Exodus 9:8-12 Boils
Well we left Pharaoh hardening his heart. None of the plagues so far have caused him to think that maybe, just maybe God should be honored. We have seen that he refused to even let the Israelites go for three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to God. He has made promises to Moses about permitting this, and then taken them back. Each of the plagues given to Pharaoh have shown that God is more powerful than the idols that the Egyptians worshipped. We have now come to the Sixth plague Boils.
Remember that Pharaoh has finally crossed that line, where he has hardened his heart one too many times, and now God will honor that desire of Pharaoh. We will see God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, but that is only after Pharaoh made that choice five times previously.
Well, this new plague will be very unpleasant for the Egyptians, boils. What is a boil? It is a skin abscess, a localized infection deep in the skin. It starts out as a reddened, tender area, and becomes firm and hard. The center softens and fills with white blood cells to kill the infection, and this collection of white blood cells, bacteria and proteins forms pus. The pus forms a head which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drain out.
Imagine the fastidious Egyptians covered with pus filled boils. The Egyptian god, typhon, is the god targeted in this plague. Typhon was worshipped by sacrificing humans in a furnace (I would guess it would be the same furnace that Moses got his ashes from). Remember God requires obedience, not sacrifice. Typhon was a powerful Egyptian demon who constantly opposed a beneficent osiris. He is noted for bringing heat and drought and wind that came up from the Sahara desert, and destroyed everything that was vulnerable to heat. This wind later was called a typhoon. He was depicted as a monster of enormous bulk with several heads and wings from his shoulders. He imprisoned osiris in an ark and sent horus to an island. The other deities had to escape to save their lives, and hide in the shape of various animals, the same animals that the Egyptians later made into idols. He was later cast into Mount Etna, and is thought to have caused the blood red lava.
What is interesting about this plague is that this is a plague that God did not announce first, it just caught the Egyptians unaware. The Pharaoh could not pretend foreknowledge of it and He suffered as much as his subjects.
Exodus 9:8-10 So the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt. Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward the heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast.
Boils were not comfortable and it hurt the animals and humans, driving them mad. God permitted satan to try Job with boils too, but for a far different purpose. God wanted to show satan that Job would not reject God just because his circumstances were difficult. But from Job we can see how painful they boils were. Job 2:7-8 So satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
I have to apologize to you, because before, after the plague of lice when the magicians told Pharaoh that this was the hand of God, I did not think they made another appearance in front of Pharaoh, but I was wrong, for they show up here unable to stand before Moses, brought to their knees.
Genesis 9:11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
God has escalated the plagues to a point where Pharaoh, had his heart not been hardened, should have realized that he needed to obey God. How many of us are like Pharaoh? Circumstance after circumstance in our lives gives us challenges, but we are determined to handle it ourselves instead of calling out to God. How often have we disobeyed God and then faced the consequences of that disobedience without repenting?
All it would have taken was a bit of humility on Pharaoh’s part and he could have preserved himself and his people some massive grief. But no, instead, Pharaoh hardened his heart.
Now this plague came unannounced. But we will, in the end times also see a plague of boils which has been announced in the book of Revelation. Revelation 16:2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image.
I used to wonder about God and the plagues until I realized that in a way He is treating His creation like I would treat my child. When my kids disobey, I could not pat them on the back, smile and do nothing or else I would have created a tiny rebel. Instead they had to have consequences for their poor choices. I had to deprive them of an object that they loved, give them a time out, or as they got older take away a privilege. By doing this at an early age, I meet with little disobedience now, for they have grown to accept the limits that we value, and they honor them. The plagues seem harsh, but they did not start out as harsh. God first spoke to Pharaoh through Moses, then he showed him signs and wonders, and when that didn’t work there were annoying things. But Pharaoh chose to ignore God, and God had to speak “louder” to get Pharaoh’s attention.
How I pray that I am obedient to God, that I listen to Him the first time. It has taken quite some time for me to realize that God does not issue orders just to issue orders. Growing up in my home, I learned that when my parents said they loved me, it meant they wanted something from me and it would hurt. I realized that their demands were more self-serving and did not always have my best interests at heart. But God, God loves with an agape love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13, and His love and commandments, and orders are not to make me jump through a hoop, but instead to help me grow in ways that are best for me. I had to learn that the Creator of the Universe knows what is best for His creation. If I follow God’s guidance, things go well, if not there are troubles. God wants to help us avoid the difficulties through our obedience to Him.
Hoping you have a blessed Sunday.
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