Faithlife Sermons

Plagues/Passover

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Intro

Let us pray:
God gave us life and existence and created us in His image.
We sinned against God and therefore don’t deserve the life that He gave us and so the consequence of sin is death. Death is the absence of life and God is life therefore the consequence of sin is the eternal separation from God.
From the very beginning, sin has destroyed us and overtaken us. Adam and Eve’s oldest son Cain killed his brother Abel. The first family was destroyed by jealousy and murder. God warned Cain, as he does us, that sin’s desire is to have us but we must rule over it.
The world quickly spiraled into an evil chaos. Angels were having children with humans and creating giants. Angels were sinning, people were sinning, the animals were sinning.
Genesis 6:11–12 CSB
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth.
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God decided to start over with the most blameless person on earth, Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives, but even the most blameless man on earth came out of the ark and became drunk and continued the cycle of sin.
Even though we don’t deserve eternal life with a perfect holy God who gave us existence, he loves us and has made a way for us to be forgiven without compromising His holiness and justice. A willing substitute must be perfect and offer himself up for the punishment we deserve so that we can go free.
Even though that perfect substitute had not yet sacrificed himself God still allowed people to be forgiven, knowing that He would one day pay that penalty for them.
So God wanted all people everywhere on the earth throughout all time to know how they could have a loving relationship with Him even though they were sinful and He was perfectly holy. He created and called a nation unto Himself to show the rest of the world how we could be reunited with God and be forgiven and in right relationship with Him, now and for all of eternity.
He called Abraham and promised him that that nation would come from him. He reaffirmed that promise with his son Isaac, and again with Isaac’s son Jacob, who God renamed Israel. Israel had twelve sons, one of whom was Joseph who God raised up to second in command over Egypt and Israel’s family moved to Egypt and became slaves there. Four hundred years later we pick up with the birth of Moses.

Pharaoh

First let’s look at Pharaoh
Exodus 1:6–14 CSB
6 Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation eventually died. 7 But the Israelites were fruitful, increased rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous so that the land was filled with them. 8 A new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are. 10 Come, let’s deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will multiply further, and when war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.” 11 So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13 They worked the Israelites ruthlessly 14 and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.
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Pharaoh tried as hard as he could to hold on to Israel and keep them submitted to him, even to the point of ordering all of the Egyptians to kill all the Hebrew boys by throwing them in the Nile river. Pharaoh’s fear of losing power caused him to commit great evil, as we have seen happen with many dictators throughout history who feared losing power and control. We must not live in fear of losing control of our lives, we must realize that we never have had control of our lives. Instead of living in fear, we must learn to live in trust. We must live humble, trusting lives before God, that He is in control and we must submit ourselves to His authority.
No matter how hard we try, or evil we become, we can not stop God from accomplishing whatever He wants to accomplish. Instead of Pharaoh killing all of the Hebrew boys, he ended up raising one in his own household, adopted by his daughter. Now Pharaoh had a Hebrew grandson from among those that he ordered to be thrown into the Nile. A constant reminder of the evil that he committed and how he failed. His name was Moses.

Moses

When Moses was 40 he tried to deliver his people from the Egyptians by his own strength and killed an Egyptian that was striking a fellow Hebrew. He accomplished nothing, and then had to leave everything and everyone he knew, including his family to escape Pharaoh who tried to have him killed when he heard what Moses had done.
Another 40 years later, God chose Moses to actually deliver His people, this time, not by Moses’ power, but by His own power and outstretched arm. Moses did not want to be the leader, he did not want to talk to Pharaoh, he did not want to go back to Egypt, he did not want to be responsible for the people, and it showed. He did not believe he was qualified to deliver the people, and he wasn’t. He made several excuses, including not being able to speak well. God reassured him that He had would tell him what to say and that he created the human mouth and could give him clear speech, and after Moses ran out of excuses he said this.
Exodus 4:13 CSB
13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”
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Now this is important to keep in mind while reading the rest of Israel’s history with Moses as their leader because, as great of a job as he did, he still got fed up them and got angry with God for having to put up with them, but even still, he continuously interceded on their behalf and asked God to show them mercy when they rebelled against Him.
Back to the beginning:

The Exodus

Exodus 3:9–10 CSB
9 So because the Israelites’ cry for help has come to me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them, 10 therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
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So God has decided that it is time to call the Israelites out of Egypt to be a nation unto himself, serving Him instead of Pharaoh. So to do that, first Pharaoh must let them go, and he has absolutely no intentions of letting that happen. He never has, and he never will. So God decides that He will send plagues against Egypt to force Pharaoh to let them go. But one or two are not going to cut it.
Exodus 3:19–20 CSB
19 “However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, even under force from a strong hand. 20 But when I stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my miracles that I will perform in it, after that, he will let you go.
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So Moses went to Pharaoh and told him that God said this:
Exodus 5:1–2 CSB
1 Later, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival for me in the wilderness.” 2 But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him by letting Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
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So Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites even more. He told the overseers and the foremen to stop supplying the israelites with straw for making bricks but not to reduce the quota of bricks and that they are to go out and gather straw wherever they can find it and keep making the same number of bricks.
Exodus 5:19–23 CSB
19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You cannot reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who stood waiting to meet them. 21 “May the Lord take note of you and judge,” they said to them, “because you have made us reek to Pharaoh and his officials—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!” 22 So Moses went back to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people? And why did you ever send me? 23 Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has caused trouble for this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all.”
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See what Moses did? Moses again questioned why God chose him and accused God of not delivering on His promise to rescue them. At this point Moses says, “you haven’t rescued your people at all.” We are guilty of the same thing. Why is this happening to me? Why haven’t you done anything God? You haven’t rescued me from this situation at all. Do You even care? Are you ever going to do anything? Ever felt that way?
This is how God responded:
Exodus 6:1–13 CSB
1 But the Lord replied to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: because of a strong hand he will let them go, and because of a strong hand he will drive them from his land.” 2 Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I was not known to them by my name ‘the Lord.’ 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as aliens. 5 Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 “Therefore tell the Israelites: I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians and rescue you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” 9 Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor. 10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go from his land.” 12 But Moses said in the Lord’s presence: “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am such a poor speaker?” 13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them commands concerning both the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
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Moses says if the Israelites won’t listen to me then how will Pharaoh listen to me? Here again, Moses thinks that only persuasive speech will convince Pharaoh to release them. And Moses knows he can’t convince Pharaoh. With so much wealth, we today act the same way. We know what God has told us to do, but if we can’t conceive of a way to accomplish it through our own power, we don’t take that step that requires faith in God’s ability and strength.
So Moses and Aaron go back to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people go and again Pharaoh says no. So after this God tells Moses to go out and meet Pharaoh at the Nile and he inflicts his first plague against Egypt.
Exodus 7:14–21 CSB
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard: He refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. When you see him walking out to the water, stand ready to meet him by the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Tell him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness, but so far you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I am about to strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it.” 19 So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over their rivers, canals, ponds, and all their water reservoirs—and they will become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt.
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The fist plague God sent against Pharaoh was turning the Nile and all of the water in Egypt into blood. Eighty years prior to this the Pharaoh of Egypt filled the Nile with the blood of Hebrew boys in an attempt to make sure that they always served him. And one of those boys became his grandson and now him and his brother are being used by God to remind the Egyptians of the blood that they filled the Nile with by turning it all to blood, throughout Egypt so that everyone would be reminded and confronted with their sin and the murder of innocent children made in God’s own image.
He then followed this plague with nine more: Frogs, gnats, swarms of flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally, death of the firstborn male.
These plagues were direct attacks against Egyptian gods and against Pharaoh himself. The Egyptians worship several gods who were responsible for different aspects of Egyptian life. Hapi was the god of the nile, Ra was the god of the sun, and these gods were powerless against Yahweh. God showed the Egyptians and all the other nations who heard about what He did to deliver His people that He alone was God and that all other gods were powerless against Him.
Exodus 12:12 CSB
12 “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both people and animals. I am the Lord; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt.
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Exodus 14:4 CSB
4 I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
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Exodus 14:17–18 CSB
17 As for me, I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
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and we see the result:
Exodus 14:31 CSB
31 When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in him and in his servant Moses.
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We also see how the Egyptians felt:
Exodus 11:3 CSB
3 The Lord gave the people favor with the Egyptians. In addition, Moses himself was very highly regarded in the land of Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and the people.
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Exodus 12:37–38 CSB
37 The Israelites traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand able-bodied men on foot, besides their families. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, along with a huge number of livestock, both flocks and herds.
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The final plague was the death of the firstborn male. The first plague was a reminder of Egypts killing of the Hebrew male children, and the last plague was God’s killing of the Egyptian firstborn male children. But there are some big differences. God isn’t killing all of the male children, just the firstborn males, people and livestock, and unlike Pharaoh, God would allow you to redeem your firstborn males by sacrificing a one year old spotless goat or lamb. Anyone who would trust God to accept the proper sacrifice could have the lives of the firstborn males spared. But the Israelites were not automatically spared from this plague. Even though this was a judgment against Egypt, the Egyptians were not the only people who deserved death, all people deserve death.
Romans 5:12 CSB
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.
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So the Israelites were told they too must sacrifice a lamb and wipe the blood on their door posts and when the angel of death came to their house and saw the blood of the sacrifice the angel would passover that house and spare the firstborn males. In this way God was showing His people that even though we all deserve death, God will accept a sacrifice in our place so that we may live, but the people will eventually learn that the blood of bulls and goats is not sufficient to completely atone for our sins, there must be a greater sacrifice.
Hebrews 10:4 CSB
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
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God spared the firstborn males of those who place their faith in Him for their salvation, but He would not spare His only Son who willingly sacrificed Himself for the forgiveness of our sins.
Hebrews 9:12 CSB
12 he entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
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John 10:18 CSB
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
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Isaiah 53:12 CSB
12 Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet he bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
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Ephesians 2:13 CSB
13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
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Ephesians 1:7 CSB
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
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Romans 5:9 CSB
9 How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.
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Hebrews 13:12 CSB
12 Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood.
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There is no shortage of passages in which we are told that it was by Jesus’ willing sacrifice of Himself that we are saved.
2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB
21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
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