’t the loss of money and accumulated wealth, but the knowledge that He was capable of this act at will. Thus, He was capable of it in the past, but took no action against their misguided beliefs.

Further, He was also capable of accomplishing the same feat at any time in the future if He so chose. Their livelihood and the animal’s lives were subject to His sovereign will. Thus as Job says –

“Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing.” Job 12:9, 10

Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead.

It is obvious from this verse that Pharaoh saw the immense destruction of life around him and thought that it was impossible that none of Israel’s animals would have shared in the same fate.

In comparable terms for us, it would be like a nuclear bomb going off in a city full of Christians and muslims while all of the muslims died, but none of the Christians did. How could it be possible? But in fact, not even one of their animals died. However, the perverse nature of Pharaoh is revealed once again in this remarkable plague as we see in the finishing of verse seven…

7  (con’t) But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.

Whatever he was thinking, it didn’t include releasing captive Israel. Perhaps he figured they were better at tending to their flocks than the Egyptians. Maybe he figured he would simply take the animals of Israel for himself.

Whatever he thought, he showed that he cared nothing for the animals he had lost, and neither did he care for his subjects who fared very poorly under the heavy hand of the Lord. Instead, it says that “the heart of Pharaoh became hard.” But the Hebrew reads differently. It says his heart became kavad – heavy.

It is a verb comparable to the adjective used to describe the hand of the Lord in verse 3 – kaved. Despite the heavy hand of the Lord, the heart of Pharaoh only increased in heaviness. The contrast is given to show us, once again, the utterly obstinate nature of the man and how these judgments came upon him because of his own willful disregard of the Lord.

A hard heart is terrible thing to keep inside
It can only lead down a path of woe and sorrow
With every moment and with each step and stride
It will lead to a more painful tomorrow

If a plague on the livestock won’t change the heart of Pharaoh
I will bring yet another plague upon the land
One that will lead him to more calamity and woe
This will continue until he learns to understand

Now I will afflict him in a most painful way
Boils will well up on him and all of Egypt the land
The magicians will have had their final say
Another plague is ahead, coming from My heavy hand

III. The Plague of Boils (verses 8-12)

So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes

Because no positive change in heart arose from the previous plague, a sixth plague is now directed by the Lord. It is to be an object lesson for Pharaoh to consider. Like the third plague, it comes without notice and it is inflicted directly on people.

To initiate this plague, they are told to take melo ha’penekhem – “that which fills the hollow of the hand.” In this action they are directed to use piakh. This is not “ashes,” but rather “soot.” To figure out exactly what is occurring here, I did a study on this word, which is only used two times in the Bible and both are in this plague – in verses 8 & 10.

This word piakh, comes from the word puakh which means to breathe or blow. Thus soot far better fits the imagery. This word, puakh is used “in the negative sense of ‘to utter’ lies” (HAW). If one thinks of Pharaoh when reading the following proverbs, you can see the similarity –

“A true witness delivers souls,
But a deceitful witness speaks lies.” Proverbs 14:25

Pharaoh has previously promised to let Israel go, but he has rather spoken lies. Likewise, the consequences of this are noted –

“A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies shall perish.” Proverbs 19:9

The soot which will blow throughout the land is set in contrast to the lies which have issued from Pharaoh’s scoffing mouth as he has sneered at the word of the Lord. And the object lesson continues…

8  (con’t) from a furnace,

The word here is kibshan. It is only used four times in the Bible and refers to something used for firing materials. The word comes from another word, kabash, which means to subdue or bring into bondage and “to make serve, by force if necessary” (HAW).

Therefore, there is a contrast being made between what Pharaoh has done to Israel and what will happen to him with the soot of the furnace. Goshen, and much of Egypt had been converted into fields of brick-making, and it was the Israelites who had been subjected to the forced labor of making them.

As Ellicott notes, “When ashes from one of these kilns were made the germs of a disease that was a sore infliction, their own wrongdoing became to the Egyptians a whip wherewith God scourged them.”

It is then a just retribution for the ill-treatment of Israel that they should receive this plague from the Hebrew hands of Moses and Aaron, and from the kilns which brought so much suffering. Later in Deuteronomy 4, the Lord will describe to the Israelites their ill treatment and His deliverance –

“But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.” (4:20)

8  (con’t) and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh.

Finally, the object lesson is revealed in what they do with the handfuls of soot from the furnaces. They are to “scatter it toward the heavens.” As fine dust permeates everything and everywhere, so this plague would permeate the land.

And as the dust would settle upon the people from the heavens, it was indicative of God’s judgment alighting upon the people from the heavens. As this was done “in the sight of Pharaoh,” it was a clear indication that the object lesson was intended for him to see the contrast between the ruthless, forced service of Israel and the soot; between the bondage of Israel and the furnace; and between the God of Israel and the kingdom of Pharaoh.

And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt,

The word for “dust” is abaq. It indicates very small particles, which carry on the wind. It is the noun form of the verb abaq, which means “to wrestle.” The idea is that when men wrestle, dust is thrown up from the ground.

There is a divine wrestling match which is occurring as the dust is being thrown up into the skies of Egypt. The question for Pharaoh is, “What will be the outcome of the match?” It won’t be pleasant –

9  (con’t) and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.”

This horrible plague is an attack on the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, the goddess with power over diseases. It is also an attack against Sunu, the pestilence god, and Isis, the goddess of healing. Again, the Lord is demonstrating the futility of polytheism as He works his plagues against the Egyptians.

In Deuteronomy 28, this affliction will be called “the boils of Egypt.” The Lord warned Israel that if they would not heed His commandments, this same affliction would come upon them that had come upon Egypt. Here is that verse –

“The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.” Deuteronomy 28:27

Because it is identified with Egypt, it is something that was considered unique to Egypt at that time. However, it would become a tool of the Lord for correction of Israel as well as for the punishment of Egypt.

But the New Testament also gives a similar description of this plague in the bowl judgments coming upon the earth during the tribulation period. In the first of the bowl judgments, we see this –

“So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” Revelation 16:2

The Lord is consistent in His measures for judgment and correction, and He is sovereign over time, place, and type concerning His choice of those measures. In this action against Pharaoh and Egypt, Adam Clarke notes that there is –

“…a congruity between the crime and the punishment. The furnaces, in the labor of which they oppressed the Hebrews, now yielded the instruments of their punishment; for every particle of those ashes, formed by unjust and oppressive labor, seemed to be a boil or a blain on the tyrannical king and his cruel and hard-hearted people.” Clarke

10 Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast.

Just as the Lord has spoken, they performed as commanded in the presence of Pharaoh. And just as the Lord had said, the boils that break out in sores came upon both man and beast. And so bad were these boils that they were completely debilitating to those afflicted by them…

11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.

The magicians, or khartummim, are singled out in this verse and it is the last time that these khartummim will be mentioned in Exodus. Up to this point, they had accompanied Pharaoh and were there at his side for the expressed intent of standing against the signs and wonders of the Lord which were accomplished through Moses.

However, since the first plague, they could do nothing about matching the scope of any plague, nor could they do anything about ending any of them. By the third plague, they could not even replicate what had been done.

Now, not only are they afflicted by the plague, but they can no longer even stand before Moses because of it. In this last mention of them, they have formally conceded the match and have acknowledged their defeat before the Lord. There will be no more support from them, or resistance offered by them.

This is what Paul refers to in his second letter to Timothy –

“Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” 2 Timothy 3:8, 9

The folly of the magicians became manifest to all and they have become a sign to the people of the world who attempt to perform magical signs in opposition to the Lord. How unfortunate that so many have continued down this path, even to this day. And even more are those who supposedly do so in the name of the Lord.

In the end, their folly will be manifest to all.

12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them,

In Exodus 4:21, the Lord said he would harden Pharaoh’s heart, using the word khazaq. Since then, four times it has been said that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened using this same word. But this is the first time it is ascribed directly to the Lord – “But the Lord hardened.”

Up until this point, the hardening has been a volitional act of Pharaoh’s will, even if it was passively accomplished by the Lord. The Lord gave signs and wonders which could have been responded to favorably or negatively based on the predispositions of the individual.

In the case of Pharaoh, he was predisposed to arrogance and an obdurate behavior. Now, with there being no remedy to his arrogance, we see what Paul describes in Romans 1 –

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” Romans 1:28

This verse then signals a judicial hardening of the heart because of his previous volitional acts of obstinacy. With no remedy, there is no point in wooing; only punishing. Pharaoh has gone from forsaking the right way to hating correction. There can only be one end for such a person and it is explained in the book of Proverbs –

“Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,
And he who hates correction will die.” Proverbs 15:10

*12 (fin) just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

ka’asher dibber Yehovah el Mosheh – “as spoke the Lord to Moses.” The heart of Pharaoh was passively hardened by the Lord in the past; now it is an active punishment for rejecting the right path. And the purpose behind this progressive action is exactly as stated at the beginning –

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” Exodus 7:3-5

The Lord was not honored among the Egyptians, but they would learn to know Him. The children of Israel were bound by the Egyptians, but the Lord would bring them out from that bondage. And in His acts, Israel would learn that He was their God, the only God, and that He was faithful to His covenant promises.

As we have seen time and again already, there is a lot we can learn about obstinate Pharaoh. He has willfully turned from the Lord, even after abundant evidences that His word is true and reliable. Of course, we all know many who have followed this same avenue.

They have seen changed lives, they have been made aware of the nature of God, and have then realized that the God of creation matches the God of the Bible. And yet, they harden themselves to the truth that they know is there in front of them.

For those of us who are saved, we shake our head in disbelief, we pray for those like this that we love, and we even secretly feel smug over those we think deserve God’s judgment… “How stupid can they be? They’ll get it in the end.”

But in reality, many of us who are saved already by the blood of Christ are actually in an even more deplorable state. We are saved, we have acknowledged Him, received Him, and been granted the assurance of eternal life because of what He did.

And yet, we haven’t placed Him as Lord of our lives. We ignore the commands and exhortations of Paul when they don’t suit our personal mores, and we lie to ourselves that the Lord doesn’t care. Is our disobedience worth the loss of eternal rewards? Is that the case? Are we merely satisfied with being on the heavenly highway and letting it go with that?

Today, I would ask each person here who has called out to Christ to soberly consider their walk. Are you reading His word, going to Bible Studies, walking in obedience, and continuously redirecting yourselves to the right path when you stray?

If not, today I challenge you to do these things. Make the Savior of your soul the Lord of your life. You will fall… we all do, but better to attempt obedience, than to ignore it. Today, ask Christ to strengthen you in who you are as a valued child of God through His gracious adoption. May it be so! Amen.

Closing Verse “To whom shall I speak and give warning,
That they may hear?
Indeed their ear is uncircumcised,
And they cannot give heed.
Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them;
They have no delight in it.” Jeremiah 6:10

Next Week: Exodus 9:13-35 (The Plague of Hail) (26th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Plagues Upon Beast and Man

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh
And tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord
God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go
That they may serve Me; listen to my word

For if you refuse to let them go
And still hold them, and will not yield
Behold, the hand of the Lord even so
Will be on your cattle in the field

On the horses and on the donkeys that you keep
And there’s more, as I continue the sentence
On the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep—
A very severe pestilence

And the Lord will make a difference
Between the livestock of Israel
And the livestock of Egypt
You will see it’s true as I do now tell

So nothing shall die of all, as I am relaying
That belongs to the children of Israel, please understand
Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying
“Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land

So the Lord did this thing on the next day
And all the livestock of Egypt died
But of the livestock of the children of Israel… hooray!
Not one died, and so the Lord was glorified

Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed
Not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead
But the heart of Pharaoh became hard
And he did not let the people go, just as the Lord had said

So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron
“Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace
And let Moses scatter it toward the heavens
In the sight of Pharaoh, so he knows the source of the menace

And it will become fine dust no doubt
In all of Egypt the land
And it will cause boils that break out
In sores on man and beast, from head to toe and hand to hand

Throughout all of Egypt the land
Let it be so as I command

Then they took ashes from the furnace
And stood before Pharaoh
And Moses scattered them toward heaven
And everywhere it did go

And they caused boils that break out
In sores on man and beast
A painful, disgusting plague now doubt

And the magicians could not stand before Moses
Because of the boils, a plague so grand
For the boils were on the magicians
And on all the Egyptians throughout the land

But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh
And them he did not heed
Just as the Lord had spoken to Moses
An obstinate fellow indeed

In due time, the Lord will hand us over
To our own wills; a hardening of the heart
Unless we yield ourselves to Him
And make a fresh start

His offer is made and heaven we may choose
We can accept this marvelous gift of grace
Or we can turn away and so refuse
But that will lead to a different place

In the end our destiny remains our choice
If we have heard of the Gift of His Son Jesus
And so let us open our mouth and use our voice
Receiving what He has offered to us

Let our hearts not be hard, but soft and open today
And in receiving Jesus, let us eternally say…

Great glorious and awesome God, hear our eternal praise
You are worthy of it; glorious and perfect in all Your ways

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

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