Stubborn Pharaoh Learns the Hard Way
Who God Is (Part 1)
by Sophia Prinsloo & Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
Lizzy had many dolls in her room and every one of them had their own special resting place on the shelf against the wall.
When Lizzy was still a baby, she had only two or three dolls. As she grew up, grandma bought her many more dolls, because Grandma loved dolls too. Their names were Annie, Barbie, Chloe, Debbie, Emma, Franny, Gracie, Hazel, Ivy, Jackie, Kate, Lily, Maya, Nola, Olivia, Penny, Rosy, Sandi, Tammie, Una, Violet, Winnie, Xantha, Yvette and Zoey. Lizzy loved her dolls and she loved to mix and match their clothes and hold a fashion show with them.
One day, Lizzy's best friend, Veronica, came over. They had a wonderful time playing with ALL the dolls. Not one was left up on the shelf, and they were all scattered across the room. When Veronica's mom came to pick her up, there was no time to put the dolls back onto the shelf and the dolls remained where they were scattered…EVERYWHERE!
When Mom entered Lizzy's room, she asked her nicely to quickly put away all the dolls. Lizzy was busy with her coloring book and crayons. She nodded at Mom and went on coloring after Mom left.
An hour later, Mom peeked in the door to see if Lizzy had done what she had asked. No! Not one of the dolls was back up on the shelf. Mom was not happy to see that Lizzy had not even made an effort to pick up one single doll.
“Lizzy, I have asked you nicely to put them away. You are not coming out of your room or getting any sweet tea until all the dolls are back where they belong. Give me that coloring book,” said Mom.
“Okay, Mom,” she said, but then she decided to play a video game. That was much more interesting and exciting than putting away dolls.
When dinner time came, Mom came to fetch Lizzy, but Lizzy was still playing games. The dolls were still just where she and Veronica had left them.
“Lizzy, no dinner for you until all these dolls are tidied up! Hand over that video game!” With a raised voice, Mom continued, “And if the dolls are not back on the shelf in ten minutes' time, your video game and all the dolls are going to Aunt Maggie's garage sale tomorrow!!”
“No, Mommy, please!” Lizzy begged. “I'll do it right now!” Do you think Lizzy meant what she said and obeyed this time?
The first encounter Moses and Aaron had with Pharaoh did not go well. God had sent them to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to ask him to let the Israelites go and sacrifice in the desert. Pharaoh refused saying, “I don't know your God, and that is why I won't let you go!” Then he forced the Israelites to work so hard that they could no longer believe that God would ever deliver them from bondage in Egypt.
It was very difficult for the Israelites to trust God and wait patiently on Him because, at that point, they did not realize how mighty He was.
Moses kept on trusting the Lord. He felt confident the Lord would show them what to do next. When he reached Aaron's house, Moses climbed the stairs to the upper room and prayed earnestly with his whole heart until he heard the voice of the Lord speaking.
God said, “I will make Pharaoh's heart so stubborn that he won't listen to you. I am going to do many signs and wonders in Egypt so that both Egyptians and Israelites will know that I am the Lord, the God Almighty. Then shall I bring Israel out of Egypt. Go, speak to Pharaoh again and remember to show him the snake miracle!”
So Moses and Aaron took the rod, went to Pharaoh and did exactly what the Lord had told them to do. Aaron cast his rod in front of Pharaoh's feet and, miraculously, it changed into a snake. Pharaoh's face was pale from shock, but he acted calmly and called his magicians. They also cast their rods on the floor and their rods became snakes too but, to the horror of Pharaoh's magicians, Aaron's big snake devoured all their little snakes.
In spite of the snake miracle, Pharaoh stubbornly would not listen and did not want to let the Israelites leave Egypt. He said, “Moses and Aaron, you are only playing tricks on me, just like these magicians in my court. Not for one moment do I believe that the Lord your God has any power over me. Nor is He almighty!”
But the Lord was not finished with Pharaoh yet. He had a special plan for Egypt and they were about to learn what a mighty and powerful God He was.
As he was leaving the palace, Moses thought to himself, “I wonder what the Lord's next miracle will be!” As soon as he reached home, he found a place to pray. He stayed on his knees until he heard from heaven.
Soon the voice of God spoke. The Lord told Moses, “I know Pharaoh's heart is hard and stubborn. He won't let my people go into the wilderness to sacrifice and pray to Me. But go to Pharaoh again. Meet him early tomorrow morning at the bank of the Nile River. Take in your hand the rod which changed into a snake and give him my message.
“Tell Pharaoh, 'The God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying: “Let my people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness, but until now you would not listen. By this you will know that I am the Lord: Behold, I will strike the Nile River and its water shall be turned into blood. Then the fish shall die, it will stink and the Egyptians would not be able to drink it.”'”
The Lord also told Moses, “Tell Aaron to take the rod, stretch out his hand across all the waters of Egypt — all the rivers, streams, pools and ponds of water — that they may become blood!”
So, just as the Lord commanded, Moses and Aaron went down to the Nile River to meet Pharaoh as he went there to pray to his Egyptian river god and take his early morning bath. They told him exactly what the Lord had said. Then Aaron stretched out his rod across the Nile's waters and they became blood.
Pharaoh was a little irritated, because now his early morning bath was ruined, but he commanded his magicians to match Moses and Aaron's “trick” and they turned water into blood too. So Pharaoh thought the Lord could not be mightier than himself, his magicians or the gods of Egypt. That is why he stubbornly refused to let Israel go.
For seven days the water was blood and all the fish died. It stank so horribly that the Egyptians could not drink the water, so they dug wells everywhere to try and find water to drink. Not even praying and sacrificing to their false river god could supply them with fresh water to drink.
Water turning into blood was the FIRST plague the Lord did to prove his power over Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.
Then the Lord sent Moses to Pharaoh again and told him, “The Lord our God said, 'If you refuse to let my people Israel go, I will smite the whole country with frogs. They will take over the rivers, hop right into your houses and bedrooms, and onto your beds, plus, invade the houses of your servants and your people, hopping into their ovens and kneading bowls, and even landing in their bread dough.'”
Aaron stretched out his hand with the rod over all the waters of Egypt and swarms of frogs came hop-hopping and croak-croaking out of the water. But Pharaoh's magicians could also make frogs appear. On their way to the palace, the frogs jumped onto Pharaoh's servants and people, sending them screaming and shuddering with disgust as these cold, slimy creatures touched their skin.
As if that were not bad enough, the frogs jumped straight into their kneading bowls, landing smack in the middle of their bread dough, plus invaded the ovens where the people were trying to prepare food for themselves and bake bread. Imagine frog bread! What a sight to behold! The Egyptians were horrified!
That night, while Pharaoh was sleeping, thousands of frogs raided his palace. Not even the guards could stop them. They hop-hopped and croak-croaked all over the palace and even went into Pharaoh's bedroom, hopped on his bed and began jumping right in his face. Mrs. Pharaoh started screaming hysterically, jumping up and down, trying to get out of their way. Children were shuddering, trying to hide under their blankets. Pharaoh could not sleep. Well, it's no wonder! Could you?
By this time, Pharaoh had had enough! Or at least you would think so. In desperation, he called for Moses and Aaron and demanded that they make the frogs go away. He had already summoned his magicians to make the frogs go away and ordered his priests to pray and sacrifice to the Egyptian frog goddess to take them away, to but not a single one of them could make even one frog go away.
“I promise Israel can leave. Just take away the frogs!” Pharaoh pleaded. The next day, Moses prayed to the Lord and the frogs died, except for the ones that remained in the river. The Egyptians gathered the dead frogs in heaps. The whole country stank because of the dead carcasses of the frogs. But — wouldn't you know — as soon as the frogs and their stench were gone, as soon as Mrs. Pharaoh and the kids were calm again, Pharaoh's heart got even harder and he did not keep his promise. Again, he stubbornly refused to let Israel go.
Frogs was the SECOND plague the Lord sent to prove his power over Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.
Moses went back to the Lord in prayer until he heard from heaven once again. The Lord said to Moses, “Let Aaron stretch out his rod and strike the ground. Then all Egypt will be covered in lice.” And it happened just like God said! The small, creepy bugs were in their faces, in their eyes and ears, in their mouths and nostrils. And OUCH! They stung and their bite mark itched and got all swollen!
This time, the Egyptian magicians could not copy the Lord's miracle and make lice. Wide-eyed with fear, they told their king, “Oh, Pharaoh! We cannot make lice. This is truly God's doing. This God of the Israelites is more powerful than the gods of Egypt, because only He can make these lice!”
Furious with his magicians, Pharaoh had tried his best not to scratch himself in front of his servants and show weakness, but he could no longer contain himself. He ran into his private quarters and began scratching himself. He scratched here, scratched there, and then scratched all over his whole body. Then he even called two of his most trusted servants to come and help scratch him, but they could barely do that, having to scratch themselves too.
Still Pharaoh was so stubborn and hard of heart that he did not even want to listen to Moses and Aaron. Can you imagine? He still adamantly refused to let Israel go.
Lice was the THIRD plague the Lord carried out to prove his power over Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods who were supposed to keep them free of pests.
Again Moses earnestly prayed until he heard from the Lord. God gave him a message for Pharaoh and sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh early the next morning. As Pharaoh was on his way to the water, Moses and Aaron stopped him and gave the message from the Lord: “Swarms of blood-sucking gadflies will come on you, your servants and your people, even buzzing into your houses and landing on the ground on which you stand if you won't let the people of Israel go.
“They must go three days into the desert to bring sacrifices to Me, the Lord their God. The gadflies will torment all the people and animals in Egypt, but watch this: In Goshen, where the Israelites live, there will be no flies, because I will protect my people.”
And it happened just like the Lord had said! The flies were everywhere, stinging and crawling mercilessly, all over the Egyptians. They slapped here and slapped there, but could do nothing to even make a dent in the numbers of the flying pests. In the meantime, in Goshen, where the Israelites lived, there was not a single gadfly in the air or on the ground.
This time, Pharaoh was so irritated by the flies that he decided the Israelites could go into the desert to bring sacrifices to their God. But when Moses prayed that the Lord take away the flies and they disappeared, Pharaoh again changed his mind and forbade them to go.
Flies was the FOURTH plague the Lord carried out to prove that only He had the power to torment the Egyptians and protect his own chosen people, the Israelites.
After having a fright from the snake miracle, being unable to drink water because it turned into blood, having frogs jump all over the place, scratching like mad because of lice everywhere and being stung by swarming gadflies, Pharaoh's heart only grew harder. He still stubbornly refused to acknowledge the mighty power of the Lord God of Moses, obey Him and let the Israelites go into the wilderness.
How many more plagues will the Lord send to Egypt to make Pharaoh quit his stubbornness and change his made-up mind?
(Continued in Part 2)
If you are stubborn and continue to do wrong against God, you are only hurting yourself.
1. How many plagues did God send to Egypt?
2. Why did God send plagues to Egypt?
3. Why did Pharaoh refuse to let the Israelites go?
4. What happened when Aaron cast his rod in front of Pharaoh's feet?
5. Why couldn't the Egyptians drink their water?
6. What made the whole country of Egypt stink?
7. Which plagues stumped the magicians of Egypt?
8. What can we learn from today's lesson?
A VERSE TO LEARN:
“For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth'” (NKJV Romans 9:17).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN:
“The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just” (NKJV Proverbs 3:33b).
Have you ever seen a small child stubbornly throwing a tantrum because he or she wanted to have his or her own way? Was it a pretty sight? Was it in front of other people and were you or the parents embarrassed? How about you? Have you ever stubbornly refused to do God's will and disobeyed your parents or teacher? Were you punished for it?
[After discussion:] Pharaoh was so proud that he stubbornly refused to obey God. On the other hand, Moses was so humble that he persisted in doing what God asked of him. Which person would YOU want to be?
God's Word says that He resists the proud but gives lots of grace to those who humble themselves before Him. So, if you can honestly admit your stubbornness, then you can know that God is at work in your heart. Let's take a moment in prayer and ask the Lord to give us hearts that don't stubbornly resist Him but, instead, hearts that want to obey Him at all cost.
Heavenly Father, when I am stubborn and don't obey
You, please help me realize I am hurting myself.
Correct me and give me a heart that wants to do your
will. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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