Tag: plagues

Between a rock and a hard place!

Scripture Reading for January 23:  Exodus 13-15

Exodus 14:24-25 “And in the morning watch, the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud, looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them. . .”

Moses had obeyed the Lord and witnessed the 10 plagues that humbled Pharaoh and judged the people of Egypt and their gods.  He and Israel had experienced God’s protection and blessing throughout this difficult time.  The final plague had convinced Pharaoh to send the Israelites away.  The Egyptians had given them many items of silver and gold and they went away rich!  God healed their bodies and there was not one feeble or sick person in Israel!  The lamb that they had eaten and the blood over their doors had brought them amazing deliverance and health!  They left Egypt following the cloud of God’s presence by day and a pillar of fire by night!  But, trouble was lurking not far behind them!

The Egyptians came to their senses and Pharaoh ordered all his army into mobilization and hot pursuit!  The Israelites, under the direction of the Cloud and Fire of God’s Presence, were camped in the desert by the Red Sea.  They looked up and saw the army of Egypt approaching and “cried out to the Lord”.  (Exodus 14:10-13)  They began the “blame game” on Moses and God for bringing them out in the desert to die!  What had started out so good with such joy now looked like approaching death.

But God fought for them!  If God is for you, who can be against you?  (Romans 8:31)  The God of the pillar of cloud and fire can do anything!  When you are following His instructions, the journey may get wild and even scary at times, but you will enjoy the ending!   Moses had the instructions from the Lord and held out his staff over the waters.  The waters were parted and the Israelites walked over on dry ground between two walls of water.  As soon as the Egyptians were between the walls of water, their wheels started to come off.  Moses held out his staff again and the Egyptians were drowned in the surging sea!

Are you currently in a difficult place facing dangerous obstacles? Have you ever used the ‘blame’ game? What encouragement does this story give you?

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The protection of the blood

Scripture reading for January 22nd:  Exodus10-12

My wife and I adopted two girls from Russia in 1999.  They were 8 and 9 years of age and spoke no English when they came to America from near Siberia in August of that year.  We were eager to share our faith in Jesus with them and took them to church each week.  We had to communicate in sign language most of the time.  For Easter of 2000, I did an illustrated sermon with a live lamb, a basin of red paint, and a door frame.  I also had a big knife.  I explained the story of the Passover lamb that was killed for the Israelites from Exodus 12.  That day, one of our girls prayed to receive the Lord as her Savior!  Pictures are powerful tools for presenting truth!

Egyptians worshiped many gods and Pharaoh, himself, was considered like a god.  God sent Moses to confront Pharaoh with ten plagues. Scripture stated that  Pharaoh hardened his heart through the first few plagues. (Exodus 8:15, 32)  After the plague of death on Pharaoh’s animals, it states that “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”  (Exodus 9:12)  This hardening of a heart is what happens when truth is denied and a person or nation refuses to hear God’s voice or obey His instructions.  When you pass a certain point, God then turns you over and hardens your heart to your own destruction!

The last plague was the death of all the firstborn.  A lamb was to be brought into the house on the tenth day of the month.  The Israelites were to be sure it was a perfect lamb, without blemish.  They were to keep it until the fourteenth day and slaughter it at twilight.  The elder in the home was to take blood and sprinkle it on the doorpost and over the lentil.  Every family member was to be inside.  The lamb’s body was to be roasted in the fire and eaten.  They were to be ready to travel.  At midnight, the death angel would visit each household.  When he saw the blood on the door post of a house, he would pass over that home.  Every home that failed to be covered with the blood would find the firstborn child suddenly dead!  Those with faith to obey God would be spared!

Exodus 12:13 “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”

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Death and plague, but no repentance!

Scripture reading for December 12th: Revelation 9, Psalm 97, Proverbs 30

Revelation 9: 18-21 “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

John witnessed in heaven the sixth trumpet sounding and the resulting plagues on the earth. In this judgment, four fallen angels have been bound at the Euphrates river. They are allowed to kill a third of mankind by plagues of fire and smoke and sulfur coming from a large number of mounted troops who are riding demonic horses. In spite of the death and the plagues, the people remaining on earth refuse to repent. They cling to their idols, who can neither see or hear or walk! They continue in their hatred, murders, sorceries, and immorality, although they know these actions have brought upon them the judgment of God Almighty. This is the mystery of iniquity: it blinds its perpetrators and takes them captive to their own destruction.

Psalm 97:7-8 “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship Him, all you gods! Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of Your judgments, O Lord. For You, O Lord, are Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods.”

Prayer: Father God, these sobering judgments cause me to cling even closer to Jesus Christ! Have mercy on our world and its inhabitants, Lord! Open their eyes to truth and draw them to repentance. Forgive them of their idolatry and selfish sins. I will be glad and rejoice when Your mercy accomplishes salvation for believers and Your justice fills the earth! You are exalted above all the earth! Worthy is the Lamb!

Proverbs 30:12-13 “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth. There are those–how lofty are their eyes, how high their eyelids lift!”

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Gone in one hour!

Scripture reading for December 27th: Revelation 18:1-24

John’s visit to heaven continued with the appearance of a shining angel with great authority.  This angel announced the fall of Babylon the Great.  God’s judgment would come upon her because she had become home to every demonic power and had used her evil to cause all nations and kings to become drunk on her evil wine of adultery.  This is the spiritual adultery of idolatry!

“Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven and God has remembered her crimes.  . . .Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine.  She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” (Revelation 18:4-5, 8)   God called His people out of Babylon.  Babylon was to be suddenly destroyed.  In just one day her plagues would overtake her.  She would be given back double for all her sins! This verse echoes the warnings from Jeremiah six hundred years before Christ!    ” Flee from Babylon, run for your lives! . . .Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.” (Jeremiah 51:6-11)

John next heard the report of the kings of the earth mourning because of the fall of Babylon.  They would see the smoke of her burning and weep and lament over her downfall: “Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power!  In one hour your doom has come! (Revelation 18:10)  The kings of earth now speak of this destruction taking place in one hour!  In just one hour all the glittering wealth of Babylon had come to ruin and the world system of humanistic power and trade was gone forever.

The saints were called to rejoice because of the judgment of God on the system that had mistreated them.  “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:  With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” (Revelation 18:21)  John saw this mighty sign in heaven and was probably reminded of the prophesy of Jeremiah.  He also had something similar to do in Babylon with his prophesy.  (Jeremiah 51:59-64)  The end of all will come suddenly and violently for those who are in rebellion against God!

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One more night with the frogs!

Scripture reading for January 21st: Exodus 7-10

When I was younger, we would hunt frogs each fall on a late October night that was lit by a full moon.  It was an annual ritual that our neighborhood used to enjoy.  The men would go out after dark with flashlights, spears, and burlap sacks and head for the farm ponds.  The frogs would be gathering in clusters, getting ready to head down into the mud for the winter.  They were easy picking!  After harvest, the neighbors would gather to eat fried frog legs and pot-blessing, play cards and swap stories about the harvest.  It was great food and a good time!

In our reading today we have another story about frogs.  Moses had decreed a plague of frogs on the land of Egypt because Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go to worship God.  Frogs filled the land.  They were in the fields, houses, marketplace, Pharaoh’s palace, and even in the bedrooms!  Pharaoh summoned Moses to ask him to pray to God to get rid of those frogs.  Moses, trying to be polite, allowed Pharaoh to set the time when the frogs would be gone.  Pharaoh’s answer was, “tomorrow”.  Why tomorrow?  Did Pharaoh want one more night of frog hunting too?  Did he enjoy sleeping with the frogs?  Maybe one of his magicians had turned one of his kids into a frog?  These are some silly questions to ponder about this story! There are more serious ones.

It amazes me that when God offers us freedom to ask Him for anything, (John 14:13) we often answer just like Pharaoh: “tomorrow”.  Do we want one more night with our addiction?  Do we want to be sick one more night?  Do we want one more night to be angry and bitter?  Tomorrow never really comes.  When we procrastinate, we are saying that we love our sin or problem more than we love God.  We want one more night with the frogs!

Ask the Lord to help you break the bondage of procrastination.  Sit down with him today and get it taken care of!  Frogs may be tasty animals, but you don’t need another night with them!

“Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7

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