Fellowship Life of Moses
Lesson14 Frogs in the Kitchen…
(Orig. 3/2/3; Ed. 11.9.14)
Introduction…Ever experienced someone that said they were sorry, and then then did or said it again? Ever do it yourself? Ever said you would never do something like that again, and then turned around, perhaps, even in less than a day, and then changed your mind and did it again?
People seem to say or do things all the time, everyday, that they either regret or wish they could take back. It’s human nature. The mouth, and yes, the heart or feeling and emotion, can leap far ahead of the mind or better thinking. I mean, have you ever experienced that—being caught up in the moment, absolutely convinced or persuaded of your position, perhaps in an argument, perhaps persuaded about some fad or wave…I am on board. This is the real deal! This is the greatest thing since sliced bread! And then it turns out NOT to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. And not just once, but repeatedly. I have known many people to do this again and again and again, and in fact, I would have to say, I am perhaps just as guilty. In fact, someone just told me last week that they never wanted to talk to me EVER AGAIN. Two days later, they were texting me, asking me if I would do a favor for them.
What is it about our souls or minds that produce this strange phenomena? Do you think this also happens in a negative way perhaps? Someone says their sorry, but after further reflection, they feel emboldened and rethink their previous apology and now want to take it back? Why? What allows us to do this? What would NOT allows us to do this, so that as both Jesus said and James wrote, let your yes be yes, and your no be no! (Matt. 5:37; James 5:12).
Series Introduction: You make a mistake; you think your life has changed forever; that there is no going back. In exile, you take your flock of sheep, which you have been pasturing for the past forty years, to an out-of-the-way desert valley that seems to symbolize your life. You see a fire in the distance that refuses to die down. You decide to take a closer look. As you draw closer to the inextinguishable flame, suddenly your life does change forever…
The God of the universe has plucked YOU, out of all people, a wandering shepherd, to lead your entire nation numbering over two million people out of the country they are currently enslaved within, across a barren wasteland with little water or food resource to a land which only a few of their forefathers briefly occupied over four hundred years before and is currently occupied by inhabitants who have no intention of giving it up.
Impossible you say? Ridiculous? Sounds like it to me, unless the God of creation is the one doing the calling and doing the work. Do you have the guts to be obedient no matter what…no matter the price?
Read the Passage three times…
Ask Questions (no answers)…
Exod. 8:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, `This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
Again? How many times has it said this?
2 If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs.
Great! Attack of the killer frogs! Why frogs? Does this have something to do with Egyptian gods?
3 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.
Ick! Just like the blood, they will come out of the Nile? Why? After all the water turning to blood or blood red, I would be tempted to let them go and worship, unless…my astrologers could do the same…
4 The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.'”
5 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, `Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'”
Same thing again…
6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land.
7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
That was dumb…more frogs?
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.”
But the astrologers or magicians can’t make the frogs go away apparently. But here is a real change. Now Pharaoh begs Moses and promises to let them go, if he can make the frogs go away.
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”
Interesting! Why is the time so important? To prove that it is no coincidence when the frogs disappear? It is by the hand of God. Notice it is not just that the frogs will leave or die, but the prayer is for all the people. But he is not going to kill the frogs in the Nile, why?
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God.
The truth is the truth is the truth, and Pharaoh you are setting this up, whether you want it to be that way or not, to prove Moses right. On the other hand, if the frogs don’t go away when Moses prays, then that would be proof that his God is not doing this and thus this would discredit Moses and his attempts to intervene on behalf of Israel and their request to go out into the desert to have a feast to honor their God, Yahweh…I AM.
11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”
12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh.
Why does Moses cry out? Was he desperate?
13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields.
14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them.
It’s not a totally free ride here. Now the Egyptians have to deal with the rotting corpses of frog
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.
Is this not so true of some many when they get their relief? They go back to their old ways. In other words, just about the time you think someone has hit bottom, they bounce…off the bottom…and therefore, are not really ready to change or repent, and so it is with Pharaoh…
Who’s? Lord, Moses, Pharaoh, my people, officials, your people, Aaron, magicians
Where’s? to Pharaoh, The Nile, your palace, your bedroom, onto your bed, into the houses, on your people, into your ovens, kneading troughs, over the streams, canals, and ponds, on the land of Egypt, over the waters of Egypt, covered the land, away from me and my people, in the Nile, only in the Nile, in the courtyards and in the fields, into heaps
When’s? the Lord said, then the Lord said, setting the time, tomorrow, after Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, But when Pharaoh saw
- 1-6 The Lord commands Moses and Aaron to once again ask Pharaoh to let Israel go so that they may worship the Lord in the desert. If he refuses, then raise your staff above all the bodies of water in Egypt, and I will plague the land with frogs everywhere—even in their homes. Aaron does it, and the land is plagues by frogs.
- 7-8 Even though Pharaoh’s magicians are able to imitate the creation of frogs, Pharaoh has to beg Moses to pray to his God to remove the frogs. In return, he will allow the Israelites to leave to make sacrifices to their God.
- 9-11 Moses allows Pharaoh to choose the time so that there will be no mistake who has accomplished this miracle. Pharaoh chooses the next day.
- 12-14 Moses prays to God about the frogs; the frogs die…all except the Nile and are piled into heaps.
- 15 But upon receiving relief Pharaoh goes back on his word and refuses to listen to Moses, just as the Lord said.
Last Week… Pharaoh is unmoved even when Moses and Aaron turn the river and all water into blood for seven days.
This Week… Although initially willing to allow the people to leave when his land is plagued by frogs, Pharaoh, once relieved of the burden, now hardens his own heart, or changes his mind and goes back on or breaks his word, which is a big deal for a head of state and alleged god.
Why’s? Why did God include this passage in his timeless word? Or What do I learn about God? Life? People? Myself?
- Moses did everything he was supposed to do, and yet in the moment, it did not succeed. God has something bigger and better planned. We can do everything right, and still in the moment, we may not see immediate success. This does not mean that we were not obedient to God. Be obedient, no matter what. Don’t focus on or be confused by the short-term results.
- When Pharaoh got relief, he returned back to his old stubborn self. Sometimes we give people what they want too soon, and they have not learned their lesson—or experienced enough pain. Why? Because we all just want relief. We want out of our pain. But do we want to really change? We may say it; they may say it, but typically people want the best of both worlds-my sin, disobedience, imperfection, evil and no consequences. Don’t hold me accountable. Sometimes it can even get so bad, that the one wanting out of the pain can lie or become a pathological liar—anything to avoid the painful consequences of my actions. Beware of those just seeking relief, and giving them what they want too quickly. Don’t give up on your intervention. Stay the course with your discipline…your correction, etc. It may be painful to all at the time, but it saves everyone a lot of pain down the road.
- Now on the other hand, God had a greater plan, and thus does relent nine times, but there will be no relenting that tenth time. That tenth time will cost Pharaoh and Egypt greatly. Better to have given up earlier, than later. Much better.
- So what about us? Well, most of the time, as humans, we are going to relent too soon as well. It’s human nature, and we all misjudge ours and theirs. So normally, we will go through it all several times as well. What I don’t think is appropriate, is relenting early time and time again, and then breaking out of our own frustration, and in order to save ourselves pain. If you are going to relent, then do it for all involved, and if it doesn’t work, let it go. Start over. Either relent or don’t relent, but don’t spend a lot of time whining about being a victim. Rather crush the unrepentant until their breaking point, and perhaps a bit further. If it works, praise God; if not, be prepared, your work…your Spiritual work…your spiritual work of loving another human being to more resemble the image of Christ, is NOT done….because the human spirit or will is incredibly resilient.
So What’s? How does this truth personally apply to one of my life’s struggles?
Struggle…Staying faithful to do all the little things that count, like my studies, making phone calls. I love this winter weather. I can hibernate, study, think, reflect, study or do research all night, and take a nap in the afternoon or morning. At least I like it now. I like Rhonda being at home, a luxury. But then I need to be faithful to get ready for Sunday, etc.
Principle or Truth…Relief tends to breed hardness and a lessening of the need or urgency to change. Pain chastises my fanny and gets me moving again.
Application…The pain of not being prepared and doing a poor job haunts me…drives me a bit to finish up my teaching preparation earlier rather than later. For the moment, keep working. Sleep later. God has been good to me. Very gracious, giving me much rest, with my wife, within my own home. Take it now, because I may not have it later. At the same time, be wise and try to work ahead, which I am seeking to do…I am both studying ahead with the learning center lesson and my message.
Well I spent the rest of the day on the phone. Did a lot of counseling it seems. You never know what the day holds.
Bottom line: I confess, like Pharaoh, when there is relief and not pain, I forget. Like Pharaoh I am a sinner. I have a stubborn will. I ask for your mercy, Lord. I ask for your understanding. But I also submit my life to whatever you have for me: peace or pain; joy or sorrow. I confess I cannot do it alone. I am a weak, stubborn person, in need of your prodding, in need of your understanding. Thank you for being patient with me and giving me chance after chance, whether it has been with my church, my wife, my kids, my studies, my writing, my finances, my responsibilities, my sins and shortcomings. I am Pharaoh. Relief breeds relaxation. As much as I hate to say it, Lord, I throw myself on both your mercy and discipline, to do as you will, even if that means breaking me via your loving, but painful intervention/discipline. I want to be like your son. I put my life in your hands.
2014 Application…Ditto of 2003. Not much has changed in one sense; in other senses, a lot.
Thanksgiving…My ministry assistance’s persistence. Where I failed at establishing a website, Shelly continues to come in and fills in a few more of my many ministry gaps. She not only overcame the obstacles in getting our website and my blog going in the first place, she is persevering in taking it them to higher levels of our vision. We had the tools and the people, we just needed someone with patient, dogged determination to not give up or be distracted, but to stay incredibly patiently focused, like year-long patience and waiting. But she is doing it, and it is paying great dividends.
Another good teaching and passage this past Sunday…about how the teacher now does what he taught. Love conquers or cleans all. At least, he was willing to clean Judas of his intended and darkened malice of betraying Goodness, but Judas chose otherwise. He will wash the feet of an already-clean-but-still-needing-his-feet-washed, impulsive, well-meaning, but still growing and immature Peter. Peter will pledge an allegiance beyond his maturity. But Jesus will clean his feet eventually. We all need a bath, and after that, we all need our feet or hands washed. This was the truth that Jesus was implicitly planting in the hearts and minds of his disciples, so that after he had atoned for sin, been raised from the dead and had gone back to his father, his church would be empowered with a most powerful surviving and thriving mechanism…Spiritual accountability…Spiritual foot washing.
Attempted to do a thorough washing the feet of an immensely-gifted spiritual daughter as we sought together to untangle some recently-exposed very painful thoughts and feelings. She was a trooper. She is a gift.
My other daughter, well, perhaps today, she remains in her third rehab in three weeks, but who knows? Perhaps, like Pharaoh, she is bouncing off her bottom, rather than painfully staying on the ground for a few moments, before picking herself up, broken, defeated and hungry only for God’s deliverance from her addictions and their consequences versus the artificial and incredibly, flawed momentary salvation that she continually seeks to manufacture for herself. God have mercy on her and her baby. Please God! Please. I continue to envision this two-year old little girl happily playing and dancing in the safety and presence of some of loving, adoptive (perhaps) parents because someone cared…someone looked ahead and fought for this vision…this moment. My heart cries out for it, Lord. Hear my pleas. Hear my cries. Protect this little girl. Deliver her mother from this horrible bondage.
Truth…Be prepared for false repentance. Be prepared for many false repentances…or temporary repentances…in our God-inspired Spiritual interventions. Be prepared for lies. Be prepared for denial and broken promises. Apparently, the mind’s darkness can be very, very great or very very delusional. Don’t quit after a few interventions. It took ten to momentarily break Pharaoh and the Egyptians enough to allow Israel’s massive exodus out of Egypt, and even then, Pharaoh, the man who thought he was or wanted to be god, will once again tragically change his mind, only to discover that he is not god and that the price for discovering this truth the hard way is absolutely catastrophic. Truth cannot be broken; it breaks it. We either submit on our way and wave the white flag or it crushes us even beyond the human heart and will.
Application… For me, when my spiritual daughter said she would leave her third rehab program in three weeks, in the moment, it seemed crushing. I wanted to threaten that this was my last time taking her to rehab, despite having earlier in the day, much like Peter in John 13, having testified that if it took a hundred trips, I would do it. Not only a few hours later, much like Peter, here I was, broken after three. But after crying out to the Lord for his salvation…it is no cliché…that Jesus saves… every minute of every hour of every day…I realized, my job is just to be obedient…in the moment, and if God so chooses to lead me to take a seemingly-repentant addict to rehab seventy times seven what is that to me? I work for God. At the same time, I don’t want to unhealthily enable, and I don’t want to unnecessarily repeat insanity (doing the same thing again and again, expected different results), but if this is what I feel God is leading me to do at that moment, regardless of the number of times I have previously done something, then I must be obedient. The story of Pharaoh’s many recanted repentances only reinforces this point. Just as I am, and thankfully so, so is my spiritual daughter…as well as, all our Spiritual sons and daughters…in the hands of God… and not mine. Amen. And if they are in my momentary presence or hand, it is for his will and purposes. I am NOT their salvation. Never was. Yah-Saves (Jesus) was, is and will be. As Moses and Aaron gave their hands, feet, bodies, minds and mouths to your purposes, I offer myself as a living, not dead, sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) to your incomprehensible will and plan, Lord, to do as you know best and are well-pleased to do.
Joseph M. Cross
What about you? Struggle? Truth? Application?
What about your students? Their struggles (list a few; think about several of your students)?
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.