Monday, April 1, 2019

Project for the week of 4/2/2019


We will start this week looking back at Chapter 5 & 6, what characteristics did you show this week? (Pharaoh? Moses? God?) 

This week, we will only look at Chapter 7, we will read through it and go verse by verse looking at it. When going through the Chapter verse by verse, a key question to ask is why is this important? 
As you go through Chapter 7 a couple key questions to look at: Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart? Why did the Egyptians have so many gods? Who are some gods/opposition to God in today's world? Why does God start off his miracles small? (snakes?) The magicians & sorcery can do the same miracles, why is this important? 

Big Idea of the Week = God allows challenges & tests so his characteristics and our testimonies show how GREAT he really is! (Do we really believe this?) 

Dusty Hanson

Chapter 7
7:1 God made Moses "seem like God to Pharaoh"—in other words, a powerful person who deserved to be listened to. Pharaoh himself was considered a god, so he recognized Moses as one of his peers. His refusal to give in to Moses shows, however, that he did not feel inferior to Moses.
7:11 How were these wise men and sorcerers able to duplicate Moses' miracles? Some of their feats involved trickery or illusion, and some may have used satanic power since worshiping gods of the underworld was part of their religion. Ironically, whenever they duplicated one of Moses' plagues, it only made matters worse. If the magicians had been as powerful as God, they would have reversed the plagues, not added to them.
7:12 God performed a miracle by turning Aaron's staff into a serpent, and Pharaoh's magicians did the same through trickery or sorcery. Although miracles can help us believe, it is dangerous to rely on them alone. Satan can imitate some parts of God's work and lead people astray. Pharaoh focused on the miracle rather than the message. We can avoid this error by letting the Word of God be the basis of our faith. No miracle from God would endorse any message that is contrary to the teachings of his Word.
7:17 God dramatically turned the water of the Nile into blood to show Pharaoh who he was. Do you sometimes wish for miraculous signs so you can be sure about God? God has given you the miracle of eternal life through your faith in him, something Pharaoh never obtained. This is a quiet miracle and, though less evident right now, just as extraordinary as water turned to blood. The desire for spectacular signs may cause us to ignore the more subtle miracles God is working every day.
7:20 Egypt was a large country, but most of the population lived along the banks of the Nile River. This 3,000-mile waterway was truly a river of life for the Egyptians. It made life possible in a land that was mostly desert by providing water for drinking, farming, bathing, and fishing. Egyptian society was a ribbon of civilization lining the banks of this life source, rarely reaching very far into the surrounding desert. Without the Nile's water, Egypt could not have existed. Imagine Pharaoh's dismay when Moses turned this sacred river to blood![1]

Pharaoh belittles God's miracles (Ex. 6:28-8:7) Up to this point in their confrontation with Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron had simply delivered God's ultimatum. Now the time had come for them to reveal God's power and perform the miraculous signs that proved they were truly sent by God. Still somewhat discouraged, Moses maintained that he wasn't a competent speaker; so God reminded him that Aaron could be his spokesman (; ). However, the Lord advised Moses and Aaron that it would take more than one or two miracles to accomplish His purposes, for He would multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Before we study this remarkable series of miracles, we must focus on the reasons why the Lord took this approach in dealing with Pharaoh and sent these sign judgments to the land of Egypt. The ultimate purpose, of course, was to bring Pharaoh and the Egyptians to their knees so they'd be willing for the Jews to leave the land. But at the same time, the Lord was revealing Himself to both the Israelites and the Egyptians and proving that He alone is God (). The miracles and plagues were also God's way of judging the gods of Egypt and proving them false and futile. "Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord" (; and see and ). More than eighty different deities were worshiped in Egypt, but they could do nothing to deliver the land and the people from the terrible judgments Jehovah sent. If nothing else, the Egyptians learned that Jehovah was the true and living God. But the people of Israel also needed to learn this lesson. According to , some of the Jews had begun to worship the Egyptian gods; and when they were delivered from Egypt, they took their gods with them! Did they compromise their faith in an attempt to please their captors and receive better treatment? But how could they forsake Jehovah after seeing all the demonstrations of His power? "Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies" (, NKJV). The sign of the serpent (). God gave this sign to Moses when He called him in Midian (), but now it was Aaron who performed it in Pharaoh's palace. The serpent was one of the special creatures in Egyptian religion, particularly the cobra, which was a symbol of immortality. Aaron's rod became a serpent by the power of the Lord, and his serpent ate up the serpents that the magicians produced. The three sign miracles that we're considering —the staff turned into a serpent, the water turned to blood, and the invasion of the frogs — have in common the fact that all of them were duplicated by Pharaoh's court magicians. Perhaps "counterfeited" is a more accurate word, because what they did was more likely deceptive sleight of hand. However, Satan can empower his people to perform "lying wonders" (; ; ), and that may have been the source of their power. The Apostle Paul used these Egyptian magicians to teach an important truth: in the last days, Satan will attack God's truth and God's people by imitating the works of God. Paul even named two of the court magicians: "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth" (, NIV). As Jesus taught in the Parable of the Tares (, ), Satan is a counterfeiter who "plants" imitation Christians in this world. Paul called them "false brethren" (). Satan has an imitation gospel (), a counterfeit righteousness (), and even counterfeit ministers who spread his lies (). Satan will one day produce a false Christ who will deceive the whole world (). Pharaoh's magicians turned rods into snakes and water into blood, and were also able to produce frogs in the land. Satan opposes God's work by imitating it, and in this way he minimizes the power and glory of God. Pharaoh's attitude was, "Anything Jehovah can do, we can do better!" Of course, he couldn't, but that was enough to bolster his pride and keep him from submitting to the Lord. 189 The sign of water turned to blood (). This miracle was the first of the ten "plagues" God sent to Egypt, the last of which (the death of the firstborn at Passover) led to the departure of the Jews from Egypt. The word "plague" (; ; ) means "a blow, a stroke," and indicates that the hand of the Lord was punishing the Egyptians. The longer Pharaoh resisted God, the more serious the judgments became. The first three plagues were distressful (water to blood, frogs, gnats); the second three were painful and costly (flies, death of the livestock, boils); and the last four were dangerous and destructive (hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of the firstborn). The longer sinners resist God's will and refuse to hear His Word, the 'louder" He has to speak to them through His judgments. Not only did the water of the Nile River turn into blood, but so did the other waters in the land and even the water stored in vessels of wood and stone. This was a judgment on the Nile River itself, which was treated like a god, and on Hapi, the god of the Nile, and Isis, the goddess of the Nile. The Nile River was the nation's major source of life-giving water for the people and their crops, so taking away their water supply was a devastating judgment. The people dug wells near the river in order to get pure water, but the fish in the river died and their decay produced a terrible stench. The plague and its consequences lasted a week (). The magicians used some of the pure well water and duplicated the miracle. But if they had true magical powers, why didn't they reverse the miracle? That would have shown them to be more powerful than Jehovah and would have endeared them to Pharaoh and the people. The answer, of course, is that they didn't have the power to reverse what Moses and Aaron did; the magicians achieved their results by legerdemain and not by any supernatural power. The sign of the invasion of frogs (). Once more Moses and Aaron commanded Pharaoh, "Let my people go!" and warned him that another plague was coming. "Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings" (). In Egypt, the frog was a fertility symbol; and Heqet, the goddess of resurrection, fertility, and childbirth, had the head of a frog. The Lord's warning was very specific. He told Pharaoh that the frogs would go into their houses, beds, ovens and cooking utensils, and would even cling to the bodies of the people. Of course, the magicians again counterfeited the miracle, when the smartest thing they could have done was to nullify it.[2]

Appendix / Bibliography 

[1] Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 106.

[2] The Bible Exposition Old Testament Commentary, by Warren Wiersbe, published by David C. Cook

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