Locusts are loud as well as obnoxiously destructive. Can you imagine seeing the earth covered with them? The only thing that comes close in my experience are the swarms of June bugs that would harass us at church camp each summer. The boys loved throwing them on the girls. The legs of the bug with clamp onto your skin or clothes, and especially your hair. Lots of squealing from June bugs interrupted many worship nights at camp, that’s for sure!
I’ve been camping when on my way to the bathroom during the night, my flashlight decided not to work. Darkness is frightening—until we see the light ahead to follow! The big question is how long until I see the light?
As we attempt to put ourselves into the story, imagine being an Egyptian citizen just trying to go about their daily tasks as all the plagues began to hit because of their stubborn leader. The longing question on their minds is finally expressed by the servants of Pharoah, “HOW LONG?” “How long are you going to let this man harass us? Let these people go and worship their God. Can’t you see that Egypt is on its last legs?” AND imagine looking over at the Israelites and noticing that NONE of this was happening to them!
Exodus 10, The Message
Strike Eight: Locusts
1-2 God said to Moses: “Go to Pharaoh. I’ve made him stubborn, him and his servants, so that I can force him to look at these signs and so you’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I toyed with the Egyptians, like a cat with a mouse; you’ll tell them the stories of the signs that I brought down on them, so that you’ll all know that I am God.”
3-6 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “God, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘How long are you going to refuse to knuckle under? Release my people so that they can worship me. If you refuse to release my people, watch out; tomorrow I’m bringing locusts into your country. They’ll cover every square inch of ground; no one will be able to see the ground. They’ll devour everything left over from the hailstorm, even the saplings out in the fields—they’ll clear-cut the trees. And they’ll invade your houses, filling the houses of your servants, filling every house in Egypt. Nobody will have ever seen anything like this, from the time your ancestors first set foot on this soil until today.’”
Then he turned on his heel and left Pharaoh.
7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long are you going to let this man harass us? Let these people go and worship their God. Can’t you see that Egypt is on its last legs?”
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. He said to them, “Go ahead then. Go worship your God. But just who exactly is going with you?”
9 Moses said, “We’re taking young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds—this is our worship-celebration of God.”
10-11 He said, “I’d sooner send you off with God’s blessings than let you go with your children. Look, you’re up to no good—it’s written all over your faces. No way. Just the men are going—go ahead and worship God. That’s what you want so badly.” And they were thrown out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 God said to Moses: “Stretch your hand over Egypt and signal the locusts to cover the land of Egypt, devouring every blade of grass in the country, everything that the hail didn’t get.”
13 Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt. God let loose an east wind. It blew that day and night. By morning the east wind had brought in the locusts.
14-15 The locusts covered the country of Egypt, settling over every square inch of Egypt; the place was thick with locusts. There never was an invasion of locusts like it in the past, and never will be again. The ground was completely covered, black with locusts. They ate everything, every blade of grass, every piece of fruit, anything that the hail didn’t get. Nothing left but bare trees and bare fields—not a sign of green in the whole land of Egypt.
16-17 Pharaoh had Moses and Aaron back in no time. He said, “I’ve sinned against your God and against you. Overlook my sin one more time. Pray to your God to get me out of this—get death out of here!”
18-19 Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God. God reversed the wind—a powerful west wind took the locusts and dumped them into the Red Sea. There wasn’t a single locust left in the whole country of Egypt.
20 But God made Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He still didn’t release the Israelites.
Strike Nine: Darkness
21 God said to Moses: “Stretch your hand to the skies. Let darkness descend on the land of Egypt—a darkness so dark you can touch it.”
22-23 Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days. Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites: they had light where they were living.
24 Pharaoh called in Moses: “Go and worship God. Leave your flocks and herds behind. But go ahead and take your children.”
25-26 But Moses said, “You have to let us take our sacrificial animals and offerings with us so we can sacrifice them in worship to our God. Our livestock has to go with us with not a hoof left behind; they are part of the worship of our God. And we don’t know just what will be needed until we get there.”
27 But God kept Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He wouldn’t agree to release them.
28 Pharaoh said to Moses: “Get out of my sight! And watch your step. I don’t want to ever see you again. If I lay eyes on you again, you’re dead.”
29 Moses said, “Have it your way. You won’t see my face again.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
TELL OF THE GREATNESS OF GOD
When God gave Moses the instructions for his next meeting with Pharaoh, He added another reason for the great display of His wonders in the plagues: that the Israelites might be able to tell the generations to come about the awesome power of their great God.
This purpose was also written into the Passover feast. Whether in the family or the local church, it’s good for each new generation to learn and appreciate the way God has worked on behalf of previous generations.
When we learn to recall and give thanks to God for all He has done and is doing as a way of life, in front of our children and grandchildren, it instills the knowledge of the greatness of God in them while displaying our consistent gratitude to God.
GOD IS GOD!
The plague of locusts was the most devastating natural calamity to hit the land of Egypt in all Egyptian history. In destroying the vegetation, God not only left the land bankrupt, but He triumphed over Osiris, the Egyptian god of fertility and crops. He also proved that He had control over the wind.
AND HE’LL DO IT AGAIN!
I’m reminded of Jesus, God’s Son, who is God, say to the wind, “Quiet, be still!”, proving again the power of God! The disciples retold this story to their family and friends and it came down to us…
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41
AND HIS POWER IS IN US!
Yes, tell of the greatness of God to everyone you know and meet! Generation after generation after generation…
May I never be silent in telling of your greatness and power, your saving grace, your everlasting faithfulness and your relentless love for us! Help me to tell it, shout it, and show it! In whatever way fits the situation and circumstance, give me the right words at the right time in the right Spirit to tell your story of who you are and what you have done, are doing and will do. You are God and I am not. To you be the glory, honor and praise!
In Jesus Name, Amen