January 2018

From The Pastor's Heart

If we want to live in a manner that pleases the Lord and brings His blessings, we must learn how to follow God’s path instead of forging ahead on our own.

By Charles F. Stanley

Did you make any resolutions this year? Some people are very enthusiastic about committing to a fresh start each year. Others are too busy to think about changes. But for many, the thought of another year of failing to follow through with resolutions keeps them from trying to make any.

No matter which camp you find yourself in today, there’s one lesson we should all try to learn in 2018. In the coming year, we’ll face many challenges and decisions, and sometimes we won’t know exactly what to do. But there are only two possible directions—we either go our way or God’s way. If we want to live in a manner that pleases the Lord and brings His blessings, we must learn how to follow God’s path instead of forging ahead on our own.

To gain a proper perspective, let’s begin by considering who would be a better guide. God is omniscient and eternal. He is above and beyond time and knows absolutely everything about every situation and person. The Lord is also omnipotent and sovereign. As Creator, He not only has the right to rule over every aspect of heaven and earth, but He has unlimited power to accomplish whatever He desires.

Now think about your abilities as a guide for your life. How does your knowledge compare with God’s? How far ahead in time can you see with perfect accuracy? What kind of control do you wield over the events in the world, your job, your family, your church, or even your own life?

How does your knowledge compare with God’s?

Which guide to choose should be obvious, and in theory, following God is the desire of every Christian. Yet our natural impulses and reasoning are sometimes so strong that we forget about God and plow ahead without giving Him a second thought.

To help us learn the value of doing things God’s way, let’s look at two different episodes in the life of Moses. He was born during the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt (Exodus 2). Although he was a Hebrew, he was raised by the daughter of Pharaoh as her son. He had all the education, wealth, and prominence of the royal household, but he knew he was a Hebrew. One day he saw an Egyptian beating a fellow Hebrew and responded by secretly killing the Egyptian and burying him in the sand.

In this first example, Moses tried to remedy the situation his way. As we examine how he responded, we’ll discover how we can avoid repeating this same mistake.

Moses’ trouble began when he focused on the immediate event rather than the big picture and acted impulsively in anger, relying on his own reasoning and strength. He tried to fix a situation for one man, but his method was not effective for all God’s people. Killing one Egyptian at a time would never set his people free.

Another mistake was failing to consider the future consequences before he acted. Pharaoh heard what Moses had done and tried to kill him. As a result of doing things his way in an attempt to help his people, Moses lost his position of prominence, and the Israelites continued in slavery while Moses was forced to flee to the wilderness where he lived in obscurity for 40 years as a shepherd.

But God was not finished with Moses and gave him a second opportunity to do things His way (Exodus 3-12). He appeared to Moses in a burning bush and commissioned him to go to Pharaoh and bring God’s people out of Egypt. Despite Moses’ feelings of fear and inadequacy, he obeyed.

This time Moses acted on a divine command instead of impulse. He proceeded on God’s timetable, relying on His provision to accomplish His will. And as a result, he witnessed an amazing display of the Lord’s power as He sent plagues into the land of Egypt and parted the Red Sea to let the Israelites escape their captors (Exodus 14).

Now consider what God could do in your life if you follow His path. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord and not on our own understanding. In His Word He’s provided commandments, principles, and examples of how to live in His way. We also have direct access to God through prayer and the Holy Spirit within us to guide and empower us to obey.

Although our New Year’s resolutions may quickly crumble, God’s plans never fail.

If we’ll rely on these resources that God has provided, He will direct our steps, give us the patience to wait for His timing, and provide whatever is needed to accomplish His purposes. Like Moses, we’ll learn to know and love the Lord more as we walk obediently with Him. We’ll be amazed at how he can use our weaknesses and failures, working through us to bring about His will.

Although our New Year’s resolutions may quickly crumble, God’s plans never fail. If we’ll make it our goal this year to learn to walk in His way rather than our own, we may be surprised what He will do. Instead of fretting over a decision, we’ll learn to trust, rest, and wait on Him. Our fears of inadequacy and failure will diminish as we experience His power working in and through us. Now is the time to surrender to God’s way. Just take one step of obedience followed by another.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. In Touch Ministries is looking forward to another year of opportunities to encourage believers in their walk with Christ and to offer the gospel of salvation to those who don’t know Him. Thank you so much for joining us on this exciting journey.


What happens to my notes

1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.

2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.

3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.

4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.

5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her.

6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children."

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?"

8 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go ahead. " So the girl went and called the child's mother.

9 Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him.

10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, Because I drew him out of the water."

11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

12 So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

13 He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, Why are you striking your companion?"

14 But he said, Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and said, Surely the matter has become known."

15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.

17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock.

18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, Why have you come back so soon today?"

19 So they said, An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock."

20 He said to his daughters, Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat."

21 Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.

22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land."

23 Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.

24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

1 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

3 So Moses said, I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up."

4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses!" And he said, Here I am."

5 Then He said, Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

6 He said also, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 The LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.

8 So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

9 Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

12 And He said, Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain."

13 Then Moses said to God, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, `What is His name?' What shall I say to them?"

14 God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'"

15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.

17 So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey."'

18 They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'

19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion.

20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go.

21 I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.

22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."

1 Then Moses said, What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, `The LORD has not appeared to you.'"

2 The LORD said to him, What is that in your hand?" And he said, A staff."

3 Then He said, Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.

4 But the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail"--so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--

5 that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

6 The LORD furthermore said to him, Now put your hand into your bosom." So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow.

7 Then He said, Put your hand into your bosom again." So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.

8 If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign.

9 But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground."

10 Then Moses said to the LORD, Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

11 The LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

12 Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say."

13 But he said, Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will."

14 Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses, and He said, Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

15 You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do.

16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him.

17 You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs."

18 Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace."

19 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead."

20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand.

21 The LORD said to Moses, When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, `Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, My firstborn.

23 So I said to you, `Let My son go that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn."'"

24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death.

25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said, You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me."

26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, You are a bridegroom of blood"--because of the circumcision.

27 Now the LORD said to Aaron, Go to meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.

28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do.

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel;

30 and Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people.

31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped.

1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'"

2 But Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go."

3 Then they said, The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."

4 But the king of Egypt said to them, Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!"

5 Again Pharaoh said, Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!"

6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying,

7 You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves.

8 But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, `Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'

9 Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words."

10 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, Thus says Pharaoh, `I am not going to give you any straw.

11 You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but none of your labor will be reduced.'"

12 So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.

13 The taskmasters pressed them, saying, Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw."

14 Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?"

15 Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, Why do you deal this way with your servants?

16 There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, `Make bricks!' And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people."

17 But he said, You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, `Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'

18 So go now and work; for you will be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks."

19 The foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks."

20 When they left Pharaoh's presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them.

21 They said to them, May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."

22 Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me?

23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all."

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land."

2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, I am the LORD;

3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.

4 I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned.

5 Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.

6 Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, `I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

7 Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

8 I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.'"

9 So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.

10 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

11 Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land."

12 But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?"

13 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

14 These are the heads of their fathers' households. The sons of Reuben, Israel's firstborn: Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon.

16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon and Kohath and Merari; and the length of Levi's life was one hundred and thirty-seven years.

17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families.

18 The sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel; and the length of Kohath's life was one hundred and thirty-three years.

19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations.

20 Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses; and the length of Amram's life was one hundred and thirty-seven years.

21 The sons of Izhar: Korah and Nepheg and Zichri.

22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael and Elzaphan and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

24 The sons of Korah: Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites.

25 Aaron's son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' households of the Levites according to their families.

26 It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts."

27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron.

28 Now it came about on the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,

29 that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, I am the LORD; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you."

30 But Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?"

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

3 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

4 When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.

5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst."

6 So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.

7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

8 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

9 When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, `Work a miracle,' then you shall say to Aaron, `Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.'"

10 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.

11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.

12 For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.

13 Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

14 Then the LORD said to Moses, Pharaoh's heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.

15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent.

16 You shall say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now."

17 Thus says the LORD, By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood.

18 The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile."'"

19 Then the LORD said to Moses, Say to Aaron, `Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'"

20 So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood.

21 The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt.

22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

23 Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this.

24 So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile.

25 Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh and say to him, `Thus says the LORD, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs.

3 The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls.

4 So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants."'"

5 Then the LORD said to Moses, Say to Aaron, `Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'"

6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

7 The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD."

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?"

10 Then he said, Tomorrow." So he said, May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.

11 The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile."

12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh.

13 The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields.

14 So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, Say to Aaron, `Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.'"

17 They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt.

18 The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast.

19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

20 Now the LORD said to Moses, Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, `Thus says the LORD, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

21 For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell.

22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land.

23 I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur."'"

24 Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of flies in all the land of Egypt.

25 Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, Go, sacrifice to your God within the land."

26 But Moses said, It is not right to do so, for we will sacrifice to the LORD our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?

27 We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us."

28 Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me."

29 Then Moses said, Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD."

30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD.

31 The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained.

32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, `Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

2 For if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them,

3 behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks.

4 But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel."'"

5 The LORD set a definite time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land."

6 So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died.

7 Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.

9 It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt."

10 So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast.

11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.

12 And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

13 Then the LORD said to Moses, Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, `Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

14 For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.

15 For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.

16 But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.

17 Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go.

18 Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.

19 Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die."'"

20 The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses;

21 but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.

22 Now the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."

23 Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.

24 So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

25 The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field.

26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail.

27 Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones.

28 Make supplication to the LORD, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."

29 Moses said to him, As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is the LORD'S.

30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God."

31 (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud.

32 But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.)

33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the LORD; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth.

34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

35 Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,

2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."

3 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, `How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

4 For if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.

5 They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They will also eat the rest of what has escaped--what is left to you from the hail--and they will eat every tree which sprouts for you out of the field.

6 Then your houses shall be filled and the houses of all your servants and the houses of all the Egyptians, something which neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day that they came upon the earth until this day.'" And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

7 Pharaoh's servants said to him, How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?"

8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, Go, serve the LORD your God! Who are the ones that are going?"

9 Moses said, We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD."

10 Then he said to them, Thus may the LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is in your mind.

11 Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desire." So they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.

12 Then the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt and eat every plant of the land, even all that the hail has left."

13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD directed an east wind on the land all that day and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again.

15 For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Thus nothing green was left on tree or plant of the field through all the land of Egypt.

16 Then Pharaoh hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron, and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.

17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and make supplication to the LORD your God, that He would only remove this death from me."

18 He went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD.

19 So the LORD shifted the wind to a very strong west wind which took up the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not one locust was left in all the territory of Egypt.

20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.

21 Then the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt."

22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days.

23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.

24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be detained. Even your little ones may go with you."

25 But Moses said, You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the LORD our God.

26 Therefore, our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the LORD our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not know with what we shall serve the LORD."

27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

28 Then Pharaoh said to him, Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!"

29 Moses said, You are right; I shall never see your face again!"

1 Now the LORD said to Moses, One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.

2 Speak now in the hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold."

3 The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people.

4 Moses said, Thus says the LORD, `About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt,

5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

6 Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again.

7 But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.'

8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, `Go 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.

9 Then the LORD said to Moses, Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt."

10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

1 Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,

2 This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.

3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, `On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household.

4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.

5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.

7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.

10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.

11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste--it is the LORD'S Passover.

12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments--I am the LORD.

13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.

15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

16 On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.

17 You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

19 Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.

20 You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.'"

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.

22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.

24 And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.

25 When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.

26 And when your children say to you, `What does this rite mean to you?'

27 you shall say, `It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'" And the people bowed low and worshiped.

28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

29 Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.

30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.

31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.

32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also."

33 The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, We will all be dead."

34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

35 Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;

36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

37 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.

39 They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

41 And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

42 It is a night to be observed for the LORD for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

43 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it;

44 but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it.

45 A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it.

46 It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.

47 All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.

48 But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.

49 The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you."

50 Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.

51 And on that same day the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

2 Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.

3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, `They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'

4 Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"

6 So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him;

7 and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.

8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.

9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.

11 Then they said to Moses, Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?

12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, `Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

13 But Moses said to the people, Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.

14 The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."

15 Then the LORD said to Moses, Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.

16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.

17 As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.

18 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen."

19 The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.

20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.

22 The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

23 Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.

24 At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.

25 He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."

26 Then the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."

27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.

29 But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

31 When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

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