Summary: If God does not soften ones heart, one may dabble with religion, but one will never find a saving relationship with the true God.
The Religious But Hard-Hearted
1. What if God was politically correct? Imagine this:
Moses was sitting in the Egyptian ghetto. Things were terrible. Pharaoh wouldn’t even speak to him. The rest of the Israelites were mad at him and making the overseers even more irritable than usual, etc. He was about ready to give up.
Suddenly a booming, sonorous voice spoke from above:
"You, Moses, heed me ! I have good news, and bad news."
Moses was staggered. The voice continued:
"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel from bondage. If Pharaoh refuses to release your bonds, I will smite Egypt with a rain of frogs"
"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel to the Promised Land. If Pharaoh blocks your way, I will smite Egypt with a plague of Locust."
"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel to freedom and safety. If Pharaoh’s army pursues you, I will part the waters of the Red Sea to open your path to the Promised Land."
Moses was stunned. He stammered, "That’s.... that’s fantastic. I can’t believe it! --- But what’s the bad news?"
"You, Moses, must write the Environmental Impact Statement."
3. But God is not politically correct. Take the realm or religion.
4. The Egyptian people were very religious -- in some senses, probably more religious than we are. But their religion was false religion & their gods were false gods.
5. God is a jealous God, and it angers Him when people worship false gods. He is very narrow in this regard. You can be narrow when You are God. It angers Him when His true people are oppressed. And, in His own sweet time, He has or will address such issues…enter the ten plagues of Egypt.
• The first 9 plagues stand together in three groups of three; the 10th plague (Passover) is the focus and stands alone
• Plagues 1, 4, & 7: God tells Moses to stand before Pharaoh
• Plagues 2, 5, & 8: God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh
• Plagues 3,6, & 9: Plagues not announced. Plagues 1,4, & 7
Main Idea: If God does not soften ones heart, one may dabble with religion, but one will never find a saving relationship with the true God.
I The Fourth Plague: LARGE Insects (8:20-32)
a. Pharaoh on way to Nile early in the morning….probably the religious festival to the Nile 120 days after the rising of the Nile (120 days after it has turned to blood) --end of October (source: Walter Kaiser)
A. Flies or BEETLES
We do not really know what the Hebrew term, "he`arob" means. It can be translated
• "mixed multitude."
• LXX: "dog fly."
• Talmud: a variety of animals
• god: Kheper
B. Distinction between Hebrews and EGYPTIANS
C. Pharaoh strikes a COMPROMISE with Moses and Reneges
• bargains that they can go a little distance into the desert
• calls Yahweh "your God" (some recognition)
• But the Pharaoh does not honor his compromise….heart not in it!
D. Pharaoh typical of the lost who will not COMMIT
• A false repentance; he thought he was tricking God by his compromise, but it was not conviction on his part; God cannot be deceived
• There are many lost people who attend evangelical churches, make what appear to be professions of faith, but do not endure in their supposed commitment; there are many former born-again Christians out there, many still professing to know Christ…we may not be able to separate the wheat from the tares, but we should not be surprised at the phenomenon… (disabled themselves vs. denial)
If God does not soften ones heart, one may dabble with religion, but one will never find a saving relationship with the true God.
II. The Fifth Plague: Death to Animals OUTDOORS (9:1-7)
• the plague affected only those cattle "in the field."
• Egyptian cattle were stabled from May to December during flood
• some of the cattle turned out to pasture down south; January
A. Pharaoh TRUSTED Sacred Animals
• The Apis bull was considered the sacred animal of the God Ptah
• only one sacred Apis bull; twenty-eight distinctive marks that identified him
• Hathor, goddess of love & beauty represented by a cow
"Amenhotep II [the Pharaoh of the plagues] surpassed all his predecessors
in his fanatical devotion to the worship of animals, and especially of the
bull. In 1906 a statue made of sandstone was excavated representing a cow
and Amenhotep II leaning his head under its head; he is also depicted
kneeling under a cow, drinking its divine milk. He is thus seen as child
and slave of the cow goddess." (W.H. Gispen, Exodus)
show 3 hathor show 4 apis
• Pharaoh was an exceptionally religious man