“And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.” Exodus 8:4
God punishes Egypt with a second plague—frogs! Another strike at the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians considered frogs as sacred and representing the goddess of fertility, Heqet, because of their ability to quickly reproduce. God drowns Egypt in their goddess as frogs appear everywhere. Exodus 8 states that frogs literally covered the land.
Unfortunately, Pharaoh’s magicians demonstrated an ability to summon frogs from the Nile River, providing one more excuse for Pharaoh to harden his heart against the God of Israel. Yet in verse 8, Pharaoh must plead with Moses to ask his God for relief. Pharaoh must admit that the God of Israel is the only One who can bring relief. Many who deny God, know deep down inside that He is real, yet their pride and stubbornness prevent surrender to God and reality. Many would rather live in a fantasy world of their own making and control. This is Pharaoh. This is us. Despite reality, we believe the lies that invade our minds and reject the evidence and truths around us. God calls these false imaginations strongholds. Strongholds will eventually dominate our lives if we allow this process to continue. Pharaoh was dominated by strongholds.
Moses responds to Pharaoh’s desperate request for relief and the frogs die. The purpose was to show Pharaoh that there is no one like our God, (V. 10). Egypt’s goddesses died in their own homes and caused a nauseating odor throughout all the land. The Egyptians were forced to pile their goddesses into a large, foul heap. A very humiliating experience for Pharaoh and his people. But not enough to change a hard heart. Strongholds are fortresses of the heart that cause them to become hard and callous toward what is real and right.
Notice Pharaoh’s response to in verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.” How often do we only come to God for “relief” in a bad situation, only to go back to believing the lies and doing things my way once the relief is provided? In Pharaoh’s situation, the relief was only provided in order that God could bring greater and greater plagues. More pain was on the way for Egypt. Rejection of and rebellion against God brings one thing—pain. That’s a reality and to ignore it is foolish. Strongholds are never easily destroyed, and Pharaoh will eventually lose that which is most dear to him because of his refusal to cast down his imaginations and strongholds.
What lies are you believing despite the evidence and truths around you? Believing in and chasing the “imaginations” of your mind are destructive and painful, just as they were for Pharaoh. Stop looking for relief from God and start believing and trusting the truth of God’s Word and the realities around you. We might not always like the truth, but it is the truth that sets us free and breaks down the strongholds in our minds.