Read Exodus 7
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
6 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Aaron’s Staff Becomes a Snake
8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
The Plague of Blood
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’”
19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.”
20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.
22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.
The Plague of Frogs
25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of ten plagues we’ll read about. If you missed yesterday’s Sunday Set-Up, go back and read it to get an idea of where we’re headed this week.
As we begin our study on the plagues with Exodus 7, we see God’s power and might on display in full effect. It starts with Moses and Aaron standing before God, receiving their marching orders, and it ends with the Nile River, their source of water, turned to blood. Why the Nile? This first plague was directed at the Egyptian river deities. The Nile was essentially worshipped as a god by the Egyptians, and here, God shows that He has power over the Nile. God exposes our idols for what they are.
God told Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened and he wouldn’t listen, but surely he would repent after that, right?! Wrong. The text tells us that Pharoah simply turned around and went back into his palace (v. 23). Close your eyes and imagine that picture in your mind. The river that runs through Egypt turns to blood and Pharoah is so unmoved by it, so unbothered, that he essentially shrugs it off. His pride won’t let him see what God is doing. Instead, he goes about his daily life, unconcerned by the work of God going on around him.
When our pride swells, we develop blind spots. These blind spots prevent us from seeing the hand of God around us because we become so inwardly focused, which is not God’s intention. We become self-absorbed and entitled, concerned with only what benefits us. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pharoah is about to encounter a crash course on what that means, as his heart continues to harden even further.
What does this passage teach us about God’s character?
Why does God tell Moses all that is going to happen regarding the Israelites and the Egyptians? Why does He give step-by-step instructions?
Where has your pride caused you to develop blind spots? How has it caused you to miss out on the works of God that are right in front of you?
Did You Know?
As the plagues increased in number, they also increased in intensity. God had a strategy and a method to what He was doing. These plagues not only brought punishment to Egypt, but they also answered Pharoah’s original question in Exodus 5:2: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go?” God used each plague to show that He is the one true God, controlling the forces of nature.