Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 6
Today, we will look at nine of the ten. There are ten altogether, we're going to look at nine of those ten today, and the tenth will be next message, of God's supernatural intervention in Egypt. If you don't have a sense of humor, you're gonna miss out on a lot of great blessings here today. Turn with me please to the book of Exodus. Here God manifests his power supernaturally in a magnificent way. Nine judgements that God brought upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, nine. Actually, the tenth next week is gonna be the most devastating of all, so I'm leaving it alone until next message.
After you look at these nine out of ten expressions of God's supernatural power, and his judgement on Egypt, you begin to comprehend what God meant in Exodus 12:12. It's easy to remember. This is the whole point here. You miss that, you missed it. Here's what God said. "Against the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement. I am the Lord". "Against the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement. I am the Lord". So, let's look at these nine very quickly today. The first judgement was against the source of life in Egypt, the River Nile, the River Nile. Chapter 7 verses 20 and 21. Aaron, that is Moses's brother, in case you don't know, Aaron lifted his rod and he smote the waters, and the waters turned into blood, and the fish died, and the river stank.
In Egypt, there is very little rain. If the River Nile, God forbid, dries up, 99% of the Egyptian population would die in a few days. So, they totally depended on the Nile. Osiris, one of the chief gods of Egypt, back then was first and foremost the god of the Nile. To these gods of the Nile, offerings were made. To these gods of the Nile, human sacrifices were offered. To the gods of the Nile, the priests would bow down and they worshiped.
Oh, but now, after what Aaron did, the source of life has become a source of death. The source of blessing became a source of curse. The source of activities became paralyzed. And it lasted for seven days. You see, God doesn't want to kill them, God was just warning them. He's warning them. After this, Pharaoh begged Moses, "Please pray to your God to return the Nile in its normal flow and beauty". After God answers Moses's prayer, 7:22, chapter 7 verse 22, it says Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and would not let the people go.
Secondly, here comes the frogs. Aaron again stretches his hand and millions of frogs took over the country. I mean, everywhere frogs, frogs, frogs, millions of them. Now, this is not your lovable Kermit the Frog, by the way, these are the slimy things that croaked a storm, why frogs? One of the ancient Egyptians most beloved goddess, Heket, H-E-K-E-T, Heket was always pictured with a normal head, but a body of a frog. Heket was considered to be the goddess of fertility.
How can they kill the goddess of fertility? That means the future is dead. Here's something even funnier. Pharaoh brings the magicians out, and he said, "Guys, I want you to get rid of the frogs. We can't kill them, they're a goddess. So, can you get rid of them"? And so, the magicians try, and try, and what they did, they ended up with more frogs. They couldn't take the ones that were there, but they ended up with more. Frogs, frogs, frogs everywhere. And the last thing they wanted was more frogs. And beloved, only Yahweh could have removed these frogs, and he did, when Moses entreated him. Exodus 8:8, Pharaoh said to Moses, "Entreat you God and get rid of these frogs, and I will let you go". But as soon as God answered Moses's prayer, Pharaoh reneged. He basically refused to let them go.
Third comes the gnats, or the lice, or the word actually could mean sand flies. These miserable creatures can dig deep under your skin, causing itching and severe pain. You say, "Why, why gnats"? Listen carefully, Egyptians love the god of the earth, Geb, G-E-B. The fertile land that they worshiped produced swarms of gnats now and sand flies. These gnats defiled their bodies, so much so that the priests were not able to function and do the rituals of idol worship. Once again, Pharaoh exhibits cheap and temporary repentance with no change of heart, and once again, God answers Moses's prayer and removed the gnats.
Come four, forth comes the insect that is near and dear to the heart of the Egyptians. They worshiped the beetles. Not the singers, no, and here again, same song, same verse, as if God's saying I'm gonna give you so many of these beetle gods until they make you sick. And Pharaoh again begs Moses, and Moses asks God to get rid of the abundance of beetles, and God answers Moses's prayer yet again. But once again, Pharaoh hardens his heart after the prayers of Moses were answered.
This brings me to the fifth judgement, I hope you're following it with me in your Bible, which is against the cattle of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians venerated animals, especially cattle. Once the most popular cult in Egypt, the most popular cult was Apis, the bull god. Now, this is very important, because I'm gonna tell you why. The bull represented power, represented strength, and today, to this day, if you go to the temples in Luxor or anywhere, the ancient temples are still in existence, you see a carving of bulls on the wall. The dead bulls in ancient Egypt were given such elaborate burial ceremonies, and they were buried near Saqqara and Memphis.
Here's a tragic fact, listen carefully. The Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, they were not only knee deep in mud in Egypt making bricks, but they were knee deep in worshiping of the bull god. That was the god of preference among the Israelites. Later on, after God performed all these miracles, after God opened the Red Sea and they crossed over, after all that God did, they go into Sinai and there Moses goes up to the mountain to meet God and receive the Ten Commandments, and what do the Israelites do? They give their gold to Aaron, and he said, "Create a golden bull, so we can worship him". And they said, "Oh, Israel, this is the god who delivered you out of Egypt".
How quickly they have forgotten. But look around you. How quickly we forget. The God of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who powerfully brought them out of the land of slavery, they went back to worship a bull. So, God's judgement on the cattle was a condemnation of this depraved religious system, the bull worship. Still, Pharaoh hardened his heart yet again.
The sixth judgement, Exodus 9:10. Moses and Aaron went to the furnace and they took some of the soot or the ashes from the burning of their sacrifices to their idols. They took some of that soot or that ashes and they tossed it to the wind, and it became boils and zits to the Egyptians. Not just on their faces, but over their bodies. No medication to help the ancient Egyptians. And these boils, these zits that were, as I said, not only on their faces, all over their body, they couldn't sleep, they couldn't sit, they couldn't scratch, they couldn't dress. So much so that the Egyptian magicians could not show up in front of Moses and Aaron, because they couldn't even get dressed. They were covered with boils. But Pharaoh once again faked repentance. He faked it, and weaseled out on his promise to let the people go.
Which brings me to the seventh judgement. It's Exodus chapter 9 verse 18. This can only be described as an extraordinary phenomenon. I'm gonna tell you about it. I told you earlier that it hardly rains in Egypt, it really does. In fact, in the middle, and in the south of the country, where the capital of one of the ancient Egyptians was in Luxor, you can get 365 days of sunshine. You see, most of them have never seen lightening, and hail, and the deluge coming from heaven that's terrorized their hearts. But by this time, this judgement, and this plague, was the beginning of the turning of the opinion poll against Pharaoh.
So far, he's been running above 50% popularity. Now, by this time, it dipped below 50%. You live by the poll, you die by the poll, right? He was okay so far, until the hail came. Poor old Pharaoh. The popularity not only plummeted, but to make things worse, Moses warned him ahead of time. He warned him ahead of time, "If you hide your cattle, it will survive," and only those who did, their cattle survived. Yet, those who placed their faith in the sky gods were devastated on that day. Horus, from where we get the horoscope, the god of the atmosphere, Nut, N-U-T, the goddess of the sky, both had proven useless before the God of power and might, Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh.
And then comes the eighth judgement, the invasion of the locusts. Millions of these critters descended on the fields of wheat, and barley, and corn, and the crops were totally devastated. They munched on those things until whatever the hail left, they finished off. Exodus 10:7, you begin to see by now the political elite and the country's gentry, they began to plead with Pharaoh. "Get rid of them. Let 'em go. Let the Hebrews go. We can't take it anymore. We've had enough". And so, Pharaoh begins to bargain with Moses. Meanwhile, when Moses left the palace of Pharaoh, the locusts had devoured everything in sight. Neper, the god of the grain, Anubis, the god who is the guardian of the fields, Min, M-I-N, the god of the harvest and the crops, all these gods have joined the list of useless gods of Egypt, and they were all defeated completely and thoroughly by who?
Praise God, finally comes the ninth judgement, and it came swiftly, and it came unexpectedly. This is the second-most significant devastating judgement. The most significant is what I'll be telling you in the next message. This is the second in defeating all of the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians experienced three days and three nights in utter, complete, and total darkness. Darkness was so intense they could not see their hand in front of them. The stars and the moons whom some of them worshiped, gone. But here's the most devastating thing of all. The most beloved god that is worshiped by just about everybody in ancient Egypt is the god Raa, R-A-A, the sun god, the sun god. That is the most beloved by all the-the others may be cults here and there, but this was worshiped by everyone. The beloved sun god, whom they worshiped and adored, was gone.
Think about that. In Egypt, to this day, particularly in the summer months, the noonday sun, about noontime, is so bright you cannot describe it unless you've seen it. It is so glaring, you can't even look without covering your eyes. Oh, but now it's darker than midnight. These people were forced to sit still for three days and three nights. They could not move, they could not eat, they could not see each other. Yet supernaturally, God provided light in the camps of the Israelites. I know you heard me say this before, and I believe it with every ounce of my being. That as it gets darker in our culture, in our society, in our world, the light of the believer is gonna shine far brighter than we ever thought possible. And I take my comfort from the Word of God, that even though it was dark throughout the pagan world of Egypt, there was light among the people of God.
Finally, Pharaoh said to Moses, when their beloved god, Raa, disappeared, "Get out of my face. If you see my face again, you'll be a dead man". Chapter 10 verse 29, Moses said, here's the Youssef translation, "Fine by me, Bubba. I will not see your face again". Think with me, just think with me for a minute, okay. The first is the river, then the land, then the sky. Again, and again, and again, the Creator of all things, the maker of all things is telling them that he and he alone is the one to be worshiped and adored, not his creation, not his blessings, not his gifts. There are two vitally important lessons that God would have us learn from his word.
First, God detests cheap repentance. God detests temporary change, so you can get what you want from him. God detests convenient and fake spirituality. In other words, God detests foxhole conversion that's supposed to take place and then, when it's all over, the person's back to his old ways. After each judgement, Pharaoh had a foxhole conversion, after each judgement. He kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'll let you go this time. Okay, I'll let you go this time. I'll let you go". He had not known or had forgotten that the God of heaven and earth can see straight to his heart. But the reason he was patient and prolonged this thing, was so that every god in Egypt would be defeated by Yahweh. Beloved, God cannot be mocked. He told his people through Isaiah, even though the people of Israel are the apple of his eye, he said your empty worship wearies me, because you're worshiping me with your lips only, and your heart is far away.
Please, please, please hear me right. I'm not talking about the believer who occasionally sins, and when we sin, we go back to the Lord in repentance, and faith, and ask for his forgiveness. That's not what I'm talking about. In fact, the Bible, this is something God loves. This is something we must do. The Bible said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins," and confessing meaning that you come in agreement with God, because God's gonna see everything, he forgives us. He's just to forgive us all our sins. That's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about the person who becomes religious when he wants something from God, and then goes back to their old way of life.
The second thing I want to leave with you today, Moses was given variety of options, smorgasbord by Pharaoh. Pharaoh wanted to negotiate. He wanted to make a deal with Moses, just like the devil does with every one of us. Constantly making a deal. Be very careful. And Moses would not settle for anything short of a total obedience to God. In negotiation, we say, you know, you go for the full loaf, and then you settle for the half loaf, and, you know, that's fine in business, and politics, and all that, but not with God. God, either he is Lord of all, or not Lord at all. And Moses insisted. The only deal he accepts is what God demanded. You cannot come to God your way. You cannot even come to God half your way. You cannot come to God quarter your way. You have to come to God God's way, amen?