Faith of Life and Death

August 15, 2021

Exodus 7.25-8.15

25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”

So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”

10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”

12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.

We start to fall into a pattern here.  Pharaoh refuses, then relents as crisis comes and remains, then Pharaoh refuses after the crisis is over.  Similar to those foxhole conversions in war.  Quick to believe while life is in crisis, but when it is over, promises are forgotten.

Looking at the frogs as the crisis here it is not quite apparent to us at first.  Frogs are a symbol of life and fertility, yet the crisis is over when the frogs are dead and swept out of their houses.  The symbol of life is dead.  But there is another way the frog comes up in ancient Egypt.  The symbol of the frog is written after the names of those who have died.

It is not the only symbol of life that shows death as well.  Water is the symbol of life.  We drink it and are refreshed by it.  It brings life in the rains.  We see images of water filled with creatures showing us life.  Yet in the pictures of the storm and flood, tsunami waves bringing destruction and death.

Out of the waters that bring life we see the creature that symbolizes both life and death come into the homes of all.  And if you have ever had a frog, or a hundred frogs, in your home, you might not be so gracious about them either. 

And for Pharaoh, while in the blood his magicians did the same and then it is over, here the magicians make frogs appear as well.  But it is not over.  He has to turn to Moses to get the frogs to leave.  It becomes more and more clear that Moses is representing the wishes of the most powerful God, not the Egyptian magicians.  Yet we see Pharaoh end again with refusal to listen.

What does it take to bring true faith into life here?  We would hope it would come much more easily.  And we see that God is showing his power to more than just Pharaoh, he is showing it to Israel as they will need to follow through the desert and through the waters.  They will need to know that God is working for their good and that he is capable of all things.

We also follow this same God.  May our faith be strong before needing to see such wonders, but also strengthened as we see these wonders throughout Exodus and in our own days as well.  God still works his miracles in our midst today.

Song Lord of My Life

Prayer

O Lord, uphold us by your Holy Spirit.  Give us the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever.  Amen.

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