Read Exodus Chapter 7. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.
Exodus 7: 1-7
POWER, NOT NATURE - "Moses was appointed god of the Egyptians when he who was giving the revelation spoke to him in this manner: I have appointed you the god of Pharaoh. Therefore the title conveys an indication of some power, either protective or active. But the divine nature in all the names which may be contrived remains, just as it is, inexplicable, as is our teaching.” - BASIL THE GREAT
MOSES THE TRUE GOD’S SERVANT -"So Moses was a god to Pharaoh, but a servant of God, as it is written. The stars which illumine the night are hidden by the sun, so much that you could not even know of their existence by daylight. A little torch brought near a great blaze is neither destroyed nor seen nor extinguished; but it is all one blaze, the bigger one prevailing over the other.” - GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS
GOD DID NOT SUPPRESS PHARAOH’S FREE CHOICE - "God constantly says, ―I will harden Pharaoh‘s heart, and gives the reason why he does this. He says, ―I will harden Pharaoh‘s heart and fulfill my signs and my portents in Egypt, as if the hardening of Pharaoh‘s heart were necessary so that God‘s signs might be multiplied and fulfilled in Egypt. God makes good use of bad hearts for what he wishes to show to those who are good or those he is going to make good. And the quality of evil in each heart (that is, what sort of heart is disposed to evil) came about through its own evildoing, which grew from the choice of the will. Still, those evils in quality, so that the heart is moved this way or that, when it is moved to evil this way or that way, comes to be by causes by which the soul is driven. And whether these causes either exist or do not exist is not within the power of man. They come from the providence of God that is hidden, most just and clearly most wise, who disposes and administers the universe that he created. So that Pharaoh had such a heart, which was not moved by God‘s patience to piety but rather to impiety, was the result of his own vice. But that those things happened by which his heart, so evil by its own vice, resisted God‘s command— it is called ―hardened because it did not bend and agree but resisted unbendingly— was of divine dispensation. It was not unjust to such a heart. It was clearly a just punishment [that] was being prepared, by which those who feared God would be corrected.” - AUGUSTINE
THE GOAL OF THE PLAGUES - "He scatters the darkness of ignorance, which blinds the eyes of man with evil. In other words, God’s intention was not to bring terror to them, but to be a cause of salvation. And as St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa says, “By these same signs, the enemy (the devil) is defeated, and the people of God become stronger.” The Lord, after several centuries, reminded His people of them to bring them back to Him. In Psalm 78:43-53, He admonishes them and recalls how He saved them with a Mighty Hand, and how He plagued the enemy to help them. As for them, they remained in the hardness of their hearts.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
Exodus 7:8 - 13
THE STAFF PREFIGURED THE CROSS - "The staff is a sign of the cross. It caused all the plagues when it swallowed the snakes, just as [the cross] would destroy all idols. With [the staff], [Moses] divided the sea and drowned the Egyptians. That prefigured the destruction of the Canaanites.” - EPHREM THE SYRIAN
MOSES’ ROD FORESHADOWED THE INCARNATION - "He cast down his rod, and it became a serpent which devoured the serpents of Egypt. This signified that the Word should become flesh to destroy the poison of the dread serpent by the forgiveness and pardon of sins. For the rod stands for the Word that is true, royal, filled with power and glorious in ruling. As the rod became a serpent, so he who was the Son of God begotten of the Father became the Son of man born of a woman. Like the serpent, he was lifted up on the cross, poured his healing medicine on the wounds of humanity. Wherefore the Lord himself says, ―As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” - AMBROSE
THE MAGICIANS’ FEATS PROVED MOSES’ FEATS GREATER - "The magicians of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt who was tyrannizing over this people, were permitted to accomplish certain wonders merely that they might be outdone by more genuine miracles. These magicians worked by the kind of sorceries and incantations to which evil spirits or demons are addicted, while Moses was powerful by his holiness and helped by the angels, and so, in the name of God, creator of heaven and earth, he easily triumphed over them.” - AUGUSTINE
THE SECRET OF THE TEN PLAGUES - "Some fathers see in the ten plagues a symbol of the work of the cross in the life of man who becomes a lover of the world, who becomes like the land of Egypt, to set forth with him to the holy life. In short, we say that the first plague, turning the water of the river into blood, refers to the necessity of turning the cold water of the heart into life of strife, as St. Paul said, “You have not yet resisted even to bloodshed” (Hebrews 12: 4) . The second plague of the frogs refers to the life full of vain talk with no work, like the croaking of frogs all night long. By the Holy Spirit, we shift from the vain talk to the active life of faith. The third plague of lice (gnats in King James Version), refers to the evil thoughts, as man does not feel that a gnat is on his body until it stings him. So it is when man surrenders to evil thoughts and does not become aware of them, until they lead his senses to sin. Therefore, the words of the Holy Book apply to him, “They drink transgression like water”. By the Holy Spirit, we close our mind to evil thoughts to open it, and set it forth to positive, constructive actions. The forth plague of flies that comes from dirty places and causes illness, refers to the necessity of getting away from the sources of sin, and things leading to it, like wicked friends and locations of defilement, to avoid possibilities of weakness. The fifth plague against the livestock refers to falling into carnal thoughts. It is fit for us, not to act according to the lusts of the body, but according to the Spirit. The sixth plague of boils refers to the defilement of the body, and failure to sanctify it. Therefore, we must receive the work of the Holy Spirit completely, even into the members of our bodies. The seventh plague of thunder, hail, and fire refers to the work of God within the heart, thundering by His Holy Spirit in us, to shake up every sin that has settled down in the heart, by hail, to kill from the start any satanic ideas (weeds), and by His holy fire, to burn up all thorns that choke the soul in order to enflame the heart with the fire of divine love. The eighth plague of the locusts refers to the necessity of not leaving any trace of sin in our life, like what locusts do with all green leaves on earth. The ninth plague of darkness refers to when man discovers the blindness of his spiritual insight, and he cries out to God to grant him the inner spiritual enlightenment. Finally, the last plague, which is of the striking of the firstborns, refers to killing the devil and his hosts, so as we become members in the Church of the firstborns." - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
TURNING THE WATER INTO BLOOD - "It is to be noticed that the ten plagues were directed by God to the gods of Egypt, to expose their weakness, saying: “Against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgment; I am the Lord” (Ex. 12: 12). On another note, He intended to expose the evil in their life. Turning the water of the Nile into unclean blood, brought confusion to the Egyptians, as they saw their gods become unclean and revealed to them that all their thoughts were lustful, seeing everything according to flesh and blood, and not with a spiritual sight. The Nile River refers to the wisdom and changing philosophies of the Egyptians. By being turned to blood, they realized that there is no salvation to them by human wisdom and worldly philosophy, but by faith in the blood of the Lord Christ, that absorbs all wisdom and philosophy. That is why the plagues started with blood, and also ended with blood, as the Passover Lamb was slain, and the mark of blood was put on the lintel and the two doorposts. So then the firstborns of the Egyptians perished, and the people of God were rescued. God commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh in the morning (Ex. 7: 15), because our war with the enemy starts with the beginning and it flourishes our spiritual life. He commanded him to meet him at the riverbank where He would come to him (Ex. 7: 15), as though it’s a proclamation to the believers to confront the philosophers using their own philosophies. However this does not mean that the Church should refrain from studying philosophy. He also commanded him to hold his rod, which once he held it, turned into a serpent. Thus, there is no chance of predominance over evil without the cross that grants victory" - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
Heavenly Father, I thank You, because truly You use the foolish things of the world to put the shame wise. Who would have thought that by a wooden rod in the hand of a lowly shepherd You would save the people of Israel and again by the wood of the Cross you would bring salvation to all Your people. Lord, I pray that as you turned the waters of the Nile into blood to show that there is no salvation for man through human wisdom, that You please put in me the knowledge of You, so that I do not rely on the wisdom of this world. Lord, please do not let me succumb to the hardness of my heart towards Your works, but rather please place in me the new heart of flesh which You promised to your people. Amen.
Posted on Thu, December 8, 2016
by Mathew Shehata