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.
I have been told that I am very stubborn, but I know of a ruler whom I would consider much more stubborn that I. You probably know who I am talking about. His name is Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. For the past few weeks we have seen where his stubbornness has caused great suffering on himself, his household, and the people of the land. Nothing seems to move this man to the point where he gives up and obeys God commands. Let’s see what is in store this week.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 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, and even the ground where they are.
‘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. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.’ ”
And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? We must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”
Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”
Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only be sure that Pharaoh does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord did what Moses asked: The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go. Exodus 8: 20-32
Last week we learned that God caused pesky little gnats, as numerous as the dust of the earth, to come upon the inhabitants of Egypt. This week God caused swarms of flies to come upon the land of Egypt.
This is a tiny portion I copied from an online article published by the Illinois Department of Public Health. “The habits of filth flies favor the spread of bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Filth flies often feed and lay eggs on garbage, manure and carrion before contaminating human foods and food preparation surfaces by landing on them. When feeding, house flies regurgitate their stomach contents onto food to liquefy it before ingesting it. They also may contaminate food and surfaces by defecating on them.”
Think about this the next time a fly lands on your plate of food or on your cup. And don’t forget that flies bite. Now just imagine living with swarms of flies everywhere. That’s a lot of regurgitation and defecation. The scripture says that the land was “ruined.”
God gave Pharaoh ample opportunity to allow the Hebrews to leave before the plague occurred.
But as usual, Pharaoh’s stubbornness caused him to reject God’s command.
Did you notice that God protected the land of Goshen, where the Hebrews lived? If you remember when we studied about Joseph, his family settled in the land of Goshen because they were shepherds, and shepherds were considered detestable in the eyes of the Egyptians. God protected the land of Goshen so that Pharaoh would know that He was in the land of Goshen.
The swarms of flies were close to becoming more than what Pharaoh could tolerate, so he thought he would compromise with God. Trust me, there is no compromising with God. Pharaoh threw out a proposition to God: He would allow the Hebrews to makes sacrifices to God in Egypt. But when that was not an option in the eyes of God, Pharaoh said he would allow
them to travel a short distance from Egypt.
Moses warned Pharaoh not to deceive God by going back on his word. But Pharaoh did not heed Moses’ warning. As soon as God removed the swarms of flies, Pharaoh once again hardened his heart.
Have you made a commitment to God and are now considering breaking that commitment? I urge you to hold tight to that commitment. It would be better to not make a commitment at all than to break a commitment.
I am sure we all know that Pharaoh has not yet learned his lesson. God is a patient God, but he is also a persistent God.
Join me next time to see if God finally gets Pharaoh’s attention.