Grades 3-6 Lesson for Sunday School:
Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God! (Part 3)
Teacher’s Notes: This week we’ll be continuing our look at how God revealed Himself, in a very mighty way, to Pharaoh, and the Egyptian people. Last week we watched Pharaoh’s heart continue to harden with each new plague that Moses and Aaron brought. But this week, God’s going to step up the pressure with some new miracles that are going to hit closer to home, and finally change Pharaoh’s heart…at least for a time.
Do any of you have trouble with the sight of blood? There are some people who actually get sick or even faint if they bleed, themselves, or see someone else bleeding. Can you imagine how someone like that would have felt if they were in Egypt when God turned the water there into blood? And how do you think the Egyptians might have been feeling about their gods, when they were given no relief from the frogs, lice, and flies…except for the relief that finally came from the God that the Israelites worshipped? Do you think they may have been wondering if they were worshipping the wrong god? We know from Exodus 8:19, that, following the plague of lice, Pharaoh’s magicians acknowledged that the plagues on Egypt were, indeed, coming from God. But we don’t know if they were also convinced that He is the ONLY God. And that was the lesson God had in mind for Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and even His own chosen people, the Israelites.
Our memory verse for today is the same one we’ve been learning for the past few weeks. So hopefully it’s already on the tip of your tongue. It says exactly what God wanted everyone to know through the plagues…that He is the one and only, true and living God.
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, because we know that You are the only true and living God. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: (Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God) from Exodus 9 - 10
Last week, we left the Egyptians cleaning up after dead fish, dead frogs, dead lice, and dead flies. They affected everyone in the land from the Pharaoh to his lowest slave…except when it came time for the flies. When God sent the flies, he spared the Israelites from the plague. And Pharaoh couldn’t help but notice, especially since God had warned Pharaoh that striking the Egyptians, and sparing the Israelites, was just what He intended to do.
So Pharaoh actually considered trying to appease the Israelite God by giving in, and letting the Israelites take time away from their work to worship their God. But the concession came with a condition: he wanted them to stay within the borders of Egypt. And that was not what God had in mind. He wanted them out of Egypt. Can anyone think why it would be important to God where the Israelites worshipped? Perhaps it was so they would be completely removed from the sinful influences of Egypt and the distractions of all of the gods they worshipped. 2 Corinthians 6:17 says we are to “come out from among them, and be separate.” And Romans 12:2 tells us that it’s important to “be not conformed to this world.” Now these verses don’t mean that we all need to go off and live by ourselves in a little corner of the world where we cannot be seen or touched by the world. God wants us to live where we can be ministering to those around us, and leading them to Him. But when it comes to worshipping Him, God doesn’t want us to be distracted by worldly things. He wants all of our focus to be on Him. In fact, that may be why God wanted the Israelites completely out of Egypt. Most of these ancient, pagan cultures focused so much of their everyday lives around their false gods, that it would have been impossible to live in Egypt, and live a life free from the influences of their pagan gods.
Settling for worshipping while still in Egypt was not the answer God wanted. When Pharaoh heard this, he realized he had no choice but to let them go, if he wanted the plagues to stop. And Pharaoh agreed to let them go three days into the wilderness. But once God took the flies away, Exodus 8:32 tells us that “Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.” So once again, Pharaoh went back on his word, and challenged God for control over the Israelites’ destiny.
And God was ready to once again remind Pharaoh who was in charge. He gave this message to Moses in Exodus 9:1-5:
1Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
3Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
4And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
5And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.
So sure enough, at the very time God had designated, a severe sickness struck the Egyptians’ livestock, and they died. This included their cows, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, and sheep. And when Pharaoh sent a messenger to check on the Israelites livestock, they were all alive, just as God had said it would be. What a tremendous blow this must have been for the Egyptians. Not only were some of these animals sacred to the Egyptians, but they also provided them with food, drink, help with their work, and transportation. And now, the Israelite God had taken them all away.
How do you think Pharaoh was feeling, now? Do you think he was ready to do as God said, so the plagues would stop? Let’s see what our scripture passage says: “And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” (Exodus 9:7)
No, Moses did not concede…he just got angry, and remained firm that he would not let the Israelites go. What was it going to take to change this proud and angry heart? God already knew the answer to this question. But He still had some lessons for Pharaoh to learn.
So without warning, this time, God gave Moses and Aaron their next instructions: (Exodus 9:8 -11)
8And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
9And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
10And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
11And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
Have you ever had a boil on your body? They are like large blisters that can burst open, and become easily infected. This is the first plague that actually affected the Egyptians’ bodies. And what a painful plague! Did you notice that it was so painful that the magicians couldn’t even appear before Pharaoh? Even if Pharaoh were to ask them to try to imitate this miracle, they were in so much pain, they couldn’t even come before him to hear such a request.
But once again, even this did not soften Pharaoh’s heart. Now, if you’re wondering why God allowed Pharaoh to keep going back on his word, Exodus 9:12-16 takes a little time away from the account of the plagues, to explain what God was thinking, in letting Pharaoh’s heart continue to harden against Him.
12And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
13And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
14For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
15For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.
16And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Not only does God want there to be no more doubt about who the One and Only God is, in the minds of the Israelites and the Egyptians; God says that by the time He’s done working in Egypt, the entire earth is going to hear about the power of Almighty God! So even in this delay…God’s plan is at work.
And His plan would take on a new turn with the next plague. Listen to the warning God has for Pharaoh, and see if you can pick up on something new this time.
18Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
Can anyone tell me what the difference is, this time? Not only did God warn Pharaoh ahead of time about exactly what was going to happen…this time, God provided a way for everyone who wanted to follow His directions to escape the coming plague.
Did you know that God promises this same thing to each one of us, in our walk with Him? I Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God is actually warning you and me, ahead of time, that there are tough things that will come into our lives. But He also wants us to know that, just like He did with this plague, God always provides us a way out. We just need to remember that He’s the one in control, and follow His directions when He shows us our escape route.
The catch for the Egyptians was, they really needed to believe that God was able to do and really would do exactly what He had said. Obeying God’s directions would mean changing an everyday routine for those out in the fields. So there would be work not getting done, and perhaps animals not getting the food or exercise they needed that day. But the trade-off would be devastating. It would mean death for those who did not find shelter.
Do you think that, after all Egypt has been through with these plagues, anyone would doubt the word of Moses that came from God? Let’s find out.
20He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.
22And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
It must have been that, in spite of the warning, there were still those who doubted God’s word and stayed out in the fields. And there may have been many, because Pharaoh finally seemed to be touched by this tragedy, and was ready to repent. Exodus 9:27 - 28 says, “And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.”
Moses did go to God, once again, on Pharaoh’s behalf. And God did stop the storm of hail and fire. But in case you think this was really the genuine response God had been waiting for, let’s read what Moses said to this plea from Pharaoh: “But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.” (Exodus 9:30)
So plague number eight was on its way. And it came, once again, with a plea for the Israelites’ release; then a warning of what was to come.
3And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
4Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
5And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
6And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
And in case you wonder what more damage locusts could do, after the hail and fire had already caused so much destruction: in God’s mercy, the hail had come while some of the crops were not yet fully ripened. So those crops were protected from the hail. But if the locusts were to come, they would surely finish off whatever crops still remained to feed the Egyptians. That’s why, in verse 7, Pharaoh’s servants urged him to listen to Moses and Aaron, and let the people go. Verse 7 says, “And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?”
And Pharaoh actually listened to their concerns, and called Moses and Aaron back with a promise that he was now ready to let the Israelites go. But guess what…another condition. This time, Pharaoh said they could go, but must leave the children behind. This would be his guarantee that they would come back. But God was not accepting any conditions. He wanted the adults and the children to come out of Egypt to be His people. And stubborn Pharaoh was still not willing to give in without this condition. So verse 11 says that he drove Moses and Aaron from his presence.
And as Moses and Aaron left, God used them to bring in the locusts that had been predicted. And just as Pharaoh’s servants had feared, there were so many of them that every crop that had survived the hail and fire was now wiped out by the hungry insects: “For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 10:15)
A once again repentant Pharaoh then called Moses and Aaron in, with yet another promise that this time, he really was sorry: (Exodus 10:16-19)
16Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.
17Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
18And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.
19And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
And even though it sounded like this time Pharaoh really meant what he said, verse 20 tells us that once again, “the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.” So once again, God was not surprised by Pharaoh’s taking back his confession, and God moved ahead with the next plague – one that would really hit at the heart of Egyptian religion. You see, the most revered god in Egyptian worship was Ra, the sun-god. He was considered the most powerful of all gods. But the God of the Universe was ready to use Pharaoh’s pride to demonstrate just how powerless even the most powerful pagan god was.
So, (Exodus 10:21-23) 21the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Is anyone here afraid of the dark? Even if you don’t admit it, many of you were probably afraid of the dark at some time. Sometimes, it can be so dark you can almost feel it around you. And that’s the way it’s described here. It sounds like the people were too afraid to even get up to try to find candles or torches. They all just sat there in the thick darkness for three days. Except, of course, for the Israelites, who had light the entire time.
The Egyptians must have wondered what had happened to Ra. Where was he? Why had he disappeared? And why did he not return as he had always done each new morning? Moses and Aaron knew the answer. And by the third day, Pharaoh knew the answer, too. The only God that was able to bring back the sun was Moses’ God. So Pharaoh called out into the darkness, and told Moses that he could take the people, all of them this time, and go serve the Lord. Finally, Pharaoh seemed to have gotten to the place of bowing his prideful heart to the LORD. But guess what…he still threw in another condition. Can you imagine anyone continuing to test God this way? Here’s what Pharaoh proposed this time: “And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.” (Exodus 10:24)
So Pharaoh was ready to let the Israelite people go, but required them to leave their animals behind. Perhaps he thought that this would make them come back to Egypt when they were done with their time of worship. But Moses reminded Pharaoh that they would need the animals for their sacrifices, so this would not work. And this time, Pharaoh became so angry that he said, “…Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.” (Exodus 10:28). It seemed that Pharaoh’s patience with Moses (and God) had run out. And Moses must have sensed that the LORD’s patience with Pharaoh had finally run out, because his response to Pharaoh was an agreement: “And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.” (Exodus 10:29)
But it wasn’t over yet. Moses knew that God had one final plague for Pharaoh, and that this one would finally bring Pharaoh to his knees before God. In fact, it would be so intense that Pharaoh would drive all of the Israelites out of his country, not wanting to see them again. This last plague would be so devastating for the Egyptians, that they would never forget this God of the Israelites, and His power. And not only would they not forget, but when the Israelites move toward the Promised Land many years later, the story of what happened in Egypt, and the fear of The LORD had already spread there, preparing the way for them to conquer the land.
And for the Israelites, the final plague was also something they would never forget…but in a very different way. So join us next week, for our lesson on the tenth, and final plague. We’re going to see that the salvation God brings for the Israelites is a foreshadowing, or picture, of what their ultimate salvation will be through their promised Messiah. We’re going to find that the Israelite Feast of Passover was established to remember the final plague in Egypt, where the Death Angel passed over those who placed their trust in God. But for those who still refused to believe His words, and recognize Him as the One true God, it was to be a time of great sorrow. Let’s not be the ones who see God as a god who brings plagues. Let’s be those who trust in God, and are blessed by the One who offers us a way to escape.
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word; and for Your promise that You will always provide a way for us to escape, no matter what may come into our lives. Help us Lord, to put aside our pride, and be ready to serve You in whatever way or place You might ask of us. Amen.
Class Discussion/ Activity:
Have the class discuss the following True or False questions to review today’s lesson.
(Review Questions) True or False
1. The fire and hail destroyed all of the Egyptians’ crops. (false – some were not yet ripe, and survived the storms)
2. The Israelites were spared from losing their livestock and from the plague of darkness. (true)
3. Pharaoh’s servants tried to convince him to give in and do as God had said. (true)
4. The locust finished off every plant that had survived the fire and hail storm. (true)
5. Darkness was the final plague God sent to get Moses’ attention. (false – the death angel is still coming.)
Can you think of anything God might call you to do that may seem scary or hard, and that He might have to give you a little push in order to get you to obey? Here are a few ideas:
- Be a missionary in a far away country
- Go and visit someone you don’t know very well
- Help someone with a task that you really don’t like to do
- Become a pastor
It’s important for us to remember that if we claim to believe in God, then He should have the top priority in our lives; and that means doing what He wants us to do, even though it might not be what we feel like we want to do. But we also have the promise from Him that He’ll always do what’s best for us, because He loves us. So He’s never going to ask us to do something that would be anything less than the best!
Yes, God may someday ask us to do something hard. And it would mean giving up control of our own lives to Him. That was what God was looking for from Pharaoh. And it’s what He still wants from us, today. Let’s not make Him send plagues to get our attention and obedience. Let’s just trust and obey…and see His plan in action in our lives.
God said, “Let my people go!”
But Pharaoh said, “No way!”
Moses said, “It’s time for us
To seek our God, and pray.”
Pharaoh said, “You cannot leave
For you are all my slaves.”
But Pharaoh, soon, would learn himself,
Of God’s strong arm to save.
Lisa DeVinney, May 2015