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084 - Night of the Living Locusts

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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March 5, 2022 1:00 pm

084 - Night of the Living Locusts

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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March 5, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 084 - Night of the Living Locusts (5 Mar 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, do you remember one time we took a cave tour and to show us how complete the darkness is, they turned off the lights? All the lights went off. And the dark was so profound it was terrifying. You could almost feel it. And no matter how widely you opened your eyes, you couldn't see. Yeah.

Well, that kind of terrifying relationship with darkness will come upon Pharaoh in Egypt today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning, this wonderful March morning. Wow, we're in March already.

Yeah, it's incredible. And I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we are delighted that you've joined us as we are walking our way through Exodus. And we are in the plagues right now. Oh my goodness, are we in the plagues? Yeah, we're way past the halfway mark, too. We're sort of coming to the end of the plagues.

Yeah. So if you haven't been with us so far, we went through seven plagues. We're starting the eighth plague today. And everyone knows you only get to ten of the plagues, and the tenth one kind of pushes them over the top. So there's an increasing amount of loss and challenge to the God structure in Egypt and challenge to Pharaoh's pride, which he just won't give up.

And so it's really pushing it in here. And up to this point, the Egyptians have lost an awful lot. I mean, despite the frogs and the gnats and the swarms and stuff like that, they got to one point where they lost all their livestock. Their livestock died.

People got boils. There was hail that came and just totally took out all the crops and the trees and the animals that were left outside. I mean, that's devastation. And that devastation still exists, even though we've gotten past those plagues.

Well, because when the hail fell, there was still one crop that had not germinated yet that was below the ground. And we're going to see in this next plague how the locusts come in and take care of that one. But we also saw during the plague of hail that there was a beginning of a turning point in the servants of Pharaoh who were those who believed the word of the Lord by this time.

They're the ones that brought their animals in out of the danger from the hail. Yeah, so in a real sense, the servants of Pharaoh are kind of several steps ahead of him. Yeah, we're going to hear from them again in this passage of Chapter 10. So today we're coming into the eighth plague. And again, another famous plague before the tenth one is the plague of locusts.

So just want to jump in and see what it says? Sure. Well, and swarms of locusts are not unknown in world history.

It's well documented that this has happened a number of times, but this one is beyond all expectation. Yeah, let's just jump right into Chapter 10. Let's jump in Chapter 10. Okay, so, then the Lord said to Moses, oh, wait a minute, we need some context. Because back in the plague of the hail, we're told that Pharaoh had sinned and hardened his heart, and then Pharaoh's heart was hardened.

That's an important sequence back in Chapter 9. So here at the beginning of Chapter 10, God's going to say, I've hardened his heart. So we have Pharaoh sinning and hardening his own heart, then his heart continuing to be hardened, and then God claiming credit.

And from this point on, God takes all the credit for hardening Pharaoh's heart. So we'll talk about that as the passage unfolds. It's a theme. It's a theme through all the plagues. Okay.

Then the Lord said to Moses, this is verse one, Go into Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson, how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians, and what signs I've done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord. Can we stop there for just a second? Yeah, this is like a big teaching moment.

It is. It's this huge introductory statement. There's a statement of God's purpose here, right? He says, I've hardened Pharaoh's heart so that I can show these signs among them, so that you can tell your children about it, and so that you will know that I am the Lord.

Your children and your grandchildren. Yeah, right. So if you remember back in the previous chapter in 916, God had said to Pharaoh, Now I've let you remain for this cause, that I can show my glory, and my name will be proclaimed among the nations. So really, his purpose has not changed at all.

No. It's just the same. He's showing, he's telling, so that they may know.

So that they may know. That's why this process is deliberately drawn out, instead of God just snapping his fingers and having them get out. Yeah, and in fact, it's a direct answer to Pharaoh back in chapter 5, where he says, Okay, so who is this Lord you're talking about? Who is he that I should obey him and let these people go?

I mean, who is this guy? And so God says, Well, I'll let you know. And here we are at the eighth plague, in terms of glorifying exactly who God is.

And who he is in contrast to the Egyptian gods, who are shown powerless through all this. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, just out of curiosity, I wondered how long, it says their sons and, well, children and grandchildren, this would go on. I kind of looked forward to see if I could find evidence of them still talking about it later on in the history of Israel. And you do, actually.

Oh yeah, lots. And I found one way over, this is like 400 years later in 1 Samuel, before Saul is king and the Philistines are fighting the Israelites and stuff like that. There's a time where, I think it's in chapter 4 of 1 Samuel, where the Philistines are fighting the Israelites. It does not go well for the Israelites. I mean, this is before David and Goliath even.

It does not go well. But in the midst of that, they say, Look out, because these are the people who have this God that took out the Egyptians with the plagues. That's what the Philistines say. So 400 years later, they're still talking about what happened here. Well, it's the Philistines who are talking about it. Yeah, the Philistines are.

Yeah, it's famous. And where we mentioned that the Philistines lived in Gaza, which is along that trade route coming up out of Egypt. So, you know, as trade came out of Egypt, stories would have traveled of what happened there. So what's going on in this history right here is something that persists and is talked about for generation after generation. And that's deliberate on God's part.

Deliberate. Okay, so we have that gigantic teaching moment so that they'll know that I'm the Lord and we jump into verse three. Verse three.

And we get a warning now. We get a warning before the grasshoppers. So Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh and said to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I'll bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what's left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants out of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day. Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

Wow, served him notice. So we get a warning. Get a warning, and basically, we were talking about this last time, they think they're lucky stars, the fact that they didn't lose all of their crop because the weed hadn't come out yet. Hadn't germinated. Hadn't germinated, but now it's germinated, and he says, Well, that's the end of that. Everything that's green is going to be eaten by those guys. Well, and you can imagine, as many of you have witnessed after hailstorm, that the leaves are still sort of on the trees, but they're shredded and they're hanging in there. That's right. Here come the locusts. Well, there's your problem. Your leaves are all shot up with hay. Yeah.

Well, now the locusts are going to come and take care of whatever's left. Yeah, but it's very clear here about the state of Pharaoh's heart that is so hardened that he refuses to humble himself for this God who so clearly demonstrated his power. Yeah, and it's important for us to understand what humbling means.

It really just means to consider yourself what you are by normal sense instead of an elevated sense. Get low before God. Know who you are before him. And so here, Pharaoh is overestimating who he is and what he is, and God says, No, you've got to get back to level.

It's not what you are. So he refuses to do that. He refuses to do that.

And should we push on to seven? Yeah, so Moses delivers the warning, and then he turns and goes out. He doesn't even give Pharaoh a chance to say anything. No, he doesn't say anything.

Yeah, no response at all. Yeah, so Pharaoh's servants, in verse seven, said to him, How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?

Ruined. So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. So Pharaoh listens to his servants, apparently.

Yeah, and he calls them back in to talk to them. Okay, and he says to them, Go, serve the Lord your God, but which ones are to go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and our old. We'll go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord. But he said to them, Pharaoh said, But, Pharaoh said, The Lord be with you if ever I let you and your little ones go.

Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. No, go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that's what you're asking. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence. Yeah, so Moses and Aaron are called back in after the service, persuade Pharaoh to do something, and he tries to cut a deal again. This is not the first time.

And this deal is go out there, but not with your little ones. So here's the second sign that I see here, a second indicator here of a toughly hardened heart. The first one is a refusal to humble before God. But the second one is a hardened heart drives out the messenger of the Lord.

Yeah, that's true. Literally chases him out. Don't shoot the messenger. I will refuse to listen to you. Yeah, he drives him out. In verse 6, they get to walk out, and here he drives them out.

He drives them out. He's angry because he thinks he's making finally a good last deal with God. And Moses is saying God's not having anything up. In fact, Moses tells them that Pharaoh doesn't have any leverage. God's got all the leverage. God's in charge here. So that lack of power to make a deal on Pharaoh's part, that just enrages him, and he drives him out of his presence. You can't deal with these people.

You can't make a deal with these people. Yeah. Well, let's get to 12.

I'll read 12 for us. So then the Lord said to Moses, okay, stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hill has left. So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. And when it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts, like overnight. And the locusts came up over all the land of Egypt, settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor even will be again. And they covered the face of the land so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants of the land, all the fruit of the trees that the hill had left, not a green thing remained. Wow. Wow. 24-hour devastation.

And neither tree nor plant of the field threw all the land of Egypt. I mean, that's it. Oof.

The place is covered. Well, and then here's what happened. So Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, I've sinned against the Lord your God and against you. Now, therefore, forgive my sin, please. Only this once. Yeah, only this once.

And pleaded with the Lord your God only to remove this death from me. So he went out from Pharaoh, pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts. Going the other direction. Going the other direction, right, toward the Red Sea, actually, and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go.

Yeah. So it's exactly as he was warned. These locusts came in, ate everything that was green that was left in the land. And now this is the last plague that we get a real clear warning. I mean, we get some warning about the next one, too, but it's almost unbelievable. Yeah, that's right. Or the final warning, the tenth one.

Yeah, the tenth one. But, you know, Moses had warned him, and then it happened, but Pharaoh, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart again. Again. So, you know, we've seen that that hardened heart has refused to humble, has refused to listen, has refused to turn, to repent, and drives out God's messengers, and God, the clock is ticking, right? God will judge. There is a point of no return with a hardened heart where God says, okay, time is up. I will judge.

Yeah, you can feel it kind of coming to a close in all of this. And it's interesting, too, when we look at Pharaoh's, quote, unquote, repentance. It's not real repentance. It's not repentance. You know, forgive me, only this once.

I mean, let's make a deal. And it's not repentance. It's actually more kind of averting the consequences of your sin. It's a very shallow version of repentance. It's not really an embracing the fact that you're wrong and you sinned.

Although he says he has. Well, it's a remorse. He's sorry for what has happened.

Right. And he wants to fix the circumstance, and so he'll say whatever is required to be said in order to relieve the circumstance. And he knows that in the past plagues, he's done this very same thing. He's done some level of, you know, repentance, and then Moses turns around and pleads to God, and God reverses it. Okay, but this is the second time now Pharaoh has introduced the idea of having sinned.

Right. And then in chapter 9 he said, okay, I've sinned. The Lord is the righteous one.

Pray to God for me. And now this time he says, okay, I've sinned against the Lord your God, not against the Lord my God. There's no personal owning of sin here. He says, I've offended your God, so forgive me.

Yeah. Well, and there's actually two miracles here. The first one is the fact that God brings in this many locusts overnight with the east wind.

And the second one is that he turns around and swoops them all away again. But by the time he swoops them all away again, there's nothing green left. They've eaten everything.

I mean, it's a whoosh, whoosh. So there's nothing to eat. Right. Nothing to grow. Nothing growing.

Nothing. The wheat's all gone. You know, the emmer's all gone, which is a kind of wheat. You know, if there was any fruit still stuck on the trees, it's all gone.

I mean, it's gone. So what do you do for food? You know, all your plant food that you grow is gone, and that area of Egypt is all watered by the Nile. You grow a lot of crops there. There's nothing to eat there. We've lost all the livestock. I mean, it's devastation.

The country is devastated in terms of a food perspective. And so Pharaoh was grabbing at straws here saying, you know, I've sinned. Let's reverse this. Well, even though God reverses, taking out the locust is not going to reverse the fact. The consequences still remain. The consequences are still there.

Yeah. And there's a lot of theology in that, that there are consequences that last even after we've made any kind of reversals. And in this particular case, the plague, the effects of the plague weren't reversed, but the plague itself was. So that's interesting because now we're completely set up for the ninth plague, which is darkness, which is fascinating that this is the last one of this kind before the final plague that we'll talk about next week. But, you know, the darkness through the scripture always indicates the heart condition of one who refuses or one who is separated from God. So it's no mistake that at this point in the process, the plague is darkness.

Yeah, and it's a terrifying thing. I mean, because we have so much artificial light in the modern day, we don't think much about this. Right. And this is also a direct affront against the big God, Ra, the sun god. Ra, the sun god. Yeah.

In the broad daylight, it's dark. Who can blot out the sun god? Right. Well, God can.

The creator of the sun. Yeah. Let's jump into that. So that's verse 21. You want to read first?

Yeah. Then the Lord said to Moses, oh, no warning this time. No warning. The Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hand toward heaven that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.

To be felt. So that really underscores the fact that this is an outward expression of their condition of being separated from God. It is. Yeah.

These people are sitting in darkness. Oh, that sounds like scripture, doesn't it? How about that?

Yeah. Verse 22. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. What? Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, go, serve the Lord. Your little ones also may go with you, and let your flocks and herds remain behind. More negotiation.

More negotiation. Yeah, leave your animals. Verse 25. But Moses said, you must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.

Our livestock also must go with us. Not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take them to serve the Lord our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. Then Pharaoh said to him, get away from me. Take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face, you shall die.

And Moses said, as you say, I will not see your face again. Yep, okay. This darkness thing really, it's literal, I mean, it actually happens, this darkness. So are they still in the dark when this conversation is taking place? It would seem so.

I think so. And you know, a big question has always come to my mind when I read this is, what about artificial lighting? What about oil lamps? Do those not work for the Egyptians? Because it says here that they couldn't even see each other's face.

So did it fail to provide light when they tried to use oil lamps? I don't know. That's a good question. The text doesn't really speak to that.

Yeah, I don't know either. And it doesn't say, but it's pitch darkness for three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. Because I would think, well, you know, okay, so the sun's out, everyone lights your candles, we'll just go on doing what we're doing. Well, that would imply they couldn't go outside.

Bright. Couldn't go outside. If the darkness is heavy enough to feel, then that would imply there's maybe a spiritual element that they were just freaked out. Yeah, a darkness to be felt. There's a phrase to kind of ponder over for a while, a darkness to be felt. And it's actually just, it's just terrifying. If you think back, not in the too distant past in history, you know, people when solar eclipses would happen, you know, even in Western societies, you know, would totally freak out because the sun is a constant that you can always count on. And then when it's not there, it feels like the entire universe is falling apart.

Well, and I remember with the last complete solar eclipse just a few years ago, everyone that I heard from who had actually been in the shadow and witnessed it was profoundly affected emotionally, and they didn't expect to be. Yeah. Even our own daughter described that. So you know, this idea of darkness when there should be daylight because the sun is in the sky. Yeah.

Yeah. It's a terrifying thing. Well, I think in our psyche, too, we understand that the sun is such a constant, that when it's not there, you're sort of troubled in an area where you wonder whether God's faithful to his creation anymore.

You wonder if, I mean, it's so fundamental things are just falling apart. And here they are in the dark for three whole days, and apparently artificial lighting doesn't work. However, there is light in the land of Egypt, and it's in Goshen.

Right. Where God's people are. Now there's theology in that, too. That must have been strange. Yeah, that must have been really strange. So there's light over there.

They're not having problems over there. And you can imagine how this looked, actually, because if you've witnessed a solar eclipse, you can actually stand where the shadow, the edge of the shadow passes over you. And you can be one minute in the dark and the next minute in the light. So that's not an unknown phenomenon. We do have something we've experienced that we can relate to this. But for it to go on for three days.

Yeah, for three days. Which, of course, in the scripture, pictures a number of different things. There's a lot of... First, there's a lot of stuff.

There's a lot of typology attached to that. Yeah, but don't make the mistake of judging this ninth plague from a modern perspective. You know, a lack of light, we just think, is a trivial issue.

You got a flashlight, you turn that on. But here we're in, the utter foundation of the universe has suddenly been shaken. And so since we've been talking all the way through with these nine plagues, we've been talking about what God has done, has challenged the God structure of Egypt. And now we're challenging something so fundamentally that it makes them wonder, is their God so powerful that he can actually turn off the very things that we've taken for granted?

Is that possible? And he's saying, yeah. But he can reverse day and night.

He can reverse day and night. And there's a concept called the common grace of God where God gives to mankind good things like rain for your crops and sun for your crops and stuff like that. To all humanity.

Right. And humanity, the basic problem with humanity is they enjoy these blessings from God, but they don't thank him or honor him as them coming from him. So here's a case, I think, that the Egyptians are thinking, if this God is that powerful and we're not honoring him, man, we're in big trouble.

If he is responsible for that, we're in big trouble. So I don't think we want to omit or overlook the repetition of this word face that shows up in the end of this passage, right? Because Pharaoh says twice, you're never going to see my face again, you'll never see my face again or you're going to die. And Moses says, you're right.

I will not see your face again. Well, in the scriptures, the face of God is associated with light. In that incredible blessing in number six, right, the priest is just saying, the Lord make his face shine on you. When you are face to face with God, there is light.

Right. And Paul writes this beautiful passage in 2 Corinthians 4 about the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ. I just want to read this to you because this came to mind when I was thinking about seeing the face of God bringing spiritual light.

Paul says in their case, and this is verse four of 2 Corinthians 4, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. And then just a sentence later, he says in verse six, for God who said, light shall shine out of darkness is the one who shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. So there we have it, the face of Christ associated with the light of the glory of God. Yeah. Right. And for the Egyptians to see the face of the sun was their god Ra's blessing, his provision for them. Well, that's just a picture of the God who said, light shall shine out of darkness.

Yeah. And so they're deeply, deeply troubled by the fact that what they always thought would always be there. That's always been a blessing.

That's always been a benefit to them. This God of the Israelites can even take that away. So this is probably up until the next plague.

This is probably the most troubling one that they will come against, that we have the hardest time as modern people understanding. Well, it is. And the next plague is going to take place in the darkness.

In the darkness. So it's possible that the daylight never came back. It's possible.

Yeah, it's totally possible. But you almost hear a little bit of agreement in Moses' voice in the end when Pharaoh says, don't see me again. Right. I'll kill you. And Moses says, as you say.

Right. Not gonna see your face. And you won't see my face again, which itself is kind of a foreboding.

It is. Like, you know, you tried to negotiate a couple times here. There's no negotiation. And so there's no coming back to me and trying to change this. We are on a course toward this destruction and you will not have any way in order to influence God through me. Right. And the idea with face to face conversation is there's nothing between, right?

I'm looking you in the eyeball and we're communicating and we're hearing one another. Well this set me thinking of the verse in Genesis 6-3 where it says, God's Spirit will not continue to wrestle forever with a human heart that's bent on refusal. That's totally right. God will judge. He says, I will give you opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, but there will come a time when your hardness is complete and then I'm not going to give you any more opportunities. When judgment comes. Yeah. It makes me think of that term, the day of the Lord, too. Right. There is a hard date on the calendar in heaven when all of this will come to an end and judgment will happen.

There's no avoiding it. There's no negotiation like Pharaoh's trying to do with Moses here. I mean, it is just going to come to an end and God has set that date because he knows what's effective in his kingdom in terms of who will come and who will not come. But it's clear as we close out this ninth plague, the servants of Pharaoh are further down this path than Pharaoh is and Pharaoh is still stuck in his pride and will not let them go and will not honor the fact that the Lord of the universe is the God that's protecting these people.

And he will let them go. Okay. But if you, friends, are sitting in the darkness, there is a solution for you. Turn your face toward Jesus Christ who is the glory of the image of God. Yep. And you'll go from the kingdom of darkness. Into the kingdom of light.

Into the kingdom of light. Yeah. Oh my goodness. That's what we're talking about here.

Well, we are out of time again and we're going to jump into chapter 11 next time you come and we're going to go into the last plague and talk about how God memorizes it, not memorizes it, memorializes it. Memorializes it. Yeah. Yeah. For all eternity, in fact, it's a very important thing. So I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we'll be back with us next time as we look at the Passover on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Okay, we're recording, I think. Yep. Okay. All right, thank you so much for joining us today and we'll see you in the next one.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 06:27:52 / 2023-05-27 06:40:48 / 13

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