Summary: False religion is often an attempt to control the fears and uncertainties of life. But, whether we approve of the way He runs the universe or not, only Yahweh is Sovereign.
Yahweh Takes On the Gods of Egypt
(note: to project photos of the various Egyptian gods, do a search on the itnernet; go to the site for a better resolution picture)
1. A pastor named Joe McKeever wrote:
Recently, while the residents of Charlotte, N.C., were trying to decide whether to name a new park after their most famous son, Billy Graham, the city’s newspaper ran some of the mail they have received on the subject. Most writers felt this is a fitting tribute to the world-famous evangelist; some didn’t want to go that far; but the final letter pulled me up short.
"Graham and his God don’t deserve honor," wrote Paul Jamison. "He promotes a God who gets heinously violent (plagues, floods, a bloody sacrifice of his Son, threatens to destroy the earth and finally a torturous eternal punishment) for nonbelievers. So I say no to naming a peaceful city park after a believer of (sic) this raging God."
It probably does us church folk good to hear such from outsiders occasionally. It’s like a glass of ice water in the face…
I’m always fascinated when I hear people accusing Bible-believers of concocting these stories. These are not made-for-our-comfort bedtime lullabies. They are in-your-face true accounts of the dealings of Almighty God with humankind. No one would voluntarily create such a difficult image of God. The gods earthlings manufacture tend to be the kind we can manipulate for our purposes. But this God will not be manipulated. One who knows Him well put it like this: "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases" (Ps. 115:3). (Pulpit Helps)
2. It is true that false gods are generally gods people believe they can manipulate.
3. But Yahweh, the LORD, is the true God -- whether we find Him repulsive or not. And not amount of anger or denial is going to change reality. The God of the Bible cannot be controlled by us.
Main Idea: False religion is often an attempt to control the fears and uncertainties of life. But, whether we approve of the way He runs the universe or not, only Yahweh is Sovereign.
I. Introduction to the PLAGUES
--where we have come from and are going in this series so far ---
A. Why these plagues were DIFFERENT
• John J. Davis, in his book Moses and the Gods of Egypt suggest 5 distinctives of these plagues
1. INTENSIFICATION – known plagues but worse than ever
2. PREDICTION – Moses predicted the moment of arrival and departure
3. DISCRIMINATION -- distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians in the 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th plagues (v. 8:23; 9:4, 6, 26; 10:23; 11:7).
4. ORDERLINESS (a progression of judgment in the plagues)
5. MORAL purpose (intended to teach a lesson)
• Could have been natural phenomenon specially controlled (like Jesus quelling the storm)
B. The GODS of Egypt
• Well over 80 gods, including the Pharaoh
• Exodus 12:12, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.”
• Why so many gods? Superstitions? Life is scary, and we want to get some sense of control. False religion is usually about controlling God, or God management.
C. The PATTERN of the 10 plagues
• The first nine and then the grand finale, the 10th
• The first three: Aaron lifts up Moses rod
• The middle three: God begins plague without Aaron or Moses
• The last three: Moses lifts up his hands
D. Perhaps over a period of EIGHT months (clues within the text)
II. The First SERIES of Plagues
A. Water turned to BLOOD (7:14-24)
language of appearance…may have been real blood, probably not
Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Exodus 2005 Edition "Each year, toward the end of June, when the waters of the Nile begin to rise, they are colored a dark red by the silt carried down from the headwaters. This continues for three months, until the waters begin to abate, but the water, meanwhile, is wholesome and drinkable. The miracle of 7:17-21 involved three elements by which it differed from the accustomed phenomenon: the water was changed by the smiting of Moses’ rod; the water became undrinkable; and the condition lasted just seven days (v. 25)." (quoting Johnson)
Targum of Jonathan, the waters of the Hebrews not being affected with this plague
1. Egyptians could produce on a small scale
2. Some have suggested red silt with bacteria
3 Gods that this humiliated
• Major god: OSIRIS
• Secondary gods: HAPI, spirit of the Nile
• KHNUM, guardian of the Nile
4. The stench alone would be detestable (the Egyptians were a very clean people)