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Exodus 7:14-25

November 5, 2014

The last time we were together we read about when God turned Aarons staff into a
serpent to prove his power and free Israel from Egyptian slavery. He had, however,
already determined that Pharaoh wouldnt listen, and thats what happened when the
magicians came into the room and performed the same wonder; Pharaohs hard heart got
harder:
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And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaohs heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the
people go. 15Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water;
and thou shalt stand by the rivers brink against he come; and the rod which was
turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. 16And thou shalt say unto him, The
LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they
may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. 17Thus
saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the
rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be
turned to blood. 18And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink;
and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

Pharaohs refusal initiates the beginning of the ten plagues; Moses leaves the palace, and
meets Pharaoh at the rivers bank the next morning with a warning: let the people go or
this water turns to blood and everything in it dies.
Ill keep reminding you that we want to be careful about giving symbolic meaning to the
plagues. This is Moses first public miracle, and Jesus turned water into wine for his first
public act, but the link isnt stressed anywhere in the Old or New Testaments. Maybe
theyre connected, but God doesnt make a big dealing telling us about it. The main point
that is expressed comes from verse seventeen: In this thou shalt know that I am Yahweh.
This Yahweh puts a difference between Egypt and Israel as he uses one to display his
power to destroy and the other his power to deliver.
Announcing the wonder before it happens shows that its not some freak accident, and it
answers Pharaoh's question from 5:2. Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice?
Well, this is the LORD, and Pharaoh is impotent to stop him. In fact, none of the Egyptian
gods can do anything to prevent Yahweh from taking Egypts lifesource, and thats the
point: Yahweh is powerful to destroy.
He is also powerful to deliver, and that echoes in Psalm 78 where the writer emphasizes
Israels cycles of salvation, unfaithfulness, and judgment. He walks through their history
including the Exodus and all its wonders (v. 44), and observes that the Lord saved
repeatedly That they might set their hope in God (v. 7).
This wonder is also mentioned in Psalm 105:29 to highlight Gods faithfulness despite
Israels cycle of failures: For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
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And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: 44And gave them the
lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; 45That they might observe his
statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD (Ps. 105:42-45).
The reason the water turned to blood was to demonstrate Yahweh's power to deliver
Israel from Egypt because of the promise made to Abraham! That needs to be our focus,
and that points us ahead to Christ and things to come:
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead
man: and every living soul died in the sea. 4And the third angel poured out his vial upon the
rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5And I heard the angel of the waters
say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged
thus. 6For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to
drink; for they are worthy. 7And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God
Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments (Rev. 16:3-7).
The world will drink blood as judgment of their treatment of Gods people. Their attitude
today is similar to Egypts then, and their fate will be the same. Theres comfort for Gods
people in this because we know that if he kept his promise then he will also keep it now.

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And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine
hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their
ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there
may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of
stone. 20And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod,
and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of
his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21And the
fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink
of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Some try to explain the blood as a natural phenomenon saying that really the water just
turned red and looked like blood, but remember that God calls this a wonder and
magicians were called to duplicate it. If what happened was normal, no one would have
been impressed. Moreover, the blood wasnt confined to the river; everything from
streams to ponds to the stone jars in peoples kitchens filled with blood.
The result was the death of the fish which was catastrophic considering it was a food
source. When this is combined with the loss of cattle to the hail and of crops to the
locusts, the Egyptians be desperate and their weakness exposed. For now, though, its a
minor inconvenience to Pharaoh who once again calls up his magicians to replicate what
theyve seen and disprove Yahweh's power:
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And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaohs heart was
hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said. 23And Pharaoh
turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
Now, once again, theres some question about whether the magicians were actually given
supernatural power or if this is just a parlor trick. Moses doesnt stress either one, and I
dont think it matters much because the point is Pharaohs reaction. Changing his water
to blood is a challenge to his deity and to the gods of Egypt. Yahweh does something no
man can do, but then Pharaoh pulls it off and it goes to his heart. Rather than repentance
and confession, he swells with pride at his own abilities and refuses to comply.
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And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could
not drink of the water of the river. 25And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD
had smitten the river.
A week passes before the blood returns to water, and the Egyptians must dig new wells
along its banks in the meantime; I cant help but think of Psalm 135 which praises
Yahweh Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast. 9Who sent tokens and
wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants. [...] 15The
idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of mens hands. 16They have mouths, but they
speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17They have ears, but they hear not; neither is
there any breath in their mouths. 18They that make them are like unto them: so is every one

that trusteth in them.


(v.8-9, 15-19).

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Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron

The Exodus stresses Yahwehs power over Egypts false gods who were unable to provide
any relief. If anything, their magicians only made matters worse by turning whatever
water remained into blood. Israel, however, is kept and blessed throughout the story and
the distinction is made.
This again points us to Christ in the New Testament. In Revelation 18 John records the
fall of Babylon and writes, I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my
people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her
sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as
she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she
hath filled fill to her double. 7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so
much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow,
and shall see no sorrow. 8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning,
and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth
her. 9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with
her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, [...]
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Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you
on her (v. 4-9, 20).
The Lord will once again put a difference between his people and the world in the final
Exodus. They and their gods will be helpless against Yahwehs judgments, and we will
rejoice while they weep. This is the promise he has given us, and we believe hell fulfill
it. That means were confident during our stay here, and we dont get too attached. The
world is rich and powerful while we are weak and poor, but our God will deliver us in his
time.
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