Locusts and Darkness: The Plagues Destroy Egypt, Shock and Awe
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry once again. Today we’re going to examine another episode in the great exodus from Egypt. As Israel becomes more hopeful of deliverance, the Egyptians become equally desperate. Only Pharaoh and the Egyptian priests stubbornly resist. Yet the people want Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. They are the ones really suffering badly, although the plagues affected Pharaoh’s palace too. But the people become afraid that the Israelites will rise up and take vengeance on them for the years of servitude.
As we begin let us pray. Our Father in heaven, as we look at our stresses and circumstances in these last days, we are reminded of the fact that You are coming very soon to take us home. We ask that today as we study that Your Holy Spirit will lead us to understand the times in which we live based on the experience of Israel in Egypt. Help us to see the parallels and recognize the principals involved in the Israelites deliverance and in our own. We long to be delivered from this world. So, deliver us from sin so You can finish Your work more quickly. And we pray this in Jesus name, amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Revelation 18. We will look at verse 11.
“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:…”
Why do you think people won’t buy the merchandise anymore from the merchants of the earth? It is because the light of truth has been shined on their corruption. In Egypt, the economy was destroyed by the plagues. And it will be destroyed completely when the seven last plagues are poured out, along with everything else. The plagues ripped apart Egyptian society. There is no doubt they could see that their gods that they thought would protect them could do them no good. Of course, these gods were fake and a figment of their imagination. But they saw their gods turned against them. So, it will be at the end of time. God’s judgments will rip apart societies around the world because they persist in their stubbornness and rebellion. Listen to this from Patriarchs and Prophets page 271.
“The nation had sustained great loss in the death of their cattle. Many of the people had been killed by the hail. The forests were broken down and the crops were destroyed. They were fast losing all that had been gained by the labor of the Hebrews. The whole land was threatened with starvation.”
The fruit of the land had been broken down, perhaps when it was just ripening. And now Moses threatened that locusts would come and eat up anything that remained. But Pharaoh’s heart was still proud and stubborn. I’ll read on from Patriarchs and Prophets.
Pharaoh’s servants were terrified and pressed around Pharaoh and angrily demanded that he let the Israelites go. And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, “How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7)
But God was asking Pharaoh, “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?” Heaven rightly expects the greatest men of earth to humble themselves before the great Jehovah, and it is at their peril if they refuse to do it. This has been God’s quarrel with princes more than once. Belshazzar did not humble his heart. Zedekiah humbled not himself before Jeremiah. Those that will not humble themselves God will humble. Pharaoh had sometimes pretended to humble himself, but he was neither sincere nor did he maintain it. Pharaoh was already warned of the plague of locusts that would be sent if he should remain obstinate. In fact, Moses said in Exodus 10:4-6,
“Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.”
The Princess’ and counselors of Pharaoh were horrified. And they pled with Pharaoh to at least let some of them go and worship God. Pharaoh’s attendants, his ministers of state, and privy-counsellors, interposed to persuade him to come to some terms with Moses. They were duty bound to represent to him the deplorable condition of the kingdom. “Egypt is destroyed,” they said, and advised him by all means to release his prisoners. Let the men go, they begged, for they realized what Pharaoh refused to recognize, that Moses would continue with worse plagues to them till they released the Israelites. It was like the elephant in the room that couldn’t be seen by one man. It was better to consent at the first than to be compelled at the last. But Pharaoh, in his arrogance, didn’t think anyone could compel him to do anything. And this attitude was going to eventually cost him his life.
The Israelites had become a “burdensome stone” to the Egyptians (Zechariah 12:3), and now, at length, the princes of Egypt were willing to be rid of them. Note, it is a thing to be regretted (and prevented, if possible) that a whole nation should be ruined for the pride and obstinacy of its princes. To consult the welfare of the people is the first of political laws, or at least they have to perceive that the political leader is doing that. The people were hurting badly and needed relief from the heavy hand that was upon them.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron again. He was going to negotiate with Moses and his God. He asked them who was going to go to worship and hold a feast to the Lord? Moses responded in Exodus 10:9
“And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.”
Pharaoh was not happy with that. He said in verse 11,
“Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.”
He wanted to revise the plan of God and offer a new treaty. Pharaoh consents for the Israelites to go into the wilderness to do sacrifice; but the matter in dispute was who should go. Moses insists that they should take their whole families, and all their effects along with them. No doubt Pharaoh thought, as so many nations today who deal with immigration, especially from poor countries, that if they had a reason to return he could be assured that they would not escape. He resolves to keep some as hostages, to oblige them to return.
But those that serve God must serve him with all they have. Moses explains this. “We must hold a feast, therefore we must have our families to feast with, and our flocks and herds to sacrifice with, to the honour of God.”
In a great passion Pharaoh curses them, and threatens that, if they offer to remove their little ones, they will do it at the peril of the little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety, knowing how destructive it is to the interests of his kingdom. Whatever would hinder us from engaging our children to the utmost in God’s service, whether our own business of work, or neglect, or disinterest, or distractions, or their friends, we have reason to suspect the hand of Satan is in it.
Since Moses was not into negotiations their talks break off abruptly; those that before went out from Pharaoh’s presence were now driven out. Those will quickly hear their doom that cannot bear to hear their duty. Whom God intends to destroy he delivers up to infatuation with self. Never was a man so infatuated to his own ruin as was Pharaoh.
Now Moses ceremoniously stretched out his rod; that rod which is now the terror of the Egyptians; that rod which represents the power of God; that rod which renders the Egyptians helpless, but spares the people of Israel, making a distinction between them and the Egyptians; that rod is stretched out over the land of Egypt. I can imagine Moses dramatically and slowly turning around with his stretched-out rod 360 degrees over all the land.
And the scripture says in Exodus 10:13-15.
“And the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.”
The invasion of locusts—God’s great army. You know God’s armies are unique. They don’t bear swords and mail. Instead, in this case, their weapons were their teeth. The frogs were first a nuisance and then a stinking nuisance. But they didn’t threaten the Egyptian economy or lead the Egyptians to the point of starvation. But these locusts were more severe.
The Egyptians had learned when they saw Moses stretched forth his rod that something terrible was going to happen. And they feared him. God bids Moses stretch out his hand as if to beckon the locusts to invade the land. Moses ascribes it to the stretching out, not of his own hand, but the rod of God, the instituted sign of God’s presence with him. The locusts obey the summons, and fly upon the wings of the wind, the east wind, and “without number,” as we are told in Psalm 105:34, 35. A formidable army of horses and footmen might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. It begs the question, who then is able to stand before the great God?
Egypt is no stranger to locusts. But these locusts were unusual. The Bible says they were “very grievous.” They swarmed all over Egypt and filled the sky till the land was darkened. They must have been large locusts, at least that’s how I imagine them. They ate everything in sight. Chomp, chomp, chomp, chew, chew, chew, buzz, buzz, buzz, chomp, chomp, chomp. They were unstoppable. Everything green vanished almost instantly from the fields as if a curtain were pulled over them. The trees and plants stood leafless and nothing was seen but the naked boughs and stalks. Everything in the vegetable kingdom was destroyed. Locust will go after the bark of trees once there are no leaves left. So even the trees were probably stripped of bark.
Locusts are usually confined to the field. But these locusts did the very thing that they normally don’t do. They overwhelmed Egypt to such a degree that, having destroyed the harvest, or that which was left of the hail, they penetrated by the millions into the private dwellings and devoured whatsoever they could find. They got into the humblest houses, and proudest palaces, even Pharaoh’s palaces. They got in their ovens, in their beds, and in their wardrobes and ate the natural fibers of their clothes. They were found in every corner, stuck to their clothes, and infested their food. They were everywhere and in everything. They even ate the leather of their water vessels. They got into all the storehouses squeezing through the doors and flying through windows. The Egyptian houses were wide open because their windows were made of lattice work which made it very easy for the locusts to enter. And now Egypt was going to starve because there was nothing that they could eat. This was much worse than anything that had been seen before.
This plague was aimed at the Egyptian god Serapis. Serapis was the god whose office was to protect the country from locusts. The Egyptians had no less than 42 temples erected in honor of this deity. But against the command of Moses who was directed by the God of heaven and earth, Serapis was powerless. The locusts came at Moses command and they departed at his command. Serapis could do nothing about it.
Psalm 105:34, 35, “He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number, and did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.”
The point was not lost on the counselors of Pharaoh. They stood aghast at the devastation the locusts reeked on Egypt. And they recognized that the people of Egypt were going to starve, unless they imported food from somewhere else. But that was an existential threat too, because then other nations would see them as weakened and might attack them. But these scourges seemed beyond endurance and they were filled with fear for the future.
Friends, when God’s judgments are poured out upon the earth men’s hearts will fail them for fear. That’s what happens. Because the judgments are beyond our ability to cope with them. We are rendered helpless as were the Egyptians. Only if you are a spiritual Israelite, and love God with all your heart so that you keep all His commandments, then you will not have fear when God’s judgments are poured out all around you. The thing is, people think that God’s judgments will not be any worse than what they see right now in the world. But God’s judgments are far more intense than even the recent earthquake in Turkey.
Locusts have been used by God as a devouring tool to punish. And God will use them again in the last days. Turn with me to Revelation 9:3.
“And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
The locusts predicted here are stinging locusts that can hurt humans. You don’t want to be the target of this plague in the last days.
Locusts, while despicable little creatures, seem harmless individually. Yet, when God pleases, those contemptible little insects plunder man and eat the bread out of his mouth. Therefore, let our labor be not for food which is perishable and can become infested, but for food that will endure to eternal life, which cannot be invaded or corrupted.
Listen to this from Patriarchs and Prophets pages 271 and 272
“The nation had worshipped Pharaoh as a representative of their god, but many we’re now convinced that he was opposing himself to One who made all the powers of nature the ministers of his will.”
The Egyptian people could see it, but Pharaoh could not. Pharaoh was fast losing control of the situation and of the nation. The living God of heaven had taken the reins in His own hands. And at the end of time, God will do the same. After the nations of the world have had opportunity to accept the truth, but have refused and have persecuted God’s people, God will show them that He is God and that they have offended Him in the person of His saints. That which the people of the earth have mocked and ridiculed will become a terror and a scourge to them. That which they have persistently defied and rejected will become the curse and a shock to them.
And God was making a distinction between His people, the Israelites, and the Egyptians. The land of Goshen didn’t have one locust. It was as if an invisible barrier was erected and the locusts would not cross that barrier.
All Egypt trembled before the awful outpouring of divine judgment upon them. There was a fear that the slaves would rise up and get revenge for the wrongs that have been done to them. Everywhere men were asking the question with bated breath, “what will come next?”
Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron. He pleads with them to stop the plague. In Exodus 10:11 he drove them out of his palace as if he wanted nothing more to do with them. But now he calls for them again in all haste and makes polite entreaties with as much respect as he had dismissed them with disdain. Pharaoh wasn’t repentant, he was just being expedient. Verses 16 and 17 tell us what he said.
“Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.”
Though Pharaoh sees his own folly in the slights and affronts that he had put on God and on His ambassadors and seems at least, to repent of it. When God convinces men of sin, and humbles them for it, it lies heavily upon their consciences, and wrings from their mouths confessions that are unexpected. When Pharaoh said “The Lord your God,” he was acknowledging His power, but he wasn’t submissive to His authority. He treated God as a potent enemy, whom he was willing to be at war with, even a losing war. He did not care about treating God as a rightful Prince to whom he was willing to submit with loyal affection. True penitence means turning away from our crimes that we have committed against God, and forsake them.
When Pharaoh says, “forgive this once,” he in effect promises not to offend in like manner anymore, yet he seems loath to express that promise because he does not say anything about letting the people go. A counterfeit repentance commonly cheats men of what they could experience and leaves them empty, rejected, and frustrated. In this case, Pharaoh actually entreats Moses and Aaron to pray for him. There are those, who in their distress, implore the help of other people’s prayers, but have no mind to pray for themselves. They have no true love to God nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh only wants “that this death” might be taken away, not his sins. He asked that the plague of locusts be removed, not the plague of his hard heart, which was far more dangerous.
I think at the end of time God will disrupt the power structures that oppress God’s people as he disrupted the power structures of Egypt. The surveillance state will collapse. Artificial intelligence will be useless. And it will frustrate and anger the authorities and the masses that Sabbath keepers are being obviously miraculously protected.
Moses knew the contest and the plagues were not over yet. And sure enough, Pharaoh foolishly hardened his heart again and refused to let God’s people go. So, the Lord told Moses to stretch forth his hand, which meant to stretch forth his rod toward heaven and darkness would descend upon Egypt. To the Egyptians that rod now meant a lot of trouble. And to see Moses thrust his rod into the sky must have struck terror to their hearts. “What now?,” they must have exclaimed. They knew that rod brought judgment and scourges that destroyed Egypt both economically and socially. Now the rod was going to lock them down so they literally couldn’t move. The Egyptians, and especially Pharaoh, would have time to reflect on their course of rebellion.
Suddenly a very deep darkness fell upon Egypt, like a funeral pall over the whole country. It was a most dreadful, gloomy blackness that seemed like an omen of worse things to come. The darkness was so thick it seemed like you could feel it. Even their fires and candles that gave them light were put out, maybe because of the dampness and clamminess of the air. The Bible says, “they saw not one another.” (Verse 23)
“They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
The wicked are threatened that “the spark of his fire shall not shine,” (Isaiah 50:11) even the sparks of his own kindling, as they are called.
Job 18:5 and 6 say,“Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.”
And at the end of time Rome, the seat of the beast, will suffer a similar kind of darkness. Notice Revelation 18:23.
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
This plague of darkness dealt a heavy blow to one of the greatest gods of Egypt, the sun god Ra, or Isis, who had been continuously worshipped from the earliest times of that country’s known history. In a land which hardly ever saw clouds in the sky, the sun was recognized as a never-failing power which provided warmth, light, life, and growth to the whole world. Every Egyptian king considered himself as a “son of Ra,” and carried this expression in his title. But the darkness also dealt a heavy blow to another of their gods. The Egyptians also worshipped Osiris, the moon god. Together Isis and Osiris controlled the light and also the elements. The Egyptians could see that their gods were powerless against the God of heaven.
The darkness was so oppressive that the Egyptians felt like they couldn’t move. They felt locked down. They had locked down the Israelites in slavery, now God would lock them down in darkness and fear. They couldn’t see to move around. No one, man, woman or child, left his house for three days. This gave them time for reflection. They felt that they weren’t safe, and they had lost control of their lives. Fear gripped them. This couldn’t end well. It seemed like an omen of some impending catastrophe. But they could still amend their ways if they were willing.
While the darkness struck fear into the heart of the Egyptians it also gave them time to think and reflect on their course of action. If they wanted to, they could see that they were in rebellion to a power that was far above their ability to cope with it. They knew their history, how Joseph had saved them and their country from disaster many years before. But their priests had convinced the Pharaoh and his counselors that they were in danger from the Israelites becoming too powerful. But now they were up against the God that was way too powerful for them. Would they amend their course of action and bow to his authority? Or would they continue in their rebellion and suffer the worst blow of all.
From His point of view, God did not want to destroy the Egyptians and gave them time to stop and consider whether to submit to God’s requirements. If they wanted to, they could reflect on the compassion and kindness of God even in the judgments that had already fallen. They were relatively mild at first. Then they begin to be increasingly destructive of the beasts and the vegetation. Now the risk of further plagues could only be directed at their persons. There is nothing left of Egypt to do any further damage. They were faced with starvation and death as it was. So, God halted them for three days and locked them down in darkness to arrest their course and give them opportunity to submit
From Patriarchs and Prophets, page 272,
“The sun and moon were objects of worship to the Egyptians; in this mysterious darkness the people and their gods alike were smitten by the power that had undertaken the cause of the bondmen. Yet fearful as it was, this judgment is an evidence of God’s compassion and His unwillingness to destroy. He would give the people time for reflection and repentance before bringing upon them the last and most terrible of the plagues.”
God is so merciful to the obstinate. He wants them to be saved. So, he gives them conditions and circumstances that give them time to reflect and see the evil of their ways. He also gives them incentive to repent and turn from their wicked ways and be reconciled with God. The Egyptians could see the distinction between them and Israel. The Israelites had light. There was no oppressive darkness in the land of Goshen. They could go about their daily life without any hindrance. This must have greatly impressed many of the Egyptian people.
The darkness was designed to give the Egyptians a spiritual lesson also. They were in the darkness of paganism and idolatry. God gave them darkness to bring them to their senses if He could. God was really trying to help them see that they had become cruel and oppressive of others. They needed to respect His law and their fellow human beings. And this they could not do while they were absorbed in their attitudes and pagan concepts. God was trying to break the power of their religion and its priests and turn them again to God and His law.
The plague of darkness was fearful indeed, and most dreadful. It is actually listed first of the ten in Psalm 105:28, even though it was one of the last.
“He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.”
Then the rest of the plagues are listed in their exact order. So, the darkness was especially deep and oppressive to the Egyptians. But the Israelites had light in the land of Goshen. That could not fail to make in important impression upon the minds of the Egyptians. Their pagan gods were useless, both in this case and in their religion in general. The contempt heaped upon their gods should have convinced them that they should totally abandon them. It was a warning against further rebellion. Indeed, they could not oppose the lockdown of the deep darkness. So, the Bible says, “they rebelled not against his word.” They couldn’t do anything about it. And the people were ready to let them go. It was the priests and Pharaoh that still worked to thwart God’s plans.
At the end of time, another darkness will fall. This time it will fall on spiritual Egypt which is just as rebellious against God’s plan as was ancient Egypt. We read about this darkness in Revelation 16:10 and 11.
“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
Rome, the seat of the beast will suffer a darkness similar to what the Egyptians experienced. The Bible says that his kingdom was full of darkness and they were in pain from the sores that rose up on their bodies because they repented not. Notice also that the darkness was associated with great pain, that they “gnawed their tongues for pain.” So apparently this darkness and the darkness of the Egyptians was painful. While we don’t understand everything about this. We take it for granted because of what the word of God says. But, Rome’s priests and all her servants in Rome will experience pain during their plague of darkness. The darkness of an evil plague is not like the darkness of night. The darkness of night is a good thing. The darkness of a plague is something else altogether.
So, it appears that God will inflict a special punishment and judgment on Rome and her ministers or priests because they are determined to oppose God. They are responsible for the persecution of His saints through many centuries, and especially in the last days. In fact, the Bible says that they are responsible for all the blood that was shed on all the earth through all time.
Revelation 18:24, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
So, Rome is responsible for all the righteous that were slain on the earth of all time. Though she wasn’t around for 4000 years, she still has the spirit of persecution that has affected the saints of God during the whole earth from the slaying of Abel to the last martyr that will be slain at the end of time. But, she is certainly responsible for more than that. She has instigated wars that have slain millions. She has ordered assassinations and killings. She has orchestrated famines and distress upon nations and millions of people. She has phenomenally increased the poverty and misery of multitudes, which has also been deadly. She has been responsible for the spread of diseases and pestilences which have also led to the deaths of many people. But especially will she be punished for afflicting the saints of God.
The darkness on Egypt was a symbol of the spiritual darkness of paganism. And it was a prophetic prototype of the darkness that will fall on Rome as she was a prophetic prototype of Rome’s religion. But for the Egyptians it wasn’t too late for them to repent and mend their ways. But Rome’s darkness is also a symbol of Rome’s own spiritual wickedness and darkness, and it is then too late to make a change, for the close of probation has already passed by the time this plague is meted out to them. It is actually punishment for their wickedness and their idolatry. It isn’t mixed with mercy or a time for repentance.
According to Jewish tradition the darkness that Egypt experienced was terrifying because there were apparitions of evil spirits, or dreadful sounds and murmurs which the spirits made, and they were smitten by their own consciences as well.
In this context, it is very interesting that Psalm 78:49 says,
“He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.”
No doubt, evil angels were attending the Egyptians to try to make them stronger to resist God’s counsel through Moses, and to keep God’s people in bondage both to literal slavery as well as slavery to sin and idolatry that the Egyptians foisted on the Israelites. Satan tried all of his spiritualistic arts on them to keep them going in the way against God. He will do the same at the end of time. Today, there is an unprecedented rise in spiritualism in all sectors of society whether it’s retail marketing, Hollywood, gaming, or society itself and the people in it. He is trying to bind men in bundles to be burned. Bind them and keep them in sin and slavery to their passions.
The Egyptians were so terrified, that they feared to go from the bed to the chair, or from the chair to the bed. Every man stayed in his place. Thus, were they silent in darkness.
Now Pharaoh had time to consider whether to stop his opposition to God. Spiritual darkness is the same as spiritual bondage, and Pharaoh and all his men could see that they are in dark bondage to paganism. While Satan blinds their eyes that they see not, he also binds their hands and feet that they may not work for God nor move towards heaven, nor obey Him. Never was a mind so blinded as Pharaoh’s, never was air so darkened as Egypt’s. Only the final plagues will actually be worse.
Matthew 4:16 says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.”
The people that sat in the darkness of spiritual bondage saw the great light of freedom. Darkness represents slavery to sin. Light represents freedom in Christ, for Christ is the light of the world. Satan tries to keep men in darkness, but Jesus gives them freedom through His life and death on the cross, and His ministry in the heavenly courts above. Those that want to be free, God will give them opportunity to see the great light and come to it.
And during the latter rain, God’s light will shine upon His people. It will destroy the darkness of Rome. And many people will escape the thralldom of papal superstitions and delusions. Listen to the effect of this light in Isaiah 60:2 and 3,
“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
The Egyptians, controlled by Satan, by their cruelty would have extinguished the lamp of Israel, and quenched their light. So consequently, God gave them darkness, real, oppressive darkness to teach them that what they had done was very wrong.
The land of Goshen however was full of light. Wherever there is a child of God, a child of light, there is light, even in the dark world. When God made this distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians which one of the Egyptians would not have preferred the poorest cottage of an Israelite to the finest palace of an Egyptian?
Pharaoh again called for Moses and Aaron. Fear wrung from Pharaoh a further concession. He told Moses that the Israelites could go and worship, but they must leave the flocks and herds behind. Pharaoh wanted to have some assurance that the Israelites would come back. So, leaving their economic livelihood and resources in Egypt would assure that.
But again Moses did not enter into negotiations. “There shall not an hoof be left behind,” he declared. Listen to him speak in Exodus 10:25 and 26,
“And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us;
there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.”
We will take everything, all our people, all our possessions, all our beasts, and all our substance, everything must go with us. Pharaoh was convinced that they would not come back. He had suspected this all along. But he’d been working on the assumption that he could first, refuse to let them go, then when that wasn’t successful, negotiate with them to retain their servitude. But that was not God’s purpose. And Pharaoh set himself to work against God. Anyone, from the king or president to the very common worker who works against God will end up ultimately in disaster. And darkness will be his portion forever.
Pharaoh was frustrated. Everything he tried had failed. Every tack that he took seemed powerless to thwart the Israelites plan. He dismissed Moses in anger and told him to get out of his sight.
Verse 28, “And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.”
Moses complied. But when obstinate men turn away God’s mercy and his kindness, they are left to themselves and God cannot reach them anymore.
Imagine Pharaoh trying to threaten Moses who had God’s great power to protection him at his disposal. Impotent malice! God had given Moses a very awe-inspiring persona with the Egyptians.
Exodus 11:3 says, “Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.”
The people of Egypt feared Moses and the king dared not harm him, for the people looked on him as alone possessing the power to remove the plagues. They desired that the people of Israel would be permitted to leave Egypt, but it was the king and the priests that opposed the demands of Moses to the very last.
The priests knew about Joseph and the impact that he had on their adherents and their income and power. Their power and status had been undermined by the Israelites because Joseph had been so effective. And they saw interest in their religion declining among the Egyptian people.
They had planned their strategy for a long time. They were responsible for training the future kings in their religion. And they convinced the young future monarch of the need to promote the Egyptian religion, and to suppress any other forms of worship. They were determined to get revenge for what Joseph had accomplished. They determined to restore their power.
That’s the way Satan works. He has to take his time. But he is determined to do what he can to restore his power and authority in this world. America was very instrumental in breaking the power of Rome over the world, and Satan is determined to restore his power by making America and other developed countries remove freedom from their people. And he’s being quite effective these days.
Friends, we who are living at the end of time can see this same kind of idolatry developing in the extreme. Men worship themselves and money and power and they don’t care what God thinks. The result will be death just like it was to the Egyptians, by their own choice, and by their own deeds. God plans to make a distinction between his people and the world. He plans to do that through keeping holy the Sabbath of the 4th commandment. He plans to make them very powerful with the support of the Holy Spirit. They will have light and life and He will use them to bring the last few souls across the line to faithfulness to God. Don’t you want to be part of that number? I do.
Let us pray. Dear Father in heaven, we recognize the signs of the times, and we are impressed that the end is near. The conditions in the world are getting very wicked in the extreme. And You want Your people to reflect the light of heaven amid the darkness of this wicked world. Please Father, may we earnestly seek your face. Please, may we have Your Holy Spirit to inspire us and energize us to be faithful and to witness. Please help us we pray, in Jesus name, amen.
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