Then the LORD said to Moses,
“Go to Pharaoh and say to him,
‘Thus says the LORD,
Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
But if you refuse to let them go, behold,
I will smite your whole territory with frogs.
Seven days have passed since the Lord turned the Nile to blood. Seven days for Pharaoh to think and consider and ponder letting the Hebrews go for a time to worship their God.
God sends Moses before Pharaoh once again to request that he let the children of Israel go. God is asking permission from Pharaoh. God does not have to do this. He does not have to consider Pharaoh at all. God could destroy Pharaoh and all of Egypt with a single breathe from His nostrils, yet He comes and is allowing Pharaoh to make a decision.
With every judgment God is giving Pharaoh an opportunity to bow his knee in submission to the One True Living God.
Egypt worshipped many gods and the True God is about to show Pharaoh and all of Egypt that He alone is sovereign over all the earth. The signs and plagues that the Lord is sending upon Egypt are not random. God is choosing very specifically.
The first sign that Moses brought before Pharaoh was his staff changing into a serpent. The cobra was sacred in Egypt and was connected to many goddesses. One was Wadjet, the cobra goddess of Buto, who represented kingship. Another was Renenet, who was a fertility goddess and was sometimes depicted as a woman nursing a child. She also was known as a protector of Pharaoh.
Let us recall that it was the snake of Moses that swallowed the two snakes of the magicians. Knowing this makes that sign a little more important doesn’t it?
In the first plague God turned the Nile to blood. The Nile was the life-sustainer to all of Egypt. The god of the Nile was known as Hap or Hapi. He was known as the greatest of all gods. He was declared to be the creator of everything. They even believed that all the other gods came forth from him.
Once again let the weight of this knowledge weigh on you as you put yourself in the place of an Egyptian during this time as they watched this unknown God of the Hebrews control the waters of their greatest god.
Now we come to the second plague, the frogs. The frogs of the Nile were worshiped as sacred objects and if someone killed a frog, even accidentally, the punishment was death. One of the frog goddesses was known as, Heqet or Heka. She was one of the eight gods that the Egyptians associated with creation. She was thought to be the initiator of fertility and resurrection. When the Egyptian women gave birth this was the false deity they called upon. They believed that she was the one who breathed life into the child in their womb. The Egyptians also believed that it was this goddess who took their Pharaohs to their eternal thrones after death.
The LORD told Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his staff over the Nile and bring forth frogs up out of the Nile. Aaron did as he was commanded and frogs came and covered the land of Egypt. Once again, Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, saw that the God of Moses, the God of the Hebrew slaves, had power and authority over another of their gods.
Pharaoh goes to his magicians and they are able to make frogs come out of the Nile also, but once again, they cannot make them go away.
Pharaoh goes to Moses and he tells him that if will ask God to remove the frogs, then he will let the Hebrews go and make a sacrifice to their God. Moses asks Pharaoh to just say when. He leaves the time of the removal of the frogs to Pharaoh’s word because he wants him to “know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” (Exodus 8:10) Moses entreats the LORD on behalf of Pharaoh and the frogs are destroyed.
Pharaoh receives the mercy of God upon himself and upon his nation. Pharaoh gets the relief he wanted. His circumstances have changed. He no longer is in the difficult situation that caused him to seek God for help. This mercy should have caused him to thank the God who delivered it, but instead in the midst of the relief of the mercy of God, Pharaoh hardens his heart. He went back on his word, on his vow, and refused to let the people go.
Oh precious one, have you been there? Have you been in the midst of a difficult time and cried out to God and made promises to Him that you did not keep once He delivered you out of your distress?
Well, my friend, I know that I have. I know that I have cried out to God to deliver me from pain or to give me the outcome that I wanted in a situation. I would cry, “God if you will do what I am asking, then I will do this, or I will never do that again.”
One particular time stands out more than any other. I was eighteen years old and standing outside hospital doors while my best friend’s sixteen year old little sister lay in the ICU from a car accident. At the time I was a rebellious and immoral young girl and I cried out to God and asked Him to save her. I also knew I was living in a way that was not pleasing to God or my parents and as I looked her death in the face I feared my own. I promised God that I would stop having sex outside of marriage. I promised that I would start going back to church. I promised Him that I would change.
The promises I made to God, I didn’t keep. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, but they were promises that were too strong for me to keep in my own will, in my own strength, and especially when it was against the will of another.
Two months later I found out that I was pregnant.
One month later my grandfather died.
One month after that I miscarried the child.
I lost a dear friend, a grandfather, and a child in a three month span all on top of the guilt of broken promises to a God I had rebelled against and made promises to that I didn’t keep.
Not long after this I received a bracelet as a gift and it had the Ten Commandments on it. I put it on my wrist and thought that if I wore it on my body at all times I could keep these commandments and obey God and say no when I knew I was supposed to say no.
I couldn’t, and my heart grew even harder.
Now I did not realize that I was hardening my heart in the face of God in these situations, but my failure to keep my promises was from the same root that was planted in Pharaoh. The root of the lie that I had power on my own, apart from God. I thought that the ability to keep my vows all resided within me, in my own strength. I made promises and it was up to me to see them through. I had not yet realized that I was a slave to sin, and had no authority over myself. The good that I wanted to do, I could not do, but I practiced the very evil that I did not want to do (Romans 7:19). I just thought I was a failure and was doomed to an eternal hell because I was not strong enough to do better.
How thankful I am for the grace of our God.
My friend, pay close attention to your heart, to your responses to the mercy of God. Where are you at in your life. Have you hardened your heart in the face of God as He relieved you from your distress? Have you made promises to Him that you have not kept because you failed to be able to do so in your own strength? Precious one search out your heart. Search for the root of this lie that convinces you that you have power on your own.
If you have been delivered it was not because of you, but because of His mercy. Thank Him, humble yourself before Him, and acknowledge Him for who He is.
If you have failed time and time again in your attempt to keep your promise to change, then oh my friend, please know that you alone will always fail.
Know that God has not condemned you to hell, He has not forsaken you. You must stop trusting in and relying on your own strength, because you have none. “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) You must bow the knee, and acknowledge your weakness to Him and call out to Him to save you. Then in His strength, through His might, you will have victory!
I am forever grateful for Your patience. I am humbled by Your great mercy. Your lovingkindness knows no end. How long I struggled while I tried to obey You in my own strength. How I failed time and time again. I was convinced that I had done to much and failed to often for You to ever want me. Yet, You still desired me. You still pursued me. You still loved me. You still died for me. Now I know that it is not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Now I know that I can do all things through Jesus, my Christ, who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). My God, how very great You are.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,