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Moses and God's Wonders in Egypt

Moses took his wife and two sons and headed back to Egypt. Meanwhile, God had told Aaron to go and meet Moses in the wilderness. When they met Aaron was so happy to see him that he kissed Moses. You can imagine two brothers who are excited and giving each other the news of all the things which God has told them.

When they returned to Egypt to their people they gathered the elders together and told them everything. Moses showed them the powers that God had given him to show to Pharaoh. When the people saw and heard they worshipped God. (Exodus 4)

Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh. They asked very politely if they could take the children of Israel three days into the wilderness to worship God. But the Pharaoh was a cruel man, and he decided on a way to turn the Hebrews against Moses. The Hebrews were slaves after all. One of the things they had to do was make bricks for the buildings and monuments of the Pharaohs. He told them that he would not give them straw anymore for the bricks, but they must still make just as many bricks. The people could not make bricks without straw, so they had to hunt for dry grass to put in the bricks. This meant that they could not make as many bricks. This caused the officers, we could call them managers, who were also Hebrew, to be beaten. Now these people became angry with Moses because things were worse for them. (Exodus 5)

Now God spoke to Moses and Moses spoke to the people. He told them that Pharaoh would drive them out of Egypt. God would remember the promises that He had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and would lead them to Canaan, which was their heritage.

But the people were not listening to Moses anymore. When he had first come they were excited, but now things were bad for them. They didn't want to listen.

God told Moses to go back and talk to Pharaoh and ask him to let the people go. Moses said, "The children of Israel will not listen to me, how then will Pharaoh listen to me?" Moses was discouraged. (Exodus 6)

The First Plague

Moses and Aaron went to see Pharaoh. They did exactly as God told them. To show God's power Aaron threw down Moses' rod and it turned into a snake. Then Pharaoh had his magicians throw down their rods, they all turned to snakes also. But Moses' snake swallowed all the other snakes. But the Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go.

The next morning God told Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh while he was at the river. God told Moses, and Moses then told Aaron what to say and do. God told Moses, "Say to Aaron, take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt. Stretch it over the streams, and the rivers, and the ponds and upon all their pools of water. The water will turn into blood. It will also be blood in all their water containers."

Moses and Aaron did as God told them. All the water turned to blood. The fish died and the river stank. No one could drink the water of the river.

Pharaoh's magicians tried to counteract the curse on the river. But they couldn't do anything about it. They appealed to the Pharaoh, but he wouldn't listen even to his own magicians.

Pharaoh went into his house and the Egyptian people had to dig holes by the river to get enough water to drink. The waters were turned to blood for seven days. (Exodus 7)

The Second Plague

Having the water of Egypt turn to blood did not convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. So God told Moses and Aaron to stretch the rod over all the waters of Egypt and have frogs come up out of the water. Frogs did come up on the land. They were everywhere, everywhere. They were in the houses, in the beds, in the food. This was so disgusting that Pharaoh begged Moses and Aaron to get rid of the frogs. If they would get rid of them then Pharaoh would let the Hebrews go.

So Moses prayed that the frogs would stop coming up on the land. The Egyptian people collected the frogs and piled them up where they rotted and stank.

The Pharaoh was a liar. He had said that he would let the children of Israel go if Moses would get rid of the frogs. But he changed his mind. (Exodus 8)

The Third Plague

God then told Moses to have Aaron stretch out the rod and turn the dust of Egypt into lice. Lice are tiny little insects that live on people, animals and plants. They suck on things, some of them suck blood. So now there were lice all over, probably driving every person and animal crazy in Egypt.

This scared Pharaoh's magicians. They couldn't do anything to counteract these plagues. They said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God!" But the Pharaoh would not listen to them. (Exodus 8)

The Fourth Plague

God told Moses to get up early in the morning and meet Pharaoh at the river. Say to Pharaoh "Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. If you will not let them go I will send swarms of flies upon you, upon your servants, upon your people, and into your houses. Swarms of flies will be in your houses and on the ground. But in the land of Goshen, where my people live, there will be no swarms of flies. By doing this you will know that I am the Lord of all the earth. I can divide my people from your people. This will happen tomorrow."

So flies came all over Egypt except in Goshen, where the children of Israel lived. Pharaoh said, "You can make your sacrifices here in Egypt." Moses said, "No, it would be an abomination and the Egyptian people would stone us, we need to go three days into the wilderness." And then Pharaoh said, "I'll let you go if you don't go very far, just ask your God to get rid of the flies." Moses said, "All right, I will ask God, but don't lie to us again."

Moses asked God to get rid of the flies out of Egypt. God did get rid of the flies, but Pharaoh had lied and would not let the children of Israel go even a little ways out of Egypt. (Exodus 8)

The Fifth Plague

Then Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh again. Aaron told Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. If you do not let them go I will cause a terrible disease to come upon all of your cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen and sheep. I will protect all the cattle of the children of Israel so that not one of them will die. This will happen tomorrow."

The next day the cattle of the Egyptians died. I think that some of the cattle survived, you will see later that the surviving cattle suffered more plagues to come. But not one animal of the Hebrews died. Pharaoh sent his servants to find out if it came true. It was true, but he would still not let the children of Israel go.

The Sixth Plague

Now God told Moses and Aaron what to do next. Moses took ashes from a furnace. In front of the Pharaoh he sprinkled them toward heaven. This caused the Egyptian people and any animals they still had to break out in boils.

I don't know if I have ever had a boil, but I think it is a lot like a blister. A boil is caused by an infection, a blister is caused by rubbing a tender place, like your toe. It hurts, and when it breaks there is tender new skin underneath that is sore. Think about having those all over your body, it would be kind of like an itchy fire all over you.

Pharaoh's magicians had boils all over their bodies too. They were miserable. They could not stand before Moses. Maybe that means they couldn't do anything about it, or maybe it means they were so sore that they couldn't stand up straight. I think it must have been both, but the Pharaoh would still not let the children of Israel go.

The Seventh Plague

There is something interesting that God has Moses tell Pharaoh at the time of this plague. He tells him, "And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth." He said to Moses, "speak unto Pharaoh the thing which I command thee, who as yet exalteth himself that he will not let them go."

Let's think about this for a little bit. Sometimes we see bullies and dishonest people who are making our lives miserable. How did they get so much power to have such control over us? Maybe God let it happen. This is what God is telling Pharaoh. Pharaoh thinks he is more important than God, even though he has seen the effects of God's power six times already. His own religion cannot help him. His magicians of his religion cannot help him. But he is defying the power of God. You will see that because of his pride and arrogance God will show the whole world just how powerful, He, God really is.

Now Moses and Aaron warned Pharaoh about the next plague. The next plague will be hail and thunder and fire. Hail is little balls of ice that fall from the sky. They start out as drops of water and get frozen in the cold air. They may get tossed around in the wind above us and collect more water and freeze again. They can get very large this way, maybe as big as baseballs or grapefruits. This hail would be the worst that Egypt had ever had. Not only that, but there would be thunder. Now thunder is the sound that lightening makes, but the Bible doesn't mention lightening. But it says that there was fire running along the ground with the hail. Lightening is caused by nature's electricity. Maybe the fire on the ground was electricity. Electricity can stun us or kill us.

The Pharaoh was told that the Egyptians could protect themselves from this hail and fire by getting inside a building. People could go into their houses and put their animals in the barns. But any people or animals left outside would be in danger.

The hail and thunder and fire did come. The Egyptians who believed in what Moses said got indoors and were safe. Outside the hail hit people, animals, broke trees, and ruined any crops that were getting ready for harvest. But the hail did not fall in Goshen, where the Hebrew people lived.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. "Your God is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. We have sinned. Ask your God to take this away and I will let your people go."

Moses answered, "I will do as you ask, but I know that you still do not fear God."

So the hail and fire stopped but Pharaoh would not let the people go. (Exodus 9)

The Eighth Plague

God told Moses to go to Pharaoh again. God told Moses that Pharaoh had hardened his heart and his servants' hearts against the children of Israel. He told Moses that He was getting ready to show him something that Moses could tell his son, and his son could tell his son. God was going to show His power.

So Moses and Aaron went to see Pharaoh again. God's message to Pharaoh was, "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. If you will not let my people go, I will cover your land with locusts. They will eat everything that was left by the hail. They will be in all your houses. It will be something that your fathers and grandfathers have not seen." Then Moses left Pharaoh.

Pharaoh's servants were getting desperate. They said to Pharaoh, "Let their men go and serve their God. How long will you let this go on? Can't you see that Egypt is destroyed?"

So Pharaoh had Moses and Aaron brought back to him and he tried to make a deal. He asked whom they were planning to take into the wilderness. Moses answered, "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord."

Pharaoh answered that he would let the men go. But their families must stay. Moses said that was not good enough. So Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to get out!

So God had Moses stretch his rod out over Egypt. A wind began to blow from the east and it brought all the locusts that God had promised would come. Locusts are kind of big grasshoppers. The land was dark with them and they covered all the ground. They ate every green thing that was left from the hail.

Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron quickly. He begged Moses to get rid of the locusts, and he said that he had sinned against God and against Moses.

Moses went out and asked God to take away the locusts. God sent a wind from the west and it blew every single locust into the Red Sea. But Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go.

The Ninth Plague

God then told Moses to stretch out his hand toward heaven. All of Egypt became dark. In Goshen, where the children of Israel lived, they had light in their homes. But in the rest of Egypt the people had to sit in the dark for three whole days.

Pharaoh called for Moses. He said, "Go and serve your God. You can take your families with you. But leave your flocks and herds here."

Moses said, "We must take our flocks and herds for sacrifices and burnt offerings. We will not leave any behind."

Pharaoh became so angry that he said, "Get away from me! If I see you again you will die!"

Moses replied, "You have spoken well. I will not see you again." (Exodus 10)

The Tenth Plague, the Passover

The final plague finally convinced Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. Before Moses had returned to Egypt from Midian God had told Moses to to say to Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn; And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me; and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. (Exodus 4:21-23)

God had sent nine plagues upon Egypt already. The Pharaoh could have let the children of Israel go as soon as Moses asked him. But each time that Moses asked God to take away a plague from Egypt, the Pharaoh had lied. After the swarm of flies Pharaoh had offered to let the children of Israel make their sacrifices in Egypt. After the burning hail Pharaoh offered to let just the men go to make their sacrifices. That meant that they would have to come back to be with their families. After the darkness Pharaoh offered to let all the people go, but leave behind their flocks and herds. That meant that they would not have sacrifices to give to God. Each time Moses had replied, "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord."

God had given Pharaoh every chance to let the children of Israel go before God would kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. Pharaoh had been warned. His country was being destroyed and yet his pride would not let him obey God.

Now God was going to get the children of Israel ready to leave Egypt. God told Moses to tell them to borrow gold and silver jewelry from their Egyptian neighbors. You may wonder, why would the Egyptians lend them jewelry? The Egyptian people had suffered through all the plagues. They recognized Moses as a great man. They were probably afraid and wanted Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. So they gave jewelry to the children of Israel.

God let Moses know that the firstborn of all the Egyptians would die because Pharaoh's heart was hard against the Hebrews. The people of Egypt would cry a great cry. Not only that, but have you ever known a dog that would not bark at a stranger? The dogs would not even bark at the children of Israel or their animals. Only God could do such a thing.

Now began the countdown to the last plague. (Exodus 12)

The Perfect Lamb

God let the Hebrews know that from this moment started a new year. On the tenth day the children of Israel were to choose a perfect male sheep or goat lamb. On the evening of the fourteenth day they were to kill it. Then they were to take some of the blood and paint it on the lintel and side posts of their door, what we call the door frame. Then they were to roast the meat and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread.

The perfect lamb was one of the main foods of the Passover dinner. We need to talk about what the Perfect Lamb means.

First of all, the perfect lamb does not mean a cute, fluffy little white lamb with a pink or blue bow at its neck. A perfect lamb is a good healthy lamb. You wouldn't want to eat it, unless you had lots of them, you would let it grow up and become a father sheep or a mother sheep and have more healthy lambs. The shepherd would want his flock to be like the perfect lamb.

The sacrifice of the perfect lamb began at the beginning of time, at the time of Adam and Eve. God told Adam, that he and his wife, Eve, should worship Him and sacrifice the best of their flocks to Him. The way Adam was to do this was to kill a perfect lamb and burn it on an altar made of stones. Adam and Eve did the things God told them because they wanted to please Him.

One day Adam was making his sacrifice to God when an angel came to him.

"Why are you making this sacrifice to God?" asked the angel.

Adam answered, "I don't know why, except that God told me to do this."

"Then I will tell you why you do it," said the angel. "This is so you will know that someday God's only Son, Jesus Christ, will die as this lamb has. Jesus, who will be perfect in every way and will never do anything wrong or sinful will die for all the wrong things that people will do. All the people who will believe in Jesus and try to be like Him will live with God again. This was planned from the very beginning because God loves all people and wants them to live with Him." (Genesis Chapter 4:4-11)

God told Adam to teach his children why Jesus Christ would shed his blood. The blood of Jesus Christ cleans away the sins of all people who will repent of their sins and be baptized. If we want to live in the kingdom of God we must be clean. (Genesis Chapter 6:59-63)

God said this, "By being baptized in water you are keeping My commandment. By the Spirit you are justified, or freed from guilt. By the blood of Jesus Christ you are made clean and holy."

Why should we keep God's commandments? That is simple, if we love God we will keep His commandments.

After that time the people who worshipped God performed this sacrifice. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Isaac would be the perfect lamb. But just as Abraham was getting ready to sacrifice his son God stopped him. God said to Abraham, "Now I know that you fear God, seeing that you were willing to sacrifice your son, Isaac to Me."

There was a ram caught in some bushes nearby. God had provided it for Abraham to sacrifice. God had been teaching Abraham to have faith and that God does not want us to kill our children. Many people at that time did kill their children as sacrifices to idols. (Genesis Chapter 22)

The Passover lamb was to teach the children of Israel about Jesus Christ who would come about thirteen hundred years later. Jesus is the Son of God. He was the ultimate sacrifice. His death was at the Passover because he was the perfect lamb.

This is what Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, said about him. "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" John knew exactly who Jesus was and why he had come to earth. Jesus had come to teach us and then die on the cross as the sacrifice so that we could repent and return to God's presence. (John Chapter 1)

Now we will talk about the rest of the foods of the Passover dinner.

What are bitter herbs? We can know what these are from what Jewish people still eat at their Passover dinner. Think about our Thanksgiving dinner. We have certain foods we like to eat because they all mean something special to us for that day. We eat turkey, giblet gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. The Jews have very special foods for their Passover dinner, roasted lamb, hard boiled eggs, bitter herbs, which can be lettuce, romaine, parsley and horseradish. The bitter herbs are to remind them of the bitter bondage or slavery that they served in Egypt. The Passover dinner also includes a sweet dip for the bitter herbs made of chopped up apples, nuts, and spices and wine. This is to remind the people about the mortar they used to put the bricks together as they were building for the pharaoh. All these foods mean something special to remind them of the night that God sent the plague that passed over them.

God also told them to eat unleavened bread. What is unleavened bread? It is bread that does not have yeast in it. When we make bread we put yeast in it to make it light and fluffy. It takes time to do this, usually a couple of hours if you buy the yeast at the store. In the old days people used starter as yeast. Starter is made from flour and water and has yeast bacteria in it. You take some starter and put more flour and water in it to make bread. Starter takes all night or about eight hours to raise the first time. Then you let the dough rise again. So you see that probably it would take a great part of the day to make bread.

The Hebrews were going to be in a big hurry to leave once the plague came upon the Egyptians. They were not going to have time to let bread dough rise and then bake it. Unleavened bread is more like a hard cracker than like bread. The Jewish people still eat this at Passover. It is called matzo bread.

Do you think it is kind of silly that God was telling them about food at a time like this? Couldn't they have just had a snack to get ready? No. Eating was serious business because people had to work hard to get that food. And they didn't have refrigerators and potato chips and things like that. Since eating was so serious, and they needed energy for the coming events and eating is something we all have to do. God made this meal an important celebration so that the people would never forget what he had done for them.

As they ate the meal they were to be dressed and have their shoes on and have their walking sticks in their hands. They were getting ready to leave. There were to be no leftovers, if there were, they were to burn the leftovers.

This meal became a celebration every year. Every year they would do the same thing. And for seven days more they would not eat any leavened bread.

The children of Israel had painted their door frames with lamb's blood. They were eating roasted lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. They were dressed and ready to leave the house.

That night at midnight God sent a plague throughout Egypt. The only ones who would not be touched by the plague were those who put the blood of the lamb on the door frame. The children of Israel put the blood on their door frames. In every other house in Egypt the first-born died. That meant the first person born to any woman, and the first-born of the cattle were dead among the Egyptian people.

For the children of Israel this was the first Passover, the night the plague passed over them, but killed the first-born of the Egyptians. (Exodus 12)

The next morning the children of Israel left Egypt. The Egyptians couldn't get rid of them quick enough. 600,000 men left Egypt. The women and children went also but were not counted. So we know that there were a lot of people, maybe two million people.

Many of you have probably seen a famous movie about this day. Even though there was no dramatic music and Technicolor I think it would be an awesome thing to see and experience. I don't think you would ever forget it. It is only God who could have made this happen.

to be continued . . . .

Adapted by Lois M. Anderson from the Inspired Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants

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Copyright 2002 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: August 18, 2002