You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Do you remember that hailstorm we had a few years ago? Oh yeah, lots of hail. We wound up needing a whole new roof. Actually, half the city needed a whole new roof. It was big hail, and you never worry about hail until actually you see it destroy stuff. Oh my gosh, it mashed the garden. Well, today when we get back to Egypt, we're going to have hail that really destroys stuff.
Today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. Welcome to our dining room table. I'm Dorothy.
And I'm Jim. And this is More Than Ink, where we just sit at our dining room table and talk about the scriptures, and we never know exactly where it's going, except what's in the text. And we bring up our own little handwritten notes, and we're not sure what the other person has.
We don't rehearse these, and we don't plan them. It's kind of like playing Battleship. I've got my, on my side of the table, I've got my stuff, you've got your side, and we'll see what comes out. It's a fascinating process. It's not a competition, but it's sort of fun. This is what makes it fun. But we do teach each other, and also affirm each other, and you'll hear us disagree with each other once in a while. Absolutely. And that is part of the glory of wrestling together with the Word of God for understanding.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and if you just have an inkling to get together with someone and say, let's read the Bible together. Well, neither one of us is an expert.
How can we do this? Well, I'll tell you, when two people read the Word together, you come up with more than two people of questions, which makes it really a fascinating thing to pursue. Yeah, now there are some basic, basic rules, right? Write down your questions. Let the Scripture interpret itself. Don't just read a sentence and then go wig off into something weird, right? So, you know, when we're reading narrative like this, we want to be careful that we don't over-spiritualize every point. We want to look for the main point of the story. Right. See what's transferable. What is it telling us about God?
What is he like? What is it saying to us about our condition? Yeah.
And where does it connect with real history? Yeah, yeah, and often when you do bring up questions that are, you both, you know, you raise your eyebrows and shrug your shoulders and go, I don't know, but what I do know is God is like this from what I'm seeing. So those are, those are pretty obvious takeaways. Well, we have gone through now six plagues, six of the 10 plagues, and last week we left them with boils. Boy, are they ramping up. Yeah, they've lost all of their domestic animals, their boils. Maybe they've recovered from the boils.
I don't know, but they are ramping up and they're getting more personal and close to home. The boils are a very close to home thing and so God directly afflicts them and that's a big deal. Today, it's going to be sort of like that all over again. Well, and if you've ever been through a massive hail storm like we were a few years ago, you can just imagine how much damage, massive hail.
Maybe you don't have to damage it. Imagine it. Maybe you've experienced it, how much damage hail can do. Yeah, it's terrifying. It's terrifying. In fact, when we, when we moved to Spokane some years ago, the first month I was there, I was driving home on the freeway and I couldn't see a car in front of me on the freeway.
I got off the freeway because the hail came down so thick it made a curtain around me and then it went away in about 15 seconds, cleared up and suddenly I could see around me and there was a foot deep of hail on the freeway. Okay, we need to get into the text. Yeah, let's do it. Let's do it. You want me to start into it?
Yeah, you start. Okay, well, so we're, we're in the middle of chapter nine at verse 13. This is the seventh plague.
So then the Lord said to Moses, rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, you know, we've seen that before this, these early morning chats and say to Pharaoh, thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, let my people go that they may serve me. For this time, 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. For by now I could have, I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence and, and you would have been cut off from the earth.
That's a way of saying die. 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. You're still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. So 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. And 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. Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh, heard his slaves and his livestock in his houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field. Okay, wait a minute. I thought all the livestock were killed.
That's what it sounded like last time. In the previous plague. But we have some livestock still. Well, so as I said the other day, it's possible that they went and bought more livestock from the Israelites who still had theirs. Right, exactly. I mean there's ways you pivot when you have these kinds of disasters and they seem to have pivoted somehow.
So whatever they did to recover from that loss, they're going to lose if they don't pull it inside the barns. So that tells you that this was a period of time that took place here. It wasn't like the next day after the cattle all died that this next one came. So we really have no frame of reference for how long the time span was for these things to unfold. But it was blow after blow after blow.
You barely catch your breath and the next one comes. Yeah, the last two were devastating economically. I mean we talked about it's like our current COVID shutdown. So will this one be. Yeah, this is a really bad deal. Now his warning here, it's interesting.
It's distinguished in a couple of ways. In fact, one way he actually says, you know, if you listen to what I'm saying, you can mitigate this disaster. You know, just bring your animals inside. Well, that's the thing, isn't it? God says, if you obey me. If you believe what I'm saying.
The disaster will not fall on you. Right, and there's a lot of theology in that. That is a core principle in the scriptures.
If you hear God's word and heed it, you will come in out of the judgment. Yep, yep. If you hear his voice today, harken to his voice.
Do something about it. And that's, so here he's saying, you know, here's a second level challenge for you. Not only just is this hail going to be a way I'm going to try and persuade you to let my people go, but you can do something about it if you just believe what I'm saying. So you know what's happening here is we then begin to see even a separation, not just with the Israelites from the Egyptians, but Egyptians from Egyptians. Yes.
Because it says some of the servants among the Egyptians, Pharaoh's servants, hurried and brought their animals in. That's right. They're convinced. They've seen enough. Yeah, exactly.
They've had enough evidence to believe that this is going to happen. Yeah, yeah. But we have to circle back to this huge, huge statement that's right here in the middle of this, God says.
Oh, yes. Because this really is, because this really is, should capture our attention. This is the first time God says anything like this in the midst of the plagues. In verse 14, he says, this time I'll send all my plagues on you yourself and on your servants and your people. Here's his purpose.
So that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. Right? All your little puny made up Egyptian gods. Don't stack up.
Or your little magicians running around on the floor. Right. Okay. Then verse 16, he says, but for this purpose, I could have cut you off, but for this purpose, I've raised you up to show you my power so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. That is a huge statement of God's purpose in all of this. If you're asking yourself, why did God put Pharaoh and the Egyptians through this? Well, there it is. Yep, yep.
To show you my power so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. And it's interesting that he says in all the earth, not just Egypt. Right. I think this became a pretty famous event from all the peoples around. Well, from a very practical point of view, Egypt was a massive trade nation, right? There was a huge, huge trade route coming across from the east and from the north down through across the coast by Gaza, coming across the top of the desert into Egypt. And so that trade would not have necessarily stopped during this time, but word would have been gone to be carried back to all the nations with whom Egypt traded. Yeah. What the heck is going on in Egypt?
Yeah. Doesn't it make you wonder what the people in Canaan when Israel came up, what they were thinking? Well, okay. We know what they were thinking because some 40, 50 years later when they come into Jericho, Rahab says, oh, we've heard about your God. Well, how did she hear that? Probably from her parents because this was a generation later.
And from these stories right here. So the fame of what was happening in Egypt was spreading through all the known earth. God's name was proclaimed in all the earth, that he's the only God. The only God. He is the only God. He's the one in charge of everything. This is this God and this God is interceding on behalf of his nation, Israel. And he is the one who placed Pharaoh in power, raised him up, and kept him there in order to show God's glory. Boy, does that scramble our brain. Yeah, I know. I mean, we have despots today that are in power and we're like, God, what are you doing?
Why don't you take this guy out? Yeah. Yeah. Well, God seems to be doing something other than we can see.
Yes. And even if it's as simple as saying in this particular case, you ask a man on the street, who's the most powerful person on earth right now? They say, well, Pharaoh is. Pharaoh is. He says, well, my God's more powerful than him.
Really? More powerful than Pharaoh? I can't even imagine a God like that.
You're right. It is hard to imagine, but Pharaoh went down under the thumb of this God. So God says, I will show you, you're still exalting yourself against my people and you won't let them go. So, and then he gives them a warning, a very specific warning, tomorrow the hail is going to fall. Yeah.
Yeah. And again, it's this exalting yourself. And by the way, the picture is pretty instructive. It means to elevate yourself. To elevate yourself. To think of yourself as higher and better and above somebody else.
We still use that language today. It says that's what you're continually doing. You think that you're something special. You're something elevated above these people. You think you're really something in that particular sense, but you know what? You're not. And because of that, you think you deserve keeping my people. Like you're the elite class and you're the servant class and you're something, but you're actually not something at all. You're nothing.
Yeah. The contrast is really instructive here. That these nobody servants that work for this very powerful nation, these nobody servants are being represented by the most powerful being in the universe.
It's really something. So hail is going to come. And by the way, if you're smart, you'll listen to my words. Have I been wrong before? Well, God's very specific. He says tomorrow about this time. The clock is ticking.
Yeah. I mean, the miracle is as much the timing as it is the actual thing, because this is an event that he says has never happened in Egypt before. They can't even imagine what this is going to be like. I mean, I'm sure in their lifetimes, they've never seen anything like this.
And by the way, you can set your watches. It's going to happen at this time tomorrow. Wow. Well, and you know, we all know who's experienced hail. That hail can happen very suddenly without warning. You just don't know it's coming and boom, all of a sudden it's raining rocks all around you. So, you know, the fact that this is called a very heavy hail. Well, he says, you know, if you're outside, you'll die.
You'll die. That's a pretty bad hail. It's going to kill your animals. Well, when we had that hailstorm a few years ago, I had baby chickens in the yard and I ran out and grabbed them because the hail balls were as big as their heads.
I grabbed those little birds and brought them to the house. That would have killed them. Every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die. This is lethal hail.
So isn't this fascinating? Verse 21, it says, whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried, right? Who feared the Lord of the Lord. But in verse 21, whoever didn't pay attention to the word of the Lord, why would you not pay attention to the word of this God up to this point who had been stirring nature, killed all your livestock and inflicted a burning skin affliction on you? Yeah, even if Pharaoh has a pride issue that's keeping him from recognizing, the people would say, no, okay, we're in now.
We're going to do something about it. So we're seeing this division beginning to show up among the Egyptians themselves. Some are beginning to fear the word of the Lord. Yeah, and it could very well be in distinction to fearing the word of Pharaoh.
I mean, what if you were someone who could be seen by Pharaoh and you're pulling your animals inside? You say, hey, what are you doing? Right.
What are you doing? Well, their God has done, hey, we got our own gods. So it could be some of that pressure. We don't know, but we do know there's a division. Some people are going to save their animals and some aren't. And some people are going to die.
It's the ones who listen to what God has said and believe it's happening. Yeah, yeah. We talked about this before.
That is still true. The word of the Lord, are you going to believe me or are you not going to believe me? When God speaks, do you listen?
Yeah. This is the same problem they'll have over 40 years later when they try and go into the land and they see the giants. And they say, God said he's going to take us in there, but hey, there's giants.
How are we supposed to do this? They wouldn't believe his promise. And it's interesting too, before we read on, we have to read on, that hail in the scripture, it shows up 30-ish times in scripture. Half of them are right here in this passage in Exodus. And some of the others, where they show up, hail is always indicative of judgment.
It is, yeah. Hail is not a blessing, hail is a judgment. Did you look, there's that place somewhere in Deuteronomy where it's mentioned as part of the curses if you don't listen to God. Oh, I didn't turn that one up. Yeah, I forgot. Yeah, I can't remember what it is. But I did find in Psalm 148 where it says, hail does his bidding. Yes.
Right. And then of course there's that very famous passage in Revelation where the hail comes and it's Revelation 16, 21. Huge hailstones about 100 pounds each came down from heaven upon men and men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail.
So that even in Revelation is a direct reference back to the judgment of hail on Egypt where the response of those who do not listen to God is to blaspheme him. When the symbolism is very clear, I mean, you always think of God as being in heaven above you in the sky above you. Right. So when you got these hardballs coming down from heaven, it's pretty clear where it's coming from.
The symbology is unmistakable. Yeah. So, yeah. Boy, we got to read on. We need to push on. Did it happen? Verse 22.
Okay. So then the Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hands toward heaven so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt on man and beast and every plant in the field in the land of Egypt. 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. There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail. Very heavy hail such as had never been seen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 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. Every tree.
Only in the land of Goshen where the people of Israel were, there was no hail. Wow. Wow. You want to stop there? Okay, so it happened. It happened.
Well, I think we probably should press on because that's just the description of the event unless there's something you want to say. Well, the only thing is, you know, in the warning God said, if you bring your animals and your people in, they'll live. They're outside, they'll die. He didn't mention anything about the fact you can't bring your plants inside, you know, you have this kind of hail. And here he mentions it and sure enough, you know, it just wrecks it. Remember that. Okay, but hail mashes what's on the surface but doesn't destroy the root.
Right, and we'll see that in a second, but it's interesting here. I was just thinking back that June that we had that hail a long time ago and here you have your new little tomatoes just coming up. Oh, baby bees, tomatoes. Just destroyed them and that's, think of that. Just wipes them out. Just smithereens.
If you're a person or a beast out in the field, you die and your plants are just smashed to nothing. So the damage has happened. So 27. So what's the response? So then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron. So they've been coming to him but now Pharaoh sends for them.
Yeah. Says, and this is the one he says, this time I have sinned. The Lord is in the right and I and my people are in the wrong. 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. Moses said to him, as soon as I've 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.
But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God. Yeah. Isn't that interesting?
I know your heart's not right, but I'm still going to plead for you. Yeah. And then we get this little parentheses here. Now the flax and barley were struck down for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in the bud, but the wheat and the emmer were not struck down for their late coming up. So Moses went out from the city of 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. 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. 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.
Yep. What is going on here? Moses knew his heart hadn't changed. I know you don't fear the Lord God. And so really what you see is a man who regrets the consequence of his sin not so much as he's feeling remorse, not repentance. Because he says he sinned up in 27 and down here at the end, God says he sinned again. So it's interesting that now we equate the fact that hardening your heart is sin or at least a result of it. They're connected together. Right.
They're connected here for the first time. He sinned and hardened his heart. He sinned and hardened his heart. Yeah. And yeah, and so here's the repercussions.
It's devastating. But it's interesting what Pharaoh says now. Okay, this time I've sinned. The Lord's right. He says the Lord's right. Go and plead with him.
So he doesn't take personal, he doesn't go personally to God. No. He says now you go. You go. Yeah.
And tell him there's enough thunder and lightning, thunder and hail. Yeah. Yeah. This is enough. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. So he wants his circumstances fixed. Yeah.
But he is unwilling to be fixed himself. Well, and I think it's interesting that when Moses responds to him, he says, okay, I'll do this. When I go out of the city, I'll stretch out my hand. I'll do this.
I'll do this. And then he says to Pharaoh in his face, he says to him, you know, I know that you don't yet fear the Lord God. Has Moses grown or what? Yeah, I know.
I just, I find that fascinating. I mean, he can mumble that under his breath when he leaves, but he says it right to Pharaoh's face, right to his face. I know that you don't yet fear the Lord. And so, so, you know, when I don't know how Pharaoh can find the guts to change his mind on this when he says, I've already been outed. I mean, they know my heart. Moses knows my heart.
Yeah. Everyone knows that I'm just doing this because the circumstances changed to my benefit. You know, I'm not really repentant in any real way.
I mean, they know me inside and out, but still I'm going to change my mind and get away with it. Well, we're going to actually see in the next few weeks that actually Pharaoh's people begin to say to him, what is wrong with you? Don't you see that Egypt is ruined? Exactly.
And he is so intent in his hardness. Yeah. And I see it as a repudiation of him and just in the common life in Egypt as well, because there probably were some people who saved their animals in the barn from the hail. Oh, it says that there were.
Yeah. And so now they're walking around with their animals. They're the only ones that have animals in Egypt. They're the ones that went against Pharaoh and went with the God of Israel.
And that's just got to be a constant reminder. As, as Pharaoh looks across his land, there were some people that actually did heed the word of God where I did not and look at their benefit. That's gotta be just a constant walking reminder in front of them that you know what, if you listen to God, you'll find life. If you don't listen to God, you'll find death.
And I don't know. So now he's got this testimony from his people walking around their animals and against him and against what he's done. So many people now are turning against Pharaoh and they're, they're losing people in their households. And you know, when we get to the 10th plague, they'll lose household members in a big way. Yeah.
So this has just escalated in a massive way. But it's interesting that, that the writer here, which of course is Moses, says, you know, the flax and the barley were struck down, mashed to a pulp, but the wheat and the emmer were still, the barley and emmer were still okay. The flax was in the butt. Like we're saved. At least we have our wheat. Right.
Because the hail didn't penetrate what was planted below the dirt, which is interesting because that's going to be coming up when the locusts come. That benefit is not going to survive for very long. That's right.
So, you know, you think you may still have a little money in the bank, but as time passes. Yeah. And I've always wondered, now this is total speculation on my part, but I wonder with Pharaoh in his heart or whether he strutted around after this and said, well folks, things do look bad. We lost all of our barley, you know, we, everything does look bad, but at least we've got our wheat. You know, maybe the God of Israel is slipping a little bit because he could have timed this a little better and taken out all the wheat, but he didn't. So we got our wheat.
So at least we got our wheat. But you know, when you get in the next chapter, that's not going to matter anymore. Yeah. Yeah.
Just not going to matter. Well, we've come down near the end of our time here. Boy, we're getting close to the end. So, you know, my question is, what is this telling us about God always?
Is there new information here? Well, we get that incredible statement. He says, I'm doing this so you'll know there is none like me.
Yeah. And it's really true. That even a despot like Pharaoh, God says, I've put you in place to serve my purpose. You think you're serving your own purpose, but you're serving my purpose. My name will be proclaimed in all the earth.
I will show my power because you are such a wretch. Yeah. The contrast. Yeah. And God sets his own people apart. That struck me so visually, like we said the other day about, you know, what about if you look at your driveway and you see snow in your driveway and no snow in your neighbors?
Well, what's with that? Well, this is death giving hail that's not falling. Right.
On the Israelites. And you can't attribute it to nature. No. It doesn't make any sense. Well, we know the hail storm can be a whim, right?
It can land on me and not my neighbor. Yeah. But all the Israelites?
But all the Israelites, the whole region? Yeah. Statistically, that's a pretty low probability. Yeah. That's not going to happen. And then here also we have this takeaway that this resistance to believing God's word is now actually sin.
Right. And what it can do to your heart is it can actually harden your heart to accept what God says even further as you do that. So it's actually a sinful posture to take when you hear God's words and you say, nope, not going to have anything to do with it. Now he tries, he tries to mediate it a little bit by, by basically, you know, it looks like he regrets the consequences of his sin. It looks like he says, well, that turned out really poorly. Well, so will you plead for me? It looks like he, he takes a couple steps in the right direction, but he's really not.
He's really not. That's remorse. That's just remorse. This hurts. I'm sorry it's happening.
That's right. Fix it. I regret this consequence. Maybe next time I won't do this, but I regret the consequence, but no one's leaving Egypt. You know, there's another takeaway here when it says that Pharaoh's heart was hardened, Pharaoh hardened his heart and his servants hardened their hearts.
So that influence of a hardened heart in a leader can influence people who otherwise might have been inclined another way to believe God. That is a warning. God's gracious when he gives a warning. He says that the judgment is coming. The clock is ticking.
Do not harden your heart. Yep. Yep. Yep. That's from Psalm 95, right? Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart. Yeah.
And that's all, that couple always goes together biblically. You hear his voice, what are you going to do about it? And you're going to obey it? You're going to do something about it? Or are you just going to deny it and say, I know better?
Those always go together. And, uh, and in God's fairness, you know, it's not as though he's not telling us where these things could lead. He's telling us very clearly. It's in our pride and in our sin. We say, nope, don't have anything to do with exalting ourselves, exalting ourselves. And yet we, we think we're getting away with it, but just like Moses has a right to Pharaoh's face, you know, back there in verse 30, you know, I know that you don't yet fear the Lord. You just don't fear him.
Your heart's not in the right place. And I know that, but I'm still gonna plead for God and we'll take away the hail, but I know where we're at. You're not fooling anybody.
Yeah. And God, God looks at our hearts and we're not fooling anybody when we do what we do and just disobey what God said. Well, we're at our end of our time and I'm going to come back next week and starting to chapter 10, a very, very famous plague as we come next time.
And sure enough, that ace in the hole of not having your wheat sprouted is not going to be very helpful because in a few minutes, it's all going to be gone. So I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy and come back and join us next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. Okay, not so hot. It's not bad.
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