February 5 Exodus 5-9
February 6 Exodus 10-13
February 7 Exodus 14-18
February 8 Exodus 19-21
February 9 Exodus 22-24
February 10 Exodus 25-28
What an eventful week! This week is very detailed, so I will post twice. I don’t want my blog post to be so long that you don’t want to read – or comment!
This week begins with Moses getting the courage to go to Pharaoh with God’s demand: let my people go to celebrate a three day festival. These festivals couldn’t be celebrated by the entire people of Israel in their living space; we find out later that there are 600,000 men – not counting women and children – so they needed the room to properly gather. God chose to harden Pharaoh’s heart so that He would be glorified, and Pharaoh said no… then made the Israelites work harder to make their daily quota of bricks.
Moses’ response? Much like yours or mine, I’m afraid. He whined to God… why did you doooooooo this? Why are you causing TROUBLE? Why did you send meeeeeeeee? I did what you said, and you didn’t deliver your PEOPLE!
God didn’t strike Moses down. He didn’t argue with him, nor did He choose to show Moses the big picture. He simply reminded Moses that Pharaoh would let the Israelites go because of God’s strong hand. He promises Moses:
· Deliver you from Egypt and free you from slavery
· Redeem you
· Take you as my people
· Be your God, and you will know that I am Yahweh
· Bring you to the Promised, and
· Give you the Promised Land
Think about this for a minute. God chose to talk to Moses, a mere mortal, and promised him… adoption as the premier people, protection, and a permanent home. So what does Moses do? Act on faith? Step out boldly? Of course not. He whines again:
I’m a poor speaker. Pharaoh won’t listen to me.
Is God exasperated? Offended? No. In His loving and infinite wisdom, He gives Moses another promise:
You will be like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron will be your prophet. Say what I tell you. Pharaoh won’t listen, but I will bring you out of Egypt!
I guess that promise was more personal, because we see Moses confront Pharaoh with a series of miracles and plagues.
Miracle: Aaron threw down his staff and it turned into a serpent.
The magicians could duplicate this through their occult practices,
Aaron’s staff ate the Egyptians staffs.
1. Water turned to blood (Pharaoh’s magicians could duplicate). When I read this, I was reminded that the life of the flesh is in the blood. But in this case, the blood was a death sentence to all the fish in the Nile, and the people were unable to quench their thirst. How scary that must have been – an entire week with a disrupted water supply. Can you remember how you felt after Wilma? How frustrating it was for those who didn’t have enough water? How the Egyptian nation must have grumbled about this first plague – and I’m certain that not everyone knew why this was happening – but I’m sure rumors were flying!
2. Frogs (Pharaoh’s magicians could duplicate): So after a week of no water, the river was completely healed and the people’s water jugs were restored. Now they couldn’t get to the water because of the frogs that covered everything – the river, the homes, the streets. Pharaoh was a little more alarmed this time and asked Moses to get rid of the frogs. Moses let Pharaoh pick the time for frog removal (why did he decide to wait until morning?). All the frogs died and the people were left with millions of stinking, dead frog bodies. Pharaoh decided to harden his heart rather than letting the people go – just like God said he would.
3. Gnats (magicians couldn’t duplicate). Eeeeeew! Bazillions of gnats everywhere – but still Pharaoh wouldn’t let the people go.
4. Flies, but only in the Egyptian’s living area. Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was a fly-free zone! There were enough flies to ruin the land. This time, Pharaoh told Moses that he could go sacrifice to God in the country. Moses reminded Pharaoh that this was impossible because they would be sacrificing things the Egyptians found detestable, and he was afraid that the Eygptians would stone his people. They needed to go three days into the wilderness. But once the flies were removed, Pharaoh reneged again.
5. Death of Egyptian livestock. Again, Pharaoh didn’t listen and refused to let the Israelites go.
6. Boils. God told Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of furnace soot and throw it in the air. Of course, it’s obvious that God didn’t need soot to create the boils. The soot was a physical reminder to the people that a plague was coming. It was the obedience of Moses and Aaron that brought on the plague. Sometimes God has us do things that may seem odd, but when we act in obedience, we know that what He has promised us will come to pass! Even with his people (and their animals) in pain, Pharaoh refused to let the people go.
7. Hail, which kills everything that is not sheltered. Pharaoh’s heart was hard during the good times, but he’s now agreeing to Moses’ demands. Of course, he changes his mind once again, so God brings on the …
8. Locusts. These guys eat everything that didn’t escape the hail. No one had ever seen anything like this plague, and it would never be seen again. So now, thanks to Pharaoh’s hard heart, the Egyptians have no meat and no grains. He’s backed into a corner by his officials, so he agrees to let the Israelite men go to the festival. He apologizes, and God removes every locust. (Don’t you wish that God would remove all those bugs in your house?)
9. Darkness that can be felt. I can only imagine that this darkness felt as dark does to a small child – completely frightening. It lasted for three days (there are a lot of things that happen for three days – including Jonah’s stay in the whale and Jesus’ stay in the tomb. It’s interesting to see the number three appear over and over). Although Egypt was plunged into darkness, Israel had light. Pharaoh negotiates again: take your families, but not your herds. Since God’s plan is total salvation for His people, this offer is unacceptable. Pharaoh tells Moses that if he ever appears again, he will die.
10. Death of every first born male, both people and animals. Here we see a parallel to Jesus. The Israelites are told to take an unblemished sheep or goat, keep it for 4 days, and then slaughter it and roast it in preparation for a fast escape. They are to take the blood of the animal and put it on the doorposts, top and sides (forming a sort of cross), using hyssop. In ancient times, hyssop was used to clean sacred places, and today the herb, bruised and applied, heals cuts!
Egyptian first born males die. Panic and sadness cover the land. Israel is spared the deaths. Pharaoh says GO quickly! God allows the Egyptians’ hearts to be softened so that Israel can plunder gold and silver jewelry and clothes. These items are willingly given to the people.
We’ve seen the creation of the first two feasts: Unleavened bread, during the first month from the evening of the 14th to the 21st., and the Passover, with sacred assemblies on the first and seventh days. The Israelites are to use no leavening, which represents sin! As Christians, we are to cleanse ourselves because Christ has been sacrificed for our sins.
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor 5:7-8 (ESV)
The Israelites were to eat the lamb without breaking its bones, just as Christ, the Passover lamb, was unbroken on the cross:
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” John 19:33, 36 (ESV)
(On a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to hear a Jews for Jesus presentation of “Christ in the Passover”, take the opportunity. It will change the way you look at the night when He was betrayed!)
At one time, influenced by movies, I though there were just a few people involved in “The Exodus”, but we see that there were over 600,000 people, plus an “ethnically diverse crowd” and their livestock and their possessions! It is suggested that the total number was closer to 2,000,000 when women, children, and others were counted. I wonder how their communication system worked. All messages had to be delivered via courier, and Egypt is a large country. Even if they were confined to Goshen, it was a big job to prepare 2,000,000 people for a trip. Some of us can’t even prepare a family of four for a trip! What an amazing God we have.
So, 430 years after their miraculous arrival during the Great Famine, when God used a poor little rich kid to preserve a nation, we see the nation once again on the move. This time, God uses a stutterer and his brother plus a stubborn ruler, and shows His mighty power. God is fulfilling the promise He made to Abraham.
16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Gal 3:16-18 (ESV)
Were the Israelites thankful? Did they have a smooth journey? We find out more starting on Tuesday. I will post the remainder of the week’s summary on Saturday!
Please feel free to comment or ask questions.