032 The Plagues – Pharaoh tries to wrestle with God

And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go’ Exodus 3:20

Key Verse:

‘He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice’ (Deuteronomy 32:4)

(Exodus 7-10)

“An egg should not wrestle with a rock!”

This proverb summarises what we will study today in the Holy Scriptures. What happens when an egg and a rock collide? The egg breaks; the rock remains unchanged. Today we will see what happened when Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, tried to fight against the LORD God of whom the prophet Moses writes: 

“He is the Rock,

his work is perfect;

for all his ways are justice.” (Deut. 32:4).

In our last study, we saw how God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to free the children of Israel from their slavery in Egypt. They said to Pharaoh: “The LORD,

the God of Israel,

says, ‘Let my people go to worship me in the wilderness!’” However, Pharaoh replied to them: “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go?

I do not know the LORD

and I will not let Israel go!” (Exod. 5:2) In brief, God determined to free the people of Israel, whereas Pharaoh was determined to keep them as his slaves. However, “an egg should not wrestle with a rock!”

Let us now return to the book of Exodus to see how Pharaoh tried to “wrestle” with God. The Scripture says: (Exod. 7:10-12) “And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and

they did as the Lord had commanded:

and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers. Now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their magic. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods”. Notice the start of the “wrestling match” between Pharaoh and God. On one side, we see Pharaoh with his wise men and magicians. On the other side we see Moses and Aaron. After Aaron’s rod miraculously changed into a snake,

Pharaoh’s magicians imitated the miracle

with their spells. “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

What can we say about all this? We know that the wonders which Moses and Aaron performed came from

God alone.

However, Pharaoh’s magicians also performed wonders. From where did they get their power? Did they get it from God? No! God does not fight against Himself. So where did their power come from? Pharaoh’s magicians relied on the art of deception and on the power that comes from Satan.

The Holy Scriptures show us that Satan is very crafty and loves to deceive people; he is also very powerful and can perform miracles. However, what is certain is that God is more powerful than Satan. Thus,

Aaron’s rod swallowed the rods of Pharaoh’s magicians.

However, all of this did not cause Pharaoh to repent and to listen to the word of God.

Listen to what the Scripture says: (Exod. 7:14-8:4) “And the Lord said unto Moses,

Pharaoh’s heart is hardened,

he refuseth to let the people go. Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying,

Let my people go,

that they may serve me in the wilderness; and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that

I am the Lord:

behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned into blood. And the fish that are in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall hate to drink of the water of the river. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so,

as the Lord commanded;

and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that were in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians of Egypt did so with their magic: and

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened,

neither did he set his heart to this also. And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. And seven days were fulfilled, after the Lord had smitten the river. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord,

Let my people go, that they may serve me.

And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: and the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into their ovens, and into thy kneading troughs. And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.”

However, Pharaoh did not listen to the warnings from Moses. (Exod. 8:5-19) “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause the frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. And

the magicians did so with their enchantments,

and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Entreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice unto the Lord. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Command me: when shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? And he said, Tomorrow. And he said,

Be it according to thy word,

that thou mayest know that

there is none like unto the Lord our God.

And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only. And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.

And the Lord did according to the word of Moses;

and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had said. And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And

they did so;

for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their magic to bring forth lice, but they could not; so there were lice upon man and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened,

and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had said.”

Did you see what happened with the sorcerers, Pharaoh’s magi-cians? We already saw how they had a certain power, which they received from Satan. That is why, through their magic, they managed to imitate God’s power and change a little water into blood, and make a few frogs appear (as if the Egyptians needed more blood in their water and frogs in their beds!). However,

their power was limited.

Pharaoh’s magicians were unable to remove the plagues which Almighty God had brought down upon the land of Egypt. After Aaron struck the ground with his rod and the dust became lice, the sorcerers performed their magic, trying to change the dust into lice, but they could not. Thus, they told Pharaoh,

“This is the finger of God!”

Clearly, the sorcerers’ power was limited. Certainly, Satan has power and can give man certain powers, but those powers will never exceed the limits that God has fixed.

God alone is the All-Powerful One.

Only He can do all things! He alone is the One without limitations! Pharaoh’s magicians were beginning to learn about the unlimited greatness of God, but

Pharaoh still refused to submit to God.

Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and think that he could wrestle with the God of Israel and win!

Thus, the Scriptures tell how God brought upon Pharaoh and upon the land of Egypt another seven plagues, by the hands of Moses and Aaron. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to read of each plague. We can only name them. The

fourth plague

consisted of clouds of flies which filled the land, even in the people’s houses, causing much discomfort. In the

fifth plague,

a terrible sickness fell on the livestock, and many died. However, not one died among the herds of the children of Israel. Nevertheless, Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the people of Israel go. In the

sixth plague,

terrible boils broke out on men and animals. And the Scripture says: “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” (Exod. 9:11) In the

seventh plague

a terrible hailstorm, such as was never seen in Egypt, rained down and ruined all the fields. After that was over, in the

eighth plague,

the land was filled with locusts, which ate all that the hailstorm had left.

In the

ninth plague,

God said to Moses, “Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” (Exod. 10:21) Thus, for three days no one could see anything. However, in the district where the children of Israel lived,

there was light.

Not one plague broke out on them. Yet all of this did not cause Pharaoh to repent and let the people of Israel go. The Scripture says: 

“And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.” (Exod. 10:28)

There is one more plague

that God brought down on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, but we will wait until the next lesson to look at it.

How can we summarise our lesson? Perhaps like this:

Pharaoh tried to fight with the LORD God.

Did Pharaoh and his magicians overcome the Almighty One? Could they overpower Him? No! No one can wrestle with God and overpower Him! An egg does not fight with a rock and win!

What does God want to say to us through what we have read? The Scripture says: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our warning.” (1 Cor. 10:11)

God wants to warn us.

God wants us to take a good look at ourselves and to heed His warnings.

You who are doing this course, are you paying attention to the Word of God?

Are you obeying it?

Or, are you, like Pharaoh, fighting with God? Let your own heart answer. Are you submitted to the Word of God? This does not mean, are you submitted to the customs of your ancestors and their religion–but

have you received with humility the Word of the LORD God?

Or are you attempting to fight with God?

“An egg should not wrestle with a rock!” Man is like a fragile egg and the Word of God is like

a solid rock.

The Scripture says: “For all flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man like the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and its flower falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” (1 Pet. 1:24,25) The Word of the Eternal God is a solid Rock and everyone who builds his life upon this Rock has placed his life on a solid foundation. However, if you refuse to build your life on that rock–

one day the rock of the Word of God will fall on you and crush you.

An egg cannot fight with a rock and win.

Neither can man fight with God’s eternal Word and escape punishment.

God willing, in our next study, we will see what the LORD did to cause Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to leave Egypt.

God bless you as you think about what the prophet Moses wrote saying: 

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any other questions that you might have

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