As we study the ten plagues on Egypt, we see not only a preview of future judgment in the tribulation, but also a picture of the believer's standing before God. Let's examine the plagues of locusts and darkness and hear God's warning of the ultimate plague--the death of the firstborn. We'll learn how the Lord targets the false worship systems of this world, and sets His children apart from condemnation.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Figures Referenced: Socrates
Cross References: Exodus 4:13; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 127:3; Isaiah 45:9; Joel 2:2; John 3:3; Acts 2:23; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 9; Revelation 16; Revelation 20:12
Welcome to Expound. I'm glad you came tonight. I've so looked forward to this. It's great to see you all here.
A couple of quick things before we get started in our bible study, you know not everybody can come to our express boiler room as I've called it before, the prayer chapel and engage that way. We're busy people, we're on the go, we understand that. Our web team is developing an app for that, a prayer app. I kid you not. It's going to be called "express." I saw it in operation yesterday and there will be several stages to it but you can download the app onto your phone and then you can -- one of the things you can do is get a feed of what we get in the prayer room, the people that write in or text in request during the week to pray for. If you got a few minutes in the doctor's office or I wouldn't at a stop light because that's not long enough and it's dangerous to do that in your car. But, if you got some time and you want to use it profitably, you want to redeem the time, you can get on the express app and you could be praying for people as you go.
Later on we're going to have features where you can communicate back to us and we can use that communication to encourage those people who we've been praying for. So, they're developing apps, we know there's already an Expound app out there and there's going to be an express app for prayer so it'll be prayers on the go, sort of like you expound and the bible study on the go. That's super cool.
Something about text questions, if you're new to the study tonight, we're going through the bible. We're doing it a little bit differently. We have a creative element or an interact development always but we also allow text messaging. So we tell people on Wednesday nights, "Turn on your cellphone. Not turn off your cellphone but make sure that it's not going to ring." So turn off like the volume. But it allows you, if you desire to text a question in to get answered. That's very interactive.
Now, last week we had 40 questions come in. Those who text here, they go to our cyber pastors, well people are watching online from all over the country and even the world. They're asking questions. Here's the problem, number one, I can't answer all of them, it would just be a Q&A session and no bible study. Number two, and here's the big deal. Some of the questions are long.
Now I just want you to imagine, just put yourself on my shoes for a moment, to be able to give a thought out articulating a thought, a teaching while reading something on the screen and preparing what you're going to do with that is not easy. If it's long, forget about it. I'm not going to even read it. Sometimes I look at the screen go, "whatever." I'd have to actually stop and read it. So if you text a question, simplify it. Use less words. Even use shortened abbreviations like the letter "R" instead of "are," the letter "U" instead of "you." you know how to do that if you text message, you do that anyway.
So, shortened it up and then it goes back to our -- I don't know. Different people who were back at the platform, just in our cyber pastor, the video crew and when it fits in to what we're discussing, that's when we like to roll it out and we have this sort of bible study discussion. It's been very fun and very profitable but you can understand that if it's long, forget about it. It's not going to work.
Okay so we're in Exodus chapter 10 tonight. Hopefully, Exodus chapter 10 and 11 but let's pray together.
Father, we come before you tonight and we open up our hearts as we open up the word of God. We believe it to be the very word of God. And that you have a message through these chapters to speak to us. We pray, if we've been believers for a long time that we would be fresh by being reminded a familiar truth maybe that we've left by the way side or haven't put into practice. I pray for young new believers and we're learning some of these things for the first time. They'd excite us. And we'd see our lives changed and grow week by week. I pray for unbelievers who may be here with us tonight that tonight would be a decision that they give their life to Jesus Christ and follow him by faith. We pray Lord that you'd bless the time together and part of our worship is that we remain in our seats and we're captive to what your spirit might speak through this imperfect vessel and this imperfect setting. We pray Lord that your spirit would speak and we would respond in Jesus' name. Amen.
Somebody once said that a Christian is sort of like a tea bag. He's not really work much unless he's been though some hot water. Now if that's true, then Moses was brewing tea because he has been in some hot water. He's facing a king who is not sympathetic at all with his cause and he is placing his people, the Israelites in jeopardy if this whole thing doesn't work out. So Moses has a tough gig.
There are some people's ministries that I wouldn't want to have and Moses was one of them. It was very difficult and especially later on as he's in the wilderness and there's a few million people complaining against him, who would want that gig? I wouldn't want that ministry.
Another one that I'm not too fond of though I appreciate that he did it was Jeremiah. I wouldn't want his ministry. Jeremiah preached 40 years through the reign of five different kings and didn't see a single positive result. I wouldn't want that. Imagine if you're an evangelist and you had a crusade ministry and you went from town to town to town for 40 years and no one responded to the gospel. You'd be tempted not to do it for 40 years. After four years you would think, "I don't think I'm crawled to this." And we even read that Jeremiah, so distressed, wanted to quit the ministry.
He's not the only one. Jonah was a prophet. He wanted to quit. He did quit. Moses even wanted to quit before he got started. He had all of these excuses and tell he finally said, "Lord, send somebody else." But now, Moses, sticking to his guns face to face alongside of Aaron his brother and effacing the pharaoh of that day plague after plague. God hasn't completely judged yet but he's in the process of adding judgment after judgment after judgment getting pharaoh's attention to let the people of Israel go.
God is patient. If one thing we learned with these 10 plagues is God is patient. There's a problem with God's patience. We can sometimes misinterpret God's patience. We can look at it wrongly because God isn't doing anything. Some people say, "Well God must be weak." Or, "God doesn't care." Or, "God even approves."
I've met people who have said, "Well you know, I've done this. You might think it's wrong but I've done this for a long time and God hasn't stopped me yet." And they actually take that as a sign for God's approval. It's a worth way of thinking but I use to think that way as a non-believer.
The truth is God is long suffering and he's not willing that anybody should perish. Well we're right in the heart of the story and we're in chapter 10 verse 1. Now the lord said to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh for I have hardened he's heart in the hearts of the servants that I may show these signs of mind before him. And that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things that I have done in Egypt. And my signs which I have done among them that you may know that I am the Lord."
Did you that God wants every generation, your son, your son's son, your daughter, your daughter's, sons and daughters? He wants every generation to know the story, to know your story, to pass on his story to them. Every generation -- I think of all of the occupations that one could have in life, the most important one is that of being a parent.
Psalm 127. David said, "Children are a heritage from the lord. What are we doing with that heritage? They're very, very precious." Look at it this way, if you have children and you take them to Sunday School, 16% of your children's life right now is spent at secular school at school or even if it's a Christian school, 16% of their time is going to school. 1% of their life is spent in Sunday school, 83% of their life is spent in your house. That's the heritage, that's the investment. And so here is God saying to Moses say these things but remember to pass them on to your son and your son's son.
Now not just believers but even unbelievers have recognized that being a parent is important. Socrates for example, chided the men of Athens when he said, "Why do you turn and scrape every stone together to gather wealth and take so little care of children to whom one day you must relinquish all." So right in the middle of the plagues, God wants Moses to remember that children, grandchildren are to be told this story.
Verse 3 begins the eighth plague that God sends on Egypt. It's a plague of locusts. Moses and Aaron came into pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the lord God of the Hebrews. How long?" notice the question "How long." You're going to see it again I just want you to make a mental note of it. How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go. That's the seventh time Moses has said those words to this pharaoh. "Let my people go that they may serve me." Now, wouldn't you agree? It takes some guts. The Hebrews will call it, "Chutzpah."
To stand before a world ruler and tell him in so many words, you're a frightful dude. How long are you going to put up with this and keep doing this and refuse to listen? And in fact, that's what Moses is doing. So he's emboldened right now before this pharaoh by the grace of God. He tells him again to let them go verse 4 or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold tomorrow, I will bring locusts into your territory. In other words, if you think I've been bugging you, these locusts are really going to bug you.
Now, pharaoh was used to locusts. He had seen locusts' hordes and swarms before. I'll explain a little more as we go. But you have to admit, seven plagues worth, seven attention-getting disasters, God has been very, very patient. He's acted decisively trying to get this man's attention. He hasn't pulled out the final one, he's going to do that. He wouldn't even have to pull any of them out if pharaoh would've let the people go. But he wouldn't do it.
God has been patient enough so, verse 5, they shall cover the face of the earth so that no one would be able to see the earth. Yuck! And they show. Eat the residue of what is left which remains to you from the hail and they shall eat up every tree which grows up for you out of the field. These shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, the houses of all the Egyptians which neither your father's you know, your father's fathers, your grandpas have seen. Since the day that they were on the earth to this day and he turned and went out from pharaoh.
Now watch this. Then pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long?" There's that question again. First time God asked him "How long are you going to keep doing this?" Now, pharaoh's own magicians, his courtiers, his staff asked the same question of their boss that God through Moses asked, "How long shall this man Moses be a snare to us?" Let the men go that they may serve the lord their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?
Go back in your mind and think of Joseph. Joseph was able to bring the entire country of Egypt out of starvation by his policies. Here comes Moses. Moses brings the whole country, the same country to the brink of starvation. Interesting isn't it? And why is that? The results of both Joseph's policy and Moses' actions, the results are a direct or they're directly proportional to how the Egyptians have treated the Jewish people.
It was the policies concocted by this pharaoh who forgot Joseph who knew not Joseph. It was his policies toward Israel, toward the Jews that is ruining Egypt and the people that work for him know this. That's why they say "how long?"
Now locusts were a menace. They still are a menace. They're not unknown in Egypt and all over the Middle East. The locust that most people think this must have been, the most common locust is called the short-horned locust. It is about two inches long, the body is, the wingspan is about four to five inches long and they travel in clouds. They travel in columns that are about a hundred feet tall. Imagine, just imagine so many locusts that the column is a hundred feet tall and about four to five miles long. And you can see it on the horizon as this dark cloud whips to the sky and settles. Usually settling in places where there's vegetation to feed on.
They can reproduce in the desert in arid climates. They can migrate long distances. And when they settle upon anything green, they strip it bare. It is said that when a swarm of locust comes and you're in the middle of it, it's like an eclipse of the sun, you don't see anything. It's dark. The result is, every green thing gets taken away. Bark is stripped off of the trees and the earth looks like it's been burned with fire.
One of the most severe ones happened back in 1866 in the country of Algiers. And during that plague, the destruction was so total that 200,000 people, almost a quarter million people died by the famine that followed of starvation.
Many people will point back to another famine that they say is the worst one in recorded history of life, that is in 1951 where every green thing was devoured when it swept through the Middle East and hundreds of thousands of square miles were eaten down to the ground.
So, he announces the plague that is coming. So Moses and Aaron verse eight were brought again to pharaoh. He said to them, "Go serve the lord your God!" Well that's a good sign. "Who are the ones that are going?" That's not a good sign. Because he's done this before right, he's asked their question or it says go but don't go far. Go but don't leave the land. He had a number of compromises, here's yet another one. Well, who's going exactly? Moses said "We will 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."
And then he said to them, "The Lord had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go. Beware for evil is ahead of you." What's he saying? "Moses, you don't want to go out there in the wilderness and bring all your young ones with you. It's dangerous out there. There's lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" In other words, if you go out there it's dangerous. Now this to me is humorous like it's not dangerous for the children of Israel in Egypt? I mean there's plagues all around. It's dangerous for you pharaoh just to be living in Egypt. But it's also been dangerous for us because we've been your slaves and you've mistreated us so what? You're telling us it's going to be worst out there than it already has here? That's what he's insinuating.
Evil is ahead of you. And so he says, he continues verse 11, "Not so. Go now you who are men and serve the Lord for that is what you desired." And they were driven out from pharaoh's presents. So go but only the men should go. Only the men should go. Now, you can see what he's doing with this. He wants them to come back. Pharaoh knows, if you're going to go and all your flocks are going to go and all your kids are going to go and the whole country goes, you're not going to stop, you're going to keep going. I want my workforce back. I want my slaves back. So it's a guarantee to have them come back.
This same mindset, the same compromising ideology is what the world says to you. The world says to you, listen, it's okay if you get in to this but don't impose this on your children. Don't drag your family and your friends but especially your children into this. Let them make their own decisions. You can be a Christian but, be one with discretion. Be a secret agent Christian. Go out there but you know, hide your bible. Put it like under a notebook or in a briefcase so nobody can see it. You don't want to take this too far and drag other people into it. And so the world, like pharaoh was saying to Moses, you guys go do your religious thing but leave your families out of it so the world would say to us. To tame it down, tone it down a little bit. Don't be so overt. Don't be so radical with this thing.
I thank God for the guys and gals in my life when I needed to hear the gospel were bold enough even though I mocked them and I did. They were bold enough to tell me the truth. My friends spoke up. God and my grill and told me the gospel that I needed to hear.
So Moses is not about to compromise as we see here. I'll tell you a little story before we move on. When I worked at a hospital in Southern California, it was called Westminster Community Hospital just down the street from where I live. I noticed that there was a bulletin board in the radiology department and people put whatever they wanted to on it. They would put up posters "Party this Friday night. Bring your own booze. Have fun. Here's the address." There was all of these kind of private party fliers. So one day, I brought in a little flyer for a Christian concert an evangelistic event, I tacked it right on there. In the middle of the day I got called in to my boss' office. "Did you put up that flyer up there on the bulletin board?" I said, "Yes sir I did." "Well you're going to have to take that down." "What do you mean I'm going to have to take that down?" "Well, you can't have religious things up there. We can't allow you to -- it's just creating too much -- I don't know. Controversy I guess in our department. You're going to have to pull that out. We're not doing church here." I said, "Sir, with all due respect, I'm not taking it down. And here's why, as long as you allow everybody else up there to put their own religion up there, their party religion there, posters up there, bring your own booze and come to this party. If it's a public bulletin board and they're allowed to advertise for that, I'm perfectly within my rights to advertise for people that come in here about the Lord Jesus Christ who saves the people from sin.
And he listened to me and he said, long short of it he realized, he goes "Yeah okay you're right. Keep it up there. Don't worry about it." So, we're often tempted or told to compromise as Moses was here. Let's see what he does.
Verse 12, the lord said to Moses, now God is speaking to Moses. The Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every herb of the land, all that the hail has left."
So Moses stretched out his hand rod over the land of Egypt and the Lord brought an east wind on that land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
If it helps, it's good to know that winds come in Egypt from different directions. Typically the winds come from the south occasionally they come from the east and when they do they're called a sirocco. It's a hot eastern wind and the locusts hitch-hike. They want a free ride. If there's a wind, why use the wings? So they just get caught up in the current and get blown into the land. That is very typical for these things to occur.
Verse 14, and the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe. Previously, there had been no such locusts as they nor shall be after them for they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left, referring back to the previous plague the seventh plague.
So there remained nothing green on the trees. Now I have to tell you Egypt, has less than one inch of rainfall per year. You'd be lucky to find anything green anywhere except at the Nile delta that's it. So, whatever is left that's green is now taken away by these locusts. They covered the face of the whole earth. The land was dark. They ate every herb of the land, all the fruit of the trees which the hail left. So they remain nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.
We have a question that was texted in. Here we have, God speaking to Moses, speaking to Aaron and they're speaking to pharaoh. And the question is why does God no longer speak audibly to man like he did to Moses?
Well I'm not sure that I can say God doesn't speak audibly to man anymore. Now, he hasn't spoke inaudibly to me before, doesn't mean God is speak audibly to other people. Now I know people who have claimed the God has spoken to them and when I've examined them they had a pizza the night before and they imagined perhaps a voice or they were on drugs and they heard a lot of things on drugs. I thought I heard God's voice on LSD once before, way before I was saved, trust me. And yet, I have spoken to and read the testimony of people who were confined in countries of the world, Islamic countries especially who have heard the audible voice of Christ speaking to them about what to do to have their questions answered and about the gospel and have given their lives to Christ because of it and these are numerous examples. So I believe God does speak but he reserves that for special occasions.
What God does now is speak through his word, to his people like Moses and Aaron who were the mouthpieces to pharaoh were to be the mouthpieces of this world. A good text to remember is Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1 that says, God who at different times and in different ways spoke in times past to our fathers through the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by his dear son whom he has made heir of all things. God has spoken through Christ. He's God's final word to the world.
There's sufficient evidence both objectively and subjectively to believe in the gospel and we're to be the mouthpieces. Jesus told his disciples, "Go onto all the world and proclaim, speak the gospel to every creature." So, we're the body of Christ you see? God could speak audibly and one day he will use an angel as I've mentioned before in the tribulation period to vocally broadcast the gospel to the earth.
But we're the body of Christ. We're his mouth. We're his hands. We're his feet. We're those representatives. So, we left off in verse 15.
The Locusts covered the land. Now, the Egyptians prayed to a god whom they depicted as a locust. It was one of their temples. One of their gods in the Pantheon of Egyptian religion was a god who was depicted as a locust. Obviously he wasn't doing any good.
Then there was another god called Serapis. And Serapis was the god who protected vegetation from the locust. Obviously, he's not doing any good as well. So, once again God has showing up the gods, the false gods and goddesses of Egypt. Everyone of this plagues was a direct attack on the false worship system of Egypt.
Something to note about this plague, in this plague, the locusts don't just appear supernaturally. They are brought in by a natural phenomena, the east wind. Now granted the lord brought the wind at the right time, but it was brought in by a natural phenomena. Now I'm bringing this up because I don't want you to forget something. Many scholars who looked at the Exodus will say that the events we read about were natural events that occurred. There was other instances where the Nile river turned blood and frogs came on the land and etcetera, etcetera.
So this is what we've noted and it's important to know. These were natural phenomena heightened by supernatural factors. All of these are supernatural judgments. God is using the natural elements that they know about but, he added supernatural factors. For instance, tomorrow it's going to start and when I pray it's going to end. This is going to last exactly this long. Your cattle are going to be affected, ours won't be. Darkness will be in your territory, light will be in Goshen where the children of Israel are. All of those are supernatural factors.
So here we have the locusts brought in a supernatural judgment using the natural phenomena of both the locusts and the east wind. We have a marriage together of two important principle, one is the miraculous and the other is the providential. And so many Christians don't know the difference between the two. I want to explain it to you.
A miracle is an extraordinary event. It's where God intervenes and sometimes contravenes natural law. That's a miracle. It's an extraordinary event. Providence is different. Providence is, God, supernatural God, super intense natural events and weaves together natural events for his purpose. And here we have both of them operating simultaneously, the miraculous and the providential. Extraordinary event, supernatural factors but with the super intending of natural events. You get the picture?
An example on the bible, it just so happened, tongue-in-cheek I say that, it just so happened that Ruth was gleaning in just the right field, the field of Boas, her kinsman redeemer. It just do happened in the book of Esther that Mordechai overheard Haman's wicked plot and told Esther about it who worked for Ahasuerus and was one of his wives in that harem. It wasn't anything but God super intending natural events to bring a supernatural purpose. So we see both of those here. Enough said we move on.
Verse 16, then pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and Haste. In other words, he's admitting this hurts. I hate it. Stop it. And Haste in a hurry and he said, "I sinned against the lord your God and against you." Okay? Once again this is good. This is confession. He's admitting. I've sinned. That's the first step.
Question is, will he take the second step? Confession is the first step. The second step is the willingness to turn away from known sin and follow the Lord's way. So one thing to admit you're wrong but, you could do that everyday. Yeah I'm a sinner. Yeah I'm a sinner. Sinner today, sinner tomorrow. Okay good. I'm glad you admitted that and by the way, you're right.
But God provided us solution for that. So you're going to take that solution and turn from sin and let the blood of Christ wash you from it. And let the Holy Spirit work within you and I a holy life. So he made the right step initially but don't get too excited.
Verse 17. Now therefore please forgive my sin only this once. Oops! I wish Moses kind of just played a little of a quarterback, hold that thought. Remember when you said these couple months back and then treat the Lord your God that he may take away from me this death only. So he went out from pharaoh and then treated the Lord. And the Lord turned away, turned a very strong west wind and he took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea which was east of that land. There remains now one locust in all the territory of Egypt but the lord hardened pharaoh's heart and he did not let the children of Israel go.
The bible says in Corinthians, godly sorrow produces repentance. Godly sorrow produces repentance, he continues not to be regretted but the sorrow of this world produces death. Best example I can think of is pharaoh. This isn't godly repentance. This isn't godly sorrow. This is the sorrow of the world. . "I am so sorry because this hurts me so much. I'm not willing to really change my lifestyle. But I've been caught and so, I confess."
Repentance is one of the key hallmarks in the bible certainly in the New Testament. First message John the Baptist ever preached was one on repentance. First message Jesus Christ ever preached was on repentance.
When my wife Lenia who's sitting appears in the front row and I really can't embarrass her because I've done this our whole life. But when she was interested in spiritual things because her father who was a doctor and a lawyer and a non-believer, when he came to faith and Christ, that's sort of jolted the whole family, she listened to her dad and thought, "Wow. Either you're nuts or you're right. And so she read a little track called the four spirits are lost which shows that if you want love, joy and peace and all the world to come together, you put Christ on the throne and get yourself off the throne, you know the track.
So, her interpretation of that is, I need to add Jesus to my life. But there was no repentance. She didn't even know that concept. She grows up as a non-believer, as an atheist. Well one day after listening to a service at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, she got convicted of her sin as she walked into the prayer room. She was agitated about something but she didn't know what it was, she couldn't explain it. And one of the pastors in the prayer room from England by the name of Malcolm Wild who had been reading books on repentance after listening to Lenia, he looked at her and said in his English accent, "Have you repented of your sin?" She said, "Have I re -- what?" She didn't even know what that word was, let alone through English lip so it was a little bit tough and once he explained to her what repentance was, she understood and she said, "No, no. I have never yet turned from my sin and then turned to Christ." I just all I got to do is turn to Christ but I haven't left my sin. I haven't repented.
And it was helping her understand the importance and value of that that brought her confidence in her walk with the lord today. Repentance is a key note in the New Testament.
And we have a question, that's a great question that was asked and it was texted in. It says, "Can Christians become hardened like pharaoh?" Can Christians become hardened like pharaoh? Well you know the bible does tell us in the New Testament. Harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation in the wilderness. In other words, God's own people in the wilderness later on will begin to harden their hearts.
And so the New Testament warns believers don't harden your hearts like God's people did in the Old Testament. Sure we can. We can harden our hearts. We can become impervious. We can shut out and not become soften into the work of God. Now, we cannot harden our hearts in the same sense that an unbeliever can harden his or her heart so that perpetually and eventually, they could commit the blast for me of the Holy Spirit. You're saved, you're saved then I believe sealed. So I don't believe you're going to lose your salvation. But I believe it's quite possible and happens quite often that God's people either because we hear the truth so much but we don't put it into practice that we have a callus developed over our hearts, so that the same truth that we read 10 years ago that penetrated immediately that day, that night doesn't have the same effect because we never put it into practice and allow Jesus to be Lord in our lives. So a different kind of hardening, but yes I believe it's possible.
Let's go to the ninth plague, verse 21 of chapter 10 and we'll try to pick up the pace as much as I can. Then the Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hand toward heaven that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness which may even be felt. Notice that. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven and there was thick darkness over the land of Egypt for three days. They did not see one another nor did anyone rise from his place for three days but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Okay. Now on this plague, God is striking at the very heart, the very foundation of Egyptian theology.
Remember how I said that every plague was against one of the gods or goddesses that they worship? The chief god in the pantheon of Egyptian deities was known as Ra or sometimes pronounced Re. Amun Ra the sun god, he was worshipped daily because the abundance of sun in that region. In fact, pharaoh was considered to be the physical incarnation of the sun god Amun Ra.
So, this plague is an insult to Ra and a really bad insult to pharaoh who's the incarnation of Ra. Because, with their god lights out, sun isn't shining and it says it's a darkness that can be felt. There's different explanation of that, let me throw a couple of them at you.
Number one, some say this is a natural phenomenon. There are sandstorms that blow in Egypt. And the sand is so dense, fine particles of dust, coarse grains of sand over many miles, it's as dense as fog, I mean, you can't see anything. It covers everything and it can last for days, sometimes weeks, dust storms.
And because it's dust and sand, you feel it. So it's a darkness that can be felt. It obscures everything and it can be felt. Here's another take on it, this could be purely supernatural where there is a level of the absence of light. It was so dark that it was palpable. I'm going to explain. I have read the accounts of people who have been in caverns like Carlsbad Caverns in our state or those deep caverns out in Georgia. And they've described when the guy took them into the cavern and turned off the flashlight and let them stay there for seconds and then minutes, it felt like hours.
It was so intense, the darkness. And their eyelids were straining to see any modicum of light anywhere. There wasn't any that they could feel it they said. So this is a darkness that we can actually feel. So, maybe a sandstorm, maybe just supernatural darkness but here is an interesting thing, I can't resist this. Did you know that according to the Babylonian Talmud, that massive group of writings by the Jews throughout history, they believed that God reserves the judgment of darkness upon a nation for a very severe sin or wickedness? That God would judge a nation and they cite this for a very severe wickedness, darkness comes. So what happened when Jesus was on the cross for three hours, here it was three days, for three hours darkness covered the earth. Why? Because the greatest sin ever committed from a human vantage point is to put God on a cross and get rid of him.
That's why Peter said on the book of Acts, you by wicked hands have crucified and slain. So, there's Egypt, there's the cross, they tie together let's fast forward and connect another dot. The day of the Lord also called the great tribulation period coming in the future, worst time in human history the bible says. The book of Joel describes a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. That's coming in the tribulation period you say. When is it coming? I can tell you exactly, Revelation chapter 9 and Revelation chapter 16. Both locusts come and darkness come. God forced them both out upon the earth during that period of time. During the fifth judgment, it says that out of the bottomless pit ascended a massive cloud filled with locusts that killed people on the earth or actually inflicted deadly wound for several months.
In Revelation chapter 16 during the fifth bowl when that final day of wrath has been poured out upon the earth, one of the bowls, the fifth bowl is darkness poured out on the kingdom of the anti-Christ and it's a severe darkness. The whole kingdom becomes full of darkness. So we have three dots that we connect, one is a preview of another.
Verse 24, pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go serve the Lord. Only let your flocks and your herds be kept back." There it is again. "Let your little ones go also with you." So this guy is unrelenting in wanting to compromise. Now I know, some of you were thinking this. Some of you maybe thinking, "Well can't Moses just give a little?" Okay so he said you can go with your kids, with your wives all of you out of the land he's conceded a lot. Only he wants to do is keep their flocks.
You think Moses would go, "Okay, we've negotiated enough. It's a deal." The problem with that is God told them to leave completely. They have been slaves. The only thing they own were these livestock, this ox and cattle, etcetera. Plus they were going to use them for sacrifice.
Go ahead and go worship God, leave your cattle, leave your wealth here in Egypt. Now let me tell you what I think the world tries to tell us as well. Go ahead, be a Christian. Go ahead and do that thing if you want to do it. If that religious thing you want to do but leave your wealth, your money in Egypt. Don't become so fanatic. Okay join the church like joining the health club. Go every now and then but, don't actually give any money to it. Leave your wealth for yourself in Egypt. And no people who will not honor the Lord with their finances and their life shows that. I believe it's very important to do that.
Everything I own belongs to the Lord. Yeah but 10% is a lot. Turn the tables. He's letting you keep 90. It's all his, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and watch how the Lord will bless your life when you obey him and taking your wealth out of Egypt and giving that to the lord. I think that's very important, it's certainly a biblical principle. You know I learned a pretty good lesson when we first started this church. And we had a godly little old lady running around here here name Mary Earl Wall. And one day when we were giving announcements, we forgot to announce a box you know, we don't take formal offerings. We have boxes around the auditorium and we tell people where they are. One day we forgot to make that announcement. She came up afterwards pointed her finger in my face and she goes, "Young man," I was young then, "Young man, don't you ever forget to make that announcement. Don't you understand that this is a part of my worship, what I give to the Lord?" And she didn't have much money but she wanted to make sure that that was included in the worship service because she wanted to worship the lord with the first fruits of her increase.
She said, "Don't you ever forget that announcement again. It's part of my worship. Everything I own belongs to the Lord." I said, "Yes ma'am." That's all you can say. But Moses said, "You must also give a sacrifice as in burn offerings that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also should go with us. Not a half shall be left behind for we must take some of them to serve the lord our God and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there."
But the lord hardened pharaoh's heart. And he would not let them go. Then pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me. Take heed yourself and see my face no more for in the day that you see my face, you're toast." Okay, I paraphrased a little bit. You shall die. You're a dead man. And Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will never see your face again."
The bible says, "Woe unto him who strives with his maker." You'll find that out in the next couple of chapters. You're only going to -- if you're fighting God, and if you are you know who you are, some of you feel like, Man they drag me to church. I don't want to come but they drag me.
Maybe God is graciously dragging you to church through them because he loves you so much he's trying to get your attention. Let's see, he'd like to save you from hell. Okay, that's a pretty good reason that you're here. That's a pretty good reason. You can fight God but you're only going to hurt yourself. It's sort of like if you say, "I'm going to drive my car to that brick wall." Okay, go ahead and try. You're only going to hurt yourself. It's pretty stupid. So here you are, here's the God who made you who rules and controls the world, before whom you're one day going to stand and be judged. And you're not going to give your life to him, that's the height of falling. That's foolishness. That's not using your brain. That's not responding to the heart that God is trying to tug you toward him with.
Oh let's finish up our study. We have just a view verses in Exodus chapter 11. Now, here's something. Until now, you're about to read it, "Moses didn't know how many plagues were going to come up on Egypt." He wasn't told the number until now, nine have followed God says because there's going to be one more. So now he has the total number in his mind. He knows the grand finale is coming up.
And the Lord said to Moses chapter 11 verse 1, "I will bring yet one more plague." In Hebrew it means "stroke", something far grievous, far more so than previously. Pharaoh went on Egypt and afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, you -- he will surely drive you out of here altogether.
Okay, so Moses is standing before pharaoh, pharaoh goes "Get out of here I don't want to see your face." Moses I don't want to see your face. So, he hasn't left yet. There's still a final speech that is given in his presence and you'll notice in verse 1 it says, and the Lord said, a better rendition and it's corrected in a more modern translations, the Lord had said to Moses, the lord had told him this at some point. Okay, the final plague is going to be on the first born. So he's going to deliver the speech then, you'll see down and verse eight is when he actually leaves his presence.
So this doesn't follow an exact chronology because he's now inserting that the Lord had told Moses this information and he's still having the audience, he hasn't left until verse eight. Verse two; speak now in the hearing of the people. Let every men ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, that is the Egyptian neighbors, articles of silver and articles of gold. Why? Simple, they're collecting back wages.
They worked for free. They've been slaves in Egypt. They weren't paid anything. They were oppressed. And Egypt is going to send them out and God's going to make sure they get paid before they leave.
Now, what are they going to do with all the silver and the gold and all the stuff in the clothing that they take? We're going to read about it, they're going to build a tabernacle. They're going to need furniture, furnishings, utensils, they're going to need garments for the priest, they're going to need cloth for the perimeter and for the curtains and all of these come from Egyptian linen and the spoils of Egypt.
Verse 3, and the lord gave the people favor on the side of the Egyptians moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt. Of course Moses wrote this book too you should know that and in the side of pharaohs, servants and the side of the people. But I believe also this is breathed by the Holy Spirit. And then Moses said, "Thus says the lord about midnight I will go into the mist of Egypt and all the first born of the land of Egypt shall die from the first born of pharaoh who sits on the throne even the first born of the female servant who is behind the hand mill, and all of the first born of the animals.
There should be a great cry throughout the land of Egypt such as was not like it before nor shall be like it again." I want to answer a question because I know it will get texted in if I don't. But I want to answer it anyway. Why is God going to make all of Egypt pay with this plague when it was really pharaoh who's the culprit here? He made some stupid decisions that is putting his people in jeopardy. Why are all of the people suffering the plague of the first born death? Well let me give you a few answers to that. Number one, God warned pharaoh in previous chapters. Let me tell you the warning. God said, "Israel is my son, my first born. If you don't let him go, I'm going to kill your son, your first born. He was warned way in advance before any of these happened.
Pharaoh wanted to kill all of the male babies of the Jews and drowned them in the river right? God is paying pharaoh back in a currency that pharaoh can understand. He's using his own language and it was forewarned that's number one. Number two, all of the Egyptians shared together in the enslavement of the Jewish people. They used Israelite slaves all throughout the land of Egypt.
Number three, God has no respect to a person whether you're the poorest of the poor or very wealthy, no one has exempted from the judgment of God. And number four, what we're reading about here is I believe a type of future judgment. The whole world the bible says is guilty before God. And ultimately, we're told in Revelation 20. John says, "And I saw great and small all standing before the throne of God to be judged." So what is happening in Egypt is also a preview of what's going to happen there. So for those four reasons, all of Egypt is involved.
Verse 6, there would be a great cry to the land of Egypt as was not like it before nor shall be again, this is the ultimate disaster, the ultimate disaster. I'll explain a little more of this and I can get into it but we're running out of time.
But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue. I think that's a cool little phrase. It's a colloquialism. It means a dog won't even bark at you guys, you Israelites. In other words, I'm going to make such a difference and I'm going to so protect you that you don't have anything to worry about, a dog isn't he even going to bark.
That you may know that the lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel, and all of these you're servants so come down to me and bow down to me saying, "Get out." And all the people who follow you after that, I will go out. And he went out from pharaoh in great anger. So that's when the speeches done and he lays. But the lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not heed you so that my wonders maybe multiplied in the land of Egypt." So Moses and Aaron did all of these wonders before pharaoh and the Lord hardened pharaoh's heart and he did not let the children of Israel go out his land.
Did you know that it was the job of the Egyptian priest to convey the dead safe passage to the afterlife? He was going to convey the dead to the land of Osiris or the god Osiris, the god of the afterlife would have jurisdiction over.
So when an Egyptian died, they believe they went to what's called the Western world, the land of Osiris and the sister and wife of Osiris was named Isis, it was her job to protect children. So both of these gods and goddesses are being attacked in this last plague. We'll get more to it later on. Now here's what I want to close with, there's a lot of first born talk in Genesis and Exodus have you noticed that? Israel is my first born. I'll let my first born go, my son go, there's the death of the first born. And then remember the first born back in Genesis.
Do you remember that so often, the first born child who should've been the next in line, the heir of the family didn't get the blessing? But that the blessing skipped the first born child and after went to the second. So, instead of it going to Cain, it went to Abel. Cain killed Abel so it went to Seth. Also, it was Isaac and not Ishmael. The first born was Ishmael. Isaac was the second born but he was the son of the promise. It skipped the first born of blessing landed on Isaac. Also it was to Jacob, second born not Esau, the first born.
We see that in Genesis and we see that in Exodus, this whole thing of the first born. I think it's a symbolic way of saying that your first birth is not accepted before God. You need a second birth, the second born.
Jesus said, "You must be born again or you'll never enter the Kingdom of God." God never recognizes all of the hard works and religious duty and efforts of the natural first born man. It takes the second birth. So the first birth, the first born represents humanity's best that isn't good enough before God and to put it in New Testament terms, Jesus said, "Marvel not that I say unto you, you must be born again."
As we close I want to ask you a very simple question and many of you here tonight have made decisions for Christ but some of you maybe have not. Are you certain that if you are to die you'd go to heaven? Are you born again if you had a spiritual rebirth and awakening? Have you given your life to Christ? Are you enjoying everlasting life right now? Do you have that knowledge and joy of life eternal right now tonight? If not, you need to make a decision.
Just like pharaoh had to make a decision. And if you strengthen your heart toward the Lord, God will harden or confirm that decision and make your decision even stronger.
If you say no to God and you harden your heart against the Lord, he will come and confirm or make firm and harden that decision.
Let's pray as we close. Father in heaven, we pray that as believers if we have hardened our hearts against you in any way by familiarity, by not putting things into practice, I pray Lord that you would break our hardened hearts and you've make them again like fresh moldable clay whatever it takes so that we can hear your voice and respond to you.
I pray for those who may not know you tonight personally. They've never truly received Christ as Lord. They've been religious, they've gone to churches. Their friends or parents or children have told them about Jesus, they're here tonight but they've never personally received Christ. I pray they would. I pray of some that have strayed from you or walking away from you have backslid but tonight they would reaffirm that commitment to Christ.
As our heads are bowed, as you're thinking about the words that were just said, we're about to dismiss for the evening. If any of what I've just prayed describes you friend, maybe you've never given your life to Christ, you've never allowed him and you've never invited him to be in charge of your life. Or you've walked away from him and you're now walking with him tonight. You want to come back to him.
Whether you're young or old, or somewhere in the middle, God's hand is extended out to you tonight. And perhaps he's saying, "How long are you going to keep going like this?" May I say that you should answer "Not long at all. It's going to end tonight. I'm going to decide to make Jesus my lord tonight." If you want to do that as our heads are bowed, I want to pray for you. I need to know who you are. I want you to raise your hand up in the air. You're saying, "I'm going to do that tonight." God bless you. I opened up toward the front right up here in the middle toward the front. Hold it up high so I can see it. Anyone else? Raise your hand up high. Yes sir, right in the middle. Anyone else? Boy in the back, God bless you.
Off to my left, father we thank you for these hands and more than that we thank you for these lives and we pray that you would do a newer birthing them under your kingdom and we're going to rejoice when we see it. We pray that you'd strengthen their resolve and help them to walk heartily after you in Jesus name. Amen.
Let's all stand. I want to encourage you to come on Wednesday nights, actually, any day or night to bring an unsaved friend or family member. Or somebody who has questions and they might even think that they're okay but bring them, invite them. Make that a habit of yours because as you can see, we give people an opportunity a lot around here to make decisions for Christ and I've had so many people say, "My nephew, my son, my daughter, my parents, my wife, my husband gave their lives to Christ tonight." A lot of hands went up around the auditorium and I'm want to ask that we sing this final song if you raised your hand, I want you to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle, stand right up in front, I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ. I want you to come now. Don't wait, don't hold back any longer. Do it now, do it publicly as we sing this song, you get up and come.
God bless you. Right on.
If you're in the balcony or the family room, maybe I didn't see your hand. Maybe you didn't even raise your hand but God is drawing you to himself. You come. We'll make time for you and there's certainly room for you at the foot of the cross. As we sing this through again, we want you to come up. I want you to consider who you are and where you're going and make the right choice. Anybody else? We could do it through just another couple of moments.
Those of you who have come forward, I would -- first of all want to say good thinking, right move. Smartest thing you could ever do is what you just did. It is.
Of all the choices you could make in life, this is definitely the best one you'll ever make. You'll look back to this night as the threshold moment in your life I believe. Now I want to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ. So I'm going to pray out loud or I like you to pray out loud after me from your heart, and you say these words to the lord alright? Ready? Let's pray.
Lord I give you my life. I know I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I turned from my sin. I'll live it behind. I turn to you as my savior. I want to live for you as my lord. I believe that Jesus died and paid the price for my sin and rose again from the dead. Fill me with your holy spirit and give me your power to live for you, in Jesus name, Amen.