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Biblical/Doctrinal Studies:
Desert of Discipline Series

Godís Purpose in the Plagues: To Glorify Himself
(Exodus 9:8-9:35)
by Ed Vasicek

View video clip from The Exodus Revealed.

Since our video clips contain a number of related segments, we have to view some of these before we get to the texts that address them. Eventually, we will get the children of Israel to the Red Sea. But we are not there yet.

We began our series in Canaan, when the children of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, moved to Egypt during a famine. We examined the life of Joseph.

Things deteriorated for the Israelites, and they eventually became slaves to the Egyptians. The Israelites sojourned in Egypt for over 400 years. But God had His hand on His people. Moses, an infant Hebrew, was rescued from death by an Egyptian princess and raised as her son. Through a variety of circumstances, he came to identify with the Hebrews and had to flee Egypt for the land of Midian, modern day Saudi Arabia.

One day, God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush and commanded Moses to return to Egypt to bring his people to freedom and return them to Canaan. But the Pharaoh would not let the people go, hence God sent a series of plagues over a nine month period to persuade the hard-hearted Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go.

We are in the midst of the plagues, as we look at plagues 6 and 7. The plagues reveal many things, but their most impressive theme is "Godís Glory." "A man can no more diminish Godís glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling 'darkness' on the wall of his cell." --C. S. Lewis.

Main idea: God glorifies Himself by discrediting His detractors and vindicating His character by what He does.

  1. The Sixth Plague: Boils on Man and Beast (Exodus 9:8-12).

    1. Dust taken from Hebrew brick kilns.

    2. Painful boils.

    3. This insulted Sekmet, a healing goddess (also goddess of war).

      Deuteronomy 28:27 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.

    4. The Magicians are humiliated.

      These Magicians were probably also priests.

      1. God was humiliating the supposed gods of Egypt.

      2. God was humiliating the religious leaders of these false gods.

      3. God was humiliating Pharaoh, a supposed son of the gods and a god himself.

    5. Pharaoh typifies the lost man whose authorities are discredited.

      1. Modern day example: Marxists after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

      2. When the supposed facts of The Da Vinci Code are discredited, adherents still cling to them.

      3. Most people believe what they want to believe.

        Note here that, ďBut the LORD hardened Pharaohís heart.Ē (12)ÖManís responsibility and Godís sovereigntyÖat first, the Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

    Main idea: God glorifies Himself by discrediting His detractors and vindicating His character by what He does.

  2. The Seventh Plague: Hail (9:13-35).

  3. From the harvest schedule of vs. 31, we know this plague hit in early February. This would begin 8 weeks of misery for Egypt and the Pharaoh. The first 6 plagues are like the first part of the Tribulation while the last 4 are like the Great Tribulation, the latter half. The drowning of Pharaohís army is much like Armageddon in its pattern.

    1. Why God was playing with Pharaoh (13-16)

      Notice the threat of vs. 14, "this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you."

      vs. 15-16 are central thoughts in the entire plague narrative:

      "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

      Exodus 7:5, "And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it."

      Exodus 8:10, "Moses replied, 'It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God.'"

      Exodus 9:29, "Moses replied, 'When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the LORD. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the LORD's.'"

      Exodus 14:4, "And I will harden Pharaohís heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD."

    2. Godís actions display His Glory (16)

      1. This verse ties in with Romans 9:16-18.

      2. God has created all things to glorify Himself.

      3. Romans 3:24-26 tells us about one of the many ways in which the sacrificial death of Christ brought glory to God.

        "and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show Godís righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

    3. Godís notice and warning (17-21).

      Walter Kaiser writes, "Rainfall comes so occasionally in Upper Egypt that the prediction of a severe hailstorm accompanied by a violent electrical storm must have been greeted with much skepticism. Only the delta receives on the average about ten inches of rainfall per year while Upper Egypt has one inch or, more often, none." (Expositorís Bible Commentary)

    4. God begins cultivating non-Hebrews.

      Exodus 12:37-38 reads, "The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds."

      A good number of Egyptians would join the Hebrews in their Exodus; some people are more loyal to the true God than they are to their families' heritage.

      If you had been brought up to worship dozens of Egyptian gods, as had your forefathers, would you have gone against your mother and father's teaching and follow the true God? Most would not, despite all these signs; but some would.

      No doubt some people hated this God who had killed their servants, livestock, ruined their economy and pained them with boils and made them live among frogs. The same things that draw some to God repel others.

    5. The plague devastates except in Goshen (22-26)

      24 "Hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation."

      1. Insults Seth, Patron of: winds, storms, chaos, evil, darkness, strength, war, conflict, Upper Egypt.

        Originally, Seth was not that bad of a god; eventually, traditions about the one we call Satan were incorporated into the Set legend, and he became a destroyer, a Satan-like figure.

      2. Insults Nut, the sky goddess.

        She swallowed the sun every evening and gave birth to it every morning.

        You can see how different the theology of the Bible is from Egyptian belief.

    6. Pharaoh makes a promise he does not keep (27-35)

      27 "Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. 'This time I have sinned.'"

      Pharaoh still wasnít humbled. He would not admit that he had a pattern of sinning against God. Only this time. And then he changed his mind.

      Note vs. 34: "He and his officials hardened their hearts."

      How can we explain this?

Main idea: God glorifies Himself by discrediting His detractors and vindicating His character by what He does.


Cnidius, a skillful architect, building a watchtower for the King of Egypt, caused his own name to be engraved upon a stone in the wall in great letters, and afterwards covered it, with lime and mortar, and upon the outside of that wrote the name of the King of Egypt in golden letters. This was all done by Cnidius, pretending that it was for the honor and glory of the King of Egypt. But herein was his cunning: he very well knew that the dashing of the water would, in time consume the plastering, as it did, and then his name and memory should abide to after generations.

So men build monuments to themselves, but, in time, their memories fade away, and all that is left is Godís Name, for every good and perfect gift is from above.

In Psalm 46:10, God tells us the attitude we should have in a world where His Name is trashed and where the movement is away from Him, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Pastor Ed

Highland Park Church   516 W. Sycamore St. Kokomo, Indiana, 46901 USA   (765)452-1779    church@highlandpc.com    Main Service: Sun 10:30 a.m.