Sermon:  Whom do You Trust?


Summary:  God works all things together for his redemptive purposes, which involves demonstrating the futility of trusting in what is not god so that we can know him, the only true God, and build our life on him and his promises, which are trustworthy.


Text:  Exodus 4-12


Scripture Reading:  Prov 3:5-6



1.  Shipping company once advertised a job for ship's radio operator

          a.  Room was crowded with applicants all visiting with each other to be

     heard over the loudspeaker

          b.  Man came in, sat down and filled out application and sat quietly for a

     few moments

                    -  Suddenly, he got up and went into the office with door marked,


                    - Later, he emerged with a smile on his face, he had gotten the job!

          c.  Someone in the waiting room protested.  "We have been waiting here a

     lot longer than you.  Why did you go in there before us?

          d.  His reply:  Any of you could have gotten the job, but you weren't

      listening to the morse code signal over the loudspeaker.  It said, "We

      desire to fill this position with someone that is constantly alert.  If you

      are getting this message, come to the private office immediately"

2.  There are those tuned in to God, and others who are not

          a.  Moses and Aaron are now tuned in to God

          b.  Pharaoh on the other hand, was a poor listener

                    - It wasn't a complicated message from God, not in code

                    - Yet Pharaoh refused to heed God's message through Moses

3.  We are going to look at portion of Exodus most people familiar with - plagues

          a.  There is a message we need to tune in to for us today

          b.  This account is here for a reson


I.  Moses goes back to Egypt

          A.  Things seem to go well at first

1.  First he gathers together the Hebrews in Egypt

a.  Tells them Yahweh has come down to deliver them

b.  Performs the signs in front of them

c.  (4:31) they believed and worshipped

                    2.  Then, he goes to Pharaoh

                              a.  Tells him that Yahweh, the God of Israel said to let his

      people go 3 days into the wilderness to worship Him

b.  (5:2) Who is Yahweh that "I" should obey Him?

- Why are you drawing the people away from work?

- Taskmasters no longer to bring straw for bricks,

   Hebrews have to get it themselves, but same quota

- Taskmasters beat them when not meet quota

- Came to Pharaoh with the complaint, his response,

  they were lazy in wanting to go an worship Yahweh

                              c.  Hebrews now are mad at Moses, no longer listen to him

                                        - Pharaoh was an effective oppressor

                                        - Destroyed their hopes

- Text says they were despondent, ignored Moses

- Consigned themselves to slavery, it was their lot

                    3.  God tells Moses to go back to Pharaoh and perform a sign

                              a.  Aaron's rod became a snake

                              b.  Magicians did the same

                              c.  But Aaron's swallowed up the magicians - WOW!

                              d.  7:13 - But Pharaoh's heart was hardened

                    4.  (7:14) God says Pharaoh's heart is hard/stubborn, he refuses         

          B.  God begins to perform his signs/plagues

                    1.  There is a pattern to the plagues

                              a.  3 groups of 3 plagues plus a final one

                              b.  1st of 3 - Announcement that God is doing this

                              c.  2nd of 3 - Warning that if he refuses to let them go,

     another plague

                              d.  3rd of 3 - Plague with no warning

                    2.  1st group of 3 - Nile, Frogs, Gnats/Lice

                              a.  Moses strikes the Nile, and it is turned to blood,

- Fresh water everywhere blood

- Had to dig in the ground to find water

- Fish died, the whole land stank

- 7:22 - Magicians did same, Pharaoh's heart harden

                              b.  Land swarmed with frogs

                                        - Frogs covered the land

                                        - (8:7) Magicians did same.  Really?  Add to problem

                                        - Pharaoh appeared to relent, asked Moses to take

  away frogs

                                        - (8:15) Frogs are gone, Pharaoh hardened his heart

                              c.  Moses strikes the dust of the earth, it becomes lice/gnats

                                        - Magicians can't replicate this one

                                        - Magician's excuse - This is the finger of god

                                                  = Not - This is the finger of Yahweh

                                                  = Could be attributing this to their gods

                                        - So, Pharaoh's heart was hardened

                    3.  2nd group of 3 - Insects, pestilence on livestock, boils

                              a.  This time God spares Goshen, his people

                                        - Insects swarmed even in Pharaoh's house

                                        - 8:24 - Land was laid waste

                                        - Pharaoh said to go sacrifice, but only in the land

                                        - Moses removed insects, Pharaoh harden his heart

                              b.  Pestilence on all the livestock, all of the livestock died

- Pharaoh went to Goshen, livestock there was well!

- But his heart was hardened anyway

                              c.  Moses threw soot from kiln in sky, it became boils

                                        - Everyone broke out, animals and beast

                                        - Magicians so bad, couldn't stand before Pharaoh

                                        - (9:12) And Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart

                    4.  3rd group of 3 - Hail, Locusts, Darkness

                              a.  Warning that Hail would come, unlike anything before

                                        - Some Egyptians heeded warning, put cattle in

                                        - Hail, thunder, lightning - Ruined flax and barley

                                        - Pharaoh grudgingly admits he sinned, asked Moses

  to pray and said he would let them go

                                        - After Moses made hail stop, Pharaoh's heart was


                              b.  Locusts were coming since he not let them go

- (10:7) Egyptians said to Pharaoh, "let them go!,"

   Egypt is destroyed!

- Locusts ate the wheat and spelt which had not been

  ruined by the hail

- Pharaoh relented again, so they took away Locusts

- (10:20) But the Lord hardened his heart

                              c.  Darkness over the whole land (not Goshen)

                                        - So dark, they couldn't see each other

                                        - Went on for 3 days.  Everyone stayed home

                                        - Hmmm, for 3 days, no one worked in Egypt, the

   amount of days Moses said they needed to worship

                                        - (10:24-29) The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart that

            he threatened Moses, if I see you again, you will die

          C.  Final plague - Hits closest to home

                    1.  (4:22-23) Pharaoh given warning about this one before all of this

     started, and then again in chapter 11

                    2.  Pharaoh had PLENTY of warning

                    3.  Firstborn of every Egyptian household will die

                    4.  A cry will go up from Egypt unlike anything before, but it will be

     quiet among Israelites, not even dog will bark

          a.  Before, it was Israel that had cried out due to oppression

          b.  Now, Egypt is crying out

          D.  Result:

                    1.  (12:31) Pharaoh told them to go and leave, no conditions

                    2.  (12:33-36) Egyptians hurriedly told them to leave, and loaded

     them down with gifts and supplies


II.  Some have really struggled with this Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart

          A.  4:21 - God had said that he would harden Pharaoh's heart, and he did

                    1.  So, Pharaoh had no choice in the matter?

                    2.  How could God do something so unjust?

                    3.  Poor Pharaoh!  Poor Egyptians!  They going to suffer!

          B.  ILL:  What if instead of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, it was Hitler and

      the Nazis?

                    1.  Would you think, "poor innocent Hitler and Nazis?"

                    2.  Pharaoh and Egyptians are not innocent victims

                              a.  No telling how many Hebrew babies had been killed

                              b.  They were cruel and brutal oppressors

                              c.  They tried to destroy God's people, his firstborn!

                    3.  So, we need to put any notion of Egyptian innocence to rest

                    4.  This is justice.

          C.  But look closer at the text, there is more

                    1.  (8:15, 32) Explicitly said on these occasions Pharaoh hardened

     his own heart

                    2.  Plagues continued to get worse

                              a.  Any normal reaction would be to let Israel go

                              b.  Egyptians wanted to let them go, land was ruined

                              c.  But Pharaoh didn't let them go

                              d.  Wanted to save face?  That was part of it, at first

                    3.  (9:12, 10:20) When plagues got worse, it says Yahweh

     hardened Pharaoh's heart

4.  Progression from Pharaoh hardening his own heart, to God

     prolonging it

          D.  So, conflict between Moses and Pharaoh artificially prolonged by God

                    1.  Any normal person would have already said, "uncle"

                    2.  God made sure Pharaoh didn't say uncle

                    3.  Why artificially prolong the conflict?

                              a.  Is it because God thrives on conflict?  No, he loves peace

                              b.  Is it because God is sadistic and loves to make people

     suffer?  No, God is not willing any should perish


III.  God works things together to fulfill his redemptive purposes for people

          A.  Purpose #1 - To demonstrate the futility of the gods of Egypt

                    1.  12:12 - God will strike down all the gods of Egypt

                              a.  Hebrews often call this the 10 strikes, rather than plagues

                              b.  3:20 - I will "strike" Egypt with all my miracles

                              c.  Moses strikes the Nile, strikes the dust, etc.

                    2.  Each time he strikes Egypt, it a strike at their gods.  Examples:

                              a.  Nile River - Worshipped as a god,

- It was the blood stream of Osiris

- Hapi was the spirit of the Nile

                              b.  Hekt - goddess, helper of women when the delivered,

     depicted as a frog

                              c.  Imhotep, the god of medicine, no good for the boils

                              d.  Greatest God was Re' and the Aten - the Sun, darkened

                    3.  Then there is the contrast between Moses and Pharaoh

                              a.  Pharaoh was considered, "Son of Re'"

                                        - No ordinary man, he was supposed to be divine

                                        - Rameses - "Son of Re"

                                        - He was afflicted by plagues, his son killed

                              b.  Moses not divine, just a servant of Yahweh

                                        - 80 year old man with speech impediment

                                        - Yet, he bested Pharaoh, and afflicted Egypt

                    4.  God made a mockery out of all the gods of Egypt

a.  Pharaoh and his magicians were afflicted with plagues

b.  With wave of Moses staff, so called sun-god gone

                              c.  All the gods of Egypt were silent, impotent

                              d.  What good were the gods of Egypt?

          2.  Purpose #2 - Enable people to know Him

                    1.  That his enemies will know who he is

a.  Pharaoh sarcastically, "Who is Yawheh, I don't know


                              b.  (7:17) By this you will know that I am Yahweh, Nile blood

                              c.  (8:10) That you may know that there is no one like

     Yahweh our God, frogs taken away

d.  (9:29) That you may know that the earth is Yahweh's,

     made the hail stop

                                        - Grudgingly, Pharaoh knew who Yahweh was

                    2.  Egyptians will know

(7:5) Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh, when I deliver


                    3.  Israel, God's people will know

(10:1-2) That you (Israel) may know I am Yahweh, made

mockery of Egyptians

                    4.  (9:14-16) The whole earth will know

a.  Allowed Pharaoh to remain to proclaim his name

     throughout the whole earth

b.  Wasn't just about Pharaoh, Egypt, or Israel, but all of us

c. The goal is for us to know God

          3.  Purpose #3 - Redemption for his people to serve him

                    1.  They had been serving the enemy

                    2.  (Ex 4:22-23) Let my people go that they may "serve" me

                              a.  This word, abad, not just worship, but all service

                              b.  Our purpose is to serve God

                              c.  In order to do that, need to be set free from bondage


IV.  All of this applies to us

          A.  What useless "gods" would God strike at today?

                    1.  We don't serve the sun, scarabs, a river, etc.

                    2.  But there are other things people place trust in:

                              a.  For some, it is science - - without God

                              b.  For some it is government as savior

                              c.  For some it wealth and prosperity

                              d.  For others it is man, me - humanism

                    3.  For those that are in tune, God has already struck at these

                              a.  History shows how bankrupt each of these are

                              b.  All the failed experiments has left us in worse shape

                              c.  (Rom 1:18) For the wrath of God is (not will be) revealed

     from Heaven against all ungodliness

d.  Historically, faith in gov't, wealth, science, human, failed

                    4.  God's message is ticking over the loudspeaker, if you tune in

                              a.  Don't harden your heart & cling to what is not God

                              b.  Listen, there is good news from God

          B.  God wants you to know him

1.  Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean

    on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him,

     And He will make your paths straight.

          a.  Acknowledge - Not talking about the grudging

     acknowledgement of Pharaoh

b.  Acknowledge, lit:  "to know" - "Know the Lord"

          - In all your ways, no matter how mundane

          - Whether your education, work, activity, goals

          - Lord needs to be at the center

          - Don't do anything without God

c.  Phil 2:10 - At the name of Jesus every knee will bow

          - Whether willingly or grudgingly like Pharaoh

d.  Trust in the Lord, know him, walk with him, follow him

2.  Only way to know God is through Jesus

                              a.  Jn 14:6-7 - I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one

     comes through the Father but through me.  If you had

      known me, you would have known my Father also

                              b.  Jn 17:3 - This is eternal life, that they might know you, the

     only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent

          C.  God redeems you from bondage to that you can serve Him

                    1.  In fact, the only way to know God is to serve him

                    2.  Mt 7:21-23  - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will

enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven {will enter.}  Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

                    3.  You cannot know God if you don't serve his will



1.  If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord and obeyed Gospel, you are in bondage to sin (inv)

2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, don't rely on what is not god

          a.  God is communicating, are you listening and tuned in?

          b.  Gov't not save you, science not save you, human wisdom not save

          c.  The only thing that can rescue you from bondage is Jesus Christ

          d.  So, always turn to him, love him, serve him, put him first and at the

     center of all you do - marriage, work, goals, education, etc.

3.  Stay tuned in to God wherever you are, whatever you do, and follow him