The Plagues of Egypt

Exodus

The Plagues of Egypt

December 14th, 1958 @ 8:15 AM

Exodus 5-11

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. And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore? Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task. And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. 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. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. These be the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel; Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi: these be the families of Reuben. And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman: these are the families of Simeon. And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years. The sons of Gershon; Libni, and Shimi, according to their families. And the sons of Kohath; Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel: and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years. And the sons of Merari; Mahali and Mushi: these are the families of Levi according to their generations. And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years. And the sons of Izhar; Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. And the sons of Uzziel; Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri. And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And the sons of Korah; Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph: these are the families of the Korhites. And Eleazar Aaron’s son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas: these are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families. These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom the LORD said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies. These are they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron. And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee. And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me? And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they. And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so 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 enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 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 against he come; 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 to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river. 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. 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 was 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 enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, 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 that the LORD had smitten the river. And the LORD spake 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 thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause 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, Intreat 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 do sacrifice unto the LORD. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat 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, To morrow. 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 respite, 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 enchantments 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. And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 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. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be. And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us. And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 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. And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. 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. 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. And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? Behold, to morrow 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. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer. And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’S. But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God. And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the LORD: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 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: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. 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. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 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. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more. And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people. And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn 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. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
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THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Exodus 5-11

12-14-58    8:15 a.m.

 

 

You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the early morning message.  Following in the life of the great, incomparable prophet and lawgiver Moses, we have come to the fifth through the eleventh chapters of the Book of Exodus.  And you can easily follow the message if you will open your Bible to the fifth through the eleventh chapters of the Book of Exodus.

These chapters encompass the story of the plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians.  And those plagues, as you have been taught all your life, constitute an execution of the judgment of God, the One and only and true God, against the false gods of the Egyptians.  If I were to choose a text for this part of the Book of Exodus, I would choose the last half of Exodus 12:12, "And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment:  I am the Lord."  That would be my text for these passages:  "Against all these false deities of Egypt I will execute judgment; for I alone am the Lord God."  Now, here’s another way of saying it:  if I were to try to say what these chapters are, I would say that they are an answer to the question of Pharaoh in Exodus 5:2, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?  I know not the Lord."  Pharaoh himself claimed to be a deity; maybe the greatest one in his estimation.  And when Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go" [Exodus 5:1].  Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?  I never heard of your puny, Hebrew God, neither will I let Israel go."  So, Pharaoh says he doesn’t know the Lord; so Pharaoh says, "Who is He that I should obey His voice?" [Exodus 5:2].  Pharaoh looks upon himself as the great one of Egypt, and for him all Egypt lives.  The Nile flows, the fertile soil produces its harvest, the sun shines, the people bow down in obeisance and sycophantic subjection.  "Who is this Lord, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?"  So he’s going to learn, and he’s going to learn in a way that he’ll never forget.  And he’s going to learn in a way that the whole world has never forgotten for these three thousand five hundred years.  "Who is the Lord?" [Exodus 5:2].

Now, we’re going to find out.  These plagues, as you have been taught I say all your life, these plagues are not just adventitious judgments, they’re not just capriciously chosen illnesses and happenstances and tragedies and overwhelming providences; but they have a meaning.  There in that land of Egypt, why, the Nile was a god in itself; and they worshipped the Nile.  Some goddess may be with her secret urn somewhere pouring out the ever flowing contents of the waters that alluvially enrich the soil and bless the land, a ribbon of green fertility in that vast illimitable desert.  And this God of the Hebrews will make that god of the Nile a curse and not a blessing.  And these frogs that swarmed all up and down the banks of the Nile, they were taken as an emblem of fecundity and worshipped as a god of productivity and proliferation.  And this God of the Hebrews is going to make that god an offense and a stench in the land.  And these beasts that they worship and these priests that are so scrupulously clean and shaven, upon those beasts that they worship, cows sacred, bulls, goats, animals, and on the beasts themselves, they’re going to be crawling with lice; just as unclean and foul as they can be.  And this very sun god that they worshipped, of whom the beetle is an emblem, first going to make his beetle a curse in the land and finally blot out the sun god altogether.  And all of this is to be done at the commandment of the Lord God.  So we’re going to see who is the real and only true God; and we’re going to answer Pharaoh’s question:  "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?  I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go" [Exodus 5:2].

All right, now let’s start out.  In the fifth chapter of the Book of Exodus, you have the story of the terrible burden that was increasingly placed upon the people by the cruel and merciless king of Egypt at this demand that Israel be permitted to go three days’ journey and to worship the Lord and their burdens were so heavy that it seemed as though nothing awaited the nation but to die under the heavy whip of the taskmaster [Exodus 5:1-21].  And Moses, in his desperation – now we end this fifth chapter – Moses returned unto the Lord and cast himself at God’s feet [Exodus 5:22-23].  He had come to the end of the way, and it was terrible and grievous.  Now we begin the sixth chapter:  "Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh,Then,now,I," Then, when they had come to the lowest part of their fortunes, when all hope for deliverance had passed, "Then"; "now," when every effort of human strength and hand had failed, "I," "See what I will do unto Pharaoh" [Exodus 6:1].

Now you’re going to have here a little passage, and it is very interesting, very enlightening, you’re going to have a little passage here from Exodus 6:2-8, about God, and a cluster of "I wills."  This Lord: now listen, "And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him," now watch these "I’s," "I am the Lord:  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, by My name Jehovah," this new covenant relationship into which I am interested, "I was not known to them.  I have also established My covenant with them . . . I have also heard the groanings of the children of Israel . . . I have remembered My covenant.  Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord" [Exodus 6:2-6].  All right, now watch it, all of these "I wills":

 

I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rid you out of their bondage, I will redeem you with a stretched out hand . . . I will take you to Me for a people, I will be to you a God . . . I will bring you into the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for an heritage:  I am the Lord.

[Exodus 6:6-8]

 

Now that’s just the way God works.  When human hands have failed, and when burdens are the most grievous, and we’re in the nadir of our despair and despond, then the Lord rises in strength and in glory for His people.  It’s going to be that day some of these days, the Book says.  In the evil and the iniquity that shall someday overwhelm this world, when atheism, and materialism, and secularism, and cynicism has swept away the educational systems, and the governmental systems, and the international systems, and it looks as if a little puny preacher faced a veritable overflowing ocean of iniquity and unbelief and secularism, then will the Lord rise with His own great strong right arm, and He will bring the victory to Himself [2 Timothy 3:1-4:5].  So it is here:  Israel has come to the end of the way; Moses is prostrate before God, "O Lord God, since I came and sought to deliver the people, there has been nothing but evil, and no destiny faces them but to perish in the earth" [Exodus 5:22-23].  Then said the Lord, "Now shalt thou see what I will do" [Exodus 6:1].  And God speaks to His servant words of comfort and cheer and victory [Exodus 6:2-8].  We’ll never lose this battle.  We’ll never be defeated in this conflict.  We are on the right side, God’s side.  However men may rage against heaven, however they may trample under foot the blood of the covenant and do despite unto the Spirit of grace, we are on the side that ultimately and finally shall forever prove victorious [Hebrews 10:29-30].  The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, and it shall stand forever.

So Moses, with this new ministry – and it takes quite courage to do it – Moses with this new ministry comes to the children of Israel in the ninth verse, "But they did not hearken unto Moses," and it gives the reason:  "for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage" [Exodus 6:9].  However Moses said didn’t matter one way or another:  they were suffering so much, they were so cruelly oppressed, they had lost their spirit and their heart.

All right, now we start.  In the seventh chapter of the Book of Exodus and the [first] verse, you have it said, "Thus saith the Lord God to Moses, See" [Exodus 7:1], then He speaks to Moses and to Aaron, and in the third verse, He says, "And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will harden Pharaoh’s heart" [Exodus 7:3].  That sounds as if the evil in Pharaoh has its instigation, its beginning, its fountain and its source in God:  "And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart."  To begin with, that would be an impossible ascription unto God, that evil was in God or that the evil that a man did he did under the aegis of God, that God was its author and its source.  Yet it says, "The Lord said to Moses, I will harden Pharaoh’s heart" [Exodus 7:3].  We’re going to look at that just for a minute.  You turn to Exodus 8:15, and let’s read what it says; Exodus 8:15, "But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not."  Now look at the end of that chapter, Exodus 8:32:  "And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also."  Now turn to one more, turn to Exodus 9:34, Exodus 9:34, "And when Pharaoh saw that there was surcease in this plague, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants."  Now, what does that mean when it says, "God hardened Pharaoh’s heart"?  [Exodus 7:3].  Here’s what it means:  God left Pharaoh to his own self-chosen course; and that course went from evil to evil, to harder to harder, to degradation to degradation, to disintegration, to fouler, fouler sin.  The Lord left him to his own choice.  And in the permissive will of God, a man can say, "No," to God, "No," to God, "No," to God, until finally he becomes a negation himself; just to look at him is a "no," just to ask him is a "no," just to watch him is a "no."  Evil is always progressive, always.  It’s like a cancer:  it is a rare thing that a cancer stays in just the little mole or just a little cell; its nature is to spread, to grow, to expand, to consume.  Evil is a leprosy; it is a disease, it is a cancer.  It has inherently in it the tendency to spread, to harden, to do worse and worse and worse.  That’s in the permissive will of God.  And when Pharaoh said, "No, no, no, no," he became that very negation itself, hardened in it.  And that is what is meant when it says, "God hardened his heart" [Exodus 7:3]; that is, in the permissive will of God, he went from hardness to more hardness, from darkness to more darkness, from evil to more evil until finally he became the embodiment of that negation before God.  "He sinned yet more, and hardened his heart" [Exodus 9:34].

Do you notice that, "and his servants"? [Exodus 9:34].  He chose around him boon companions who encouraged him in that negation.  He liked astrologers who said he was greater than the Lord God Almighty.  He liked magicians who with their false miracles, confirmed him in his own deity.  He liked soothsayers and sorcerers who prophesied for him great triumphs over the Lord God Himself.  Why, I see that everywhere.  Do you see somebody out there in the world in the depths of worldliness who likes to have around him God’s sainted people?  Do you?  Why, that fellow that drinks out there, he doesn’t choose a man who doesn’t drink to be his companion; he likes the fellow who will drink with him.  That fellow out there in the world who loves to be in the world likes worldly companions; and they encourage one another in it.  That’s the same way here with Pharaoh:  he gathered round him all of those people who were like he was and who confirmed him in the bent of his life and the taste of his soul.  And he himself became confirmed in that negation, in that choice, in that direction of his life.

You have to watch it, too.  All of these things that come of the evil one have a tendency to go from bad to worse and to worse.  You ought to watch your home.  You ought to watch your heart.  You ought to watch your life.  Those little old things that come have a tendency; first they’re little tricklets, first they’re little riverlets, pretty soon they’re wide rivers, and finally impassible gulfs; all evil, all iniquity has a tendency to spread, to grow.  And that’s what happened to Pharaoh.  So, he continues now in that negation to God. 

Then the terrible judgments begin to fall.  Exodus 7:19, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod"; now the twentieth verse, "And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood" [Exodus 7:20], from bank to bank a gory stream.  "And the fish died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians sought water to drink anywhere they could dig it in the earth" [Exodus 7:21, 24].  God’s judgment upon the goddess of the Nile, the very fountain of their life becomes a curse and a stench. 

 Then the second one:  "And the Lord spake unto Moses," in the eighth chapter, "If thou refuse to let them go, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" [Exodus 8:1-2]: the sixth verse, "And the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt," everywhere [Exodus 8:6].  When you went to bed at night, you went to bed at night with the frogs; cold, slimy skins.  When you were kneading the dough, you kneaded in it frogs.  When you baked, you baked the frogs in the bread.  When you cooked the soup, you cooked frogs; they fell in the soup.  When you sat down to eat, when you started to cut a piece of meat, you cut the leg off, head off of a frog.  They were everywhere; they covered the face of the earth.  Now that was the god of fecundity.  And I have been told that in that land of Egypt no one dared to kill one of these frogs; that was an emblem of the god of fertility, the frog.  Nobody dared kill one of them.  You know that’s the strangest thing.  You think all of this is so long ago.  Why, I have been in places in India, where there were so many monkeys, you had to push them out of the way to walk down the street, to get across a bridge, to go down the road; monkeys everywhere, monkeys, monkeys, monkeys.  I have been in Calcutta, which is a city as big as Chicago, and because of the genius of the British, they have great high skyscraper buildings in it, and big department stores like ours, and big banks; I have seen herds of cattle in the very heart of that downtown district that clogged up traffic.  And you’d think it never could be unclogged and unwound.  In order to get to a store like Neiman Marcus or the Republic Bank, you’d have to wade through a herd of cows.  Nobody dared touch one of them; you wouldn’t dare step on a black spider, you might be stepping on the reincarnation of your grandmother!  All of that is today; you don’t have to go back here and look at it.  Now, these gods were everywhere.  They were cooking them, they were sleeping with them, they were rising with them in the morning, and they were going to bed with them at night.  Wherever they were, there were these croaking gods.  And the Lord God, the true God in heaven makes them a stench in the land.

 Now the third plague, the third one, "The Lord said, Stretch forth thy rod, and this whole dust," and brother, that country’s dusty – if you’ve ever been over there, it is dusty; it never rains over there.  That water in the Nile is the source of their very life; and when they mention dust here, that’s what that country is, dust. – "And the dust became lice."  Now you look how it’s written here in Exodus 8:17:  "It became lice in man, and in beast."  Now the reason for that "and in beast" is on account of all those sacred bulls they were worshipping, and all those sacred goats, and all those sacred cats.  When you’d go into one of those beautiful, beautiful temples in the land of Egypt with all that glorious Egyptian architecture, and those fluted columns, and that incomparable stately avenue of kings and temples, when you got on the inside of it, what would you find they were worshipping?  They were worshipping some kind of a sacred animal.  Now, because the land was so abundantly watered, that became to them a source of pride, that they were very scrupulously clean in their worship.  And the bull was very clean, and the priest himself shaved and bathed and dressed in clean garments.  And can you imagine when the priest, covered with lice, eaten up with it, all over him; they looked at one another, lice all over him, and when they went to worship before their god, all those little wee timorous beasties were all over him too.

Did you ever read Bobby Burns’ "To a Louse"?  You ought to read that; that’s one of the best,he goes to church, and he happened to sit by one of the scrupulously, saintly, clean women in the church.  And right up the back of her neck is crawling a little louse.  And he writes that, and he says:  "O would some power the gift he givest, to see ourselves as others see us," remember that?  Well, that’s "To a Louse."  Now that’s the way these, that’s the way these priests were:  went in to worship, there their god is, all covered with those dirty little creatures.  That’s the Lord God’s doings; even their gods they’re worshipping.

Now we’re going to pause for a second and look at a verse.  Exodus 8:23, "And I will put a division between My people and thy people:  tomorrow shall this sign be."  That little verse, "I will put a division between My people and thy people"; you turn to Exodus 10:23, Exodus 10:23, "The Egyptians saw not one another, neither rose any man from his place for three days:  but there was light in the dwellings of the children of Israel."  Now one other like that, Exodus 11:7, "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue:  that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."  Now I want to expatiate just for a minute on that.  God puts a difference between His people and the world.  He had done so in the ages past.  In that antediluvian age, God put a difference between righteous Noah and righteous Noah’s family and all of the antediluvians [Genesis 6:5-8, 7:21-23].  God put a difference between Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all of the idolaters who lived round about them.  And God was doing so in this instance here:  God puts a difference, "I will put a difference between My people and thy people" [Exodus 11:7].  And, in all succeeding ages, God puts a difference between His people and the world.  Sometimes He would say it’s like the sheep and the goats [Matthew 25:31-46]; sometimes He would say it is like the wheat and the tares [Matthew 24-30, 36-43]; sometimes He would say it’s like the five maidens who entered in with the bridegroom and the five foolish ones who were shut outside [Matthew 25:1-13]; sometimes He would say it’s like the fish in a net, between the good and the bad [Matthew 13:47-50].  But however God says it, He never deviates from it.  God puts a difference between His people and the world.  And whether we are saved or not is in that difference; it’s an eternal difference [Daniel 12:1-2].  If I had time this morning – and I don’t – I’d tell you a story I heard an old time white-headed preacher tell in Indiana, when he said, "I want to tell you what God means by the word ‘goodbye’."  And he described a judgment scene that I’ll never in this earth forget.  God puts a difference between His people and the world; and it is an everlasting difference.  There are not three kinds of people in this world, "great and white and black," there’s only two kinds, according to God, "My people," and the world.

Now we must continue.  In the ninth chapter, we have the fifth plague, the murrain that destroyed the cattle [Exodus 9:3-4].  Even those sacred bulls died.  Then in the sixth, you have the, I mean, the ninth verse you have the sixth plague, the boils and the blains that came upon the people [Exodus 9:9-11].

 Then in the seventh, you have the terrible and grievous hail and lightning that came upon the people [Exodus 9:18-26].  Now I want to pause just once again.  Now listen to this, Exodus 9:19], when God said, "I am going to flood this land with the falling of hailstones," now look, "Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die" [Exodus 9:18-19].  Now look, "He that feared the word of the Lord, he that believed that God would do it, among the servants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:  And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field" [Exodus 9:20-21]. 

Why, I can hear those cynics, those modern preachers – they’re all alike almost today.  I hardly know an exception outside of some of our devout Baptist preachers and some of our Holiness brethren.  I hardly know an exception to this – the modern pulpit rings and resounds with those platitudinous remarks:  "God is love, and God would not send a man to hell.  God would not rain fire upon this earth.  God would not destroy a man.  God is too good and too soft, too easygoing ever to do aught in the way of judgment, perdition." 

Now, I  might change the nomenclature there; I would not say, "God sends a man to hell, God damns a man, God sends fire of judgment because God is hateful and hating," I wouldn’t say it like that.  But I do say this: "I see it in the world around me, and I see it in the Bible, and it’s one of the great truths of life:  God will not always allow sin and iniquity and death to reign in this world [Revelation 21:4].  Some day, God shall wipe it away, wash it away, burn it away [2 Peter 3:10-12].  Some day, God shall lay hands upon Satan and chain him in a bottomless pit [Revelation 20:1-3].  And when God does that, Satan’s own who choose him shall be chained with him.  And the man that chooses this world shall die in the judgment of the world; when the fire burns up the world, the fire shall burn him up [Revelation 20:8-10].  And these people who scoff and laugh at the judgment of God upon sin shall know the fury of that judgment; and there’s no escape" [Revelation 14:10, 16:19].

Why, I can illustrate that from this Bible from beginning to end!  And God said, "A hundred twenty years and I shall destroy this world by flood!" [Genesis 6:3-7].  Now look at Noah, "And Noah moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house" [Hebrews 11:7]; and the rest of the world laughed at the idea:  "Why, God is love, God is so easygoing and soft; He wouldn’t destroy this world by flood [Genesis 6:17, 7:4]. There’s no God anyway."  But God said, "I will destroy this world by flood.  And Noah believed God, and built an ark to the saving of his house" [Hebrews 11:7].  Moved with fear, he was afraid when God said, "I will destroy this world."  Same thing with Lot and Lot’s sons-in-law, his own family laughed at him:  "God won’t destroy this city by fire!" [Genesis 19:13-14].  And that’s the same thing here.  God said to Moses, "You tell the people, I shall send a hail upon this land" [Exodus 9:18-19]; and they’d never seen a hail, they’d never seen it rain.  "I shall send a hail upon this land."  Then the Book says, "He that feared the word of the Lord took his servants and his cattle, and found shelter and refuge!  And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field" [Exodus 9:20-21].

Now I don’t know of a better illustration of what it is to believe God than right there.  When God says someday He shall judge this world by fire" [2 Peter 3:7-12]; they that fear the Lord seek refuge and a Savior:  "Lord, Lord, my sins, when the judgment of God falls upon sin, what of my sin?  And when the judgment of God falls upon this world, what of me, Lord?  What of me?"

 

O then to the Rock may we fly,

To the Rock that is higher than high,

["The Rock that Is Higher than I" Erastus Johnson]

 

May we find refuge in Jesus.  That’s why He is called our Savior.  Fearing the wrath of God upon our sin and upon this world that shall be judged by God, we find a way, a salvation, a refuge in Him [Hebrews 6:18].  They that feared the word of the Lord took their cattle and their servants to find shelter when God said, "I will send the hail" [Exodus 9:20].  I must close.

While we sing our song, somebody this morning to give his heart to the Lord, somebody to put his life in the church, somebody who feels in his heart God’s call and God’s invitation, would you come and stand by me?  Give me your hand, "Preacher, today, or yesterday, I gave my heart to the Lord; and today I want to put my life in the church."  As God shall say the word and show the way, would you make it now, while we stand and sing.

 

THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT
Dr. W. A. Criswell

Exodus 5-11

12-14-58

 

I.              Harden heart of Pharoah

II.            Plagues

1.    Water turned to blood

2.    Frogs

3.    Lice

4.    Flies

5.    Murrain that killed the cattle

6.    Boils

7.    Hail

8.    Locusts

9.    Darkness

10.  Death of firstborn sons

III.           Difference between plagues 1 through 9 and plague 10

1.    Brief interlude between 9 and 10

2.    Tenth plague worse than all

IV.          Moral difference

V.           Providential difference

VI.          Eternal difference