Exodus – God’s Way Out
With one toddler and one on the way, we bought our first home. It was a small, affordable, two bedroom home. The home was plain but functional. What sold me was the big backyard with beautiful roses, irises, and other beautiful plants. However, once we moved in, we discovered a huge problem. Our home had an infestation of roaches. If you have ever lived in the southern regions, you know what kind of ruthless insects these are. We were plagued with them! They got into everything!
I would pull out a pot to cook in, scream at a couple of these unwanted, detestable live-ins crawling around and then scour the pot after getting rid of them. It was a nightmare. We tried to take care of this problem ourselves. We pulled everything from cabinets and closets to spray pesticides that were supposed to kill them and make them go away.
But it wouldn’t last. They would come right back with packed bags ready to live with us again! There is nothing like coming into a dark kitchen at night to get a drink and see them scatter when you turned on the light. We crashed their “party” many times. Yuck. This was an invasion of our lifestyle!
There is nothing more sickening than to step on one of these critters in bare feet as you get out of bed in the dark or walk into the washroom or pantry. They were disgusting and they were everywhere. I completely understand why God used plagues of frogs and insects to get the attention of Pharaoh (and His people).
You feel powerless when small insects take over your life. So we called in someone greater than us. Here’s what we learned from our exterminator. He had the “right stuff” to rid us temporarily of this problem, but the roaches will just go next door and infest the neighbor’s house. When the neighbor sprays for the pesky intruders, they will come back to our house when the poison disseminates.
What do we do then? Our exterminator had a stronger solution that would rid our home of them for good. It was not on the market, but he had it in his arsenal. It was so strong we would have to leave our home for a few days for it to work without hurting us!
No problem! If this works we were willing to do whatever it took! We wanted our home back in our control, not controlled by roaches! By the way, it did work! Then there were the termites…
Can you imagine thousands upon millions of frogs, gnats and flies? I think I threw up a little in my mouth. I am having flashbacks to my roach days. When our exterminator completed his work. We returned to our home a couple of days later to sweep up all the dead bodies. I know what that is like, too. Were these plagues, (like the corona virus), invasions of the Egyptians’ lifestyle?
Now imagine all the dead bodies of frogs, gnats and flies to be disposed of because the GREAT EXTERMINATOR ceased their lives! They didn’t come back, either. But the evidence of God’s power lay all around them. Did that bring Pharaoh to his knees, not yet.
Exodus 8, The Message
Strike Two: Frogs
1-4 God said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘God’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you refuse to release them, I’m warning you, I’ll hit the whole country with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs—they’ll come up into your houses, into your bedrooms and into your beds, into your servants’ quarters, among the people, into your ovens and pots and pans. They’ll be all over you, all over everyone—frogs everywhere, on and in everything!’”
5 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Wave your staff over the rivers and canals and ponds. Bring up frogs on the land of Egypt.’”
6 Aaron stretched his staff over the waters of Egypt and a mob of frogs came up and covered the country.
7 But again the magicians did the same thing using their incantations—they also produced frogs in Egypt.
8 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to God to rid us of these frogs. I’ll release the people so that they can make their sacrifices and worship God.”
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.”
10-11 “Make it tomorrow.”
Moses said, “Tomorrow it is—so you’ll realize that there is no God like our God. The frogs will be gone. You and your houses and your servants and your people, free of frogs. The only frogs left will be the ones in the Nile.”
12-14 Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, and Moses prayed to God about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. God responded to Moses’ prayer: The frogs died off—houses, courtyards, fields, all free of frogs. They piled the frogs in heaps. The country reeked of dead frogs.
15 But when Pharaoh saw that he had some breathing room, he got stubborn again and wouldn’t listen to Moses and Aaron. Just as God had said.
Strike Three: Gnats
16 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”
17 He did it. Aaron grabbed his staff and struck the dust of the Earth; it turned into gnats, gnats all over people and animals. All the dust of the Earth turned into gnats, gnats everywhere in Egypt.
18 The magicians tried to produce gnats with their incantations but this time they couldn’t do it. There were gnats everywhere, all over people and animals.
19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s doing.” But Pharaoh was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Just as God had said.
Strike Four: Flies
20-23 God said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes down to the water. Tell him, ‘God’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you don’t release my people, I’ll release swarms of flies on you, your servants, your people, and your homes. The houses of the Egyptians and even the ground under their feet will be thick with flies. But when it happens, I’ll set Goshen where my people live aside as a sanctuary—no flies in Goshen. That will show you that I am God in this land. I’ll make a sharp distinction between your people and mine. This sign will occur tomorrow.’”
24 And God did just that. Thick swarms of flies in Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his servants. All over Egypt, the country ruined by flies.
25 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Go ahead. Sacrifice to your God—but do it here in this country.”
26-27 Moses said, “That would not be wise. What we sacrifice to our God would give great offense to Egyptians. If we openly sacrifice what is so deeply offensive to Egyptians, they’ll kill us. Let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to our God, just as he instructed us.”
28 Pharaoh said, “All right. I’ll release you to go and sacrifice to your God in the wilderness. Only don’t go too far. Now pray for me.”
29 Moses said, “As soon as I leave here, I will pray to God that tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh, his servants, and his people. But don’t play games with us and change your mind about releasing us to sacrifice to God.”
30-32 Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God. God did what Moses asked. He got rid of the flies from Pharaoh and his servants and his people. There wasn’t a fly left. But Pharaoh became stubborn once again and wouldn’t release the people.
INCH BY INCH IN THE MISSION TO LEAVE EGYPT
Pharaoh is not going to budge. At least God’s people were spared the flies. (Remember the old camp song? Smiling at “There might be flies on some of you guys but there ain’t no flies on me”, UH!) God’s power is trumping all that the magicians have to offer through their slight of hand or imagery.
What do God’s people think and understand about God at this point?
What do we think?
Who is in control of the situation?
Who is in control of our lives? Plagued by the corona virus our faith is being tested. How we respond will speak volumes to people without God.
THE POWER OF GOD
As we mentioned before the Egyptians had gods for everything around them but did not know THE GOD. The Egyptians gave special reverence to animals that could live in two different environments. They did this because they were eager to be able to live in the environment of the underworld after death. But God shows that these beasts and their representative gods have no special power at all.
Although the magicians also produced frogs, it is still to Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh looks for relief (8:8). Perhaps he finally has an inkling that he is dealing with a divine power beyond the reach of magic.
The third and fourth plagues, gnats and flies (8:16-30), represent God’s power over the insect world. Again, the Egyptians revered insects because of their apparent ability to thrive in filth and even bring life out of it. These powers would be of special importance to those who sought to live through the corruption of death. But God shows that the powers of the insect gods belong to him.
It is the work of the supernatural, God, to cause the gnats and flies to occur in one locality and not in another. In a profound illustration of human nature Pharaoh first attempts to bargain with God for his obedience but in the end refuses to keep his side of the bargain.
Do we bargain with God, only to drop our side of the bargain?
BETTER question – Who do we think we are to bargain with God? Yikes.
Remember, staying isolated to combat a virus that is spreading across the world is wise. Don’t bargain with God to be spared, instead get closer to Him, ask Him what He wants from us in this present circumstance. Ask God what He wast us to learn from this experience.
What do we see God doing these days?
Watch for Him. He is always at work . I am seeing people come together to help each other in ways that are loving and creative. I’m also seeing care and creativity in our lifestyles as we rediscover our families. We see rapid innovations in medicine and in the way we serve each other.
Most of all we are taking our care of people as believers to even greater heights with new ways to get out of the building to deliver the message of hope for people, helping them find and follow Jesus. We are using our minds to improve our methods using the technology available to us.
GOD is doing this. GOD is at work through us. GOD is in control.
This virus will run it’s course, but I pray our relationship with God and each other continues to grow and build. God has put this fire in our souls! He has our attention.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are learning so much about You as we read about the power of You working through your people. We are humbled, like Moses, that you would choose to do your work in and through us from time to time as you invite us to join you. Your Word is about YOU, your power, your love for us, and your way out for all of us. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrificial part to redeem us and bring us into a right relationship with God, the Father forever.
In Jesus Name, Amen