Swarms of Flies (Exodus #15)

Text: Exodus 8:20-32

Separation from the flies is the sign (vss 22-24)

  • Goshen was the land that Joseph secured as the leader in Egypt a few hundred years earlier. He secured it from Pharaoh for his father Jacob and all his brothers and their families.
  • As the plagues continue they become more and more convincing. The last plague was lice where the magicians reached the end of their illusions. They said this is the finger of God.
  • Now in this plague, God observably separates Israel from the rest of Egypt. These seemingly random swarms are apparently organized by an intelligent mind. They are sent to make clear the moral lesson of obedience to the God of the earth who is the God of Israel.
  • The plagues fall on God’s enemies, not his people. Paul would say in Thessalonians, For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). And this is found regularly in the Bible where God’s judgment is poured out and the remnant of believers are kept safe from it. Rahab survives Jericho’s destruction. Jeremiah is invited to live where he wants to after the Babylonian invasion.
  • The servants of God are immune from the common calamity that prosecutes sinners. Sometimes it’s a disease that has a moral component. Fornication brings about sexually transmitted diseases (STD). And if not an STD, then there is a price for protection against the STD or unwanted pregnancies. But if people walk in the light of God, there is no fornication, and therefore none of those plagues have any place in their life anyway.
  • The LORD knows his own. In this case, they are in a geographical location that is isolated from this plague in Egypt. Like Noah on the ark. Like believers in Jesus Christ!
  • So separation is an important factor in showing who God is to the world.

Strategic compromise of the Pharaoh (vss 25-28)

  • Pharaoh’s first offer to compromise
    • The swarms of flies have become too much for Pharaoh. He suggests a compromise with Moses. Do your sacrifices, but do them here in the land. It is the separation that Pharaoh goes after. That separation that is valuable to God is not valuable to Pharaoh.
    • The reason separation is not valuable to Pharaoh is because this is a setup to get the Israelites killed by the Egyptians. Compromise with the world that has some element of disobedience to God is essentially a setup by the world to get God’s people killed.
    • Compromise is not evil, although that’s been preached. But compromise that involves abandoning God’s will in some way is evil and divisive.
    • Moses understands this is a setup to get people killed because of the way Egyptians view sheep and shepherds.
      • The sheep is the abominable animal to the Egyptians. And they hate shepherds; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians (Genesis 46:34).
      • What is sacred to the LORD is an abomination to the world and the abomination to the LORD is sacred to the world.
      • Apparently, sacrificial lambs are a part of worship for the Jews even before the law is given.
  • Pharaoh’s second offer to compromise
    • Pharaoh’s second offer is to go, but don’t go three days away. Just a little bit away. So this compromise still involves disobedience to God.
    • Moses isn’t having it. The things God has plainly said are not on the table to negotiate. Look, you can negotiate other things, but the things God has clearly said are nonnegotiables.

Swarms are completely removed

  • Though Pharaoh never fully agrees to the terms, Moses prays to get the flies removed.
  • Moses’ prayer is answered again. How many prayers were offered up in the midst of this plague? Who knows. Moses’ prayer is the one that meant something to God because Moses is sent by God.
  • The swarms were completely removed so there was not a one.