Grades 3-6 Lesson for Sunday School:
Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God! (Part 2)
Teacher’s Notes: Last week we began a mini-series of lessons on God revealing Himself to the people in Egypt. Moses returned to Egypt armed with some miraculous signs, to display God’s power to both the Israelites and the Egyptians. When Moses came to the Israelites, they rejoiced at the news that God was ready to deliver them. But we learned that Pharaoh was not so pleased with God’s plan, and was not ready to let the Israelites leave. This week, we’re going to see God, in a mighty way, display His superiority over Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods…but will it be enough to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go?
Have you ever gone outside after an early morning rain, and noticed all the worms squirming around? If you’re anything like me, you’ll do everything you can to avoid stepping on them. They’re so slimy…and then they kind of crunch if you do happen to step on them. But sometimes, there are just so many, you can’t help but step on them. And, if it happens when it’s dark out, then there’s almost no way to avoid them. Yuck! In our lesson today, we’re going to find the Egyptians doing the same thing …with frogs. But there are so many, they just can’t get avoid stepping on them…and sitting on them…even trying to sleep with them hopping about and squirming in their beds. But we’ll get to that later.
We’ve been following the life of Moses for several weeks, now. And we’ve seen him reluctantly agree to take on the role of the deliverer of the Israelites. Last week, we learned a little more about the miraculous signs that God gave him to boost his confidence, and to convince the Israelites and Egyptians that he was, indeed, sent by God to deliver them. Does anyone remember what those three signs were?
We’re going to see two of those signs again, today, as Moses, and God, step up the pressure on Pharaoh, to try to convince him to let the Israelites leave Egypt. But we’re going to see that Pharaoh either has a lot of faith in himself, or in his own gods to stand up to this God of the Israelites. How much is it going to take to persuade Pharaoh that God means what He says…and it’s time to let the Israelites go? Let’s find out if Moses can change Pharaoh’s mind.
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.) This will be the memory verse for the next several lessons.
“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for the many lessons we can learn through studying the life of Moses, in Your Word. Please help us today, Lord, to have ears ready to listen and learn about who You really are. And open our hearts to obey, when You ask us to go and share this good news with others. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: (Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God) from Exodus 7:8 – 8:32
We ended last week’s lesson with a look ahead to Exodus 6:1. It says this: “Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.” So let’s find out just what God had in mind, to change Pharaoh’s mind about letting the Israelites go.
The Egyptians were very religious people. And by that, I mean that they were very aware that there was a “higher being or beings” out there, who controlled much of what went on in their everyday lives. They had a sun god, a sky goddess, a god of the Nile, a god of the earth, gods and goddesses who were supposed to protect them, and those who would punish them if they did something bad. And since they believed that many of these gods took on earthly forms, they also worshipped many animals, including cows, cats, mice, sheep, and frogs, believing that the gods lived in them. They devoted a great deal of their time and energy to worshipping and pleasing these gods. Have any of you ever seen any artwork or artifacts from the ancient Egyptian culture? If you have, you might have noticed pictures or statues of these gods in nearly every piece.
The problem was that in the great collection of gods they worshipped, they were missing One. And the One they were missing just happens to be the One and Only God Almighty, who doesn’t like to share His glory with anyone else…especially not gods who have been invented by men! Listen to what Isaiah 43:10 has to say: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” And Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Reserving our worship and praise for God, alone, is pretty important to Him!
Does anyone here have a god that they worship, other than The God of the Bible? Before you answer that question with a quick “no,” really think about it for a minute. A god is the person or thing that is the most important thing in your life. The thing you devote all your time and energy to…the highest priority in your life. If you have a choice between doing something you know would please God, and doing something else…which do you normally choose? That something else can even be yourself! If everything you do is to make yourself happy, and puts you at the top of your priority list, then you are your own god.
If that’s you, then you need to go to God, and tell Him that you know you haven’t been giving Him the place He deserves in your life. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for the same experience that Pharaoh and the Egyptians were in for. If you don’t recognize God as number one in your life, He may very well begin to arrange things so that you do.
And that is exactly what God had in mind for Pharaoh. Moses had come to him, to ask for the release of the Israelite slaves. But Pharaoh just laughed in his face, said he didn’t know this God that Moses was talking about, and went out to make the lives of the Israelites even harder, to try and show the people who was in charge. But now, God was ready to start showing Pharaoh who was really in charge.
At the start of Exodus chapter 7, God told Moses that it was time for Aaron and him to go back to Pharaoh, and demand the release of the Israelites. And He did not send them empty-handed. Let’s take a look at our scripture passage for today:
8And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
God warned Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh would demand to see some miracle, to prove they really were sent by God. And He told them to throw down the rod, as they had done before, and it would become a snake. So that’s just what they did. And that’s just what happened. Aaron did throw down the rod, and it did become a snake. The only problem was, Pharaoh was not impressed. Let’s read on to see why not:
11Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
13And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
14And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.
Pharaoh was not impressed because his magicians were able to do the same “trick” that Aaron had done. The only difference that he could see was that Aaron’s snake had swallowed all the others. But this did not change Pharaoh’s heart.
Now, how did the magicians do the same thing that God had given Moses and Aaron the ability to do? The Bible does not answer that question for us. It only tells us that God knew ahead of time that Pharaoh’s mind wouldn’t change. And that God still had a lot more He wanted to do, to show the Egyptians that He was greater and stronger than any of the gods they had invented. So perhaps He allowed the magicians to imitate His miracle, so Pharaoh would insist on seeing more.
And that’s just what God was prepared for. As Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh’s court, God shared with Moses the next step in His plan:
15Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's 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.
19And 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.
Do you remember that this was the third sign that God gave to Moses before he arrived back in Egypt? It worked just the way God had said it would. Moses and Aaron went down to the river, and Aaron struck the water with his rod. And sure enough, the water immediately turned to blood. Have any of you ever been around a body of water that has become polluted, or even frozen, and all of the fish have died? The smell is unimaginable! But guess what the magicians did? Yes, they were able to imitate this miracle, too. Let’s listen to what they did:
22And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's 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.
24And 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.
Do you find it interesting that the magicians were able to imitate what God was doing, but were not able to undo it? It seems like if they really could do what God was doing, that they would also be able to undo it. But that is certainly not what happened. Remember, too, that the Egyptians had a god who was supposed to have special responsibility over the Nile River. Do you suppose the Egyptians wondered where this god was, that he was not taking care of the river as he should have been? That surely must have been what God wanted the people to consider. So God let a full seven days go by before He sent Moses back to Pharaoh, again…and with a new proposal:
1And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
3And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:
4And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
Well, now, frogs were nothing for the Egyptians to be concerned about. After all, frogs were one of the animals that they worshipped. That meant the Egyptians believed that their gods were living in the frogs. So it must have been very disturbing for them, when “…Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 8:6) And to make the frog condition even worse, this was another miracle that the magicians were able to imitate. So there were even more frogs everywhere! If we look back at verse 3, we see that the frogs were in their houses, in their bedrooms, in their beds, and in their ovens and kneadingtroughs. And that meant there were frogs in their food. And if you’re wondering why the Egyptians didn’t just kill all the frogs…remember that frogs were considered sacred animals, which according to ancient Egyptian scholars meant they were to be treated with respect; and could not be killed, under penalty of death!
The only way to get rid of all those frogs would be for Pharaoh to give in and plead for help from God. And that would mean a promise to let the Israelites go. Let’s see what Pharaoh decided to to:
8Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.
9And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?
10And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.
11And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.
12And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.
13And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.
14And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.
Can you imagine the smell, now? No doubt the Egyptians were just beginning to recover from the stink of the bloody river. And now, this! Again, the God of the Israelites had shown His power over the Egyptian gods. He brought supposedly-sacred frogs out of their supposedly-sacred river, and killed them only when He was ready to. But do you think this was a clear enough lesson for Pharaoh? He said he was now ready to let the Israelites go.
But verse 15 tells us what you might have already guessed: “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” As soon as the frogs were gone, Pharaoh took back his promise to free the Israelites. Have you ever had someone make a promise to you, and then go back on their word? How did that make you feel? Were you frustrated? Angry?
Perhaps Moses and Aaron were surprised by Pharaoh’s change in his change of heart. But God was not. He knew all along that there was a lot more work to be done before Pharaoh would truly be convinced of the greatness of God’s power. In fact, before Pharaoh even had a chance to wash the frog stink out of his clothes, Moses and Aaron were already on the scene, again; ready to send the next message to Pharaoh. But this new message was a little different. Up until now, Pharaoh was told exactly what was about to happen.
Not this time! Without any warning to Pharaoh, God gave Moses some new instructions. Listen carefully to what Aaron was to do. And then see if you notice what else was different this time:
16And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
18And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.
Have you, or someone you’ve know, ever had lice on you? If you have, then you know how hard it is to get rid of them. They spread easily from one person or animal to another, and they cause terrible itching! And did you notice what was different this time? Yes, this time when the magicians tried to imitate the power of God, they were not able to do so. And this was their conclusion: “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God…” Finally, there are Egyptian hearts beginning to soften to the idea that this God of the Israelites might really be who He claims to be. But Pharaoh didn’t seem to be upset by the magicians’ failure to produce the same miracle. Nor did he seem to agree with the magicians’ conclusion. Instead, “…Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 8:19)
So God moved right along to the next plague He had prepared for Pharaoh; and went back to His previous method of giving Pharaoh a warning, first. But once again, there will be something new with this plague. Listen carefully, and see what happens differently this time:
20And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
21Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
22And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
23And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
24And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.
This time, God sent an enormous swarm of flies. And like the frogs, the flies were everywhere! There were so many of them that the Bible said the “land was corrupted.” But did you notice where the flies were not? God had now drawn a line between the Egyptians and his own people, the Israelites. And He wanted to be sure that Pharaoh noticed. And it must have gotten Pharaoh’s attention, because for a second time, he agreed to let the Israelites go. However, the concession came with one condition. Let’s read on to see what was on Pharaoh’s mind.
25And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.
26And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?
27We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.
28And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.
29And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.
30And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.
31And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
Pharaoh agreed to let Moses and Aaron take the people to worship their God, if God would take away the flies. But he wanted them to do so while staying within the borders of Egypt. But Moses knew that was not what God had commanded. God wanted the Israelites to leave the land of Egypt. So Moses did not agree to this condition, forcing Pharaoh to finally agreed to give in, and let them go three days journey into the wilderness. It was beginning to look like Pharaoh may have finally gotten the message that God had a plan, and Pharaoh needed to humble himself, and admit that God was the one in charge. Moses even warned Pharaoh that he had better not go back on his word, again.
But would anyone like to guess what Pharaoh did, yet again? Here’s what our passage says: “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (Exodus 8:32) By now, you’re probably not surprised to hear that Pharaoh went back on his word, yet again. God was not surprised, either. And His response to Pharaoh’s stubbornness is about to get very personal. But we’re going to save that for next week’s lesson.
Until then, remember that God wants to be the most important thing in our lives. And He has earned the right to that position by providing a way of salvation for us; a way that meant giving up His very own Son to die on a cross, to free us from the bondage of sin – much like the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. And when we accept His gift of salvation, and invite His Holy Spirit into our hearts, then He expects to be the One and Only God in our hearts. Remember, that means He wants to be the One we’re living for, the One who is at the center of everything we say and do. So this week, let’s make a point to see whether God really is in the place He should be; or if, perhaps, there are other things or people in our lives that might be taking His place. Then, if we do find anything in God’s place, we need to confess that to God, and make sure that He is given His rightful place in our hearts and lives. Because if there happens to be something else in God’s place, He won’t let it stay there for long. And we’ll see God’s reaction to Pharaoh’s continuing hard heart next week.
Closing Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for reminding us, today, that you are the one and only God, and that You have a plan for our lives. Thank You, too, for Your patience in helping us to recognize when there are other things in our lives that are taking Your place. Help us, Lord, to remember that You need to be the most important thing in our lives. And thank You for blessing us when we give You Your rightful place. You, Lord, are worthy of our praise and worship. You, alone, are worthy to be our God. Amen.
Class Discussion/ Activity:
Have the class fill in the blanks to complete the sentences in the handout. Each sentence will be a reminder of something we learned about today. Then go over the True of False questions, also to review today’s lesson.
Here are the answers to the questions:
Fill in the blanks: 1. were, 2.blood, 3.houses, beds, food, 4.lice, 5.flies
True or False: 1. false, 2. false, 3. false, 4. true, 5. true
And if you have time, play a round of Bible Tic-Tac-Toe with questions you prepare from today’s lesson. (If needed, see lesson 13 for game instructions.)
Remember to take some time, this week, to check for other “gods” in your life. And if you find any…it’s time to get rid of them, so God doesn’t have to get your attention like He did with Pharaoh.
Frogs, and lice, and flies…
Don’t wait for God to send them.
If you’ve got other gods,
It’s time to jettison them!
God wants to have the worship
And glory He is due.
And when you honor Him,
In turn, He blesses you.
Lisa DeVinney, April 2015