Today, we’re continuing in our message series: Exodus: God’s Plan. In this series from the book of Exodus, we’ve seen a reluctant Moses following God’s instructions. His mission is to rescue Israel from slavery in Egypt. Yet, things have not gone very well. Rather than rescuing his people, Moses has made their lives worse. But Moses is not alone in his mission. God is with him.
This morning, our message is entitled “God’s Power.” In the past. Moses has spoken to the Pharaoh multiple times with no effect. The Pharaoh has hardened his heart, he is not about to let his valuable slaves escape. Today, we’re going to see how obedience to God and faith unleash God’s power into the situation. The Pharaoh and the god of Egypt are not simply fighting against Moses, a man, there are fighting against God and His angelic forces. God’s power and judgement are about to come against the Egyptians who trust in their idols and false gods.
1 Corinthians 10:20a (ESV) No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
So, the Egyptians were worshipping demons as they worshipped their idols and false gods. And the same is true today. Anyone who is worshipping anything other than the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ are worshipping demonic powers, whether they realize it or not. God’s judgements will show that the demonic forces behind the Egyptian false gods are no match for God’s power. As God’s judgments are power are revealed, we’ll see that they are always just.
You might ask, greater than what? God’s power is greater than anything or anyone. Our story in Exodus continues with Moses going to Pharaoh yet another time.
Exodus 7:10-11 (ESV) So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts.
This is the first supernatural miracle that God gave Moses and Aaron to perform. An inanimate wooden staff was thrown to the ground, whereupon it became a live hissing serpent. Clearly, this miracle has no natural explanation, it could only happen supernaturally. The Pharaoh had group of magicians and sorcerers that had mastered secret arts. The New Testament in 2 Timothy 3:8 names two of the leading sorcerers opposing Moses as Jannes and Jambres. Many commentaries say that these sorcerers simply relied on trickery or illusion. But that is not what the Scripture says at all. Verse 11 says that the sorcerers did the same miracle as Aaron by their secret arts.
Demonic power is real, demonic power is supernatural. Demonic power can be learned and controlled by those who submit and worship those powers. But the end result of worshipping and using demonic power is destruction.
Exodus 7:12 (ESV) For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
Here again we see that the sorcerer’s demonic miracle was real. In fact, multiple sorcerers cast down their staffs and each staff became a serpent. At first, it seemed as though the demonic power was greater than God’s power. But suddenly the serpent from Aaron’s staff began to swallow up the demonic serpents before being transformed back into a staff. God’s power is greater. Now, it was time for another miracle, usually referred to as the first plague.
Exodus 7:20 (ESV) Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.
The Nile river was personified and worshipped as a god named Hapi in Egypt. The water of the Nile was essential for life in Egypt. You’ll recall that the Pharaoh had ordered all Israelite baby boys to be thrown into the Nile to die. How fitting that God’s judgment turned the Nile into blood.
Exodus 7:22 (ESV) But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Since all the water in the Nile had been turned into blood by Moses, the magicians must have turned some water from a well into blood. A supernatural miracle by demonic power, to be sure, but on a much smaller scale. Yet the Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened and he would not let the Israelites go. God’s power is always greater than any human or demonic power.
There are many errors in people’s understanding of supernatural power today. Some people believe that there is no supernatural power at all and try to explain everything by natural means. The Bible is clear, supernatural power is real and there are only two basic kinds of supernatural power. There is the supernatural power of God that is released through faith and prayer, often accomplished by angels. And there is the supernatural power of Satan, released through demons.
Any idol or god that a person worships other than Jesus Christ, has demonic power behind it. That demonic power can accomplish supernatural things, but will ultimately destroy people who seek to use it. Some people actually believe that today, only Satan can work miracles, and God no longer does them. That belief is completely contrary to Scripture and makes no sense.
In our story, Pharaoh is a type of Satan who seeks to keep people in bondage to sin. Moses is a type of Jesus, who will ultimately set people free from slavery to sin. If you’re a believer here today, no matter what Satan may be attacking you with, God’s power is greater. Sin in your life can give Satan’s demons an opening to hurt you. Turn away from any sin and believe that God’s power is greater.
The Lord next instructed Moses to go again to Pharaoh and tell him to let Israel go to worship the Lord. If he refused to let them go, then God would send a plague on Egypt. Pharaoh refused to let the people go, so God sent a second plague.
Exodus 8:6-7 (ESV) So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
The second plague was of frogs. The Egyptian goddess of childbirth was named Heqet and had the head of a frog. Again the magicians were able to make frogs appear through their demonic powers. Yet, God was making the creature that the Egyptians worshipped, a major problem throughout Egypt as the frogs were getting into everything. Pharaoh called on Moses to pray that the frogs would go away and then he would let the people go. So Moses prayed, the frogs died and were piled into heaps, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the people go. So, God sent the third plague.
Exodus 8:17-18 (ESV) And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast.
God was turning creation against the Egyptians in judgement. The first two plagues began with water. This third plague came from the dust of the earth. The magicians are not able to produce gnats, which affect both people and animals. There is no indication that the gnats go away in the Scripture. And so the plagues continue with the fourth plague of flies.
Exodus 8:22-23 (ESV) But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’”
With the fourth plague, again of insects, the Lord explicitly says that the plague will not affect the people of God. Only the Egyptians would be affected by this plague and the remaining plagues. This plague now came from the air, causing irritation, destruction and disease. Again Pharaoh comes to Moses asking for relief, but refusing to let the people go when the flies are gone.
The plagues continue with all the Egyptian livestock dying, boils breaking out on the Egyptians, enormous hail coming to cause destruction to people, buildings, animals and fields. The eight plague was locusts eating every green plant that remained from the hail, yet when the plague ended, still Pharaoh refused to let the people go. The ninth plague was darkness coming upon Egypt, but not in the land of Goshen where there was light. This plague was the Lord showing His power over the Eqyptian sun god Re, which the Pharaohs were often referred to as the sons of Re. Pharaoh still refused to let the people go and commanded Moses to never appear before him again. God was judging the evil of the Egyptians and protecting His people.
How do the ten plagues apply to us today? In the ten plagues, God was judging evil and His judgements still take place today. The judgements of God are carried out on people who have hardened their hearts against God. Just as the Lord gave Pharaoh many opportunities to repent and let the people go, so the Lord gives many opportunities for those practicing evil today to repent. However, if they keep hardening their hearts, ultimately God will bring judgment.
Judgement from God may come in many different forms. Usually it will come in some form in this life, but it will always come in eternity. God’s judgement on evil does not affect or impact the righteous, those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ. In fact, we should pray for God’s judgements to bring justice in our world and deliverance from the evil that we see all around us. God still judges evil and protects the righteous.
There was still one plague to go, the tenth plague, the most severe plague of all.
Exodus 11:1-2 (ESV) The LORD said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.”
God prepares Moses for what was going to happen. Finally, after the tenth plague, the Pharaoh would let the people go. Moses was to instruct the people of Israel to ask their Egyptian neighbors for their silver and gold jewelry. Why would the Egyptians give their valuable jewelry to the Israelites? The simple answer is because the Lord had prepared their hearts. Those Egyptians had suffered under the preceding nine plagues. They wanted the Israelites out of their country so that the plagues would stop. God would bless His people by giving them much of the wealth of Egypt as they left. This blessing would be a curse on Egypt for the generations of cruel enslavement of the Israelites. So, what was the tenth plague?
Exodus 11:4-5 (ESV) So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.
The firstborn was always the one that got the greatest inheritance, often including the throne from their father Pharaoh. This plague would first and foremost impact every Egyptian, as well as the cattle. What of the Israelites?
Exodus 11:7 (ESV) But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’
We’ll learn next Sunday of the special preparations that the Lord’s people had to do in order to be protected from the destroyer of the first-born. But God would make it possible for them to be safe as Egypt and its gods received the ultimate judgement on their first-born. God was going to deliver and bless His people.
Today, we’ve seen how God makes a distinction between His people and His enemies. He brings blessing on His people and judgements or curses on His enemies, in this case the Egyptians. What of today? The same is true. God blesses His children who believe in Jesus and ultimately brings judgement on those who harden their hearts and refuse to believe in Jesus. Yet, God is gracious and sends His blessings even on those who don’t yet believe, giving them an opportunity to repent and escape judgement. God blesses His people in many different ways. In our story, God blessed His people with wealth, but God’s blessing may not come in wealth. It may come in joy and peace and having your needs met. Ultimately, blessing and judgement will come in their fullness in eternity.
Even though we didn’t have time to go into great detail in each of the first nine plagues, we have seen that God’s power is greater than any power of Egypt’s sorcerers. Although demonic power is real, that power is no match for God’s power through His Spirit today. God still judges evil in our world today and protects the righteous. As we walk with God, He blesses us and our families. No matter what you’re going through this morning, be encouraged. If you’re a believer here today, all things are possible with God’s power. Nothing is impossible with Him. Receive His blessing for your life and family.