Brief review of where we’ve been in Exodus.
God wanted the Egyptian Pharaoh to give his people a three-day vacation from their slavery.
God changed a stick into a snake to warn Pharaoh of his power.
God turned the Nile River into blood.
He also changed all the water in all the people’s water jugs into blood.
He even changed all the water in all the animal’s watering troughs into blood.
There was so much blood the people had to dig holes into the ground to find enough water just to stay alive.
Pharaoh still refused.
Would you keep trying?
Over the pandemic, I feel like I lost some friends.
Maybe you did too.,
People moved away.
People drifted apart.
People became difficult to communicate with.
If you value a friend, what do you do?
You call them.
You text them.
You message them.
You call them again.
You text them again.
You snapchat them.
Then, you send them a message on Messenger and – this happened to me, tell me if it happened to you – the little icon of their profile in the bottom right corner appeared. This notified me that the friend saw it.
And never responded.
It makes you want to give up.
Pharaoh definitely heard his message.
Pharaoh refused to listen to God.
Will he give up?
Seven days passed.
The blood had flowed downstream.
The water was drinkable again.
The Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country.” (8:1-2)
So they went.
And as you might have guessed…
Pharaoh still refused.
And God’s people still were not free.
This meant it was time for the next plague.
Moses and Aaron walked to the river.
I imagine Aaron walked up to decent sized hill where he could see a good portion of the Nile and its tributaries – streams, canals, and ponds.
What should I do now, Moses?
Well…Umm.. I supposed we do what God said. Just lift up your stick.
And Aaron lifted up his staff.
Held it straight for a moment.
Suddenly, hopping out of the river appeared a horde of frogs.
A mess of slimy, bumpy, warty flesh.
They hopped into the air.
They hopped on rocks.
They hopped on top of each other.
They made their way towards Moses.
It was kind a like frogger.
Only in reverse.
Moses darted to the left and the right and the left again before darting forward and grabbing Aaron’s hand to get to safety.
The frogs kept hopping.
They hopped into the city.
They hopped into the streets.
They hopped into the stores and vendors and apartments.
If you listened closely, you could hear high pitched screaming over the top over the deep croaking sound.
The frogs were everywhere.
A cook went to his pantry to grab some flour. He opened the lid. Ribbit!
A maid went to her closet to grab some cleaner. She looked in the mop bucket. Ribbit!
The kids went to the playroom to play with their toys. Ribbit! The toys were moving.
Pharaoh saw these events from the banister of his palace.
There were usually lots of them at the time of the Nile flooding.
But…They didn’t normally fill the streets.
“I’ll deal with it tomorrow.”
He took a deep breath.
He went to open the curtain to his bed.
He didn’t remember having a green bed covering.
A least not a slimy, green bed covering.
Pharoah stormed out the palace he asked the magicians to replicate this dark miracle.
They made a few more frogs come up out of the Nile. (v6-7)
But they couldn’t turn God’s frogs back.
Nor their own.
Their frogs had just added to the problem.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” (v.8-9)
Because God wants you to know that he is in charge.
God wants you to know that this isn’t an accident.
God wants to know that he is the one doing this.
God wants you to know that he won’t stop until you let his people go.
Pharaoh rolled his eyes.
Get rid of them by tomorrow.
Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. And the Lord did what Moses asked. (v.13)
Suddenly, it was eerily quiet.
The croaking stopped.
Because the frogs…croaked.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen... (v.14-15)
Guess Pharaoh is kind of stubborn.
Maybe God should quit.
I’m sure there’s some kind of people he could help over in Europe…
II. Little Bugs
Some time passed.
How much? I don’t know exactly.
But at least enough to clean up all the dead frogs.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” (v.16)
Moses found Aaron.
You won’t believe this next one.
On the plus side, we don’t have to annoy Pharaoh.
Something else will “bug” him.
Aaron lifted up his staff.
He held it in the air for a second.
Then, brought it clashing down onto the ground.
The dust in the immediate vicinity was knocked into the air.
Only something strange happened with the dust.
It didn’t come back down.
It didn’t come back down because the dust had become gnats.
All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. (v.17)
They swarmed in the streets.
They swarmed in the marketplace.
They swarmed in the houses.
People were scratching.
People were itching.
People were dancing and to the beat of “Get these bugs off of me.”
They were on their skin.
They were in their hair.
They were even in their eyes.
And the bugs made it to the palace.
Maybe Pharaoh was getting his royal, daily makeup.
Some of the bugs got into it.
He had dead fleas smushed all over his face.
Waving his arms and hands in the air, he screamed of his magicians.
The magicians arrived.
Do it. Replicate this miracle too!
But the magicians just looked at one another…
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (v.18)
We can’t do this.
We’ll either have to ride it out.
Or…Maybe, you could let God’s people…
But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. (v.19)
That’s one hard heart.
Maybe God should take a break.
Go play a video game or something.
It doesn’t seem to be worth it…
III. Big Bugs
God wasn’t done.
Not at all.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh…If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. (v.20-21)
Moses looked at Aaron.
Aaron said, “Well…
If little bugs didn’t work…
Maybe we just needed bigger bugs…”
Aaron raised his staff.
Off in the distance, a giant dark cloud started drifting towards them.
The kind of cloud that usually signified a thunderstorm.
Only this wasn’t a cloud of precipitation.
It was FLIES.
Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies. (v.24)
Darting back and forth.
They weren’t just on the dead animals, but the live ones.
They weren’t just on the garbage piles, but the piles of laundry.
They weren’t just in the slums, but in the finest areas of Pharoah’s house.
Egypt looked like a garbage dump.
But not all of Egypt.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.” (v.25)
Now pay attention.
Because that almost sounds nice.
But Pharaoh’s just being a politician.
God’s original request was that they leave the land of Egypt to worship in the desert for three days.
Pharaoh is looking to compromise.
He’s looking to compromise with the same God who just turned his river into blood and overran his country with frogs, gnats and flies!
It’s why Moses says, “No!”
That’s not what God wants.
Pharaoh, you might be ok with not listening to God.
But I’m not.
Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.” (v.28)
And Moses prayed.
And God relented.
And the flies left.
Not a fly remained (v.31)
And this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. (v.32)
IV. Examining the Great Lengths of God’s Salvation
Pharaoh’s heart is hard.
But we’re going to save that for next week.
Let’s look at God’s heart.
A heart that is not done with Pharaoh.
A heart that is not satisfied with 4 miracles.
A heart that is willing to keep these miracles going and go to great lengths to accomplish his people’s salvation.
God is PRECISE in salvation.
The other day, I was coloring with Daniela. We were both coloring separate Mickey Mouse pages.
I was working really hard to give Mickey appropriate colors…
Daniela thought he looked best in swirling purple.
But when Julianna came to see it, she complimented Daniela’s picture.
Then, she looked at mine and said, “Looks like some of hers got onto yours.”
I had simply colored outside the lines.
You’ll never mistake God’s precision for that of a two-year-old.
His precision was visible in the plague of the flies.
Check out this additional note:
“‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.” (v.22)
Can you imagine that?
The Egyptian house was swatting and screaming and avoiding flies.
While the next-door neighbors sipped iced tea on their porch.
The Egyptian Waffle house was using their spatulas to swat fly after fly…
While the Israelite waffle house had a surge in sales.
This was God’s doing.
Pharaoh knew it.
But that’s not the only time God was precise.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive. (Galatians 4:4-5)
His precision was visible when he gave a child to a virgin – fitting the exact description of the Old Testament.
His precision was visible when that young family had to move to Bethlehem via a King’s decree as prophesies.
His precision was visible when he lived at a time when crucifixions were the punishment of choice, a crucifixion that had been prophesied several hundred years before crucifixions were even a thing.
His precision was visible when…
On the third day…
Not the second…
Not the fourth…
But on the third day, he rose again to win YOUR salvation.
Take this note:
Sometimes when bad things happen, we consider it an inconvenience.
We say, “I don’t have time for this.”
We say, “This isn’t how it is supposed to go.”
God is precise.
If something is happening to you that seems outside the lines, maybe you aren’t seeing the full picture.
Because God does see the full picture.
And he is precise.
And he is precise about saving YOU.
God uses UNREPLICABLE POWER in salvation
If you remember, the stick into a snake miracle was replicated by the devil.
The water into blood was also replicated, but with the much tinier portion of water available.
The frogs out of the Nile miracle was replicated, but with a key difference.
When God did it, the frogs “came up and covered the land.” (v.6)
When the magicians did it, the frogs simply “came up.” (v.7)
Their frogs didn’t cover the land.
Cause they didn’t have the power that God did.
God’s power is un-replicable.
Please remember that!
He wiped out sin; you can’t.
He removes guilt; you can’t.
He conquered death; you can’t.
He is your Savior; you aren’t.
He is your kid’s Savior; you aren’t.
He is your spouse’s Savior; you aren’t.
Don’t try to replicate God’s power.
Don’t try to be God.
Because sometimes, guilt can be a lot like the plague of frogs.
You’re going through your day at work minding your own business. When your coworker regrets that you couldn’t come to his Tupperware party, because you had a thing. RIBBIT some guilt jumps out at you, because that thing? Was a nap.
And you get on Facebook and start scrolling and RIBBIT! That’s right. I was a jerk to that guy in college.
Pastor’s been preaching a good sermon on marriage and RIBBIT! That’s right. I’ve been unfaithful.
It’s like there’s guilt over there.
And over there.
And under the pews.
And in on our tables.
And in our homes.
And when we try to do something about it.
We tend to make more guilt pop up.
But…do you know what God did with those frogs?
There was a cleaning process.
They were piled into heaps; the land reeked of them.
Piles and piles of dead frogs taken out of the buildings…
Out of the barracks.
Out of the houses.
Out of the stores.
Out of the palace.
It was like garbage day.
Only all the garbage was rotting frog flesh.
He did the same with your guilt.
He killed your guilt.
That sin of lust? There it is. Dead. God destroyed it.
That guilt from college you? Dead. God destroyed it.
That big guilt that ruined your first marriage? Yep. Dead. God destroyed it.
Plug your nose. I think there’s a pile of pride. A lot of it. All of it dead. Destroyed by God!
There’s a whole pile of “repeatedly-losing-it-to-your-kids” sins. About six feet tall. All destroyed. No longer with any power.
Guilt is powerful.
God is more powerful.
God’s works his salvation THROUGHOUT the land.
There’s a phrase that occurs repeatedly in this section.
As in… “throughout the land of Egypt, there will be gnats.” (v.16)
As in… “throughout the land of Egypt, the dust became gnats.” (v.17)
As in… “throughout Egypt the land was ruined by flies.” (v.24)
The concept is simple.
There wasn’t a spot that God unleashed his power that wasn’t affected by his power.
That’s includes you.
The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Are you included in the world?
Don’t get this picture of God’s salvation coming up short.
As making it all the way to your doorstep, but then…
God’s salvation covers YOU.
God’s salvation covers the worst of your sins.
God’s salvation covers the least of your sins.
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout your youth.
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout your senior years.
God’s salvation covers the sin before you were a believer and after!
God’s salvation covers the sin throughout the entirety of your sinful history.
Friends, God was willing to do anything to save YOU.
And God is still willing to do anything to save YOU…
God didn’t give up.
He already threw 4 plagues at Pharaoh.
He’ll have no problem throwing 6 more.
God doesn’t give up.
He’s thrown his message at you before.
He’ll do it again.
Willing to do anything.
Because he loves you that much.