Moses Life #3: “Enough of this nonsense, I’m turning up the heat!”

by Tad Lindley

Many years ago, about 3,200 years or so, the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt. They had entered Egypt as unusual heroes 400 years before that, but as their population grew and the Egyptians felt threatened by the Hebrews, they decided to enslave them. At the time of our story, the Egyptians were forcing the Hebrews (also referred to as the “Israelites”) to make bricks for building construction material. And God called an 80 year old man named Moses, who was an unconvicted murderer with a stuttering problem to go back to Egypt, step up to Pharaoh, and demand the release of the Israelites.

Pharaoh: Yah, right!

Because the Israelites, as slaves, were a source of free labor, Pharaoh was not interested in releasing them from captivity. Even when Moses just asked for a 3 day vacation to go into the wilderness to worship God, Pharaoh refused. In fact when you study the Book of Exodus in the Bible you will find out for yourself, that God made Pharaoh’s heart hard against Moses’ people.

Moses: If you’re so big, watch this

And so through Moses, 10 plagues were released upon Egypt. These plagues were horrible events that punished the Egyptians. And yet time after time, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. I made a mnemonic to remember the order of the 10 plagues, here it is:

Bro. Fred likes fried beef, but he loves dried fish

Blood in the buckets- the rivers, streams, and ponds were all turned from water to blood, even water in the Egyptians five gallon buckets turned to blood.

Frogs in the bedroom- a week later Moses asked Pharaoh again to let the people go, but he refused, and so God caused a population explosion of frogs. The frogs were everywhere (even kitchens and bedrooms) until Pharaoh told Moses, “If you get rid of the frogs your people can go!” (Exodus 8:8)

Lice in the hair- But when Moses got rid of the frogs, Pharaoh changed his mind and refused to let the people go. So Moses told his brother, Aaron, to strike the dust with his rod (the one that turned into a snake in Exodus 7:8-13). The dust turned to lice, and the Egyptians, men, women, and children were afflicted with lice.

Flies everywhere- Pharaoh still wouldn’t let them go, so Egypt was plagued with flies, and yet the region of Egypt where the Isrealites lived was fly free. (8:20-32)

Beef?- In the plague on beef, the cattle of the Egyptians was killed by disease, but the Hebrew cattle survived. (9:1-7) Even after this devastating loss, Pharaoh still refused to let them go.

Boils from ashes- If you ever had a boil, you know how painful they are. Moses threw handfuls of ash from the wood stove into the air, and spread and all of the Egyptians and even their animals were afflicted with painful sores on their bodies. Still Pharaoh would not let them go. (9:8-12)

Hail from heaven- So God sent the worst hailstorm in Egyptian history. Those who heeded Moses’ threat stayed indoors and brought their animals undercover. Those who ignored it were killed. The crops that had sprouted were also destroyed. (9:13-35)

Locusts ate what was left- Next a massive swarm of locusts came and ate every plant and every fruit and leaf that have not been destroyed by the hail. (10:1-20)

Darkness that blinded- This time the land of Egypt (except for where the Israelites lived) was immersed in total darkness for 3 days! People could not see each other, or even leave their dwellings. (10:21-29)

God saved the worst for last

The final plague on Egypt is the worst, and it is the most important, because a thousand years later it would be directly related to what happened to Jesus on the cross outside of Jerusalem. The tenth plague was the death of the firstborn. In one single night, every firstborn male in Egypt would die. The only exception (and you probably predicted this) is the children of Israel. Those among them that followed very specific instructions had no one die in their homes that night.

Be sure to get the paper next week, and I will share exactly how the Israelites were saved from the plague of the firstborn, because it has significant relation to how we are saved from sin over 3,000 years later.

Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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