ALIVE: Chapter 53 The First Big Difference

Guards ordered the grief stricken Hebrews to collect the dead frogs and burn them. The stench was unbearable adding disgust to their disappointment.

While the poor bedraggled Hebrews were collecting dead frogs, and nausea erupted like a geyser through Hebrew bodies big and small, male and female, the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt.’”

Perambula looked at Gracefeld and exclaimed, “What! So soon? Shouldn't we wait until the frogs are all gone?” Gracefeld just shrugged angel shoulders and looked down at the chaos of the bloody Nile and the millions of dead frogs, and the people both Egyptian and Hebrew filled with fear and confusion and wondered how Pharaoh could be so stubborn and heartless. The angel saw that it was obvious to most humans that a god, the God, was responsible for all of this. Perambula responded to Gracefeld’s thought, “No Egyptian, not even temple guards, or the queen, dared to discuss the successive catastrophes with Pharaoh. In his palace, Pharaoh is insulated from the outrage of the people. He wants to believe that it's all magic. Besides, you know the Lord is keeping Pharaoh’s heart hard for a reason, don't you?”

No sooner had Moses given him the instructions, than Aaron was ready to pile onto the calamity. Neither brother was as concerned about the chaos as were Perambula and the people. In fact, like mischievous young boys, the brothers reveled in their new destructive power. To keep from smelling the burning frogs, Aaron took a deep breath and then stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and the gnats poured out onto on humans and animals alike like grains of flying sand; all the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt. A deep exhale was followed by a hearty grin. Aaron looked over at Moses who was chuckling. This was getting fun!

When Pharaoh saw the gnats he shouted for his magicians who came running to his throne room. “Do it!” He barked. The magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, and for the first time since the marvels began, the magicians could not replicate the event. There were gnats on both human and animals. The chaos among the people both Egyptian and Hebrew could be heard throughout the heavens. People swatted at gnats everywhere with no relief.

The Egyptians were angrier than ever at the Hebrews for causing such calamity and the Hebrews were furious with Moses and Aaron for piling one disaster on another and making them more despised by their neighbors than ever. No one could breathe or eat without gagging and spitting and ingesting gnats. This wasn't freedom; this was torture!

The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God!” as their excuse for their failure to make even more gnats, as if that was possible. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord said.

That very night, as Moses lay sleepless in his bed under the net, with Sepphora by his side a flash of light whisked pass him. Then the familiar voice of God, the Lord, spoke to him. God said, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you will not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you, on your officials, and your people, and into your houses and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies; so also the land where they live.’

Hearing that, Moses begged, “Please Lord, spare our people. I am afraid that they feel as persecuted as their oppressors are, and I am concerned that they will be in no mood to worship You, after all this, even when they are set free.” Moses cowered as he spoke thus to the Lord, not knowing how He would react to the suggestion. There was silence.
Perambula looked on curiously, also wondering what God would say.

After many tense moments God replied, “Tell Pharaoh that I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, so that you and he may know that I, the Lord am in this land. Thus I will make a distinction between my people and Pharaoh’s people. This sign shall appear tomorrow. My people need should know that all of this chaos is happening for them, not against them.” And to his angel he said, “Gracefeld, make sure that no flies come near the Hebrews.”

Gracefeld summoned an army of angels that created invisible walls around the Jewish quarter before God released a great swarms of flies that came into the house of Pharaoh and into his officials’ houses; in all of Egypt the land was ruined because of flies.

For the second time Pharaoh relented when he summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” But Moses said it would not be right to do so; for the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God are offensive to the Egyptians. If we offer in the sight of the Egyptians sacrifices that are offensive to them, will they not stone us? We must go three days journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he commanded us.”

So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, provided you do not go very far. Pray for me.”

Then Moses replied, “as soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his officials, and from his people, only do not Pharaoh again deal falsely by not letting the people go and sacrifice to the Lord.”

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. And the Lord did as Moses asked: he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his officials and from his people, not one remained. But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and would not let the people go.

Yet, this time the Hebrews were less disappointed; many of them expected it. Besides, this was the first time that they were not affected by the event and they were rejoicing. Those people who resided on the border of Goshen looked over at their tormented neighbors, some with relief, some with pity, some with hubris. They all were curious about their God. The sun was rising in Goshen while darkness descended on Egypt and its hard-hearted Pharaoh.

Gracefeld looked over at Perambula who still seemed troubled by the chaos and said, “Suffering is a prelude to joy; it seems to be the way of this world.”