Opening Questions and Prayer
What is something in your life you would like to improve?
What is something in your life that you have seen God transform to make that area more like Him? (anger, addiction, unkind words, patience, etc.)
What is difficult about transforming from areas of hard-heartedness to soft-heartedness?
Pray that the Lord would help you to see those areas in your life that are still closed off to Him. Ask Him to give you insight in how to live as you study His Word today.
Read Exodus 9:8-9
Exodus 9:8-9 (All verses are from the NLT unless otherwise noted)
8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a brick kiln, and have Moses toss it into the air while Pharaoh watches. 9 The ashes will spread like fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, causing festering boils to break out on people and animals throughout the land.”
What significance did the brick kiln have in this struggle between Pharaoh and the Israelites?
See Exodus 5:15-18: 15 So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. “Please don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged. 16 “We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”17 But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.”
What was the Lord showing Pharaoh with this plague?
What hopeful message was the Lord sending to the Israelites with this plague?
When you go through hardship, what are some ways the Lord reminds you of His goodness?
What’s one thing you can do this week to turn to the Lord when stress, anxiety, or frustration hits?
Read Ephesians 6:10-12
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
What was Paul helping the Ephesians to understand about their struggle with sin and problems they had with other people?
How was the Lord telling his people to be strong in Him and His mighty power even under the oppression of the Egyptian nation?
What are some ways this verse is a hopeful reminder to us during this time of pandemic, political unrest, and racial tensions?
What do you need to do this week to remind yourself that your fight isn’t against other people, but it is spiritual warfare?
Read Exodus 9:10-11
10 So they took soot from a brick kiln and went and stood before Pharaoh. As Pharaoh watched, Moses threw the soot into the air, and boils broke out on people and animals alike. 11 Even the magicians were unable to stand before Moses, because the boils had broken out on them and all the Egyptians.
How did this plague affect the Egyptians differently than the previous plagues?
How did Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness hurt those around him?
When we refuse to confess our sin, repent, and pursue Jesus with our life, how does that affect others around us?
What is one way your sin hurt someone else this past week?
What do you need to do to make the situation right in the eyes of that person(s) and God?
Read Exodus 9:12
12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.
Why does Pharaoh continue to refuse to listen to the Word of the Lord in His life even after he has seen His power?
What are some ways we see the Lord work, but refuse to give Him leadership over our life?
See James 2:19-20: 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Why must there be good deeds that come from our faith?
What good deed can you do for someone in need this week that will help them experience the love of Jesus?
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
Closing thoughts and prayer
Following the Lord is a constant process. It starts with repenting of our sins and giving our life to Him, because He bought us with His life. This is the first step in allowing the Lord to soften our heart. Then, because of our love for Him (because He first loved us!) our natural desire is to serve. This process of serving God’s people is a constant process of the Lord revealing to us through His Holy Spirit that lives within us, the areas of our life that are still hardened to Him. As we allow Him to work and soften those areas, our service to Him continues to grow. It is a daily dying to ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Him.
Pray for those who are still hardened to the things of the Lord. Ask Him to put someone in your life this week that you can share His love with. Pray for our nation that is in much turmoil as people fight each other instead of realizing it’s a spiritual battle. Ask God to show you practical ways to speak His truth into people’s lives.
What is Pharaoh hoping will happen if he continues to refuse to let the Israelites leave?
Even though he sees the negative effects of his continual refusal to obey God, why does he continue down that path?
When we continue to live in sin, what is our end goal?
What do we think is going to happen?
What actually happens?
What are some ways sin continually harms us when we don’t deal with it right away?
Is there anything in your life that you are refusing to turn over to God because you are trying to deal with it on your own?
How can you soften your heart to the Lord this week and give that to Him?
What are some strategies of the devil?
How can you be prepared to face these strategies?
How did Jesus face the devil’s temptations?
See Matthew 4:1-11: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.3 During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” 8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
How does knowing God’s Word help us put on His armor?
What can you do this week to know and apply the Bible more in your life?
What do you think was going through Pharaoh’s mind as he watched Moses take this ash and throw it in the air?
Do you think he regretted what was happening to those around him because of his stubbornness to obey God’s commands?
In the midst of our sin, why does the enemy not want us to think about how our sin may hurt others?
When you are tempted, how can thinking about what giving into that temptation may do to others help you to choose God’s path instead of your own?
What sin are you trying to justify in your life because you feel like it doesn’t hurt others?
Even if you think your sin doesn’t hurt others, who does it hurt?
Exodus 9:12 & James 2:19-20
What is the Lord wanting to do in Pharaoh’s life?
What is difficult about actually giving the Lord control of your life instead of just lip service?
What is one area of hard-heartedness that you need to turn over to the Lord?
Who will help you with this?