Flies Flies and More Flies

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.

22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.'”

24 And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.

25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”

26 But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”

28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”

29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

30 Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. Exodus 8:20-32

Having the benefit of 3000+ year hindsight, this passage is amusing. The flies were so great that obviously bothered Pharaoh, so he offered a half-hearted measure to stop the flies. Moses refused the offer, but agreed to pray to get rid of the flies.

When your pain is so great, you need to implement whole-hearted measures to remove it. He thought he was negotiating with a weakling, but obviously God had given Moses strength and wisdom enough to push back. Remember, Pharaoh could have tossed him into jail (or worse) for this kind of action, but Pharaoh needed Moses and Aaron to make the flies stop.

I’ve used this illustration before but it’s appropriate now. When Admiral Rickover was interviewing officers to serve on his nuclear submarines, he asked them two initial questions, “Have you given 100% all the time in whatever you did?” and “Why not?” Admiral Rickover knew humans opt for the easy way out more often than not. We don’t give 100% of ourselves all the time. Pharaoh opted for the easy way out by offering a half-solution to Moses’ problem.

Is there something you’re not giving 100% to where you know you should? If so, why not? Your answer may surprise even you.

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One More Chance, and Another

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.

Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, 19 the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 8:16-19

This is the first plague that the magicians couldn’t reproduce. Still, Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go. even with evidence and confirmation by the magicians, Pharaoh couldn’t swallow his pride to release the Hebrews. Sure, they were very cheap labor, but something else was in play here.

Throughout these plagues, you get the sense that God is giving the Pharaoh more chances than he deserves to do the right thing. That’s in fact what God is doing, and has always done.

He does it for us time and time again. He’s the God of the Second, Third, and 400th chance! It’s was true then as it is now.

Thank God for His boundless mercy.

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Making Careless Promises

9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”

10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”

12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 8:9-15

Pharaoh wasn’t true to his word and continued to enslave the Hebrews. It obviously set the stage for what was to come next.

Scripture tells us repeatedly not to promise something only to renege on it. It just makes you unreliable, untrustworthy, and dishonest. (Matthew 5:37, Numbers 30:2, Ecclesiastes 5:5, Proverbs 20:25, James 5:12)

Moses and Aaron believe him, but I doubt they will ever again. Pharaoh was a typical politician, promising something to take the immediate pressure off but never really intending to keep that promise.

Be careful even of the little promises you make to those around you. People rely on your words more than you think.

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The Frogs Were Everywhere, and Were They Ever Annoying!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. 3 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. 4 The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.'”

5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, 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. 7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.” Exodus 8:1-8

Frogs? Why frogs as a plague?

Many theories abound and are often related to the Egyptian goddess Heqet and another frog god Kek. It could very well be that the Hebrew God – the Lord – was showing Himself strong against these two gods, and in all probability poking fun at those gods, especially Heqet, the goddess of fertility.

The frogs probably weren’t dangerous but they would have been very annoying. Everywhere you stepped, it was on or very near a frog. It’s cute for an hour or two, but the frogs needed to go. Nobody could be productive because they were always dealing with the frogs.

Think about trying to eat or get water from a well. Frogs everywhere. In the water. In the buckets. On the table. In the food. Yes, the frogs needed to go.

They stopped productivity but they had to be deal with. Until they addressed the issue head on, they were stopped in their tracks. So, what did they do? They petitioned the government to make it stop. They didn’t know how it would happen but they trusted that Pharaoh could eliminate their crisis. We don’t know exactly how this occurred, but in the last verse of this passage, the Pharaoh summoned Aaron and Moses to make it stop, so their complaints reached the palace.

Are there any pressing frogs you need to eliminate from your life as the new year begins? What would free you up to be more productive, however you define that word?

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A New Song

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3

As we approach new years, we tend to make resolutions to change the way we think and do things. Of course they only last less than a week before they’re broken.

As children of God, however, we get to sing a new song every day.

Every sunrise and sunset is new.

God’s mercies are new every morning.

When we rise each morning it’s a fresh opportunity to declare our allegiance to the Sovereign Lord.

The world will do what it can every day to throw us off track.
  • It distracts us.
  • It takes our focus off of important things so we can be occupied by trivial and trite things.
  • The world throws down obstacles to worship, prayer, and Bible reading.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and it certainly doesn’t take much to get back on track.

What’s the new song He’s put in your heart today?

And for tomorrow?

And the days and weeks after that?

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