Exodus Chapter Seven

Battle of the gods

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In our study of Exodus chapter seven, we will look at the battle between God and the false gods of Egypt. The main false god of Egypt was the Pharaoh and, as we saw in chapter six, he had disobeyed God by refusing to let the Israelites leave. This begins a battle between all of their false gods and the one true God.

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Exodus 7:1

But ADONAI said to Moshe, "I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother will be your prophet.

At the end of the last chapter, Moshe had asked God why Pharaoh would listen to him. God's answer is that His power was going to be demonstrated through Moshe and that Moshe was going to be Pharaoh's judge. Moshe had doubts about his speaking ability so God appointed his brother Aharon to speak on his behalf.

Exodus 7:2-4a

You are to say everything I order you, and Aharon your brother is to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people of Isra'el leave his land. But I will make him hardhearted. Even though I will increase my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you.

Once again, God gave Moshe his marching orders but He went on to explain that Moshe's words were not going to convince Pharaoh. We see that God told Moshe that He was going to "harden Pharaoh's heart". What does that mean? The Hebrew word is "qa sheh" and it is used to describe a heart that is difficult and not easily penetrated. God was telling Moshe that He was going to reveal the fact that Pharaoh's heart would not easily be penetrated because he considered himself to be god.

Exodus 7:4b & 5

Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my armies, my people the sons of Isra'el, out of the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. Then, when I stretch out my hand over Egypt and bring the people of Isra'el out from among them, the Egyptians will know that I am ADONAI."

God completes Moshe's instructions with the reassurance that, in the end, the efforts will succeed. God went on to explain the reason for allowing this temporary disobedience and not just eliminating Pharaoh. That reason was so that the rest of the Egyptians would see that the real God of the universe is in control.

Exodus 7:6 & 7

Moshe and Aharon did exactly what ADONAI ordered them to do. Moshe was eighty years old and Aharon eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Why does God mention the age of His servants? We see that Aharon is older than Moshe yet Moshe is listed before Aharaon. This highlights Moshe's role as the vessel of redemption as the number 80 refers to redemption. Aharon's 83 years refers to the revealing of redemption.

Exodus 7:8 & 9

ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, "When Pharaoh says to you, 'Perform a miracle,' tell Aharon to take his staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, so that it can become a snake."

God instructed them on how they were to present their authority to Pharaoh. He chose to make Aharon's staff a serpent but why? The actual Hebrew word is "tannin" and it means monster and, here, it is translated as serpent or snake. In other parts of the Bible, such as Isaiah and Ezekiel, it is translated as dragon. This is the opening battle in the war on Egypt's gods as they had "gods" for every form of life and function in life. In Egyptian mythology, their chief god was the sun god Ra and he was opposed by a large demonic snake named Apep. According to them, Apep and Ra battled nightly to see whether the sun would rise the next day or not. By making the staff a monster snake, God was putting Pharaoh on notice that the Egyptian gods were going down. So, God would create a demon? The short answer is yes as He created Satan and the other fallen angels which are called demons. But, in this case, it is not actually a demon but will be used to show Pharaoh that the God of Israel is greater than the demon forces they were afraid of. It can also be a reminder to us that God is far greater than Satan and He is in control.

Exodus 7:10-12a

Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and did this, as ADONAI had ordered -Aharon threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a snake. But Pharaoh in turn called for the sages and sorcerers; and they too, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing, making use of their secret arts. Each one threw his staff down, and they turned into snakes.

Pharaoh was not impressed by the sign that God had given to Moshe and Aharon. The sorcerers used the demonic powers that were at work in Egypt to imitate the work of God. This is a common happening throughout the Bible as Satan wanted to be God but could not and so wants to imitate His works. This same pattern occurs even in the last days as Satan tries to imitate the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 13:3).

Exodus 7:12b

But Aharon's staff swallowed up theirs.

When Aharon's staff swallowed the others, it was a statement concerning the supremacy of God. Satan and his demons, as represented by the other snakes, were eliminated by God.

Exodus 7:13

Nevertheless, Pharaoh was made hardhearted; and he didn't listen to them, as ADONAI had said would happen.

This was a warning shot in this "battle of the gods" but Pharaoh was full of pride and would not accept the word. This is the operating pattern of God and his judgment. He always gives a warning and, after it is ignored, He will bring the judgment.

Exodus 7:14 & 15

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Pharaoh is stubborn. He refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning when he goes out to the water. Stand on the riverbank to confront him, take in your hand the staff which was turned into a snake,

The Nile was like the giver of life to the people of Egypt and, because of Pharaoh's arrogant refusal, God told Moshe to confront him there. He was also told to take the staff that had been changed into a snake as a reminder to Pharaoh. The pattern for this coming judgment is that God will send Moshe and Aharon with a another warning followed by a series of three plagues. This pattern will occur three times and we are reminded that, throughout the Bible, three is associated with the earthly display of God's will for man.

Exodus 7:16-18

and say to him, 'ADONAI, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say: "Let my people go, so that they can worship me in the desert." But until now you haven't listened; so ADONAI says, "This will let you know that I am ADONAI": I will take the staff in my hand and strike the water in the river, and it will be turned into blood. The fish in the river will die, the river will stink and the Egyptians won't want to drink water from the river.'"

The warning that Pharaoh was given would have been a direct statement that God was greater than Hapi who was their god of the Nile. They had declared that Hapi was the creator of all things but Moshe warned Pharaoh that he was going to see the power of the true Creator.

Exodus 7:19

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Say to Aharon, 'Take your staff, reach out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, canals, ponds and all their reservoirs, so that they can turn into blood. There will be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.'"

We see that not only the Nile was going to be affected but all water everywhere. Throughout the Bible, blood represents life and this was to show that God is the giver of life. This was to show that God had control over all things and not just the river like their "Nile god".

Exodus 7:20-25

Moshe and Aharon did exactly what ADONAI had ordered. He raised the staff and, in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, struck the water in the river; and all the water in the river was turned into blood. The fish in the river died, and the river stank so badly that the Egyptians couldn't drink its water. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts, so that Pharaoh was made hardhearted and didn't listen to them, as ADONAI had said would happen. Pharaoh just turned and went back to his palace, without taking any of this to heart. All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink, because they couldn't drink the river water. Seven days after ADONAI had struck the river,

Events took place just as God had described and revealed what was in the heart of Pharaoh.

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