Battle of the gods: The Real Story of the 10 Plagues of Egypt

March 23, 2021   /   Ryan Brown   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

Book of Exodus intends to reveal God’s

  • The REAL Name for the book of Exodus is “The book of NAMES”
    • Notice who is and is not named in Exodus (Pharaoh not named, midwives are)
  • “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,[a] but by my name the Lord[b] I did not make myself fully known to them.” – Exodus 6:3
    • Remember Hebraic thought of names. A name speaks to Character
    • Here, God is essentially saying, “I made myself known to your forefathers, but the character of who I am was not fully known to them.”
  • “13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.” – Exodus 3:13-15
    • God does not seem to give Moses much
      • Theoretical conversation: “Who are you?” “I Am what I Am.” “What do you do?” “I do what I do.”
      • But closer look, God is saying something incredible!
        • Any “name/characteristic” God gives Moses would be unknown or perverted
          • Example 1: “Tell them I Am Justice sent you.” “What is Justice?” “I Am”…hence, “I Am who I Am.”
          • Example 2: Moses would also have had a perverted understanding of justice, so if God said, “Tell them I Am Justice sent you,” Moses would have inappropriately applied his understanding of justice to God’s character

*God is saying no definition, character, or attribute suffices to describe me because God is not of our character and definition of things. He is the Name above all names. Character above all character. The Definition of all things. The meaning to which everything else finds meaning. You can’t compare Him to anything else! Simply, God can’t TELL us who He is, He must SHOW us who He is.

*NOTE: Typically, we read the Bible chronologically starting in Genesis. By the time we reach Moses and the plagues, we have learned a lot about who God is. Keep in mind, Moses authored Genesis; meaning here in Exodus 3 is the first time Moses is learning anything about God! If you read Bible chronologically through lens of revelation, this is the first thing God reveals to Moses. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING GOD WANTS TO SHOW MOSES AND ISRAEL?

Answer: God wants to show us His power and authority to instill a sense of !

  • “20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” – Exodus 3:20
      • “The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—SO that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”- Exodus 11:9
        • Every plague, it states a variation of “Pharaoh hardened his heart”
          • By the sixth, eighth, and ninth plague, it says “YHVH hardened pharaoh’s heart”
  • Note in Revelation the bowls and trumpets of wrath mirror the ten plagues. When Jesus comes again, God again puts the world in utter wonder before Christ returns so that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord!”

To Show Egypt YHVH is

  • Exodus 6:26-Exodus 7:7 – “Show Egypt YHVH is God”
  • To Show Egypt His uniqueness (Exodus 9:13-16)
      • God raised Egypt of for this purpose (Vs. 15-16)
      • God intended to show them their uniqueness (Vs. 14)
  • The Ten Plagues attacks at least 17 Egyptian gods
    • Nile to Blood (Exodus 7:14-25)
      • Hapi/Apis (represented by a bull) – god of Nile and fertility
      • Isis – goddess of the Nile and healing
      • Khnum – Guardian of the Nile
      • Few others
    • Frogs (Exodus 8:1-15)
      • Heqet – goddess of birth
    • Gnats (Exodus 8:16-19)
      • Set – god of desert
    • Flies (Exodus 8:20-32)
      • Atum/Ra – god of light and god of flies
      • Uatchit – represented by flies
    • Death of Livestock (Exodus 9:1-7)
      • Hathhor (represented with cow head) and goddess of sky
      • Apis (represented by a bull)
    • Boils (Exodus 9:8-12)
      • Sekhmet – goddess of disease
      • Sunu – god of pestilence
      • Isis – goddess of Nile and healing
    • Hail (Exodus 9:13-25)
      • Nut – goddess of sky
      • Osiris – god of crops
      • Set- god of desert
    • Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20)
      • Nut – goddess of sky
      • Osiris – god of crops
    • Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29)
      • Atum/Ra – god of light
      • Horus – god of sun
      • Nut – god of sky
      • Hathor – goddess of sky
    • Death of Firstborn (Exodus 12:12)
      • Min – god of reproduction
      • Heqet – goddess of childbirth
      • Isis – goddess who protected children
      • Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s son – Believed to be gods
  • Exodus tells us the reason for the plagues
        • “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12).
        • “The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’” – Exodus 4:21-23
        • Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.”” – Exodus 18:10-11
        • The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out defiantly in full view of all the Egyptians, who were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment on their gods.” – Numbers 33:3-4
  • This is a dualistic story of two types of people: Egypt and Israel
    • Often, we read ourselves into the story as the good guys (Israel)
    • We however, are more like Egypt. As gentiles grafted into the branch that is Israel
  • Note: The Egyptians would not have concluded that YHVH is the only God; rather, YHVH commands their gods against them (polytheists have no problem accepting other gods)
    • Of course, Egyptian gods are not real, they are idols. However, before God would disciple gentiles into monotheism, He first established above all else that He is reigns supreme over all idols in life
    • We too, possess idols in our life, and God will routinely remind us that He conquers all idols and commands our first and only worship
  • Like Egypt here, and Jacob earlier, God has to CONQUER US and our IDOLS before we surrender to Him. We can either surrender to Jesus or be conquered by Him!
    • One god YHVH does not seem to destroy…yet….
      • Anubis (God of death, underworld, embalming)
      • Christ accomplishes that later on the cross!

To give Israel the of worship:

What is the Wonder of God?

  • Awe
    • Question: Why do people like fairytales (Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Star Wars, Disney)?
      • Fairytales reminds us of the wonder we once had but forgot
        • A story of 2ft tall elves fighting 20ft tall giants in a candyland forest with candy cane trees, gumball fruits, unicorns and purple apples fighting for rights over the chocolate river bridge is no more ridiculous and wondrous then 5ft 9” men fighting 6ft 2” men in an amazon or African forest with sugar cane trees, cocoa fruit, rhinoceros’ and red apples fighting for diamonds. Reality is JUST AS strange as fairytales; fairytales are simply different; and we forgot how strange and marvelous God’s creation is!
        • Look at children, why are they scared of monsters in the closet?
          • We say that is silly and they will “mature” out of it, but in all reality, its easy for children to accept an absurd concept like monsters under beds because they accept and recognize the absurdity of a life with giraffes, hippos, ostriches, etc.
          • Adults say children need Dr. Seuss to build their imagination, but in all reality children find reality imaginative enough; it’s the adults that need Dr. Seuss!
          • Adults need unrealistic Hallmark stories for romance; children want realistic stories because reality is romantic

*Awe is the overwhelming sense of reality. Have you looked at how beautifully absurd God’s creation is? Have you looked at how utterly absurd the idea of the gospel is? (1 Corinthians 1:18)

*Is God big enough to you to be awed by? Or have you put him in a theological box and think you have Him figured out? We were created to live with one mystery, which is an awe and wonder of God by which all other things make sense. Instead, we’ve tried to “figure God out” and He is no longer a mystery, consequently, nothing else seems to make sense now.

  • Fear
    • “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” – Mark 16:6-8
      • The wonder of the tomb left the women in much fear; AND this is how the original manuscripts of the gospel of Mark ends!

*A healthy fear is the recognition that there is a greater power outside your control (Example: Combat and meeting Jesus)

*Notice: After the disciples saw the wonder of the empty tomb, they no longer feared Jewish authority, or Roman authority, but they feared God! We were created to Fear God and in doing so, fear nothing else. Because many don’t fear God anymore, they fear EVERYTHING else.

  • Reverence
    • To revere is to appreciate with fascination.
      • Example: Cinderella never asked the fairy god mother why she had to be back at midnight; because we all see it’s a blessing she could go in the first place!
        • Why sex with only one person? Why can you have sex in the first place? Maybe there is enough wonder in sex with one person to fill a lifetime?
      • Look at culture and people
        • Ordinary people exalt “extraordinary” celebrities because we forgot how extraordinary ordinary people are! (NFL player ex.)
      • Another example: The extraordinary elements of Christian life becomes ordinary, and we forget what has become ordinary is quite extraordinary

*What happens to us that we lose this wonder? (Psalm 51:12)

  • Contentment
    • Being in wonder of God makes us content with the mundaneness of life, because the mundane is wondrous!
      • Question: Does God repeatedly tell the sun to set and rise or create a daisy the same every season because He is out of creative power? OR maybe, God is completely content with and never gets tired of making a daisy….
      • Consider children again, you can buy an expensive Christmas gift to later find they are MORE content with climbing a tree or whacking stick.

*If our purpose is to be agents and ambassadors of worship and service to God, then the first thing you need is a wonder of God!

    • You don’t serve what you don’t worship, and you do not worship what you do not fear, and you do not fear what you does not awe you

*We worship and serve what puts us in wonder

How do I regain my wonder?

  • Unfiltered Bible Study
  • Honest self-reflection of our character (Name)
  • Persistent time with God (prayer and service)
  • Sin and weakness

Guided Questions for Discussion

  1. Do you draw your definitions for love, justice, mercy, and grace from God’s character, or do you apply your definitions to God’s character?
  2. What attributes or character of God that He has revealed surprises you?
  3. Does it surprise you the first thing God wants from us is a sense of awe and wonder? How does a healthy awe, wonder, and fear of God help you effectively worship?
  4. Is God big enough to you to be awed by? Or have you put him in a theological box and think you have Him figured out?
  5. Have you thought about how absurdly beautiful God’s creation is? How absurdly graceful the gospel is? Does that help instill in you a sense of wonder and mystery in God?
  6. Why do we lose wonder? How do we lose it? How can we maintain it?
  7. Do you fear God in your daily life? Decisions? Relationships?
  8. How does God wonder help you be content in life? Are you content in life? If your not content, have you lost your wonder?
  9. What methods, disciplines, or practices help us regain and sustain a healthy fear, awe, reverence, and wonder of God?


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