Bible Study Preparation – Exodus 9.

The Lord Demonstrates His Sovereign Authority & Power over Pharaoh.
- “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened & he would not let the Israelites go” (9:35).

  • • The story so far,
    • Refer and update the chart for the plagues described in chapter 9.
    • What was the Lords purpose in sending Moses & Aaron to Pharaoh?
    • To bring his people Israel out of Egypt (7:4).
    • Demonstrating to the Egyptians he was Lord (7:5).
    • What did he predict would be Pharaoh’s reaction?
    • His heart would hardened & he would not listen (4:21 & 7:3-4).
    As we study Exodus 9 we will observe this continuing with the Lord seeking to demonstrate His sovereign power & authority over Pharaoh with a further 3 plagues.
  • • The Fifth Plague: Egyptian Livestock Die – read Exodus 9:1 - 7.
    • God again sent Moses to Pharaoh to Pharaoh,
    • Requesting he let His people go to serve him (9:1).
    • If he refused God would send a plague on the livestock (9:2).
    • The previous 4 plagues had affected the environment around the Egyptians,
    • By targeting their livestock God came even more closer to the Egyptians – their economy & military depended upon animals.
    • Reflected in the list of animals the plague would affect (9:3).
    • It also had religious implications for them.
    • Egypt prized the bull by worshiping the Apis bull the sacred animal of the god Ptah.
    • The goddess Hathor represented a cow-woman image worshiped in several cities.
    • Emphasised his authority by setting the time when it would happen (9:5)
    • Why did God protect & make a distinction with the Israelite livestock (9:4)?
    • To emphasise it was Pharaoh & the Egyptians he was punishing
    • When Israel left Egypt, they still would have their livestock to take with them.
    • Application: despite confirming that it was only the Egyptian livestock that had died Pharaoh remained disobedient to the Lords requests,
    • Does this not remind us of the worlds rejection of God?
    • Were we like this before God ‘softened’ our hearts & brought us to a point of redemption thru acceptance and faith in Jesus?
  • • The Sixth Plague: Boils – read Exodus 9:8 - 12.
    • Now the Lord brings a plague that directly affects each Egyptian,
    • Although not told we can only assume the Israelites were spared
    • Handfuls of soot were to be thrown in the air in the sight of Pharaoh (9:8).
    • Note the soot was from a kiln (9:10) – presumably one used in brick making which was so oppressive on the Israelites!!
    • Why do you think Pharaoh had maintained the presence of the magicians (9:11) despite their lack of previous success?
    • Pharaoh was not willing to grant the God of Israel recognition & sovereignty thus maintaining an outward show of his authority.
    • Scripture records that “the Lord Hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (9:12).
    • In each of the previous five plagues it is observed that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
    • God had predicted to Moses before the plagues began that he would “harden Pharaoh’s heart” (4:21 & 7:3).
    • Ten times (4: 21; 7: 3; 9: 12; 10: 1, 20, 27; 11: 10; 14: 4, 8, 17) the scripture notes specifically that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and ten times (7: 13– 14, 22; 8: 15, 19, 32; 9: 7, 34– 35; 13: 15) scripture indicates the king hardened his own heart.
    • The Lords plan in taking his people from Egypt would not be thwarted despite the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart.
  • • Application: whilst the sovereign Lord maintains the power to intervene as he chooses we will never lose personal responsibility for the outcome of our own actions.
    • His desired outcome will predominate.
    • We should always be prayerfully seeking His confirmation & guidance that our actions & decisions are within the outcome He desires.
    • Not easy, but as Christians this should be our objective & desire.
  • • The Seventh Plague: Hail – read Exodus 9:13 - 34.
    • As indicated in our diagram Moses confronted Pharaoh by the river probably as he went to bathe in the Nile.
    • Again, it is emphasised that it was the Lords request to Pharaoh to “let my people go, that they may serve me” (9:13).
    • This time the plague would not only affect the Egyptian people but also be directed at Pharaoh personally, so that,
    • Pharaoh may know there is none like the Lord on earth (9:14).
    • God was being patient with Pharaoh & could by now have struck Pharaoh & the Egyptians from the earth (9:15).
    • God wanted Pharaoh to know who was in control – his stubborn rebellion only glorified God more in the end!
    • Paul spoke of God’s sovereignty over Pharaoh (Exodus 9:16 & Romans 9:17).
    • As we see in other parts of scripture – particularly the Old Testament – God raises up leaders & nations to a position of prominence in order to serve his purposes.
    • Pharaoh may have thought his position & actions were his own free choice but in reality, he was there to serve God’s purpose.
    • Application: Romans 9:18(ESV) – “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills”
    • This should be not only a warning but also an encouragement to the believer seeking to walk in the Lords will & purpose.
    • Note that unlike Pharaoh some of the Egyptians were beginning to fear & take heed of “the word of the Lord” (9:20 & 21).
    • Such hail had never been seen in Egypt before (9:25) – it is still rare today – it’s frightening intensity leading them to believe the wrath of God was being poured down from heaven.
    • The plague was only directed at Pharaoh & the Egyptians with the Israelites in the land of Goshen spared (9:26).
    • Pharaoh’s reaction to the plague was to,
    • Initially acknowledge his sin & God was right (9:27),
    • Then hardened when the hail had stopped (9:34).
  • • Pharaoh remains stubborn in face of all the plagues – read Exodus 9:35.
    • Reflecting on the story so far, how do you think Moses & Aaron must have felt?
    • Moses was beginning to understand Pharaoh (9:30) & no doubt believed what God had foretold him Pharaoh’s reaction would be.
    • His obedience & reliance on the Lord was complete.
    • When God requested Moses go to Pharaoh he did.
    • When Pharaoh requested the plague be stopped Moses relied on the Lord to do so (9:33).
    • Again, scripture indicates Pharaoh’s heart was hardened – this time apparently by his own stubbornness.
  • • Applications & takeaways.
    • We continue to observe Moses life as an example of faith, obedience & endurance for which he was commended in Hebrews 11:23 – 31.
    • He had chosen Moses & Aaron as his servants to achieve this.
    • The Lord looks not on the outward appearance but the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) – what has he personally chosen us for?
    • Whilst the sovereign Lord maintains the power to intervene as he chooses we never lose personal responsibility for the outcome of our own actions.
    • His desired outcome will predominate.
    • This was demonstrated in both the Lord hardening Pharaoh’s heart and on other occasions Pharaoh’s own stubbornness leading to his heart being hardened (Romans 9:17).
    • Recognising the Lords sovereignty & authority – especially as it is challenged by others as Pharaoh did - how does this impact our lives?
    • The Lord had a plan & continued to encourage Moses to stick with it
    • Pharaoh would “Let my people go”!!
    • Do we find ourselves in similar circumstances today?