Summary: As we look at the plagues of Egypt, we learn something of our need to stand in awe of God and to fear His judgment.
A. Today we are going to spend time looking at the plagues that God brought upon Pharaoh and Egypt.
1. I hope we can come to appreciate the impact of these plagues and the awe of God they brought.
B. Although there is nothing funny about the plagues themselves, you know I like to start with a bit of humor, so here goes...
1. Let’s imagine God approaching Moses, saying:: “Moses, I have good news and bad news for you regarding the plagues.”
a. The good news is that Pharaoh will let the people go after I smite the land with ten plagues.
b. Moses replied, “Then what is the bad news, Lord?”
c. The Lord said: “The bad news is you will have to conduct an environmental impact study and get approval from the EPA before we can go forward with the plagues.” (Got to love those government rules and regulations!)
2. I also got a chuckle from this cartoon: “It’s not fair being Moses’ son. If I don’t do my chores, you send a plague.” (Hey Parents, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?)
C. The 10 Plagues of Egypt recorded in the Book of Exodus is one of the most well-known events from the Bible.
1. Some people are familiar with the details of the plagues themselves, but not everyone understands their full impact on Egypt.
2. The plagues not only decimated Egypt both physically and economically, but more importantly they decimated them spiritually.
3. Each of the plagues targeted a specific Egyptian god or goddess, or a combination of them, and God displayed His power over the gods of Egypt.
D. So why did God send the plagues?
1. The plagues were brought upon Egypt so that the Pharaoh and the Egyptians would know that the God of the Jews is “The LORD.”
2. The Bible says: 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” (Exodus 7:3-5)
3. God wanted to prove to Egypt who He was and He wanted to display His power so they would know Him and fear Him and obey Him.
4. And why did God send 10 plagues, rather than 9 or 11?
a. Perhaps because in biblical numeration, “10” represents completion.
I. The Story
A. The Plague of Blood
1. The Bible says: 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water. Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’” (Ex. 7:14-18)
2. This plague targeted the Egyptian god Hapi who was the “god of The Nile” and was also known as the “Spirit of The Nile”.
a. Egyptians worshipped the Nile god as their daily source of life and sustenance since it was the waters of the Nile that watered their crops and gave them water that was necessary for drinking, cleaning, and bathing.
b. But now that life-giving water carried nothing but death.
c. To strike the Nile, also was to impact the heart of their diet of fresh fish.
3. The story continues: 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. (Ex. 7:20-21)
4. Just imagine how the Egyptian people must have felt – their source of water was gone, as was a main source of their food.
a. Imagine, seven days and seven nights without grocery stores and without your source of water!