MOSES SERIES - NUMBER FOUR

THE PLAGUES

Bible Reading: Exodus 5:1-9, 16-17,20-21

 

INTRODUCTION

[a] Throughout the world today, there is total disregard for Who God is and what He requires of the individual.

[b] In fact, to many, He is nothing more than a figment of the mind of those peculiar people called Christians.

[c] So many are not interested in the commands of God - they laugh at you when you try and tell them that God has a claim on their lives, as if, well, He may be someone elseís God, but certainly not theirs, thank you very much!

[d] Some of them donít mind using God as an emergency phone number, when things are falling apart - and of course blaming Him when things go wrong - but thatís about their limit.

 

POINT 1

[a] Pharaoh was rather like that!

Moses and Aaron brought the message of God to him - "THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, LET MY PEOPLE GO!"

[b] What was his reaction? "Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?" Or to put it another way, "Who does He think He is to tell me, Pharaoh what I must do?"

[c] How frustrating it must have been for Moses and Aaron - in the capacity of messengers of God, to have Godís authority challenged in this way!

[d] Iíve known the feeling all too often - I have preached GODíS WORD,

and people have treated it as if itís MY MESSAGE INSTEAD OF HIS!

THEY HAVE BEEN UNWILLING TO ACCEPT THE CLAIMS AND AUTHORITY OF GOD!

[e] They act like Pharaoh, and in essence say, "WHY SHOULD I DO WHAT GOD WANTS? IS HE REALLY THAT IMPORTANT? AFTER ALL WHATíLL HE DO IF I SAY NO?"

[f] BLATENT DISOBEDIENCE of God is a dangerous and foolish thing!!

Pharaoh found out to his cost - I HOPE NO-ONE IN THIS MEETING HAS TO FIND OUT TO THEIR COST THAT DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD IS A PRECIPICE THEY WALK AT THEIR PERIL!!

 

POINT 2

[a] Because Pharaoh was offended at the message, the people of God were persecuted! They had to find their OWN STRAW for the brick making, and yet not diminish their output which effectively doubled their workload!

b] Christians sometimes think that because they are following Godís way, that things should be easier - and yet find by experience, that things become TEN TIMES MORE DIFFICULT!

[c] The Children of Israel were extremely displeased, and criticised Moses and Aaron for ever giving the message of God at all!!

[d] The devil has many ways of stopping Godís message going forth, and becoming unpopular with people (in this case Pharaoh) is one of his main strategies!!

How often the proclamation of the Word of God has suffered today, because of the risk of losing popularity, or perhaps financial support!!

[e] Just think, if Moses and Aaron had said to themselves, "Hey, this isnít working - even our own people have turned against us! We better try and humour the old boy. Water down the message! Take some of the cutting edge off it so that itís not so offensive to him!"

IF THIS HAD BEEN THE CASE, ISRAEL WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM THEIR BONDAGE!!

[f] Moses and Aaron knew that no matter about the cost, THEY HAD TO BE TRUE TO THE MESSAGE, WHICH AFTER ALL, WAS GODíS MESSAGE, NOT THEIRS!!

THEY ONLY HELD IT IN TRUST - AS THE BIBLE SAYS CHRISTIANS DO TODAY, WITH THE GOSPEL!!

[g] I remember when we were associated with Hoxton Corps in London nearly 30 years ago, seeing their flag from the early days.

It was very precious to them, and had been carefully framed and preserved. As you looked at it, you could see that it was splattered with the blood of the early Salvationists - such had been the persecution, as they fearlessly proclaimed the message of God! It challenged me Ė does it you?

[h] Things are easier today, and perhaps we say "Thank God!"

But I wonder why they are easier! Is it because the message of God has often lost itís cutting edge, and is not causing the offence to peopleís consciences that God would wish???

 

POINT 3

[a] Back they went to Pharaoh, and Aaron cast down his rod and IT BECAME A SERPENT as had happened with Moses at the burning bush!

Surely this will show him the power of God they thought!

[b] But low and behold, out came the sorcerers, AND DID EXACTLY THE SAME WITH THEIR RODS!! But God showed His sovereignty in the fact that He made Aaronís serpent eat all the rest!!

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWERS OF EVIL!! BUT ALSO REMEMBER THAT OUR GOD IS INFINITELY MORE POWERFUL! HE IS THE OMNIPOTENT ONE! HALLELUJAH!

[c] "Pharaoh! Let my people go, or all THE WATERS OF EGYPT SHALL BE TURNED INTO BLOOD!"

EXODUS 7:20-24

In the sight of Pharaoh, and the people, Aaron smote the waters of the river! Wouldnít he have looked a right Ďcharlieí if it hadnít worked! But true to Godís promise they turned to blood, they were undrinkable and all the fish died.

Surely this would move the heart of Pharaoh! The devil worked overtime, and we find that through their evil magical powers the sorcerers were able to do the same.

Pharaoh was not to be moved!

[d] ĎStickabilityí is the name of the game, and time after time, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharaoh.

EXODUS 8:1-4

"Do what God commands or you will be plagued with frogs!"

Can you imagine it?? Frogs legs for breakfast, dinner tea and supper - and still attached to the frogs!!

They were everywhere! Can you imagine trying to make a cup of tea, with frogs taking diving practice in your teapot??

But the devil wasnít beaten yet! He showed that his sorcerers could do exactly the same! What it must have been like with a double portion of frogs I have no idea. It must have been a nightmare!

But Pharaoh obviously did not like frogs in his teapot and his bed, and his kitchen! He did not ask his sorcerers to get rid of the frogs - he asked Moses and Aaron - I think thereís a little significance there, and a mumbled admission of the supremacy of God.

HE PROMISED TO LET THE PEOPLE GO, (chapter 8:8) but once the job was done and God had killed all the frogs, and they were gathered into rotting stinking piles, HE CHANGED HIS MIND! Nothing like a man of his word is there? We can see at whose feet, many of our modern politicians have studied! Itís especially evident at the time approaching an election!

 

POINT 4

EXODUS 8:16-19

[a] The next plague beat the magicians - they couldnít do it!

In fact they went further and told Pharaoh "THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD!"

[b] All the dust in Egypt turning into LICE! Can you imagine it CREEPING CRAWLING LICE EVERYWHERE!!

[d] It reminds me of the little boy who heard his minister say "From dust we have come and to dust we shall return." And he commented that there must have been a lot of comings and goings under his bed!

[e] Obviously Pharaohís bed mustnít have been like that! I take it that Pharaohís palace must have been well dusted, for we donít read of he himself being affected by the lice. Itís possible that because he was perhaps not personally affected, he took no notice of the plight of his scratching people - and said in essence, "I shall not be moved!"

It reminds me of the attitude of some rulers and politicians in todayís world when confronted with the needs of their people.

 

POINT 5

[a] If indeed Pharaoh was unaffected by the lice, the same certainly did not apply to the plague of the FLIES! For we are told that a "GRIEVOUS SWARM OF FLIES CAME INTO THE HOUSE OF PHARAOH AND THE WHOLE OF EGYPT!"

[b] "YES! YES! TAKE AWAY THE FLIES! I WILL LET YOUR PEOPLE GO!!"

But of course once the flies were gone - so were his promises!

[c] And so it went on and on..........

[1] ALL EGYPTíS CATTLE DIED - AND NOT ONE OF THE ISRAELITES ANIMALS!

[2] ALL THE PEOPLE AND ANIMALS IN EGYPT BROKE OUT IN TERRIBLE BOILS -

We read that even those famous sorcerers could not stand before Pharaoh because of their boils!

Yet it did not affect the people of Israel! EXODUS 9:11 tells us it was upon "ALL THE EGYPTIANS!"

[3] ALONG CAME THUNDER, LIGHTENING AND GIGANTIC HAILSTONES SO LARGE THAT THEY KILLED ANYTHING EXPOSED TO THEM!

[4] THEN THERE WAS A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS EATING ALL THE CROPS - A HEAVING MASS DESCENDING FROM THE SKY DEVOURING EVERYTHING THAT GREW.

I remember my grandmother, who was South African, speaking about the coming of the locusts to her area when she was young. There were such a swarm that the sky would be darkened, and in a few minutes the fields would be stripped bare of their crops!

EXODUS 10:14-15

[5] DARKNESS FOR THREE DAYS THAT WAS SO DEEP IT COULD ALMOST BE FELT -

In EXODUS 10:22 it is described as a "THICK DARKNESS!"

A coal miner could tell you a bit about that kind of darkness deep in the bowels of the earth where no daylight can reach! It would be bad enough today, when we have street lights and electricity, but what must it have been like for the Egyptians?

AGAIN THE PROMISE OF PHARAOH AND AGAIN HE BREAKS IT THIS TIME THREATENING THAT IF MOSES AND AARON COME BACK TO HIM HE WILL KILL THEM!

 

CONCLUSION

[a] So often during the plagues, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron willing to DO ANYTHING if Egypt is delivered from the prevailing plague of the moment!!

[b] PROMISES! PROMISES!

How like so many of us!! In the midst of some extreme difficulties, weíve said to God, "Oh Lord, get me out of this, and Iíll do anything!"

[c] But how many of us, when the Lord has delivered us, have turned around and WITHDRAWN OUR PROMISE - JUST LIKE PHARAOH!!

[d] Iím sure as we look at the story, we can fit ourselves into a Ďnicheí somewhere in itís framework!

BUT WHERE DO YOU FIT??

[1] Are you like Pharaoh with HIS INCONSISTENCY AND WORTHLESS PROMISES?

[2] Are you like the Children of Israel, NOT WANTING TO STAND FOR GOD BECAUSE OF THE COST??

[3] Or are you like Moses and Aaron, AMBASSADORS OF GOD, WILLING TO STAND FOR HIM COME WHAT MAY, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE PERSONAL COST??

[e] Maybe in this meeting, you feel that you should be making a new commitment of you life, because the Spirit of God has spoken to your heart, showing you things that need to be put right. IF SO, THEN I ASK YOU TO COME AND MAKE THAT COMMITMENT NOW!!

LET US DETERMINE THAT FROM THIS MOMENT, WE WILL BE SOMEONE UPON WHOM GOD CAN COMPLETELY DEPEND!!

SONG (TUNE) 707 (200), prayer chorus 99, 233 (572), prayer chorus 105, 732 (687 )