Plagues

Exodus 11:1 “The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here.””

Plagues. They are a sign like no other that things aren’t right in the world.  We have heard about the great plagues that God brought upon Egypt when he delivered Israel from slavery after 430 years of captivity.  Israel was plagued in their captivity – and Egypt was plagued because of it.  Plagues are talked about throughout scripture. We live in a world that is plagued by disease, “natural” disasters, all manner of trouble, and death.  We are warned of wave upon wave of plagues that will sweep the earth prior to the time Jesus returns. They are coming upon a rebellious world who will reject God right to the end.  So, what should be our response to all this? 

Like Job, who in his immense suffering was advised by his wife, should we all just curse God and die?!  Actually, sadly, that’s exactly what most people have done in the past and will continue to do in the future.   Most men are just like Pharaoh who hardened his heart time after time in spite of God’s warnings and in spite of the plagues at the time of Moses. Looking to our future, John described the following scene, which was a prophecy of men’s response to the horrific plagues coming at the time of the tribulation: “People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds (Revelation 16:10-11).”

God is a God of justice. He will always judge sin.  Perhaps God could have allowed Adam and Eve and all of us who have come after them to escape the curse of sin as we live out our remaining days on earth but then cast us into hell without warning in the end.  But God is a God who warns us because He loves us.  He gives us time to repent and turn to Him. He has afflicted the world in its sin so that man would want more than anything to escape the sin that plagues it before it is too late.  The Bible says that “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodieswill be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed (2 Peter 3:9-10).” 

The rebel curses God because of the hard things that plague the world and plague their own lives. The believer trusts God in spite of them.  One of the thieves on the cross cursed Christ as a result of the judgment of crucifixion he was being subjected to.  If Jesus was Who He said He was, then why not save him from this curse?   He was oblivious to the fact that he deserved what he was getting, while Jesus did not. 

God, in His mercy, has made a way for us to escape His sure judgment on sin, but there is ONLY one way.  It is the way of the cross.  You see, God the Son, in His mercy, bore the plague of sin for us all in His own flesh on the tree.  As Isaiah has told us, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten (literally, plagued) by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions;  he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).” 

The plague of sin, iniquity, rebellion against God – it carries with it a very heavy price.  Yet God laid on His own Son all of its hideousness so that we could live.  Have you accepted what He has done for you so that God’s plague on sin will be stayed on your behalf, or will you go on in your sin and in the end be left with nothing but to curse God and die?  As God plead with Israel through His prophets many years ago, and as He continues to plead  through His Word today “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel (Ezekiel 33:11)?”

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