6/4 - 19 1992
V. 1, the Lord instructs Moses to go deliver the message to let Israel go, that they may serve God.
Serve God or serve the LORD. Let's look a little at this statement. And as we do, note the spelling of LORD when the word is used: it is the OT spelling for the Lord Jesus.
3:12, is the first mention of serving God, which we dealt
with back there.
4:23, in the final instruction to Moses as he prepares to leave his father in law, the Lord tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that he, Pharaoh, is to let His, the Lord's, son go. Why is Moses to demand that Pharaoh let God's firstborn son go? That he may serve me.
5:3, in Moses' first confrontation with Pharaoh, he requests that Israel be permitted to go and sacrifice unto the Lord their God. Moses tells Pharaoh that there is a death penalty against them if they do not go serve their God.
7:16, the first plague of the river into blood is introduced to Pharaoh with the demand that Israel be released that they may serve God in the wilderness.
8:1, the second plague (frogs) is introduced with the demand that Israel be released so that they may serve God.
8:20, the fourth plague (flies) is introduced with the demand that Israel be released that they may serve God.
9:1, the fifth plague (the very grievous murrain against the cattle) is introduced with the demand that Israel be released that they may serve God.
9:13, the seventh plague (very grievous hail) was introduced with the demand that Israel be released that they may serve God.
10:3, the eighth plague (locusts) was introduced with the demand that Israel be released that they may serve God.
12, the final plague in chapter 12 (death of the firstborn), was so that 4:23 could be fulfilled. The final plague caused Pharaoh to send Israel out of his land with the specific instructions to go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
I) Not every plague was announced to Pharaoh; three out of the first nine arrived unannounced (ninth, sixth and third). The tenth also arrived unannounced.
II) From the very first mention through the tenth plague of death, the purpose of the deliverance of Israel is clearly presented: that Israel could serve God apart from the hindrances of Egypt. Also notice where they are to serve God: in the wilderness.
A) Nine times (6 to Pharaoh) the Lord tells the purpose of the redemption of His people: that Israel may serve God.
This purpose was made clear to Moses, 4:23. In addition, it was made clear to Pharaoh because every announcement to him also contained the reason for the Lord wanting His people released. Furthermore, Pharaoh explicitly understood why Israel was to be released, 12:31.
B) In the wilderness... The wilderness may not be the most congenial place to serve the Lord, but we are expected to serve Him every where..
III) From the very first statement to Moses (3:12), we know that the purpose of redeeming Israel was so they could serve God according to the law He is going to give them.
A) The purpose for the redemption of the people of God today is for the same reason as it was for Israel of old. The purpose of redemption is to serve God according to the law given at mount Saini.
B) Paul sums this thought up in Hebrews 12:28. Every provision for the elect before and after their redemption is for only one purpose: that we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.
1) Note that in Moses' first meeting with Pharaoh, he told Pharaoh that Israel had to go serve God or God would fall upon them with pestilence, or with sword. In other words, Moses told Pharaoh, "Let us go serve our God, or He will destroy us because our God is a consuming fire." Paul tells us the same thing is Hebrews 12:28. Redemption and grace empowers us to serve God in an acceptable manner which keeps Him from destroying us.
2) Are we facing the pestilence and/or the sword because the grace of God is being misused to serve self and the gods of Egypt?
IV) 12:31, Pharaoh clearly understood the purpose of Israel's redemption; he sends them out with the specific instructions to go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
A) I think that it is sad that the unsaved Pharaoh's of our day understand better the purpose of redemption than do the people of God. They clearly understand that God's people are redeemed to be a holy people who serve God.
MH makes an interesting observation here: the Lord could have used lions, bears, wolves, vultures or some other terrible beast to plague Egypt, but He chose to use contemptible creatures, frogs, gnats, flies and locust, as His instruments of destruction. God can use what He pleases, when He pleases; God can arm the smallest of His creation against sinful man and man doesn't stand a chance. (He used a gnat in one of the plagues.) All praise, honor and glory belongs to Him alone, and hardened Pharaoh will be made to know this through a gnat just as much as he would through a elephant. If God is our enemy, all creation is against us from the smallest insect to the largest animal.
God uses the foolish and weak things of this world to confound the wise and bring the sinner to his knees. How foolish of fallen man, under the name of Christianity, to believe that the only way King Jesus can subdue sinners to Himself is with the sword (literal mil reign of Christ).
Consider the humiliation of mighty Pharaoh and Egypt: destroyed by insects that the smallest child should be able to master: frogs, lice (gnats) and flies. The Lord pours contempt upon all of man's pride.
The Lord announces to Moses what to say (through Aaron) to Pharaoh. Here is an if-then; "if Pharaoh refuses to hear and do My word, then here is what will happen." Moses is to announce that all the land of Egypt will be smitten with frogs. The Lord gave Pharaoh the opportunity to turn and obey the word of the Lord. Note that judgment does not come upon sinful man announced. Romans 2:1-11 tells us that the Lord is patient: He warns and when man does not heed the warning, He sends judgment.
The Egyptian frog is a small Nile frog, called rana Mosaica. Notice that it is named after Moses. These frogs were common in the Nile and marsh waters; the miracle is in the fact that they came out of the Nile, where they normally stayed, and completely overran the land.
The river will now bring forth a super abundance of frogs, which is the second plague. The first plague was that the Nile became blood so that no life could remain in it. The next plague is that the river produces so much life that the land is overrun with frogs. Furthermore, the first plague came with warning, and so does the second.
Moses warned Pharaoh so that all of Egypt might know that these things were taking place at the hand of the Lord and not some naturalistic force. V. 10, the plagues came and went at Moses command with a specific purpose: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God. The purpose of every thing which comes into the life of every individual is that thy might know God.
Note that the first plague brought forth death from the river which they worshiped as the source of life, and now with this second plague, which shortly followed the first, brings forth a super abundance of life from the same river. The first plague killed all life: all the fish died. This second plague, by following the plague of death, shows that the Lord has total control of both death and life, the river changed, within a very short time, from death to life, and more life than Pharaoh knew what to do with.
Note that the Lord brings forth abundant life from a formerly dead body. So He does today.
Frogs! "They were very abundant just after the high Nile
when the waters begin to recede. Spawn in the mud is hatched by
the sun, and the marshes are filled with myriads of these creatures...
The frog was also associated with Divinity, was the symbol of
Heqt, a form of Hathor, and seems also at times to have been worshipped
as divinity." (ISBE, pg. 2404)
Frogs were reverenced as representing fertility and life, but that did not mean that the Egyptian wanted to touch, much less sleep with them. Even though frogs were a common sight in Egypt, there was no way that this superabundance of frogs could be compared with what Egypt had known in the past. Clearly, frogs were everywhere imaginable, and could not be kept out of anyplace.
The Nile was worshiped as a source of life; frogs were worshiped as representing life and fertility; at Moses' word, both overnight become a source of plague for the people who at one time reverenced them so highly.
Furthermore, notice Moses' words to Pharaoh, vs. 3, 4: into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy and into thine ovens, and into thy kneedingtroughs: and the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
10 times Moses tells Pharaoh that this is against him. Pharaoh himself, and all Egypt, regarded the office of Pharaoh as the mediator between what Egypt considered heaven and life on earth. If their supposition were true, then Pharaoh should have been immune from the plagues, but Moses makes it clear that Pharaoh is the primary target against whom these plagues move.
The frogs went everywhere, including upon the person of Pharaoh and his people. This in itself would be unusual because normally a frog will flee from people.
1) Not only is the people's confidence in Pharaoh being destroyed, but so is Pharaoh's confidence in himself. He and all Egypt is being shown that he is no more than another pea in a pod before the Lord God of all nations, God is no respecter of persons and that the leaders of nations will bear the brunt of responsibility before God.
2) Certainly, we can assume that Pharaoh put everything at his disposal, his full effort, into keeping the frogs from his house and food.
A) I can imagine the effort of the mighty men of Egypt which went into keeping the person of Pharaoh, his house and food free from frogs, all to no avail.
Notice that when the Lord decrees something, it will be accomplished regardless of the efforts of proud evil men. They could not protect Pharaoh from something as large, and as noisy we might add, as a frog. All human and superhuman effort will not prevent one jot or tittle of God's word from coming to pass.
B) The kings and rulers of this world are less than nothing to the One With Whom we have to do, Isaiah 40:15. If they cannot protect themselves from something seen and heard, a frog, how much less can they protect themselves from the invisible hand of the Lord which was destroying the proud Egyptians.
3) Specifically, Pharaoh is told that this plague is against him. Godless leaders of all times have considered and do consider themselves exempt from the law-word of God. In fact, we see our own congress exempting itself from the terrible oppressive laws which they try to enforce upon others. The divine rights of kings is directly struck down in this plague and others following.
A) Of course, this is the logical conclusion of the idea that man can be as god; this sin has permeated even Christian circles as Christians seek to become "sovereign individuals."
4) God's curse, plague against the hardened sinner will peruse him wherever he goes; the sinner cannot escape or avoid God's judgment against his sin. Note the frogs were primarily where people dwelt. How many have tried to flee from the results of their sin only to find a worse situation at the place where they fled?
Vs. 5, 6.
Again, as with the blood, all the water of the Nile is affected. The Nile was worshiped as the source of life for the land of Egypt, and it becomes just that: the source of so much life that the land is destroyed.
There could be no mistaking the source of this plague; Aaron, and Moses' command, stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, undoubtedly in the sight of Pharaoh. Nor could there be any mistaking of who did this; immediately the Lord's army of frogs gather together and came up out of the Nile. Egypt, with all of its military might, was completely at the mercy of this army as it pillaged the land.
There could be no naturalistic explanation for the frogs; the river was blood just a short time ago, and now vast 'swarms' of frogs come up out of it to cover the whole land of Egypt at the command of Moses. (This kind of reminds me of Moses stretching out his rod while Joshua fought against Amalek.)
I think that it is significant that the frogs come before the flies. A supper abundance of flies could lead to a superabundance of frogs, but the Lord reversed the order; He sends the frogs first.
The magicians did so with their enchantments... This is the same statement as was made about the bloody river. They could increase the destructive plagues but could not do anything to ease them. See our notes in 7:11.
The reason they are permitted to do this is so that Pharaoh would be deceived further and, thus, hardened further. See Rev 16:13-14 where three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mount of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophets. They are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth to gather them to the battle against God. We must say that these false spirits appear to be extremely active in our day, for multitudes of people are being led away from obedience to the command-word of God.
Though the magicians could charm some frogs from the river, they could not charm the frogs back to the river. Pharaoh must admit that the frogs are from the God of the Hebrews, for he must call Moses and Aaron to provide relief from them.
This verse gives us the first compromise offered by Pharaoh. "Take the frogs away," says Pharaoh, "and you can go serve the Lord."
1) We will see a consistent point about Pharaoh, and that is that when the evils are upon him, he makes all kinds of promises. As soon as the evils are removed, he forgets the promises he made. The hardened heart will promise to the Lord when things are difficult and then forget when things are eased.
2) Though Pharaoh admits the frogs are from the God of the Hebrews, he makes no effort to make peace with this God whose hand is against him and his nation. How like the hardened heart today: Though people will admit to the power of the Lord, they will not submit in obedient service to Him.
Glory over me.. or "Pharaoh, you will have the privilege of establishing the time when the frogs will be removed and again restricted to the river; therefore, when do you want them to leave?"
An interesting observation here is that the Lord is the one Who establishes the area of dominion of both man and animals. The Lord raises up whom He will, when He will, where He will and how He will. He alone establishes the extent (boarder) of their power and authority. He tells man, "This far and no farther." He tells the rivers and seas, "This far and no farther." He tells the animals, frogs in this case, "This far and no farther." Moses asks Pharaoh when does he want Moses to entreat to the Lord to restrict the frogs once again to the bodies of water.
In doing this, Moses shows Pharaoh that the frogs were not a natural phenomenon of any kind, e.g., right time of the year, stars in the right order, & c.
To morrow, says Pharaoh. This is undoubtedly one of the strangest statements in scripture. Why in the world would Pharaoh want to spend another night in bed with the frogs? Maybe the time which was set by Pharaoh was for his own benefit: he wanted to be sure that it was indeed Moses' God and not something which would pass overnight.
according to.. that thou mayest... Pharaoh set the time of the frogs departure, but Moses is the one that had to remove them. Because they would only depart when Moses said they would, Pharaoh had no choice but to admit that the Lord God brought them about.
Vs. 11, 12.
1) Again we see the emphasis that the plague is against Pharaoh.
2) Only the Lord can undo what He has done.
3) Only the Lord can undo the mess which man makes of things.
The frogs came at the word of Moses, and they leave the same way. But they do not leave. The do not hop back into the river from whence they came to be washed away by the current. Rather, they die where they are.
We cannot imagine the amount of frogs involved in this plague. The land stank. The river of blood stank also, which shows that it could be nothing but blood.
1) The sin and hardness of Pharaoh caused the land to stink.
2) The people had to clean up the mess.
A) The physical reality of the frogs were brought home to the Egyptians: they had to rake them into heaps and put up with the smell. They knew for certain that Moses did not conjure up some visual image apart from reality; the frogs were not a figment of their imagination.
B) Again, it is not difficult to imagine what the people were thinking as they heap up the frogs and smell the stench: "Pharaoh is suppose to protect us from things like this, and now we are having to clean up after him." I am sure that the people were not rejoicing as they heaped together the frogs nor as they dug the wells attempting to get drinking water.
C) Every creature on this earth is here for a purpose. When that purpose is finished, so is the creature. God is glorified even in the death of His creatures.
3) Both the Egyptian's and the Israelites faith in Pharaoh (the state) was being destroyed piece by piece, and he was being replaced by the Lord God which Moses represented.
4) "I repent" will not solve the problem of the results of hardness of heart. Even if Pharaoh would have followed through with his word and had let the people go, v. 14 would have still had to be done. "I repent" is not a magical formula which eases the results of sin; rather, true repentance prevents the sin from coming about in the first place.
There are many promises are made under stressful situations, then when things smooth out the promises are soon forgotten. But Moses had been warned of Pharaoh's response.
He was warned that Pharaoh would not listen before he met Pharaoh the first time. He met Pharaoh, and Pharaoh responded like the Lord said he would. Moses, depressed and discouraged, returned to the Lord about the hardness of Pharaoh, 5:22, 23. Then in chapter 6, the Lord encourages Moses again, and Moses 'gets it into his heart.' From then on, Pharaoh's hardness does not discourage Moses.
In the first plague, Pharaoh's heart was hardened. In the second plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart. In the third plague, Pharaoh's heart was hardened, v. 19. In the fourth plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart, v. 32. In the fifth plague, the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, 9:12. Pharaoh had reached the point of no return; he had hardened his heart one time too many and the Lord now does the hardening to his own destruction. We will talk more about this in 9:12.
This fact is presented continually throughout the Scriptures, and confronted in daily life: the hardened sinner can only see the truth of God with genuine repentance as God permits him to see it. Other wise his heart is like the frozen ground on a sunny day: the sun melts it, but when the sun moves and the shade takes over, it freezes again.
However, we must take into account Paul's words:
Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
God raised up Pharaoh, and God hardened his heart, all for the purpose of glorifying Himself.
V. 16-19, the dust into lice, the third plague, had no warning. Aaron stretched out his rod at Moses' command without going first to Pharaoh. Keil identifies this insect as a species of gnats which were hardly visible to the eye, but had a painful irritating sting. [To me, this sounds like the flying insect we had in Puerto Rico: a very small gnat which could fly through the screen wire. In fact, only if we would not wash the screens, would the screen keep them out. Thy were extremely small, but they bit like a misquote.]
Lice, or whatever biting insect this might be, as well as flies, are a continual 'plague' in Egypt, as any one who has been there would testify. Therefore, these two supernatural plagues in the area of troublesome insects, would have had to been far beyond anything known before or since for the Egyptians (and Israel; they had been there long enough, 400 years, to know the normal situations in Egypt) who hated the God of the Hebrews, to admit that it was indeed their God which brought this about. See notes back at the introduction to the plagues, 7:13.
The first plague dealt with the river; the second brought the frogs up out of the river. Neither created the plague out of nothing and the magicians could duplicate both. The third plague caused the dust to become lice, and the magicians could not duplicate it. The reason they could not duplicate this one is that they could not cause life to come out of nothing. These insects came from nothing, and this one was the first to do so; although Keil points out that the only thing that took place here is a superabundance of reproduction from the eggs in the dust of the ground.
Furthermore, Keil says that none of the plagues are to be regarded as a direct act of creation, but rather a supernatural multiplication of what was already in existence.
First, even though the Lord through Moses does not announce this plague (nor does He announce two more), He still commands Moses to stretch out his rod. This shows us that God uses men, even behind the scenes. Many will willingly "stretch out their rod" in the sight of Pharaoh and his kingdom, but how many will "stretch out their rod" when no one is watching? In other words, will we obey God and work as hard when no one is watching? God works through people even when no one knows those people exist.
Second, what Moses did in the background unknown to Pharaoh affected Pharaoh and all his kingdom.
A) Pharaoh and the Egyptians were so obsessed with cleanliness that they shaved all their hair off their bodies. Lice upon them with no way to avoid the lice, would have been a particularly bad plague.
Third, the rich soil of Egypt becomes the source of this plague. Every area which the Egyptians regarded as a giver of life becomes a source of death and destruction to all living within Egypt's borders.
A) Even the dust of the ground obeys our God. "He has many arrows in His quiver."
Fourth, the plagues get worse. This one cannot be duplicated by the magicians and effected them.
A) Even though they admit it is the finger of God, they make no effort to serve this God. How many people know and will admit the truth, yet they will not, under any circumstances, turn to the Author of Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ? They are hardened in their own sins to their own destruction.
This confession of the magicians was not an open confession of the Lord God; rather, it was only an admittance that the lice came from a power greater than Moses and Aaron and greater than themselves, maybe even from one of the Egyptian gods, who knows.. The magicians only confess that some supernatural force is at work; they do not confess that it is the God of Moses at work.
Note that hardened man will flee to any reasoning to prevent having to admit that the Lord, He is God. Naturalism is the most common refuge: giving a naturalistic explanation for the supernatural workings of the Spirit of God.
B) No matter how powerful the workers of darkness might appear, they are bound by the Lord. When He says that's enough, that's enough. As I have developed elsewhere, He only allows the amount of work from the forces of evil which will bring praise to Himself, Ps 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Thus, the Lord only permits evil workers to work so much, then He restrains them. The cutoff point is what will praise Him. They can go that far and no more. Even the evil magicians and the workers of black magic are subservient to the God of Israel.
Fifth and lastly, everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. These evil men, and all evil men of all times, will one day confess that Christ is Lord.
As Christians, we should find tremendous comfort in this fact.
Evidently this was a one time only plague. There is no record of Moses having to pray for its removal. It must have come upon man and beast and then died out of its own accord.
V. 20, Moses is sent to Pharaoh with the warning to let the people go that they may serve the Lord
Early.. Lo, he cometh forth to the water..
1) Evidently Pharaoh was still worshiping the Nile, because Moses is told to meet him at the same place as he did the first time, at the water, 7:15.
Note that this false god, the Nile, had already turned against Pharaoh and Egypt, but he still worshiped it. People who are hardened in their sin cannot see the obvious; they are blinded by their rebellion against the Lord, James 1:22.
2) Pharaoh was up early serving his false god. Moses was to rise early to confront him. It is a shame when the ungodly can get up earlier in the morning to serve their gods, than what God's children can to serve Him. Isn't our God at least as great and deserving as the gods of Egypt? If we expect to confront the gods of this world, we will have to put in at least as much time for our Lord and be at least as dedicated to His worship and service.
3) Moses, at the command-word of the Lord, was unafraid of Pharaoh. The righteous are bold as a lion... If we expect to have our Lord's approval, we too must overcome the fear of man.
V. 21, the fourth plague, swarms of flies. Moses is sent to tell Pharaoh before the flies come. The threat is that the flies will be everywhere, as well as covering the ground.
This plague "consisted in the sending of "heavy vermin," probably DOG-FLIES.. a mixture of all kinds of flies.. These insects are described by Philo as many travellers as a very severe scourge. They are much more numerous and annoying than the gnats; and when enraged, they fasten themselves upon the human body, especially upon the edges of the eyelids, and become a dreadful plagues." (Keil) Furthermore, "their bites cause severe inflammation" (Edersheim)
The primary purpose of this plague seems to be so that Pharaoh and his people will be forced to see the division between God's people and the Egyptians. Notice that the magicians admitted in the previous plague that a supernatural power of some kind did indeed bring about the lice, but now then will have to admit that it is the God of the Hebrews which is bringing these plagues about; the division will be so obvious that even Pharaoh will be forced to recognize it.
I don't think that the plague of the flies brought death with it as did the next plague. Why then did the Lord make the division here instead of in the nest plague which did bring death? I believe that the division between His people and the Egyptians is made one step before the ones which start bringing death because of the stark contrast which the Lord wanted to make between the land of Egypt and the land of Goshen where His people dwelt.
Evidently, great swarms of flies were not uncommon in this region. What the Lord brought were supper swarms of flies, but the Lord wanted Pharaoh and Egypt to know that He was the One who brought about the swarms of flies. As we mentioned in chapter seven, all of these plagues were of things of which the Egyptians were generally acquainted, but they were so far above and beyond any event in history that they could not avoid the conclusion that they were the hand of the God of the Hebrew slaves.
Again notice that this plague was primarily upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses.. Pharaoh again bore the brunt of this plague, as the Lord continued to destroy his authority in the eyes of his people.
The Lord did two things to that it could not be mistaken that He brought it about.
1) The flies did not come until the next day and then at the word of Moses. It could not be any more obvious that the Lord authored the files through Moses.
2) Goshen, according to the words of Moses, remained free of flies. We can imagine what the Egyptians had to realize as the great swarms of flies covered Egypt, invading absolutely every crack, corner and even covering the ground, yet the land of the Hebrews was free of these flying insects. In other words, the monstrous swarms of flies could not be blamed on a "freak of nature" or some kind of supernatural power because they did not fly into the land where the Hebrews lived.
Observe the workings of God in this one event:
1) V. 22 to the end thou maysed know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. The Lord, He is God in the midst of the plagues against Egypt and its ungodly Pharaohs of our day. He brings all things to pass, all things operate in accord with His will by His divine Providence, He exempts who He will, He moves against who He will.
There is a key phrase here: in the midst of the earth. The Lord is not in heaven and out of touch with reality; rather, He is in the midst of the earth. He came down to see what was going on in Sodom; we are told in Hebrews that some have entertained angles unawares. The Lord, even before the incarnation, was in the midst of the earth. How? Through His people.
Furthermore, His eyes search the whole earth continually. Nothing escapes His immediate attention.
2) The covenant-people paid the price up to this point for the hardness of the ruler of the land.
3) The covenant-people also had to experience the power of their God.
4) The covenant-people also had to have the false gods dealt with in their heart.
5) Pharaoh and his people had to see that there was a difference between themselves and the covenant-people.
6) The Egyptians had to see that they and their gods were powerless before the Lord God of Israel. He had authority, not only over Egypt, but also over Israel and the whole earth.
7) As we mentioned under the frogs, the Lord establishes the dominion and boundaries of even the insects. The frogs were restricted by God to the Nile's waters. Here the flies are restricted from Goshen. The Sovereign God controls every aspect of His creation.
Thus we see that one of the basic laws of the word of God is that the Lord establishes the bounds for men and nations, for the seas and heavens, for animals and insects. Everything moves in the midst of the earth according to His desire. Job 38-41 is the strongest statement on this subject in the Word of God. 38:35, to me is one of the most amazing verses in Scripture: Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we [are]? The Lord confronts Job and says, "Do the lightnings report to you and ask you where to strike?"
See also Ex 23:31; Job 14:1-6; 26:13; Acts 17:26 ( And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.)
Jehovah God is a total God Who is in such total control of
every aspect of His creation that the flies and gnats only move
according to His desire and design. (Note that we, as finite creatures,
cannot even begin to comprehend the fact that the Lord is in total
control of all things. Divine Providence and Free Will.. I cannot
even begin to account for this seemingly contradictory statement.
All we can say is what is clearly given in the word of God: He
is the Lord in the midst of the earth. Either man will learn this
like Moses did, or he will learn this as Pharaoh did. We can rest
assured that all men will learn that the Lord He is Lord in the
midst of the earth. Notice the word Lord... indicating absolute
ownership and control.)
Furthermore, the division is made here, leaving a total of 7 plagues against Egypt alone. Compare these 7 plagues to the seven seals and plagues against the ungodly in Revelation 6-10. Therefore, seven would be a number of God's perfect and righteous judgment against sin and wickedness.
God places the division between His people and Egypt's people. This fact in itself creates great hostility between God's people and the pagans of our day. Fallen man does not want to admit at all that the Lord has placed any kind of division between man. The goal of the ungodly Pharaoh's of our day is to level every one to the lowest common denominator. And maybe today the wheat and tares are mixed together, but one day they will be separated.
And the Lord did so.. We can be assured that the Lord will act according to His word. What He says will come to pass, will come to pass.
the land was corrupted... The marg reads, or destroyed. We can not imagine the files that were involved here. The flies not only tormented the Egyptians, but they destroyed the plants when they laid their eggs.
Flies.. MH makes an interesting point. Satan prides himself in being identified the prince of the power of the air: Beelzebub -- the god of flies. Here in Ex 8:24, satan is proved to be no more than a pretender and a usurper. God uses him to destroy his own kingdom, showing us that Satan himself is at the beck and call of the Lord of Hosts.
There is no mention of the magicians, Satan's servants, at all. They are now useless and helpless in the face of almighty God.
The is the second time Pharaoh calls for Moses and offers a compromise, (first-8:10). The enemy of God's people is now willing to tolerate their worship of the Lord, as long as he can keep them under his control.
The average Christian today starts praising the Lord at this point. They say, "Look at the great victory we have won. We can now get a license to worship and serve God." But they mention not that they are still under Pharaoh's control; thus, they have not true freedom to serve the Lord because if they do not obey Pharaoh's policy, he can revoke the license.
Moses rejects the compromise and told Pharaoh why.
1) First, let's continue with the thought from above. We could just as easily say for this verse: "The law of Moses will not tolerate any compromise with Pharaoh. It demands separation from the gods of this world; it demands a particular way in which to worship the Lord. Anything less than what is demanded by the law is sin and unexceptionable by the Lord (1 Jn 3:4)."
Moses tells Pharaoh that the compromise which he is offering will not work, for Israel is required to worship the Lord God in a manner which will offend the Egyptians so greatly that they will stone the Hebrews.
Observe: The service of the Lord God is contrary to public policy. When God's people start teaching God's word and making it part of their lives, the public will not like it. The public is overwhelmingly sinners and, as a rule, will not tolerate a message which points this out to them. The Sodomites are a good example of this intolerance, as is the NEA. They demand freedom to do their thing, but, actually, their goal is 'freedom' to sin without criticism, ie. freedom from their conscience (the inborn voice of God).
Pharaoh will tolerate, and many times encourage, the worship of God in the land, but that tolerated worship must be unoffensive to the wicked, according to public policy.
Notice what Moses originally told Pharaoh, 5:3. "If we do not depart from Egypt and sacrifice unto the Lord, He will fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword." Therefore, the indication here is that if Moses (Israel) had accepted Pharaoh's offer to serve the Lord under his authority, their worship of the Lord would have been, not only unacceptable, but an abomination to the Lord invoking His wrath.
The religious community today would say something like this: "Praise the Lord, Pharaoh is going to permit us to worship God. All we have to do is compromise a little and maybe get a license. But if we do anything which offends Pharaoh and/or the Egyptians, we will lose our license. But that's OK. All we are interested in is the freedom to preach the gospel." Very few of God's people are interested in black and white. Most want shades of grey which will immune them from the wrath of both God and Pharaoh. Israel was in a fix. They would either have the wrath of God against them, or they would have the wrath of Pharaoh; they would either have God's sword and pestilence against them, or Pharaoh's sword against them. In other words, a religion which offends not the world, offends God. A religion which offends not God, offends the world. Furthermore, Israel clearly cannot serve both God and Pharaoh, for no man can serve two masters. For Israel to accept any of Pharaoh's compromises would have been to serve Pharaoh.
Moses told Pharaoh, "NO WAY is that kind of service acceptable."
Let's continue on to the next point in this thought, then we will come back. V. 28, Moses will not accept Pharaoh's offer, so Pharaoh makes another: "OK, go serve your God, but don't go very far away." Pharaoh deceitfully agrees to let the people go, but even this agreement was that they could only go a short distance from Egypt. He does this to have the flies removed.
We are in an election year again (6/18/92). The religious
rhetoric is and will continue to be overwhelming. Suddenly every
politician becomes a committed Christian, but they are just like
Pharaoh: they suddenly see themselves as sinners so they can get
what they want, a docile 'Christian' electorate. The sad thing
is that the Christians will fall for Pharaoh's deceitful line
over and over, every election year. "Pray for me," say
these modern day Pharaohs as they deal deceitfully with the people
of God. As soon as they are elected, it will be the same old song
and dance. Pharaoh's goal is to keep the people in bondage, and
the people love it.
Why do the people fall for it?
A) They have departed from the words of Moses.
B) They desire a political hope. But notice that a political hope, of necessity, must be a compromise.
3) Dispensationalism keeps the political hope alive. Dispensationalism believes that the only hope is that Jesus will one day establish a political base in Jerusalem from which to rule. It is unavoidable that Dispensationalism's political hope would spill over into the secular realm.
Compromise is not acceptable to God or to the words of Moses. Compromise is not service to the Lord or to His word.
Now back to v. 26.
2) One of the main reasons that they had to depart from the land of Egypt to serve the Lord was because they had to sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians, and if they did this in the sight of the Egyptians, the Egyptians would stone them. In other words, they were to serve the Lord with the very things which the Egyptians worshiped, ie. sheep, rams, bulls, &c. Moses had been around the Egyptians enough to know how the Egyptians regarded these things, and he knew how they would respond. Therefore, he tells Pharaoh that it would not work to make their sacrifice in the land.
Keil points out that the word abomination means that the Hebrews would not observe the sacrificial rites of the Egyptians at all. The Egyptians would be very likely to look upon this as an insult to their religion and their gods; 'the violation of the recognized mode of sacrificing would be regarded as a manifestation of contempt for themselves and their gods' (Calvin), and this would so enrage them that they would stone the Israelites."
[It is interesting here that the Egyptians probably sacrificed humans to their gods represented by bulls and goats while, on the other hand, Israel sacrificed the bulls and goats to the Lord God.]
Moses tells Pharaoh that they must go a three day journey out of the land of Egypt to make the sacrifice.
I) It is not enough to serve God; His service must be according to His word. How many individuals and churches have I encountered which feel that all that is important is that they serve the Lord; therefore, they are willing to serve Him in a manner which does not offend the pagans around them. I can think particularly of the incorporation and state license issues.
II) As he shall command us.. Evidently Moses did not know yet all that the Lord would require when they got to the location chooses by the Lord; therefore, he had to go with everything. This is true today; we do not know what the Lord will require of us; therefore, we must take everything we have with us in our service to Him.
III) three days journey.. to me speaks of the three days in the big fish by Jonah and the three days in the grave by the Lord. Thus it speaks of complete obedience to the word of the Lord and death to self-will; it speaks of total surrender to the will of the Father for our lives.
Pharaoh offers to let them go, but 1) he wanted to limit how far they could go, and 2) he wanted Moses to entreat for him to get rid of the flies.
Observe that many times the ungodly Pharaohs of our day will permit our service of the Lord, yet they insist on setting the limits of our service; they do not mind, and might even encourage, our service, as long as they can control it.
Note that I have mentioned this before in another document, but I am firmly convinced that the Eastern Bloc nations which are permitting the Bible to be taught, see Christianity in the light that American politicians see it: it is no threat to their status-quo. American Christianity has been tamed by Egypt to where it is indeed the Opium of the people; it makes docile people out of one time angry people because they now sit quietly on the sidelines of society waiting for the Rapture. This permits the ungodly to do as they please; what more could they want???
The corrupt Christian's teach that the child of God is to be subject in all things to civil authority, so they are. Meanwhile, corruption grows as the Christians withdraw the salt and light from society.
Pharaoh has found Christian leaders who will agree with his demand that they not go too far away from the land of Egypt. He has established guidelines and rules for their service to the Lord and the Christian says, "As long as I can preach the gospel."
Pharaoh wants a docile people who will not bring about any trouble for him or his servants.
May God help us!
Moses departs with a promise to entreat for Pharaoh for the flies to be removed the nest day. He also warns Pharaoh not to deceive him and hold the people sacrifice to the Lord.
Vs. 30, 31.
Moses departed and entreated with the Lord for Pharaoh, and the Lord removed the flies.
Not a one remained. There could be no mistaking that it was the Lord who removed them. No naturalistic explanation could account for ALL the files being removed at Moses' words.
As promised by the Lord, Pharaoh again hardened his heart and went back on his word to let the people go.
Every time I read these statements where the plagues stopped and Pharaoh changed his mind because the plagues stopped, I am reminded that this is typical of hardened sinners. They will promise anything under pressure, but when the pressure is removed, their promise is soon forgotten.