Today we read about the fourth plague on Egypt; plague of flies. This plague is different because the Hebrews no longer endure these plagues, only the Egyptians and their servants.
I don’t know about you but I HATE FLIES!!! I had one house in Germany that had so many flies that it drove me NUTS! It was nothing to kill 50 or more flies in one rampage on them. There was an open sewer grate near my back door and the flies just LOVED that place. We kept the interior doors closed as much as possible to keep them out or in one area. VERY happy to move from that house. But even my current house isn’t fly free.
The Egyptians experience makes my house in Germany look like nothing! They were going to encounter flies on a scale never before seen. Why? Because God was getting Pharaoh’s attention in a BIG way as well as establishing His name even more firmly with the rest of the nations.
I am guessing that the Israelites were finally believing in Moses when he said the Lord was talking to him. They were not as quick to dismiss the signs God was providing as Pharaoh was. Let’s join our two representatives as they continue to work on their people’s behalf under the direction of the Lord.
♥ ♦ ♥
The gnats have left the land. EVERYONE is glad to see them go. It has been two days without gnats swarming about. After the plague subsided people began to talk about the Egyptian magicians’ and their inability to replicate Moses and Aaron’s acts. Even the magicians said this was an act of God, the Hebrew God who was obviously more powerful than even Pharaoh. Any doubt in the mind of the Hebrews is put to rest. The Lord is working on setting them free!
There was very little work going on during the plague because even the Egyptian slave masters were too miserable to try and make the Hebrews work. They couldn’t even open their mouths to give orders without getting a mouthful for their trouble. But as soon as the gnats were gone, it was business as usual and of course there was the added backlog of what wasn’t produced while the gnats ravaged the nation.
On the evening of the second day without gnats, Moses was sitting under his favorite tree following the evening meal. Everyone is exhausted trying to make their daily quota and make up ground. Moses labors alongside his brothers each day. But he will NOT forego his time with the Lord in the evenings!
“Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.”
“I want you to go to Pharaoh early in the morning as he is on his way to the water for his daily bath. I want you to 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. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen”’” (verses 20b-23).
“Oh thank You Lord that there will be a division between the people. Our people’s spirits were in constant flux. There is hope but also despair at going through these trials right beside the Egyptians. Now maybe they will see, and feel assured, that You are on their side and sheltering them with Your hand.”
“They had a lesson to learn too. They are far from finished, but I will protect them as a mother hen watches over her children during the rest of what is to come.”
“How much more is there to come Lord?”
“Plenty! But that is not for you to be concerned about. I will lead you every step of the way.”
Moses told Aaron of the Lord’s command to him before going to bed that night. Both of them rose before the sun so they would be sure to meet Pharaoh before his bath. They didn’t want to wait in the bushes this time. Besides, the Lord told Moses to speak to Pharaoh as he was going down, not as he was coming up.
Aaron hears Pharaoh’s servants talking in the distance. “Moses. They should be here soon. Look over there.”
Moses looks and sees the band approaching the river. He recognizes Pharaoh’s sedan couch immediately. He and Aaron step to the side of the road and await the approaching group.
Pharaoh registers Moses and Aaron waiting by the side of the road. “Can’t I have ANY privacy! What do those two want today? Let me guess; ‘Let my people go!’”
The servants set Pharaoh’s chair down and he steps from it. Moses immediately steps forward. “Pharaoh, I have a message again from the God of the Hebrews.”
“Wait; let me guess. ‘Let my people go’?”
“Pharaoh apparently knows the mind of the Hebrew God well. I only wish he would head 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. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’”
Pharaoh has a disgusted look on his face. “Now your God wishes to torment Egypt with flies?”
“The Lord does not wish to torment anyone Pharaoh. But He will not be denied and His instructions will be carried out. You have the power to stop the ‘torment’ by doing as He commands. You have until morning to make the right decision.”
At this Moses and Aaron turn and leave Pharaoh standing on the bank of the Nile. “I will NOT be dictated to! I AM THE GOD OF EGYPT!” he seethes. Pharaoh is almost too distraught to continue with his morning ritual but he needs the calming water of his river now more than ever.
All day long Pharaoh is ruminating on Moses’ words. Every time he sees and insect or hears a buzzing he is reminded of the deadline approaching. He HATES the waiting! If the Hebrew God is going to do something, Pharaoh would rather He get on with it than to keep him waiting. But God won’t be hurried.
As evening approaches Pharaoh is exhausted with worry but also steeled with determination. He HATES flies but there is NO WAY he is giving in to Moses’ demands. There would be no end to his new demands if he did.
Finally Pharaoh crawls in between his luxurious sheets for a good night’s rest. But his mind won’t quiet. “What if Moses is right? How bad can it really be? We have survived the other attempts to get me to give in to Moses’ demands. We will survive this one as well.”
Exhaustion finally takes Pharaoh only to have him awaken a few short hours to the sound of myriads of flies buzzing. Their noise fills the room! They perch on everything in the room including Pharaoh himself. He yells for his servants to come and rid him of the flies. However when they open the door more follow them into the room. There is no escaping the flies.
Pharaoh can’t bathe, eat, speak or even breathe without fighting back flies. They are everywhere. They spoil everything they touch. They are VERY unclean and an Egyptian wouldn’t think of eating or drinking anything they touched.
Meanwhile, in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel live there is much rejoicing. Singing and praise to the Lord were on the lips of all the people. There was also the sound of the flies buzzing, but it is a distant sound. With that sound also came the screams and curses of the Egyptians suffering under the onslaught. The Hebrews have been spared by their God from having even one fly bother them.
All brick work has stopped too. The Egyptian slave masters were too miserable to even leave their own homes and the work pits were overrun with flies too. A much needed time of rest is being enjoyed by all.
This continues for three days; Egypt crying out in frustration and Israel rejoicing. Finally Pharaoh sends a contingent of his guards to the land of Goshen to summon Moses. Flies hover around them and refuse to leave their presence as they enter Goshen. Not even in the “no fly zone” are the Egyptians free from their torment. Moses and Aaron willingly follow back to Pharaoh’s palace. They are not bothered by a single fly during their journey.
Pharaoh’s throne room is as filled with flies as the rest of the land. His servants work tirelessly trying to shoo the flies from him but it is a losing battle. Moses has to work very hard to keep the smile off his face.
“You win; I give up! ‘Go, sacrifice to your God within the land’ (verse 25b).”
“Pharaoh it wouldn’t be right for us to sacrifice within the land. Our offerings are an abomination to the Egyptians and if they saw us offering sacrifice to our God they would stone us. ‘We need to go three days journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He tells us’ (verse 27).”
“I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, only don’t go too far away. And when you do talk to your God, PLEAD for me! Plead with Him to remove this plague. The whole land is spoiled by these flies!”
“I am going to leave you now and I will plead with the Lord on your behalf. I will pray that He removes the flies from the land of Egypt, tomorrow. Only don’t cheat the people again by going back on your word. Let them go that they may sacrifice to the same God who will soon show you His mercy.”
The very next morning the whole land of Egypt was free of the flies. Not even a single fly or body remained. Pharaoh was extremely relieved until he remembered his promise to Moses. “I don’t care what I had to promise. It was just words. There is no way I’m letting the Hebrews out of my sight. They would leave and never return. Egypt MUST have their strong backs!”
♥ ♦ ♥
Father God, how quickly we forget the “fire” once the heat has been turned off. Pie crust promises again. But You knew Pharaoh’s heart before even going to him with the first command. I was just clued into something regarding these plagues when writing that last sentence. I almost said that “You helped crumble Pharaoh’s pie crust” but then I noticed something. So far along, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Not until the end of the sixth plague is it said that YOU hardened Pharaoh’s heart. You knew that time would come when You first spoke to Moses but it wasn’t necessary, yet. Pharaoh acted completely in character for the first half of Your plan. Later on we will see You giving him a little extra “back bone” to resist Your commands.
Actually, when You are hardening his heart, we see that he was willing to go partway with a “compromise” plan but wouldn’t go the full distance. I think that is the difference between him hardening his own heart and You doing it for Your plan.
You don’t want “compromise Christians” or those that will only serve You to a point. Those would be the lukewarm ones or the ones with the seed being choked out by the cares of this world. You want ALL of me! Yes, You know my struggles and understand my “schedule”, but You still call me to give all of myself to You. It is amazing how my time multiplies when I give it to You. You also understand when circumstances prevent me from sitting with You for hours writing and talking. You do NOT condemn me for those days. You encourage me to be with You in other ways instead. The greatest of those is in song and praise. Help me use these “relationship tools” this weekend when I have a houseful of family. I’m excited about what is coming. Help me be a light for You the whole weekend! Also protect ALL of us from injury and let us enjoy our time together.