Exodus 8:20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
21 Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
22 And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
23 And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
24 And the LORD did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.
25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.
26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?
27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.
28 And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.
29 And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to morrow: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.
30 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD.
31 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one.
32 And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.
Pharaoh needed to learn that you don’t try to make deals with God. He was not even a saved man and thus he had no vital relationship with the LORD. The LORD was now going to intensify the pressure upon Pharaoh. There is no indication here of a reprieve from the lice to the flies.
In verse 20 we see that the common meeting place was at the river. Moses was to be there early in the morning to meet Pharaoh. God’s people need to be ready for action early in the morning. We are reminded that those who are saved need to meet with the Lord first thing in the morning. God wants to direct our steps before we get busy.
Those that are lost also need to be reminded of the true God first thing in the morning. Pharaoh needed to be reminded that he was not in charge. He had a thick skull and this fact never sunk in for him. However, God would still show him that this was true.
In verse 21 Pharaoh was warned that if he did not let the people go, the LORD would send swarms of flies to infest the people’s lives. God also told Pharaoh that He would make a difference between the children of Israel and the Egyptians. In verse 22 we read of that and of God’s purpose for this division. Pharaoh needed to know that the LORD was the LORD in the midst of the earth. He is overall and He can do things in one part that will not be the same in another part.
In verse 23 God used the word translated as “division” to speak of what He was about to do. The Hebrew word there speaks of “ransom, redeem”. The LORD had already demanded that Pharaoh let His people go. Now He would show the blessing of being the people of God. To redeem is to “buy back”. God provides redemption to those who turn to Him in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. He purchases those who trust in Him from the curse that He has placed man under since the fall. The LORD had separated Israel through Abraham. He had been building that nation and He had also been dealing with that nation in a unique way. Now He was going to show Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt some of the blessings of being redeemed by Him.
In our text, the LORD was using the picture of separating out the children of Israel with regard to the importance of belonging to the LORD. The nation of Israel was in bondage to Pharaoh in the physical sense. Egypt is used as a picture of the world in the Bible and lost people are in bondage to sin and are children of this world. The nation of Israel was very much bound by this world and they needed to see the importance of trusting in the true God. The nation of Egypt was bound in idolatry and needed to see the importance of being delivered from that bondage.
The LORD promised to send the flies and to make the division “tomorrow” and He did as He promised. The swarms of flies filled the houses of the Egyptians, and the entire land of Egypt. We read in verse 24 that the land was corrupted by the flies. The Hebrew word translated as “corrupted” means to “ruin”. Flies can make a real mess of things.
The premier of Ontario was making a speech recently and during that speech a bee flew into his mouth. He tried to get it out of his mouth but I do not know if he succeeded. These swarms of flies would be such that a person would not be able to breathe without getting them in the nostrils and in the mouth. They would be in the food and everywhere.
God continued to show Pharaoh and the Egyptians that life was hard without Him. In verse 25 we see that Pharaoh was frustrated with this continuance of attacks against him and his land. He was beginning to see that this was not a good thing. However, as we see, he did not see the importance of showing reverence to the true God.
In verses 26-27 Moses stated the necessity of the entire nation leaving to serve the LORD. Moses reminded Pharaoh that they needed to listen to the LORD and go where He would tell them to go.
In verse 28 Pharaoh tried to make a deal with Moses. He was not willing to yield to the LORD’s authority. He would let the nation go but not too far away. If they were to go away for three days, that would be three days where no bricks would be made. No doubt there were other days up to this time where no bricks were being made. The Egyptians were preoccupied with trying to survive with the plagues that God was sending.
Pharaoh was desperate for a moment. He was desperate to have the flies removed. We see that Moses did as Pharaoh requested and the LORD removed the flies from the people of Egypt. We see also in verse 32 that as soon as the flies were gone, Pharaoh hardened his heart. He had no intention of letting the people go. He was a liar. He was still trying to gain the upper hand with the LORD.
There are people who are desperate for some relief from the struggles of life. Sometimes they will cry out to God for help. We know that during WWII men in the trenches would try to make deals with God if He would protect them from death. Many of those who survived that war never trusted in the Lord. They just wanted to get out of that war safely. They chose alcohol and cigarettes and immorality as their “comfort zone”. There are others today who just want a quick fix, but not a life in Christ. As we see with Pharaoh, that does not work.
The Bible is clear that no lost man will have an excuse when they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the great white throne judgment. The books will be opened and the Lord will reveal just how wicked each person was. His judgment will be just. Pharaoh may have thought himself quite powerful and quite proud at this moment, but that would be short lived. God would continue to reveal His power to the nation of Egypt as well as to the nation of Israel.
God has not called me to go to meet anyone at the river this morning. He has called me to be faithful in preaching His Word in season and out of season. He has called you to go to a true house of God today. He has something to say to each one reading this. He has chosen the true local church as the place to meet with you today. Will you listen to Him? His message to you is more important than anything else you have planned for today.
Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.