Personal studies Exodus 10 – Locusts

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Exodus 10:1-20 Locusts

 Have you ever noticed how easy it is to judge another person? I look at Pharaoh and marvel at how prideful and stubborn he is. I tell myself that in similar situations I would make wiser choices and preserve the lives of the people and the plants and animals. Of course, when I look at my life and the strongholds that I have to still face, I see that I too tenaciously hold onto certain behaviors that I know are not in my best interests, and I keep getting some of the same lessons over and over. But God will use these to shape and mold me. The difference, I think between Pharaoh and us, is that our heart’s desire is to be teachable, to be yielded to God, and to obey God. The more we do that, the fewer plagues of circumstances will be in our lives and the fewer reruns.

Exodus 10:1-2 Now the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”

You have to admit, for those who have eyes to see, these plagues are certainly a powerful witness about God’s supremacy and superiority over Pharaoh. The plagues are troublesome to the Egyptians, but they have to be working on the Israelites too. Remember, they had been slaves to the Egyptians for 400 years, and God had to build up their faith to realize that God is superior to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Israelites will know, by the time the plagues are over, beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is ABLE. This will be important when God makes the change in their lives, having them leave the Egyptians.

God works that way in our lives too. He builds up our faith, when we walk with God in our lives, we see all the little and big circumstances where God has come through in our lives, and we store up those memories in our minds. It is good to be thankful to God for all the good He has done in our lives for two reasons. 1. God deserves our thankfulness, and 2. recounting the numerous wonderful things He has done in our lives builds up our faith. Then when the next trial or test comes we can remember what God HAS done, and trust that HE WILL do it again.

I sometimes wish that I could walk through life without trials and tests, but I also know that there is no testimony without a test – frankly I sometimes wish there was just a moany and that I could moan and gripe about circumstances and then God takes care of it, but it doesn’t work that way. He wants me to act in faith, to claim His word, to do His will, even when I don’t feel like it, even when circumstances don’t seem to indicate that that is the right thing (in my own understanding) to do. I have to trust God, and as I past the tests, then I have a testimony of the greatness of God.

Exodus 10:3-6 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews; ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth, and they shall eat the residue of what is left., which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field. They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians–which neither your fathers nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.'” And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

                                                        

A locust is a herbivore and millions of them travel together in swarms. When a swarm arrives in an area, the sky turns black because the millions of locusts stop the light from reaching the ground. There can be as many as 40 million locusts in a swarm and they can travel 2,175 miles in one month. They do not travel at night, and they can fly up to 8 hours before they come to rest on an area of vegetation. Each locust can eat 2 grams of vegetation a day, and a swarm can eat 80,000 tons in one day. If they come to rest on a field of crops, the swarm can eat enough food to feed 400,000 people for one year. And a google search will show you that there are still plagues of locusts occurring now.

The Egyptian god seth is supposed to be the protector of crops, and seth will be unable to save the crops from the locusts, so God is showing Himself to be greater than seth. What God has been doing for Pharaoh, and what he does in our lives is to systematically expose and topple every false god and idol that we worship or value higher than God. Once they are exposed, we have a choice about what we will do with that knowledge. Pharaoh chooses to harden his heart, but we can also choose to surrender the idols and humble ourselves before God. Pharaoh could have become very great in Egypt had he bowed his knees to God.

Exodus 10:7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed.

Oh, this is such a profound statement about how we deal with situations with a hardened heart. We find out that our circumstances are deteriorating, but we ignore the evidence, and hold on tightly to our false perceptions. His servants are seeing exactly what is happening, but Pharaoh is not seeing that his whole world is falling apart around him. Now one thing I am curious about, what was the emphasis of what the servants said. “Let the men GO.” or “Let the MEN go.” We will see that Pharaoh heard the latter, but we cannot bargain with God that way.

Exodus 10:8-9 So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. Who are the ones that are going?” And Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.”

Heather’s wondering comment, Moses said nothing about “we will go with our wives.” He does mentions sons and daughters.

Exodus 10:10 Then he said to them, “The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you.”

Pharaoh is threatening Moses with God, assuming that if Moses takes God with him (as if we can go anywhere where God is not) that God will give the Israelites grief like the Egyptians have had the plagues. What Pharaoh does not realize is that God is not fickle like their gods. God says what He means and He means what He says. He keeps His word, and He is sovereign. We cannot dicker with God, we cannot bargain. God values obedience. There is no halfway, God wants full commitment.

Exodus 10:11 “Not so! Go now, you who are men and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

This is not acceptable to God, for God wants to deliver the whole nation Israel, not just let the men go and sacrifice. That is like Pharaoh saying that he will hold the women and children hostage until the men return. Pharaoh will not win this debate with God. God does not mind our debating and talking with Him and sharing our concerns with Him. But in the end, we need to agree with God, for God has our best interests at heart.

Exodus 10:12-15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land–all that the hail has left.” So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all the day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went all over the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. 

                                    locusts_feeding

                                   120-locusts

The above picture is from a recent plague of locusts in Egypt.

Exodus 10:16-17 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron to haste, and said, “I have sinned against the LORD God and against you. Now therefore please forgive me my sin only this once and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.

Haven’t we heard Pharaoh say these exact words before? And it is not only this ONCE. Pharaoh has consistently ignored God and not obeyed. It must be particularly humbling for Pharaoh to have to ask Moses and Aaron to ask God. Isn’t Pharaoh supposed to be the one who orders the gods around? Guess it doesn’t work with our LORD.

I know that in my life I have sometimes asked God something, made a promise, and then broke it. Not intentionally like Pharaoh, but still I have made promises and found myself doing the same old things I previously did. We make New Year’s resolutions and break them. At some point, we need to realize that real change comes from obedience to God, comes from turning things over to God and letting God work in us, as we obey God. But to just say “sorry” and not really mean it is displeasing to God. Just think about how our kids often say that they are sorry when they get caught doing wrong – what it often translates too is “I am sorry I got caught.” A discerning parent can tell when a child is truly sorry, or just conveniently sorry. So can a discerning God tell when we have truly repented.

Exodus 10:18-20 So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not only one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s  heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.

No surprises there.

Just a few interesting notes. Did you know that God considered locusts wise?
 Proverbs 30:24-28 There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise. The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the craigs, the locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks; the spider skillfully grasps with its hand, and it is in kings’ palaces.

So natural locusts have no king, but they advance in ranks. What an interesting comment. One thing that this brings to mind is how strongly the Israelites pleaded for a king to be like the other kingdoms around them, and God warned them that having a king was not all it was cracked up to be. They really did better with judges and priests guiding them.

We are having locust plagues still on the earth, and they still cause major devastation. But, there will be one more plague of locusts, a plague so grotesque, for the locusts will not be what we are used to, and so unnatural that this plague will have a king.

Revelation 9:1-10 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth.(Heather’s note in this case, the star is an angel sent by God to open up the bottomless pit) To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it: they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men for five months.

                           LOCUSTS       

Revelation 9:11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

Both of those names mean “destroyer.” So, we know this is an unnatural creature, not only because of its physical description, but because it has a king over it. While the above picture is an artist’s fanciful imagination of what the creature will look like, it is not your ordinary locust. God will send that plague as the first “Woe” where the plagues escalate on the earth. Some will realize that they need Christ and come to God, but many on earth will do as Pharaoh of old did, harden their hearts. God is making sure that there are ample opportunities to accept Christ. And if we don’t hear the message in a gentle way, God will up the ante. 

I think the most important lesson to learn from these plagues is that we really need to be aware of what God is saying in our lives, and obey Him. He is sovereign, and His goal is for our good, not for evil. But, just like with our children, if they disobey, we will give them repercussions, so will God in our lives. Just like we do not like to have to correct our children, neither does God want to have to correct us. I know that I could have saved myself a lot of grief if, when I was 8, instead of turning my back on God, I turned toward God. I cannot make up those lost years, I cannot forget the pain that I suffered because of my rebellion, I cannot turn back the pages of time, but now I have God in my life and God is a restorer.

One last passage that is very important. When God sends correction in our lives, when we make stupid mistakes, and sometimes make them over and over, when our lives are in a shambles and we finally wise up and turn to God, we can accept that this following verse is true in our lives, when we call out to God, Joel 2:25 So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust and the chewing locust. My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied. And praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you: And My people shall never be put to shame.”

This is a near and a far prophesy, for God will restore Israel. But He will also restore us as we come to Him. If you listen to the testimonies of people who have accepted Christ in their lives, you will hear how God has restored what they destroyed in their own way of doing things, my testimony included in this. Only God can, as Isaiah 61 says, give beauty for ashes and turn our mourning to dancing.

Have a blessed day,
Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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