I’m no stranger to mosquitos. After all, I grew up in Florida, at the edge of a swamp. We didn’t use bug spray. Instead, the grove sprayer would swing by the house whenever we sprayed the grove. Mosquitos would die in droves. Still, when you rode your horse down into the swamp the blood-sucking mosquitos would draw off blood from you. You could lose twenty pounds from blood loss if you rode into the wrong spot.
The problem with being on horseback and being under attack is your start slapping everything in sight with your hat. This is a signal to your horse to take off and run. It requires more coordination than I have to swat mosquitos, duck limbs, and stay in the saddle at a full gallop. Mosquitos have a way of upsetting your life.
There is an often overlooked story in the Bible. In Exodus, God sends plagues on the people of Egypt to get Pharaoh’s attention. His message is simple: I’m God and you’re not. The first plague is turning the water into blood. Moses does this miracle. But Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate it. The second plague is a plague of frogs. Again, the magicians were able to duplicate it, although let’s face it, how hard is to bring frogs on the land of Egypt when it is already covered with frogs?
The third plague is where it gets interesting. God tells Aaron to stretch out his staff and all the dust in Egypt will become gnats. Have you ever seen pictures of Egypt? Do you know how much dust there is?
The word translated “gnats” is an obscure Hebrew word. Scholars are not certain of its exact meaning. Since the next plague is a plague of flies, some scholars suggest this was a plague of mosquitos.
Exodus 8:19 contains a striking confession by the magicians: “This is the finger of God.” There was something about mosquitos that the magicians couldn’t duplicate. They stop seeing Moses and Aaron as clever tricksters and start seeing the finger of God at work. Pharaoh didn’t listen. He wouldn’t pay attention until there was the loss of his own son, who died because of his stubbornness, along with all the first born in Egypt. The magicians saw the finger of God, but Pharaoh missed it.
This week Sumter has been plagued by mosquitos. Because of the floods, conditions have been perfect for eggs to hatch and mosquitos to fly. I have offered up several blood sacrifices to the mosquito’s proboscis (the sucker tube they insert into your skin). I wouldn’t say our outbreak of mosquitos is God sending a plague on our community. But the outbreak has started me wondering, “Would I recognize the finger of God?”
I’m praying to keep my eyes open to see where God is at work. And, I am spraying myself down with bug spray.