Unseriously Serious

It's how we are.

Exodus 10:12-20 (NKJV)

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land—all that the hail has left.” So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.

Locust plagues still happen. There was one not that long ago in Madagascar.

Even with modern technology, it’s a tragedy of biblical proportions. We like to gripe that the deer eat everything. Imagine living in a primitive agricultural society and seeing everything covered in locusts.

If there are any Egyptians left that still worship their “gods” they might be wondering, “Where’s Osiris?”

Pharaoh seems to have abandoned this perspective and called Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.”

The fact that Pharaoh did this in haste speaks volumes. He sees how dire the situation is. Then he forgets.

One of the weirdest aspects of our sinful nature is how it makes us unseriously serious. Pharaoh was totally serious while pleading with Moses, but that was quickly forgotten. We do this more than we realize. How many promises are broken because they somehow “couldn’t be kept”?

Give me break. If that happens a lot, what does the word promise mean, anyway? You think this is rare? Every debt not paid is exactly that – including every bankruptcy. We’ve even made bankruptcy normal.

Making a promise you might not be able to keep is being unseriously serious.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.