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EXODUS: FUNCTIONING WELL IN A HOPELESS GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Part I: God's Deliverance Of Israel Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
N. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Hail
Lesson: (1) Hort's view that the hailstorm "was a coincidental local weather feature" fails in light of Egypt's climactic data and the Biblical account. (2) The plague was a miracle showing the inability of Egypt's gods to control the weather as could Israel's God.
- We have noted that Scripture reveals five goals for the plagues on Egypt: they came to deliver Israel from Egypt, to answer Pharaoh's question of "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?", to reveal God's power to Israel, to reveal the earth belongs to the Lord and not Egypt's gods and to judge all the gods of Egypt, R. Grigg, "The Ten Plagues of Egypt," Creation (v. 27, no. 1), Dec.-Feb. 05, p. 36.
- For such goals to be reached, the plagues would have to be seen as miracles by the Egyptians.
- However, naturalistic explanations for the plagues were offered by Greta Hort in 1957, a scholar of medieval English literature and religion, and her views are cited in reference works today, Ibid., p. 34, 38.
- Thus, we view the Scripture and the data to see if the seventh plague was a true miracle that glorified God:
- God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Hail, Exodus 9:13-35.
- The Biblical account of the seventh plague is as follows:
- God had Moses meet Pharaoh early in the morning to tell him to let Israel go, Exodus 9:13.
- Moses was to explain to him that God would give a greater demonstration of His power than before to reveal He could have previously destroyed Egypt had He so willed, Ex. 9:14-15 NIV. Yet, God had not destroyed Egypt, for He wanted to use Pharaoh's hardness to show His power and glory, 9:16-17.
- Thus, God promised that at the same time the next day, in the early morning, He would send the worst hailstorm Egypt had known since it began as a nation, Ex. 9:18 NIV. The Egyptians were to bring their animals and servants in from the fields so they would not die from the storm's effects, 9:19.
- Some Egyptians revered God and shielded their animals and servants while others did not, Ex. 9:20-21.
- Thus, when Moses stretched his hand to heaven, God sent the great hailstorm with continual thunder and lightening, Ex. 9:22-24a. It struck down every plant, animal and man in the field in all of the land while not harming anything in Egypt's region of Goshen where Israel dwelt, Exodus 9:24b-26.
- The storm's ferocity led Pharaoh to plead unconditionally to Moses for relief from the storm, 9:27-28.
- Moses replied that as soon as he had left the city, he would stretch his hands toward the Lord in heaven and the storm would cease, and Pharaoh would know there was no God like Israel's Lord, Ex. 9:29.
- Yet, Moses stated he knew Pharaoh and his servants still did not revere the Lord, 9:30, 31-32.
- When Moses stretched his hands up to God, the storm ceased and Pharaoh hardened his heart, 9:33-35.
- Greta Hort gave a naturalistic explanation for the plague to counter the view that it was a miracle: she suggested the storm "was a coincidental local weather feature", Ibid., p. 34.
- However, scientific data on Egypt's climate with the Scripture record counters this view (as follows):
- The average annual rainfall at Cairo is about 1 inch while it is 7 inches on Egypt's northern Sea coast (Zon. Pic. Enc. of the Bib., v. Two, p. 225), so a big, humid, thunderstorm in all of Egypt is unusual!
- Besides, hailstorms "are a rarity in Egypt", Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Exodus 9:23.
- Big hailstorms are caused by the heating of large air masses after the daylight sun has shone for some hours in the atmosphere rather than in the early morning when the (Exodus 9:13, 18) storm began!
- Egypt had been a nation for 1,750 years (E. M. Burns, West. Civ., 6th ed., p. 35; Ex. 9:18, 24; see our lesson on Ex. 2:23a), so for the Ex. 9 hailstorm to be its greatest up to then was naturally inexplicable!
- These facts coupled with the Bible's report of the destruction of all plant and animal life in the field by a continual hailstorm in all of Egypt except in Goshen can not be naturally explained; it was a miracle!
- The seventh plague "of hail that destroyed the crops, attacked the various sky deities (e.g. Shut, Tefnut and Nut, deities of air, moisture and sky) who supposedly controlled the weather." (Ibid., Grigg, p. 37)
Application: May we believe the plague of hail was a miracle, and worship the Bible's Creator God as the One, True God of the sky, air and moisture Who alone is absolutely sovereign over the weather!