Pharaoh’s refusal to listen to his magicians leads to the next plague, swarms of insects. This plague is an attack upon the Egyptian god Khepfi, who was worshiped as the god of insects and dung beetles. The Lord sends this fourth plague upon the land of Egypt.
However, this time God is making a distinction in the land. This plague will not touch the land of Goshen. Goshen was the land in which the Hebrews lived. It was given to them by the Pharaoh whom Joseph served when Jacob and the rest of his sons came to live in Egypt during the famine (Genesis 47:6).
The last three plagues affected all the land of Egypt, including the Hebrews land of Goshen, but this plague shall not. God has always drawn a distinction between the righteous and the wicked. He does this so that we may know He is God. He does this so that we may know that His way is right and good.
We all live in this fallen world, the righteous and the unrighteous. We all, whether believer or non-believer, experience both good and evil. We all deal with the consequences of sin, our sin and the sins of others. Yet there will always come a time when the plumb line is dropped (Zechariah 4:10).
We read in the book of Ezekiel about God’s judgment on Jerusalem. The temple of God had become a place of idol worship. The priests of God were worshipping false gods within the walls of the temple and there were women prostituting themselves at the temple gates. God had finally had enough, but before He brought His judgment, He marked His remnant.
God will continue to spare His righteous ones even until the end of the age. In Revelation 7:3 we read of an angel crying out after the breaking of the sixth seal “saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.'” After the breaking of the seventh seal we read in Revelation 9:4 how God protects those who serve Him, those with the seal on their foreheads, and He would not allow the plague of locusts and scorpions to harm them.
In Psalm 37:25 David wrote “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” My friend, God knows those who are His, and He will not forsake them. He has promised us over and over in His Word that when the righteous cry, He hears and He delivers them out of their trouble in His time and in His way (Psalm 34:17).
Oh precious one, the question that remains is are you His?
Do you wear His mark on your forehead?
Do you sigh and groan over the abominations you see committed around you?
Is your righteous soul oppressed and tormented day after day by the lawless deeds and sensual conduct of unprincipled men (2 Peter 2:7-8)?
Do you wear His seal or are you more the “fellow citizen” we read about in Ezekiel 33…
who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses,
speak to one another, each to his brother, saying,
‘Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD.’
They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people
and hear your words, but they do not do them,
for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth,
and their heart goes after their gain.
Behold, you are to them like a sensual song
by one who has a beautiful voice
and plays well on an instrument;
for they hear your words but they do not practice them.
My friend, we can sit in church every Sunday and sit before the pastor and claim to be a child of God, we can sing our songs of worship with our arms lifted up, but if we refuse to practice what we hear and sing then all we have to look forward to is judgment.
What is even worse, is that with every word, with every song, with every refusal, we harden our hearts. Every opportunity we have to believe and we do not do it, we harden our hearts (Mark 8:16-17, Hebrews 3:15-16).
Perhaps you feel you are offering up to God a good effort, that you have found a good compromise. You are after all there, and maybe you serve in an area, possibly you even tithe regularly. Maybe you feel you can rationalize and excuse your disobedience in other areas of your life by holding up your list of works. Oh precious one, we can see through God’s dealings with Pharaoh that our God just does not accept compromise.
God has sent this fourth plague upon the land of Egypt. He has made a distinction between the land of Goshen where the Hebrews live and the rest of the land of Egypt. God is demonstrating His power and authority once again before Pharaoh. God is giving Pharaoh another opportunity to hear and to be obedient.
Pharaoh offers a compromise up to Moses and tells him that his people can sacrifice to their God in the land of Egypt, but Moses refuses because that is not what the LORD commanded. Pharaoh concedes and says that he will let the people go. However, as soon as Pharaoh experiences the relief of the mercy of God, he once again goes back on his word.
Mercy has hardened him again. He professed to obey God out of the desire for his own comfort. His obedience had nothing to do with surrender from the heart. It was fake. It was for selfish gain, but my friend do not think that this took God, or even Moses, by surprise.
As I live in this world I am surrounded by both good and evil. This plague of sin is all around me. I fight it from within and without, but I fight to win. I know that you see my heart. I know that you see whether I am oppressed and tormented by my sin and the sin of others or whether I secretly seek it for pleasure and put on a face of hating sin for show. Oh Father, open my eyes to any disobedience that is within me. Purge me of all iniquity. Let me not deal deceitfully with You, with others, or myself. May my heart be pleasing to You.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,