This is a weekly guest devotion written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
Moses and Aaron had not convinced Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to allow the Hebrews to leave so that they could worship God. He had a good thing going by keeping the Hebrews enslaved for they were building towns for him. Why should he let them go? I’ll will tell you why. Because God told him to let them go. It is out of pure stubbornness that he has refused so far. Will he give in this time? Let’s begin our lesson for today.
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.” They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals.
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 8:16-19
A gnat is a member of any of many species of tiny flying insects that bite and annoy humans. They enjoy hovering around your face, and even if you swat them causing them to dodge your attack, they persistently return. I am sure God did not create them just to annoy us–they have a purpose in the food chain–but even that one pesky gnat is extremely annoying. I can’t imagine living with the existence of gnats as abundant as the dust of the earth. I can’t stand it when one fly lands on me; therefore, I think I would go crazy having gnats swarm around me and bite me. I am sure it was quite painful being bitten so many times.
Please notice, once again, that nothing occurred until Aaron obeyed God by stretching out his staff and striking the dust of the ground. But once he did as he was commanded, gnats were everywhere; even on the animals. I assure you the animals suffered as well.
Did you catch what was different about this plague than any of the others we have discussed previously. Pharaoh’s magicians were “supposedly” able to turn a stick into a snake, bring frogs out of the Nile River, and turn its water to blood. But this time, they were not able to produce gnats. Even they brought it to Pharaoh’s attention that it was “the finger of God.” Maybe they had come to the point where they had had enough. The people of the land had suffered and were still suffering greatly. Yet Pharaoh refused to listen or believe.
Sometimes our stubborn rebellion against God causes others to suffer. For instance, an individual who drinks excessively and then gets behind the wheel of a car could cause another individual to lose his life.
What about the mother who has a live-in boyfriend who abuses her children physically, mentally, or sexually. Then there is the father who chooses to walk out on his family for no other reason than he is tired of the family life.
If your stubbornness is driving a wedge between you and God, I urge you to lay it aside and seek God’s will for your life. Ask him to show you his path for you. I promise you that he will and he will guide you each step of the way.
God has a greater purpose in mind than just to allow Pharaoh to continue his stubborn behavior. He wants not only Pharaoh and all the Egyptians to know that he is God, but he wants to reveal to the Israelites that he is God and that he has come to deliver them out of bondage.
Join me next week. Pharaoh’s suffering is not over yet.