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Studies in Exodus. Presentation 07. The Table of Contents. Chapter 1v1-22 Introduction Chapter 2v1-25 Preparing a Deliverer Chapter 3v1-22 The Call of Moses [1] Chapter 4v1-17 The Call of Moses [2]

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Studies

in

Exodus

Presentation 07

slide2

The Table of Contents

Chapter 1v1-22 Introduction

Chapter 2v1-25 Preparing a Deliverer

Chapter 3v1-22 The Call of Moses [1]

Chapter 4v1-17 The Call of Moses [2]

Chapter 4v18-5v21 Final Preparations

Chapter 5v22-6v27 Discouragement and Comfort

Chapter 6v28-7v24 The Exposure of Evil

Chapter 8-v1-10v29 Idolatry: A Dangerous Refuge

Chapter 11v1-10 Corrective to Final Judgment

Chapter 12v1-30 Blood on the Doorposts

Chapter 12v31-42 God’s Faithfulness

Chap.13v1-16 Consecration of The Redeemed

Chap.13v17-14v18 God’s Dead Ends

Chap.14v19-31 Power to Deliver

Chap.15v1-21 The Exultation of God

Presentation 07

slide3

The Exposure

of Evil

Chapter 6v28-7v24

Presentation 07

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Introduction

Chap 7 marks a major shift in the focus of this book. Up until now our attention has been taken up with Moses, God’s deliverer. Now our attention is focused on the work of redemption - God's deliverance of his people. This deliverance is not merely a contest between Moses and Pharaoh but between good and evil, of God and Satan. A failure to recognise this will limit our understanding of these chapters. On one side stands Moses as God's vice-regent and on the other Pharaoh as Satan’s pawn.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

We begin with the hardening of Pharaoh's heart cf v3. Here is one of the most solemn truths in scripture. What is meant by a hardened heart? It is a heart which will not respond to reason nor will it humble itself to admit that it is wrong. But more than that it is a heart which resists God and is blindly

insensitive to both the light of his

Word and the operation of his Spirit.

In short it is the worst possible

spiritual condition in which a man

can find himself for from it there is

no escape, no possibility of change.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

But we read in v3 that God would harden Pharaoh's heart. There are some who immediately raise their hands in protest and shout "foul".Such people not only question the fairness of God, but ask. “Does God not now become the author of Pharaoh's sins, if Pharaoh is locked into a set of responses? Does that not question the righteousness of God for

punishing Pharaoh for his sins?”

These questions have disturbed

many for it points to the kind of

determinism found in some Islamic

thought, where man is not held

responsible for his sin, “its the will of Allah!”

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

At one level it is presumptuous to try to justify the activity of God. In Rom. 9.18 we read, "whom he wills he hardens".Paul argues that it is the sovereign choice of God to harden or soften the hearts of those he chooses. But we are in no position to accuse God of injustice. Our understanding is limited and we are often driven

back to say with Abraham before the destruction of the city

of Sodom, "Shall not the judge of all the

earth do right“ Gen 18.15.

Whatever God does, he cannot

be untrue to himself. He cannot

be unjust. We might not always understand his

actions but we can be sure he is always just.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

That said our passage sheds valuable light on this whole business. In v9 Pharaoh, after asking for a miraculous sign to test Moses credentials, refuses to be persuaded by it. Why? Becausehe had hardened his heart. Indeed Pharaoh hardens his heart again and again. Only after that does God harden it. Pharaoh is like a piece of malleable clay, he moulds it into a certain shape and despite appeals to change that shape refuses

to do so. Eventually that piece of clay

is fired in a kiln. And at the end of

that process the shape is no longer

open to change. It is too late!

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

This describes how God deals with Pharaoh. God calls for change and furnishes evidence of his power and rule. That appeal is obstinately resisted.

‘Very well’says God, ‘if that is the shape you want I will fire it in the kiln. I will confirm you in the direction you

have chosen’.

And so we have what can be described

as a judicial hardening.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

What caused Pharaoh to harden his heart? We find a hint in 7.1 the Lord saying to Moses "See I have made you like God to Pharaoh". Acting as God’s representative Moses demanded that Pharaoh recognise God's rule. Previously Moses had toned down the words God to that of a plea for Israel’s release. Now he speaks ALL that God commands him. No longer is he a supplicant cap in hand but representative of the Lord of the

universe making sovereign demands.

Pharaoh’s pride was dented. He did not

like the idea that God and not he was

No.1 in the universe

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

A Hardened Heart

Similarly , today men and women continue to harden their hearts. They will not accept God’s right to rule over their lives. And while gospel preaching ought to seek to entreat men and women to submit to God it must never give the impression that poor God needs men to do him a favour.

In Acts 17.30 we read that ‘God commands all men

everywhere to repent’. Some today are tempted to

tamper with the gospel and in their appeal say almost apologetically, “God would be very grateful if you

could kindly see your way to giving him an hour

or so of your time every week?”

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

Pharaoh’s reaction the miraculous signs God gave through Moses was to summon the magicians of Egypt. He would play down the significance of Moses’ miracle by showing the scope of his power. The Egyptian magicians were not mere conjurers. Magic to the modern man means conjuring tricks.

But this is something much more sinister

than conjuring. We are intended to see

Satanic power at work. The N.T. speaks of

precisely this sort of thing Rev. 16.14,

2 Thes.2.9-10 and 2Tim 3.8 where the

Egyptian exponents are named.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

Three times the magicians of Egypt were allowed to display their power, 7.12 staffs, 7.22 Nile to blood and 8.12 the plague of frogs. The magicians of Egypt were incapable of reproducing the fourth plague. What is all this meant to teach? Quite simply, the limitation of the power of evil. In v12 we read that Aaron’s staff devoured their staffs. The symbols of

the magician’s authority disappear and

the staff of God's servant remains as victor.

This incident foreshadows not only the eventual

victory of God in Egypt but also over all the powers

of darkness on the cross and points forward to the

final destruction of Satan.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

God permits Pharaoh’s magicians to work their miracles for a number of reasons. They reveal Satan as a great imitator. He seeks to imitate the work of God in order to nullify it. God's servant performed miracles, ‘very well’ says Satan, ‘lest too much credibility be given to that let’s reproduce that work’.

Many of the gifts of the Spirit can be counterfeited

cf. Matt.7.21-22... But Satan is incapable of

counterfeiting is the fruit of the Spirit. This is

precisely why Jesus said that genuine

disciples could be recognised not by their

gifts but by their fruit! Matt.7.20

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

Is this really relevant for today? Oh yes. Occultists, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists other cults can describe miracles they have witnessed, miraculous healings etc. And people

use the pragmatic argument, “If it is miraculous -

in the sense that there is no rational explanation -

Then it must be of God and therefore OK.”

But Satan employs his wiles to deceive. When he

fails to intimidate as the roaring lion, he comes as

the angel of light with ‘lying wonders’ 2Thes 2.9.

The purpose of the miraculous in the demonic world

is to distract, mislead and attempt to marginalise

the gospel.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

Note the pattern in Exodus. First Satan attempted to oppose the plan of God by force, i.e. the persecution and attempted elimination of the Hebrew people. When that failed he uses a more subtle method - ‘See! there is no difference between Egyptian magic and God’s power’. Today, gullible folk are hood-winked by

healing crystals, spirit guides, chakra healings,

laughing Buddhas etc. These lying wonders aim to

deceive! It is against this background that we are

to understand the series of plagues about to be

rolled out on Egypt their goal was to reveal what was

authentically spiritual. As such they had a vital part

to play in the saving purposes of God.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

The Conflict Intensified

Not only were the plagues a punishment upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians for their cruel treatment of God's people, causing Pharaoh momentarily to admit in 10.16 "I have sinned”. They plagues were also a judgement upon the so-called gods of Egypt cf Num. 33.4. When we examine them in more detail: the Nile, the sun, the frogs etc., each of which were worshipped as an Egyptian God - we will see that God is saying, “I am in control and your so-called gods are helpless before me”. Even the Egyptian magicians are forced to acknowledge this truth cf 8.19

where they describe the plagues as "the finger of God”.

Presentation 07

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The Exposure of Evil

Conclusion

The clash between two world views serves as a timely reminder that we are caught up in a spiritual conflict, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers“ Eph.6.12. This dimension of the Christian life should not frighten us.

We enter the fray armed in the whole armour of God and

in the sure knowledge that God will never allow evil to

triumph. The God who exposed the limited power of

the Egyptian idols continues to expose the gods of the

C21st. And that should come as a great encouragement

to our hearts.

Presentation 07