Seven days elapsed after Moses and Aaron turned the waters of Egypt into blood. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened – despite the warning that was given him of another impending plague, which took the form of vast numbers of frogs. God could have afflicted Egypt with lions, bears, or wolves; but He chose to do it by these lowly creatures instead. When He pleases, He can arm even the smallest parts of His Creation to do His will. The Egyptians could neither eat nor drink nor sleep in peace and quietness. Wherever they were, and whatever they did, they would be annoyed by the frogs. The people of Egypt worshiped frogs as gods, but surely they could no longer think of them now as being an agreeable gift from their beloved and sacred river! If there had been any thinking people among them, they would have seen that the God of the Hebrews was higher and greater than any of their idols.
Notice how we are told that “the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.” What fraudsters these men were! There were plenty of frogs available for these deceptive men to play tricks with. They might easily bring out more frogs when the whole land was literally hopping with them! If these magicians had been able to take the frogs away, it would have shown greater skill, and been more useful; but to do good was beyond their power, for they served the devil himself.
Pharaoh gave way under this plague, and promised that he would let the Hebrews go. But when he was granted relief from the frogs, he hardened his heart again. Therefore, the third plague was swiftly brought upon him – probably the very next day after the frogs died – and this time, the plague was unleashed without any warning. Aaron’s rod was used by the Lord to miraculously produce lice out of the dust of the earth; for He can bring forth a scourge out of any part of His Creation, and use it to correct those who rebel against Him. When Pharaoh’s magicians attempted to imitate the dust turning into lice, they discovered that they could not do so. This failure forced them to confess, “This is the finger of God!” Sooner or later, God forces even His enemies to acknowledge His power. Nevertheless, Pharaoh remained obstinate.
Early the next morning, Moses met Pharaoh at the river and warned him that swarms of flies would come upon him if he did not submit to the Lord and let the Hebrews go. Moses made it clear to him that there would be a difference between the Egyptians and the Hebrews in this plague of flies; the latter would be spared from the afflictions that the former would suffer. The Lord knows all those who are His, and He has set them apart for Himself.
Pharaoh now unwillingly began to negotiate the terms of a treaty with Moses and Aaron. He was content to allow the Hebrews to sacrifice to their as long as they would do it in the land of Egypt. But it would be an abomination to the Lord if they offered the sacrifices that the Egyptians used for worshiping their idols, and it would be an abomination to the Egyptians if they offered the Lord the animals that the Egyptians viewed as “sacred.” Those who desire to offer acceptable sacrifice to God must separate themselves from the world.
After Moses reasoned with him, Pharaoh consented for the Hebrews to go into the wilderness – provided that they do not go very far, so that he might fetch them back again. Moses promised the removal of the plague of flies, but he gave warning to Pharaoh that he should not deal deceitfully anymore. If we think that we can cheat God by a sham-repentance and a false surrender of ourselves to Him, we are putting a fatal cheat upon our own souls.
Unfortunately Pharaoh had not yet learned his lesson; for as soon as the flies were taken away the next day, he returned to his obstinate hardness of heart.
From this chapter, we may learn the vast and infinite importance of having our God as our Friend at all times. Let us give thanks to our Lord Jesus that He has reconciled us to the Father, so that we no longer need to fear the plagues of His wrath that were justly due to us for the sins and rebellions that we committed against Him!
Lord, we stand in awe as we see such small and inconsiderable instruments as frogs, flies, and lice becoming so formidable, when they are commissioned by Your Divine power. We pray that we may never live in rebellion against You, for we desire to live always under the smiles of Your favor! If You are on our side, who can stand against us? Dearest Jesus, You are the peace of Your people. We give You thanks for paying the awful price of our sins and transgressions, and for making reconciliation between us and the Father! All praises be to Your name, forever and ever. Amen.
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