Idols Croak (Exodus 8:1–15)

Frogs! Everywhere! That’s funny (when the joke isn’t on you). It’s also meaningful. “In jest, there is truth,” wrote Shakespeare. There is always a grain of truth in humor. This wonder is more than a humiliating joke and contains more than a grain of truth.

By these wonders, God was executing judgment on the gods of Egypt (Numbers 33:3–4). Heqet was a goddess who had the body of a woman, and the head of a frog. She was the spouse of Khnum, the protector of the source of the Nile who recently fell asleep on the job. Together they were responsible for human life. Khnum fashioned the bodies, Heqet breathed life into them. When the Nile would flood, it would teem with frogs, a symbol of the fertility Heqet gave the Egyptians. Frogs thus were a protected species. Protected not like bald eagles in the States, but similar to a brahma cow in India. They were religiously protected. Egypt is made to hold her gods in contempt.

Recall why Israel was oppressed. They multiplied (Exodus 1:7–10). Yahweh multiplies in faithfulness to His covenant to Abraham. Yahweh causes frogs to swarm, and then kills them. Heqet smells like death (Exodus 8:14). Behold a proper monument to the honor of Heqet: a pillar of rot, stench, and death. Yahweh gives life and takes it away. He has multiplied Israel. He will kill Egypt’s firstborn.

All man’s idols are frogs; not one is a prince, and by no magic we can conjure can we make then so. Frogs they will always be. So many of the ancient gods seem ridiculous to us today. We laugh at Heqet, Khnum, Osiris, and Hapi—and they are laughable—but we too are blind, fashioning our own gods. We just think we’re better craftsman.

Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, ‘Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!’ And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god!’ They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, ‘Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’ —Isaiah 44:10–20

How lame the created god. How awesome the creator God.

Laugh at the idols lest the joke be on you. Ridicule them, mock them, destroy them. Take your cue from Elijah. When the prayers of the challenged prophets of Baal met deaf ears he mocked saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened (1 Kings 18:27).” Elijah then has the offering to Yahweh soaked with water, three times, till the trench about the altar is filled. Fire falls consuming the offering, wood, stones.

Mock the idols. Repentance is sacrilegious. Repentance profanes and defiles the gods of this world. Repentance desecrates the idols as gods, and turns in faith to the one true God.

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