Heavenly Father, I exult and worship you this morning,
You are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Humble us this morning that we might know you more fully,
Fill us with your Spirit that we might have joy, peace, and faithfulness as we serve you.
Guide my words this morning and give us all ears to hear what you would teach us.
In Jesus’ name,
"Everybody is an atheist in saying that there is a god - from Ra to Shiva - in which he does not believe.
All that the serious and objective atheist does is to take the next step and to say that there is just one more god to disbelieve in."
Only 3% of the US population are atheists, talk about a loud minority, right?
Another 4% are agnostic, meaning they are unsure about any god’s existence.
We live in a time, pretty much just like every other time in human history, where people are open to and eagerly accepting spirituality, worship, and religion
Richard Dawkins “gods” are:
human intellect generally
and likely his own intellect...
Our gods are the things we bow down to, we put our trust and hope in, we esteem as being most supreme and having the most value.
And when our gods are anything but the true and living God, the LORD, we are in the sin of idolatry.
Why should I listen to you?
Who are you to tell me what to do?
It’s fine to believe in God as long as he doesn’t tell me what to do… Fundamentally, I think I’d make a better god than God....
I read this in a commentary in preparation for this sermon.
The 10 plagues are referred to using many words, not just the word “plague”
1. Wonders (mopheth).
Used four times in Exodus and eleven other places.
Basic idea: something that draws attention; a miracle.
2. Wonders (pala’).
Used once in Exodus and once elsewhere.
Basic idea: something extraordinary or wonderful.
3. Signs (’oth).
Used six times in Exodus and thirteen times elsewhere.
Basic idea: that which points to the power of God.
4. Plagues (maggephah).
Used once in Exodus and once elsewhere.
Basic idea: blows or smitings.
5. Stroke (nega‘).
Basic idea: a touch or smiting.
6. Blow (negeph).
Closely related in meaning to the word for “plagues.”
All ultimately God’s revelation to Israel, Egypt, and Pharaoh
Look for variations of “that you may know that I am the Lord”
Summarize Plague 1-3
Plague 1: Water to blood (attack on god Hapi and others, prosperity does not come for the Nile gods)
Plague 2: Frogs (attack on god Heqet, birth and fruitfulness.)
Plague 3: Gnats (attack on desert god, attack on comfort, only God can provide comfort)
Plague 4: Flys
This 4th plague starts the second cycle of three...
See the words “rise up early in the morning...”
See the “that you may know… IN THE MIDST OF THE EARTH”
He is present and aware
This is the first plague where there is a distinction...
Make the demonstration of power more significant
Shows that God is in our “midst” and knows his people
The distinction is not based on the righteousness of the Hebrews
They have already acted in disbelief, they will continue to act in disbelief
Notice the order of when the law is given...
The flies may have also represented another Egyptian deity, but we will more or less skip over those references in this sermon.
The demand on Pharaoh is to let the people go, but Pharaoh does a counter offer, God doesn’t negotiate concerning his worship.
He does not share his worship.
(lesson for us…)
Again, we want to worship God on our terms in our way.
This is not right.
Let not Pharaoh cheat again, this is making Pharaoh look bad… his integrity, word, and authority is challenged.
Pharaoh hardened his heart again...
(Boxing match analogy)
Plague 5: Livestock die
Again, God calls and names a people, he frees them for service.
He doesn’t make them serve to be freed.
Such a big difference!
Pharaoh verified and saw clearly the consequences of his hardness of heart.
Plague 6: Boils
This plague was not announced to Pharaoh
Even the magicians could not stand before Moses
At the beginning, it almost felt toe to toe, but now it’s starting to become a beatdown.
A good, old-fashioned butt kickin’
This is the most powerful of human gods going against the true and living God, the LORD.
The LORD establishes himself and makes himself known!
Is this wrathful?
Yes, born out of love...
Plague 7: Hail
Again, we see the “Rise up early in the morning” and thus begins the 3rd cycle of plagues.
“For this purpose I have raised you up”
God works his purposes