Fellowship at Cross Creek
Life of Moses
Lesson 18b: A Darkness that Could be Felt!
Introduction: What is “a darkness that could be felt”? Can times be dark? What do you think this means? Do you think life remains as such, or does light eventually follow? Life ever been dark for you? What does that mean? Did life remain dark? When the light broke, what brought about the light? What did you learn from those dark days?
What’s the source of light in the darkness for someone who trusts in God?
Pray. Ask for insight.
Read the Passage three times.
Ex. 10:21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt –darkness that can be felt.”
Why does the miracle always begin with “stretch out your hand”? Note: this time, there is no going to Pharaoh and asking him to let Israel go? Why is darkness a plague?
22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.
23 No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
How did this happen? Heavy clouds? Did people not have torches or lamps?
24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”
Still trying to negotiate. Does Pharaoh want them to come back? Is this why, he keeps trying to put limits are they going out to worship—first only the men, now only the people, without their livestock?
25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God.
Note this is not just about leaving or freedom, but about worship, acknowledging the truth of their Creator and Protector.
26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the LORD our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the LORD.”
27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
God hardens Pharaoh’s heart again. This is not just Pharaoh hardening it.
28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
Now Pharaoh is angry. What does this threat mean? No more plagues will be tolerated? He is completely hardened now? Would he really kill Moses? Is this suicidal with respect to all that has happened to his nation?
29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied, “I will never appear before you again.”
Moses doesn’t fight it. He knows something is about to bring this to closure.
Ask Questions (no answers)…
(Note: There are a lot of verses here; don’t get too bogged down. Keep it moving, even if you need to move on the next question.)
Who’s? Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, LORD, no one, anyone, Israelites, your women and children
Where’s? left Pharaoh, west wind, into the Red Sea, in Egypt, toward the sky, over Egypt, leave his place, in the place where they lived, go, leave your flocks behind, with us, behind, there, go, out of my sight, before me, before you again
When’s? quickly, once more, then left, then the Lord, three days, Then Pharaoh summoned, until we get there, the day you see my face, never appear
• The Lord commands Moses to bring about a plague of a darkness “that can be felt.” 21
• Egypt is plunged into darkness for three days. 22-23
• Pharaoh summons Moses again and gives Israel permission to leave,. This time Pharaoh includes the women and children, but strangely not their livestock. 24
• Moses refuses the deal, stating that they need their livestock to offer sacrifices. 25-26
• But again God hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he refuses to grant Moses’ demands and threatens Moses that if he ever appears before Pharaoh again, he will die. 27-28
• Moses agrees and leaves. 29
Once again, because of the plague of darkness , Pharaoh repents, but onc again God hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he changes his mind and refuses to let God’s people leave Egypt.
Why’s? Why did God include this passage in his timeless word? Or What do I learn about God? Life? People? Myself?
• God is in control, be it the weather, plagues, insects, wind, darkness, even light and most especially, people’s hearts.
• He assert his control over these things in different ways and in different times for a variety of greater purposes, even if this, momentarily and seemingly makes things more difficult for his people or servants.
• Make no mistake about it, within his sovereign purposes, God can and does harden people’s hearts, including kings or rulers’ hearts.
• People can say they are sorry, act repentant, ask for forgiveness and prayer on their behalf, and this repentance still not be sustaining or lasting. Real repentance seems to be a difficult thing to sustain.
• Pride, wealth, power are huge deterrents for having a relationship with God. In the end, humility before and under the Sovereign Ruler and Creator of the Universe is required to have an ongoing, beneficial relationship with Him.
• Expect human bargaining. People want their cake and to eat it too, even if having that cake means a major shift in what God expects, desires or commands. In the end, it is meaningless. Stick with the plan, the call, the command. Beware of fruitless compromise.
• God’s deliverance is not just about becoming humanly free, such as being freed from another’s enslavement, despite how hard the enslavement actually is, but rather, about being free so that we may worship Him, because ultimately, no person is ever truly free without God or the worship of God. In the end, God is the ultimate source of man’s salvation or deliverance from evil.
• People under conviction seem to use denial, including “I don’t ever want to see you again,” as Pharaoh did with Moses, in order to avoid or momentarily cope with their guilty or conflicted consciences. Often times when people reject God’s servant, they are in actuality, in a very confused and conflicted way, attempting to reject themselves or God. Don’t take it personally; you are just the messenger or herald. It is the message and the message’s Creator that is being rejected.
So What’s? How does this truth personally apply to one of my life’s struggles?
Struggle… Kind of dragging this week. Been focusing on the (Iraq) War (which began in May 2003). Did get the Fellowship Hall painted with some great help. But I have procrastinated on getting this lesson out or finishing up on my message. Not sure why. Keeping up with the war is like a total time sponge. You keep waiting for new information, but it is slow in coming. I wish I could be a war correspondent to get a better picture of the war’s everyday coming’s and goings. But instead, I just get a long-distance filtered approach. I think I would like to be right in the middle of it.
Principle or Truth… God is in control, even of resistance, weather and the hardening of men’s hearts.
Application… There is a reason that Sadaam’s heart is hard and we are having to go through all this. Same with Jordan’s (college baseball) coach not giving him an opportunity to pitch yet. Same with several of those within our congregation this past year having hard hearts and leaving their families. There is always a reason. We may not know why, but I can promise you, there is a reason. So I should be patient, obedient, trust God and let go of it. I can’t control it. God will. Pray for what I think is best and let it go, including the war, our men and women in combat, my son, our church, my extended family. God is so much in control that indeed he may have even harden people’s hearts even when we can’t understand how hard those hearts can really be (so so sad).
Thanksgiving… I have so much to be thankful for. My glass is extremely full. One week ago, we took our Spiritual daughter to Life House in Springfield, a Catholic charity for the pregnant homeless. She had built it up to be a prison of sorts, but found it to be a hospital of love, support, accountability and empowerment. It’s been a great first week that is now a part of 11 wonderful weeks of powerful Spiritual renewal and sustained sobriety from a long-term opiate addiction. As she approaches 35 weeks of pregnancy, both she and her unborn child are safe, growing and sober. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God, for everyday of this ten-year journey. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Every day has been a slice of heaven.
Struggle… Trusting God once again for finances and salary. It’s like a bi-annual occurrence, but we have been through this so many times, and seen God’s repeated provision, that whether he chooses to, or how he chooses to, rescue us again is his prerogative and for his glory. I simply choose to serve him.
Truth… Sometimes it is darkest before the dawn of God’s deliverance. Accept the world’s darkness, while living in his light, truth, hope and deliverance; expect fickle repentance at times; true freedom is the ability and desire to freely worship God regardless of the resistance and regardless of the circumstances.
Application… Resistance means nothing compared to the will of God. Be obedient, no matter what. Expect intermittent repentance and relapse. Don’t be ruled by or bound by seemingly limited human fickleness or immaturity. Rather, expect it. Stay focused on the plan, the commission, the call.
What about you? Struggle? Truth? Application?
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.