Exodus 8 – Will we perceive God at work?
Frogs, it seems, the sorcerers could replicate, but Gnats were a different story. There is a progression in the signs of power: staff to snake; blood in the waterways contaminating all the drinking water; frogs everywhere, homes, streets, waterways, and then gnats. Pharaoh lied to Moses, when in the face of the frogs, he promised that he would let the Hebrew people go to worship their God, if Moses prayed to their God and God answered by destroying the plague of frogs. But he didn’t really mean it, and after the frogs died, he recanted what he said, and refused to let them go. With the introduction of the gnats, and the sorcerers’ inability to replicate, there is a change in response, at least by some. The sorcerers recognized the power of the God of the Hebrews at this point in our story. Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” However, as we already have heard, Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said. And then, there were the flies. Everywhere in Egypt, except where the Hebrew people lived, swarmed with flies. This was to show the power of the Lord, so Pharaoh will know that ‘I, the Lord, am in this land’. Again, Pharaoh promises to let the people go and worship, and again, after Moses prays, he relents and will not let them go. Moses warns Pharaoh not to act deceitfully, but he just doesn’t seem capable to being true to his promises.
There was a young adult I was mentoring, who had a serious issue, which was causing her grief and pain. She was damaged and broken. When she came, she had no hope. We talked, I prayed, and through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we saw a way forward, a way of healing; a way of faith. And as we prayed and acted, wonder of wonders, this young woman was freed and healed. Her family had persuaded her to go to a counsellor at about the same time. About a month later, she stopped coming to church, stopped being part of the community, got busy doing worldly stuff. When I asked why she had left, I mentioned what had happened; how God had changed things; healed her, broken the power over her, and asked why she was leaving. She said “That she had just realized that she had the power within herself to change, and it had nothing to do with God.” She walked away, and has never returned! Her heart became hardened, and she couldn’t see the Lord at work. She made commitments, to the Lord, to me; but after the restoration, she relented, turning her back on the presence and power she had witnessed and experienced in her life. This choice will always be with us. Will we see with eyes the perceive the presence and power of God at work, will we hear with ears that listening intently to the wind of the Holy Spirit in our lives, or will we offer lame naturalistic excuses, and harden our hearts to what God is doing in us, in the people around us, and in the world?