And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be. — Exodus 8:22-23
A number of years ago, our family was traveling through Eastern Oregon near the border of Idaho. Late one afternoon, tired of driving, we pulled into a trailer camp for the night. We opened the car doors, and wearily emerged from the car’s interior, planning to go back to the trailer and fix some dinner. Suddenly, we began moving quickly — in fact, we found ourselves literally running for the trailer door. The whole area was swarming with flies! Buzzing in our faces, swirling around our heads, landing on our arms — there were flies everywhere! We dashed into the shelter of the trailer and quickly shut the door behind us. A few flies made it in with us, but thankfully, the hordes were outside. How grateful we were for a “division” between us and the swarm of insects!
Instantly, our thoughts went to the plague of flies, which is recorded in the text for today. What must it have been like for the Egyptians to endure such an outbreak? Our brief incident made us realize how terribly distressing that plague must have been. What an evidence of the caring protection of God for His own, when He decreed that none of the flies would venture into the land of Goshen!
Throughout the text we can see the danger of being opposed to God and the benefits of being on God’s side. God used these plagues to show Pharaoh and the Egyptians that He alone is the true God, and the gods they served were false gods. Because Moses and Aaron obeyed God’s commandments, He brought protection, guidance, and help to the Children of Israel. We can enjoy these same benefits today if we obey God’s Word and follow His will for our lives.
Stubbornness against God will bring judgment. When the Nile River turned to blood, when the frogs and lice infested the Egyptians’ homes, and when the hordes of flies swarmed all over them, one would have expected that Pharaoh and his people would have immediately repented — but they did not. Today, too, many people resist God’s will in their lives without considering the eternal consequences.
A heart that is fully surrendered to God will receive His blessing, and that blessing will include protection from evil.
In this text, Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh, and God began to work by sending the first four of ten plagues.
Pharaoh was not impressed by a lowly shepherd claiming to be sent by a foreign God. He asked for a miracle, so Aaron cast his rod down and it became a serpent. Through trickery or satanic power, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate this miracle. Yet, when Aaron’s rod swallowed up the rods of the magicians, God was showing Pharaoh who was really in control.
The plagues that followed Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Children of Israel go not only devastated Egypt, but also showed the Egyptians that God of the Hebrews was the the true God of Heaven, and not the gods of nature, which the Egyptians worshipped.
The first plague opposed Hapi, the god of the Nile River, who supposedly saw to it that the river overflowed its banks each year just enough to renew the soil, but not enough to flood the villages. The Egyptians were dependent on the Nile as a source of water. God turned it and all other sources of water into blood. Once again, the magicians were able to duplicate the plague. Ironically, every time the magicians duplicated a plague, it just made matters worse for the Egyptians.
The second plague ridiculed the frog goddess, Heqet, who supposedly assisted women in childbirth and promoted fertility. God sent a deluge of frogs, which contaminated the entire land of Egypt. From the mud-brick houses of the poor to the most elaborate homes of the wealthy, the frogs permeated every room.
When God sent lice as the third plague, the magicians tried to duplicate that also, but they were not able to do so. In Exodus 8:19 the magicians admitted to Pharaoh that this plague was the “finger of God,” but still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.
Moses told Pharaoh the next plague would be a swarm of flies that would cover the land of Egypt. However, this time God would put a division between Goshen, where the Children of Israel dwelt, and the rest of Egypt. The word division in Exodus 8:23 comes from the Hebrew word pedut and could also be translated as deliverance. God would protect the Children of Israel from the plagues that came upon the Egyptians. Pharaoh tried to compromise and said he would allow the Children of Israel to sacrifice to their God, but only if they remained in Egypt. However, God’s purpose was deliverance, not just to obtain an opportunity for the Israelites to sacrifice.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The oppression of Israel in Egypt
C. The struggles with Pharaoh
3. The judgments on Egypt
a. The hardening of Pharaoh (7:8-13)
b. The plagues on Egypt
(1) Nile turned to blood (7:14-25)
(2) Frogs (8:1-15)
(3) Lice (8:16-19)
(4) Swarms of flies (8:20-32)
When we have given our lives to God and have experienced His redemption, we are truly separated from the world and will experience His protection and deliverance.