The Exodus: Egypt, part 6
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry once again. Today our message is focused on the plague of frogs in Egypt and the key principles of faith that God wants to teach us. But first, I want to say thank you for listening and for your gifts and prayers. They mean a lot in this uncertain time.
As we begin today please bow you heads with me and join me in prayer. Our Father in heaven, as we near the end of time we need to think in a practical way about the deliverance of your people. We need hope and assurance in the struggle ahead. We don’t want to navigate this time of trouble without it. We know that we need Jesus to strengthen us for the trial. But we also need to understand it so we are not thrown more off balance than necessary. So, please be our teacher today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles to the eighth chapter of Exodus. Moses is instructed to go to Pharaoh again and warn him that if he would not obey, all Egypt will be plagued with frogs. Scarcely had the bloody water disappeared and Moses was there to give Pharaoh the next lesson about rebellion and obedience; the plague of frogs. Listen to these verses.
“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.”
Notice that in chapter 5, verses 1 through 3 ‘to serve’ is explicitly defined as corporate worship, sacrificing, worshiping God, and observing the feasts and festivals. But the broader context of the worship of God, also entails serving Him as the only God, exclusive Lord and master. And so it means worshipping Him in all of life, as well as worshipping Him in a corporate body. It also means obedience, for worship is empty if we don’t obey.
There is a verse of scripture that brings this out. It is found in Isaiah 29:13;
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
In other words the precepts that are taught are of men, not of God, so their worship is in vain. So, all of those aspects of worship are included when God says “that My people may serve, or worship Me.”
Continuing on with verses 2-4; For his part, Moses bowed before divine majesty, therefore he could stand erect before an earthly monarch and potentate and give them God’s intentions. And he received fresh instructions daily from heaven. He worked for a higher potentate than Pharaoh.
“Thus saith the Lord…” There is a certainty in that statement. There is no suggestion that it is negotiable or pliable. It is an affirmation of divine truth to come next upon Pharaoh and Egypt. And the prediction will come true if Pharaoh doesn’t comply.
“And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 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 kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.”
God does not punish for sin unless men persist in it. The word of God says, in Psalm 7:12; “If he turn not, he will whet his sword…”
So God warns men in some way before He sends a judgment. And He will favor them and not bring judgment if they turn from their wicked ways. For example, think of how God dealt with Nineveh. If Pharaoh complied with the conditions God would relent and drop His controversy with him.
“If thou refuse to let them go, behold I will smite all thy borders with frogs.”
You can imagine Pharaoh upon hearing Moses threaten him with frogs.
“Frogs? You have got to be kidding. Frogs! You can’t threaten me with frogs! I am Pharaoh, do you think I am afraid of a little frog? That means nothing. I’ll get my magicians to make them too. Your God is not so powerful. Frogs, how funny. Imagine, this man Moses threatens me with an invasion of frogs. Am I supposed to get my chariots and my horsemen and fight this little frog? Am I to take my sword out and stop this enemy? What does Moses think he is doing? This is ridiculous! We worship the frog because it is a symbol of life and the generation of life. The frogs won’t do us any real harm.”
Now Egyptian frogs are much like frogs in the rest of the world. You’ve all seen them or heard them at least. Frogs are small, though these Egyptian ones grow to about 5 inches. They were normally inconsiderable little animals. They are weak and really have no power.
But 1 Corinthians 1:27 give us God’s perspective; “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty…”
God was going to use frogs to humble the proud and haughty monarch. He is going to turn the tables against Pharaoh and Egypt. The Lord decided to disrupt the rule of Egypt by means of those frogs. In fact, he was going to humble the mightiest and most powerful nation on earth by vast, unrelenting numbers of frogs. It was not just one or two or a few. There were going to be so many that the Egyptians were soon going to be very tired of them.
The Hebrews didn’t really know what to call them. They didn’t use an exact word for frog. The word that is used in verse 2 is croaker. You know, things that croak. Frogs are an Egypt thing. There’s naturally a lot of them. But they stay in the river. Moses didn’t have another name for them. But he explained that God would confront Egypt with croakers. God could have plagued them with bears or lions, or wolves or vultures or birds of prey. But he chose to do it by contemptable little instruments – croaking frogs.
Verses 5 & 6; “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. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.”
Pharaoh is not alarmed nor inclined to yield to the divine summons. Aaron is ordered to call up the forces, and with his outstretched arm and with that remarkable and now fearful rod in his hand, gives the signal for battle. Again with his dramatic style, stretches out his frightful rod over the streams, over the Nile and over the farmland ponds, and croaking frogs descended on the cites and palaces of pharaoh and his people. No sooner said than done. The host is mustered, and under direction of a commander of invisible power millions and millions of frogs invade the land of Egypt with all their might, bringing with them all their weapons they are known for, their croaking noise (magnified by their sheer numbers) and their hopping or crawling, and their penetration into every corner, nook and cranny, even into the utensils for cooking. Ugh! These slimy creatures turned into pests, were everywhere! And the Egyptians with all their might and all their skill could not stop their progress, they could not corral them, no not so much as give them a diversion. And frogs came up and literally covered the land. What a nuisance! What a diversion for the Egyptians! What economic and social consequences. God has many ways of creating frustration and exasperation for those that live in ease and sin.
Verse 7; “And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.”
The magicians spring into action and pretend to imitate the miracle by their occult methods. But they could only fake it. If they really had the power, they could have magically made the frogs go back where they came from. But that was impossible for them. But instead they only worsen the misery of the people.
Doesn’t that sound like what modern magicians – scientists and philosophers, and politicians and government leaders and even anarchists do today? They increase the misery rather than help reduce it. Every plan they devise to “help” the situation, only makes it worse, if not immediately, in the long run. And they have no agenda to help the poor, in spite of their promises. The poor are still poor, the sick are still sick, and even the well become sick. Every measure devised to improve the economy only makes it worse by intended or unintended consequences.
Then the naturalists and scientists try to explain it away. “Well, what happened is the waters were fouled and so all the frogs came up out of the waters. There’s a purely, natural explanation of this. It’s just merely a natural sequence of cause and effect in flooding in Egypt in the spring.”
You can hear them can’t you. But this had never happened before. It’s not natural. It’s a plague. God overran the mightiest nation on earth with frogs and brought them to the breaking point. Do you think the plagues at the end of time will be explainable by some natural cause? Well, scientists will try. They are already conditioned to this by their disbelief in God.
Imagine trying to put up with literally millions of croaking frogs for days. Pharaoh stepped on them and sat on them. They hopped in bed with him and croaked in his ear. The got in the closets and furniture and bathtubs and ovens and among the cooking utensils and the kneading troughs. They were everywhere. They were croaking in the council chambers while meetings of state were conducted. They hopped onto laundry baskets and teacups and water pots. And they left their excrement everywhere, which soiled everything and made all Egypt smell bad. They made a nuisance of themselves and disturbed the Egyptians and robbed them of their peace.
Pharaoh was surprised at how extensively the frogs could invade his kingdom and overrun every home, even his magnificent palace, which the Hebrews, no doubt, helped build. They were so numerous that they made the Egyptians very uneasy and on the lookout for frogs anywhere. Their whole attention would be given over to the swarming frogs. They couldn’t really pay attention to business or trade, daily life, or matters of state. They always had to watch for frogs that they might not step on them, or let them get into their food, or go to bed with them. They couldn’t sleep peacefully at night for all the croaking. And the pesky little frog would somehow get under the sheets and croak. Wherever the Egyptians looked, there were frogs. Egypt was infested with frogs. They were intolerable!
The women would complain to their husbands of the awful creatures that have corrupted their kitchens, who would vainly attempt to put them out of the house. But the frogs just would come in some other way more numerous than before.
God’s curse upon a man will pursue him wherever he goes and will lie heavily upon him in whatever he does. There is no avoiding Divine judgments, for they invade upon their lives with a commission or an agenda.
And since the frog was considered a god – the frog-faced Heket, the goddess of fertility, often pictured as a squatting frog. She was supposed to be a good luck charm to increase the fertility of the people. And frogs were regarded as sacred. The Egyptians wouldn’t kill them. And they must have apologized to them when they stepped on them or sat on them and squished their plump little bodies. Imagine apologizing to a frog! God was challenging the polytheism and idolatry of the Egyptians.
You know, we have frog worshippers today. They try to protect their environment and prevent marshland from being drained. I’m not knocking reasonable environmentalism, but it’s true.
There is another reason why God chose to use frogs to punish Egypt. Pharaoh tried, unsuccessfully, to strike at the fertility of God’s people and destroy the Hebrew male children by throwing them into the river. So, God took out the Egyptian god of fertility showing that He is the One who gives life, He is the ruler, the sovereign of fertility.
But there’s more. This infanticide destroyed the basic unit of society, the family. In this case it was the Hebrew families. The enemy has always been opposed to the concept of family. It was a feature of the creation of man. And today, this assault is truer than ever. The enemy is seeking to disrupt and destroy the family in many ways, such as divorce, single parent families, and by marriages God has not approved. But he has done it in more subtle ways. He has made it more difficult to survive on one income, sending mothers to work and putting their children in day care. Families don’t eat together, they don’t worship together, they don’t plan to do good for others together. They spend precious little time together.
This plague of frogs not only looks back to Pharaoh’s attempt to kill the children of the Hebrews, but it looks forward to a more severe judgment on Pharaoh which destroyed the first born of Pharaoh down to the lowest cottage in Egypt, to the first born of the flocks and herds.
The language used in verse 5 portrays the idea that frogs were swarming and teaming everywhere in Egypt. Now Listen to the language in chapter 1, verse 7; “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.”
This language indicates that the Hebrews were so many, swarming and teeming over the land of Egypt that it scared Pharaoh. So He tried to control the population of the Hebrews by killing all the male children. Besides causing a variety of social problems, this would have directly affected their ability to procreate.
So, God directly attacked the goddess of fertility to show the Egyptians that He is the one that controls fertility along with everything else. And the land and the waters swarmed and teemed with frogs.
God magnified His own power by using these little creatures to fulfill His purpose. He is Lord of all the hosts of creation and has them all at His beck and call and makes what use he pleases of them. God shows His power as much by making an ant or a frog as by making an elephant. So does His providence in serving His own purposes by the least of His creatures as effectively as by the strongest, so that proud humanity will recognize that the excellency of His power may be seen in justice as well as in mercy. And that it is not in the creature, but in God.
Why then do we fight God, who can arm the smallest parts of creation against us when He sees fit to do so, that our obstinance and arrogance is checked by His awesome power. And if God is our enemy all creatures are at war with us.
This lesson has even more significance. For all the hatred against God these days, the fact that nature hasn’t destroyed the wicked is a testament to God’s abundant, overwhelming mercy and longsuffering.
What a mortification would it have been to haughty Pharaoh, who has reached the zenith of power and majesty, not to mention respect, to see himself brought to his knees, and forced to submit by the humble frog – how despicable!
Every child is ordinarily able to deal with those invaders and can triumph over them whenever he wants to. Yet now their troops are so numerous and the assaults so vigorous, that the monarch with all his chariots and horsemen, could not make any headway against them. The truth of the words of Job 12:21 have particular force here. “He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.”
Pharaoh had contempt for God, so God had contempt on the obstinate monarch. Pharaoh was no more a sovereign than God permitted him to be. And if Pharaoh would not acknowledge the sovereign above him, God used one of His humblest of creatures to insult him and trample upon him from the humblest cottage to sumptuous resorts and lordly palaces. The frogs are a direct assault on pharaoh’s rule.
Pharaoh and all his people were so annoyed with the frogs that finally pharaoh called for Moses. He had not done that before. Moses had come to him with the demand to let the people go to worship God in the wilderness.
Listen to verse 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 is somewhat humbled and acknowledged the God of heaven. This is also something that he had not done before, but he was impatient to have the frogs removed. And he begs Moses to intercede for him with the Lord to remove the frogs. He who had a little while before denied the existence of God and had spoken with the utmost disdain of both God and Moses is now willing to acknowledge Him and plead with him for mercy. He places himself in the position of an underling to God and Moses and asks Moses to remove the nuisance, the plague of the frogs.
Pharaoh realizes that the magicians cannot remove the frogs. Pharaoh’s gods have failed him again and he has no choice but to yield the battlefield to the power and sovereignty of God.
Those that defy God and live in wickedness with abandon in His sight, will in a day of extremity be made to see that they need Him and will cry to Him for mercy. How ironic.
“Intercede for me. He says.” He asks Moses to pray, and he even promises to let the people go to worship, however insincere it might be. This is not a willing action of Pharaoh. Pharaoh in a tight spot now turns to Moses and Aaron asks them to pray for him.
Won’t that be the way the wicked will acknowledge God’s power and goodness at the end of the millennium? Listen to it from Great Controversy, page 662; “Every eye in that vast multitude is turned to behold the glory of the Son of God. With one voice the wicked hosts exclaim: “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” It is not love to Jesus that inspires this utterance. The force of truth urges the words from unwilling lips. As the wicked went into their graves, so they come forth with the same enmity to Christ and the same spirit of rebellion. They are to have no new probation in which to remedy the defects of their past lives. Nothing would be gained by this. A lifetime of transgression has not softened their hearts. A second probation, were it given them, would be occupied as was the first in evading the requirements of God and exciting rebellion against Him.”
Exodus 8:9; “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?
This phrase “glory over me” simply means it is your honor to choose the time for the plague to cease. Moses did this to show Pharaoh that his performance of the request is not dependent on the conjunctions or operations of the planets, or the luckiness of one hour of the day more than another. There is no magic involved here. Simply the power of God, over nature.
Moses intended to convict Pharaoh. If his eyes were not opened by the plague, they might be opened by its removal.
Verses 10 and 11; “And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. 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.”
Moses essentially says that the Lord alone has the power to send and to relieve the plague. Why did he not set the time to retire the plague immediately? Was he so fond of his guests that he would have them stay another night? Was he not tired enough of them?
From Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 265 and 266 we read; “He set the next day, secretly hoping that in the interval the frogs might disappear of themselves, and thus save him from the bitter humiliation of submitting to the God of Israel. The plague, however, continued till the time specified…”
Pharaoh’s secret wish didn’t pan out. The plague stayed with Egypt until the specified time. He was forced to reckon with the very thing he wanted to avoid. And that’s the way God deals with all sinners. They are forced in some way to come face to face with their sin and repent and receive mercy or reject God’s offer of forgiveness and suffer deeper consequences.
Moses said; “Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.”
“It shall be done exactly when you say, because by this you will know that, whatever the magicians pretend to, that there is none like unto the LORD, the God of the Hebrews.” This is not magic. This is God. There is none that has such a command of nature, and over the creatures that can do like this plague or make a remedy for it. Nor is there one like the Lord God, who is so ready to forgive those that humble themselves before Him. The great design both of judgement and mercy is to convince us that there is none like the Lord our God, none so wise, none so mighty, none so good, no enemy so formidable, no friend so desirable, no one so valuable.
Verse 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.”
And Moses prevailed with God in earnest prayer for the removal of the frogs.
Verses 13 and 14; “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. And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.”
Moses tells Pharaoh that the frogs will depart, but interestingly he does not tell Pharaoh how. He simply tells Pharaoh that the only living frogs left will be the ones in the Nile. Boy, should Pharaoh have attached a caveat to that request. Moses leaves the palace, and we’re told that he cries out to the Lord in prayer.
Can you imagine this story being told by the former slaves around fires in the wilderness? They knew that they are a people who have been utterly powerless, they’ve had no say about their work, they’ve had no say about their wages. They have had no say about their family life, about their ability to move from place to place, about their ability to improve their own situation; and suddenly, they are being told that the most powerful man that they have ever known was reduced to the point that he had to go to their religious leader, to ask him to pray to God to remove the frogs. This was a great acknowledgement that the future of the nation of Egypt was not in the hands of Pharaoh, but in the hands of God. Can you imagine the humiliating position Pharaoh is in?
“You mean to tell us, God, that our prayers are more significant in the course of Your designs in the history of nations than are the rulers of those nations?” And God is says, “You better believe it. You are My people, and I rule the world by My word and spirit. And I choose your prayers as one of the instruments of my decree, to move the course of nations forward, and to reveal My divine plan.”
Perhaps you are in a situation that makes you feel utterly powerless. Consider this scene. Whatever is powerful at a human level in your experience, it cannot match the power according to God’s sovereign mercy, if your prayer of intercession is in accordance with His sovereign will. God’s people may look powerless in this world, but by prayer they are the chosen instruments of the future of time and history. You are never completely powerless in this world when you serve a sovereign God.
Maybe your health is going on you, and you feel so out of control. This is your body, you’ve always been in control of your body and suddenly your body is not serving you like it used to. Maybe it’s a family situation. Everything you try doesn’t work. And you feel utterly powerless and God is saying to you, “You’re never powerless.” I use the instrument of prayer. I hear my people. And Pharaoh can’t measure up to the influence that you have with me.
The frogs came up out of the water in one day and perished when the Egyptians had had enough, probably the next day plus one. And they all died, wherever they were, so that the Egyptians would have to gather up their dead bodies and take them out of their houses and pile them up in the streets. They raked up their bodies into heaps. Keep in mind that they were everywhere, including in the fields, in the forests, in the roads and in the byways as well. They couldn’t collect them all, they did their best to collect them out of their homes and barns, but there were plenty they didn’t get in the fields and ditches, and these heaps and remaining bodies stank with a putrid smell.
The Great Sovereign of the universe makes what use he pleases of the lives and deaths of His creatures; and he that gives a being to them, to serve one purpose, may, without committing injustice use them another way, to serve another purpose. In other words, God sent the frogs to overrun Egypt. Then he used their dead bodies to overwhelm Egypt with smell to show that it was not magic that had done this.
Listen to this from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 266. “The Lord could have caused them to return to dust in a moment; but He did not do this lest after their removal the king and his people should pronounce it the result of sorcery or enchantment, like the work of the magicians. The frogs died, and were then gathered together in heaps. Here the king and all Egypt had evidence which their vain philosophy could not gainsay, that this work was not accomplished by magic, but was a judgment from the God of heaven.”
I don’t know if you can imagine the scene. There’s Pharaoh, the great monarch of the greatest nation on earth at that time, holding a damp cloth to his mouth and nose trying to reduce the stench in his nostrils. He can hardly contain himself and his composure because of the smell.
“Will somebody get rid of the rotting dead frogs!” he commands. “The smell is driving me mad!”
“But, your eminence,” says one of his aids, “they are too numerous to do it quickly. The housekeeping department is working as fast as they can. Besides the frogs have died in places all around the palace that are nearly impossible to get into.”
The stench also gave the Egyptians something to distract them from their projects and from the Hebrew slaves. Again business, trade, commerce, weddings and social gatherings, feasts, essentially all cultural events; all of society came to a halt in order to deal with the frogs.
And the death and stench of the frogs foreshadowed the death of the first born. The object which the Egyptians revered as a symbol of life and fertility became a symbol of decay and death.
This plague, like all the others, was against the government of Egypt, because the rulers persecuted God’s people and stubbornly refused to yield to God’s will. God always works with our hearts and this was no different in Egypt. If Pharaoh would have softened his heart and was willing to yield his pride, he would have preserved his power and would not have devastated his kingdom. God could have blessed Egypt so abundantly that they would have been a great superpower.
But things didn’t go that way. And eventually Egypt was devastated because of one man’s rebellion. Pharaoh lost not only his crown, but his life, all because of his stubbornness and rebellion.
The lesson is clear. We cannot think we know better than God. God is all-knowing. And we may not be given understanding of why God allows certain things, but we can rest assured that God’s purposes, even under pain, are benevolent and designed to lead us to salvation. Even his plagues are merciful toward the rebellious sinner.
But when man continues in rebellion in spite of the evidence, when we continue in violation of God’s laws, eventually the rebellion will destroy us. That’s one of the reasons why God did not remove the frog’s dead bodies that polluted the atmosphere and fouled the air so the Egyptians could not breath without smelling the offensive stench. It was to remind Pharaoh of the late plague and that he should not harden his heart lest a worse plague come upon him and the nation.
Verse 15; “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”
When Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, without considering the massive disruption and distraction that the frogs were to his kingdom and people, and without considering that a worse thing could be coming if he didn’t relent, he defiantly and stubbornly hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go.
Friends, have you ever seen someone so stubborn that no matter the consequences they double down in their position even if they know that doing so will hurt them, if not immediately, in the long run? I have, and I can only pity them.
Now let me ask you, have you ever done that yourself? You sin and God rebukes you. And you keep on sinning. God punishes you and you still keep on doing that thing. Well, you’re just like Pharaoh. Blindly doubling down. I can only pity you.
But I have done the same thing. I have doubled down in my rebellion and had much trouble for it. All my troubles came upon me because I stupidly clung to my sins. So, I guess I can only pity myself too. And I hope in God’s mercy and pity.
God pities us. Every one of us. And God pitied Pharaoh too. He was long suffering with Pharaoh and gave him many opportunities to do right. And He does the same with us till we are brought to surrender to Him or our hearts are so hardened in sin that He must leave us to ourselves.
God is good to those who love him. God is good to those that hate him. God is good to those that pretend to be his people. God is good. His responses and interactions may be different for each one of those types of people, but He is always good. We could say the same for mercy, for God is merciful. We could say the same for longsuffering, for God is longsuffering. Whatever attribute that is ascribed to God, we can apply this principle. God responds differently to each one of us because we have different needs and different personalities. We need different ways of dealing to bring us to repentance. But all of it is because God is good.
Here is something to think about. It is from Fundamentals of Education, page 409; “There are laws of nature, but they are harmonious, and conform with all God’s working; but when the lords many and gods many set themselves to explain God’s own principles and providences, presenting to the world strange fire in the place of divine, there is confusion. The machinery of earth and heaven needs many faces to every wheel in order to see the Hand beneath the wheels, bringing perfect order from confusion. The living and true God is a necessity everywhere.”
So, God works to bring about His will amid all the human things going on. If we don’t bring trouble on ourselves by our rebellion to His will; the more we are aligned with His will, and think His thoughts, the less trouble we will have.
When Pharaoh hardened his heart, he signaled to his people that they could keep on with their oppression and rebellion. He had a lot of influence over others. Therefore, he had more responsibility to do what was right and lead by example.
Israel had multiplied themselves abundantly. They were very fertile and that caused Pharaoh to become jealous of them. So, he conjured up an excuse to enslave them. He feared them. When God blesses man, others become jealous, and wish to put them down.
This is the never-ending controversy between Christ and Satan on this earth until the end of time. When God blesses His people, the enemy of God and man, tries to limit the effect. In fact, he tries to make slaves of us in so many ways. But God can and will deliver us when it is for our best good.
Until the heart is renewed by divine grace, we are impervious to the impressions that would otherwise have been made under affliction. Pharaoh’s conviction that he must relent wore off. And the promises made by him that he was under pressure to make were quickly forgotten. What thaws in the sun will freeze again in the shade, until the air is changed and even the shade temperature is above freezing. If we rebel and push at God, He turns up the heat.
God’s patience is shamefully abused by unrepentant sinners. And Pharaoh was certainly unrepentant. God gave him a respite to lead him to repentance, it was meant to soften his heart. But instead it hardened him by his own choices. And the voice of the Holy Spirit is a little softer after the rejection. God graciously allowed Pharaoh a truce in order to make peace, but he took the opportunity to rally the baffled forces of an obstinate infidelity.
Let us read Ecclesiastes 8:11; “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
If God was hard, He could have punished Pharaoh with the full penalty for his sin of obstinance. And God would have been right to do that. If He had done that all along that might have gotten an early compliance with His will. But God would then be accused of being a tyrant and would have caused men to serve him out of fear instead of love. God is not like that.
Psalm 78:34 puts it succinctly; “When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
But God didn’t do that. He doesn’t meet out the punishment we deserve. He gave Pharaoh many opportunities to see the light, and check the evil that he was doing to God’s people, and repent and cooperate with God.
The respite granted to him should have been sufficient warning to him to expect another plague. For if it goes away for a time and it hardens him, and he lost the benefit of it, we may conclude it goes away with a purpose to return or it will only make room for a worse plague to come.
It isn’t wise to play with God.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven. We are so impressed with how You dealt with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We don’t want to be stubborn and rebellious like Pharaoh. So please soften our hearts and have mercy on us I pray. And may we learn the lessons of the plague of frogs. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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