25Seven days after the Lord had struck the Nile,
1he said to Moses:
Go to the palace and tell the king of Egypt that I order him to let my people go, so they can worship me. 2If he refuses, I will cover his entire country with frogs. 3Warn the king that the Nile will be full of frogs, and from there they will spread into the royal palace, including the king's bedroom and even his bed. Frogs will enter the homes of his officials and will find their way into ovens and into the bowls of bread dough. 4Frogs will be crawling on everyone—the king, his officials, and every citizen of Egypt.
5Moses, now command Aaron to hold his stick over the water. Then frogs will come from all rivers, canals, and ponds in Egypt, and they will cover the land.
6Aaron obeyed, and suddenly frogs were everywhere in Egypt. 7But the magicians used their secret powers to do the same thing.
8The king sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, “If you ask the Lord to take these frogs away from me and my people, I will let your people go and offer sacrifices to him.”
9“All right,” Moses answered. “You choose the time when I am to pray for the frogs to stop bothering you, your officials, and your people, and for them to leave your houses and be found only in the river.”
10“Do it tomorrow!” the king replied.
“As you wish,” Moses agreed. “Then everyone will discover that there is no god like the Lord, 11and frogs will no longer be found anywhere, except in the Nile.”
12After Moses and Aaron left the palace, Moses begged the Lord to do something about the frogs he had sent as punishment for the king. 13The Lord listened to Moses, and the frogs died everywhere—in houses, yards, and fields. 14The dead frogs were placed in piles, and the whole country began to stink. 15But when the king saw that things were now better, he again did just as the Lord had said he would and stubbornly refused to listen to Moses and Aaron.
16The Lord said to Moses, “Command Aaron to strike the ground with his walking stick, and everywhere in Egypt the dust will turn into gnats.” 17They obeyed, and when Aaron struck the ground with the stick, gnats started swarming on people and animals. In fact, every speck of dust in Egypt turned into a gnat. 18When the magicians tried to use their secret powers to do this, they failed, and gnats stayed on people and animals.
19 The magicians told the king, “God has done this.”
But, as the Lord had said, the king was too stubborn to listen.
“Let my people go” (8:2). This is the focus of God’s Story in Exodus. The book opens in slavery and closes with Israel in freedom to worship God. It is tempting to look at the plagues God brought to Egypt simply as agents of destruction but their purpose was to save his people. God is in the business of redemption. Why frogs? They were considered sacred, a symbol of fertility, by the Egyptians. This calamity critiqued another false god of Egypt; God is still answering Pharaoh’s question so that he will know that there is no one like him (v10). With the addition of the gnats without warning, Pharaoh’s magicians recognized that “God has done this” but Pharaoh still reneged on his promise to let Israel worship the Creator (vv 15 & 19).
If there had been no slavery there would be no need for redemption. If this story were aired on prominent news channels today, the emphasis would be on the injustice of slavery. The focus of God’s story is redemption. We are – all of us – slaves to sin (Romans 6:16) until God saves us out of that slavery to worship him. There are ways to be entangled by the gods of our day that might not be as tangible to us as a river or frogs. Today we are sold the sacred idea that real freedom is doing whatever we want to do, but God designed us to journey with him in obedience. He bought us back with a price that we could never repay. He releases us into true freedom, peace and power.
As the Story in Exodus unfolds, we learn important truths. Pharaoh’s disobedience unleashes disorder, disintegration and a return to dust. Recognition of the unique Creator, the only one who brings life from dust, prompts us to obedience and fulfillment in our life. God’s promises are true, his plans prevail and his purpose is to redeem his people.
God our Redeemer, your Word is true and you never fail us. You created us so we can choose to love you. Show us what we worship in our hearts that does not please you. Bring us out of our slavery into your freedom. In the promised Messiah, Jesus, Amen.