In our study of Exodus chapter eight, we will look at how the devil tries to get us to compromise but God wants unconditional surrender.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to Pharaoh and say to him, "This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs upon your whole country. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials."'
The Egyptians had a god named Hapi who they credited with providing nourishment to the people and it was depicted with a frog in its mouth. The battle of the gods continues with the Lord declaring that He would turn their so called blessing into a curse.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron, "Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt."' So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Once again, the stubbornness of Pharaoh was demonstrated as he refused to comply with God's demands. Aaron called up frogs but the magicians did the same thing.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, 'Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.' Moses said to Pharaoh, 'I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials, and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.' 'Tomorrow,' Pharaoh said. Moses replied, 'It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.'
Pharaoh appears to have given in to the will of God as he asks Moses and Aaron to pray to the Lord on his behalf. It appears that he has offered unconditional surrender but, as we shall see, that is not the case.
After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
What appeared to be unconditional surrender to the will of God turned out to be just a desire to escape a current problem. When the problem was removed, the true state of Pharaoh's heart was revealed. The same type of thing happens with us in our Christian walk as we can see people make a profession of faith when times are tough but, when the tough times pass, so does the faith. Many people have seen this happen and concluded that the people had lost their salvation. The opposite has happened in that those people are like Pharaoh. They never surrendered to the will of God and did not lose their salvation but did not have it to begin with.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron, "Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground," and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.' They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats.
The pattern of warning is changed now as Moses and Aaron immediately executed the next plague. The gnats were probably lice or ticks and was a direct attack on their earth "god" Geb. This reminds us that there is a point where God will stop warning us of our need to repent and He will initiate judgment.
But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, the magicians said to Pharaoh, 'This is the finger of God.' But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.
When the magicians could not duplicate the plague, they informed Pharaoh that it was the hand of God. Even with the testimony of his prized magicians, Pharaoh still rejected the will of God. This reminds us that our surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord is not based on what someone else says but on what is at work in our hearts.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river 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; even the ground will be covered with them."'
Once again, Moses is sent to meet Pharaoh and to give him a warning. The flies that were spoken of were in fact beetles or scarabs. They were thought to be sacred to their sun god.
'"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 sign will occur tomorrow."'
Until this point, the plagues had affected all of the people in the land of Egypt. Now, God is going to protect His people so that the Egyptians see that he is in control. This is also a picture of the sealing of the witnesses as described in Revelation.
And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh's palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
God sent the beetles and their so-called sacred thing became a curse. This is a reminder to us that those who put their hope in the things of the world will be cursed by those things.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, 'Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.'
Once again, Pharaoh tries to get Moses and Aaron to compromise in what God had said to them. This is the way that Satan works in the world today. That compromise can cause separation as we know that it is wrong. Satan can then use that separation to make us feel that we are unable to turn back to our heavenly Father.
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 wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.'
Moses did not compromise as Pharaoh wanted but he also did not glorify God with his answer. He was right to refuse but when he gave the excuse of being afraid of the Egyptians instead of the fact that they had to obey God, he was wrong.
Pharaoh said, 'I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, 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 let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.'
When Pharaoh saw that Moses would not compromise on what God had told them to do, he apparently caved in again. Moses warned him to carry through on his promise.
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.
Once again, when the plague was lifted, Pharaoh did not keep his word. This is a reminder to us that unconditional surrender to the will of God will be demonstrated by our actions in serving Him.