Opening Questions and Prayer
Who were the first people to tell you about Jesus?
How did you respond to what they said?
Why did they tell you about Jesus?
Pray and thank God for sending the people in your life who told you about Him for the first time. As you study God’s word, ask Him to show you who you need to share the good news of Jesus with.
Read Exodus 8:20-21
Exodus 8:20-21 (All verses are in the NLT unless otherwise noted)
20 Then the Lord told Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand in Pharaoh’s way as he goes down to the river. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. 21 If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them.’”
Why does the Lord continue to give Pharaoh opportunities to obey Him?
What are some ways Moses might have thought it was pointless to keep asking Pharaoh to let God’s people go?
Is there anyone in your life who you have been praying for and talking to them about Jesus, but they don’t seem to change?
How can you keep from getting discouraged?
Who are some people you used to talk to about Jesus? How have you given up on trying to reach them?
How might the Lord want you to reach out to them this week?
Read Exodus 8:22-24
22 ‘“But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. No flies will be found there. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I am present even in the heart of your land. 23 I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.’”
24 And the Lord did just as he had said. A thick swarm of flies filled Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his officials. The whole land of Egypt was thrown into chaos by the flies.
What is different about this plague than the previous ones?
What are some things we can learn about the Lord’s character from this encounter?
How does the Lord use chaos to draw people to Him?
What are some ways people may be drawn to the Lord during this time of chaos that our world is in?
Read Exodus 8:25-29
25 Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. “All right! Go ahead and offer sacrifices to your God,” he said. “But do it here in this land.”
26 But Moses replied, “That wouldn’t be right. The Egyptians detest the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God. Look, if we offer our sacrifices here where the Egyptians can see us, they will stone us. 27 We must take a three-day trip into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he has commanded us.”
28 “All right, go ahead,” Pharaoh replied. “I will let you go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God. But don’t go too far away. Now hurry and pray for me.”
29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will disappear from you and your officials and all your people. But I am warning you, Pharaoh, don’t lie to us again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”
How does Pharaoh try to get Moses to compromise the original agreement?
What are some ways the enemy wants us to compromise our worship of God?
How does Moses continue to reach out to his enemy despite the betrayal and mistreatment?
Who does the Lord want you to reach out to so that you can share His love with them?
What are some barriers that might keep you from reaching out?
Who can you talk to about getting past these barriers?
Read Matthew 5:43-48
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
What is Jesus telling us about the character of God, our Father?
How did Moses live this out?
How does loving our enemies help soften our hearts towards the things of the Lord and the life He wants us to live?
How would living out these verses change the world around us?
Read Exodus 8:30-32
30 So Moses left Pharaoh’s palace and pleaded with the Lord to remove all the flies. 31 And the Lord did as Moses asked and caused the swarms of flies to disappear from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. Not a single fly remained. 32 But Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go.
Even after Pharaoh sees the power of God, why does he keep hardening his heart?
How did the Lord keep pursuing you, even when you kept hardening your heart?
Who were the people who kept telling you about the life Jesus wanted you to have, even if you kept rejecting them?
Who is the one person that the Lord has put on your heart to reach out to this week?
When will you do this and who will remind you?
Matthew 5:46-47 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
Closing thoughts and prayer
Throughout your life there have been people praying for you and gently (or forcefully), pointing you to the love of Christ. At one point you allowed the Lord to soften your heart and you made Him the ruler of your life. Now He is calling you to do the same for others. Pharaoh is a reminder that there are going to be people you come into contact with that are going to be hard hearted, stubborn, and sometimes downright antagonistic. Moses is a reminder that we are to continually pray for them and talk to them as the Lord leads. Oftentimes these people are reminders of our own once hardened hearts and how Jesus softened our hearts.
Spend some time praying by name for those who the Lord is calling you to reach out to this week. Maybe it’s someone you don’t get along with, someone who wronged you, or someone who has flat out told you they don’t want anything to do with Jesus. Ask the Lord for His wisdom on how to show His love to them this week. End your time praying for continued wisdom for our church and government leaders as they lead in this time of pandemic. Pray for the hospital staff as well.
What do you learn about God’s character in His treatment of Pharaoh?
In what ways has the Lord been patient with you and continued to pursue you?
What are some hardships that happened in your life that helped you see your need for God?
What are some ways you resisted the Lord’s leading in your life?
Why is the Lord making a distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians?
What message does this send to the Egyptians?
How was God showing that He was superior to the Egyptian false gods?
What were some chaotic circumstances in your life that led you to follow Jesus?
Why does Pharaoh want Moses to pray for him?
What are some ways people want the benefits the Lord offers, without actually following after Him?
When are times that you’ve prayed, or had others pray for you, that God would take pain away, but didn’t want to do the hard work of actually letting Him change your heart?
What is difficult about continually helping and reaching out to someone who doesn’t change?
What is the Lord teaching you during those times?
Who is someone you may have given up on that the Lord is calling you to reach out to?
When will you reach out to them this week?
Who are some people that are difficult people in your life?
How can you go out of your way to show them kindness to them this week?
Why does Jesus want us to live this way?
How is verse 48 even possible for us to live out?
When you fall short of this, what should you do?
Why is Jesus the only one who can make us perfect in God’s eyes?
When was the last time you pleaded with the Lord?
How did He answer?
What circumstances can you go to the Lord with this week and plead on other people’s behalf?
What are some of the pleas you’ve had during the pandemic?
How have you seen the Lord work during this time?
Are there any circumstances in your life right now where the Lord is trying to teach you something and soften your heart, but you are being stubborn?
How can you release that thing to Him and soften your heart?