Exodus 6-10: When Hard Hearts Become Cemented
[Exodus 6:9-30 ESV] 9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. 10 So the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” 12 But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” 13 But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the clans of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the clans of Simeon. 16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, the years of the life of Levi being 137 years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their clans. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, the years of the life of Kohath being 133 years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites according to their generations. 20 Amram took as his wife Jochebed his father’s sister, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, the years of the life of Amram being 137 years. 21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 Aaron took as his wife Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the clans of the Korahites. 25 Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took as his wife one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites by their clans. 26 These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said: “Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts.” 27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron. 28 On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” 30 But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”
[Exodus 7:1-25 ESV] 1 And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like 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 tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.'” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. 16 And 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 so far, you have not obeyed. 17 Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”‘” 19 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'” 20 Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile. 25 Seven full days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.
[Exodus 8:1-32 ESV] 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 4 The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.”‘” 5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!'” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the LORD to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.” 12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'” 17 And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 20 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. 23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”‘” 24 And the LORD did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies. 25 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the LORD our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as he tells us.” 28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. Plead for me.” 29 Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you and I will plead with the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow. Only let not Pharaoh cheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.” 30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. 31 And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.
[Exodus 9:1-35 ESV] 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, 3 behold, the hand of the LORD will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4 But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.”‘” 5 And the LORD set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” 6 And the next day the LORD did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. 8 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10 So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. 12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses. 13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”‘” 20 Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21 but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field. 22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” 23 Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail. 27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.” 31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the LORD, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.
[Exodus 10:1-29 ESV] 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” 3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.'” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. But which ones are to go?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10 But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11 No! Go, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. 12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. 15 They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go. 21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. 24 Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the LORD our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29 Moses said, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”
The word of God is amazing, but it is not an easy thing to stand in front of people and read it. It’s more difficult than I think we give credit for. But if, if there ever were a place to read a large portion of scripture, would it not be among God’s people in a church gathering? That’s why we did it.
Let’s take a moment and pray. We’re going to jump right in. God, thank you so much for your love for us and thank you for this message here. I asked that we would be sensitive your word now and you would help us to understand it and that if there are people in here who are hardening their hearts against you, that you would protect them, that you would soft in it even now through your word, through this lesson, give them wisdom. Don’t let them be foolish. Great is your precious name. Amen.
How many of you I’ve ever put your hands in wet cement before anyone? Okay. A few of you, when I was growing up in Cincinnati, it would be 20, 25 years ago now. I I can remember they were installing a place set on the church property and they dug the post hole and they put the posts in it and then they filled it up with cement and I, I can remember watching them and one of the men in the church called me over and he took, you know, asked if I wanted to put my hand in it. And I, I haven’t been back for a while. But you know, the last time I checked, you know, it was just a little hand like this compared to mine. And I’m pretty sure it’s still there even to this day.
As I thought about this and I read this passage and I studied this passage, cement was the word that kept coming to my mind primarily because of the way that the text says over and over again that Pharaoh hardened his heart and that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Now, it’s going to take us a few minutes to get to that point, but I want you to understand, here’s the big idea. God warns that he will cement us in our stubbornness. God warns that he will cement us in our stubbornness. We’ve bit introduced in this book to Moses, to Pharaoh, to the Israelites. Moses is idealistic multiple times early in the book, the Israelites are broken by their slavery. In fact, chapter six verse nine says that they couldn’t even listen to the promise of deliverance because they’re broken because their spirit was broken and because of the harsh slavery they endured, and Pharaoh is just stubborn and proud. The Israelites are enslaved to Pharaoh. When Moses asks, spirit will let them go, he actually increases their burden.
Now this section we have to take in one big chunk. This is a prime example of in order to handle the word of God correctly, we cannot just take a Pearl a verse out of this. We have to take it in a big chunk because this big chunk is trying to teach us one main singular lesson. I think the [inaudible], the application for us and for the Israelites from this point forward is don’t be like Pharaoh. Don’t be so stubborn because God warns that he will give you over to the stubbornness of your life. Now, this section particularly, you’ve got the nine plagues, you’ve got the water turn, the blood, the frogs, the gnats, the flies, the livestock, the boils, the hail, the locus, and finally darkness. This is almost certainly supposed to be seen as a divine act of uncreation. All of this is connected back and all of the languages connected back to Genesis chapter one just as Genesis chapter one has 10 divine words from God.
I know it’s over seven days, but there are 10 divine words from God. Here we have 10 divine acts of judgment from God. Chapter seven, verse 19 in acts this year talks about pools of water, which is a unique word and it’s, it’s only used a few other times, one of which is in Genesis chapter one. When God gathered or pooled the water together in chapter seven, it says that Aaron throws down, it’s a little bit tricky. I, I have a, I have a bone to pick with the ways a lot of the translations work it because Aaron is supposed to throw down his, his staff and then it turns into a serpent. But when you, and I think serpent, we think us squirrelly snake on the ground, that’s not the word that’s used there. The word that’s used there is a mighty water sea creature. Then that mighty water sea creature comes and swallows whole. The other snakes that are that the, the by their divine arts the magicians from Pharaoh’s staff are able to do that word is only used a few places in the Bible, one of which is very clearly in Genesis chapter one, the mighty sea creatures.
There’s wording in here over and over again of let them be, let them be. Let this be and that’s very reminiscent and Hebrew. It’s the same wording as let there be light. Let there be this. Let there be this. You’ve got three dimensions. Many scholars have note noted that three of the judgments are, are specifically over the three dimensions of ancient cosmology. You’ve got in the water, in the air and on the ground, got the frogs coming out of the water, the NATS coming out of the ground and flies coming out of the air judgment from all three dimensions of the ancient cosmology. God has sovereign, divine control over all of those. You’ve got the livestock that is specifically said to be created for man in Genesis chapter two and it’s judged. You’ve got all of the vegetation is destroyed by the locust and then by the hail. And then finally on day nine you got God reverting the relationship between darkness and light to what it had been prior to the end of the first day of creation.
The state that previously existed between Genesis one four and Genesis one five that’s the pinnacle, the four the 10th plague, which we will get into next week. All of these together are supposed to be connected back to Genesis for us to see that Moses is teaching the creator. God is now working acts of judgment against Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites. We’re supposed to see them as one in the same. Now here’s the thing. Okay, I want to draw some application here. There’s a ton of little knickknacks here or there that I could explain and there was a lot of questions like for instance, why is there a random genealogy that Caleb had to read and he did a great job with it? Why is there this random genealogy that’s in there that random genealogy is in there to show that Moses and Aaron both have the right to be priest, to speak for God, to speak to God on behalf of the people and speak to the people on behalf of God.
They had the right lineage to be able to do that. The priestly line would not be set up until later on in this book, but that’s there to show you that there’s other places in here that you might be looking at and like, boy, why is that in there? And I’d love to cover those things, but I want to, I want to do the 30,000 foot view so that you can get the main point of this passage here right here, or four truths about the way that God works with people who are being stubborn toward him.
Here are four truths about the way God works with people who are being stubborn toward him. Are you being stubborn toward him today? Number one, God will annihilate your idols. God will annihilate your idols. Some scholars recognize that these 10 plagues are directed against the 10 primary gods of Egypt. Some of you have probably heard that before. That may be true. I have some questions about that. That’s not, I think the best understanding here, but the, at the very least, we see that God is systematically breaking down Pharaoh’s pride. You systematically breaking down what Pharaoh in Oh, you’re going to trust in your economy. What if all your crops were destroyed or you’re going to trust in the perfection of your lineage? How about you get boils? Oh, you’re going to trust in the competence of your people. Guess what? This is going to make his people not confident in their ruler. Oh, you’re going to trust me in a few chapters. We’re going to see them be destroyed. God is systematically breaking down everything that Pharaoh has. Pride in everything that Pharaoh trusts down to even his bloodline. Deuteronomy four 24 says the Lord your God is a consuming fire. A jealous God. He will not allow idols to stand before him.
So what do you trust it? What do you rely on? What is the most worth thing in your life? I know that’s not the right way to say that, but I want to emphasize the way I said it. What’s the thing that has the most worth? What is the thing that you worship? These things can be good things like work and family, but they can be twisted into a bad thing. Does God have the right to be a jealous God who won’t allow idols to stand before him? There are ugly forms of jealousy. Yes. Most ugly jealousy comes from two things as far as I can see, an insecurity and a neediness. You guys know people who are jealous in an insecure, needy way.
Sometimes someone becomes jealous because they are so insecure in the relationship they need are. They want more. They want the other person’s attention, all of it, not just some of it. As a result, they become crazy with jealousy. Listen here, this is not the kind of jealousy that God has. He is not insecure. He’s 100% secure and who he is, he is not needy. He is all sufficient and who he is, what he is is worthy. He is worthy of your complete worship. You’re trust, you’re complete glory. Imagine being the perfect significant other. I don’t have to imagine I am.
Does the other person get jealous? Yeah. Maybe. Possibly. If I’m, if I’m the significant other and I’m perfect, do I get jealous? Maybe, but it’s not because I’m insecure or needy. I would get jealous if my, if my wife was giving improper attention to someone else, I’d get and you would do. That doesn’t make you insecure and needy. That is the right kind of jealousy. God has the right kind of jealousy, a significant other. Who’s secure in themselves and trusting they deserve the romantic love and affection from their spouse and when their spouse gives it to someone else, it creates jealousy. And this is a small and an imperfect picture of God. He is complete. He is self-sufficient, he is secure, but that doesn’t mean he is dispassionate. A robotic is passionate. He wants your love. He wants your worship. He wants your trust and he’s not happy when you give it to someone else or something else.
He created us. He gives us breathe. He loves us. It gives us peace and forgiveness in his son. He is the most reliable, the most wonderful, the most helpful object that anyone could turn to. And when we turn to something else, he gets jealous. It’s not because he’s needy, it’s because he’s worth everything we have to offer. That’s why he will wage war against your idols. He will you circumstances in your life to make, to take away your confidence in money. He will allow you to fail through no fault of your own, just fail. He will allow you to grow disillusion with the idolatry of success or even worse. He’ll give you success and you’ll realize it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He will prevent you from getting married so that you can’t place all your hope for completion in the significant other, or he will allow you to get married to a good spouse that you realize can’t be God to you, can’t fill you the way you want. He will allow you to go on a quest of self-discovery, only to find out that you are less happy, less confident because there’s no hope in yourself. Is this what God’s doing in your life?
This has happened to me many times. There were many times when I was relying, when I was relying on something to give me joy, to give me hope, to get me through the day that I was trusting and turning to things. Then God wrenched that idol away from my heart. Time and time again. Have you found that things and people that you’ve relied on have proven untrustworthy? May be God is using difficult circumstances to turn you to himself, to teach you that he is all you need to teach you, that your life’s purpose is to love and obey him.
Number one is that God will annihilate your idols. Number two is that an parents, you’re going to have to probably do some work on this later. Your pride makes you dumb. I’m going to use the word dumb and stupid here. Kids doesn’t mean you get to call each other dumb and stupid. Don’t do that, but sometimes it’s the best way to explain what we mean. Your pride makes you dumb. Listen, my pride makes me dumb, right? How many plagues does it take for Pharaoh to get through before he finally lets the people go? Pharaoh’s pride makes him so dumb.
Your pride gives you blinders. It makes you lack self awareness. It’s like an alcohol that removes your inhibitions and numbs you to the stupidity of your actions. Your self reliance yourself. Trust, your pride, the things you build into your life. It makes you stupid. See, that’s why alcohol and substitutes substances are dangerous and dumb and it’s why pride and an unteachable attitude is dangerous and dumb. That danger is not lurking out there. What in here do you feel that your pride, the pride that makes you think you know what is right. It makes you so stupid.
Well, yourself, self under God. Number three, your talk is cheap. When you read that story, when we read it all together, did you see how many times Pharaoh said, yeah, I’ll let you go. Did you notice that? It’s like three or four times. He’s like, you can go. You can take the men. I’ll tell you what. You can take the men. Oh, but you’re not getting, you’re not going to take the livestock too different times. He says it in different ways. He says, you’ll let him go. He says, I’ve sinned against the Lord. Even your talk is cheap. Pharaoh’s talk was cheap. No matter what he said. How many times have you known that God is working on you and you make a decision in your mind and with your lips and you don’t follow through? Sometimes we make crazy commitments to God at retreats and conferences.
I’m not even talking about that right now. I’m talking about the little things, the simple things that are clearly stated in the word that you are waffling on, like federal waffles here. Things like obeying your parents. Kids, God says for you to obey your parents. You’re like Pharaoh if you choose not to. Things like being honest in your work with the hours you put in. Being honest with the work you do. Things like loving your spouse. Things like not desiring riches are what riches can by not loving money. Things like making disciples. Things like your desire for comfort and ease over loving God. What about the simple things that you know God’s worked on you and your heart and you haven’t followed through? Your talk is cheap.
Your obedience is necessary. Why am I going so hard? Yeah, I don’t. I, I preached some hard sermons, maybe direct sermons. This may be one of the top direct sermons out there. The reason is because of point number four. What number four is that God warns. He will eventually cement us in our stubbornness. Notice how in the initial conversation with Pharaoh and through the first four plagues, the common refrain is either that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened or that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Then in the fifth plague, that refrain changes. His heart was hardened and then in the sixth plague it changes again that the Lord hardens pharaohs heart. This is a narrative theology at work. We could try to dissect this out, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Let’s just let the narrative theology live and breathe and teach us something. Many theologians will talk about this for pages more than the Bible does. They’ll dissect it like you dissect a frog. The only problem is when you dissect a frog at the end, you have a dead frog.
Instead, let the frog live and jump around and hop and watch it work in the story. God gives Pharaoh at least five if not six chances to obey. Pharaoh responds by rejecting God in pride over and over and over again, but Pharaoh only gets so many chances before God’s cements the hardness of his heart. After a while of actively deciding to reject gods commands, even if for a while you had an interest in God, you enjoyed singing worship songs, maybe you obeyed in little ways after a while of that, the part of you that even loves God that desires God truly dries up and hearts, all that is left is coldness and numbness to God. God will only give you so many chances to really respond to him.
Not half-heartedly, not like Pharaoh does, not with talk. That’s cheap now with half measures of obedience and faith, not while trying to hold on to other things, but with a true real heart. There are two outcomes to my life that I am terrified of. One is a life of big compromises that lead me to be a hardened, bitter, unbelieving old man. Right before I die. The second is a life of small compromise where I become hardened. Two acceptable sins and content with a version of Christianity that those around me approve of and make my life relatively easy, but God is disgusted by big compromises that lead me to be a hard, unbelieving, bitter old man and a life of small compromises. Or I’m just content with whatever’s easy. I still call myself a Christian.
Why am I going so hard after you with this? Because God warns that eventually he will allow you to be cemented in your stubbornness. We don’t know when that is. You don’t know when that is. You don’t know how many chances you get. You don’t know how many chances somebody else is going to get. I’m going after you today to challenge you to obey and trust God now so that you will not be given over to the hardness of your heart so that you can live a life that matters so that you can worship the true God instead of being intoxicated by your pride.
God offers to you today just like he offered to Pharaoh to do the right thing. Pharaoh could have believed in the one true God as God had revealed to him, the one who made everything. Moses tells him, he says to let the people go. He had the opportunity, but he chose not to believe. He chose not to obey and his idols were retched from his grasp, one at a time, and his life was broken down from top to bottom, and he became a hardened, bitter Pharaoh, hardened by himself and hardened by God. I challenge you to avoid that because God extends to you, his grace and his forgiveness today it’s dead. He extends out to you when he says, would you, would you come turn from your sin received the forgiveness you’ve made. You’ve made many wicked decisions, many mistakes, but today, now is the acceptable day for grace. I give that to you today.
Turn from the little compromises. Turn from the big compromises, turn to me and I will give you grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ashore standing before me. And through that same death and resurrection, I will give you the power you need to obey. And through the church, the people around you, I will guard you from the hardness and the deceitfulness in your heart. This is my, my extension of grace to you today. Will you receive it? I give it to you. God, making him well through me. Be reconciled to him. You’d be reconciled to him.
Let’s take a moment and pray. God, I’m so thankful for the way your people listen. Even though it’s warm in here and I know it’s nice weather out there and I just spray you give them a great day to day, but I don’t, I want to pray before they go. I just know they [inaudible]. I mean each of us, myself included it. We have such a tendency to grow proud, brine hardened to different sins. And I just asked that you would break that hardness [inaudible] you would make a soft and tender to you, your work in us, give us life hopeless, the turn from sin and turn to your grace and find the life that’s offered to us there.
Please work in through us and then pray that those who are here today who don’t know you, who have been like Pharaoh and turn from offer after offer after offer. Lord, I pray that they would turn to you today. Pray this in your precious name. Yeah, man. Would you stand with me please bless. It is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Bless it is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long for day and night. Your hand was heavy on me. My strength was dried up by the heat of the summer. I acknowledged my sin to you and I did not cover my inequity. I said, I will confess my transgression to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Therefore, let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found.
Thank you so much for being here this morning. Remember there’s no financial peace or youth group tonight. Enjoy some fellowship with each other tonight. But I’ll be up here for a few minutes after the service. If you’d like to talk or pray, I would welcome that opportunity. Thank you so much for being here this morning. You’re dismissed.