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Absent-Minded Professors

Absent-Minded Professors

Exodus 8:16 & 18-19a

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.’” … The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. … Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”

Don’t you just love the Lord’s sense of humor, friend? He’s let these sorcerers think they’ve had divine power all along. He’s given them the ability to turn a staff into a living serpent, and water into blood, and it’s abundantly clear at this point that they’re even further down the road of self-delusion than Pharaoh. For Pharaoh, it’s a heart condition. But for them, it’s a mental condition. While the rest of Egypt has been searching for water, raking up heaps of stinking frogs into the city dump, these guys are in some secret vault or lab, mixing potions and reciting incantations and repeating infantile gobbledygook. So don’t miss the divine irony here. These are the wise men of their high society, but they’re stark raving mad. Sound familiar?

Whatever Einsteinian equations they’ve been able to solve, they can’t put two and two together where it matters most. Which is why I find this scene so hilarious, friend, because it reveals that these sages didn’t consider the serpent-staff a divine act, nor did they consider the Nile turning to blood for more than a week a divine act, but these gnats—these nasty little bugs—these teeny, tiny pestilences—they’re God’s handiwork! God used one of the tiniest bugs of all to expose these fools for what they were. And just think: if He hadn’t removed their ability to mimic this miracle too, they’d still be just as lost as ever in their fantasy land bunker, throwing potions into a cauldron while the rest of the world gets eaten up around them.

The point: sin doesn’t just harden our hearts, it ruins our reason. And the more entrenched we become in our false illusions, the further we spiral into insanity.