Worship the True Life-Giver

Exodus 7:14-25

Is often difficult to gain real accurate sense of time from details given in many Bible stories. Already seen in study of Exodus occasions where decades go by between one verse and next. Timetable for plagues pretty sketchy – was at least several weeks, perhaps months. Each plague in place long enough to become more than simple annoyance. God making point for Pharaoh and Egyptians to understand… plus Hebrew children… and world at large. Were far more than small localized disturbances of natural order – ultimately devastating to life and economy of entire nation of Egypt.

Is important to remember: far more in view here than God showing off power and imagination. Were not random occurrences with no particular point. YHWH intended for all the world to know without question who true God is. God also intended this experience to be example for our good – to see how sin and Satan enslave mankind. Shows lengths God goes to in order to deliver his people from bondage in sin.

Keep in mind: the evil, the distasteful things, the sinful things we see in Pharaoh are present to one degree or another in every human being… until God changes their heart. Pharaoh shows just how hard, rebellious human heart will get apart from grace of God. Only thing that makes us differ from others is what God in his mercy does in and for each of us. 1 Cor. 4:7 In each blow God brings down on Pharaoh and countrymen, demonstrates both judgment and mercy – judgment for unbelief and rebellion against true God, mercy by keeping effect and duration of judgment within limits.

A. overview of plagues

plagues begin and end with clear indication

who is real source of life… and has power over death – Satan’s goal: convince followers he is more worthy of worship than God

first, last, all plagues between clearly demonstrate YHWH the only one worthy of worship – all the other gods are impostors

in fact, part of what true God does is unmask Egypt’s gods, display them in light of truth – YHWH gives life, all others only death

account from 7:14 – 10:29 presented in three groups of three

first two of each group incl. warning of what YHWH intends to do, third does not – Moses, Aaron simply follow instructions as God through their instrumentality strikes Egypt again and again

each group more intense than previous, more devastating to Egyptians and their circumstances, culminating in death of firstborn

reason for God’s judgment (14)

Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal to hear and obey true God – Pharaoh the one singled out because he represented all Egypt, was primary agent of Satan

truth is vast majority of Egyptians guilty of worshiping idols, failing to honor one true God – people of all walks of life liable to judgment… for their own sin; Pharaoh for his own as well as those he “led” into sin

B. nature of first plague

instruction (15-19)

even though God has already weighed Pharaoh, found his heart heavy and hard, graciously gives Pharaoh repeated opportunities to repent, genuinely seek God’s favor

identifies Pharaoh’s sin: rebellion – refusing to hear and heed God’s command; therefore… God will make Pharaoh to know him – that he is true God – by signs he does through servants

Aaron to use rod to strike water of Nile, turning water to blood making unfit for drinking, sustaining life for both man and beast

ultimately not only Nile but every body of water: streams, rivers, ponds become polluted – would even extend to containers filled with water

obedience (20ab)

pattern already established, continues throughout plagues as stated here: God commanded, Moses / Aaron obey precisely

the words spoken to Pharaoh had to be followed by exact action – anything less would break connection between God and what was taking place

that connection vital so observers/those afflicted by judgment would know with certainty why they were happening, whose power and authority being displayed

result (20c-21)

source of food, drink, physical cleansing, means of transportation suddenly unfit for human use; no backups readily available

water unfit to drink, fish unfit to eat, unbearable stench – become something to loathe, recoil from rather than enjoy

apparently same held true for children of Israel, too, and for next two plagues – unfair? not really; they also sinned against God

notable parallel (John 2:1-11)

by hand of Aaron, God struck water of Nile producing death; God the Son, first miracle changed water to life-sustaining wine

God’s “first choice” to give life, what will sustain it – sustained rebellion leaves God no options other than painful consequences

C. purpose of plague

Pharaoh going to Nile not simply for sake of personal hygiene – was act of worship…. surprise, still happens today

On Wednesday (03/15/17), hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law.

The reason we have taken this approach is because we consider the river an ancestor and always have,” said Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the Whanganui iwi [tribe].

We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as in indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management.”

The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.”

Pharaoh’s intent to worship birthplace of gods, the life of Egypt, probably also to be cleansed by its special purifying powers

it really is about worship (16-17)

much of Egyptian life centered around Nile as source of life – water/nutrients for vegetation, huge quantities of fish for food, drinking water for man and animal

God’s intention… “that they may serve/worship Me” – primarily in view here his people, children of Israel; certainly would not turn away others

true at all times and all places – the Father is seeking true worshipers who will worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

“By this you shall know that I am the LORD” – that I am the I AM

everyone knows God exists because of imago Dei – we know God because he makes the move, reveals himself to us

God expects worshipers to know him

not simply know about him – can read the facts in Bible, requires experience in relationship to really know person

also intends that lost will know him – both kinds represented in Egypt: those who knew YHWH as their deliverer, rest who knew him as their enemy

D. response to plague

magicians (22a)

can give appearance of duplicating – turn water to blood; is power that only brings destruction… remember who they serve…

1 Cor. 10:20 “…the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.”

if magicians wanted to show abilities in good way, make water pure! – instead made problem larger, more burdensome

Pharaoh (22b-23)

immovably self-centered – is only plagues that cause personal discomfort/hardship that he seeks relief from; shows no compassion for Egyptian people, their intense suffering

rather than showing sympathy for people, Pharaoh retreated into palace, growing in anger and hatred toward true God

people (24)

digging for water since surface supplies polluted – seems underground water sources not polluted, not best water but usable

this also the source of water magicians used for their own tricks – taking useful water and making polluted… what Satan does to all he touches… pollutes it

E. appropriate outcome

did not actually occur until #10

had Pharaoh obeyed God’s command, plagues would have ended at that point… just as God relented toward people of Nineveh

then was grudging all the way – cost of continued rebellion higher than Pharaoh wanted to pay… for a time

Rom 1:20-25 – Pharaoh and Egyptians typical, not exceptions to general principle – fallen sinners when left to make any choice they desire worship and serve created things even though leads to death

worship of false god of Nile brings only death

worship of true God brings life – told plainly that natural man is dead in trespasses and sins, unable to give himself life

Egyptians could continue worshiping Nile – no more able to give them true life than idol made of wood or stone

YHWH’s intention here that all who experienced his first blow of judgment would know him as real source of life

true God the only one who can supply complete cleansing – priests including Pharaoh required to wash 4x daily in Nile water

true God “killed” god of Nile, prevented Egyptians from continuing false worship temporarily, plus challenges of daily life

showed to them if they wanted true cleansing, needed to go to God over all who alone has power to purify more than outside of person

if God sole giver of life, all owe life to God and his service

God made all things, gave life to all living things – worship given to creation rightly belongs to Creator, whether saved or lost

even more important for one given eternal life

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Have been given gift of physical life and gracious gift of eternal life. Is only proper to put our lives, in every aspect, at disposal of one who has delivered us from bondage to sin and Satan.

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