Sunday January 21st
At a recent pastor’s conference each minister in attendance was asked the same question: “How many people does it take to change a light bulb?”
The answers were as follows.
The Presbyterian Pastor responded, “None. If God wants the bulb changed he is sovereign and He will do it all by himself without any human effort.”
The Charismatic Pastor replied, “None. The bulb doesn’t need to be changed. It needs to be healed.”
The Pentecostal Pastor said, “None. We need to cast out the demon of darkness from the bulb.”
The Fundamentalist Pastor stated, “None. Because we shouldn’t even enter that room. We need to keep ourselves separate from all of that darkness.”
The Baptist Pastor responded, “None. If we allow physical contact between a person and a bulb, all that turning and twisting might lead to dancing.”
Well, Moses might be asking a similar question to Pharaoh, because by the time chapter ten of Exodus is over, it’s going to get pretty dark in Egypt!
But first, there will be locusts!
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
We’ve talked before about Pharaoh hardening his own heart on some occasions and then God hardening it for him on other occasions. God essentially allowed Pharaoh to follow his own rebellion against obeying God’s commands. If Pharaoh wanted to have a hard heart, God was not only going to LET him have one, He was going to HELP him have one!
And God tells Moses that the end result of all of this hardness of heart will be an opportunity for God to display his power. And God also tells Moses that this will be something that the Israelites will be able to tell their children about for generations to come.
We see this happening in Deuteronomy 6:20–25
“When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Moreover, the Lord showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 24 So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.”
It’s important to remember the value of our testimony. There is power in proclaiming what God has done in our lives – the things that He has set us free from!
Now on to the locusts!
3 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 4 For if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They will also eat the rest of what has escaped—what is left to you from the hail—and they will eat every tree which sprouts for you out of the field. 6 Then your houses shall be filled and the houses of all your servants and the houses of all the Egyptians, something which neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day that they came upon the earth until this day.’” And he turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God! Who are the ones that are going?” 9 Moses said, “We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” 10 Then he said to them, “Thus may the Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is in your mind. 11 Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you desire.” So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
Notice that Pharaoh is continuing to try to cut a deal with Moses for less than what the Lord was demanding.
God told Moses that everyone should go, but Pharaoh says he will only let the men go.
And what do we tell the devil when he offers us a compromise? NO DEAL!
That’s exactly what Moses says!
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt and eat every plant of the land, even all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord directed an east wind on the land all that day and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again. 15 For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Thus nothing green was left on tree or plant of the field through all the land of Egypt.
A swarm of locusts can include as many 130 million locusts per square mile. Some swarms have covered more than 400 square miles (an area 20 miles by 20 miles) Locusts can move across and devour 60 miles per day.
The Book of Joel records a locust plague that was a judgment against Israel in Joel 1:2-4
Hear this, O elders,
And listen, all inhabitants of the land.
Has anything like this happened in your days
Or in your fathers’ days?
3 Tell your sons about it,
And let your sons tell their sons,
And their sons the next generation.
4 What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten;
And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten;
And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.
When God finally pours out His end-time judgment, He will sent a particularly nasty kind of locust, one that doesn’t attack plants, but people:
Revelation 9:3-6 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he strikes a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
The end result of the plague of locusts upon Egypt is a momentary repentance from Pharaoh as usual:
16 Then Pharaoh hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron, and he said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and make supplication to the Lord your God, that He would only remove this death from me.” 18 He went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the Lord. 19 So the Lord shifted the wind to a very strong west wind which took up the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not one locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.
Pharaoh acts like he is repentant, because he wants the locusts gone, but he doesn’t want his Hebrew slaves gone, which means another plague is on its way:
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.
This form of darkness was clearly more than an eclipse of the sun. It was a kind of supernatural darkness. Someone has called it “the most mysterious of all the plagues”.
Verse 22 calls it “thick darkness” and verse 21 calls it “a darkness that could be FELT”!
Verse 23 says that the Egyptians “did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days” which seems to suggest that there was something about this darkness that prevented people from not just seeing, but even moving.
Whatever it was, this uninterrupted darkness settled over all of Egypt for three days, but the Children of Israel still had light in their homes.
Just like we saw with the frogs, there was a real irony here because the Egyptians celebrated the dawn of each morning because they claimed that the sun god had overcome the serpent of darkness once again. This plague of darkness was another proof of the Hebrew God’s superiority over the Egyptian gods.
This also included Horus – who was supposedly the god of the sky. It was believed that the sun was one of his eyes and the moon the other eye.
So when the sun didn’t show up for three straight days, it was like God was giving Horus a black eye!
Even after all of these demonstrations of God’s power, Pharaoh still offers one more deal:
24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be detained. Even your little ones may go with you.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the Lord our God. 26 Therefore, our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the Lord our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not know with what we shall serve the Lord.” 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!” 29 Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!”
Here are three things that I want you to remember from chapter 10:
First, when God has called you to do something, you don’t have to fear anyone or anything!
Pharaoh threatens Moses by saying “Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!”
But Moses simply replies “That’s right, I won’t be seeing your face again, because my God is about to deliver me and my people from your slavery. So bye-bye!”
Second, the power of testimony can’t be emphasized enough. God told Moses that when all of this was over, the people of Israel would have something to proclaim for generations to come. And they certainly did proclaim it!
Look at Psalm 78:44-5144 And turned their rivers to blood,
And their streams, they could not drink.
45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper
And the product of their labor to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones
And their herds to bolts of lightning.
49 He sent upon them His burning anger,
Fury and indignation and trouble,
A band of destroying angels.
50 He leveled a path for His anger;
He did not spare their soul from death,
But gave over their life to the plague,
51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.
And again we see the testimony of deliverance in Psalm 105:28-3628 He sent darkness and made it dark;
And they did not rebel against His words.
29 He turned their waters into blood
And caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs
Even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies
And gnats in all their territory.
32 He gave them hail for rain,
And flaming fire in their land.
33 He struck down their vines also and their fig trees,
And shattered the trees of their territory.
34 He spoke, and locusts came,
And young locusts, even without number,
35 And ate up all vegetation in their land,
And ate up the fruit of their ground.
36 He also struck down all the firstborn in their land,
The first fruits of all their vigor.
The final thing that I want you to remember from this chapter is that because of Jesus we are not the objects of God’s wrath and judgment, we are the recipients of His mercy!
Look at this wonderful promise in 1 Thessalonians 5:9
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”
And not only is God going to spare us from experiencing His wrath, He is also going to help us to repair the damage that we did in our lives prior to our salvation. He is going to restore aspects of our lives that we ruined when we lived our lives outside of His will and His plan.
Here is God’s promise to us found in Joel 2:25
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten”
That’s such a reassuring promise. Whatever things we messed up, whatever relationships we destroyed, whatever self-worth we trashed – God is able, and WILLING to make right again.
Can you trust Him today to do that in your life?