Exodus 7-10 provides the famous story of the showdown between Moses and the Egyptian magicians. At first, every miracle Moses performs is reproduced by the demonic-inspired Egyptians. But not long into this face-off we are faced with the reality that this is no contest at all. God is merely toying with these magicians to teach the Jews and the Egyptians that there is only one God in Egypt . . . and it isn't Pharaoh.
“THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE GODS”
Open your Bibles and turn to Exodus, where we continue our studies in the life of Moses. It comes to a showdown between the God we know as Yahweh and the gods of Egypt. Exodus, chapter 7, is where our story continues, where we left off last time. And there is a lot of material in this sermon and a lot of things to cover and a lot of facts because we’re going to cover nine of the ten plagues. So I would encourage you to take a look into your worship folder and pull out the study notes, that would be able to help you follow along, because I don’t want to lose you in the third or the fourth plague.
Exodus, chapter 7, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart’”. Now, we could stop there and preach a sermon on all of the thoughts and ideas related to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. I think it could be best explained by a simple understanding of the meaning of that Hebrew word. The Hebrew word means “to twist,” to, literally, “wring out.” What God is going to do is bring Pharaoh to a place where He will wring out of Pharaoh’s heart what is already in there. Chapter 7, verse 14, God says to Moses, we’ll get there is just a second, He says, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn;” - “so I will wring it out, that is, I will bring out of his heart what is residing there, that is, a stubborn pride.” He says, “I” - will - “multiply” - verse 3 - “My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh will not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt, and bring out my hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am” - Yahweh, I am - “‘the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.’ So Moses and Aaron did it; as the Lord commanded them, thus they did. And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
Now, note what happens - “the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Work a miracle,’’” - or, “Prove it. Prove this Yahweh of the slaves is, literally, the Yahweh of the heavens.” - “then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” It’s interesting that the word is “tanniyn,” its not the same word used earlier, this, literally, means “crocodile.” As we know, the servant of the Nile god was the crocodile. There is the thought, and many expositors believe, that what happened was that staff became, literally, a crocodile. Note what happens, “So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh,” - verse 10 - “and thus they did just as the Lord had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a” - a “tanniyn,” it became a crocodile. - “Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.” - their slight of hand, perhaps, their demon energized activity - “For each one threw down his staff and they turned into” - “tanniyn,” crocodile - “But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” Perhaps there in the floor of Pharaoh’s court was a deadly battle between these crocodiles and then, finally, the one that had come from the staff of Aaron was victorious. I wish I could have been there to see that. “Yet, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”
Plague number one, and I want to give you, as we cover these plagues, the god of Egypt that is confounded. It’s interesting, as we discover so much from Egypt’s history, as the archeologists uncover so many things from that ancient land, we have discovered that each of these, though the text does not tell us, actually confounds one of Egypt’s key gods. God has specifically chosen ten plagues to confound the Egyptian, to prove that He is the God of gods, the King of kings. And He has also done this so that Pharaoh’s heart will be rung out, in rebellion, that God may judge him and the people let go.
The first is, the Nile being turned to blood. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.’” Verse 19, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt,’’” - the Nile - “over their rivers, over their streams” - which feed from the Nile - “and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.” Now, the liberal critics would say that there was simply the explosion of some type of algae, known in the land of Egypt, that was red so that, somehow, by the slight of hand, the waters turned blood red. There is no way around the literal interpretation of this passage that the water became blood. And all of the reservoirs and, not only that but, water that they had stored up in pots, in jars, that, instantly, was also turned to blood. Hoping, perhaps, that Pharaoh would respond, Moses comes back and Pharaoh’s heart is hardened. Verse 23, “Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. And seven days passed”.
The key god, that is confounded by this plague, is the god Osiris. This was the god represented by the symbol in a triangle of the all-seeing god. If you pull out a dollar bill, you will see this same Egyptian symbol on our currency. It is a symbol taken from the paganism of Egypt that represents one of the key gods of Egypt, meaning he is all-seeing, he is all-powerful. Supposedly, Osiris had the ability to turn death into life. And yet, because of this plague, life is turned into death. All of the fish, the inhabiting animals of that waterway, were killed.
The second, frogs came upon the land to irritate the Egyptians. Verse 2, of chapter 8, says that God said, “I will smite your whole territory with frogs.” Now, the Egyptians had another key god called Heka. Heka was known as the frog god. It was actually a goddess whose body was shaped like a woman and yet, whose head was shaped and fashioned like a frog. Not a very attractive god. And the frogs, although they were considered unclean, were revered. This was the goddess of fertility. She was supposedly the one that would aid women in childbirth. It’s interesting, the text will tell us, that the Egyptian magicians also counterfeit this miracle. They also, with slight of hand or with, perhaps, demonic energy, reproduced, in the courtroom before Pharaoh, frogs. So, not only does God inundate the land with frogs but, the Egyptian magicians create a few more, perhaps, frogs, or, with slight of hand, pulled them out of a hat or from behind a curtain, we don’t know. The fascinating thing is that the Egyptians can’t get rid of them. They can create a few more but they can’t get rid of any of these frogs. And, I also think it’s very ironic, from studying all that we know of Egypt, this god, of course, was revered and you were not allowed to even brush one aside, you couldn’t kill them. So here is the land and, the text tells us, that they, look at verse 3, “And the Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house” - and, I think, Moses is enjoying writing this part - “and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. So the frogs will come up on you and your people”. Get the picture, the land is swarming with frogs. A frog is in the kneading bowl as a woman is making bread and she cannot scurry it along, she cannot brush it aside because this is a representative of the goddess of fertility. They climb into bed and they put their feet under the sheet and they hear a croak and they feel something clammy, the frog jumps and they do too. But you have to change, that frog is going to sleep in your bed. I can’t imagine, just the irritation. There is no pain involved. Just the awful irritation of these little things croaking all over Egypt. I imagine that Moses’ credibility with the Israelites is decreasing with every croak as well. I’m sure that he would tell the people, “Look, God is going to move in the heart of Pharaoh. And He’s going to inundate the land with frogs.” Now, up to this point, the Israelites are also being plagued. It isn’t until after the third will these plagues cease to affect the Israelites. And, I think, because they had also, perhaps, turned to the idolatry, perhaps they were impressed with the gods of Egypt, would God allow them to also suffer.
Now the third comes along and there is a change, and that is, according to your notes and the text, lice infesting the land, in the next paragraph, translated perhaps, insect in your text. Verse 16 of chapter 8 begins the story. And the god is the god Geb. This is the earth god. He is the god that is supposedly blessing them with his presents, his earth. The dust of the earth is a blessing to the Egyptians. It is from this ground that comes nutrition and fruit and fiber and all of those things that help the Egyptians to live. But now, because of this plague, note what happens. Verse 16, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth’’” - strike Geb, the earth god - “that it may become gnats”- or insects, I believe, translated “lice” - “‘through all the land of Egypt.’ And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were” - lice - “on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became” - lice - “through all the land of Egypt.” This, according to the Egyptologists, was that little insect that would burrow into the ears and the nostrils of both human and animal and bite. It was a tremendously irritating thing and they, literally, swarmed. They were so numerous that they are referred to as coming from the dust of the earth. You would think, by now, they would have had enough. In fact, verse 19, “Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’” Because they, in verse 18, tried, by secret art, to bring forth the same thing and they could not. They had counterfeited the first two and they were affecting, also, the Israelites. Now, the third, they cannot counterfeit. They cannot create the illusion, perhaps, that they also have this power. And because of that, they throw up their hands to Pharaoh and they say, “Look, this is the finger of Yahweh. This is done by someone more powerful than we.” And they toss it, they bag it and say, “Well, we’re through. We can’t do anything more. This is a more powerful God than ours.” “But Pharaoh’s heart”- verse 19 - “was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”
The next plague would be then, the plague of beetles. The plague of beetles or flies. And this is a difficult one to translate because the Hebrew word could be used in a number of different ways but, most would agree, that it could be referring to either the fly or the beetle. The god of the flies, and I’ll just take both of them and tell you how God would confound their gods. The god of the flies, according to the Egyptians, was Beelzebub, a term referring to Satan. But, back in that day, Beelzebub was the fly god, literally, the dog fly. It was the fly that bit. It was the large fly that they feared, as they went about, biting and plaguing them. And, Beelzebub was supposedly the protector against this particular kind of fly. It was by worshipping him that Egypt would never be invaded by this fly, this pest. And so, what happens? They come in swarms. If he is referring to the god of the beetles, this is, perhaps, even more fascinating. The god is Keparah. And the beetle, or the scarab, was something that they worshipped. In fact, it was representing eternal life. And this beetle would be found in Egyptian tombs encased in gold. It would be found in silver. And they obviously thought so much of this god that they would make idols that, literally, covered the land. Well, God gives them what they want. He covers the land with this insect. Now, the new aspect here is that Goshen, where the Israelites are living, is unaffected. Look at chapter 8, verse 22, “But on that day” - that is, of this plague - “I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land. And I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall occur.” So, in other words, “If you are still wondering, Israel, if I am the God behind these first three plagues or two plagues, now you’ll know because it will affect all the land but, there is a circle around Goshen. There is a divine protection about your place of habitation, it will no longer touch you. You are My people.”
The fifth, and these, I think, begin to become more severe, is an epidemic that destroys the cattle. This is the god Apis. Chapter 9, look with me at verse 1, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them, behold, the hand of’’’” - Yahweh - “will come with a very severe pestilence” - or we could translate that “epidemic” - “on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks.” Verse 6, “So the Lord did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died.” They say that the second largest temple in Egypt was dedicated to the black bull, Apis. It was he who they worshipped and he that was considered a very powerful god. And by worshipping the black bull, their cattle would be preserved and protected. So God, in a sense, strikes a blow at their god the black bull. In fact, you could translate the word “plague,” “strike,” or “stroke,” or “blow.” These are nine blows leveled at the feet of the false gods of Egypt’s Pantheon. And Yahweh will come out on top.
The sixth plague is the one of boils. And this must have been most irritating. Boils breaking out on man and beast. And, I believe, this was an attack on the entire religious system. Because, in that day, to worship or to serve as a priest in the temple, you could not have a blemish. If a male was blemished or had a mole or a mark or anything on his body, he could not be a priest. And also, they would constantly look after their sacred goats and their sacred bulls and they would make sure that they also were without blemish. If they had any, they would not worship them. And they would take their particular unblemished, sacred goat or bull there in the temples and these unblemished males would reverently wash them and lead the people in worship. But now, imagine, a sign posted on the temple door, “Closed because of boils.” All the priests were blemished. All the cattle were blemished. They all had severe boils. The boil here, refers to that which would leave a scar. It’s also ironic that, in that day, we learn, the Egyptian priests would scatter ashes from the furnace where they would have sacrifices. And, by scattering the ash into the air, the check or the spread of evil would be stopped or checked. I want you to notice how this plague begins, chapter 9, verse 10. Let’s back up to verse 8. “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln’” - that is, take the ashes from one of their altars - “‘and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.’ So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast.” Is this what you believe will check the spread of evil? God says take a handful of that, preserving ash, and I want you to throw it into the sky and, immediately, boils broke out on mankind and beast. God is obviously having His say. And yet, through all of this, the heart of Pharaoh was hardened and he refuses to hear, he refuses to let the people go.
Plague number seven, a hail storm will devastate the land. In chapter 9, this is a confounding or a blow against the god Isis, literally, the sky goddess. The one who would protect them by bringing rain when it was supposed to rain. The god who would protect them from the hail or the lightning or whatever may come from above. This goddess overlooked them with a canopy of protection. And yet, the scriptures tell us that this is a storm that Egypt had never seen and has never seen since. Verse 23 of chapter 9, “Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth.” - perhaps a reference to lightning - “And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field” - and note this - “and shattered every tree of the field.” Imagine hail large enough, like cannonballs, to shatter the trees, to rumble the earth. I imagine these Egyptians were cowering under their beds, so fearful. In fact, in verse 27, “Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; the Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Make supplication to the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.’” But, I want you to notice his insincere response because, as soon as the plague is gone, verse 34, “But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.”
Let’s move on to the eighth, locusts will ravage the crops of Egypt. I think all of the insect gods are taken on here and confounded. As the locusts come, verse 3 of chapter 10, “Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts’’”. And just the sound of that word would send terror and fear into all of the hearts of the Egyptians for they dreaded, they feared the locusts. The locusts would come and eat all of the remaining crops and, literally, threaten their very existence. But yet, Pharaoh continues to be stubborn.
In fact, I want to take just a moment to track the stubbornness of Pharaoh. This is not in your notes but, if you want to jot the references down, we’ll look quickly at how he begins to compromise with Moses. The first is back in chapter 8, verse 25. He says, “I’ll let you” - “Go, sacrifice to your God” - but note this - “within the land.” - “I don’t want you going outside of the boundaries of Egypt.” The second is in verse 28 of chapter 8, “And Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away.’” The third compromise is in chapter 10, verse 8, “So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, ‘Go, serve the Lord your God! Who are the ones that are going?’ And Moses said, ‘We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.’” - note this - “Then he said to them, ‘Thus may the Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! . . . Go now,’” - just, that is - “the men among you”. He is, literally, saying, “I’ll admit that Yahweh is your God, if I ever let the children go with you. I’m not totally convinced, Moses. Just the men go. That’s enough.” Still he fails to respond in obedience. And Moses holds tenaciously to the command that God had given him to relay to Pharaoh. Chapter 10, verse 24, “Then Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, ‘Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be detained. Even your little ones may go with you.’” You see, he’s slowly coming to the point where he is going to fully obey but he really doesn’t want to fully obey. First, let’s just go a little while off and don’t go too far away. And then, leave your children here, just the men go. But now you can go but just leave your cattle. The stubbornness of this man is incredible. His country is being ravaged, it’s being destroyed and he’s hanging on by the stubbornness of his will. He will not acknowledge Yahweh. Why? Because he’s god. He is the embodiment of the sun god, Ra.
And that brings me to the ninth plague, and that is the confounding of the god Ra. And this is the crowning insult for Pharaoh. This is something that is, literally, leveled at his very feet because darkness, in chapter 10, verse 21, will come over the land. Verse 21, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.’” “You think, Pharaoh, you are a god, you think you are the embodiment of the sun god Ra? God will cover the sun with the palm of his hand, as it were, and darkness will reign on the land.” But yet, in Goshen, like a beam of light, it’s like daytime. But, in the land of Egypt, it is dark.
You know, if I had been Moses though, as Pharaoh was compromising with these different things and he said, “Moses, you may go but stay within the land.” I think I would have said, “Great! At least that’s three days of relief. I don’t mind. At least we’ll be able to relax.” But he never says that. In fact, he never backs off. If I had been Moses, perhaps, and he says, “Just don’t go very far away.” I think I would have told the people, “Now look, when we’re finally out of sight, we’ll run for it and then allow God to help us.” I’d have been gone. But, no. I think when he said, “Leave the children,” obviously, there is no question, we would have refused. I certainly would have. But, when he says to go, the fourth time, but leave your cattle, after all of these plagues, I would have cared less for cattle, I would have headed for the hills. And yet, I think this reveals something of Moses’ obedience that he never compromises with the compromising repentance of Pharaoh.
Let’s tie it up with some application. I want to give you two lessons that I have learned from studying the life of this very stubborn and rebellious man. First, I really believe, from observing him, that stubbornness deafens you to the word of God. It’s interesting that every time Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh they began with, “Thus says the Lord . . . This is what Yahweh says.” And yet, because of the stubbornness of his heart, he was deaf to the word of God.
And, I think, pride, secondly, blinds an individual to the work of God. Chapter 10, verse 3, is a key verse, “Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?’’” That’s the key point. You know what the problem of Pharaoh is? He is deity in his own eyes. He is caught up with himself. And because he sees only himself, he cannot observe the work of God, the power of Yahweh. And, men, because of stubbornness of pride, still close their eyes to the work of God.
I pulled this out of a magazine. Those who call themselves scholars have entitled this article, “The Biblical Exodus: Fact or Fiction?” We can solve that real quick, if we’d just read a chapter out of here. But they talked about how a volcanic eruption occurred. And because of the volcanic eruption, a tidal wave began. This is their explanation here. Tell me which one you like the best. The one we’ve just looked at or this one. “The eruption sent a column of dust and ash and smoke into the air. Geologists note that this phenomena explains the ten plagues. The waters of Egypt may have turned red, killing the fish and driving frogs on shore. Ash in the skies could have plunged the land into darkness for three days and caused rain to fall as hailstones. High winds could have carried in locusts that destroyed any remaining crops leaving the animals to starve. And insects, breeding in the rotting carcasses, might have brought disease to cattle and humans. Death could have been so rampant as to amount to the killing of the firstborn of every human and animal family in Pharaoh’s flock.” Now, we’ll get to this later but, let me read on. “In addition to accounting for the ten plagues, this eruption could have created the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire night.” Now, if you wonder how the Israelites got away from the Egyptians, it says that they found a hill when they were running and they stood on the hill and, as they stationed themselves on the hill, this tidal wave, finally, caught up with them and drowned all the Egyptians. Man, that’s fantastic! Wonderful! It’s amazing how the stubbornness of man is still deaf and blind to the work and to the words of God.
I read this fascinating article. In Messina, Italy, in 1908, this entire town was given to atheism. And they had just published, in their Christmas edition of their local magazine, the fact that they did not believe in God. So much so to say, as a threat to God, “If there is a God, let him visit our town with an earthquake.” It’s interesting that three days later, December 28, 1908, an earthquake came to Messina, Italy. And, almost before these magazines had reached the homes, 84,000 people had died. It’s interesting throughout history, I imagine, if we could see it from God’s vantage point, every once in awhile He pulls back the curtain on His judgment on mankind, who by stubbornness and pride, raise their fist in the face of Yahweh.
I think of Voltaire, the atheist, who said, in reference to the apostle Paul, “You have seen what one little Jew did for the cause of Christianity. Now I will show you what one little Frenchman will do to destroy Christianity.” And that well-known, infamous, atheist would write, discarding the truths of Christianity and shaking his fist in the face of God. And his biography records that, as he lay on his deathbed, he began to scream, “My feet are burning, pull me up.” And over a period of an hour, he was heading, in his weak condition, toward the head of the bed. But what is really more ironic to me, ladies and gentlemen, is that his very home, from which he printed all of these articles, it is now being used by the Geneva Bible Printing Society to publish scriptures.
I don’t intend to be so dramatic as to make you fear shaking your fist in the face of Yahweh but, ladies and gentlemen, whether you are judged now or later, if you have refused, by stubbornness and pride, to acknowledge the word of God that says, “now is the day of salvation,” that says, “My Son is” - “the Light of the world,” “He is the giver of” - “life,” “He is sovereign.” I fear for any who reject Christ. Who, like Pharaoh, steal their hearts. I trust that God, even now, works in your heart, if you are an unbeliever, and you enjoy the joy of surrender.
Two things from the life of Moses. First, obeying God may not bring expected relief. Think of it, “Okay, God, I’ll obey you, I’ll go to Pharaoh.” And, as he goes, he is probably unaware of the fact that the first plagues will hit his own home. He will climb into bed and he will touch a clammy frog. He’ll sit down to eat and “plop,” one of these croakers will land in his bowl. No relief. Obedience to God made his life more miserable, in terms of comfort. I think sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, you and I have the idea that, if we simply obey God, all of life’s ways smooth out. Perhaps obeying Him will, literally, turn them in to choppy seas for awhile.
Secondly, serving God may not bring immediate results. I empathize with Moses. Perhaps you too, who have shared the gospel with those about you. It’s interesting that he will continually go back to Pharaoh and Pharaoh will continually disregard the message. I think frustration would have reached a high point, if you’ll look at chapter 8, verse 28. “Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.’” Verse 29, “Moses said, ‘Behold, I am going out from you,’” - we’re going to leave - “and I shall make supplication to the Lord that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow;” - now look, Pharaoh - “do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go”. By now he’s a little tired. “Now look, I’m going to go pray but don’t change your mind again.” He probably added, “Please. We’ll try to straighten this out but don’t be deceitful again.” “So Moses” - verse 30 - “went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord. And the Lord did as Moses asked”. I can just hear Moses now, perhaps, saying, if he were I, “God, he’s finally listened. He’s agreed. He’s going to let us go. Get rid of the insects.” And God, with the snap of His finger, rids the land of insects. And Moses goes running back to Egypt. “But Pharaoh hardened his heart . . . and he did not let the people go.”
Can you imagine having a mission like that in life, where you see absolutely no result from Pharaoh or from his servants? Perhaps you have shared Christ with a family member or a neighbor or someone you work with and you’re frustrated because they seem to lean toward the gospel but then, on another occasion, you know they’re so far away. And you think, “God, no results. Why do I bother? Why the agony? Why the burden? They don’t seem to hear.” I want you to understand, ladies and gentlemen, that the basic underlying motivation, the foundation upon which Moses obeys God and speaks for Him, is not result, it is to glorify God, it is to honor God. The reason that I live my life like I do, the reason that I share Jesus Christ is not necessarily so I can jot down all of the results. There is an underlying motivation in your life, as you serve Him. It is to glorify and honor Him. We want to see people come to Christ. We want to see that family unit put back together. We want to see those trust Him. We want to see change. But, ultimately, the underlying motivation, when I get out of bed in the morning, when you get out of bed to face this world, is, “God, that I may honor and glorify You.” Now, with that motivation, men and women, regardless of what happens, you and I will stay true.
I wonder, this morning, as we look into the mirror of scripture, who represents us best. Pharaoh, with his stubbornness and his pride, or Moses, with his surrender, his obedience to God? Let’s pray.