Disciple Hour: Exodus 9:13–35 The Seventh Plague: Hail and Fire From Heaven

1.  God’s Warning and Purpose

God explains to Pharoah that in this plague there is a two-fold purpose.  God is out to show the world that He is set apart and that there is none like Him.  Second, God is out to display His power also to the world.

A.  There is none like God

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 

B.  God’s Name Proclaimed in All the Earth

15 For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 

Joshua 2:8–11 (ESV) 

Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 

Joshua 9:8–9 (ESV) 

They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 

Once again, we learn that this was Pharoah’s purpose.  God had raised him up so He could demonstrate His power so that His name would go throughout all the earth.

17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.” ’ ” 20 Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21 but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field. 

What’s odd here is that many of Pharoah’s servants actually believed what Moses said.  They hurried to get their livestock into their houses so the plague of hail and fire would not kill them.  

Verse 18 indicates that the writer of Exodus (traditionally Moses) had considerable knowledge of Egypt when he states that there had never been a storm such as the one that was coming.  

In Cairo, it rains about 2 inches a year.  In southern Egypt they hardly get any at all. 

Also, in verse 18 we have the prediction about this time tomorrow, showing clearly that this was the hand of God.  There had never been a storm like this in Egypt, God indicates the time…way better prediction than the Weather Channel.  Then also in verse 18 we see that God says that He will cause it to rain.

2.  God Strikes the Land of Egypt

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” 23 Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail. 

The thunderstorm was so great and lightning so violent that fire raced down from the sky.  The hail was so great that it destroyed just about everything.  It destroyed man, beast, every plant in the fields, and broke trees.

Some scholars say there were fire balls produced as the language indicated rolling lightning.  God was the cause of this massive super cell.  He was judging Egypt for their sins.  By the time God was finished, the land was ruined.  The only crops they had were the ones that had not come up yet.  These would be eaten by the locusts of the next plague.  

This is the first plague that killed people.  Before they were devastating and inconvenient but now God’s judgement is more and more severe.  

Here again, we see that God’s people were set apart and did not experience His wrath…

26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail. 

There is a massive difference between hearing God’s Word and listening and obeying out of the fear of the Lord verses ignoring God’s Word.

All who listened to God were spared at least that day from destruction.  Those who did not were destroyed with all the plants in the fields and the trees. 

How is it that we fear God and listen to His Word to obey it?  Today, we have the complete written Word of God.  Today, especially we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we must listen to and obey.  All who believe that Christ accomplished everything He said He would are saved from eternal wrath. 

The word gospel means “good news,” which is the message of forgiveness for sin through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It is essentially God’s rescue plan of redemption for those who will trust in His divine Son in order to be reconciled to a just and holy God. The essential content of this saving message is clearly laid out for us in the Bible.

In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he lays out the content of the gospel message, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1–4).

In this passage, we see three essential elements of the gospel message. First, the phrase “died for our sins” is very important. As Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The reality of sin needs to be acknowledged by all who approach the throne of God for salvation. A sinner must acknowledge the hopelessness of his guilt before God in order for forgiveness to take place, and he must understand that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Without this foundational truth, no gospel presentation is complete.

Second, the person and work of Christ are indispensable components of the gospel. Jesus is both God (Colossians 2:9

Colossians 2:9 (ESV) 

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 

and man (John 1:14). 

John 1:14 (ESV) 

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Jesus lived the sinless life that we could never live (1 Peter 2:22), 

1 Peter 2:21–22 (ESV) 

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 

and, because of that, He is the only one who could die a substitutionary death for the sinner. Sin against an infinite God requires an infinite sacrifice. Therefore, either man, who is finite, must pay the penalty for an infinite length of time in hell, or the infinite Christ must pay for it once. Jesus went to the cross to pay the debt we owe to God for our sin, and those who are covered by His sacrifice will inherit the kingdom of God as sons of the king (John 1:12).

John 1:12 (ESV) 

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

Third, the resurrection of Christ is an essential element of the gospel. The resurrection is the proof of the power of God. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). Further, unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a Founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave.

Finally, Christ offers His salvation as a free gift (Romans 5:156:23), that can only be received by faith, apart from any works or merit on our part (Ephesians 2:8–9). As the apostle Paul tells us, the gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). The same inspired author tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

These, then, are the essential elements of the gospel: the sin of all men, the death of Christ on the cross to pay for those sins, the resurrection of Christ to provide life everlasting for those who follow Him, and the offer of the free gift of salvation to all and all who believe will receive it.

The Book of Revelation speaks of another storm of God’s wrath.

For those who believe the Gospel and trust Christ will be spared from God’s wrath just like those who lived in Goshen.

Revelation 16:17–21 (ESV) 

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe. 

Moses explained that the storm in Egypt was the worst they had ever experienced.  The hail storm in Revelation is absolutely the worst one ever.  What’s amazing is that the people who were suffering under God’s wrath still did not repent but instead cursed God. 

There are only two categories of people…those who believe God and those who curse God.

Back to Egypt…

3.  Pharoah’s False Confession

27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.

Here we see Pharoah’s false confession. 

A.  He did not confess his sins to God

27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.

B.  He did not confess all his sins but minimized his confession to just this event 

This time I have sinned;

C.  He did not repent

28 Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”

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