1. What are some things that we can be stubborn about?
2. Is stubbornness a positive or negative trait? (Most of us would view “stubbornness” as a negative trait, I think. The positive traits that are related to stubbornness are tenacity, persistence, determination, perseverance, etc.)
Stubborn is defined as “having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.”
Stubbornness can be very much related to pride and self-centeredness, all of which hinder our being obedient to God.
3. What are some potential dangers of stubbornness?
4. Think of a time when you have let stubbornness get the best of you. How did that experience open the door for you to learn about God and His power?
In today’s study we will discover how Pharaoh’s stubbornness became costly to his country. In fact, if we consider closely the impact of the ten plagues God brought on Egypt it was as if there had been a series of natural disasters, the totality of which makes tropical storm Harvey seem minor!
Strategy Explained! Read Exodus 7:1-5
1. What promises did God make to Moses in these verses, some of which seem strange? (Pharaoh will not listen to you; I will harden Pharaoh’s heart; I will demonstrate many signs and wonders; I will bring my people out of Egypt.)
2. Does it seem strange to you that God would “harden Pharaoh’s heart”? (There are passages were God says He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, times when Pharaoh hardened his heart and times when the Scripture simply says Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. As one writer put it, “This is a mystery that we must embrace with humility and faith.” “The mystery of the intersection of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.”)
Is it possible that Pharaoh’s stubbornness and pride became stronger every time God attempted to humble him? Just a thought.
3. How important do you think it was for God to explain to Moses that Pharaoh would become more defiant?
4. How could knowing the end result help Moses endure the defiance of Pharaoh? (Remember when God spoke to Moses from the bush He told Moses everything that was going to happen. It seems, at times, that Moses forgot.)
Simple Obedience! Read 7:6-7
1. Why was Moses’ and Aaron’s exact obedience so important? (Our disobedience, including our partial obedience, confuses the messages from God that He asks us to convey to others. It gives us the false impression we have the right to pick and choose whether or not to obey Him.)
2. How does simple and complete obedience demonstrate faith? (“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17 NIV. See Romans 6:16; 1 John 5:2)
3. Why did God seem to go out of His way to be sure we knew how old Moses and Aaron were in this saga?
4. Why do we sometimes discount our responsibility to obey God because of our age or experience? (Consider these examples in addition to Moses and Aaron—Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna, and so on! God called these and many others to obey and be used in astounding ways at an advanced age. He also used those with little or no experience like David, Samuel and Timothy. God chooses people based on His will, not our age or experience!)
5. When have you used age or experience as an excuse to following God’s call on your life?
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, knowing the stubbornness they were about to face.
Signs and Wonders! Read Exodus 7:8-13
1. What was demonstrated by Aaron’s rod eating the others?
2. What was Pharaoh’s response to this demonstration of power?
3. How can God prepare us for an unexpected and difficult faith challenge? (We never know when we may face a challenging situation. As believers we must “put on the full armor of God” daily—Eph 6:11. We are urged to be ready to face opposition, and familiarity with God’s Word and His ways brings us confidence in God’s power in and through us.)
Use “The Ten Plagues” poster to review the plagues God brought on Egypt. When the final plague of the “Death Angel” was completed Egypt had been utterly destroyed and their valuables left with the Israelites.
4. How does Pharaoh’s repeatedly going back on his word mirror characteristics of false repentance? (In the instances Pharaoh relented and promised to let the people go, His fear of God was shallow and short-lived. He seemed to want God’s favor when hardships were intense, but once relief came, Pharaoh showed he had no real interest in knowing God or yielding to Him.)
5. What is the difference between false repentance and true repentance?
God’s heart has always been for all nations to know Him. The plagues He sent to Egypt had Israel’s deliverance as their motive. He also revealed His sovereign power clearly to every Egyptian. I’m not so sure that the Egyptians viewed Yahweh as only the God of the Israelites. We must communicate that God is for all nations and peoples. He is the only true God!
Summarize and Challenge!
God displays His power, reminding all peoples that He alone is worthy of worship.
Think of the slavery the Israelites endured in Egypt as a picture of the domain of sin in the world. God went to great lengths to bring His people out of slavery triumphantly and in full reliance on Him. They never could have achieved this on their own. In the same way, God has gone to incredible lengths to buy His people out of slavery to sin through His Son , Jesus.
1. What are some of the powers of this world that hold people in captivity and keep them in the dark about Jesus and His power to deliver from bondage?
2. What can we do to point people to the greater power of God?
When you pray, ask God to bring this image to life for you. Spend some time thinking about slavery to sin and the ultimate hopelessness of living without Christ.
Someone you know needs to be freed by Jesus. Pray for an opportunity to share what God has done to free you and that He is ready to free them as well.