Scripture: And the LORD did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Exodus 8:13-15 ESV
Observation: With this second plague, we see a reversal of the Creation Order. Where God created from chaos our harmonious world that teems with animals who submit to humans, here (and with plagues 3, 4, and 8), we see sin’s turnabout: swarming animals overrunning humans. Moreover, these tiny, seemingly powerless frogs as a whole exercise greater power than the single mighty Pharaoh, who considered himself a god-man. And it’s no coincidence that Heqet, the Egyptian god of fertility, possessed the head of a frog. In effect, this plague demonstrates God’s superiority over this false fertility god. Moreover, it metes apt punishment for Pharaoh utilizing the Nile to diminish the fertility of the Hebrew nation in casting their baby boys into the river.
The second plague also marks the last associated with the Nile and the first to spark fear in Pharaoh to spur negotiation for its end. Asking Moses to plead to the Lord to remove the frogs from their dwellings, Pharaoh promises to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord (8:8). Moses agrees and then, along with Aaron, cries out to Yahweh to terminate the frogs, which leads to the above verses. But now that the frogs have died, restoring the land from chaos to order, Pharaoh again hardens his heart and refuses to let Israel go.
Takeaway: The are two here. First, we need to self-own that we are no better than Pharaoh. At some point, all of us bargain with God to rescue us from trials, only to break our promises when the suffering subsides. Secondly, when negotiating with our enemies, we must be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Jesus said these exact words when preparing his disciples for the opposition they would encounter in their missions (Matthew 10:16).
So what would this balanced disposition look like for Moses and us? For Moses, he would not likely change anything he said or did but maintain a godly posture of patience and restraint, knowing the sinful extent of his own heart and that of Egypt’s godless ruler. For you and me, similarly, we would do well when holding others accountable to exercise patience—not assuming immediate results or naively entrusting ourselves to them. And we would do well to exercise humble restraint by refraining from expressing our anger (from fear and frustration) when confronting others. Gentle correction (from a humble disposition) is far more effective. Indeed, by the grace of God alone, we all go onward and upward.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you are longsuffering and patient with us. That instead of pouring out your wrath on us who were once your enemies, you meted justice for our stubborn and rebellious hearts on your beloved Son. So would you please help us act wisely and humbly toward our enemies and maintain a godly posture of patience and restraint, knowing that you have done the same for us? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling