Friday, September 30, 2011

Why put off until tomorrow?

Exodus 8:10

I was cruising through some old notes today, taken during church years ago, and noticed a detail that astounded me.  I may have noticed this back when I took those notes, but if I did, I have totally forgotten it.  It's getting so I can hide my own Easter eggs, isn't it?

The Book is Exodus.  The chapter is 8.  The scene is the 2nd plague in Egypt.  The characters in this particular scene are Moses and Pharaoh.

The background:  Moses and his homies would like to leave Egypt, but Pharoah is reluctant to bid a fond "bon voyage" to his enormous Hebrew workforce.  Moses, commissioned by God to speak for Him, commands Pharaoh to let them leave.

Pharaoh says no.

Moses and his brother Aaron show the power of God, casting down Aaron's rod before Pharaoh, where it became a serpent.

Pharaoh says so what?

Moses and Aaron, at God's urging, up the ante, holding out the rod of Aaron over the waters of Egypt, which became blood.  Every last bloody drop.

Pharaoh says what else ya got?

So Moses and Aaron, following God's direction, stretch out Aaron's rod over "the streams, the rivers and the ponds, causing frogs to come up on the land of Egypt."  And so they came.  Frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.  Now, clearly Egypt has a pest problem at this point.  If these frogs are covering the land of Egypt, there are a lot.  In the houses.  In the stockyards.  In the drinking water.  In the food.   So Pharaoh's magicians work their magic to solve the problem.  Oh, no, wait a minute.  No, that's not what they did.  Verse 7:  "the magicians did the same with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt."

I'm at a loss to explain why Pharaoh's magicians used their magic to make matters worse.  Why didn't they magically make the plague of frogs disappear?  The short answer is:  they couldn't.  It was a miracle of God, and there is no undoing that.  But we don't even see Pharaoh asking them to try.  So, frogs, frogs and more frogs.

And here's a wonderful bit of irony, cuz God loves irony.  Frogs were sacred to Egyptians.  The frog was the symbol of four different gods in Egypt, and so it was forbidden to kill them.  So the people had few options to rid themselves of the trouble.

Which brings us to our scene.  Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and asked:  "Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go and sacrifice to the Lord."  And Moses responded with something unexpected.  He said to Pharaoh, "Then please accept the honor I give you, of saying when I shall intercede for you and your people, to destroy the frogs from among you."

When?  Moses is asking Pharaoh when he wants to be rid of this plague?  When??  Why in the world would the answer be anything but "um, right now please."

But it's not.  Pharaoh's response was, "tomorrow."  And this, my friends, is a warning.  I can't imagine why Pharaoh didn't want the plague gone right away, but I do think that's it's not uncommon for us to react the same way.  We want to begin our diet ~ but not until after the holidays.  We want to stop smoking ~ starting January 1.  We want to start going to bed earlier so we can get up to read the Bible ~ but we'll start after the weekend.  We pray for God to remove a sinful habit from us, but not too fast.  We want to wean ourselves off of that which is spiritually crippling us, because sin is pleasurable, though only fleetingly. (Hebrews 11:25)

But the Lord is "I Am."  He is about now.  He promises you that you can be a new creation in Him.  Why would you wait?

~ "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; 
the old things have passed away, 
the new has come!" ~
2 Corinthians 5:17

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