Exodus 10

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 20, 2008


The process of deliverance has begun. Moses has uttered those famous words, “Let my people go”.

With each time that Pharaoh refuses, God sends a “plague” or judgment on the Egyptians. As we’ve seen, this is not just aimed twisting Pharaoh’s arm, but the judgments are aimed at showing how much greater God is than the phony Egyptian gods.  It seems that often God uses their own “gods” to make them miserable.

The first plague turned the Nile River to blood.  The second plague brought frogs.  The third brought lice, the fourth brought flies, the fifth brought death to the livestock, the sixth brought boils on the people, and the seventh brought a devastating hail storm.

There have been several false starts.  A couple of times Pharaoh has said “Go ahead and go”, but after the plague stops he changes his mind, hardens his heart, and God has to make things harder.

We’ve also been seeing how this process of getting the Israelites out of Egypt seems to parallel what happens in a person’s life when they finally decide to start dealing with the things that hold them hostage – whether it’s an addiction like alcohol or drugs, or the kind of bad habits that destroy our relationships.  It also seems to be a picture of a person making that step of choosing to follow Jesus instead of being enslaved to Satan.

:1-20 Eighth Plague: Locusts

:1 Now the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,

I have hardened – We have talked many times about this, but it’s important to realize that before God ever steps in and “hardens” Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh had already hardened his own heart many, many times.

:2 "and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."

One of the goals involved in allowing Pharaoh’s heart to get harder and harder is so that God is allowed to display greater and greater works, not just to destroy the gods of Egypt, but to show that Yahweh is THE Great God.

:3 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.


Humility brings blessing

God challenges Pharaoh on the issue of humility. It’s Pharaoh’s pride that is keeping him from letting the Israelites go.
For the Israelites, the blessing of their deliverance won’t happen until Pharaoh’s pride is humbled.
A big stumbling block in our becoming free from the things that keep us in bondage is our pride.
We are afraid to admit that we are a failure. We are afraid to admit that we need help.

Play Video “Babies and Fathers”

We don’t want to appear “weak” and so we aren’t willing to admit that we’re wrong.
In the famous “Twelve Step” program that many follow to get free from their addictions, you can’t get anywhere unless you learn humility:

Step 1:  We admitted we were powerless

Step 2:  believe that a Power greater than ourselves

Step 3:  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God

Step 5:  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 7:  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8:  Made a list of all persons we had harmed,

Step 9:  Made direct amends to such people

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

The Bible says:
(Prov 16:18 NKJV)  Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
(James 4:10 NKJV)  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Being humble involves the willingness to be reckoned a failure in everyone’s sight but God’s. - Roy M. Pearson
God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him. - Martin Luther
Even for the walking Christian, humility is the key to continuing with God.  Even after you’ve found victory from this habit or that sin, we need to stay in humility.
Others May, But You Cannot
- G.D. Watson (1845-1924)
If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things which He will not let you do. Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it, and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent. Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works. Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious He may let others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make YOUR REWARD TEN TIMES GREATER WHEN JESUS COMES. The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never feel distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an Infinitely Sovereign Being, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be His love slave, He will wrap you up in Jealous Love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle. Settle it forever, then that you are to DEAL DIRECTLY WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this PECULIAR, PERSONAL, PRIVATE, JEALOUS GUARDIANSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OVER YOUR LIFE, then you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

:4 'Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.

:5 'And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field.

:6 'They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.' " And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

:7 Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?"

The servants of Pharaoh are realizing that they need to encourage their boss to pay attention to Moses.

They suggest that Pharaoh just lets the men to go. Maybe Moses would be okay if just the men were allowed to go. A compromise.

:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, "Go, serve the LORD your God. Who are the ones that are going?"

:9 And Moses said, "We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD."

:10 Then he said to them, "The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you.

In other words, “Fat chance I’ll ever let all of you go”

:11 "Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired." And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.


Take the family along

I don’t really think this is a big issue with most of the folks in our church, but it may be for some of us.
The world has this philosophy out there that says, “Religion is a private thing. Don’t force your religion on others. Your kids should have the right to choose their own religion.”
The late J. Edgar Hoover was once asked, “Should I make my child go to Sunday school and church?” His reply was both Scriptural and practical. “Yes,” said the former head of the FBI, “you certainly should, and with no further discussion about the matter. You may be startled by my answer, but what do you say to Junior when he comes to breakfast on Monday morning and announces he isn’t going to school anymore? You know! He goes! How do you answer him when he comes home covered with mud and says, ‘I’m not going to take a bath.’ Junior bathes, doesn’t he? Why all this timidity, then, in the realm of spiritual guidance and growth? You say you’re going to let him wait and decide what church he wants to go to when he is old enough? Quit your kidding! You wouldn’t wait until he’s grown up to choose whether he wishes to be clean or dirty, would you? Do you let him decide for himself whether to take medicine when he’s sick? Do you? How shall we respond, then, when Junior says he doesn’t want to go to Sunday school and church? That’s easy! Just be consistent. Tell him, ‘Son, in our house we ALL go to Sunday school and church, and that includes you!’ Your firmness and example will furnish a bridge over which youthful rebellion will then travel into many rich and satisfying spiritual experiences.”
Joshua said,
(Josh 24:15 NKJV) "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Howard Hendricks writes,

“One of the wealthiest men in our community has the dubious distinction of having blown four children out of the saddle: one in prostitution, two in drugs, and the fourth one we’ve been looking for in every state of the union and thirty-some different countries for the last ten years. He sat across from my desk one day and said to me, “Hendricks, I put my money on a dead horse.” If I were to say to that man today, “Sir, I will guarantee to get your four children back if you’ll do one thing,” you know what he’d say? “What is it?” I’d say, “If you will cut off your right arm, I’ll guarantee to get your four kids back.” “Give me the knife,” he’d answer. He’s made the decision now, you see, but it’s very late.”

“Success doesn’t depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house.”   -- Barbara Bush

:12 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land; all that the hail has left."


When you think of locusts, think of grasshoppers.

Normally, desert locusts live relatively solitary lives in the arid central Sahara, Arabia, and Persian Gulf regions. But if one of these arid regions receives rain and the vegetation increases, the conditions exist for the locust population to explode. Remember that the last plague was a huge hail storm.  As they begin to multiply and bump into each other, they actually go through a physical, biological transformation that changes them from a loner bug to a creature that moves in a swarm.

Photograph of Feeding Locustshttp://plus.maths.org/latestnews/sep-dec07/complex/locusts.jpgPhotograph of Locust Swarm in Madagascar

Locust swarms are well known through history.  For example, in 1926 small swarms of African migratory locusts were spotted in an area near Timbuktu in Africa. Over the next fourteen years the swarms grew huge and ended up affecting a five-million square mile area of Africa, an area nearly twice the size of the United States.  Today the conditions for locust swarms are tracked by satellite.

Swarms can reach huge proportions, some stretching over hundreds of miles. One square mile of a swarm will normally contain from 100 million to 200 million locusts. Flying locusts are known for their stamina and can stay in the air for seventeen hours straight. Depending on the winds, a locust swarm can cover from a few miles a day to more than sixty miles a day.

Approaching swarms create an ominous hum and sometimes are large enough to block out sunlight.

Locusts can consume roughly their own weight of vegetation each day—swarms of millions will strip crops bare in hours.

What the locusts leave behind will be utter devastation. The plants like wheat and spelt that would have survived the hail would be gone after the locusts. Where locusts swarm, famine and disease follow.

The gods

The Locust god – “Locust plagues were very much feared in ancient Egypt, so much so that the peasants were in the habit of praying to a locust god” (Davis).  Couldn’t find a picture of the fellow, so I made one up…

Osiris – the king of the Underworld but also the one who granted all life including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. His green skin symbolized rejuvenation.

Seth – god of chaos, desert and storm, crops, Brother of Osiris.

:13 So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

The locusts are coming in from Saudi Arabia.

:14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them.

(Joel 2:25 NKJV) "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.

(Rev 9:3-5 NKJV) Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. {4} They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. {5} And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

:15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.

There is no mention of what happens in Goshen.

:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, "I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.

:17 "Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only."

:18 So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD.

:19 And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt.

An east wind brought the locusts in, a strong west wind takes them out. They are all blown out to sea, heading back to Saudi Arabia.

:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.

:21-29 Ninth Plague: Darkness

:21 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt."

darkness which may even be felt – some have suggested that this might have meant both a supernatural darkness as well as a sandstorm.

(Rev 16:10 NKJV) Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.

The gods

Ra – one of the chief gods of the Egyptians, known as THE Sun god, the noon time sun, a man with head of a hawk crowned with a solar disk, his worship was based at Heliopolis (“Sun City”)

Horus – another Sun-god, connected to the sky and to kingship. (is this the origin of that old TV show “Sky King”?)

Khepri – the god of the rising sun linked with the scarab beetle, some have him with a beetle head. His job was to produce beetle dung, the magic force that moved the sun across the sky. So that’s how it works…Isn’t is just amazing the things people come up with to worship?

Khonsu – the Moon-god. As the god of light in the night, Khonsu was invoked to protect against wild animals, increase male virility, and to aid with healing. It was said that when Khonsu caused the crescent moon to shine, women conceived, cattle became fertile, and all nostrils and every throat was filled with fresh air.

:22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

:23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Some have suggested this was something like an eclipse.  An eclipse does not last for THREE days.  Others suggest a volcanic eruption, but how do you explain that the Israelites had light in their dwellings?  This is simply God.  It is supernatural.

:24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you."

This time the Pharaoh wants them to leave their flocks behind.

:25 But Moses said, "You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

:26 "Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there."

:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.

:28 Then Pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!"

:29 And Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will never see your face again."

We have one last plague before Pharaoh will let the people go.

:26 "Our livestock also shall go with us;


Take the wallet along

In those days they didn’t have cars, cell phones, home computers, and HDTVs. Their possessions consisted of their flocks and their herds.
Pharaoh tried to persuade the people to go but leave all their “stuff” behind. He felt the economy might suffer if the Israelites take all their “stuff” with them to serve God.
Moses responded that they needed to take their “stuff” to serve God. He said that God might want them to use their “stuff” to serve Him.
The issue is this: Does your relationship with the Lord include all of your “stuff”? Does God have access to all your “stuff” accounts? Or does your stuff belong to “Egypt”?  What if God asks you to give Him some of your “stuff” in order to serve Him? Does God have access to your wallet? Can He reach into your back pocket anytime He wants and use what’s in your wallet?
(Mat 19:16-26 NKJV) Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" {17} So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." {18} He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' {19} 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" {20} The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" {21} Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." {22} But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. {23} Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. {24} "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." {25} When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" {26} But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Some of us Bible teachers take this passage and are very quick to point out that salvation isn’t based on whether or not you give away all your possessions. Jesus wasn’t making a blanket requirement for every human to give all their possessions to the poor. He was pointing out an issue with this one man’s life.
But don’t walk away from this passage too quick. Does God have access to your wallet? Does He have access to your job? Does he have access to your time?

When I took over as president (of Alaska Airlines), we grossed a hundred million dollars a year. Ten years later we grossed one billion dollars a year. I thought, well, if ten years from now I look back and I've done more of the same, what significance would it have? I felt restlessness to do something for Christ. I had to make the commitment to leave what I was doing, and make myself available for Christian volunteer work. Scripture says, "Abide in the calling wherein you are called."' For most of us the place that you will find your services needed is right where you are... in your home. In your neighborhood. In your church. Where you work. And, there's a great joy to be had in that service.

-- Bruce Kennedy, former President of Alaska Airlines.


Nearly 200 years ago there were two Scottish brothers named John and David Livingstone. John had set his mind on making money and becoming wealthy, and he did. But under his name in an old edition of the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” John Livingstone is listed simply as “the brother of David Livingstone.” And who was David Livingstone? While John had dedicated himself to making money, David had knelt and prayed. Surrendering himself to Christ, he resolved, “I will place no value on anything I have or possess unless it is in relationship to the Kingdom of God.” The inscription over his burial place in Westminster Abbey reads, “For thirty years his life was spent in an unwearied effort to evangelize.” On his 59th birthday David Livingstone wrote, “My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All; I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.”

Some of you may wonder if I’m going to go down the road of telling you to give all your money to the church. Sorry, that’s not where I’m going.

When it comes to the issue of us learning to give, some of us have learned about “tithing”, where we learn to give 10% of our income to the local church. We have a number of folks in our church who practice tithing. Frankly, tithing is what keeps our doors open and the lights on.

But when you get to the point where you learn to tithe, don’t feel that you’ve arrived. God’s heart isn’t that we only take 10% of our “flocks” with us to serve Him, He’s looking for us to take 100% of our “flocks” with us.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying you have to give all your money away. Some people get a bit foolish and start to think they need to give away their rent money, their grocery money, and all their car payments. God wants you to handle your finances carefully and wisely.

What I AM saying is this, does God have access to your wallet? What if God whispered in your ear that He wanted you to help someone out? Would you respond, “But God, I was going to buy a new toy to play with!”