21 times in the book of Exodus, God, through Moses, speaks of Pharaoh and his hardened heart. Today we are reading the first two of ten plagues that God sends to soften Pharaoh’s heart toward Him and His sovereign power. These plagues have a specific purpose. The Lord tells us specifically in Exodus 7:14, “By this (the plague) you shall know that I am the Lord.” Have you ever been in the Pharaoh’s shoes? Does your hardened heart need a re-awakening? Do you need to remember that God is the Lord of all; even your life? Come join us at this Sunday’s Gathering at 9:00am and 10:45am to hear more of God’s truth! - Kim
CONNECT (Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Reflect on a time that your heart was hardened toward a specific person, event, or project. Can you pinpoint why it was hardened? Was there an idol in your life that was being “stepped” on? Was your heart ever softened in this situation? If you feel comfortable share that experience with the group.
_ What is one way the Lord is impacting the life of someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?
Take some time to thank and praise God for who He is, to pray for those you are walking with, for the needs you/group are facing, and for the Spirit to highlight truth as you read.
DISCOVER [Exodus 7:14-8:15] The First Plague: Water turned to Blood
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh's heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. 16 And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed. 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”’”
_ What is the result of Pharaoh’s hardened heart in verse 14?
_ How does Pharaoh’s choice effect all that follows?
_ Who does Moses say sent him to speak with Pharaoh in verse 16?
_ What will the people do if Pharaoh releases them in verse 16? Who are they “serving” now?
_ When you read, “But so far, you have not obeyed,” in verse 16, what can you anticipate?
_ Why might God have chosen to affect water, especially the water of the Nile, in the very first plague?
19 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’” 20 Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh's heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.
25 Seven full days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
_ List the daily uses of the water from the Nile that affected the way the people lived. Did it also effect the water outside the river? See verse 19
_ Why did Pharaoh remained unconvinced, unmoved? Why was his heart not softened to God and His power? Verse 22. What did he do in verse 23?
_ From verse 25, how did the people have to get “living water?”
_ How long did this plague last? Verse 25
_ Do you think Pharaoh was surprised that his magicians couldn’t reverse the Nile curse?
The Second Plague: Frogs
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people,and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 4 The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.”’” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!’” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.” 12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh.[d] 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
_ Imagine the second plague...frogs everywhere! How would that impact daily life of the Egyptians?
_ How is Pharaoh’s response to the second plague different? See verse 8
_ Moses allowed Pharaoh to decide when the frogs would be restrained to the Nile. Why? How does Moses respond in verse10?
_ Did the Lord do what He said He would do? Verse 13 - Did Pharaoh? Why? Verse 15
_ Is God trying to reveal Himself and His power to you in a specific situation? How are you responding?
_ What good-news about Jesus (salvation, forgiveness, help, comfort) do we discover in this passage?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and respond to what I learned today with a simple concrete step of action/obedience? (In groups discuss this in guy/girl break-outs, below are a couple of ideas to help prompt responses if needed)
+ WHO are you walking with that you might pass along or encourage what you learned, with today? (e.g., your family around the dinner table, a friend, co-worker or neighbor you are walking with to discover the message Jesus)