“...Pharaoh's heart is hardened. He refuses to let the people go.”
Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator
Pray the Psalm together aloud, alternating verses between two sides. When finished, share reflections on the Psalm as a group
1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the sons of men uprightly?
2 No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.
3 The wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies.
4 they have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter
6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
7 Let them vanish like water that runs away; like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
8 Let them be like the snail which dissolves into slime, like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!
10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
The Hardened Heart of Pharaoh
1. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three… In what previous Biblical stories does the younger son outrank the older son? How does a Patriarch respectfully lead men who are older? How does a Patriarch graciously follow men who are younger?
2. In the first three signs (Serpent, Blood, Frogs), Pharaoh’s wise men are able to duplicate the signs of Moses and Aaron. In what ways have modern ideologies and sects imitated God’s authority? How does a Patriarch discern between authentic and inauthentic “messages,” “signs,” and “wonders”?
3. At the end of each plague, Pharaoh’s heart is “hardened.” What causes a man’s heart to harden? What advantages do men find in ‘hardening’ their hearts? What are the disadvantages? How does a Patriarch exercise dominion over his heart? What are some ways a Patriarch ‘un-hardens’ his heart?
4. In Exodus 8:8, “Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron, and said, ‘Entreat the Lord to take away the frogs…and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.’” What is Pharaoh acknowledging about the God of the Hebrews here? What is Pharaoh’s conditional bargain? Why do Patriarchs ‘bargain’ with God?
5. After the crisis of frogs disappears, Pharaoh reneges on his bargain with God. What is it about adversity that presses a Patriarch toward God? What is it about prosperity that permits distance between a Patriarch and God?
6. How is God fathering Moses through this series of plagues? What is Moses learning? What is Israel learning? How is God fathering Pharaoh through these series of plagues? What will Pharaoh learn? Through what “series of experiences” has God fathered you? Coaches and teachers put men through “series of experiences” for education and training – what “series of experiences” have you established for your children’s formation?
Choose a resolution for this week from the suggestions below or make your own. Tap on a resolution to email it to yourself:
1. I will invite my oldest child to plan a family activity and will follow his/her direction.
2. I will ask one of my subordinates at work to take leadership on a project.
3. I will bring my family to volunteer with an organization that works with the homeless or disabled.
4. I will share with my wife a life-experience that is very difficult for me to talk about.
5. I will go to adoration and will choose to let go of the one wound from my past that I have refused to let go of.
6. I will tithe 10% of my time to the Lord this week, dividing my time between prayer, charitable works, spiritual reading and the sacraments.
7. I will create an outline of experiences that I would like for my children’s formation.
8. I will create a “spiritual autobiography” detailing the “series of experiences” that the Lord has taken me through.
Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.