Message: In Exodus 7 Moses followed God’s exact instructions to go to Pharaoh and demand that he free his people. God prepared Moses in advance that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and God intended to use his hardness of heart to  show all of Egypt who he is.  He knew that Pharaoh would demand some proof so God prepared Moses with a plan to throw his staff down and it would become a serpent. What Moses was not counting on was the copycat response from Pharaoh’s magicians and sorcerers. They turned their staffs into serpents also, but verse 12 says that Moses’s “staff” swallowed their “staffs”. I found it fascinating that the scripture did not refer to them as serpents. They were staffs. This was significant because God was showing them that although Pharaoh had a legitimate staff of authority, God’s authority was greater. The same type of thing happened the next morning when God told Moses to use that very same staff that turned into a serpent and give Pharaoh another opportunity to release the people to worship God. When he refused, Moses was to strike the water with that same staff representing God’s authority. He did, and the water turned to blood and was undrinkable. When the magicians and sorcerers were able to do the same thing using their magic, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened again so the water remained blood for another seven days. What caught my attention here, is that the magicians and sorcerers were able to replicate the plague, but they were not able to remedy it. The Egyptians had to dig water from the ground because the water in the river was undrinkable and had a terrible stench because all the fish in the river died. Water is the life of everything so this was not merely an inconvenience. This was a death sentence so if the magicians and sorcerers were able to reverse this, they certainly would have.

Command: Don’t be impressed, moved by or distracted by supernatural powers of the enemy. The enemy is only a copycat and he only has power that God allows. He can only cause destruction, (John 10:10 the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly). God supersedes it all because all power belongs to God. The enemy does not have the power to heal, restore or create. That is unique only to God.

Promise: God alone has the power to heal, restore and create. That is his nature and the forces of darkness can’t replicate that.

Warning: When destruction comes, it’s easy to get blindsided and distressed. It may look like the enemy is winning for a season but God has plans we don’t see or understand so we can’t get discouraged or lose hope and we can’t be distracted with trying to figure out the source of the pain.

Application: In Exodus 7 I really felt for Israel here. All they knew is that as soon as Moses started calling for their freedom, their lives got harder and they didn’t understand why things were getting worse instead of better. SO relatable! It’s hard to understand the plans of God, but he was using the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart to not only show Egypt who he is, but he also needed to teach Israel who he is/was. They saw just how bad it could be before they were able to recognize how good it would be. Unfortunately they never really learned that because they fought against God for forty years in the wilderness after God freed them from Egypt. They even wished to return to their slavery in Egypt if that isn’t a slap in the face of God! Before I get too self-righteous here, I need to recognize the same rebellious behavior in myself! Israel is a mirror reflection of our own tendencies. MY own rebellious tendencies. It might seem like darkness prevails for a while, and it’s hard to accept that God allows it for a while, but if I stop playing the blame game and just hold on, I will watch the power of God devour Satan like the staff of Moses swallowed the others. What has been temporarily ravaged by the copycat powers of Satan will surely be healed and restored by God who has power over all.

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