Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exodus 8: Frogs And Gnats And Flies...Oh My!

Pharaoh's decision to resist God set his nation on a punishing collision course with the justice of the Lord.  A series of devastating events begin befalling and befouling the land.

First, Moses and Aaron warn Pharaoh that a plague of frogs is coming (vs. 1-2).  Frogs will be EVERYWHERE!  After this plague indeed comes to pass, Pharaoh seems finally ready to listen.  He offers to let the Hebrew people go and sacrifice in the wilderness.  But he quickly reneges on his pledge after the plague is lifted and refuses.  Just think!  If Pharaoh had simply honored his word and let the people go, this tragic story would have ended after only two plagues and the land would have quickly recovered.

Alas, Pharaoh's resistance continues.  A third plague is introduced, that of gnats.  It is here that we reach a point where the magic of Egypt's sorcerers finally finds its limit.  They are not able to replicate the turning of Egypt's dust into gnats.  They report to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God!" (vs. 19)  But even though the magicians capitulate after only three plagues, Pharaoh's heart remains hardened.

Another warning comes to Pharaoh before the fourth plague.  Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh and tell him that swarms of flies will come upon the land the very next day - but only upon the land of the Egyptians!  God begins here to draw a distinction between His people and Pharaoh's people.  The former will be spared while the latter will suffer a plague.  Even though he was warned to not deal falsely with the Lord a second time, Pharaoh once again makes the arrogant mistake of surrendering to the Lord before going back on his word (vs. 29-32).

At the end of chapter 8, nothing has been resolved, nothing has been changed.  This can only mean one thing: more plagues are sure to come!

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