This morning I read through the Exodus story. As I've been reading through the Bible lately, I keep discovering little things I wasn't aware of or didn't remember. Within this story I realized something that made me chuckle.
Since Pharaoh wasn't about to let the Israelites leave, God has decided to send some plagues on the Egyptians to demonstrate his sovereignty over the earth. The first was turning the water to blood while Pharaoh is out taking a bath. Here's where I raised my eyebrows and thought "Huh?"
Exodus 7:22 But the Egyptians magicians did the same things by their secret arts...
A week later the frogs came up out of the Nile and were all over the place. Strangely I've had a small taste of this. In South Africa we had to keep the door to our hut closed at night to keep out the frogs of all things. Just a few frogs in unexpected places (like a shoe) was enough for us forgo the breeze and keep the door close. So I can only imagine finding frogs in every nook and cranny, including hopping on you while you are trying to sleep. And again we read:
Exodus 8:7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
So... God turns water to blood and so do the magicians. God floods them with frogs and the magicians add even more! The magicians were apparently powerless to reverse either plague, so instead they added to their own misery and boasted about it. How stupid!
Yet, how often are we just as stupid? How often when God is seeking to get our attention do we harden our hearts and add to our own misery?
Then we come to the third plague of gnats and the Word tells us:
Exodus 8:18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts they could not.
They ran out of their own power. In this case thankfully as I'm sure they didn't need more gnats in the air. It would have been better if instead they had just realized how they were only compounding the problem making their efforts futile. In the end, the surrendered and admitted the work of God in the plagues.
Lesson learned today: Don't try and prove yourself, surrender and ask God to soften the hardened places in your heart.