Pharaoh’s hardened heart and his refusal to keep his word leads to another plague upon his land. This third plague that the LORD sends upon Egypt, is a plague of gnats or lice. This plague was an attack upon the Egyptian god Geb, worshiped as the god of the earth.
Moses strikes the dust of the earth with his staff and the dust becomes the gnats. We do not know how much time passed between the plague of frogs and this plague of gnats. Quite possibly the plague of gnats from the dust of the earth have come while the piles of frogs are still stinking up the land of Egypt.
I am sure that Pharaoh is slightly annoyed by this point, but I am also sure that he is still smug in his attitude. I can picture him walking arrogantly into his throne room while he struggles to not slap and scratch at the lice covering his body. I can hear him loudly summon his magicians once again, expecting them to diminish his hidden fear.
How arrogant we humans can be when we do not want to be humbled. So many times we would rather struggle in our sin, suffer in our consequences, and sink deeper in our pits than just admit we are wrong. Proverbs 16:5 declares, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly he will not be unpunished.”
The magicians come and they pull all their tricks out of the bag. They try, but their secret arts cannot bring forth gnats. The magicians look at their Pharaoh and they say, “This is the finger of God.” (Exodus 8:19) God is through playing games. The magicians now realize this.
They now fully understand that the power of trickery and illusion that they held in their hands is no match for the One True Living God. They now understand that they are not dealing with a false god that they have created, that they have given power through their own manipulation, but they now understand that this God is real.
The magicians attempt to convince Pharaoh that he needs to listen to this God. His heart is so hard that he will not hear, and he hardens it further still.
When we see the obvious power of our God and yet refuse to bow to His authority we, like Pharaoh, harden our heart. Oh precious one, how careful we must be. Let us not excuse, rationalize, or dismiss the obvious finger of our God. Let us not chalk unexplained events up to circumstance and coincidence. Their are no coincidences with God. He is sovereign and is at work at all times.
When Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross it is written that the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. It is written that the tombs were opened and the dead arose. It is written that the earth quaked and the rocks shook and darkness fell over the land. It is written that when Jesus yielded up His spirit a centurion who was standing at the foot of the cross said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:50-54, Mark 15:33-39) It is also written that after even all of this obvious finger of God upon this moment in history, many still refused to believe.
Religious leaders came and asked for guards to be placed at the tomb because they knew that Jesus had foretold His resurrection. Then, even after the resurrection, when these eyes saw the risen Christ walking and appearing to many, they still attempted to excuse, to rationalize, to dismiss the obvious power of God. And their hearts were hardened. In Luke 16:31 we read “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”
Pharaoh is a man blinded by his own pride. Pharaoh curses and spurns the Lord. He is a man who in the haughtiness of his countenance refuses to seek God or even admit that there is a God besides the god that he himself claims to be (Psalm 10:3-4).
He has seen the evidence of the existence of the God of the Hebrews, yet denies Him still. He has seen the signs of the power of this God, yet still refuses to acknowledge Him as God. He has even experienced the mercy of this God, yet still refuses to give Him praise. Oh how stubborn we in our pride can be.
Your Word says that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18) How easily I can find myself stumbling in my pride. It was pride that led to the fall of man. It is pride that can keep us from ever getting up from that fall. Oh how the arrogance of our heart can deceive us (Obadiah 1:3). Father, forgive me for the times that I have let pride overtake me. My God, may I always be quick to recognize your power and your work in my life. May I always give You all the glory and praise.
My Jesus, it is in Your name I pray,