COUNTERING THE COUNTERFITS

 

God used Moses to demonstrate power greater than the magicians of Egypt.  The proof was similar to the magic of the enemy, but just a little more powerful.  Again Moses went to demonstrate the power of God.  He turned the rivers into blood first.

 

Again the magic of Satan was comparable in imitating the curses of God.  The magicians turned water into blood too.  But Satan only knows how to curse, and only God can bless us.  Satan has a reason to curse, considering his destiny with fire.  He just wants to take us to outer darkness with him. 

 

After seven days, a new curse was pronounced, and again the Egyptians duplicated the plague of frogs:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.  And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.  And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.  Exodus 8:5-7

 

Has anyone noticed the stupidity of the people who are deceived here?  Egypt has been cursed with frogs coming out of the wood work.  We step on them, sleep with them, and find them in our food.  So what do the magicians do?  They prove their genius by making the problem worse.  “See how great we are?  We just gave you some more frogs!”  It sounds like the Hezbollah solution to me.  “Israel made us Palestinians miserable, so we will punish them by killing the Palestinians in Israel with our rocket artillery.  Now all of Lebanon can share in our glorious liberation of Palestine too; after you rebuild Lebanon that is.”

 

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.  Exodus 8:8

 

Pharaoh is no fool though; he knows who can turn the plague off.  His experts surely can’t, so he asks Moses to call off his God. 

 

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  Exodus 8:15

 

Well that was a lousy deal, but God knew how to deal with a louse:  with lice!

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.  And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.  Exodus 8:16-17

 

The magicians failed to duplicate this, but they were dumb enough to try.  Pharaoh may have been a smart fellow, but he was not free to follow common sense.  His heart was hardened.  No amount of education or worldly wisdom can make us right when our heart is wrong.

 

Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.  Exodus 8:19

 

OK, here we go again.  Moses, get out of bed, it is time for another day’s work.  Now we are getting ready to really bug the Egyptians. 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.  Exodus 8:20-21

 

Wow, this is really getting old, but at least the Jews don’t have to share this curse. 

 

And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.  And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?  We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.

And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.  Exodus 8:25-28

 

Moses finally gets the Pharaoh to yield, but with a few strings attached.  Moses wants to get out of sight so the Egyptians do not try for vengeance.  The Pharaoh gives his permission…but he lied!  (What a surprise!)

 

By now some Jews may be wondering if this trip to Egypt was a good idea.  Perhaps Joseph owes them an apology for bringing them into bondage.  “He knew they didn’t know God, he should have known better.  These Egyptians have a form of godliness, but deny his power.  Before Moses came along, we worked hard, but ate well.”  God prepared Moses with the next stage of his plan of battle. 

 

Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.  And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. Exodus 9:3-4

 

This was done, but it was not enough.  Even as the cattle of Egypt all died:

 

And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.  And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Exodus 9: 6-7

 

Notice that Egypt lost their herds, but Israel still had theirs.  Everyone still needs meat, and the Jews had plenty.  Later we will see that another plague kills some Egyptian herds off again, and this suggests that new Egyptian herds came from nearby.  Guess where the Egyptians went to get food?  I don’t think the Jews can ever miss offering “such a deal”! 

 

And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.  And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.  And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.  And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.  Exodus 9:8-11

 

This time the magicians got the message.  There comes a time when we must consider if our leaders might be wrong.  When God is in the message, it will be pretty clear to understand!  Egypt was punished, but their people were beginning to see the light.  Pharaoh may have been as a devil to them, but Moses was called to be as a God in their sight.

 

We all struggle with opposition in life.  At times we can be surprised to find God drawing our enemies to favor us.  We forget that he has sheep who are lost.  He can use us to bring them back to the fold.  We must take care not to oppose everyone, remembering to invite them to consider God.  We do not war with flesh, but with the spirit that is tempting them to sin. 

 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11-12

 

God sent Moses to war against his spiritual counterpart again.

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.  Exodus 9:13-15

 

This plague again afflicts the Egyptians, but not all of them.  Some Egyptians got mercy as they believed on the Lord.  God has people in the darkest places, and there is hope for those who have a tender heart.

 

Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.  He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:  And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.  And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.  So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.  Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.  Exodus 9:19-26

 

Those Egyptians who feared the Lord found the beginning of wisdom, and safety.  Here is an outreach to gentiles even before the time of Christ.  Jesus built on this foundation later.

 

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  Matthew 5:43-44

 

We need to remember that there may be good souls in the darkest places.  Jesus wrote to the church in Revelation.  There are a few faithful souls in the worst of churches.  Each faces temptation, and the Egyptians were like one of these churches:

 

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  Revelation 2:12-17

 

These Egyptians may have been like this church that has many evils surrounding it.  Their faith would endure in a land of false Gods.  Still they can behave like the world, and cause some Jews to fall into sin by their liberalism.  Nicolaitanes” were those who were inclined to rule over others by force, like the Pharaoh.  Moses was a guide, offering encouragement to the children.  Jesus, as “The Vine” sacrificed himself for the faith of his new followers, his branches.  One organization is a heavy pyramid, and the other is a tree of life that sends nourishment to the fruit.  One has a tyrant on top, and the other a supportive patriarch at its root. 

 

We see a few friends trapped today in the place of spiritual Egypt, and we need to remember them in our prayers.  Jesus encouraged the few good believers to continue in spite of the errors of their leaders.  They need our prayers.

 

 

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