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Grab your Bible and open with me to Exodus 7. We’re going to pick up at verse 14 of Exodus 7 this morning.
I’m sure you’re as excited as I am to pick up where Josh left off last week.
Josh did such a great job making clear what is the main point of this section of Exodus: our God is greater, superior, wholly other.
In a contest between our God and all other “gods”—well, there is no contest.
When Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh, even though the Egyptian wise men and sorcerers were able to mimic what Aaron did with his staff, the Lord still showed Himself to be supreme:
Oh, how I love that verse!
This is true:
There is no one like our God.
I know some of you believe this.
In your life, in your experience, in your journey of faith, no doubt you’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one—absolutely no one—like our God.
You know this deep down in the depths of who you are.
You’ve witnessed His power, His provision; you’ve experienced His grace and life-changing love.
You are a different person because of Him.
You know that there is no one like our God.
However, I’m not foolish enough to think that everyone believes this, not even that everyone here today believes this.
Without question, there are some of you who believe that the God of Bible is real, but then you go ahead and line Him up next to a bunch of other “gods” and worship Him only for what He can do for you.
And if/when He fails to do what you want Him to do, if/when He fails to meet your expectations, you turn to the next “god” in line to handle things.
This is fairly common in our age (and in every age).
That doesn’t make it okay; that doesn’t make it right.
It’s the opposite of right.
It’s absolutely wrong.
It’s idolatry—and we are guilty of it on several fronts.
We have given part of our affection, part of our hearts, part of ourselves to something other than God—family, self, money, status.
We have divided our allegiance between God’s Kingdom and this broken, sinful, temporary kingdom.
We take to our feet, cover our hearts with our hands, and utter the words, “I pledge allegiance to...” without thought of what we’re actually saying and doing.
Let us be mindful of this fact: There is no one like our God.
There is no thing like our God.
No one, nothing, no thing should have our worship, or our allegiance, or our devotion, or our heart—no one, nothing, no thing but the Triune God.
There is no one like our God.
>The pharaoh sitting on the throne in Egypt is about to come face to face with this truth.
We don’t know any the names of any of the pharaohs, so we just refer to them by their title: Pharaoh.
This is pretty subtle, pretty slick, really.
Pharaoh who thought himself divine, who considered himself to be a ‘god’, goes unnamed in the annals of Biblical history.
There is no record here of those who considered themselves the single most important people on the face of the earth; just a title of a position that no longer exists.
This unnamed pharaoh wakes up one morning and heads down to the River Nile only to find Moses and Aaron.
The show is about to begin; these two men, sent by the Lord, have with them the staff of the Lord and a word from the Lord.
And they are going to make clear to Pharaoh, over and over, that there is no one like the Lord, our God.
Each of the plagues are introduced with the phrase we find in verse 14:
This is the indication that all of these signs, all of these wonders, all of they plagues (literally: blows) that strike Egypt are from the Lord—they are His doing, His work, His idea.
Along with the opening phrase—Then the Lord said to Moses—we see two themes repeated throughout the plagues:
The Lord’s unrelenting desire for His peoples’ worship
The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart
The Lord wants and deserves His peoples’ worship:
But Pharaoh’s heart is hard:
These are two competing ideologies.
The Lord wants this; and Pharaoh wants that.
In some ways, like Josh mentioned last week, this is a contest between Moses and Pharaoh, a contest between the Lord and the king of Egypt.
At the end of the day, though, this is ultimately the Lord vs. Satan—the LORD Yahweh versus the pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses.
The plagues are judgments upon Egypt, to be sure.
But we must also see them as God’s judgment on Egypt’s gods.
The Lord God is making the critical, unmissable point that He alone is God.
There is no one like our God.
In case you’re tempted to think that there is nothing here for you, that this is a nice study in Exodus but one that doesn’t really have any bearing on your life, let me tell you: you’re wrong; there is great application for us.
The average American is not very different from an ancient Egyptian.
We still worship the same gods, only the names have changed.
What we count on, what we work for, what we play at, what we dream about—these are the gods we worship.
We—you and I—constantly face the temptation to bow down to our own idols.
My good friend, John Calvin, wrote that our hearts are “idol factories” constantly churning-out idols to worship.
Believers are daily tempted to love, serve, and trust many things and people other than the living God.
This is one of Satan’s most powerful strategies.
It’s subtle in its simplicity.
Satan will get us to worship good things because he knows whenever a good thing becomes an ultimate thing, it’s an idol.
And if he can get us worshipping that part-time, it means we are only worshipping the Lord part-time, if at all.
Let me tell you, friends: the Lord will continually show Himself to be superior.
He will beat the socks off our idols.
He will tear them down, crush them, destroy them, so that we will all of us say:
There is no one like our God.
In Exodus 12:12 God says that He is going to perform the last sign, the death of the firstborn, and in so doing He is executing judgments against all the gods of Egypt.
The plagues the Lord brings upon Egypt fall on all the areas of life that are supposedly protected by the gods and goddesses of Egypt.
James Boice tells us that “There were about 80 major deities (gods and goddesses) in Egypt, all clustered about three great natural forces of Egyptian life: the Nile River, the land, and the sky…the first two plagues were against the gods of the Nile.
The next four were against the land gods.
The final four plagues were against the gods of the sky, culminating in the death of the firstborn.”
At minimum, the plagues will show that the Lord Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, is the One actually in charge of the river, the land, and the sky.
So the Lord starts by confronting the gods of the Nile—with the plague of blood and the plague of frogs.
Follow along with me: Exodus 7:14 ff
This would have been utterly devastating to the Egyptians.
The river Nile was the basis for the entire Egyptian civilization.
The Egyptians used the Nile for almost everything, and without it, their land would have become a desert.
The river provided the transportation system that helped them move goods from place to place.
It was the source of the fertile topsoil and the irrigation system that enabled them to grow their crops.
It was their water supply and their food supply (fish.
And fish become sushi.).
The river would flood every year at the same time, something to set their calendar by.
Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, claimed that than land of Egypt was given to the Egyptians by the river.
And now everything the river had been was no longer.
I suppose that maybe they could have used the river of blood for transportation; one could probably float a vessel down a river of blood, but ewww.
It certainly wasn’t any good for drinking.
All the fish died.
You can’t very well irrigate crops with blood.
No doubt, such would ruin whatever it touched.
Utterly and completely devastating.
We don’t know why Pharaoh went down by the riverside.
He might have gone there to bathe, like his daughters did.
Or maybe he enjoyed taking an early morning swim.
But it seems likely that Pharaoh also went down to to the river to pay homage/respect to the gods of the Nile: blessing the waters in the name of Hapi, the god of the flood; giving thanks every morning to Khnum, the guardian of the Nile.
For centuries the Egyptians praised Hapi as “the giver of life,” “the lord of sustenance,” the one “who causes the whole land to live through his provisions.”
They sang:
Hail to your countenance, Hapi,
Who goes up from the land,
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