Sketched Day 5 Pharaoh: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!

Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Pharaoh!

Exodus 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.” And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ And after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.

The Questions

1) “One more plague” in verse 1 indicates that there were other plagues. What events and plagues led up to this passage? Where do these verses fit in the story of the exodus from Egypt?

2) Who is Moses speaking to in verses 4-8?

3) According to this passage, why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

4) Isn’t it unfair that God would harden Pharaoh’s heart?

The Findings for Intention

1) The complete story of the exodus is told in Exodus chapters 1-14. The Israelites had been enslaved and mistreated by the Egyptians. God raised up a leader named Moses to go to Pharaoh and deliver a message from God that he should let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused. God worked through Moses to show miraculous signs, and to send nine plagues: water turning to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of Egyptian livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. Still, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, so this passage is warning Pharaoh of the tenth plague that is about to come.

2) In verses 1-2, God is speaking to Moses. But in verse 4 we have a scene change, and verse 8 tells us that Moses went out from Pharaoh. So we know that verses 4-8 were spoken straight to Pharaoh, warning him of the certain death of his and all of Egypt’s firstborn sons.

3) In verse 9, God gives us the reason he would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t let the Israelites go: that God’s wonders would be multiplied in the land of Egypt. It was for His glory.

4) This is a tough question, and one that must be wrestled with as you consider God’s sovereignty. If you look back at the previous chapters, you see in 8:15 and 8:32 that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. God didn’t take an innocent man and harden his heart out of nowhere (and really, no one is innocent before God). What we do know from these verses is that God had an ultimate purpose in mind. Had Pharaoh let the people go sooner, the tenth plague would not have happened, the Passover would not have been established, and the picture of Jesus Christ as the Passover lamb would never have come to be. God, in His infinite knowledge, knew exactly what He was doing when He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and we can trust that His sovereign plan was best.

The Everyday Application

1) The story of the exodus shows us the mighty power of God, over and above the false gods of the Egyptians. Pharaoh trusted his false gods more than the one true God, and it was his downfall. Am I trusting in any lesser gods, believing they have the power to make me happy or give me what I want? It’s so easy for us to look around at our circumstances and forget that God is sovereign over all of it and cares intimately about us through it!

2) Pharaoh had already seen nine plagues proving God’s almighty power, yet he refused to listen to the warning about the tenth plague. He lost his firstborn son as a result. Has God been warning me about any behaviors, sins, or poor choices on my horizon? Will I listen to His warning and repent, or will I choose to ignore God and suffer the consequences? Or perhaps, I’ve been closing my eyes to what God is doing all around me and instead focusing on what I don’t have or what I can’t control. Shifting our focus off of ourselves and onto the character of the Almighty holds so much depth and life!

3) Praise God for His sovereign plan! There is always meaning behind the things that come to pass, even if we don’t currently know what that meaning is. God uses the good, the bad, the horrific, the amazing, and the terrifying to point our hearts towards Him. God isn’t an egotistical maniac set on fulfilling Himself, but rather He uses the power of His glory to unveil our eyes that we might see His love for us more clearly! His heart longs for our redemption!

4) The truth is that we all are born into sin. None of us have the ability to please God with our righteous acts. Consider the visual imagery God gave the prophet Jeremiah about the shaping of a clay pot in Jeremiah 18:5-12 (it’s really helpful, take 15 seconds and read it!). God used the picture of the pot in the hand of the master potter to help Jeremiah see that God was sovereign. God would not (and will not) tolerate sin and if Israel refused to repent, then consequences would fall on them because God is a God of justice. But, if Israel turned from their wicked ways and truly sought God’s heart, then God would relent because God is a God of compassion. He desires relationship with His people! When we see how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, we can remember our own sinfulness before the righteous God and we can look at God’s big picture of redemption in the Bible and see how His heart is to restore us. God isn’t out to “get us”, but to redeem us. However, if we choose to ignore His voice pleading for our restoration, the consequence of being separated from Him will happen for eternity.

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Pharaoh
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Sketched Week One!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Sketched!