Summary: The Plague of Frogs, and a lesson on procrastination.
National Frog Day
Text: Exodus 8:1-15
Introduction: Not a lot of people know this, but last Sunday was officially National Frog Day in this country. Believe it or not, on that day we were supposed to be examining local ponds and rivers for frog spawn, and ensuring the protection of everyone’s favourite hopper. But the idea of a National Frog Day is not a new one. In ancient Egypt people were very fond of frogs, indeed frogs formed a vital part of the nation’s religion. They were sacred. The Egyptian goddess Heqt was depicted as having a frog’s head. Egyptians worshipped Heqt as the goddess of resurrection, and she was also believed to aid women in childbirth. One Egyptian picture shows Heqt reciting spells to affect the resurrection of the god Osiris – the giver of life!? And another shows her kneeling before the queen superintending the birth of Hatshepsut the princess who is considered to have rescued Moses from the Nile. Hapi, the god of the Nile was depicted as holding a frog in his hand, out of the mouth of which flowed a stream of nourishment, showing a close relationship between Hapi and Heqt. The Egyptians loved frogs. In fact they revered them so much it was against the law to kill a frog. National Frog Day was no new concept in the land of the Pharaoh’s. Egyptian’s couldn’t get enough of the slimy amphibians, that was until God declared National Frog Week!
I. The Plague Was Declared – vss 1-4
A. How soon Moses returned to Pharaoh after the plague of blood it is hard to say, but I believe the way the text reads that his appearance at Pharaoh’s court was almost immediate.
1. God wasn’t wasting any time in confronting the gods Egypt held dear.
2. Again Moses was instructed to face Pharaoh.
3. This time he is to forewarn him that failure to obey the Lord would result in a plague of frogs.
4. With “frog” worship so prominent in his land Pharaoh probably thought little of Moses’ threat.
5. But the prophet of God was very explicit in the details – and particularly the way in which this plague would affect Pharaoh.
6. Previously Pharaoh didn’t care. The waters were turned into blood, and he just shrugged his shoulders and went home.
a. In Marie Antoinette style he showed little compassion for his subjects – what did he care that they couldn’t bath, cook or eat, as long as there was fresh water stored up in the royal palace.
(i) Illus: Dublin castle – Whilst staying there Queen Victoria couldn’t face the sight of squalor and poverty just beyond her garden wall. So she built a bigger wall that would block out the view. Wealth and privilege has a way of hardening a person to the plight of others.
(ii) Pharaoh could withdraw into privilege from the plight of the Egyptian people vainly digging wells that were soon filled with blood.
b. This time though Moses’ makes it clear that “the frogs shall come upon thee, and upon thy people and upon all thy servants.”
c. In other words “Pharaoh this plague is coming home to roost – God is entering uninvited into your private quarters.”
a. With the plague of frogs Pharaoh could not “turn into his house” to get away from it all – the problems of the land would be his problem as much as anyone else’s.
II. The People Were Disgusted – vss 5-7
A. The ancient Egyptians were a very meticulous people.
1. Though their medical understanding was limited and their medicinal remedies flawed, they were nevertheless a reasonably hygienic people.
2. They valued cleanliness both in the person and their home. They were a house proud people.
3. The idea that their nice homes could be infested with frogs of all things, was surely a repulsive thought to them. Yet that is exactly what happened.
a. Illus: When I was a little boy my older brother gathered some frog spawn from up the Cavehill, and we kept it in a basin out in our back garden. Of course in time the spawn gave birth to tadpoles, which as children we enjoyed much like keeping fish. But those tadpoles soon grew legs and it was not too long before there were frogs in our garden. In fact we had our own mini plague, and I can tell you that by this stage my mother wasn’t too well pleased.
b. Frogs are OK on National Geographic documentaries. Frogs are fine in the Wind & the willows, Frogs make interesting subjects for painting and ornamentation, but in real life frogs are not really all that nice!
c. In Egypt frogs were acceptable when chiselled out of stone. Pictures of frogs, statues of frogs were fine. Even worshipping frogs was acceptable – but living with frogs? Well that was a different matter!