Exodus New Direction New Life #6 Destroying the Old Gods
Text: Exodus 5-12
Review Exodus 1-5. It has taken us 6 weeks to cover 5 chapters but today we are going to make up some time and cover Chapter 5 – 12, 8 chapters and I promised it would be short so we can have plenty of time for the baptism. So lets get right into it. I’m not even going to tell a joke this morning. You can tell I’m up for the challenge.
Battle of Bondage Exodus 5:1-9
And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words.
Ruler of Egypt Uses Labor to Keep the Hebrews Slaves
In response to Moses asking for time for the Hebrews to go apart and worship God he increases the workload.
Claiming they are idle and have too much time he seeks to take away their time to seek their God.
Ruler of Darkness Uses Labor to Keep Us From Serving God
Our world has grown increasingly busy. There are more things to take up your time and resources than ever before. We will our lives with work and study from the time we are 5 until we die.
And where our ancestors worked 12 or 13 hours a day and still had time to read their Bible, pray at every meal and pray before they went to sleep, we don’t seem to have a minute to devote to God.
Our time is filled with recreation, relaxation and diversion. We fill our hours with computers, internet enabled devices, television, or music, and forget to take even a few moments with God.
Adults in the United States will spend more than five hours each day on “nonvoice mobile activities,” including Internet use on phones and tablets, and about four-and-a-half hours watching TV – Huffpost (2017)
Young people aged between 16 and 24 spend more than 27 hours a week on the internet, - communications watchdog Ofcom reported (2017)
Pharaoh filled the Hebrews day with hard labor to keep them from God and the ruler of this world gods of this world seems to have filled our lives with diversions and has accomplished the same thing.
I’m not trying to tell you to quit all TV, Internet and media. We use the internet to reach out to people with the gospel and tell them about our church. We just need to be careful that we don’t fill our ears with the world’s noise and not hear the voice of God.
Illustration: Parable of the Rich Fool Luke 12:16
Thou fool this night shall thy soul be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, thich though hast provided. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God!
We need to understand the danger of filling our lives with things that keep us from God.
Transition: The Battle to Destroy the Old Gods only begins with hard labor. It begins in earnest in the next few chapters.
Battle of Belief Exodus 6-11 Key Verse 6:1-7
Exodus 6:1-7 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
God Battles The False Gods of Egypt
Each plague was a battle against the gods of Egypt.
Water to Blood
Exodus 7:19 And the LORD spake 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.
Hapi was the "spirit of the Nile" and its "dynamic essence." Hapi was the god of the annual Nile inundation. Epithets for Hapi describe him as being the "lord of the fishes and birds and marshes."
One of the greatest gods of Egypt was Osiris, the god of the underworld; the Egyptians believed the Nile was his bloodstream.
During this first plague, the Egyptians would have to wonder where was Tauret, the hippopotamus goddess of the river. Where was Nu, the god of life in the Nile?
Exodus 8:2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 8:3 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 thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: 8:4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
The frog was considered the theophany of the goddess Heqt, the wife of the creator of the world and the goddess of birth. Heqt was always shown with the head and body of a frog. Amulets and scarabs worn by Egyptian women to protect them during childbirth would often bear the image of Heqt for protection. Heqt was believed to assist women in childbirth
Lice (Gnats, Fleas, Sand Fleas)
Exodus 8:16 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.
The word "lice" is rendered as "sand flies" or "fleas" in some translations. The Hebrew word kinnim comes from a root word meaning "to dig"; it is probable that the insect in question would dig under the skin.
This plague would have been an embarrassment to Geb, the great god of the earth. Egyptians gave offerings to Geb for the bounty of the soil -- yet it was from "the dust of the soil" that this plague originated.
Swarms Flies (Beetles)
Exodus 8:21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
Notice the word “of flies” is in italics in the KJV, the Hebrew simply says "swarms" -- the phrase "of flies" was added by the translators.
It is very likely that the "swarms" in this passage were swarms of the scarab beetle. The scarab was actually a dung beetle -- an insect that feeds on the dung in the fields. The plague of swarms of scarabs, with mandibles that could saw through wood, was destructive and worse than termites!
Deification of the scarab beetle is still seen in Egypt today. Amon-Ra, the creator and king of the gods, had the head of a beetle. "Ra, the Sole Creator was visible to the people of Egypt as the disc of the sun, but they knew him in many other forms. He could appear as a crowned man, a falcon or a man with a falcon's head and, as the scarab beetle pushes a round ball of dung in front of it, the Egyptians pictured Ra as a scarab pushing the sun across the sky." (Geraldine Harris, Gods & Pharaohs from Egyptian Mythology, p. 24).
Exodus 9:3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
The Egyptians worshiped many animals, and many animal-headed deities. The god Apis was represented as a bull, and had been worshipped in Egypt since around 3,000 B.C. The Apis bull was the living image of the god Ptah. He was also associated with Re, from whom he borrowed the disk he wore between his horns.
Hathor was the cow-headed goddess of the desert. "The cow was the living symbol of Isis-Hathor, represented sometimes as a cow, at others as a woman with a cow's head, at others as a horned woman." (How and Wells, Commentary on Herodotus, p. 185).
The goddess Hathor was the symbolic mother of Pharaoh, and the king of Egypt was referred to as "the son of Hathor." In addition to the gods already mentioned, this plague would have been a direct insult to Khnum, the ram-god, and to Bast, the cat goddess of love.
Exodus 9:8 And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. 9:9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
This plague was probably skin anthrax, a black abscess that develops into a pustule. This plague was accompanied by painful boils that affected the knees, legs, and soles of the feet (cf. Deut. 28:35). This explains why Pharaoh's "magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians" (Exo. 9:11).
This medical malady was an affront to Imhotep, the god of medicine. Imhotep who was a physician, architect and chief adviser of King Zoser (ca. 3150 B.C.). He did so much for Egyptian medicine that later generations worshiped him as a god of knowledge, author of their sciences and their arts - (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Volume One, p. 147).
This plague would have also been an affront to Serapis, the deity in charge of healing, and to Thoth, the ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning.
Thunder, Lightning and Hail
Exodus 9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
Since this plague originated from the sky, it would have been an insult to Nut, the sky goddess. "Her most general appearance, however, is that of a woman resting on hands and feet, her body forming an arch, thus representing the sky. Her limbs typified the four pillars on which the sky was supposed to rest. She was supposed originally to be reclining on Geb, the earth, when Shu raised her from this position." (Lewis Spence, Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends, p. 173).
Nut was also considered by the Egyptians to be the mother of five other gods: Osiris, Hathor, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.
During this plague, you have to wonder: Where was Shu, the wind god? Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of Upper Egypt?
Isis and Seth supposedly protected the crops, but the burned fields testified of their impotence.
Exodus 10:4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 10:5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field
Where were Nepri, the god of grain, Ermutet, the goddess of childbirth and crops, Thermuthis, the goddess of fertility and the harvest was speechless or Seth, another god of crops?
Exodus 10:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 10:22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days
This plague of darkness was an insult to Egypt's religion and entire culture. The sun god Amon-Ra was considered one of the greatest blessings in all of the land of Egypt.
Amon and Ra were originally two separate deities. Ra was a sun god whose cult was centered at the city of Heliopolis, and is usually represented in art with a man's body and a falcon's head surmounted by a solar disk. Ra was believed to sail across the sky in a boat each day and under the world at night.
In Egyptian mythology Horus was the god of light who personified the life-giving power of the Sun. He was usually represented as a falcon-headed man wearing a sun disk as a crown. The reigning kings of Egypt were believed to be incarnations of the god Horus.
Once again, the gods of Egypt were silent. Where was Ptah, the chief god of Memphis, and the one who created the moon, the sun and the earth? Where was Tem, the god of the sunset? Where was Shu, the god of sunlight and air?
Death of the Firstborn
Exodus 11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
This plague was directed against Pharaoh the supreme, living god and a final blow to "all of the gods of Egypt" (Exo. 12:12) and would show the total inability of the gods of Egypt to protect their subjects. In the face of unparalleled tragedy, "all of the gods of Egypt" were silent. Where was Meskhenet, the goddess who presided at the birth of children? Where was Hathor, one of the seven deities who attended the birth of children? Where was Min, the god of procreation? Where was Isis, the goddess of fertility? Where was Selket, the guardian of life? Where was Renenutet, the cobra-goddess and guardian of Pharaoh?
Timeline and Summary
John Davis gave the most concise overview of the plagues: "June: the Nile becomes stagnant and red with microscopic organisms. July: Frogs abound after the inundation of the Nile. Hot summer and damp autumn months: Lice, flies, murrain and boils. January: Hail and rain. (This date fixed by the effect on the crops mentioned). February: Appearance of locusts in early spring, over the green crops. March: Darkness from great sandstorms. April: Death of the firstborn, dated by the Passover celebration" (Davis, p. 93).
Transition: Today there is still a battle raging between the gods of this world and the true God of Creation and Revelation.
The Church battles the God of this World though the Gospel
In this day and age God is still battling the gods of this world. It is not with plagues and wonders as it was in Moses time but with an even more powerful weapon, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Though the plagues seem powerful they were not supposed to win the heart of the Egyptians but to show God’s power over the false gods of the Egyptians. They accomplished that which God willed for them.
The Gospel has a different design it is intended to win the battle over the gods of this world, not by showing them as ineffective and weak but by winning the hearts of those who believe in them.
Paul says in Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
As Moses was given the Rod to show the Egyptians the power of God, we have been given the Gospel to show the world the love of God.
Jesus told us, Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Moses task of freeing the Hebrews may have seemed impossible but by the power of God it was done. Our commission to preach the gospel seems even more impossible but God has given us the gifts needed to carry it out and everyday people all over the world are hearing the Gospel and are being set free from the gods of this world.
Illustration: The Gospel and How Billy Sunday Got Saved
One Sunday afternoon in Chicago in 1887, a group of professional ballplayers with the Chicago White Stockings, now called the White Socks, entered a bar. When they came out, they saw a group of people playing instruments, singing gospel hymns, and preaching the Gospel, testifying of Christ's power to save from sin.
Memories of a log cabin in Iowa, an old church, and a godly mother raced through the mind of one of the ballplayers. Tears came to his eyes. Presently he said, "Boys, I'm through! going to turn to Jesus Christ. We've come to the parting of the ways." Some of his companions mocked him, but others were silent. Only one encouraged him. He turned from the group and entered the Pacific Garden Mission.
Later the ballplayer told what occurred. "I called upon God's mercy. I staggered out of my sins into the outstretched arms of the Savior. I became instantly a new creature in Him!
The converted ballplayer was Billy Sunday, one of the most popular ball players of his time. He became the most popular evangelist of the early 1900’s in America. Today nobody remembers the famous baseball player but we still remember Billy Sunday, the evangelist that used that same radio to preach the gospel and reach people all over the United States in the 19He became the world-renowned evangelist. - Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
The power of the Gospel saved Billy Sunday and it is still saving people today from the gods of this world.
Transition: Only Final battle is left it is the battle of blood and it is fought with the angel of death.
Battle of Blood Exodus 12:3-7
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
God Slays the Firstborn of Egypt
In the last plague, God sheds Egypt’s firstborn blood and brings deliverance though the blood of a slain lamb.
Pharaoh was a god to the Egyptian people they believed he was born of the god Amon-Ra and the goddess Hathor and yet the Angel of Death walked into his house into his very bed chamber and took his firstborn child. There was no power in Pharaoh to compare to Jehovah. Pharaoh’s son who died because his father would not humble himself before the true God.
Then later that night God delivered his people from judgment and from captivity by the blood of a shed lamb. There was power in that shed blood by the will of God. Power to save and power to deliver those who believed the word of God through Moses and Aaron. Through that blood, God delivered his people from bondage.
God Slays His Firstborn Son
It seems so cruel to us that God would slay the innocent that night in order to show his power, but the reality is that no child ever had to die.
Remember that this plague, by far the worst of all the plagues, is also the last. God has shown his power in every home, palace and temple of Egypt. None have escaped the plagues upon their land, upon their person and upon their cattle. God has in no uncertain term declared unto all who would hear, “I am God.”
Yet the Egyptians would not listen when they are told your children will die. Have you ever seen a stronger example of miracles not producing faith? The people go to bed that night after a year of the most undeniable signs and wonders and they hold the life of their children in their hands as proof of their stubborn hearts and unbending wills.
As well to blame God as to blame the police officer who comes and warns you to leave because a hurricane is coming and will destroy you and your family. God warned them but they would not believe and they suffered a terrible price for their unwillingness to listen to God.
Today our children are still dying.
Our news is filled with babies who are being aborted, with children who are gunned down in drive-by shootings, with teens who commit suicide or take drugs until death takes them.
The innocents are dying while their parents reject God, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, ignoring the warnings of the approaching death angel.
The death angel approaches the families of our land and we don’t know the time or night when he will pass over our house, but he is coming. He may not come when your children are young and pliable. He may come when they are teenagers and rebellious. He may not even come when they are still living at home but he will come. He always comes.
How can we protect them? We protect them in the same way that the Hebrew parents protected their little ones on that first Passover night, they sprinkled the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their home. For God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
We must apply the blood of God’s own lamb, Jesus Christ, to protect our home and our families. We must tell our children of Jesus, the son of God, given by God on the cross of Calvary to save our souls. We must take our children to Sunday School, to Church and to Bible Study. We must make sure we pray with them, read the Bible with them and tell them over and over again as John told the disciples, in John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Illustration: Imagine the Terror of that night
Can you imagine the terror of that night? I remember watching the movie “The Ten Commandments” and this scene especially struck my mind and heart.
In the middle of the night you see the homes where the people live, you see the lamps lit and their doors closed against the night and against the terror that waits there. As you watch a mist forms in the sky around the full moon and slowly drops into the streets of the towns and villages of Egypt. The mist moves through the streets and enters into the homes that have no blood upon the door. In the homes of the Hebrews you hear the voices of their Egyptian neighbors screaming in anguish and they discover their first born child has been slain and they listen as the death angel passes over them.
It is a dramatic, horrifying scene but is it any less horrifying looking around us at the children who are living in homes without the blood of Christ today. Is it any less heartbreaking to hear of a child dying from abuse, a child suffering molestation, a child taking an overdose? Is it less a tragedy now than then? I believe it is a worse tragedy for us, for the Egyptians had but a year to come to know the one true God and we have had centuries. The death angel still takes lives because we are not living under the protection of the blood of Christ.
The Old Testament account of the plagues of Egypt show us the judgment of God upon the sin and false god of this world. There are many today who claim it is wrong to talk of God’s judgment, wrong to speak of Hell, wrong to warn of the coming Angel of Death. Yet Moses was told by God to go and tell Pharaoh and we are sent by God to tell the world, who is truly God.
We have the proof in the Gospel, we have the miracle in the new birth, and we have the revelation of God Himself in His Word. We have what we need to win this battle for the souls of man and the lives of our families. We are in a battle, but it is a battle won by Christ on the cross and we are here to tell others of that great victory.