It continues to be a wonderful task to exposit the Old Testament. I preached through the book of Exodus in the second half of 2018 verse by verse and paragraph by paragraph. We left no word unread and did not skip the exposition of any section. It is a wonderful exercise for myself to go back now, chapter by chapter, and review the wonderful truth of this book. I pray that it is as beneficial for you, the reader, as it has been for me. More resources can be found at www.fbcroxana.com
God desires all the peoples of earth to fear His name and assign Him the glory that is due Him. Yet the nations continually turn away from Him. Through the Exodus of His chosen people, Israel, all the nations would hear and tremble before Him. Whether they worshipped Him and submitted to His sovereignty or rejected Him and hardened their hearts, they would still hear of Him, that by His mighty hand He had brought them out of Egypt, the most powerful nation on earth. In the same way, God would make Israel see that He is the only God, triumphing over Pharaoh and all the gods of Egypt. Finally, it is a lesson to us that God is able to do far above what we can imagine. So how could we ever doubt that He is near and willing to act on our behalf?
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” 6 So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
On one hand, God was commanding Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron to let the people go. On the other hand, He was hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that he would disobey. The reason for this apparent contradiction in the will of God is that God’s intention to multiply His signs and wonders would be fulfilled. In this way, He would demonstrate His sovereignty as He would bring Egypt to its knees before Him in defeat and the Israelites would be let go. God’s intention was that the Egyptians would know that He is the LORD through these powerful acts.
8 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 9 “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Work a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. 12 For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
However the magicians were able to mimic the sign, their conjurings were obviously inferior to Aaron’s God-given sign. Yet it was enough to convince Pharaoh that the power behind Moses and Aaron was not as unique and powerful as they were asking him to believe.
Now it was time for God’s wonders to be shown.
14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. 16 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 behold, you have not listened until now.” 17 Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. 18 The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.”’” 19 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
Just as in creation, God spoke what was going to happen. This time, He did it through His prophet Moses and Moses’ spokesperson, Aaron. Essentially, this was God’s pronouncement of looming uncreation. The water in the Nile River, essential to all parts of life in Egypt was going to become as blood. This was likely the Egyptian term used for an algae bloom. It would be widespread, affecting every bit of water in the land. It would cause the fish, a primary source of food, to die. And the land would stink.
20 So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 23 Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. 24 So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. 25 Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.
Everything happened just as the LORD said that it would happen. As soon as Moses spoke and Aaron struck the water, the water turned into blood. Yet the LORD was merciful, allowing the Egyptians to find drinkable water around the Nile that had been filtered by the dirt. This went on for a week.
The Egyptians thought that they could go toe-to-toe with the LORD of heaven and earth. They thought He was but a small deity, made in the likeness of men. Over the next weeks, they would come to understand His power, and they would start to tremble before Him and glorify His name.
One day all people will tremble before God as He unleashes judgments upon the world. In Revelation 16, the third bowl of wrath is poured out, and the rivers and springs become blood. Then all the angels begin exclaiming in amazement at the just judgment of God. How much better it will be for those who believe now. Christ will gather us to Himself, so that we will be kept from the hour of judgment (Rev 3:10).