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Friday, November 20, 2020

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter EIGHT


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

EXODUS 8: FROGS, LICE AND FLIES – by Sonny Islas, Facebook video.

INTRODUCTION: I never thought I would title a message “Frogs, lice, and flies” but here it is. We will continue to see what our great God can do. His clear message to Pharaoh, the Egyptians, the Israelites, and us here tonight is “I AM God and there is none like Me!”
Though Yahweh being the LORD of Host - with trillions of mighty angels ready for war at the snap of a finger, here He decides to use frogs, lice, and flies to get the job done.
God is using the very things that these Egyptians worship to humiliate, frustrate, and overthrow them! God is teaching them and all of us here today that the worship of idols, things, stuff, creatures etc. will only harm us in the end. God will turn those things on us for the worse and not for the better.
WATER INTO BLOOD VS. WATER INTO WINE

Regarding the ten plagues of Egypt:
So far, we’ve looked at the first plague – where God turned water into blood. Here is an interesting thought I had regarding this first plague – Moses’ first plague/miracle performed by God’s power was turning water into blood as a sign of judgment and being cursed. Contrast that with Jesus’ first miracle which was turning water into wine, a sign of grace and blessing, joy and celebration.

Exodus 7:19 says, “…And there shall be blood…in…pitchers of stone.” John 2 tells us that Jesus turned “six stone pots of water… into wine.” Do you see the connection? In the Old Testament the LORD turns water into blood. In the New Testament, the LORD turns water into wine.

I’m sure that those who witnessed this miracle in Cana and eventually those who heard about it, made this connection.
God turning the Egyptians main water source into blood was judgment on their false god Hapi (H-a-p-i) – The god of the Nile River. But after God did this, Pharaoh was not too Hapi (happy) about it! 

Exodus 7:23 tells us that Pharaoh wasn’t moved by this great sign and judgment of God – turning water into blood. So, God sends another plague and another plague until Pharaoh finally breaks and obeys.

EXODUS 8:1-15 – The Second Plague: Frogs
And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:

3 And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs: 4 And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.

9 And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? 10 And he said, Tomorrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.

11 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only. 12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.

13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. 14 And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said. 16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast
.

This second plague was a judgement on their false god Heqet the frog-headed Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth. Because of Heqet, frogs were considered sacred. If you were an Egyptian, you should worship them but apparently, it’s not a good idea to live with them!

EXODUS 8:1-2
And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs
.

GO TO PHARAOH AND SAY: 

Notice that the LORD commanded Moses to warn Pharaoh of the coming plague of frogs and yet we have no reply by Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave God and Moses the silent treatment. The, you don’t deserve a response treatment.

Pharaoh completely ignored Moses’s warning and message (not one word). This cold shoulder, no reply, Pharaoh attitude is common today. You can tell people about Jesus’s love and warn them of Jesus’ judgment, and many will not say a word – no reply – (this is the Pharaoh heart).

Neglecting God’s mercy and commands without using words is no different than yelling in God’s face saying,
“Yeah right, I don’t care, now, leave me alone!” 

Because Moses was as God to Pharaoh (Exod 7:1), Pharaoh dissed God. In Luke 10:16 Jesus says to His disciples “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” 

So, for Pharaoh to ignore Moses was to ignore God and for unbelievers to ignore us is to ignore Jesus (that’s if we’re true representatives of Christ - like Moses).

I WILL SMITE YOUR TERRITORY WITH FROGS: 

Imagine how frustrating and nasty this plague must have been? A few years back Marla and I lived on Sandario Rd. near Three Points and during the monsoons, frogs would pop up everywhere. We would have a handful of them at our doorstep. One time, one got in and ran behind the couch and Marla almost had a heart attack! She brushed that thing out with a broom!
And that’s just a few frogs at our doorstep and one in our living room, imagine thousands of them – everywhere?!

God totally did away with the Egyptians' creature comforts. Imagine not being able to relax anywhere in the house or to make food in your kitchen or to eat comfortably at your dinner table. Frogs in your room, frogs on your bed, frogs on the couch, frogs on your head (just had to rhyme!) frogs on your table, frogs in your bathtub, frogs in your Pampered Chef pots and pans and all over your study desk (This would make a great children’s book by the way!). Verse 6 says that frogs “covered the land of Egypt” – this was a blanket of frogs! Super frustrating to the max!

EXOD 8:6
6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt
.

God gets our attention and gets His way when He takes away our creature comforts and crumbles our idols. By the way, common comforts are gifts from God – 2 Cor. 1:3 says that God is “the God of ALL comfort.” 

All means all - soul comfort and physical comfort. To rest your head on a pillow or to relax on the couch after a hard day's work comes from God – it’s His goodness – His common grace. I say common grace because both His kids and Satan’s kids enjoy these common comforts.
God frustrated the high Egyptian way of life – to remind all that God is in full control of everything – even on whether or not they will enjoy their properties and possessions.

Here we find that God shows His displeasure as well as His sense of humor because He gives the Egyptians what they worship in abundance – frogs, lots of frogs – Heqets, lots of Heqets! - and it turns out that they really didn’t want their false god Heqet living in their homes, all over their stuff. Again, apparently Heqet makes a good god but a lousy roommate or family member.

But we do! We want our God all over our hearts, houses, and daily business! We want Him to invade us!

Pharaoh’s magicians were able to bring in frogs too, with the help of demons of course. But notice they only added to the problem not made it better – they “brought up frogs on the land of Egypt” not to make them go back where they came from.

I’m surprised that Pharaoh didn’t yell at his magicians “seriously more frogs?! We want less frogs, not more frogs!”

Let’s take a closer look at Pharaoh’s hard heart:
EXODUS 8:8
8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord
.

Pharaoh decides to make a deal with God - in verse 8, Pharaoh begs Moses to pray to God to remove the frogs and that he would let the people go to sacrifice to God – “tomorrow.” God answers Pharaoh’s request, mainly Moses’ prayer but verse 15 exposes Pharaoh’s true motives where it says, “But WHEN Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them as the LORD had said.”

Listen closely:
Many people are just like Pharaoh – they have Pharaoh’s heart beating in their chest both in the world and in the church – They’re faced with a serious trial or problem - like Pharaoh and they run to God and His people for prayer and help – like Pharaoh. BUT AS SOON as they see relief (God comes through) like Pharaoh they harden their hearts again; i.e. A young man came to our church when we first started. He had stage 4 cancer. He came for prayer and a miracle, we prayed, and God healed him - He never came back. Like Pharaoh, as soon as he saw some relief, he was out the door!

Pharaoh-hearted people are also like the nine lepers in Luke 17 who cried out “Jesus, master have pity on us!” And Jesus heals all 10, but only one came back to thank Jesus; the rest don’t even bother.

I fear that there are some who are hit-and-miss in our fellowship who are of this Pharaoh nature – they come to God and His Church when things are rough but as soon as they get some relief, they’re nowhere to be found. But be assured – like Pharaoh, they’ll be back when they need more help!

These people with hard hearts make deals with God all the time – meet my need God and I’ll serve and obey you - “tomorrow!” That’s what Pharaoh said, “take the frogs away and I’ll obey “tomorrow.” Let’s beware that we don’t give into this hard heart.

Verses 13 and 14 tell us that God killed all the frogs and that they gathered them up in piles but that the dead frogs left a horrible stench. I’m sure that everyone was nauseated. This nasty smell was symbolic of both the idol worship of Egypt and the hard heart of Pharaoh, an offensive stench in the nostrils of GOD.

EXODUS 8:16-19 – The Third Plague: Lice
16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. 19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

The third plague was sent out by God as a judgment on Egypt’s false god Geb (god of earth).
If they thought the frog invasion was bad, think again Egyptians! Here we have a plague that causes unbearable itching - everywhere. This wasn’t like having dozens of lice on your head, this was like having thousands of lice on your head and hundreds of lice on your eyelashes (even fake ones) and beards and everywhere else that you may find hair on your body. They were literally caked with lice. Listen verse 17 says, “ALL THE DUST of the land became lice throughout ALL the land of Egypt.”

Lice “on man and beast.” Listen to this commentary on this portion of the verse “on man and beast”:

This plague struck at the heart of all Egyptian worship, especially at their priests. The Egyptian priesthood was extremely careful about hygiene and ritual cleansing; an infestation of lice made them unable to worship their gods” – Enduring Word commentaries

The magicians tried to duplicate this miracle “but they could not.” With demonic powers they were able to turn their staffs into snakes, water into blood and bring up frogs but here we see that Satan’s powers are limited. And there was no way that they would deny it.
The magicians told Pharaoh “this is the finger of God . . . But Pharaoh did not heed them just as the LORD had said.” Pharaoh’s heart was so hard that even the obvious didn’t move him to surrender.

There are people like these Magicians and Pharaoh who see God’s hand and power in the transformation of a person’s life and say “Wow, that has to be God,” and yet they refuse to surrender and worship God.

EXODUS 8:20-32 – The Fourth Plague: Flies
20 And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
 

22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.
23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be. 24 And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies. 25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.

26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? 27 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall command us.

28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. 29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.

30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. 31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go
.

The fourth plague was a judgment against the fly god, Kheper (god of beetles and flies).
AS HE COMES OUT TO THE WATER: Moses meets Pharaoh at the Nile River. What was Pharaoh doing there? Washing up? Sure. But he was doing more than just washing up. Pharaohs were known to wake up early and devote themselves in worship to the Nile River’s false god – Hapi.

This should put Christians to shame who don’t seek the LORD in the morning. How can it be that a pagan is more devoted to his false god than we are to the One True God? Something to think about.

God sent a plague of flies – now would have been a good time to start a fly swatter business! Just kidding. The swarm was not made up of just flies but a mixture of insects – possibly, biting and blood sucking bugs like mosquitoes and fleas because Psalm 78:45 regarding this time says, “He (God) sent swarms of flies among them, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them.”

I WILL SET APART THE LAND OF GOSHEN – I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MY PEOPLE AND YOUR PEOPLE:

The Land of Goshen was where most of the Israelites lived. This could very well mean that the Israelites endured some of the first three plagues. But now, only the Egyptians were going to feel it.
God was going to show His awesome power in directing these flies and biting bugs everywhere BUT Goshen so that Pharaoh would know that Yahweh is the LORD in the midst of the land – not Pharaoh and not their many false gods.

Pharaoh seemed to cave in just a bit by saying “Ok well, go and sacrifice to your God in the land.” And Moses was basically saying look we can’t kill the kind of animals you Egyptians worship – this will start a riot!

Moses did not compromise with Pharaoh. He said, “No thank you; we’re going on a three days journey into the wilderness just as the LORD has commanded.” In other words, I don’t take orders from you, I take orders from the LORD.

Then Pharaoh tries again, “Ok, go; but not so far.” Look at Pharaoh's pride – seriously! After all that the LORD has done???

The ten plagues are the polar opposite of the ten commandments in the sense that – the ten plagues basically said – Do not worship false gods ten times while the ten commandments said – worship God alone and this is how you do it.

Lord, protect us from hardness of Heart and from using you for a blessing but them dumping you when we get it. Protect us from all forms of idolatry, especially subtle idolatry. May we always remember that You are greater, more valuable and more power than anything.

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