Exodus 10* The plague of locusts threatened, Pharaoh, moved by hisservants, inclines to let the Israelites go. (1-11) The plagueof locusts. (12-20) The plague of thick darkness. (21-29)1-11 The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warnthe children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh hadpretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, forhe was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened.This should be much worse than any of that kind which had everbeen known. Pharaoh's attendants persuade him to come to termswith Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falselypretending that this was all they desired. He swears that theyshall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can tohinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing theirchildren to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety.Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God'sservice, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should theyoung forget that the Lord's counsel is, Remember thy Creator inthe days of thy youth; but Satan's counsel is, to keep childrenin a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that thegreat foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection,as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites fortheir return, by holding their wives and children in captivity.Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with theSaviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms. 12-20 God bids Moses stretch out his hand; locusts came at thecall. An army might more easily have been resisted than thishost of insects. Who then is able to stand before the great God?They covered the face of the earth, and ate up the fruit of it.Herbs grow for the service of man; yet when God pleases, insectsshall plunder him, and eat the bread out of his mouth. Let ourlabour be, not for the habitation and meat thus exposed, but forthose which endure to eternal life. Pharaoh employs Moses andAaron to pray for him. There are those, who, in distress, seekthe help of other people's prayers, but have no mind to pray forthemselves. They show thereby that they have no true love toGod, nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh desires onlythat this death might be taken away, not this sin. He wishes toget rid of the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hardheart, which was more dangerous. An east wind brought thelocusts, a west wind carries them off. Whatever point the windis in, it is fulfilling God's word, and turns by his counsel.The wind bloweth where it listeth, as to us; but not so as itrespects God. It was also an argument for their repentance; forby this it appeared that God is ready to forgive, and swift toshow mercy. If he does this upon the outward tokens ofhumiliation, what will he do if we are sincere! Oh that thisgoodness of God might lead us to repentance! Pharaoh returned tohis resolution again, not to let the people go. Those who haveoften baffled their convictions, are justly given up to thelusts of their hearts. 21-29 The plague of darkness brought upon Egypt was a dreadfulplague. It was darkness which might be felt, so thick were thefogs. It astonished and terrified. It continued three days; sixnights in one; so long the most lightsome palaces were dungeons.Now Pharaoh had time to consider, if he would have improved it.Spiritual darkness is spiritual bondage; while Satan blindsmen's eyes that they see not, he binds their hands and feet,that they work not for God, nor move toward heaven. They sit indarkness. It was righteous with God thus to punish. Theblindness of their minds brought upon them this darkness of theair; never was mind so blinded as Pharaoh's, never was air sodarkened as Egypt. Let us dread the consequences of sin; ifthree days of darkness were so dreadful, what will everlastingdarkness be? The children of Israel, at the same time, had lightin their dwellings. We must not think we share in common merciesas a matter of course, and therefore that we owe no thanks toGod for them. It shows the particular favour he bears to hispeople. Wherever there is an Israelite indeed, though in thisdark world, there is light, there is a child of light. When Godmade this difference between the Israelites and the Egyptians,who would not have preferred the poor cottage of an Israelite tothe fine palace of an Egyptian? There is a real differencebetween the house of the wicked, which is under a curse, and thehabitation of the just, which is blessed. Pharaoh renewed thetreaty with Moses and Aaron, and consented they should taketheir little ones, but would have their cattle left. It iscommon for sinners to bargain with God Almighty; thus they tryto mock him, but they deceive themselves. The terms ofreconciliation with God are so fixed, that though men disputethem ever so long, they cannot possibly alter them, or bringthem lower. We must come to the demand of God's will; we cannotexpect he should condescend to the terms our lusts would make.With ourselves and our children, we must devote all our worldlypossessions to the service of God; we know not what use he willmake of any part of what we have. Pharaoh broke off theconference abruptly, and resolved to treat no more. Had heforgotten how often he had sent for Moses to ease him of hisplagues? and must he now be bid to come no more? Vain malice! tothreaten him with death, who was armed with such power! Whatwill not hardness of heart, and contempt of God's word andcommandments, bring men to! After this, Moses came no more tillhe was sent for. When men drive God's word from them, he justlygives them up to their own delusions.
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