12 Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and rested on the whole territory of Egypt; it had never been so very heavy with locusts before, nor will it ever be again. 15 They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit from the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh quickly called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 17 So now, forgive my sin, please, this time, and plead with the LORD your God to remove this sure death from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned a very strong sea wind, which removed the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not send the sons of Israel away.
remove this sure death
As bad as all the other plagues were, the locust plague finally woke Pharaoh up. He started – just briefly – to realize the enduring consequences of his sin. He recognized that he had sinned against Moses and Aaron, not taking their ministry seriously. But he also recognized that he had sinned against the LORD. Looking out over a land darkened by the flood of insects, eating away all vegetation, he imagined the starvation that would follow this act. He also knew that every hollow eye would be looking toward him for having been too stubborn to prevent it. So he pleads for an instant recovery from this sure death. The LORD responded to this plea even though he knew that Pharaoh would once again renege on his promise to send the Israelites away.
The wages of sin is death. If we only knew what locust cloud is being blown toward our lives as a result of our rebellion and disobedience, we too, would be quickly pleading for the LORD to remove it. But we don’t usually get the visual demonstration that Pharaoh got. But even he failed to respond appropriately. What the LORD wants from us is to take him at his word. He wants to take us out of Egypt. But he also wants to take Egypt out of us. We are either Pharaoh or the sons of Israel. Pharaoh’s immediate desperate plea for God to remove the consequences of the plague from him was not enough. Many come to the LORD in desperation and seek the same thing. But what the LORD wants is our commitment to walk away from our old life in Egypt.
LORD, we see our lives darkened by the overwhelming swarm of a sure death. Give us the wisdom and courage to walk away from those lives, not to just ask you to fix them.