Exodus 7-8 - Purpose of the Plagues: Deliverance & Judgment

  1. In Exodus 7:8–13, in order to validate his and Moses’ message before Pharaoh, Aaron casts down his staff so that it becomes a serpent. Earlier this same sign had caused Israel to believe (see 4:1–5, 30–31), but here Pharaoh refuses to listen and believe. What do these different responses reveal about the effectiveness of miraculous signs for bringing about faith?

  2. In ancient Egypt, the serpent was a symbol of Pharaoh’s power. What does this introductory section therefore imply about the plagues that will follow?

  3. In Exodus 1-2, we saw how Israel’s flourishing in Egypt was part of the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). How do the plagues of Exodus 7-13 relate to the Abrahamic covenant?  See Gen 12:3 for a hint.

  4. Although this section is primarily concerned with God’s judgments against Pharaoh and Egypt, on several occasions Moses intercedes with God on behalf of Pharaoh (Ex. 8:12, 29; 9:33; 10:18). Why might these intercessions be recorded throughout this section? What do they contribute to this narrative filled with judgment?

  5. Tim Keller says, “to practice idolatry is to be a slave.”  What would you say are the most common idols in our culture today?  In our church culture?  What would it look like if we were to faithfully topple these idols?  

  6. Spend some time sharing honestly with one another about the idols that threaten your own freedom in Christ.  Pray for one another to walk in the freedom that Christ has bought for us.

Adapted from  Matthew R.. Newkirk’s Exodus: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible)  Crossway.