It’s spring. The time of year bugs and bees and flies and wasps and all manner of flying things creep out of hiding. Dive bombing innocent three-year-old’s (and thirty-some-year-olds) on front porches and back porches and swing sets across the nation.
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 8:16-32
Key Verse: “The works of his hands are faithful and just.” Psalm 111:7
You know what I’m talking about…
Finally seated on my porch swing, nose buried in the latest library find, kids fighting over the hose, a giant bee rivaling the sound of my neighbor’s weed eater, does a flyby at Mach 3. Fighting the urge to scream at my boys to RUN FOR THEIR LIVES, I squeak out a calm and rational, “Don’t worry about it. It’s just a bee.”
But maybe worse than that – are the swarms of gnats you don’t see, until you walk right into them. Hands flailing, I scurry to a different part of the yard while desperately trying not to open my mouth. (Not that I know anything about this. It’s only hypothetical of course.)
Though with the third plague, it was anything but hypothetical. At God’s command, “All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt” (v. 17b). A euphemism for more than you can count (I.e. Abraham’s descendants in Gen. 13:16), all the dust of the earth meant swarms of gnats everywhere. In your home, your yard, your food, your bed. Escaping was not an option.
But according to the Hebrew it may have been more than just annoying swarms of gnats. The word used in this passage is kinnim, which can also mean lice or fleas or something akin to mosquitoes. Hence the fact the gnats were on (not just swarming around) man and beast (v. 17). Clinging, biting, digging, their way into legs and arms and hair, whether made in the image of God or not.
Sounds miserable, doesn’t it? Never in the history of man had an infestation of this magnitude riddled the earth. Babies couldn’t sleep. Mother’s couldn’t help. Fathers were desperate for relief, yet there was none. No amount of washing could rid their bodies of the little buggers.
Annoying for everyone, but catastrophic for Egyptian priests who cleansed themselves incessantly in order to approach the altars of the gods of Egypt. Yet covered in vermin, they couldn’t even get close.
Ironically, this isn’t the first time God brought forth something from the dust of the earth. In Gen. 2:7 he brought forth man. A humbling comparison to say the least, yet Christ died for us anyway.
Unable to produce any additional gnats, or take them away (because surely they tried), the magicians rightly proclaimed to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God” (v. 19). And they were right, of course, it was the LORD. After just three plagues there was no denying the sovereign power of Israel’s God.
Fittingly, when Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is recalled in later Scriptures, so is God’s hand. “And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders” (Deut. 26:8).
Over and over God’s mighty hand is remembered because it was glorious, the delivering of Israel. Undeniably the work of God for all the world to see. It was proof of His existence, proof of His power, and proof of His love. An experience they were never to forget and always to celebrate.
The plagues as crazy as they may sound, are not hard for me to believe. Because God did all kinds of signs and wonders in Bible times.
What’s hard for me – is believing his mighty hand is still at work today. Especially with a front row seat to the chaos happening around the world. The unjust actions of evil men. The persecuted church, the hungry, the poor, the staggering number of women and girls falling prey to sex trafficking.
Or maybe you need look no further than your living room or a diagnosis or a family disagreement to wonder, is God’s mighty hand still active today? Feeling alone you can’t help but wonder if he’s folded his hands and stilled them for one reason or another.
But my friend, “The works of his hands are faithful and just” (Psalm 111:7). He’s not given up on us. But if you’re like me and you need proof, I have some.
Did the sun come up today? Because “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 19:1).
Are the birds outside your window well fed? It’s the Father who feeds them (Matt. 6:26).
Does the eagle still make its nest on high? It’s God who tells him to do so (Job 39:27) Is the ocean still in its rightful place? It’s Jesus who’s holding it there (Job 38:11).
The glorious work of God so often sharing space with all we take for granted, it’s easy to not see it.
Though I need not look outside to see the divine labor of his hands, just the breakfast table. My children are “all the work of his hands” (Job 34:19). The breath of new life an irrefutable testament his fingers have yet to still.
Or perhaps I need simply look in the mirror, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
But if that’s not enough to prove God’s mighty hand is still at work today, there’s more. Something so glorious, it’s undeniably the work of God. Something we’re never to forget and always to celebrate. Have any ideas? I’ll tell you.
It’s His spirit in us.
The unrepentant sinner brought to their knees by God. Saved by grace through faith. Sealed for the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit. Seated in the heavenly places with Christ. Washed, sanctified, justified, “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
It’s marvelous, I tell you. His mighty hand not just on display in Egypt, but on display in me. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
The redemption of every sinner is proof of His existence, proof of His power, and proof of His love. It’s undeniably the work of God for all the world to see.
So let’s sing for joy at the work of his mighty hands (Ps. 92:4). Let’s celebrate and let’s remember. Though doubt assails me at times, I know Jesus is working because he’s working always in me.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
What proof do you see of God’s mighty hand working today?
How has God personally worked in your life? How does remembering the work He has done, encourage you today?