EXODUS 7-9: THE 10 PLAGUES OF (EGYPT) THE HEART PART 1
The TEN Plagues of (Egypt) the Heart
part 1: pharaoh's hardened heart
“At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child.[a] For three months he was cared for by his family. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. Acts 7:20-22
The Israelites were oppressed, doing hard labor and all kinds of work in the fields. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread (Exodus 1:12, 14). Then Pharaoh gave the order to all his people to throw every boy born into the Nile. But Moses survived when Pharaoh’s daughter raised him as her own son.
When Moses was 40 years old and visited his own people, the Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Acts 7:23-24
But when someone found out that he killed an Egyptian, he fled to Midian and stayed there as a foreigner and had his own family.
After 40 years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bushing in the desert near Mount Sinai. Acts 7:30 This was the time God talked to Moses to go back to Egypt and be an instrument to set the Israelites free.
Note: Stephen gave a capsule view of history in Acts 7, narrating the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David.
THE CALLING OF MOSES
To go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh the message of God, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”
Fast forward, Pharaoh didn’t let them go until God gave the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn. The other 9 plagues were like a tug-of-war story between an unyielding heart and a believing heart.
Do you think the 10 Plagues of Egypt are still here? I think so. They’re in our hearts.
THE FIRST FIVE PLAGUES
#1 IN EGYPT: Water turns to blood
IN OUR HEARTS: Deafness
When Moses and Aaron performed miracles to Pharaoh, his heart became hardened that he would not listen to their request of letting the Israelites go. When the first plague came, the Egyptian magicians did the same thing. So Pharaoh didn’t even take the first plague to heart.
They even had an immediate solution. All the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water on the river. Exodus 7:24
A DEAF HEART Plague
It’s a time that we don’t listen anymore to God. We get busier each day, drowned to what we think as important that when God knocks and shows us a clear vision, or a mission to do, we would not even take it to heart.
And even if our “water turns to blood”, we won’t even notice that it’s a call for change. Anyway, we could just come up with our own solution to have our “drinking water” again.
#2 IN EGYPT: Frogs Plague
IN OUR HEARTS: Complacency
The frogs went into the palace – bedroom, onto their bed, into the houses, into the the ovens and kneading troughs. (Exodus 8:3-4).
“Frogs into the houses, onto the bed, into the ovens” represent the discomforts in life. Frogs were a great nuisance to the basic needs of the Egyptians. They affected their sleeping and eating time.
Such a discomfort that Pharaoh asked Moses to remove the frogs. But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. Exodus 8:15
A COMPLACENT HEART
When we experience the discomforts in life, we rely more on God for providence, guidance and deliverance. But when “relief” comes, we become complacent.
Just to mention a few.
Discomfort of sickness – we do everything to be in good health. And when we feel better again, we go back to our old self of unhealthy eating and sleep deprivation.
Discomfort of tight budget – we value each centavo, we track all expenses; we don’t just splurge on unnecessary items; we pay debts. But when finances get better, we lose our budget; we treat ourselves as if prize for being stingy during the discomfort period. So instead of becoming financially stable or debt free, we go back to the tight budget again.
Discomfort of waiting – when we’re waiting for a result of a job interview, for a relationship, for healing, for COVID-19 to end – we’re all prayerful, declaring our faith in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. But when waiting time is up, our prayer time is also up.
#3 IN EGYPT: Gnats (Lice) Plague
IN OUR HEARTS: Blindness
All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats and came on people and animals. But when magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said. Exodus 8:18-19
The magicians might have been successful imitating the first and second plagues, but for the third one, they acknowledged God’s power in turning dust to gnats. But Pharaoh chose not to see the obvious.
A BLIND HEART Plague
What is it you are to see?
The Jews, despite their great learning of the Law, missed seeing the Savior that was in front of them – Jesus, teaching in the synagogues, doing miracles, and declaring the power of God. Then Jesus died on the cross and was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 1 Corinthians 15:4
Just as the Scriptures said! But how come Jews didn’t believe Jesus? How come they were so blind persecuting all the apostles and converts of the faith?
That’s Jews problem (just giving an example), but how about us?
I have faith; I believe in Christ, I’m not so like the Jews! That’s great! But…
… this present generation poses a fresh challenge that if we’re not careful, our hearts can become blind through the distractions we allow to rule our lives. With the 24-hour entertainment the internet gives, where does our time go? With all the instant gratification within our reach, how do we set priorities?
#4 IN EGYPT: Flies Plague
IN OUR HEARTS: Reluctance
Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by flies. Exodus 8:24
The land was ruined. This was the time Pharaoh talked to Moses and made a deal, but reluctantly.
Pharaoh said, “Go sacrifice to your God here in the land.” Exodus 8:25
But Moses told Pharaoh that it’s not right for the Israelites to offer in the land of Egypt, but must travel three days into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to God.
Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.” Exodus 8:28 Moses prayed for him and the flies left Egypt, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
A RELUCTANT HEART
Pharaoh summoned Moses, that’s good news! He’s ready to do what the LORD had commanded. But we’re wrong. He’s up with a deal of reluctance. Partial obedience, that is.
Most of the time, we’re like Pharaoh.
Okay God, I will obey but “here in this land”. (My Own Terms)
God says, “No!”
Okay God, how about if I obey “but not very far…” (Partial Obedience)
God says, “Let it go! Completely let it go.”
But sometimes, after praying with the intention to obey, we “harden our hearts and would not let go”. (A Reluctant Heart)
#5 IN EGYPT: Disease on Livestock
IN OUR HEARTS: Unbelief
The fifth plague was the death of livestock in the field – donkeys, horses, camels, cattle, sheep and goats. And the Lord made a distinction between the livestock of Israel and Egypt so that no animal belonging to the Israelites would die.
Then Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. Exodus 9:7
Take note, it’s the fifth plague already, but Pharaoh still investigated if what God said was true. Huh?!
AN UNBELIEVING HEART
How many times do we test God? How many times do we succumb into our unbelief despite our experiences of God’s love, power, and grace?
We fail big time in doing our detective work. We investigate further even if the evidence is complete, reliable and proven. So when we face the Judge,
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:28