The Compromises of Pharaoh, Part 1

Exodus   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:12:00
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There are three purposes or reasons for the ten plagues:
1. To punish Egypt (Genesis 12:3)
2. To bring about Israel’s freedom in a unique and miraculous way that could only be accomplished by God. (Thereby having the right to be Israel’s God.)
3. To show the foolishness of idolatry (Exodus 12:12, Numbers 33:4).
The number of gods in Egyptian pantheon is approximately 80. All eighty gods would be affected in some way by the time these plagues had run their courses. Archaeology at this time has not allowed us to know how all eighty gods were affected, because the function of many are unknown. However, it is known how quite a few were affected...
The foolishness of idolatry displayed in two ways:
1) Pharaoh was considered to be a god in human form; some of the plagues had a direct effect on Pharaoh himself, proving that he was not much of a god at all.
2) One of the most important and ruling groups in Egyptian society was the priesthood, and some of the plagues affected the priests themselves.
Because God was inflicting these plagues, they had a specific order that made sense.
The timing from the first to the tenth plague was a period of six months; these plagues did not come in a rapid succession.

A. The Plague of Blood, Exodus 7:14-25.

This first plague came with a warning, it faced opposition from the magicians, and it came from the hand of Aaron:

1. The warning, 7:14-18.

The waters of Egypt, even in vessels of wood or stone (common idiom for idolatry) became blood when Aaron stretched out his staff over the waters of the Nile and struck it.

2. The onset of the plague, 7:19-21.

Results of the plague: with the water turned to blood, the fish died, the river became foul, and no one could drink the water throughout the land of Egypt.

3. The opposition from the magicians, 7:22-23.

The magicians were able to duplicate this miracle. Satan can duplicate God’s miracles, but he cannot undo what God does. However, the last thing the Egyptians needed was more water turned to blood; they just made matters worse. Pharaoh, when he saw they could duplicate the plague, hardened his heart, enclosed himself in his house and would not let Israel go.

4. The response of the people, 7:24-25.

The people dug for water underground and thus were able to stay alive. This explains where the magicians found the fresh water to turn into blood. This plague lasted seven days.

5. Egyptian gods affected:

Nile River, sacred to Egyptians, turned to blood.
Khnum, guardian of the Nile’s source unable to protect his own river.
Hani, the spirit of the Nile, was affected, but the Nile turned to blood anyway.
Osiris was affected as the Nile was considered his bloodstream. Divine humor seen here.
Sepek, the crocodile god was affected.
Neith, the protector of the lates, the largest fish of the Nile, yet this fish died.
Hathor, the protector of the chromis, a major fish of the Nile, was not protected and died.

B. The Plague of Frogs, Exodus 8:1-15.

This second plague came with a warning (but no time was specified), it faced opposition from the magicians, and it came from the hand of Aaron:

1. The warning, 8:1-4.

Because of Pharaoh’s refusal to let the people go...swarms of frogs would be everywhere.

2. The command and onset of the plague, 8:5-6.

The plague hit with the stretching out of Aaron’s rod over the rivers, streams, and pools of Egypt.

3. The opposition of the magicians, 8:7.

Once again, the magicians duplicated but could not undo the miracle, making the situation worse for all of Egypt.

4. The encounter with Pharaoh, 8:8-15.

“Remove the frogs and I will let the people go that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” Pharaoh was allowed to pick the exact time of day for the frogs to be removed; when it happened, he should have recognized that the God of Israel is the only true God. He chose the next day: “Tomorrow.” Twenty-four more hours of frogs probably did not make the Egyptians happy. The next day, the frogs’ removal began as Pharaoh had asked. Moses prayed on Pharaoh’s behalf and God caused the frogs to die. There were so many frogs that they were gathered into heaps. The land stank from all the dead frogs. But Pharaoh responded to the obvious power of God by hardening his heart. He would not let the people go.

5. The Egyptian gods affected:

Hani (once again) who controlled the alluvial deposits that made the Nile River Valley fertile, but he did not prove anything here. Every year the Nile River flooded. The sounds of frogs were normally a time of rejoicing because it meant that the Nile was receding and the land was fertile, but not this time.
Heqt, with the body of a woman and the head of a frog, was a symbol of resurrection and an emblem of fertility, but this goddess of frogs could do nothing to stem the plague.

C. The Plague of Lice (Heb. Mixture), 8:16-19.

This third plague came without warning, it faced opposition from the magicians, and came by the hand of Aaron:

1. The command and onset of the plague, 8:16-17.

The command came from God through Moses to Aaron to stretch out the rod and smite the dust of the ground so that it might become a mixture, containing several elements: dog flies, vermin, gnats, and swarms of insects. Aaron obeyed and the mixture came.

2. Opposition from the magicians, 8:18-19.

There was opposition, but this time the magicians could not duplicate this nor any of the following plagues through Satanic power. Their conclusion: “This is the finger of God.” Yet Pharaoh’s response was that his heart was hardened, and he would not let the people go.

3. Egyptian gods affected:

Uatchit, the God of insects, who had no control over his insects.
Seb, the god of the earth, supposedly responsible for protection against lice, but powerless during this plague.
The priesthood of Egypt, in antiquity noted for its purity and cleanliness, were also affected by this particular plague. Egyptian priests totally shaved their bodies of all hair, including eyebrows, in order to avoid any lice or insects. This time, the swarms of a mixture of insects was also found on the bodies of the priests and there was no way that the shaving of all their hair was able to save them from defilement.

D. The Plague of Flies, 8:20-32.

This fourth plague, the first plague of second set of three, came with a warning in the morning. Starting with this plague there was a distinction made between Egypt and Israel. This plague came by the hand of God.

1. The warning, 8:20-23.

God warned Pharaoh that there would be flies upon Pharaoh, his servants, the people, in their houses and on the ground. No one would escape, except this time there is a division between the Egyptians and the Israelites, starting the very next day.

2. The onset of the plague, 8:24.

When the plague hit the very next day, it was just as God had said. There were swarms of flies, so many that they corrupted the entire land of Egypt.

3. Encounter with Pharaoh, 8:25-32.

Pharaoh now offers two compromises to Moses.

o The first compromise (positional):

The children of Israel may go sacrifice in the land. Pharaoh is allowing them to worship in Goshen; they do not have to go out of Egypt. This was all very broadminded and accommodating of Pharaoh. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Lord was always offered a place in the world’s pantheon as one of many gods to be worshipped. However, the Lord demands to be supreme as the only God. The first commandment to the Israelites was “You shall have no other gods before Me.” When Israel failed to obey this commandment, disaster resulted. Believers in the early church were offered acceptance of their worship of the Lord if they also worshipped Caesar. But there was no compromise, and as a result, believers suffered. They suffered simply because they would not worship in the land. It was because they were a separate people not cooperating with the world and its religious worship, they paid with their lives. 1 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
You cannot compromise truth with error and still have truth, you cannot mix the church and the world and still have the church as a lighted lampstand in the midst of the world. It is impossible to worship the true and living God in Egypt. We have been rescued from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4) and translated us out of the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13). Positionally, we are not of this world even as Christ was not of this world (John 17:14). It is because of a new position and a new nature that we can worship the Lord. The only sacrifice ever offered in Egypt was the Passover, and it was the means of saving us from the wrath of God and the death blow of condemnation that was to fall upon those who made the land of Egypt their permanent home. The Passover was not, per se, worship even though it was the basis for all worship.
This compromise was rejected by Moses (verses 26-27) for two reasons:
First, according to Gen. 46:34, for Israel to sacrifice sheep in the land would be considered detestable to the Egyptians. This was the worship God required of His people—just as today we are to live for Christ in all we do and say and to do so makes us an abomination to our worldly associates. The worldly religious system embraces everything and condemns nothing except wholeheartedness for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, verse 27 is Moses’ answer, “. . . as He commands us.” God’s word must be completely fulfilled; there is no room for compromise.
A man in the New Testament failed at this point. His name was Demas. Paul wrote, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me…. (2 Timothy 4:10). Since that time to today, the Demases have outnumbered the Timothys.

o The second compromise (spiritual):

The children of Israel may go into the wilderness but not very far (that is, not a three-day journey into the wilderness). Arthur Pink said of this: “Pharaoh was ready to lengthen the chain, but it was still a chain.” Any compromise from doing the complete will of God is to fall into the trap of Satan. To be so close to Egypt, was really to not separate from it at all. During the testings in the wilderness, the people wanted to return many times. Imagine how easy it would have been to resume their lives of misery if they had just gone not very far away.
A man named Lot fell at this very point. He tried to blend fellowship with the world with his faith in the living God by living in Sodom. The Lord shows us what kind of influence he had upon his world. It was none. His worldliness entirely paralyzed his testimony. He ended his days in a lowly cave with a blighted testimony to live on forever as to what this kind of a life brings. You cannot compromise with Satan and win.
Pharaoh asked Moses to entreat for him. In v. 29, Moses said the plague would be removed in one day, but he warned Pharaoh not to deal deceitfully as he had done in the removal of the frogs.
Moses prays for the plagues to be removed (8:30); God responded, and the plague was lifted (8:31) but Pharaoh’s hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go (8:32).

4. God affected:

Baalzebub, the lord of the flies, who controlled the fly population yet could do nothing for the Egyptians before the power of God.
It is much better to be narrow, to not compromise and have some depth than to be so broad as to become shallow. In our day, people talk about their truth. What they really mean is their unique experience and their understanding of it, which really is not unique considering the history of humanity. Real truth is absolute and narrow. When the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me,” that eliminates all other possibilities. This is so very narrow that no man can come any other way to God the Father than through the Son. Truth is just that narrow.
Anyone who is going to follow the Lord is going to be narrow. None other than the Lord Jesus Christ said so.
Matthew 7:13–14 NASB95
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Now this may be diagrammed, for it is the way of the righteous and the unrighteous; the way of the world and the way of believers; the way of the many and the way of the few.
Today I want to ask you: Which way are you heading?
Are you going with the many or the few? The one way ends at one point—destruction. The other way continues to enlarge the further you go forever and ever. It is the area of LIFE and real living. Life is with the Lord, not Satan.
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