The magicians did the same with their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
The third plague on Egypt is a plague of frogs coming up out of the Nile and infesting the city. The frogs got into the houses and the beds and the ovens and the bowls used to make bread. The buggers were everywhere. And Pharaoh’s magicians; his soothsayer priests replicate the plague. Essentially, they copy what God has done and make things worse.
This has been a pattern through the first few plagues. God does something miraculous and the magicians copy it. That they copy it is curious to me, because (1) copying a disagreeable thing makes the situation more disagreeable, (2) they are somehow able to mimic God’s miracles, and (3) their mimicry always makes a bad situation worse. Not only does their mimicry add to the unpleasantness being experienced, but it seems to contribute to Pharaoh’s conviction that he does not need to listen to what God has to say, as he continues to harden his heart every time the magicians mimic God’s miracle.
I note the same pattern with everything that wants to supplant God and tell people that we do not need Him. Religions will sometimes acquiesce to the miracle of Jesus, only to lump Him into a category of their own making. Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism all do something like this. Islam makes Jesus a prophet, which is no less than many of His contemporaries did, then says that He is less a prophet than their religion’s founder. Buddhism claims that Jesus is a Buddha; an enlightened one — again, admitting that it is miraculous, but putting Jesus into a category that was replicated. And some Hindus just add Jesus as one more god to their pantheon. Some of the cults lump Jesus in with categories less than His full deity, claiming that we can aspire to be exactly like Him up to and including His divinity or diminishing Him by saying He is nothing more than a high-ranking angel. The miracle of Jesus Christ is Emmanuel; God with us. The miracle of Jesus Christ is that Almighty God clothed Himself with limited power and walked among us; that omniscient God limited Himself to have to learn things as a human being does; that omnipresent God wrapped Himself in human flesh and was present at one place at one time. The miracle of Jesus Christ is that God became a human being and walked with the very beings He had created as one of them. How did God do this? I do not fully comprehend, but I accept it.
Which leads me to another category of false religion: science. Science does not set itself up as a religion. I need to be clear on that. But there are people who make science their religion. They believe, with utter conviction, everything that science tells them. I find this amusing, since there are areas of science which are entirely theoretical, which means that none of that content can be conclusively proved axiomatic. Things like quantum mechanics have a very few laws — things which are reliably, repeatable, demonstrably true — and lots of theories — things which will generally fit facts, but cannot be conclusively proven true. Yet there are folks who will take everything said there and accept it as absolute truth, despite knowing that any legitimate scientist will admit that better information might flip the entire body of theory on its head tomorrow. But let me say that I believe there is a God and submit the evidence that supports my thesis and those same people will laugh me to derision. I admit that I cannot prove God’s existence to the level of a scientific law, but nor can science disprove His existence to the same level. We are all of us operating in theoretical realms where God and science are concerned. There is a great deal more that could be said regarding how science gets made a religion by some folks, particularly folks who do not believe in a god of any kind, but that can wait for another day. Suffice it to say that science seeks to understand things and ends up being made a religion by some. And, worse, sciences like medical science set out to alleviate human suffering and end up doing a reasonably good job replicating some of the healing miracles, thus further hardening some hearts. For my part, I am just grateful that God gives those folks such amazing minds and that I am blessed to live in a historical epoch in which so much disease has been summarily dealt with.
The application for this is in the paragraphs above. I need to be mindful that the priests of false religions are still around and replicating God’s miracles and are still hardening people’s hearts against God and the miraculous things He does. The best I can do in this situation is to pray. Pray for my faith to be strengthened, as God is faithful to do. Pray for hearts to be softened. Pray that God will show Himself mighty in the sight of all.
Father, thank You for the reminder that there have been and are and will be those who will duplicate Your wonders and thus harden hearts. They may not mean to, but it does happen that way. Please soften hearts and show Yourself mighty on behalf of Your people.