Sermon: The Warning Of God; The Prayer Of Moses

 

1 And 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. 2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 3 And 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: 4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. 5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 8 Then 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. 9 And 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? 10 And 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. 11 And 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. 12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 And 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. 14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:1–15)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

How do you respond to warnings in life?

 

When the Weather Service issues a warning, we might choose to ignore it, because the weatherman is hardly ever right, or we go to the store and buy a truckload of supplies and prepare to hunker down.

 

If our body issues a warning—a new ache or pain—we may or may not go see the doctor. If the police give us a warning, we might slow down for awhile.

 

Warnings for us come and go. We respond or we don’t. 

 

A feature in some of the plagues is that God gives Pharaoh a warning—a choice to respond or to be hardened. That’s what we see first…

 

I. GOD’S WARNING

 

A. Let My People Go…

 

Exodus 8:1 And 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. 

Exodus 8:2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 

Exodus 8:3 And 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: 

Exodus 8:4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. 

 

This would not be just a few frogs. All Egypt’s “borders” would be filled with frogs. The Nile would “bring forth frogs abundantly.” The very same Hebrew phrase is used in Genesis 1:21—

 

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)

 

So you get the idea. The frogs would be everywhere, including, as mentioned first, into Pharaoh’s palace. They would infest everything in a person’s home. 

 

In the first plague, the water turning to blood, the home was safe. You needed to send someone to dig for water at the river’s edge, but at least you could eat and lie down in peace. Not anymore! Frogs would be everywhere! 

 

In a previous church, we had the adult Sunday School class in the basement. One particular Sunday I came down to make coffee and found a mouse in the coffee pot. On another Sunday we saw a mouse scurry across the florescent light fixture above us. 

 

That was enough to cause concern for us, can you imagine having to take possibly dozens of frogs out of your home everyday? Can you imagine stepping on frogs in the middle of the night? People in those days slept on mats on the floor, so you wouldn’t have a good night sleep when you would roll over on frogs.

 

What was Pharaoh’s response to this warning from the Lord? Nothing. Scripture doesn’t record that he said anything, but it’s not a surprise to me if he didn’t say anything. People either heed a warning, or protest loudly against it, or, they say nothing at all. They just hope that it will go away. Because Pharaoh chose to ignore, rather than respond, to the warning, the Lord moved forward.

 

B. …Or Else.

 

Exodus 8:5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 

Exodus 8:6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 

 

Some have suggested that this plague was simply a natural occurrence. Every year when the Nile reaches flood stage, the number of frogs increases dramatically. Perhaps one year there were more frogs than normal and the legend was born. 

 

There are those who think that the frogs came out of the river because it had been polluted by the first plague. But there is no indication whatsoever in the Biblical text that this was the case. That’s not to say that it couldn’t have happened that way, but apparently it wasn’t important for us to know.

 

Exodus 8:7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 

 

Don’t miss the humor here. In the first plague, the magicians created more blood (or a blood-colored substance); and here they created more frogs. What good was that? They were unable to reverse either plague one bit; instead they only added to the problem. 

 

C. Why Frogs? 

 

The Egyptians had a goddess named Heqet (or Hekt), who supposedly assisted at childbirth. She was depicted as having a head of a frog.

 

We could see this then as the Lord saying to the Egyptians, “You want fertility? I’ll give you fertility…have some fertile frogs!”

 

Of course, the frog-goddess would lose worshippers because no one would be able to stand to look at her image any longer. 

 

But then also, this goddess was also responsible for controlling the frog population by protecting the crocodiles (who like frogs for lunch). When Egypt was overrun with frogs, it proved that Heqet was a failure.

 

Do we hear the Lord’s warning? How should one respond to his warning? We see Pharaoh’s response in the next half of this passage.

 

II. MOSES’ PRAYER

 

A. Pharaoh Turns To Moses For Prayer

 

Exodus 8:8 Then 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. 

 

Notice that it doesn’t say anything about Pharaoh calling his magicians. We may assume that either he did, but they could not remove the frogs, or he knew in his heart that they could only perform tricks and not do the real deal.

 

Pharaoh then does the unthinkable (for an unbeliever). This unbeliever turns to Moses and Aaron and asks them to “Intreat the LORD, that he make take away the frogs…” It’s amazing that the Pharaoh asks them pray on his behalf, and more amazing that he uses the personal name of God, “LORD.”

 

What is happening here? The Lord is accomplishing his purpose for the plagues. Remember what he said in Exodus 7:17?

 

17 Thus 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. (Exodus 7:17)

 

The Lord’s goal was that Pharaoh would know that he was the Lord. I don’t think that this necessarily means that Pharaoh would be saved, but that he would know of his strength and power. What this shows us is that people can learn about God, but never get saved.

 

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)

 

All Pharaoh wanted were the frogs to be taken away, he had no inclination to have God take away his sins. Instead of turning to God and praying a prayer of repentance, he turned to Moses and asked for prayer instead. 

 

B. God Will Prove Himself Through Prayer

 

Exodus 8:9 And 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? 

Exodus 8:10a And he [Pharaoh] 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. 

Exodus 8:11 And 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.

 

Why didn’t Pharaoh say, “Today”? One possibility might be that Pharaoh and Moses lived in a culture where long prayers were the norm. Pharaoh might have assumed that Moses would need several hours in which to pray to the Lord God.

 

Why did Moses give Pharaoh the choice of when the frogs would go away? It’s actually a brilliant move on the part of the Lord. If Pharaoh chose the time that the frogs left, and Moses prayed for them to leave at that time, then Pharaoh couldn’t say that they left because of natural causes or whatever. He would be forced to admit that the Lord God was powerful.

 

Jesus did something similar when he healed the paralyzed man in Mark 2. After the man was lowered through the roof to the feet of Jesus—

 

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. (Mark 2:5–12)

 

You see what Jesus was saying? He had the power to forgive sins and to prove it, he would cause the paralyzed man to walk.

 

The Lord can forgive your sins also. He died on the cross to make the payment for our sins, and he rose again from the dead to prove that he did. All we need to do is trust Christ.

 

The Lord gave Pharaoh the choice when the frogs would go away, so that Pharaoh would know that he was the Lord and he was powerful enough to answer prayers. Even Pharaoh could be saved, if he would just trust in the Lord.

 

C. Moses Cries Out In Prayer

 

Exodus 8:12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 

 

“Moses cried unto the LORD” indicates that his was a strong prayer. The same word is used to express Esau’s grief when he discovered that Jacob had taken his blessing (Genesis 27:34). It’s also used to describe Moses’ prayers elsewhere in Exodus, such as when he was frustrated with the Israelites:

 

4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. (Exodus 17:4)

 

So when Moses prayed, it was not a weak, half-hearted prayer. He put his all into the prayer. James said, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Indeed, that was the case with Moses.

 

We also know that prayers that are answered are those prayers that are in the will of God (1 John 5:14). It was in the will of God to remove the frogs, which is why God answered his prayer.

 

One of the believer’s privileges is that we can access the Lord at any time through prayer. It doesn’t matter what crisis or trial that might be afflicting us, we can come to him. 

 

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

 

It says that we will “obtain mercy, and find grace,” not that we would have a positive earthly outcome. God’s mercy forgives us for our failures; God’s grace enables us to face the future ahead.

 

So God answered the prayer of Moses:

 

Exodus 8:13 And 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. 

Exodus 8:14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. 

 

These are the words of someone who had been there. Moses saw and smelt the heaps of frogs. Don’t miss these kinds of details—they add to the authenticity of the Bible.

 

CONCLUSION/CALL TO DECISION

 

But did Pharaoh respond to this display of God’s mercy in removing the frogs? No…

 

Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

 

Many unbelievers, when a crisis has drawn them closer to God is over, they return to their old ways. Walking with the Lord doesn’t interest them, only having a trouble-free life.

 

Christians too, I think, fall into this routine. We live out our lives in a lukewarm fashion: attending church, keeping up appearances, but really having a heart that is a bit hardened towards the Lord Jesus.

 

Then a crisis hits, and we know where to turn to, and we do. We recognize the wake-up call from the Lord, and we pray—we cry out in prayer. But what happens when the crisis is over?

 

Are we like Pharaoh, only interested in having the trouble to be over? Or, are we drawn into a closer trusting of the Lord Jesus?

 

Father, we acknowledge that you are all-powerful and we can trust you. Yet we often lose sight of that wonderful truth. We let our trust slip unto other things. We understand that you give us warnings, Lord—we pray that you would help us respond and walk closer with you…

 

 

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