Okay, so I know it’s been awhile (again!), and I know it seems I’m going through the book of Exodus kind of slowly, but…well, I’m a girl that loves details. I don’t want to miss even the smallest things that happen and God does because I feel like those details are what makes the “story”. And this story just keeps getting better and better. I’d like to tell you that I’ll pick up the pace, but I’m studying all of this and learning it alongside you. Well maybe a few days before…(AND I have 3 crazy kiddos!!) so I can’t and won’t make any promises. 🙂
Now, plague 3… the plague of the gnats. Remember Pharaoh turned his back on his word from the plague of the frogs, and now we see God strike with the plague of the gnats. Have you ever experienced gnats before? I don’t mean a couple that seem to invade your space. Growing up in Texas, we would spend many evenings playing outside during the summer or eating alongside a creek under the trees. I remember walking and seeing swarms of gnats. You did everything you could to stay away from them! If you happened to walk through a grouping of them, they immediately flew up your nose and landed on you. It took some time to get them away from you!! Well, Aaron did as God commanded and took up the staff and struck the earth and ALL the dust of Egypt turned into gnats. Gross, right?!?
We’re getting to one of the best parts of chapter 8, I think, though. Those magicians. The same ones from before… They tried to recreate this plague (as they had in the last two) but…they couldn’t do it! Not only could they not do it, but they turned around and told Pharaoh that this was from God! That’s right boys…jump on in…the waters fine… Crazy pharaoh, though. His heart was still hardened. Really, what was it going to take?!?
Well, maybe a 4th plague…how about flies? Moses goes out to meet Pharaoh early in the morning. Verses 20-21,
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, Thus says the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.'”
Not only will there be flies everywhere, but God is going to differentiate between His people and the Egyptians. The flies will not be in the land of Goshen, where the Hebrews live. Nope, no flies there. God could (and can, and does) take care of His people while still judging Egypt . We should make a note about these flies…
First of all…YUCK! Second, these weren’t just the little flies that land on your sandwich while you’re having a picnic. These were those flies that bite people and animals (another YUCK!). I imagined horse flies when I read that in my studies. If you’ve never been bitten by a horse fly, they hurt. And they’re big! Verse 24 says, “throughout Egypt the land was ruined by flies.” Those are some serious flies, huh?
Pharaoh asked for Moses and Aaron to come to him. When they did, he told them to go ahead and sacrifice to God BUT they have to do it there in the land, within Pharaoh’s boundaries, in other words. Moses tell him that can’t happen, though, and gives him the reasons. Verses 26-27,
“But Moses said, ‘It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? We must go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he tells us.'”
Did you catch it? The words, “as HE tells us?” Another translation says, “as he commands us.” Listen, Pharaoh, not only can we NOT do as you say for very practical reasons (stoning!?!), but more importantly…we have to be obedient to what God commands us to do! God said a 3 day journey so we must do a 3 day journey. There’s no adding to or taking away from God’s Word, His commands. Pharaoh is all about trying to compromise with God, isn’t he?
He next tells Moses they can go to the desert to sacrifice but to “not go very far.” And then a demand. He says in verse 28, “Now pray for me.” Moses says he will pray for him and the flies will leave the next day. He leaves Pharaoh with an admonishment. Don’t be deceitful this time (again!) and not let the people go. Be true to your word, man! Moses again kept his word and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord again did as Moses asked. AND…Pharaoh AGAIN hardened his heart and wouldn’t let the people go. That was after “not a fly remained” of course.
Do you try to compromise with God when He calls you, or commands you, to do something? Where did that get you? Maybe you’re doing it right now in an area of your life. Can we learn from Pharaoh and the plagues? God wants obedient hearts, not ones that always want to compromise, not ones that want it their own way instead of His way. Where does your heart lie?