I don’t know about y’all, but if I would have lasted through frogs, gnats, flies and all my animals dying, I dang sure would have relented after being covered in boils. Cringe. I had a boil in my ear once (well, actually twice, which now that I think about it, is probably weird), and that was one painful sucker. I can’t imagine being covered in them from head to toe. (If you don’t know what a boil is, have a gander on Google – or don’t if you’re not in the mood to see photos of grody zit-like monstrosities.) And that, my friends, is plenty enough said about boils.
Let’s talk about pharaoh and these plagues. At first, God was just sending pesky creatures to bug the heck out of pharaoh and his people. In this chapter, God starts going for pharaoh’s pocketbook first and then goes straight for his person. After God has killed all the livestock and covered the people in nasty boils (Sorry. Had to mention them again.), he wipes out whatever was left in a rip-roaring hailstorm. By this time, some of the people were starting to believe (v. 20) in God, and pharaoh’s promises have now graduated from insincere to downright blasphemous. He even pretends to confess (v. 27), but both Moses and God know he is lying. I can almost hear the pain and suffering in Moses’ voice as he says to pharaoh, “Alright, I’ll pray for you again, but I know you’re lying, and this breaks my pea-picking heart! Why don’t you just relent? You’re making this a thousand times harder than it should have been.” Moses knows there is great suffering in store for the very near future, and he sounds grieved because he knows something horrific is coming for pharaoh and his people. This is tough love at its finest. Sometimes I see my kids going through a similar process (as did I when I was younger – and still do!) while discovering life’s ups and downs. They will argue and protest and not budge from their opinions and positions for so long that they pay a bigger price than if they would have just listened to a wise old lady’s (ahem) advice in the first place because that wise old lady probably has been there, done that. Still, they stand on the principle of their original plan. We look at that and go, “You’re ridiculously silly and stubborn,” but like pharaoh, they see it as standing up for what they believe (or at least believed when the whole mess started).
God sums up the purpose for this whole fiasco in verses 14 to 16: then you will know that there is no on like me anywhere, and I have spared you so that you can not only witness my power but also tell others about it. We don’t like trials. Many of us are going through the Coronavirus stay-at-home trial right now, so maybe we can relate a little to what God is saying in this chapter: you can’t experience growth if you’re already big, beautiful and perfect. Shrinking stuff down and going back to the basics is sometimes the best way to start over, learn more and grow better. Tragedy is never fun, but the blessings that come from them would never be possible without them.
Writing prompt: plague
What’s plaguing you today? Have a free-for-all writing day and just get your emotions out on paper. See if you can work through your feelings or at least find a blessing or two from your vent session.