Fly Away Home

August 17, 2021

Exodus 8.20-32

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.

2“‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’”

24 And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.

25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”

26 But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”

28 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”

29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

30 Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.

Flies grow as larva on rotting meat, manure, garbage.  Sitting in a restaurant with others and seeing flies in the dining area does not give us great confidence.  Flies and dining at any level don’t seem to mix well for people.  We want flies to stay in the barn or at the dump.  Not in our places where we eat.

Yesterday we saw no distinction between people with the gnats coming.  Now we see a distinction.  God favours the land of Goshen – actually the people living there.  The ones Pharaoh has enslaved are favoured and the royal family and the officials, all of the Egyptians will have to deal with the flies.

This is one of those themes throughout God’s Word.  The reversal of what we have corrupted.  God raises up the weak and makes them strong.  He honours the ones who have been cast aside.  He uses the ones we have deemed without value.  Here he takes a people who have been made slaves and is making them free.  So the officials are hit with the plague, but the slaves are not.

Also as in the whole of this epic of the plagues, God is bringing salvation as a reversal for the curse of death and pain that has been brought into the world.  He is saving the Hebrew people from slavery.  But we will see this picture come up several times throughout the Old Testament in the prophets and the Psalms.  Paul will speak of our release from slavery when he speaks of our salvation, our being forgiven of sin and released from the resulting death that comes as the punishment.

Even these plagues that bring about the beginning of this return to the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob show that the result is about the promises of salvation God had made early in Genesis.  The reversal of the curses that came as the result of the fall into sin is pictured in the plagues and in the coming return to the land.  Restoration.  They will be restored and we have been restored.

SongGod So Loved


My Father, I abandon myself to you.  Do with me as you will.  Whatever you may do with me, I thank you.  I am prepared for anything; I accept everything, provided your will is fulfilled in me and in all creatures; I ask for nothing more, my God.  I place my soul in your hands.  I give it to you, my God, with all the love of my heart, because I love you.  Amen.

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