Moses the minister of God is represented in this Chapter, as prosecuting his great commission in the chastisement of the King of Egypt and his servants, for the deliverance of Israel from bondage. Under the command and by the authority of God, Moses calls for three successive plagues, in the swarms of frogs, and lice, and flies, which cover the land of Egypt. But the result of these visitations, like the former, is, as the Lord had said; though at the voice of Moses the plagues are severally removed, yet the heart of Pharaoh remains hardened.
Exodus 8:1; Psalms 119:4-6
Psalms 107:40; Psa_7:1
Psalms 78:45; Revelation 16:13-14
Reader! remark with me, how the Lord sometimes, for the greater display of the sovereignty of his power, permits evil men to proceed to surprising lengths. Is not this what Paul alludes to? 2 Timothy 3:8. Read that scripture also: Job 12:16.
See another memorable instance of the state of a distracted conscience. Acts 24:25.
This reference to the time when the plague should be removed at Pharaoh's own appointment, prevented the possibility of having it supposed that it was the effect of human contrivance, and made it a more full demonstration of a divine power. Deuteronomy 32:35.
Pause, Reader, over this verse, and observe in it an awful testimony to the great leading truths of scripture. Until grace enters the heart, no corrections, though ever so great, ever so heavy, ever so multiplied, will reach the soul. See that scripture: Psalms 78:31-37. Gracious God! sanctify thy afflictions to our souls, and then our souls will be sanctified to praise thee!
Psalms 105:31. Reader! remark with me, what small and apparently contemptible instruments the Lord works with. He might have commissioned beasts of prey, or sent scorpions among them: but he chooses, as in the gospel dispensation, weak things to confound the mighty.
Let the Reader consult what was said on the 7th Verse, and now behold the Lord's design in the permission. Gracious God! how dost thou compel thy very enemies to acknowledge thy sovereignty? Reader! shall not you and I? See Psalms 64:5-10.
Observe! how the Lord warns again and again, before he repeats his punishments.
The plague of flies was a striking display of divine sovereignty. For as Beelzebub, the god of flies, so called, was probably one of the idols of Egypt, nothing could be more admirably suited to show the Lord's displeasure, than by punishing them in the very objects of their own idolatry.
How sweet to observe the tokens of distinguishing grace! See that scripture, Malachi 3:17-18. Hence from this conviction David sung, Psalms 27:5-6. And what will be the final discrimination of the righteous from the wicked? See the words of the Lord Jesus on that point: Matthew 25:31-41.
Sacrifice to the Lord requires a previous abstraction from men. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Hosea 2:14.
Observe, the Lord will not abate in his demand: see Exodus 3:18.
Observe, how Pharaoh seems to relax: see Exodus 5:2. So said Simon Magus. Acts 8:24.
Reader! admire with me the loveliness of Moses' character. See his boldness in the service of his God, undaunted by Pharaoh's presence or anger. Behold his charity in desiring Pharaoh to deal no more deceitfully. Remark that charity displaying itself, in entreating the Lord for the removal of the plague.
James 5:16. But in this scripture and every other of the like kind, keep in view Him, and his precious office as our intercessor, in whose blood and righteousness alone Moses, Daniel or Job, found favour with God.
Reader! in the awful character of Pharaoh, behold the dreadful history of every hardened transgressor; for in all instances, more or less, it is the same. The afflictions which tend not by divine grace to soften the heart, will tend without grace to harden. And the man that is not made better by corrections, like Pharaoh is made worse! Well may we cry out in that prayer of the church; "From hardness of heart and contempt of thy word and commandment, good Lord, deliver us!
My soul; I charge it upon you as you value the divine favour, pause over this chapter, and take a careful survey of the Lord's sovereignty, in his justice toward his enemies, and his grace and mercy toward his people. And while a deep sense of sin impresseth the mind with a conviction, that all the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not, ariseth out of divine grace, not human merit; oh! that such views of heavenly mercy may serve to endear God in his covenant relationship to the heart; and direct the soul into the participation and enjoyment of the Father's love, the Redeemer's grace, and the Spirit's unremitting mercy.
Learn, my soul, the vast and infinite importance of having thy God and Saviour for thy friend at all times, and upon all occasions. If such small and inconsiderable instruments as frogs, flies, and vermin, may become so formidable to distress, when commissioned by the divine power; how needful is it to live always under the smiles of his favour, who alone can make thy blessings to become blessings indeed; or can at a moment convert thy very food into poison. If God be for us who can be against us. If he be our enemy it matters not who is our friend. Dearest and ever-blessed Jesus! thou who art the peace of thy people, be thou at peace with me, and then all thy creatures will be at peace with me also. For thou hast said, on that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany