After 40 years of Moses being in the desert, God hears the cries of His people under their Egyptian bondage. The Bible says that God acknowledges their cries and plight under the Egyptian rule and decides He will deliver them out of their bondage because of the previous covenant that He had made with their earlier forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God first makes contact with Moses through a burning bush. Initially an angel of the Lord appears to Moses in a “flame of fire from the midst of a bush.” This bush is burning with fire, but the bush itself is not being consumed by the fire!
God then starts to speak directly to Moses. He tells Moses that He has heard the cries of His people in Egypt and that He is calling Moses out to be the one who will go in there and deliver them from their plight with the Egyptians.
God is going to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians through Moses! God then proceeds to tell Moses that he will be the one to deliver and lead them out of their captivity and lead them into a “good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and Hittites.”
Moses’ initial response to God was that who was he to go down and bring the children of Israel out from their Egyptian bondage? God then tells Moses that He will be with Moses during this entire deliverance and for him to tell the children of Israel, when they ask the name of their God, that His name is:
“I AM who I AM.”
He further tells Moses to tell His people that He is the God of their fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that He is going to deliver His people and bring them into a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey.
God then tells Moses to approach the Pharaoh after he has pulled his people together for this deliverance and to tell the Pharaoh to let the Hebrew people go into the wilderness for their three day journey into the Promised Land. God then tells Moses that the Pharaoh is not going to let them go on this first request. He then tells Moses to tell the Pharaoh that if he does not let His people go, that He will stretch out His hand and strike Egypt with all of His wonders. God tells Moses that after He stretches out His hand with all of these wonders against the Pharaoh – that the Pharaoh will then let them go.
After receiving all of the above instructions from God, Moses still questions the Lord about all of this. He then asks God – “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.”
God then proceeds with miracle #1.
He tells Moses to take the rod that he is holding and to cast it onto the ground. Moses does so and the rod turns into a serpent!
God then tells Moses to pick up the serpent by the tail. When he does, the serpent turns back into the rod! God then moves into miracle #2. He tells Moses to put his hand into his bosom and then to take it back out again. When he takes it back out, his hand became like leprous snow. He then tells Moses to put his hand back into his bosom and to take it back out again. He does, and when he pulls it back out again, his hand is restored back to its original condition.
God then tells Moses that if they still will not believe him, that he is to take water from the river and pour it on dry land, and the water will then become blood on the dry land. After God shows Moses all of the above, Moses still questions God as to whether He has chosen the right man for the job. He proceeds to tell the Lord that he is not eloquent enough and that he is slow of speech and slow of tongue. God then responds back saying to him:
“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:11)
After God makes this powerful statement to Moses, Moses still questions God on choosing him and says to God – “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
At this point, the Bible says that the anger of the Lord was kindled as a result of Moses questioning His decision to call him out for this task. However, seeing Moses’ lack of self-confidence in himself, God then proceeds to tell Moses to take his brother Aaron with him. God says that Aaron can speak well and for Moses to convey God’s message to Aaron and that God will be with the both of them and will teach them both what to say and what to do.
God tells Moses that Aaron will be the spokesman to the people, that he will act as Moses’ mouth, and that Moses shall be to Aaron “as God.” What God just did, in order to help Moses out with his lack of self-confidence, was to make Aaron his spokesman for when he would be too afraid to speak, but that God would still deliver the orders and instructions as to what was to be done directly to Moses.
There is an awful lot to learn from this dialogue that just occurred between God and Moses. I will touch on all of this in part 2 of this story.
Moses Goes Into Egypt
The Bible says that Moses was 80 years old and his brother Aaron was 83 when they go into Egypt to rescue their people from the Pharaoh.
When Moses and Aaron first approach the Pharaoh, they tell him that he is to let their people go so they can go into the wilderness to hold a feast with their God. The Pharaoh obviously refuses to even consider this first request, so God does His first miracle in front of the Pharaoh and his court.
Aaron takes the rod of Moses, throws it to the ground and it becomes a serpent. However, several of the Pharaoh’s magicians threw their rods down and they also became serpents. However, God then proceeded to show them whose power was greater. God then caused the rod that Aaron had thrown down and had turned into a serpent to devour all of the other rods that had turned into serpents from the Pharaoh’s magicians and sorcerers.
After seeing this display of God’s power, the Pharaoh’s heart starts to harden and he refuses to let the children of Israel go. It’s at this point that God will start to release a full set of 10 powerful judgments against the Pharaoh in order to break him so he will let His people go from his captivity.
Here are the 10 specific plagues that God will strike Egypt with. As you will see, some of these plagues will be the same ones that God will be releasing once again during the 7-year Tribulation – just before Jesus returns back to us for His second coming.
1. Water Turns Into Blood
Moses takes his rod and strikes all of the waters in Egypt turning all of the water into pure blood. All of the fish in the waters are killed and the Egyptians are loathe to drink from the river due to its stench!
God literally strikes and turns into blood all of their streams, rivers, ponds and pools of water. This blood ran throughout all of the land of Egypt. However, several of the Pharaoh’s magicians were apparently able to do the same thing with their enchantments and the Pharaoh still refuses to let the children of Israel go free.
Since Pharaoh would not release them after the first plague hits them, God then hits the Pharaoh and Egypt with the second plague – frogs! God says He will smite the land with frogs. God then causes frogs to come up abundantly from the river and these frogs then enter the people’s houses, their bedchambers, on the people themselves, into their ovens, into their kneading bowls, etc. Just imagine such a scene!
After Pharaoh sees this display of power, he initially tells Moses and Aaron to call off this plague and that he will let his people go. God then causes all of the frogs to die out of the houses and the courtyards. They were all then gathered together and the Bible says that the land stank with all of the dead frogs now in one big heap. However, after seeing all of this take place, the Pharaoh changes his mind and still refuses to let the Israelites go. So God is now forced to go plague #3.
God then tells Moses to have Aaron stretch out his rod and strike the dust of the land so that it may become lice throughout the land. The lice then falls on both man and beast.
Then the Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing with their enchantments – but this time they could not do it. The magicians then told Pharaoh that this work was the finger of God since they could not duplicate this miracle themselves. However, the Pharaoh still refuses to let the people go.
So now God is forced to release the next plague – a swarm of flies that will come upon all of the Egyptians and into their houses! These flies come into all of the Pharaoh’s houses, into his servant’s houses and over all of the land. The Bible says that the land became corrupted because of the huge swarm of flies that attacked the land, the people and all of their living quarters.
Once again the Pharaoh relents, tells Moses to have God call off the flies, and that he will let his people go. Moses does so, God pulls back the flies and Pharaoh once more changes his mind and still refuses to let the Israelites go. Talk about a battle of wills!
5. Pestilence on the Livestock
In this next judgment, God causes all of the Egyptians livestock – all of their cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen and sheep to be stricken with a pestilence that kills all of them dead on the spot. Still, the Pharaoh refuses to give in and let God’s people go.
In this next judgment, God tells Moses to tell Aaron to take a handful of ashes from a furnace and to scatter it toward all of Egypt causing boils and sores to break out on all the men and beasts. These boils also hit the Pharaoh’s magicians and they could not even stand before Moses due to the effect that the boils were having on them. But once again, the Pharaoh still refuses to give in.
In this next judgment, God causes heavy hail to rain down on every man and every beast that is not brought inside. In addition to the hail, God also causes fire to mingle with the hail. The Bible says that when this hail and fire were released, it struck the entire land of Egypt – both man and beast who were in the fields and every herb, along with breaking every tree in the fields.
Again, just imagine such a catastrophic scene taking place! Once again, this judgment causes Pharaoh to relent. Moses then asks God to pull off this plague. And no sooner does God pull this plague off of them, the Pharaoh once more changes his mind and still refuses to let the Israelites go!
In this next plague, God causes locusts to swarm the face of the earth so that no man can see the earth. The land of Egypt was completely darkened. Again, God pulls back the plague after Pharaoh says that he will let His people go, but then changes his mind once again after this plague is pulled off.
In this next judgment, God tells Moses to stretch out his hand toward heaven and this then causes complete darkness to cover the entire land of Egypt. This thick darkness lasts for 3 days. People could not even see one another nor could anyone rise from their place because they could not see even one inch in front of their faces.
Again, just imagine complete and total pitch darkness where no one could see anything – even to the point that you could not even get up and walk because you could not even see one inch in front of your face! Again, the Pharaoh only partially gives in. So this now sets the stage for the last and final judgment.
10. Death of All the Firstborn
In this last judgment, God will have all of the firstborn stricken dead by an angel of death. However, God tells His people to sprinkle the blood of a blemish free lamb on their door posts in order to keep this angel of death from killing their firstborn. At midnight, this angel strikes, killing all of the firstborn of the Pharaoh, his servants, all of his people and all of his livestock.
This judgment finally breaks the Pharaoh and he agrees to let the Israelites go. The Bible says that the Israelites had been kept under Egyptian bondage for 430 years. The Israelites then start to leave – but there is now one more big event that must happen before they are finally set free for good!
The Parting of the Red Sea
This next miracle by God has to be one of the most dramatic and spectacular in all of Scripture. The children of Israel have now left Egypt. The Pharaoh, after allowing them to leave, once more changes his mind and decides to pursue them with all of his army in order to try and get them back. When the children of Israel see this, they start complaining to Moses.
They end up getting stuck before the Red Sea. They have no where else to go. They are literally at the end of their rope. If they try and move forward, they will drown in the Red Sea. If they try to move backwards, they will be caught by the Egyptian army that is moving in on them. The only thing that can save them now is a powerful miracle from God Himself.
Moses then steps forward in this hopeless situation and says to the Israelites:
“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
God then says to Moses:
“But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” (Exodus 14:16).
The Red Sea is literally parted by dry ground! The Israelites then proceed to cross over the Red Sea on this dry ground mass that God has now miraculously provided for them in order for them to escape from the Egyptians.
As the Israelites were crossing over on this dry ground mass, the Bible says that the “waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” Just use your imagination to visualize such an incredible scene!
After all of the Israelites had safely crossed over to the other side of the Red Sea, God then tells Moses to “stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” At this time, the Egyptian army had just entered onto the dry land mass that God had just provided for the children of Israel.
Moses then proceeds to stretch out his hand over the sea and then the sea returns to its full depth while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. The Bible says that the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea! The waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen and all of the army of the Pharaoh and not one of them was left standing! God had literally wiped Israel’s enemy right off the face of the map with this one incredible act of deliverance! Here is where God promised Firaun as a punishment, that his body will not decay.