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The LORD Has Hardened the Hearts
This plague is a special sign for the Israelites. On this basis they must tell the generations to come what God has done to Egypt. By this the Israelites will know “that I am the LORD”.
It is remarkable that the prophet Joel describes a plague of locusts and also mentions that the account of this event should be passed on to the generations to come: “Tell your sons about it, and [let] your sons [tell] their sons, and their sons the next generation” (Joel 1:3). Joel’s prophecy also shows that this plague has a prophetic meaning. In Joel 2, the plague of locusts appears to be a reference to the Assyrian army. They will overwhelm and destroy Israel and make it waste, like a swarm of locusts eat and destroy a land. It is a plague appointed by God, just as in Egypt.
In Revelation 9 locusts are connected to demonic powers (Revelation 9:3). These powers are manifesting themselves with increasing strength in the world. An example is the unprecedented success of ‘Harry Potter’ in book and film form. Through this and similar actions of today’s ‘locusts’, the last remainders of God’s truth are robbed from the hearts and these are made waste and empty. Thus hearts of people become a breeding ground for all kinds of occultism where no trace of ‘green’ can be seen anymore as the fruit of God’s work.
Making known to our children the plagues that will hit the world will warn them to keep themselves separated from the world. We must not only pass on these histories to our children as factual knowledge, but also point out to them that God is at work (cf. Psalms 78:3-Numbers :). He controls everything to attain His final goal.
Announcement of the Eighth Plague
For the seventh time there is a call: “Let my people go, that they may serve Me” (Exodus 5:1; Exodus 7:16Exodus 8:1; Exodus 8:20Exodus 9:1; Exodus 10:3). In case of refusal there will be locusts, in unprecedented numbers. A single locust is insignificant, makes no impression at all, and can be easily trampled to death. The Israelites in their unbelief felt so in comparison with the giants in Canaan (Numbers 13:33). But in large numbers locusts are overwhelming and devastating (cf. Judges 6:5; Judges 7:12).
After Moses has delivered his message, he turns around resolutely and leaves Pharaoh. He is not waiting for an answer.
Announcement of the Eighth Plague
It seems as if Pharaoh must be persuaded to avert this plague, so much is his heart hardened. He listens to his servants, and lets Moses and Aaron pack up. Pharaoh wants to let them go, at least that’s how it seems. However, he imposes an unacceptable condition on the departure of the Israelites. This condition also shows how cunning he is.
Pharaoh is not waiting for an answer to his offer. He let Moses and Aaron be chased away. He knows that his proposal would be rejected by them without any form of protest. This chasing away shows that there is no trace of sincerity in him. The judgment that has been announced is therefore rightly carried out.
This trick of Pharaoh, his third one, has to do with the relationship between parents and children. He wants to let the men go, but keep the children as hostages in Egypt. If the parents have celebrated the feast in the wilderness, they will return to Egypt because of their children. His proposal also comes down to the fact that he drives a wedge between parents and children.
Satan is doing the same now. He wants to allow the parents to occupy themselves with the things of the Lord and the Word and go to meetings where God’s Word is preached. But the children are not allowed to participate. But God wants the believers and their children to serve Him in the wilderness. If satan succeeds in holding the children, there is a good chance that the parents will return to the world and to the search for worldly things.
If satan gets the youth in his grip, the testimony of God is lost. However, if serving God and the meetings, wherever they are held, are really a feast, as Moses says here, then we will gladly take our children with us and they will also be glad to be there.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts
The LORD commands Moses to stretch his hand over Egypt. Then Moses stretches out his staff. Not his hand, but the staff of God in his hand makes the plague come. An east wind brings an unequalled number of locusts over Egypt. It is the army of the LORD (Joel 2:11). Everything that has not yet been destroyed by previous judgments is now being eaten. In all of Egypt there is no green left.
Pharaoh Asks for Intercession Again
This time Pharaoh is in a hurry to summon Moses and Aaron. Again the confession comes over his lips: “I have sinned.” He even asks for forgiveness. He sees that death has entered his country. But the time for repentance is over. His incorrigibility has already proved itself. He has let his appointed time pass by (Jeremiah 46:17). He did not acknowledge the time of his visitation (Luke 19:44).
God is perfectly righteous in the judgment of the hardening. Yet He takes the plague away on the basis of Moses’ prayer. All locusts will die in the Red Sea, where later Pharaoh and his riders will also die. There are no locusts left. What a testimony of His power!
The Ninth Plague: Darkness
Like the third and the sixth plague, the ninth plague, the darkness, comes without announcement. Like other plagues, this plague is also a revelation of God’s power against the idols of Egypt. Here the principal god, the sun (Ra), the source of light, warmth and life, is completely overpowered by God’s power and shrouded in darkness. The darkness is so great that it is impossible to see anyone else; it is not even possible to move. In complete darkness, there is no orientation at all.
This plague also occurs in the final judgments on the world (Revelation 16:10). It is the plague that strikes the wicked (Job 18:5-Joshua :) and to which, if he dies in his wickedness, there will be no end. He will be endlessly “in the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 2 Peter 2:17; Revelation 20:10).
In this plague we have an illustration of man without God, for he is darkened in the mind (Ephesians 4:18). Also his “foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). A man without God goes his way by groping. He doesn’t know where he comes from or where he is going. However God can still shine in his heart “to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). When the church is raptured, man will be completely delivered to satan and his demons, the powers of darkness.
In one place there is light today and that is with the people of God. That was also the case in Egypt. “But all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Spiritually, Christ was that light as the Passover Lamb. During the three days of darkness the Israelites had a lamb in their house (Exodus 12:3). This reminds us of Revelation 21, where the new Jerusalem says: “Its lamp [is] the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23). How good it is when Christ, the true Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), is central in the homes of God’s children.
The Lord Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). Thus He came into the world. Whereas normally darkness disappears when light comes, the arrival of the Light of the world has proven how great the darkness is, for light has been rejected! However the individual who believes in Him will not abide in darkness (John 12:46). Children of God are also children of light and are therefore called to walk “as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
The Last Compromise Rejected
Pharaoh calls to Moses again. He has another proposal. They are all allowed to go, only they have to leave their flocks and their herds. Moses doesn’t let himself be deceived this time either. How could they sacrifice to God if they did not take their livestock? He is not prepared for the slightest compromise: there will not even be a hoof of the livestock left in Egypt.
Christ has redeemed us and thereby has a right to all that we are and possess. This total possession must be for His praise and for His service. He must have free access to it all. We must not leave anything of it in the world. This is only possible if through the death and resurrection of Christ we have truly entered a new world where we are aware of what service to Him is all about.
If there is no other way, satan wants us to go and serve God. But what is service to God worth if in our lives no spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanks are found and also our possessions are not sacrificed to Him (Hebrews 13:15-Nehemiah :)? Many Christians believe that the highest service to God is charity or the preaching of the gospel. If, however, no spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanks are made, satan has succeeded in his deceit.
We do not read that the Father seeks all kinds of Christian activity, although He appreciates and will reward it. We read that He seeks worshippers who worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-Jeremiah :). Above all, his heart desires that our hearts go out to Him and his gift in Christ.
Pharaoh is at the end of all his tricks. He bursts into anger against Moses. He never wants to see Moses again. “This will happen,” says Moses in peace and quiet. If Pharaoh later calls to Moses and Aaron again (Exodus 12:31), it is in a completely different situation and relation.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Exodus 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany