BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 6, Day 5: Exodus 15:1-21

Summary of passage:  Moses and the Israelites sing a song of praise and worship to the Lord after the final defeat of the Egyptians.  They exalt Him for defeating the Egyptians by parting the waters of the Red Sea.  The enemy boasted and God brought them down.  God redeemed His people in unfailing love and strength.  All of the nations will know and tremble once they hear of what happened here.  Miriam and the women sang God’s praises as well.

Questions:

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  verse 2:  “The Lord is my strength and my song…I will praise him and … exalt him.”  Verse 7:  “In the greatness of your majesty, you threw down those who opposed you.”  Verse 11:  “Who is like  you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory?”  Verse 13:  “In your unfailing love…and strength you will guide them”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is always there, waiting to help me and love me when I need Him most.  He is omnipotent and omniscient and knows everything about me.  He sees me.  He knows me.  He is present.  He protects me, shelters me, provides for me.  He wraps me in a big hug when no one else will.  His blessings are beyond what I deserve.  My greatest gift is praise and worship to Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By being faithful.  Praising Him.  Thanking Him.  Praying.  Serving. Obeying.  By living a Godly life.

11a)  God will lead the people He has redeemed and guide them to His holy dwelling.  Israel’s enemies would be as still as stone, allowing God’s people to pass by.  Israel will have the Promised Land once again.

b)  God led Abraham to the Promised Land.  God cared for His people in bringing them to Egypt.  He will do the same now.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God has done everything for me and I know He will continue to do so.  I have so many hopes for the future it is ridiculous.  I feel like I’m in a lull now, but I am praying and waiting on Him to do great things.  I would like to write an impactful novel, raise good, God-fearing children, be a dutiful wife, care for all that God has given me (which includes material things and pets), and continue to live in His light.

Conclusions:  Nice break from all the reading!  Nice reflection day since most all are personal questions.  It’s good to think about these things in our lives because often we don’t stop and do so.  It was nice just to pray and think about how much God has done in my life and His promises for the future.

I am wondering though:  Is “Moses and the Israelites” just the men praising God since Miriam then took the women?  I’m confused.

End Notes:  This song is thought to have been spontaneous and a new song unto the Lord.  It is all about God, nothing about Moses.  God is their strength, not He gives them strength.

Parts of this song is found in Scripture 3 times.

The right hand (considered the hand of skill and power) is used in the Bible over 50 times.

This song shows the Israelites definitely knew who God was if the Egyptians still haven’t.

God’s enemies did hear of this event as Rahab the prostitute said so (Joshua 2:10).

This is the first mention of Miriam by name.  Numbers 26:59 seems to indicate Moses had only this one sister.  We also will study later this year that it was not only Aaron who caused trouble for Moses; Miriam did as well.  She is called a prophetess because she received divine communication as did Moses as the prophet.

Scholars are divided on whether the men and women were separated as are ancient recordings on such.  There is arguments on both sides but I think most think men and women were separated.  It would seem to fit the culture to have men and women separated.  Some suggest Moses and the men sang the chorus while Miriam and the women sang the refrain.  Vocal wise, this makes sense since men have low voices and women have high voices.

I find it strange all the women have tambourines.  If this were me, I’d leave that behind when I fled Egypt.  But maybe tambourines were integral in the worship of God, so they brought them.

Fun Fact about Passage:  This is the first song recorded in the Bible.  Can you imagine?  Millions singing at once to God.  Amazing!!

My take away from the Exodus out of Egypt:  God did it.  No one else.

More Celebrations of God:  Psalm 78 & 105

Fun Fact:  The Book of Exodus shows a greater proportion of miracles (direct, supernatural acts of God) than any other part of the Bible except the Gospels.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 6, Day 3: Exodus 12:31-13:16

Summary of passage:  During the night Pharaoh finally told the Egyptians to leave as the Egyptians were afraid they would all die.  Pharaoh also asks to be blessed by God.  So they were given clothing, silver, and gold and journeyed on foot.  They numbered 600,000 men, along with the women, children, livestock, and others.  They were in Egypt for 430 years.

The Lord said no uncircumcised males may partake of the Passover.  It must be eaten inside with no bones broken.

Exodus 13:  God ordered every firstborn male be consecrated to him, including the animals (this would later be replaced with the Levites in Numbers).  This day must forever be commemorated with a festival and with no bread with leaven in it for the generations to come and is to be told to every generation and remembered.  Every firstborn and sacrifice will be a sign of this remembrance.

Questions:

5a)  It would devastate it.

b)  When He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt (Passover).

c)  Israel is God’s firstborn son.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By following God’s purpose for my life.  Living a godly life.  Doing what Jesus would do.  Repenting.  Asking for forgiveness for others.  Praying.  Faith.

6)  “The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.”

7)  Non-Israelites did go with the Israelites (verse 38) and God had to make sure they believed in Him and accepted His sacrifice for their sins.  It’s just like taking communion or the Eucharist today.  It has meaning and you must accept Him in order to be cleansed just like with Jesus.

Conclusions:  Try not to gloss over this section although it’s easy to do especially after yesterday which was a doozy. It is repetitive, yes, of what happened in Exodus 12 but it’s important enough to be repeated.  Note the emphasis of how God keeps stressing over and over the importance of remembering this day and what it means to His people.  The importance of passing this on to the next generations.  The importance of obeying these ordinances forever.

We must remember the Passover in the OT is the equivalent of Jesus dying on the cross–it was that important.  It accomplished the same thing–cleansing us of our sins.  Hence, the importance of it in these passages.

I love how Pharaoh says “Go but bless me too!”.  It’s still about him, yes.  But we see he has finally accepted that God is the One, True God.  He learned the hard way.  I pray we don’t learn that way.

End Notes:  Pharaoh was finally broken when his son died.  God does whatever it takes for His will.  Always justly.

We see the importance of the unleavened bread for the Israelites had to leave NOW.

Succoth means shelters to this may not be the town of Succoth.  There was probably was an air of celebration after the haste and the people were probably over the moon.

The number 600,000 has been debated.  Some say this was about 2 million people in total who left Egypt.  Regardless, it was a lot of people to be moving all at once out of the country.

Note the magnitude of God:  to the exact day of 430 years did the Israelites leave.

If you were part of God’s people, you had to celebrate the Passover.  If you wanted in,  you had to be circumcised and celebrate Passover.

God also required the dedication of the firstborn to Him because God always requires our best and the firstborn was considered the best in Ancient Times.

Phylactery boxes began with these instructions of which priests corrupted back in Jesus’ day.  This passage is not meant to be literal.

This is the simpliest and easiest Map of Exodus I could find with Rameses and Succoth clearly marked:  http://dedicatedchristfollower.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/exodus-map.gif

Fun Fact:  “Out of Egypt” occurs 56 times from this passage in the Bible.  Important, wouldn’t you say?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 6, Day 2: Exodus 11:1-12:30

Summary of passage:  The Lord says He will bring one more plague upon Egypt and then Pharaoh will finally relent and let His people go.  Tell the Israelites to ask for gold and silver as I (God) have made them favorably disposed to help you.  So Moses tells Pharaoh that God will kill every firstborn son in Egypt and every firstborn calf as well.  There will be mourning as never seen before.  No harm will come to the Israelites.  Then everyone will demand us to leave and we will leave.  Moses, angry, leaves Pharaoh.

[In Chapter 10 of Exodus we see how Pharaoh banishes Moses from his court because Moses won't compromise on the Exodus.  It seems as if no time has elapsed here and God speaks to Moses in this moment before he leaves Pharaoh for the last time so Moses can warn Pharaoh.  Scholars say Moses just threw in here what God had said to him previously.  Thus, we are unsure of the time frame here in terms of when God spoke to Moses.  We can say though that Exodus 10 and Exodus 11:4 is in the same moment.]

Chapter 12:  God gives Moses and Aaron clear instructions for the Passover, which is where God does not harm the Israelites but instead takes the firstborn of every Egyptian and animal.  Each Israelite household is to take a lamb without defect and raise it for 14 days.  Then at twilight all the lambs must be slaughtered.  They must take the blood and mark their doorways with it, which will serve as the sign for me (God) to pass over and not bring the plague.  Roast the meat over fire and make haste and be prepared to exit Egypt.

This is to become the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which entailed eating no yeast for a week and doing no work except preparing food.  Moses summoned the elders of Israel, gave them the Lord’s instructions, and they obeyed and worshipped.

Everything happened as the Lord said and there was one one house in Egypt without someone dead.

Questions:

3a)  This will be the last plague and Pharaoh will let His people go and he will drive them out completely from Egypt.

b)  Verses 4-8:  “This is what the Lord says:  ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt–worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.  But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’  Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.  All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’  After that I will leave.”

c)  Moses does not give Pharaoh time to respond, so angry is he with Pharaoh’s obstinance.  We can assume since God sent the plague that Pharaoh acted the same way as he has consistently acted–flippant, defiant, and refusing to release God’s people.

4a)  Verses 2-11:  Each Israelite household is to take a lamb without defect and raise it for 14 days. Then at twilight all the lambs must be slaughtered. They must take the blood and mark their doorways with it, which will serve as the sign for God to pass over and not bring the plague. Roast the meat over fire, along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast, and make haste and be prepared to exit Egypt.

b)  Verse 13:  “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”  Moses tells the elders in verse 27 “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”  It is the day to be remembered as the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

c)  Jesus rescued us (His people) from sin and he had to be sacrificed to do so just like the Passover lambs who had to be sacrificed to save and mark God’s people.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.

Conclusions:  I had never noticed before how Moses never left Pharaoh and how God spoke directly to Moses so Moses could give Pharaoh the final warning.  God keeps His promise from Exodus 4:12 “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say”. I wonder how this occurred.  Did Moses pause and listen to God and then repeat God?  Or did Moses just open his mouth and God spoke through Moses?  I think it would be pretty cool if God’s words just came from my mouth, wouldn’t you?

I also had never noticed how God killed the firstborn cattle and animals in Egypt as well.  God already stuck down the livestock in the Plague of the Livestock (Exodus 9) so I’m wondering how much time is actually taken place between these plagues?  Obviously enough time for the cattle and the animals to re-populate themselves if God is going to strike them down again.

I also like how we see the first commandment in full on play here and just how jealous God is.  “I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the Lord.”  Love this!!  God is going to show Pharaoh once more just how stupid his gods are and how mighty the One, True God is!  I love it! This shows God’s justness and it helps me to see man’s need for justice as well and that we are right to seek justice and dole out consequences from those who harm us as God pronounced judgment on the Egyptians.  As long as the path is not crossed into revenge I believe is God’s example here.

Since we are made in God’s image, we are like Him as well.  And seeing God punish the Egyptians for their sins gives me a new perspective on justice.

End Notes:  This is the fulfillment of God’s word (Exodus 4:21-3).  The Egyptians gave the Israelites silver and gold to get rid of them.  The Israelites saw this as payment for past wages.  These riches were later used to adorn the temple.

Why the firstborn?  As punishment for Egypt not letting God’s firstborn (Israel) go.  There were no exemptions.

Pharaoh would take the fall for this one; there would be no one else to place the blame

The first 9 plagues dealt with nature.  Here, this is against man.

For the fourth time we are told that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, and 11:10). Yet God never hardened Pharaoh’s heart until he first hardened it against the Lord and His people (Exodus 7:13, 7:22, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32, and 9:7).

Christians today do not usually celebrate the Passover.  It has been incorporated into the taking of the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.  The idea is still there–relying on God whom rescued His people.  Only for Christians, the ultimate rescue was Jesus.

God starts the calendar over with this event.

The lamb (or goat in Hebrew–either one) was to live with them so that the sacrifice would be meaningful and mourned.

Lamb killed at twilight.  Jesus at the last hour. (1 John 2:11).

Presumably this blood would remain as a sign for the Israelites to remember this day.

All of the lamb was to be consumed just like we are to take and feed upon all of Jesus and not just some.

Leaven is seen as a picture of sin.  Hence, God’s people needed to begin anew without sin.

The herb hyssop has seen throughout the Bible with blood.  Presumably, it helped it stick. We will see hyssop again in our study this year.

The Passover is the Old Testament’s equal to the cross.  It was what cleansed God’s people to be with Him before Jesus was sent.

The Israelites obeyed as we are to do.  We are not told if any disobeyed or if any Egyptians obeyed.

This final plague was against Osiris, the giver of life to the Egyptians and against Pharaoh himself who thought he was a god.

Interesting read on who exactly was the Pharaoh during this time:  http://www.biblewitness.org/pharaoh.htm

Even more detail with all kinds of charts and reasonings–for those who desire more in depth analysis:

http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-date-1440bc.htm

Short answer:  Thutmose III during Exodus is the most likely candidate.

Fun Fact:  This is the first use of the word that would become our word for church.  Here it is translated as community.  It describes Israel collectively as a religious body.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 5: Exodus 9:13-10:29

Summary of passage:  We embark on the third set of three plagues set on Egypt.  Here God sends the Plague of Hail in exactly the same way as before:  God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to release His people.  If Pharaoh does not, a hailstorm the likes of which have never been seen in Egypt will rain down and destroy everything left outside.  Pharaoh refuses and Moses brings about the Plague.  Pharaoh relents, saying he has sinned, and asks Moses to take away the Plague and he will let the Israelites go.  We all know what happens:  Pharaoh does not.

Exodus 10:  Interestingly here, God is the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart again and he tells Moses this plague is so that the Israelites will know and the following generations that he is Lord.  Moses delivers the message:  God will send a Plague of Locusts to devour what is left of Egypt.  Pharaoh’s officials beg him to let the Israelites go.  But Pharaoh tries to compromise with God again, only wanting to let the men go.  God (of course) does not compromise so He sends the plague.

Same thing as in the Plague of Hail:  Pharaoh says he has sinned, asks Moses to remove the plague and he will let the people go, Moses does, and Pharaoh refuses, God again the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

Last plague of this set is without warning again:  God sends a Plague of darkness to Egypt.  No one could see for three days except for in the land of Goshen, which was spared.  Pharaoh calls Moses to him again and again tries to compromise, saying he must leave the livestock behind.  Moses laughs, saying they need the animals for sacrifice.  Here, the Lord again hardens Pharaoh’s heart and banishes Moses from his court.

Questions:

10)  In the Plague of Hail (the Seventh plague), Pharaoh for the first time says he has sinned and he is wrong.  In the Plague of Locusts, the officials are finally convinced of God’s holiness.  Here Pharaoh says he has sinned against God and against Moses.  He asks for his sin to be forgiven.  In the Ninth Plague (the Plague of Darkness), Pharaoh says to go and he becomes so enraged at Moses’ refusal to compromise that he banishes Moses from his court.

In the Plague of Hail, God reveals to Pharaoh that the plagues are so His power is shown to all for He could have just have wiped them off the face of the earth but He hasn’t yet.  In the Plague of Locusts (the Eighth), God tells Moses this Plague is for the Israelites’ sake so that they may know He is God.

11a)  This is all a power game, nothing else.  Pharaoh wants to first just let the men go, then let the women go but keep the livestock here.  He wants to be in control when it is obvious God is in control.

b)  Too many to list.  Everyone tries to sneak in a bit of sin here and there instead of turning totally toward God and rejecting Satan completely.  Things like, “God, if you’ll do such and such for me, then I won’t ever do such and such again.”  God doesn’t bargain.  It’s all or nothing with Him as it should be in our lives.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hate the instructions “be specific” because often I can’t be.  Here, I can’t say of a bargain I’ve tried to make with God.  I can’t say I have ever cognizantly made one.  I’m sure I have with my actions.  I am just unaware of it.

12)  Moses is very assured in his speech and posture with Pharaoh.  I think some of this is from frustration and anger that Pharaoh is being so obstinate.  We see this in verse 29 with Moses last words to Pharaoh.  It seems this exchange is almost a tiff!  Moses is saying, “Well, fine!  I’ll do as you say and never, ever see you again!”

I think Moses has lost all fear of Pharaoh as he sees the miracles God has performed and how God has used him to perform such miracles.  I think Moses has realized God’s omnipotence and that Pharaoh is just a man.  I think Moses has lost all respect for Pharaoh who is so evil he chooses to harm his own people rather than let the Israelites go.  What kind of leader is he?

Conclusions:  This lesson covers a lot of ground as does the forthcoming lessons so make sure you leave the time to complete it thoroughly.  I love the change in Moses.  I think we all feel that when we see God in our lives work His power we become more confident in God and in our faith and it shines outward.  I love the consequences of Pharaoh’s continued sin.  I love God’s grace towards Pharaoh.  I love God’s show of power and mercy in the plagues when He could have just been done with the Egyptians.  So many powerful lessons for us to remember!

End Notes:  “I will being judgment on the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12).  God is in an all-out war against the Egyptian gods.  Here we see the Plague of Darkness attack the sun god, Ra, one of Egypt’s most important gods.  Ra was considered to the the King of the Egyptian Gods and as such the Pharaoh represented Ra on earth.  He was the creator of everything and considered the father of the other gods.  The sun was important to the Egyptians as they relied on it for light, warmth, and growth.  It is fitting that God chose his final attack on Pharaoh himself and on Egypt’s supreme god.

The Ten Plagues serve two major purposes:  One, to convince Egypt to let their slave labor go.  Two, to convince the Israelites it was time to leave the life they’ve known for 400 years.  God uses his power to let everyone know who is in charge.

Pharaoh’s stubbornness merely glorified God.  God gives the Egyptians a chance to protect their livestock from the hail. Some did and some didn’t.  It hardly ever rains in Egypt so the idea of a huge hailstorm was probably unimaginable to the Egyptians.  It would be easy for them to dismiss this warning.  They must have been very frightened when it began to hail.  Some translations say fire instead of lightning, which would have been even more frightening.

Nut was the goddess of the sky that the Plague of Hail was against.

Note Moses’ candor in the Plague of Hail.  “I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”  I can just see Moses sighing, knowing Pharaoh is lying to him and that his heart is hard and his confession is insincere.  Yet, he grants Pharaoh’s request so there is no excuse by Pharaoh NOT to turn to the Lord.  Moses is probably thinking, Man, this guy is an idiot!  But Moses probably also is sorry for Pharaoh as well and probably prays for him to turn to God.

Here we find yet another purpose of the plagues:  to grow Moses’ heart and faith in God and in himself.  We can see the transformation in Moses whose most difficult task is ahead:  leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.

Pharaoh hates the consequences of his sin, but not the sin itself.  He’d do the sin all over again.  This is a warning to us all.

The plagues keep coming as Pharaoh refuses to humble himself before the Lord and as God intends to keep showing Pharaoh who He is until Pharaoh gets it!

The Egyptian god Set was the protector of crops.  Looks like Set failed in his job in this instance as the locusts devoured everything in sight!

Note how the darkness is one that “can be felt”.  God is light so God not only abolished the sun’s rays, but He also took away His presence from the earth as well, which we can feel.

Pharaoh is so exasperated that he banishes Moses from his court, which is effectively banishing God. God responds with the Tenth Plague, one that will affect Pharaoh is a personal way so that God will never be banished again!

The Bible gives several reasons for the plagues:  to verify to God’s people that Moses is His chosen one, to show His greatness, to give testimony for the future generations, to answer Pharaoh’s question of who is God, to judge the false gods, and as a warning to other nations of what will happen if you oppose His people.

Fun Fact:  Pharaoh’s admission to sin in Exodus 9:27 is one of eight in the Bible.  See if you can discover who else said as much and who was sincere and who was insincere.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 4: Exodus 8:20-9:12

Summary of passage:  Now the Lord tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that the next plague will be a plague of flies; however, this time there will be no flies upon God’s people in Goshen–only in Egypt–so that Pharaoh will see God’s power even more.  Pharaoh tells Moses to worship God in Egypt and Moses says that is impossible for the Egyptians would stone them to death for doing so.  Pharaoh again says he will allow the people to go if Moses takes away the flies.  Moses does and Pharaoh once again lies.

God tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that he will kill all of the Egyptians livestock but leave the Israelites’ livestock alone.  Still, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he refuses.  So with no warning, God sends the plague of boils upon the men and animals.  Still, Pharaoh refuses to believe.

Questions:

7)  God decides to only send the plague of flies upon the Egyptians and spare His people.

8a)  Presumably to give Pharaoh time to repent and turn to God and let His people go after receiving the warning from Moses.  Hence, Pharaoh would have no excuse as to his refusal.

b)  This shows God’s infinite mercy.

c)  Pharaoh refused to honor God’s request and “his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”

9a)  The people themselves.  Before it was the water, the land, and animals around them.  Here, it’s against the people themselves with the boils.

b)  Yes and no.  Original sin by Adam brought upon us death.  Often, illness and disease lead to death.  So, yes, in this instance.  But in the Old Testament, people believed if you sinned you were punished by God with a disease or with death.  Here, Jesus says no in John 9 as he heals a blind man.  Romans 5:12:  “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Sickness is not a consequence of personal sin; it’s a consequence of original sin (Adam and Eve’s). But with forgiveness, we are cured of our “sickness” of sin.  [More explanation in End Notes].

Conclusions:  Here we see the second set of three plagues.  God spares His people all of the plagues and God begins a more aggressive approach as it now afflicts the bodies of the Egyptians. Unbelievable how Pharaoh still refuses to relent. This must be the work of the devil for who else would still refuse to believe after seeing all of God’s miracles?

Question 9b is interesting because we get to see just what Jesus did for us on the cross.  Amazing!

I’m excited to be studying the plagues.  It’s been a long time for me and I had forgotten most of them!  Thank you, BSF!

End Notes:  The exact translation of flies is unknown in the original Hebrew.  This could very well be biting insects such as mosquitoes or fleas as well.  We can assume this had the same effect as the Plague of gnats/lice–that life as usual stopped in Egypt.

We can learn from Moses here.  Pharaoh tries to compromise, offering the Egyptians the right to sacrifice but here in Egypt.  Moses refuses.  Compromising in the face of evil/the devil is exactly what the devil wants us to do.  We must remain strong in our faith and not give in to any form of sin.

Did Pharaoh lie or did he change his mind once the Plague of flies was gone?  I tend to lean toward lying.  He never intended to give up his slaves and since he had already reneged on his promise with the frogs, who would believe him anymore?

Note how Pharaoh wanted God to help him and as soon as he was helped, he turned on God. Good lesson for us.  God is for us in the good and the bad.

Pharaoh knew God’s power enough to ask for God to remove the plagues.  But once done, he turned his back on God.  How many of us have done the same thing?

God is asking for Pharaoh to let His people go for His sake.  We are created for His sake.  So we must remember it is all about Him.

The cow was sacred to the Egyptians and their god, Hathor, was represented as a cow at times. There is record of an ancient battle where Egypt’s enemy put cows amongst the troops and the Egyptians would not shoot arrows at them for fear of killing the cows, forcing a retreat.

Even the magicians are struck with boils and their god of healing, Imhotep, was powerless.

For the first time, God hardens Pharaoh heart in fulfillment of scripture (Exodus 4:21; 7:3). In every example up to this point, Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Good lesson for us.  God gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent but eventually judgment is rendered.

This was a good website on the origin of sickness with many scriptural references thrown it:

http://www.answers2prayer.org/sickness/sickness0.html

Sickness is from the devil, not from God.  Sickness entered this world (and us) from man’s sins. But since we are forgiven if we accept Jesus as our Savior, illness is not from our personal sins. Does that make sense?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 3: Exodus 7:14-8:19

Summary of passage:  Since Pharaoh still refuses to let the Israelites go, God tells Moses to go out to the Nile River and meet Pharaoh and tell him that since he won’t let my people go, you will use your staff to turn the water of the Nile to blood so that the fish will die and the water will be undrinkable.  Then send Aaron to turn the rest of the water in Egypt to blood as well.  Moses obeyed but Pharaoh didn’t care since his magicians could do the same thing.  The Egyptians had to dig for their water.

After a week, God tell Moses to send a plague of frogs upon the people until Pharaoh relents and lets His people go.  So Aaron sends the frogs, which the magicians can do as well.  Pharaoh tells Moses if he takes the frogs away, he will release the Israelites.  So Moses agrees but Pharaoh reneges on his word.

So God has Aaron turn the dust of the land to gnats–something the magicians cannot reproduce.  They tell Pharaoh this is from God but he doesn’t care.

Questions:

5)  Blood:  The Lord tells Moses and Aaron to turn the water in Egypt to blood.  Moses turns the Nile to blood while Aaron turns the rest of water to blood.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to Moses or Aaron and did nothing.

Frogs:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Pharaoh He will plague Egypt with frogs and tells Moses to tell Aaron to do so.  So Moses obeys and Aaron makes frogs come up out of the land from the waters in Egypt.  The magicians can do the same thing.  Pharaoh tells Moses and Aaron he will release the Israelites if the Lord removes the frogs.  So Moses does but Pharaoh reneges.

Gnats:  The Lord tells Moses to tell Aaron to turn the dust to gnats.  Moses and Aaron do.  This is something the magicians can’t do so they tell Pharaoh that this must be the finger of God.  But Pharaoh as always has a hard heart and won’t listen and keep the Israelites enslaved.

Differences:  Moses participates in the plague of blood but strictly Aaron does so in the frogs and gnats.  Pharaoh obviously didn’t like frogs since he lies to Moses to get him to take the frogs away.  God is the same in all the passages.  The magicians can’t reproduce the gnats so they are now convinced that the Lord is who He says He is.  Pharaoh is the same obstinate person as before.

6a)  “This is what the Lord says”

b)  To underscore to Pharaoh that the message is from the Lord and not Moses just speaking.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is important to realize that the Bible is all that the Lord says, that it is from Him, and I’d better listen!

Conclusions:  I had never noticed before that Moses was the leader and Aaron did all the work for Moses.  From my childhood, I had always remembered it as Moses doing it all but it seems it’s his brother, Aaron, that does all the grunt work!  Aaron himself has no ability to perform miracles unless Moses says so.  It’s like Moses has to be seen as the leader just like Pharaoh is seen as the leader and like Pharaoh has minions and magicians to perform his work so must Moses.  I believe this is so in order to establish credibility with Pharaoh.  Furthermore, this is how it was in the ancient world:  you had an all-powerful ruler who dictated his orders and couldn’t possibly lower himself to do the work.

I always love how The Lord speaks to Moses cause it makes me jealous and I want God to speak to me!

End Notes:

Map of Ancient Egypt:  http://www.timemaps.com/history/middle-east-1500bc

Up-close Map of Ancient Egypt:  http://www.timemaps.com/history/ancient-egypt-1500bc

This is the time of Ancient Egypt’s greatest power and the furthest extent of its empire.  And here’s Moses challenging arguably the greatest man on earth!  These maps are interactive and have a wealth of information on the time and the countries around Egypt.

There are 9 plagues sent by God upon Egypt (the killing of the firstborn is not really a plague per se).  They are grouped by threes with the first two always coming with warnings and the third with no warning.  This is by God’s mercy upon Pharaoh, hoping he will change his heart.  He never does.

Some say the plagues could all have happened by natural causes.  For instance, in the plague of the blood, the river Nile floods every year and deposits rich, red soil on the land.  This could taint the water and kill the fish.  However, in the time sequence of the Bible, not all could happen so close together.

Each plague attacked an Egyptian deity, showing God’s omnipotence over all and answering Pharaoh’s question from Exodus 5:2 “Who is the Lord?”

In the plague of blood, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a goddess. This shows her ineptitude.

Scholars debate whether the magicians were using tricks or were using powers from Satan.  Most lean towards Satan.  Note how Satan just replicates the miracle; he never fixes it for instance turning the Nile back to clean because Satan cannot cleanse anything.

Why all the plagues?  Why not just kill the Egyptians and be done with it?  Well, God has two purposes here.  One, to show his power over the Egyptian gods.  Two, to give Pharaoh and the Egyptians a chance to repent–to show mercy as God does to all peoples.

Plague of frogs:  Again, this is directed towards an Egyptian goddess who had the head of a frog.  Frogs were worshipped by the Egyptians and considered sacred and thus were not to be killed.  What did God do?  He killed the frogs!  I bet the Egyptians were outraged over this one!

Note the parallels with the Creation here:  First and Second plagues are about the waters.  Third and fourth plagues, earth.  Five, air.  Sixth, man.  Then God rested.  Genesis 1, anyone?

Note how God uses the lowly here to accomplish his goals:  gnats, frogs, etc.

Pharaoh had to ask for help with his frog problem since no one was allowed to kill frogs and apparently they were everywhere, so much so the land reeked of them.

Plague of gnats:  Many translations say plague of lice (which to me is worse!).  The Egyptians were obsessed with cleanliness and this hit them hard!  Plus, now their sacrificial animals were tainted and no longer clean and fit for sacrifice to their gods.

The magicians cannot replicate this miracle and they say so to Pharaoh who apparently is insane and refuses to believe.  This shows how evil is limited and only God is omnipotent.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 2: Exodus 6:28-7:13

Summary of passage:  Moses again repeats how he is incapable of the task God has given him to speak to Pharaoh and demand that he let the Israelites go.  God tells Moses that He will make him like god to Pharaoh and Aaron will be Moses’ prophet.  They are to repeat everything God tells them to Pharaoh but Pharaoh won’t let them go.  So God will lay mighty acts of judgment on the Egyptians and He will bring out His people.  Moses did just as the Lord commanded them.  Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 years old.

God told Aaron to throw down his staff and it would become a snake when Pharaoh asks for a miracle.  Aaron did so but so did the Egyptian magicians.  Despite Aaron’s snake swallowing up the magicians’ snakes, Pharaoh still refused to listen.

Questions:

3a)  First thought, because Moses is an idiot.  Real answer I’ll say in class:  Moses says Pharaoh won’t listen to him because he speaks with faltering lips.

b)  First thought:  God should have slapped Moses silly and then hit him over the head with a 2 x 4.  Real answer I’ll say in class:  God told Moses He would make Moses like God to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Despite our doubt and unbelief, God in His infinite patience, will answer our prayers and provide us the strength to make it through our troubled times.  God doesn’t smack us silly when we just don’t get it.  He patiently waits and gives us the reassurance and the power to succeed in His will for our lives.  Comforting as I try to follow God’s will for my life.  I know God will provide everything I need to accomplish it.

4a)  If your heart is hardened, you refuse to listen to God.  You are being stubborn and even when you know the other person is right, you refuse to change your ways.  It’s when you know what the right thing to do is but you don’t do it.

b)  God will render mighty acts of judgment upon the Egyptians.

c)  It disappears.  Every ancient civilization fell.  Egypt.  Greeks.  Romans.  Persians.  Babylonians.  Mongols.  Hittites.  Nazi Germany.  They either disappeared or were conquered.  The only nation still standing after millenia is Israel.

Conclusions:  I couldn’t believe Moses–again protesting God’s will and his ability.  I wonder how much fear played a factor here.  After all, Pharaoh was the most powerful man in the known world at this time.  Just goes to show us how much we doubt God and His word and how much God props us up in our doubt.

I liked the hardened question because I believe this happens a lot.  People don’t do good when they know they should.  Instead, they listen to the devil and either don’t do anything (a choice as well) or do evil.  These days people claim ignorance or blame it on someone else but God knows their heart like He knew Pharaoh’s and in the end judgment will be forthcoming.

I also love how when Satan shows up God beats him every time.  The magicians’ snakes were eaten by God’s.  Great reminder to us that God is the one in charge and He will conquer all.

End Notes:  Scholars say either Moses had a speech problem or he just believed he was unclean or unworthy to be used by God.  Either way God uses us all despite our sins or our impediments. Trust in Him is the key.

Since Pharaoh won’t listen to God himself (Exodus 5:2), God will use Moses as a testament of himself.  So we all are God’s people, representing God to those who won’t listen to Him.

Note here God clearly puts Moses in charge and Aaron as the number 2 guy (God versus the prophet analogy). This will be important later on as Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and they wander around for 40 years.  We’ll see how this plays out later in our study!

When Pharaoh refused God the first go-around (Exodus 5:1-4), Pharaoh chose evil over God.  Hence, God reserves the right to strength this choice of evil in your heart if you chose to turn from Him.  Thus, he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  Note still there is time to turn to Him.  God will perform wonders throughout Egypt so Pharaoh could still turn to God.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to bring judgment on Egypt.  God’s plan was to show who He was and some did believe as in Exodus 12:38 where some Egyptians accompanied the Israelites.

Note how Aaron was older.  God broke with tradition and chose the younger brother for His work.  Anyone remember Joseph?  God’s ways and traditions are definitely NOT man’s!

This is not the same miracle as in Exodus 4:1-9.  Scholars say this Hebrew word for “snake” here is different and could connote a crocodile or some other animal that would be more meaningful to the Egyptians.  (They worshiped crocodiles by the way).

Satan was here, working his evil magic through the Pharaoh’s magicians and giving Pharaoh room to doubt. God showed Pharaoh He was more powerful than Satan by having his snake swallow up the others.  Still Pharaoh refused to believe the truth.

After thought:  Some wonder why we can’t narrow down which Pharaoh this is because the Egyptians kept detailed records of every pharaohs and their deeds.  However, Egyptians were notorious for changing records.  Often, a Pharaoh would try to erase the existence and/or deeds of his predecessor especially if a coup or a fight had been involved.  We see this with Hatshepsut, the most famous and prosperous female ruler of Egypt who ruled around 1500 BC.  This happened again with Akhenaten (1330’s BC–Tutankhamun’s Dad by the way) who tried to institute monotheism in Egypt which upset many.  There are other examples as well.

Hence, in my mind, this could be the case for this Pharaoh.  After all, who would want to write down in Egypt’s illustrious histories how a Pharaoh let all his slaves escape?  Especially during this time which was the time that the Egyptian empire was at its most powerful.  I’m sure the Pharaohs who came after this one were ashamed about what happened and didn’t want the word out, which would lessen their credibility as gods to their people and as powerful leaders to the surrounding nations.

History recording is not perfect by man.  Luckily, it is by God.