Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: God's Deliverance Of Israel Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
K. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Flies
(Exodus 8:20-32)
  1. Introduction
    1. As we before noted, Scripture reveals five goals for the plagues of Egypt: they came to deliver Israel from Egypt, to answer Pharaoh's question of "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?", to reveal God's power to Israel, to reveal the earth belongs to the Lord and not Egypt's gods and to judge all the gods of Egypt, R. Grigg, "The Ten Plagues of Egypt," Creation (v. 27, no. 1), Dec.-Feb. 05, p. 36.
    2. For such goals to be reached, the plagues would have to be seen as miracles by the Egyptians.
    3. However, naturalistic explanations for the plagues were offered by Greta Hort in 1957, a scholar of medieval English literature and religion, and her views are cited in reference works today, Ibid., p. 34, 38.
    4. Thus, we view the Scripture and the data to see if the fourth plague was a true miracle that glorified God:
  2. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Flies, Exodus 8:20-32.
    1. The Biblical account of the fourth plague is as follows:
      1. God had Moses meet Pharaoh at the Nile to tell him to let Israel go so she could serve Him, Ex. 8:20.
      2. Were Pharaoh not to release Israel, Moses was to warn him that God would send swarms of flies upon Pharaoh, his servants and people, their houses and the ground upon which they walked , Exodus 8:21.
      3. God announced He would make a distinction between the land of Goshen where His people, Israel dwelt and where the Egyptians lived, sending these swarms only on the Egyptians; that way Pharaoh would recognize Israel's God was the true God of the land, Exodus 8:22-23a.
      4. God signaled this event would occur the next day, Exodus 8:23b.
      5. Pharaoh did not release Israel, so the Lord sent these predicted swarms that ruined the land, and Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron to sacrifice to God, but to do so within the land of Egypt, 8:24-25.
      6. Moses replied it was not fitting to do so, for Israel's sacrifices involved cattle and sheep that would be abominations to the pagan Egyptians, Exodus 8:26a; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Ex. 8:26. Moses claimed performing such sacrifices would lead the Egyptians to stone the people of Israel, Ex. 8:26b.
      7. Moses suggested Israel go a three day's journey into the wilderness to sacrifice as God willed, 8:27.
      8. Pharaoh agreed providing Israel did not go far, and asked Moses to entreat the Lord for relief, Ex. 8:28.
      9. Moses agreed to pray that the swarms be removed the next day, but warned Pharaoh not to deal deceitfully any more in not releasing Israel, Exodus 8:29.
      10. Moses prayed, God completely removed the swarms, but Pharaoh hardened his heart, Exodus 8:30-32.
    2. Yet, Greta Hort gave a naturalistic explanation for the plague to counter the view that it was a miracle:
      1. She posed that after the Nile flooded, the "biting fly Stomoxys calcitrans" bred "in the decaying plants left by the retreating Nile flood." (Ibid., Grigg, p. 34)
      2. Yet, as Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to remove the flies with his first concession to Moses' request, the swarms must have seemed unusual enough to him to cause such a stubborn ruler to make this request!
      3. Also, the WAY the swarms left Egypt, departing in one day so that not a living fly remained (Exodus 8:29, 31b NIV, KJV and ESV, gives evidence to favor the position that the swarms could not have arisen or died out by natural means!
    3. Fulfilling God's will, this 4th plague "of flies, confronted . . . Khepri, the scarab (dung beetle) god [of the Egyptians]. A plague of flies shows failure of the dung beetle god to do its job of burying the dung [in the dirt], which stops flies from breeding in the dung [on the ground]. This god was also associated with rolling the sun across the sky, like dung beetles rolling balls of dung." (Ibid., p. 37, brackets ours)
Lesson: (1) Hort's naturalistic explanation for Egypt's plague of flies and what other ills they caused is countered by the Scripture record itself. (2) The plague critiqued Egypt's god, Khepri, the important scarab [dung] beetle, and (3) the fact that the plague affected only the land not used by Israel revealed Israel's God was the true God of the earth and the True God of the movement of the sun in the sky.

Application: May we trust the Bible's One, True God who ALONE is God of the earth and sun, and heed the messages of His servants without deceptively cheating God of full obedience (as did Pharaoh).