"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Monday, November 23, 2020

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter NINE

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

EXODUS 9 – by Sonny Islas, Facebook video.

INTRODUCTION: We are now going to cover the 5th, 6th and 7th plagues found in Exodus 9. Due to Pharaoh’s brazen pride, the LORD continues to turn up the heat in order to humble Pharaoh and to make His person and power known to the world.

God is here showing his fierce anger against idol worship which is really demon worship (Duet. 32:17 speaking of idol worship says, “They sacrificed to demons, not to God,”). God is also relentlessly proving that He alone is worthy to be exalted.
EXODUS 9:1-7 – Pestilence
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 3 Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. 4 And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children of Israel. 5 And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. 6 And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

God aimed the 5th plague/judgment at the Egyptian god Apis (the sacred bull-god). Or Hathor, a cow headed goddess. Apis was a symbol of strength and fertility.
This Bull-god was also used as a mediator between a higher Egyptian god and humans.
Apis is an extremely blasphemous idol because Scripture says Jesus is the mediator between us and God The Father (1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;.”).

By the way, we know that this false bull-god in particular, greatly influenced the Israelites because in Exodus 32 they came together to create their own Apis – the golden calf to worship it. In Exodus 32:4 Aaron goes as far as to say about the golden Apis “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!

A man-made statue that can’t move on it’s own was given the credit that God alone deserves! Wow! This is why I said a few Sundays ago that Moses delivered Israel not only from the grip of Pharaoh but from the grip of idol worship.
The Israelites knew exactly what Apis stood for – strength and mediation. So, when they made the golden calf, they expected it to be their strength and to bring them closer to God – this pure evil.

When we trust in anything other than Jesus to be our strength and to draw us near to God the Father (as our mediator), we are no different than the Egyptians and the Israelites who put their trust in Apis the bull-god.

Psalm 28:7 says,
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”

Again in verse 1 the LORD sends Moses “to Pharaoh” the King of Egypt - not the king of the Israelites. And commands him once again – “Let MY people go that they may worship Me.”
Pharaoh means “Great House” it’s possibly where we get the idiom “Powerhouse.” Pharaoh was seen by all as the powerhouse of the world or the most powerful man on earth and yet God comes knocking on the door of this so called “powerhouse” to show the Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites that there is an even greater powerhouse in town.

Pharaoh considered his rule as a “great house” and yet God calls him and Egypt the “house of bondage (slavery)” in Deut 5:6. The Israelites were slaves in two ways – physically: as they performed forceful hard labor for peanuts and - spiritually: as many of them caved into Egyptian false god worship.

When God warns “if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,” the picture here is Pharaoh holding Israel hostage. There is an ancient painting of a Pharaoh holding a slave by the hair with one hand and holding a club in the other hand – this is what I believe God is referring to. The Pharaoh’s were ruthless.

This is why God says in verse 2, “the HAND OF THE LORD will be on your cattle” etc. In other words, if you want to keep your hands on my people to hurt them and hold them hostage, I will use MY mighty hand to kill your animals!

The LORD’s hand in scripture always points to either cursing like we see here or blessing like we see in other passages such as Acts 11:21 (The hand of the LORD was with them in ministry success) and many others.

The LORD here crippled Pharaoh’s economy in a severe way because these specific animals (bulls and cows, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, and sheep) were used for travel, work, food, and worship. Yet all of this is worthless in the sight of God when the pride of life and idol worship is involved! God killed what they enjoyed, depended on and worshiped above Him.
In verse 1 The LORD reminds Pharaoh that He is “the LORD God of the Hebrews:” This is God’s way of saying “Pharaoh, you and your gods, the worthless ones that I’m humiliating right now are the gods of the Egyptians, BUT I - (the mighty God of heaven and Earth) AM the God of the Hebrews. The Egyptians belong with you and their dead idols, but the Hebrews belong with Me – the living God.”

Today, though many people and many false religions have a claim on the God of Heaven and Earth, in reality He is only the God of all who are truly Born-again by the HS and have been made the children of God.

In verse 4 the LORD says that He “will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt.” I’m sure that Israel’s animals were happy about this!
God killed most of Egypt’s essential animals while not one of Israel’s animals died from the severe pestilence. This is the second time God makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites, but it won’t be the last (1st: flies, 2nd: Pestilence on animals).

EXODUS 9:8-12 (God killing most of Egypt’s animals did not break Pharaoh’s pride, let us see if painful boils will)
8 And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. 10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. 12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

God aimed the 6th plague/judgment mainly at the Egyptian goddess Isis. Isis was the goddess of beauty, life, motherhood, magic, healing and medicine.
“Ashes from a furnace” – Ashes are obviously the result of fire. The boils that came upon the Egyptians were most likely like the boils one gets from a third-degree burn. These burns, boils and sores were unbearably painful.

So much so that “the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils” on their bodies. They must have had them all over their feet making it impossible to stand upright. Keep in mind that these magicians mainly worshiped Isis, the goddess of life and healing and yet here she and her power is nowhere to be found.

This is a picture of what judgement will be like where the wicked will not be able to stand with the righteous as it says in:

Psalm 1:4-6
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish
.

It is said that Egyptians viewed outer beauty as holiness – and boils would quickly be rid of beauty.
Again, Isis was the goddess of beauty – where is she now? By the way, the Egyptians both men and women pretty much worshipped beauty, the outer appearance – to the point where both genders wore cosmetic/make up.
This shows us how our beauty means nothing to God when it’s placed before Him. In our culture today the world even many in the church prize outer beauty for more than inner beauty.

1 Peter 3:3-4 says,
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

EXODUS 9:13-35 – Hail
13 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.

16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. 17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? 18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.

20 He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: 21 And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field. 22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. 23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. 27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 28 Intreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. 29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord's.

30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God. 31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. 32 But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up. 33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses
.

God aimed the 7th plague/judgment at the goddess of the sky, Nut. (I think anyone who worships the goddess Nut is a nut -just saying). She was known as the goddess of the stars/the entire universe. God is going to prove that it’s not Nut who sends hail and fire down from heaven but Him and Him alone!

Vs. 14 – “That you may know that there is none like Me in all the Earth” God deserves full credit, acknowledgement and worship.

Vs. 15 – “Now if I had stretched out my hand and struck all the Egyptians with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the Earth” In other words I could have finished you off like I did your animals!

Vs. 16 - BUT indeed for this purpose I have raised you up (I set you as Pharaoh – they believed that their gods chose them - this is humbling), that I may show MY POWER in you (through your stubborn heart) and that My NAME be declared in all the Earth.”
God was basically saying that He didn’t just want to kill them off but that He wanted for them to feel and see His painful power yet keep Pharaoh alive to tell the story!!! God is brilliant!

Vs. 19 – God shows some mercy here: God gave them a chance to put their servants and the leftover animals into a safe place before God sent the hail down.

Vs. 20 - Some took God seriously and some didn’t. “He who feared the word of the LORD and the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses.”
This passage shows us the exact meaning of fearing the LORD – and that is to do what He says to do. To take God's Word seriously. There are far too many who say fear God but live in disobedience – what they fear is hell – not God.

Vs. 27 – Pharaoh: “I have sinned this time.” Many recognize their sin but do not repent of it. Admitting it and confessing it even with tears is not the same as forsaking it and getting right with God.

Again, as soon as God answered Pharaoh’s cry for mercy – Pharaoh hardened his heart even more. “He sinned yet more...so the heart of Pharaoh was hard.”

Revelation 16:21 tells of a time of a scary hailstorm –
From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.”

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