The Deliverance of the Hebrews Begins

Last time, we wrote about fire. This week, the deliverance begins.

First a quick note about the content in this blog. We, the writers of this blog, are learning from what is being written as we prepare for each lesson. Concerning the questions we ask about your life with God, we ask ourselves the very same questions. We pray that this blog is strengthening your walk with God and bringing you closer to the Rabbi, our Messiah. It is surely strengthening our faith and bringing us closer to Jesus.

Back to the Burning Bush (Exodus 3–4)

Last week, we wrote about the fire aspect of the Burning Bush event. But, we did not write the conversation Moses had with God.

God told Moses:

  1. God identified himself by referring to Moses’ ancestry.
  2. God acknowledged the Hebrews’ oppression and outcry.
  3. God promised deliverance.
  4. God told Moses to lead His people.
  5. God instructed Moses on what to do.

At the beginning of verse 14, God refers to Himself with the Hebrew name Ehyeh (הָיָהhāyāh) which is usually translated as “I AM”. The same word also means “I WILL BE”. So, God was saying, “I AM and I WILL BE.” Sound familiar? Jesus expands on this in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 22:13 (AMP)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all).

See also Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6.

From Exodus 3:16 to Exodus 4:17, God instructs Moses on how God will use him and Aaron to deliver His people out of Egypt.

God’s instructions:

  1. Moses will tell Aaron about God’s plan.
  2. Moses and Aaron will tell the Hebrew leaders.
  3. Moses and Aaron will confront Pharaoh.
  4. Moses will lead the Hebrews to the Promise Land.

In all of this, Moses kept saying he was not fit for the job. But, look at Moses’ history:

First 40 years:

  • Born a Hebrew.
  • Adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter which made him a prince.
  • Given the best education.
  • Had direct access to Pharaoh.
  • Learned leadership skills.
  • Earned respect from the Hebrew people.

Second 40 years:

  • Learned the layout of the land during his sojourn to the Midianites.
  • Became a shepherd of a large flock of sheep.
  • Guided the sheep in the wilderness.
  • Protected the sheep.
  • Received instruction directly from God!

Nugget: At the burning bush, God introduced Himself to Moses. At Mt. Sinai, the very same place, God presented Himself (Exodus 3:12).

So, who sounds most qualified for the job? Moses does! Yes, leading people is more difficult than leading sheep. But, most of the principles are the same. The first part of God delivering the Hebrews out of Egypt was to prepare Moses to lead His people.

Getting Moses to go along with the plan was not easy. God had Moses throw down his staff so it could turn into a serpent. What did Moses do? He ran from the serpent (Exodus 4:3)! Picture God smiling and thinking, “Oh, Moses!” Then God told Moses to pick up the serpent. I can hear Moses thinking, “You want me to do what?” But, Moses obeyed and the serpent turned back into a staff. This was a confidence builder for Moses.

Is God trying to give you a task to do? Do you feel inadequate for the task? It is OK to feel this way. Remember, no one knows you better than God does. He has already given you tools you will need to get started. He will also help with what you don’t know. Give God the chance to prove Himself to you.

Convincing the Hebrews to Leave

The second major task was to establish Moses as leader of the Hebrews. God also had to prepare the hearts of the Hebrews to believe leaving Egypt was possible. Moses was given instructions on how to do this. First, Aaron had to be brought in. Next, Moses and Aaron approached the leaders.

Despite the miracles Moses and Aaron showed the leaders, the people were not totally convinced. In fact, Pharaoh made it even harder on the people but not supplying the straw to make bricks. The people started to blame Moses and Aaron for the punishment Pharaoh exacted on them. So, in the next phase of God’s plan, He had to convince the Hebrews that He had the power to deliver them. God had to show that the Egyptian gods and goddesses could not stand up to His power.

Egyptian Gods Judged

Some of the information in this section comes from Dake Study Bible Notes and the Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Manners And Customs.

In Moses’ Egyptian education, he surely had been taught about the Egyptian gods. God used the 10 plagues to get Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Also, the plagues were used to show the Hebrew people His superiority over Egypt. Thus begun phase three.

The Ten Plagues

  1. Plague of blood (Exodus 7:17–25):
    By turning the Nile River into blood, God attacked the very heart of Egypt. The Egyptians depended on the Nile. Having its waters turned into undrinkable blood started the process of eroding the Egyptians confidence in their gods, especially Hapi, the god of the Nile River.
  2. Plague of frogs (Exodus 8:1–15):
    This plague showed God’s power over the frog-goddess, Heket. She was supposed to be the defender of the home. No only, did the frogs enter the home but was in the ovens and the bread troughs (Exodus 8:3). Then when Moses called an end to the plague, the frogs simply died on the spot where ever they were. People became sick of frogs and thus Heket.
  3. Plague of gnats (Exodus 8:16–19):
    There is some disagreement about which god this plague attacked. Some say it was Geb, the god of Earth, or Khepri, the god of insects.
  4. Plague of flies (Exodus 8:20–32):
    With this plague, God showed the powerlessness Beelzebub, god of flies, and possibly Khepri. This time, God made a distinction between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The flies did not bother the Hebrews.
  5. Plague against Livestock (Exodus 9:1–7):
    This plague showed many Egyptian gods to be powerless. Hathor, know as the goddess of love was represented as a cow. The Egyptians lost much of their domestic livestock. The Hebrews were not affected by this plague.
  6. Plague of festering boils (Exodus 9:8–12):
    This plague showed that Isis, the goddess of medicine and peace, was powerless against the God of the Hebrews.
  7. Plague of hail and fire (Exodus 9:13–35):
    This plague was against the sky-goddess, Nut as well as Isis and Osiris.
  8. Plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1–20):
    This plague showed God’s power over the gods Serapis and Seth.
  9. Plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21–29):
    This plague was against the Sun-god, Ra. The Hebrew people had light in their camps.
  10. Plague of death of the firstborn
    This last plague was against the Pharaoh himself who was supposed to be the ultimate god over Egypt.
Revelation 22:13 (ESV)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Nugget: The first plague was turning water into blood. This could represent Jesus shedding his blood for us. The last plague was the death of the first born. This could represent the death of the God the Father’s first and only Son.

God Himself brought the final judgment of death on the firstborn son of every Egyptians family.  This would be a terrible blow to the Egyptians because the firstborn normally carried on the family’s hopes and ambitions.  God’s judgment was his just recompense because of the Egyptians’ wickedness.  Their cruelty to the Hebrews and the drowning of the male babies were in themselves a persecution of God’s “firstborn” (Exodus 4:22).  The Egyptians were reaping what they had sown.

God provided salvation for the firstborn of the Hebrews. Because God had saved all Israelites’ firstborn and rescued the Israelites from the Egyptians, he now considered them his prosperity (Exodus 13:1–2).

The Hebrew people had to suffer along with the Egyptians in many of the plagues because they had fallen into idolatry. In “The Burning Bush”, we mentioned that bad happens as trials to help purify our faith in Jesus. God used these plagues to purify His people’s faith that He had the power to deliver them out of Egypt. And, God made the Egyptians to want to get ride of the Hebrews by allowing them to go and even paid them to leave (Exodus 3:21).

Think of tasks and trials in this way. God is telling His people, including us today, “I AM able and I WILL BE with you!”.

With this foundation in place, we will now start covering the Passover event in all of its glory.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)