The Third Plague – Lice from the dust of the earth (Geb – Egyptian God of the Earth)
Pharaoh would not concede, even after the display of power from the Lord through the plague of frogs.
He would not let them go.
So, at the command of the Lord to Moses, Aaron was told to stretch forth his rod and strike the dust of the earth with the rod of God. When he did the dust became lice throughout all the land, on both people and beasts. The very dust that was referred to in the creation process of man is now used to plague men, as a reminder of his mortality and sin which both lead to death.
Finally, the magicians of Pharaoh were humiliated, being unable to compete with this power that was so much greater than themselves and the powers that they had from their Egyptian gods and goddesses, and they professed, “This is the finger of God.”
This was the last plague that required Aaron’s involvement, as the next set of three plagues are issued by the word of Moses himself.
Exodus 8:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
18 And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.
The “lice” (Hebrew word kinnim) were miraculously produced from the dust of the land.
The plague of lice is referred to in Psalm 105:31.
Psalms 105:31 He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
Some translators suppose that the word kinnim refers not to lice in the English meaning, but to ticks, which are bigger than lice, fasten themselves to the skin and sting and suck the animal’s blood.
Others think that it more probably means gnats, stinging gnats. These were tiny gnats, almost invisible, that would inflict a painful sting. And they were everywhere! Their stings sometimes became infected, producing a painful sore.
“Smite the dust of the land.” This was a direct confrontation with the Egyptian god Geb, who was believed to be the god of the earth. He was also believed to be the god who could either release you from the grave into the afterlife or hold you in the earth thus preventing you from escaping the grave.
Suddenly, the Egyptians’ faith in Geb was shaken. Instead of the earth bringing forth food to nourish them, it was bringing forth stinging gnats! And Geb, the god of the earth, had no power to stop them!
To overcome Geb means to overcome the fear of death. The Egyptians worshipped Geb because this false “god” supposedly had the power to hold the dead corpse in the grave, or release it into the afterlife. But if Geb lacked power over something as small as a gnat… how could the Egyptians trust him with their future after death?
It is interesting that this plague is associated with “stinging gnats”. Paul writes in I Corinthians 15 that because of Jesus resurrection, death no longer has a “sting”. The way to overcome the fear of death is not by worshipping a false god as the Egyptians did, nor is it through keeping the Law of Moses as the Jews believed. The sting of death is overcome by faith in the resurrection power of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He has tasted death for all of us and is the Firstfruits of the promise of resurrection. We can only overcome the fear of death by faith, which is the evidence of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen. Faith comes from hearing the word of God and faith works through love. Let faith rise up in you to overcome fear of death.
Read I Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:7-14; Hebrews 2:9-15
Meditate on Romans 8: 31-39