Exodus 8:10–11 (HCSB)
10 “Tomorrow,” he answered.
Moses replied, “As you have said, so you may know there is no one like Yahweh our God, 11 the frogs will go away from you, your houses, your officials, and your people. The frogs will remain only in the Nile.”
We have in this pericope the second plague brought upon Egypt due to Pharaoh’s refusal to obey God and let the Israelites go to worship Him. The passage starts out in similar fashion to the previous: God telling Moses what to say to Pharaoh, and what to say to Aaron. And, as in the first plague, the second plague was put in effect, and Pharaoh’s magicians, surely to the chagrin of Pharaoh, duplicate the feat, at least to some extent.
But then we see a new wrinkle. Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron and says he will let the Israelites go if God removes the frogs. It seems as though God is about to deliver on His promise! So, despite the magicians being able to replicate the miracles that God has brought about, they apparently are powerless to remedy the situations, and Pharaoh has, at least to some extent, realized that God is in fact in control here, as he asks for Him to intercede and relieve him and his people.
And Moses doubles down. In Exodus 8:9, he asks Pharaoh to set the day for the frogs to be removed. This way there is no question that God is in control, that He can make the frogs appear, or cease, on His command. And Pharaoh’s answer is interesting… “Tomorrow.” Huh? Why would he wait? What’s interesting is, some are presented with God, are staggered by the truth of His existence, and just have to take that one last step to Him… but they wait until tomorrow to do it. Is that where Pharaoh is right now? Could it be that had he said, “Right now,” it would have been too much for him to continue to deny God and cling to his own throne? God is ready today for us to join His family, to be His child, and He will be there tomorrow as well, but sometimes we don’t come back the next day, just like Pharaoh.
So even though God follows through and honors Pharaoh’s request, Pharaoh backs out when he sees the frogs die and no longer be an issue, other than the horrible smell. Scripture says Pharaoh “hardened his heart.” It wasn’t God hardening it, it was Pharaoh… he waited, and then he pulled further away from God.
It is interesting though that the frogs didn’t simply return to the Nile, and vanish in a sense. Instead they died, and their bodies remained, stinking, reminding the Egyptians, and Pharaoh, of what happened. And isn’t it fitting that as Pharaoh turns away from God, he sees the stench of death as relief, and stands opposed to the life that comes from God.
Lord, thank You for life. I pray that I will always choose life, You, over the death that comes from being apart from You. Help me to recognize not just trials as being part of Your journey for me, but also the relief from them that only You provide. Amen.