This week we will look at the plagues that God brought on Egypt and how Moses developed as a leader during this time. Moses went to Pharaoh repeatedly to request that he let God’s people leave Egypt. Each time, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he refused, which was all part of God’s plan. These must have been difficult times as plague after plague came upon the land. Yet, Moses continued to walk obediently and followed God’s leading.
Last week we saw Moses beginning to doubt himself and question if he was the right person for the task God had given him. This week we see growth in Moses’ life as he gained boldness and deepened his trust in God.
The reading is lengthy this week but don’t let that intimidate you. It is important that we look at the plagues in one week in order to get the big picture of what God was doing. Each day there is a theme to focus on. Ask God to teach you as you study His Word this week.
We begin looking at the plagues that God sent on Egypt and how Pharaoh responded each time. Today we will only look at the first plague. It gives us a glimpse into Pharaoh’s hardened heart, which prevented him from listening to God. How well do we listen to what God is trying to tell us?
1. Describe the first plague. How long did it last?
2. Why was Pharaoh not concerned about this plague?
3. What was the role of Moses and what was the role of Aaron? As you look back at the conversation in Exodus 4:10-17, does this surprise you?
This first act of God serves as a paradigm of the nine plagues that follow. “Striking the Nile with the rod suggested dominion over creation and all the gods of Egyptian mythology. The Egyptians linked many of their gods with the life-giving force of the Nile.”
Contrast the life of the one who listens to wisdom with the life of the one who does not.
4. What keeps you from listening to the Lord? (Be more specific than just answering “sin.”)
5. How does not listening to Him affect us over time?
It is important that we listen to what God is trying to communicate to us. He will eventually get our attention, one way or another.
Ask God to show you if there is an area in your life in which you are not listening to Him. If there is, why are you not listening? Ask Him to remove any barriers that might be hindering you.
Today we will look at the next three plagues that God sent on Egypt. Pharaoh, at times, seemed to respond to God and the plagues in a favorable manner. Yet, each time we see that Pharaoh is not true to his word and is deceitful with Moses. Try to get a glimpse into Pharaoh’s heart as you study the plagues today.
6. Describe the second, third, and fourth plagues.
7. How did Pharaoh’s initial response to the frogs (8:8) and the insects (8:25-28) differ from his response to the first plague (7:23). What are some possible reasons for why his response differed?
8. What would it accomplish by asking Pharaoh to give a specific time to entreat the Lord for him in 8:9?
9. Notice in verses 22-23 that God set His people apart to protect them from the plague of insects. What effect might this have had on the Egyptians?
How does this Psalm describe God?
How does God protect and take care of His people?
10. How have you seen God’s protective hand on your life?
11. Moses exhorted Pharaoh to not deal deceitfully again in refusing to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. How should you respond to someone who is “dealing deceitfully” or being dishonest with you?
God takes care of His children and is in control, even though at times, we may question what He is doing.
Take some time today to thank Him and praise Him for what He is doing in your life. Thank Him for specific ways you have seen His hand on your life this week.
You may want to reflect on Psalm 91.
Today we will look at the fifth, sixth, and seventh plagues. Regardless of how many plagues God brought on Egypt, Pharaoh did not fear God. He “admitted” his sin, he asked Moses to make supplication for him, but his heart was hardened, and he did not fear God.
12. Describe the fifth, sixth, and seventh plagues.
13. How did Pharaoh’s initial response after the hailstorm (vv. 27-30) differ from his previous responses?
14. In verse 30, Moses said he knew that Pharaoh and his servants did not yet fear the Lord God. How did Pharaoh’s actions in verses 33-35 show this to be true?
In what areas of Moses’ life do you see growth during this period?
Pharaoh did not yet fear the Lord God (9:30). What additional insights do you gain about fearing the Lord God in these verses?
15. If someone’s confession of sin were sincere, what results would you expect to see?
16. How would you define fear of God?
Fear of the Lord leads to true repentance and complete submission.
True repentance involves more than just saying the words, “I have sinned.” True repentance involves turning away from your sin.
Reflect on what it means to fear the Lord. Do you have a healthy fear of God?
Pharaoh had told Moses several times that he would let the people go, but each time his heart was hardened and he refused to let the sons of Israel leave. Today we will look at one of the key issues in Pharaoh’s heart: pride.
18. Describe the eighth and ninth plagues.
19. How did Pharaoh’s responses to the two plagues differ?
20. What stands out to you about the way Moses interacted with Pharaoh after both plagues? In what ways has he grown since the desert in Exodus 3?
21. Pharaoh’s sin was pride. Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to. It is also refusing to humble ourselves before God. How was that manifested in Pharaoh’s life (9:16-17; 10:3)?
22. How does pride hinder us from obeying God?
23. How have you seen pride “creep” into your life? How has it affected you?
What are some results of pride?
Why would pride cause these results?
In order to yield completely to God, we must confess any pride in our lives.
Pride keeps my focus on me instead of on God.
I wish I could tell you that I don’t struggle with pride, but it “creeps” into my life in subtle ways. When the Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me pride in my heart, I realize how important it is to confess it and to acknowledge my dependence on Him.
Ask God to show you if there is any pride in your life. If there is, confess it, and give that area to Him.
Today we will look at the announcement to Pharaoh of the tenth and final plague. It appears that Moses is continuing his conversation with Pharaoh in 11:4 from where he left off in 10:29.
24. How did the Egyptians view Moses and the people of Israel at this point? Why might they have had this perspective?
25. Describe the tenth and final plague.
26. What are some possible reasons why Moses “went out from Pharaoh in hot anger” in verse 8?
28. What causes you to become angry?
29. The “ultimate loss” of his firstborn son would move Pharaoh to let the sons of Israel go. What in your life would be the “ultimate loss” and why?
Repetition is often used to emphasize a main point or theme. In the following verses, what was God trying to emphasize through repetition?
What was God’s overall purpose in the plagues?
God uses difficult and painful situations in our lives for a reason.
If you are experiencing some difficult times and are having trouble understanding God’s plan, can you trust that His purpose is perfect for you?
Take some time to pray and journal concerning what God is doing in your life.
God desires for people to know Him as the only true God.
How well do you know God? In what ways can you improve your relationship with Him?
Moses had grown as a leader since God appeared to him in the desert of Midian. It’s encouraging to see the spiritual growth in Moses’ life as he stepped out in obedience to God. This was only the beginning of how God wanted to use Moses. God is continually working in our lives. He wants us to trust Him, to allow Him to build into our lives, to bring us to spiritual maturity. That means we will go through hard times in the process, but those hard times are used to refine us and make us more like Him.