Ex 10:17                                Death by Locusts                                       8/9/2009         ßà   

 

  • The Purpose of God’s Judgment (Ex 10:1-3, 9:34, 9:14-16, Rom 9:17-18)

 

 

 

#1.       The Warning of God’s Judgment (Ex 10:4-7, Ps 105:34-35)

 

 

 

  • An Attempt to Compromise (Ex 10:8-11, Prov 22:6, 1Sam 2:30, Eph 6:4)

 

 

 

#2.       Judgment Arrived (Ex 10:12-15, Isa 45:7, Joel 1:7)

 

 

 

  • The Scourge of God (Ex 10:16-20, Joel 2:25, Rev 9:1-6, Rom 15:4)

 

 

 

#3.       Cast Into Outer Darkness (Ex 10:21-23, Rev 16:10-11)

 

 

 

  • Another Attempt to Compromise (Ex 10:24-27, Matt 6:21, Mal 3:8)

 

 

 

#4.       The Insanity of a Hard Heart (Ex 10:28-29)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 10:1 (2X). When we consider the works of God upon Egypt, we see that these are mighty miracles done to a people whose only sin might be that they held the children of Israel in slavery. And indeed the main purpose of God seems to be the release of the children of God who are held in bondage. And when we consider this fact from the Bible, it gets more and more clear that this historical event was written in such a way that it serves as a picture of the salvation of God’s elect by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. But there is more. God uses the historical background of this event to make some awesome statements about Himself and about His purpose in saving the children of Israel out of their house of bondage. So, let us first go to the purpose of God’s dealing with Israel and God’s purpose in His judgments on the nation of Egypt.

  • The Purpose of God’s Judgment (Ex 10:1-3, 9:34, 9:14-16, Rom 9:17-18)

Ex 10:1-3  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

The first principle that we draw out of this passage is this: Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? God says “I have hardened his heart”. God is the first cause of hardening Pharaoh’s heart. But we also read in Ex 9:34, please look at Ex 9:34, “Pharaoh sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants”. Pharaoh was the second cause of hardening his heart. Are there more people whose heart is hardened? Yes. All those who are not God’s elect will die with a hardened heart. Since they do not have a Savior they will die in their sins, and they will be condemned to Hell for their sins. Secondly, God says that He has hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order that God can show His mighty signs and wonders to Pharaoh and to his servants. God told Moses here that He designed not only the release of Israel from bondage, but also the magnifying of His own Name by doing mighty signs and wonders upon Egypt. Thirdly, God expects that all the children of Israel will tell their children and their grandchildren what great things God has done for them in Egypt, and that God has caused their release from bondage. Every one of His children is expected to glorify Him in word and in deed. Fourthly, God has caused the Egyptians to know that He is Jehovah; that He is the Lord God, and there is no one else. All the idols of Egypt are impotent. They cannot speak, or walk, or do anything, for they are an invention of man. Fifthly, In the name of this mighty God of the Hebrews, God demands that Pharaoh humble Himself and let the Hebrews leave the country. And God shall continue to send plagues upon Egypt until they have released the Hebrews from slavery. Please turn one page to your left, to Ex 9:14 (2X), where we read essentially the same five principles from the words of Ex 9:14-16, which also are restated in Rom 9:17,

Ex 9:14-16  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon

thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

We learn here another aspect of God. This is not a God who loves everyone. This is not a God who desires to save everyone. But this is a God who demands respect and awe, and who demands that everyone will glorify Him. And if we do not glorify Him it is sin, which must be paid with the penalty of Hell. And so, God continues to warn Pharaoh with the words of Ex 10:4 (2X),

#1.       The Warning of God’s Judgment (Ex 10:4-7, Ps 105:34-35)

Ex 10:4-7 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?

Moses and Aaron gave Pharaoh the warning that if he does not let the children of Israel go, God will send a plague of locusts upon Egypt, which will be worse than any other plague of locusts that Egypt has experienced at any time before or after. You think you have survived the plague of hail. Whatever the hail has left will be eaten by the locusts. There will nothing be left after the plague of locusts. Let my people go! But Pharaoh is proud and rather pleased with himself. And God caused Pharaoh’s pride to be the instrument through which Pharaoh and Egypt will be destroyed. Moses and Aaron were not exaggerating. For example we read in Psalm 105:34-35,

Ps 105:34-35  He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and that without number, And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

The servants of Pharaoh recognized the warning, and they recommended that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go. But Pharaoh was not totally convinced. He was going to compromise with Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron turned around and left, not waiting for an answer from Pharaoh, for they already knew that he has hardened His heart. Pharaoh he was going to compromise with God. Ex 10:8

  • An Attempt to Compromise (Ex 10:8-11, Prov 22:6, 1Sam 2:30, Eph 6:4)

Ex 10:8-11  And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

What do we read here? Pharaoh will allow the men to leave Egypt to worship the Lord somewhere in the wilderness, but they must leave their children in Egypt. This will guarantee that they will return to Egypt to be united with their women and children. In other words, Pharaoh will be guaranteed that the children of Israel will not try to escape their bondage in Egypt. This is clearly unacceptable to Moses and Aaron, but it was a gesture by Pharaoh to meet them half-way. And although this was an unacceptable offer from Pharaoh, it is a temptation that is frequently followed by many Christians. For example, Satan says, “Be a Christian if you really must, but do not force your religion upon your family members, and especially do not force it on your children, for they might develop a hatred against it, and then you are in worse straits. They are too young to understand these things. Let them be happy now. There is time enough for serious concerns when they grow up.” This is how the Devil argues, and only too many professing Christians are listening to his smooth voice. The result is that family discipline is relaxed, the Scriptures are not given their proper place and attention, and children are allowed to choose their own companions, with the result that there is no real effort made to bring the children out of Egypt. The Bible says that raising children is an increasingly serious problem, and not an easy task. It should be started early in life. God says in Prov 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This training cannot start too early. We should begin it with our children in the most tender years. God has declared in 1Sam 2:30, “Them that honour Me, I will honour.” The first lines the Christian’s children should be taught are not nursery rhymes and fairy tales, but short and appropriate verses of Scripture. The first truths which need to be pressed upon the little ones are that we all have been made to glorify God, and that we all come into the world as lost sinners, in need of a Savior. If we then hear the objection that children are too young to understand such things, we should answer that salvation does not come to anyone through understanding, but through faith, and that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And to give the children God’s Word is the binding and daily duty of every parent. You cannot transfer this duty to the Sunday School teacher, or to anyone else, for God holds the parents responsible for teaching their children. Another example: It has become a custom in many churches that when the sermon starts the children are led away to a “children’s church”, where they hear a watered down version of a story from the Bible. Or parents bring toys and children’s books to church to keep their little ones busy during the sermon. Why do they do that? They claim that the children are too little to understand the sermon, and so they are brought into an environment where they hear stories from the Bible in their own language. But let us analyze what the parents have done. By their actions the parents are teaching the children that they do not need to listen to the sermon, for that is only for the adults. And so, children grow up with a deaf ear towards preaching from the pulpit. They have learned to ignore solid teaching, and they grow up knowing nothing of the basic truths from the Bible. They have never ever heard the truths of the Gospel of grace, even though it is preached every Sunday into their ears. But what have the parents done? Spiritually they have left their children in Egypt. And when we, through a false tenderness, or indolence, allow the children to walk according to their own will and pleasure, we will see that our children develop from stage to stage very rapidly into disobedient children, until at the end they develop into terrible teenagers who are despising their parents. Today people say that it is a normal development that teenagers despise their parents. Don’t they know that this is a very unbiblical idea? In the Bible rebellious children who despise their parents were stoned to death. But this is the result if parents allow the children to be “conformed to this world.” It is the result of bringing up the children without the fear of God. It is neglecting their soul’s interest. It is ignoring the command of God in Eph 6:4, where we read, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Whose wrath is God talking about in this verse? It is the wrath of God. When our children remain unsaved, they remain under the wrath of God. Even though it is a horrible idea, it means that we have left our children in Egypt.

#2.       Judgment Arrived (Ex 10:12-15, Isa 45:7, Joel 1:7)

Ex 10:12-15  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod 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 brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Where do disasters and calamities come from? Most people today will answer that Satan is doing this. Satan hates us, and that is why he brings grief and pain. But that is a lie. It is God who brings us earthquakes, and tornados, and hurricanes, and floods, and thunder and hail, and a plague of locusts. We read that clearly here. It is God who is in control of everything, not Satan. When we read the last of the Epistles in the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we read that it is Christ, the Lamb of God, who by His opening the seals of the book in His hand causes one calamity after another to be poured out over this world. Christ does this to prepare the world for Judgment Day, so that eventually His kingdom may be brought in. That is also the reason for Christ pouring the ten plagues upon Egypt, so that clearly at the end Christ’s kingdom may be brought in, and all the children of Israel may be delivered from their bondage to this world. We serve a sovereign God, who can through calamities bring both salvation and judgment to the sons of men. God works through the sins of man to accomplish His goals. And God can cause both repentance and wrath through the same calamities, to prepare the world for the Last Day.

God says in Isa 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Clearly, Almighty God is sovereign, and whatever He does it is righteous. And now, as plague number 8, He has brought the locusts all throughout the land of Egypt. This plague of locusts was very great. The locusts not only ate everything outside, but they were also in the houses of the Egyptians and ate the food that was in their houses. When we read chapter 1 of the Prophecy of Joel we get a good impression of how grievous this plague was. We read in Joel 1:7,

Joe 1:7  He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

The locusts ate even the bark from the fig trees, so that the trees would die. Great famine would follow a visitation by locusts, for there would be no more food around. There would be no more food offerings and drink offerings to God, for the locusts ate the standing grain as well as the grape vines. All the trees of the field will be eaten bare. The cattle have nothing to feed on, so they will die also. And then there would be great starvation among the people, for they also would have nothing to eat. It is then no wonder that Pharaoh called this plague in Ex 10:17 a plague of death. And now we remember the title of this sermon, which is, Death by Locusts (2X). To have the entire country invaded by locusts is as devastating as if the Day of the Lord has come.

  • The Scourge of God (Ex 10:16-20, Joel 2:25, Rev 9:1-6, Rom 15:4)

Ex 10:16-20  Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Only now when the locusts had eaten everything, when it was too late, Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron in haste and asked them to pray to God that He remove the plague of locusts. But the locusts had already stripped the trees off everything within the first 15 minutes. The rest of the day they were just annoying pests. But it took until the evening for the Lord to remove all the locusts. This plague was so grievous we might as well call this plague “The scourge of God.” Actually the title of “The scourge of God” was given to Attila the Hun who appeared about 2000 years later on the scene. But already in Egypt 2000 years earlier the scourge of God was felt in this great plague of locusts. Please turn in your Bible to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 9:1 (2X). Why did God create this great plague upon Egypt? It was again to indicate how close the ten plagues on Egypt were to the plagues that God would bring upon the whole world near the end of time. The locusts are called “God’s great army” in Joel 2:25. In the OT this army of God was an army of herbivores, an army of vegetarians. But in Rev 9 God sends an army which does not eat vegetation. We read in Rev 9:1-6,

Re 9:1-6  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

These locusts come out of the bottomless pit, which already is an indication to us that these locusts represent demons. Their aim is to torment people who have not the seal of God in their foreheads. They are to torment people with false gospels. On the other hand, the saints who have the seal of God in their foreheads will not be tormented by these locusts, just like the children of Israel who lived in the land of Goshen were not subjected to the plague of locusts. We should remember that God said in Rom 15:4,

Ro 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

The plague of locusts upon Egypt and the plague of locusts upon the world near the end of time were written for our learning. In both cases these plagues were upon the people of Egypt and the people of the world which do not have the seal of God in their foreheads. In both cases these plagues were and are upon people who have been in the presence of the elect of God; they have witnessed what it means to be a child of God, but still they have not been saved. And therefore Christ will judge them and:

#3.       Cast Them Into Outer Darkness (Ex 10:21-23, Rev 16:10-11)

Please turn again to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 10:21 (2X). This is the reason why the plague of darkness follows the plague of locusts. The plague of locusts was to bring the nation of Egypt to their knees, and to have them acknowledge that Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, is mightier than all the gods of the Egyptians combined. But if they still turn away from the God of the Hebrews, if they still hang on to the gods of the Egyptians, then the God of the Hebrews will plunge them into a darkness so deep that they could feel the darkness. We read in Ex 10:21-23, about this penultimate plague:

Ex 10:21-23  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

It was a darkness that reminds us of Hell that the Lord Jesus described as a place of “outer darkness

where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For three days Egypt was a picture of Hell. If three days of darkness was so dreadful, what will everlasting darkness feel like? It reminds us of the fifth vial of the seven vials of the wrath of God in Rev 16:10-11, and this was also the penultimate plague.

Re 16:10-11  And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

They repented not of their deeds. Here also we need to remember that we must compare this with the darkness of the ninth plague in Egypt. And just as in the 9th plague the children of Israel were still in Egypt, so we conclude that in Rev 16:10-11 the saints are still on the earth. The Bible tells us that there will still be saints on this earth when the Lord comes. And likewise the events in Rev 16 are events taking place before the Lord comes, for the last battle, the battle of Armageddon must still take place. And when we return to Ex 10:24 we find:

  • Another Attempt to Compromise (Ex 10:24-27, Matt 6:21, Mal 3:8)

Ex 10:24-27  And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

What do we read here? First Pharaoh sought to keep them in the land of Egypt, then he sought to keep them near the land of Egypt, then he sought to keep part of them in the land of Egypt, and now when he could not succeed in any of these three he sought to send them out without any ability to serve the Lord. This was Pharaoh’s last compromise. Notice the word “only” in verse 24, “only let your flocks and your herds be stayed.” Satan tried to tempt Moses with the distraction of a divided heart, or the vain effort to serve two masters, or the miserable attempt to make the best of both worlds. This danger is very real. Demas was caught in this snare (2Tim 4:10) and Ananias and Sapphira were also caught in this snare (Acts 5). The Lord Jesus said in Matt 6:21, Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also. If our possessions remain in Egypt, so will also be our affections. The flocks and herds of the children of Israel were their earthly possessions. The issue that Pharaoh raised is whether or not God owns all that we have. From the Word of God we conclude that nothing we have is really ours: all things are committed to us as stewards. And it is right here that so many of us fail. The Devil’s final plea is this: “Give yourself to God, but do not consecrate your possessions to His service.” And multitudes of professing Christians listen to him. Look at the wealth of those who bear the name of Christ. How it has piled up! And where is it all? It is safe and secure in Egypt. How much is held as a sacred trust for Christ?   Is not the greater part of it used for our own gratification.  This is an old problem to the Lord. He

has seen it many times. In fact, He wrote about it in Mal 3:8, 

Mal 3:8  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

And the same charge can justly be laid against most of us today. What was Moses’ response? Moses said in Ex 10:26, “there shall not an hoof be left behind”. “Not an hoof” means that all that I have and am is held at the disposal of the Lord. And so, let us seek daily grace to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called.

#4.       The Insanity of a Hard Heart (Ex 10:28-29)

Ex 10:28  And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.

Ex 10:29  And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

What insanity of a hardened heart? To threaten Moses with death who was armed with such a power from God, was pure insanity. Did Pharaoh forget that he had so often pleaded for mercy? To whom shall Pharaoh turn for help when God sends the next plague upon Egypt? This dictator is not even listening to his advisors any more. They already informed him that Egypt is destroyed. That was before the plague of locusts. It is clear that God must bring greater calamities upon Egypt so that this stubborn dictator will be humbled. Perhaps destruction alone is not going to convince him. Perhaps death and destruction is necessary to get his attention. And perhaps death in his own household is what will finally humble him.

But let us now look at our own country. Do we see similarities here? During the 20th and 21st century this country has turned more and more away from God. And people have been blind to the poverty that God has gradually poured upon us. This country was materially rich and was rich in human resources. This country was rich in the faith, and it held the name of the Lord high. But during the 20th and 21st century atheism gained ground, and homosexuality became popular, and extramarital sex became more and more common, due in part by the teachings of Hollywood. Moreover, the church became rotten to the core, women were ordained to deacons, and elders, and pastors, and more and more churches jumped on the bandwagon of the ecumenical movement. What this means is that more and more churches believe that there are more than one way to God, since new age philosophy has taken hold of the churches. No longer is the church in the world to teach the world the one way to God. But the world has crept into the church, and now we do not know any more what the true church is, and where it can be found. And even though all this has been prophesied in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and has been supported by many other parts of Scripture, no one reads the Bible any more, and instead people will read books about the Bible. It is the insanity of a hard heart. People will no longer learn from history, and neither will they take their instructions from the Bible. When calamity strikes they do not know any more where to turn to. They underwent death by locusts a long time ago. It was a death where they spiritually starved and died.                      AMEN.           Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.